single channel video installation
32:00 mins loop
Whodunnit? was conceived as a video projection installation for a theatre, featuring a nostalgic am-dram production of a classic middlebrow English drawing-room murder mystery played by a multi-ethnic cast whose accents keep shifting.
The artist auditioned actors according to the list of ethnic minority categories found on cultural diversity monitoring forms for Arts Council England funding applications.
The final cast comprises a diasporic spectrum of second or third generation British actors of Black African, Black Afro-Caribbean, Asian, East Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Greek Cypriot, Eastern European Jewish and Irish descent, who perform the dialogue using their own constructed versions of foreign accents as well as RP (Received Pronunciation).
The suspects’ shifting accents suggest transitions between complicity and hostility amongst themselves as well as with the figure of authority in the middle, the police detective.
The identity of the murderer is not the question; the real mystery is, what is the true identity of the individual? At a time when ‘cultural diversity’ and ‘multiculturalism’ have become managerial catchwords, how does such ‘ticking-the-boxes’ categorisation limit the way we identify ourselves and others in terms of ethnicity, race or culture?
Whodunnit? was made with the support of a London Artists’ Film & Video Award from Film London.
Whodunnit? was shown at the Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester in 2004
and at Toynbee Studios, London in 2005