Working mainly with video and photography, Corin Sworn creates installations that look at how objects and images convey stories and histories. She combines images with spoken narrative, often recordings of her own voice, reading texts that are both newly written and quoted from other sources. Slipping between fact, fiction and fantasy, Sworn’s work considers the cultural and personal meanings that we attach to things, and how they in turn come to represent people and places.
In 2010 her installation Endless Renovation included a set of 35mm slides that she had found in a skip near her home. Sworn used a projector to show the images, along with a recording of her voice as she tells the story of finding the slides and speculates about their origin: who might have taken the images and why. At times the voice sounds knowledgeable and truthful, while at others it is less certain.
Sworn’s 2013 project for the Scotland + Venice exhibition at the Venice Biennale included a film called The Foxes. The starting point for the film was the discovery of a box of her father’s old slides, including many he had taken during his research as an anthropologist in the 1970s, on visits to Peru and Spain. Sworn and her father looked at the photographs together, her father recalling the people and places in the images, his memories at times at odds with Sworn’s own. She later took her father and the photographs he had taken back to Peru and filmed their journey to the places he had visited forty years previously. Alongside the film, she made a group of photographic works that combined her father’s photographs with her own, with one layered on top of the other to create a composite image of the same place at different points in time.
In these and other works, Sworn creates multi-layered reflections on the creation and communication of truth, memory, history and knowledge.