A response to Michael Cook’s Broken Dreams #3 (2010) composed by Katherine Philp.
About Katherine’s piece
“In the Broken Dreams series by Michael Cook, this central character starts from a position of colonial power, London Bridge in the background, a loudspeaker at hand. In the picture we see here (#3), the colonisers’ tall ships are about to embark on their journey. In this series and others by Cook, the people portraying historical colonial figures are all Indigenous, flipping the ubiquitous whiteness of colonial narratives completely upside down.
I imagine the perspective of the character here to be from the past and only looking forward to an as-yet-unformed future. In contrast, as a viewer, I can only look back across our colonial history to this heavy moment when the tall ships are about to travel across the water. What I hope comes across in the music is that I was particularly affected by the strength and beauty of the woman in the picture, and the slow and inexorable ocean waves.
I happened to be working in the gallery at the same time that Jonny was filming, so echoes of Schubert’s Wasserflut have drifted into The Water, my musical response to Broken Dreams #3.”
– Katherine Philp