David Cotterrell
Mirror III (v)  2016  2 Channel HD Projection, Custom Morse Code Generators and iOs App
10 minutes 6 seconds  Collaborators: Ruwanthie de Chickera

David Cotterrell is an installation artist working across media and technologies to explore the social and political tendencies of a world at once shared and divided. The practice is typified by an interest in intersection: whether fleeting encounter or heavily orchestrated event, Cotterrell’s works explore the human condition and the breaks or nuances that can lead to a less ambiguous understanding of the world they inhabit.

Encapsulating the roles of programmer, producer and director, Cotterrell works to develop projects that can embrace the quiet spaces that are the sites for action, which might (or might not) be clearly understood in the future. For the past few years, Cotterrell and his collaborator Ruwanthie de Chickera have been embarking on an eclectic series of field trips and the production of a range of experimental artworks to clarify their experience and understanding of fear, risk and empathetic failure.

Cotterrell’s work has been commissioned and shown extensively in Europe, the United States and Asia. His work appears in several collections including Imperial War Museum, London and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He is Research Professor of Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University.

> Curriculum vitae
> Press
> Artist website
> Exhibitions at the gallery:  truth.lie.lie  2019;  Empathy and risk: three mirrors and a wall  2017; London Art Fair  2017;  The Ostrich     Experiments  2013; David Cotterrell  Aesthetic Distance 2009;  South Facing  2005
David Cotterrell, Mirror V
Mirror V: Translation  2019  Single-channel video with four-track audio  Collaboration with Ruwanthie de Chickera  Dimensions variable  Photograph by Oskar Proctor

Truth is a thing of this world: It is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of constraint. And it induces regular effects of power. Each society has its own regime of truth, its "general politics" of truth: that is, the type of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true. – Michel Foucault, Power - Knowledge, pp. 131

Translation shores up truth, moulding it into the outline of a specific agenda. Extending beyond words, translation clings to the visual and creates a rhetoric. In a society laden with visual signifiers, nothing can exist without subjective meaning, washed with our ideologies; our upbringings; the views of those with whom we surround ourselves. We see what we anticipate or what we fear, not what our eyes truly register. A backpack left on the tube, visibly filled with books or clothes, becomes a bomb even in its absence of wires. We transpose our fears into our surroundings, led by our prejudices in an absence of meaning. But in verbal or written translation, there is something about the definitive nature of writing, a suggestion of the contractual, that makes it perhaps even more powerful than our visual transpositions. The translation becomes evidence and is disseminated again and again, repeated as fact. The translator’s prejudice is poured between the words and made invisible, gluing the speaker’s mouth shut and branding them with new meaning.

David Cotterrell’s latest in his Mirror installations, Mirror V: Translation, explores the prejudice in translation, exposing how its nuances can mark the difference between perceived innocence and guilt; between a person portrayed as rightly frustrated with the immigration system, or as a terrorist. Cotterrell’s installation presents two Sinhala monologues, filmed in Sri Lanka, on screens in an otherwise dark room. As the viewer moves around the gallery space, they step beneath three ultrasonic speakers. Beneath each speaker they are engulfed by an invisible sonic bubble playing different translations of each monologue. The sound is ephemeral, as clear as though someone is whispering in your ear at one moment and then disappearing entirely with just a few inches of movement, simulating the wavering of truth in translation. The discrepancies between each translation initially seem minor but their cumulative effect is significant. In one monologue, our attention is triggered by words such as ‘recruiting’ and ‘bombing’, which we associate with terrorism. But in a different translation, this sinister suggestion of recruitment becomes a plea to join forces, and the word ‘bombing’ is eradicated completely. In this work, Cotterrell demonstrates how words can be weaponised both against the public in the media’s deliberate misleading, reframing and mistranslation to suit political agendas, but, most importantly, against the perceived ‘other’ in the subtleties of their demonisation. - Tess Charnley

David Cotterrell, Capital C for Constitution
Capital C for Constitution  2018  PC desktop, office furniture and custom software  Collaboration with Ruwanthie de Chickera
David Cotterrell, Was Many Pictures
Was Many Pictures  2018  C-type photographic print, lecturns, speakers and Barix media players with cutom firmware  Collaboration with Ruwanthie de Chickera
David Cotterrell, Mirror IV (v)
Mirror IV (v)  2018  Two-screen video work  Collaboration with Ruwanthie de Chickera
David Cotterrell, OnSilent
OnSilent  2018  iPhone 6, custom script and software, vibration speaker  Collaboration with Ruwanthie de Chickera
David Cotterrell, Maelstrom
Maelstrom  2017  A public installation appearing on the rivers and canals of Chester 
Mirror I: Hierarchy  2016  collaboration with Ruwanthie de Chickera  HD video, two-channel installation  
David Cotterrell, The Wall, 2016
The Wall  2016  1:100 hand-painted plastic figures, table tennis net, painted and floacked timber  photograph by Oskar Proctor 
Gateway I  2009  photographic c-type print  147 x 99 cm 
David Cotterrell Supernumerary 
Supernumerary 2008, triptych (detail), C-type print
David Cotterrell The Debating Society
Debating Society  2007, Granite, Apple computers, Linux OS, custom software and audio equipment, 6.0 x 1.5 x 6.0m
David Cotterrell South Facing
South Facing  2005/06, Cast Plaster, Gesso and Machined MDF
Latitude (v)  2005, 4.5 x 2.0m
Field  2003, Projected DVD Video Stream, 9 Hours, 1.5 x 0.7m
GEV 1: Pedestrian Simulator (v)  2003, Mirror, computer, projector, painted wooden boxes, dimensions variable
Shangri-La (v)  2002, Brass & Glass jewellers case, LCD screen, headphones, software: Macromedia Director, 0.6 x 0.2 x 0.5m
Car Culture (v)  2001, DVD Loop, 60mins, Dimensions variable
Saltley Geyser  1998, Grundfos SP60-5 borehole pump, steel, piping, 3 phase electricityinverter & 500L of water, 0.5 x 0.5 x 40m