Rod Dickinson & Tom McCarthy: Greenwich Degree Zero, Mead Gallery

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Rod Dickinson & Tom McCarthy: Greenwich Degree Zero, installation shot, Mead Gallery


Rod Dickinson & Tom McCarthy’s Greenwich Degree Zero offered visitors to the Mead Gallery an opportunity to witness a multimedia installation about a would-be nineteenth century act of terrorism.

On 15 February 1894 a French anarchist named Martial Bourdin was killed when the bomb he was carrying detonated. The explosion took place on the slope beneath the Royal Observatory in London’s Greenwich Park and it was generally assumed that his intention had been to blow up the Observatory.

Dickinson and McCarthy re-imagine Bourdin’s act as a successful attack on the Observatory, reworking newspaper reports to fit their version of events. They also present a film made with a hand-cranked Victorian cinematic camera that captures the moment of the Observatory’s destruction and photographic images that depict the building’s ruin. Audiences are invited to piece together this episode and to participate in the making of a history through the processes, institutions and technologies that authenticate the narrative of time.

This exhibition ran from 1 October – 10 December 2011 at the Mead Gallery, University of Warwick.

Greenwich Degree Zero was a Beaconsfield Commission, acquired by the Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London in 2010.