Cairo: The Breaking Up of the Ice.

Creative Tourist

Ahead of a new exhibition at Cornerhouse, Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan talk about the wild west, the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and how a 19th century ornithologist inspired their latest work

Read a transcript of this interview with Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan.

Cairo: The Breaking Up of the Ice is a new collaborative exhibition at Cornerhouse by Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan. The show hinges on a film installation inspired by the writings of the 19th century artist, ornithologist and frontiersman John James Audubon, a man renowned for his epic publication The Birds of America.

Cairo (2009) is part of a film trilogy made during two expeditions to the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, a trilogy that contrasts Audubon’s tales of frontier America with its present-day counterpart. Audubon spent six weeks trapped by ice at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in a place now known as Cairo. Once wealthy, this southern Illinois town is now largely abandoned, devastated over time by floods, racial segregation, social unrest and economic decline. In their film, Cartwright and Jordan set Audubon’s narrative against desolate images of contemporary Cairo.

In this exclusive vodcast, artist and independent curator Dave Griffiths talks to Cartwright and Jordan about both the film and the supporting work that makes up their new show at Manchester’s Cornerhouse.

Cairo: The Breaking Up of the Ice runs at Cornerhouse from 23 January -28 February 2010. Free entry. The Audubon Trilogy: Delineations of American Scenery & Manners, the book that accompanies the show and includes all three films from the trilogy, as well as commissioned essays, photographs and transcripts from Audubon’s journals, will be on sale at Cornerhouse.

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