Within walking distance of the historic Jamestown, Virginia excavation site is an interpretive museum called Jamestown Settlement. Outside of the brick-and-mortar museum building is an outdoor, living history area divided into three separate sections: The Powhatan Village, The Ships, and The Fort.
Entering at the Powhatan Village, visitors encounter an area of reed-covered houses where costumed historical interpreters demonstrate and discuss life before the arrival of Europeans. They grow and prepare food, skin and tan animal hides, make bone tools, and weave baskets. The next stop is the James River, where replicas of the three ships that sailed from England in 1607 can be explored, while costumed interpreters discuss the voyage. Lastly, enclosed by a wooden palisade, are recreations of the original Jamestown structures. Inside this fort, costumed interpreters demonstrate English life between 1610 and 1614.
I collaborated with the costumed interpreters in the three sections of Jamestown Settlement to create video diorama portraits. The resulting work is a three-channel video consisting of individual portraits. The juxtaposition of the Interpreters changes and evolves over time raising questions about the understanding and fluidity of historical dialogues. The accompanying video and still photographs function to further comment on historic dialog.
Greta Pratt 2015