I told you he was never really gone (2019)
HD Video, 05'50'' (produced for The Wrong Digital Biennale: xGeo Pavillion)
‘I told you he was never really gone’ is a conspiratorial narrative looking at a rumour of a secret ritual of immortality led by King Louis XVIIth. It explores online communities and sub-cultures, as phenomena tending towards cult enrolment and marginality.
Forbidden Royalist Club (2019)
Solo online exhibition curated by Offsite Project
"We’ve heard a rumour, circulated over old school internet forums and murmured in Parisian cafés, that an unnamed researcher of the French monarchy has uncovered something groundbreaking. The details are sketchy and unsupported, however, that being said, there are people who are taking it as fact. They’re saying that Louis XVII isn’t dead. That he was caught in a loophole of royal ascension and therefore cannot die. Moreover, he’s been living in the shadows all this time, presiding over an ancient rituals at the Château de Lantheuil.
We didn’t believe it was truth either. Except one day last week a strange letter arrived in the post. A monogrammed envelope without a postage stand, cream coloured fabric, with an almost luminous rich blue ink addressing our names. We were out at the time so didn’t see who delivered it, though a neighbour reported a well dressed young name, wearing a suit, a patterned neckerchief and white gloves, had been waiting outside the building until he had been able to slip inside. So presumably he left the letter.
Anyway, we’re getting of track, the letter. Well it was an invite of sorts. Where? To the Château de Lantheuil of course, on Saturday the 7th of September. Arrive at 14:30 it said and left very specific instructions for dress. For men it asked we wear a typical outfit, consisting of a full-skirted knee-length coat, knee breeches, a vest or long waistcoat, sleeved or not according to our preference, a linen shirt with fries and linen undergarments, accompanied by a tied-back wig. For the ladies the request was a little more concise, to wear a mantua, which we later discovered was a type of open-fronted silk or fine wool gown with a train and matching petticoat
We were confused to say the least. What had we to do with the Château de Lantheuil, who were we to be involved in this web of conspiracy that had been circulating online? We were at a loss, so we contacted a friend Léa Porré for advice, did she know anything about these mysterious letters? Her response wasn’t what we expected, it wasn’t normal for her to speak in such a manner, she was direct and serious, she advised us to attend and directed us to a now unavailable website.
So here we are, writing this text on a ferry from Portsmouth to Ouistreham, when we arrive we’ll find a taxi to take us the rest of the way. Before the website was taken down we copied everything we could. For prosperity we’ve uploaded the content to Off Site Project. If for some reason we don’t arrive home, hopefully this will help someone work out what happened."
Press release by Pita Arreola-Burns and Elliott Burns, of Offsite Project.