The place of the white dog is an audio-visual essay exploring the fragile balance of time and how we spend it. It was part of an exhibition in London where all work originated in a video from the 80’es. My work includes clips from a film made by Justin Ascott where he follows Toby Harris, a philosopher vagabond and one of the last of the gentleman tramps who shaved every day, dressed respectably, and travelled around the country looking for jobs.
I traced the concept of a philosopher vagabond to Diogenes, one of the founders of the Cynic philosophy around 300 BC. He lived on the periphery of society and used his simple lifestyle to criticize the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt or at least confused society, and he rose above it and declared himself a cosmopolitan and a citizen of the world.
Some of the ascetic and rhetorical ideas of Cynicism later surfaced in various forms within Christianity. Cynicism was first taught in Athens at the Cynosarges gymnasium which is called The place of the white dog. Part of my research was about the idea of family – as being absent for a vagabond – and the below Sylvian Family Portrait became part of the finished piece.