The Arnolfini exhibition is almost like a mini-retrospective over one large gallery and two of the smaller ones and includes Jackson's work from the last three years (the ground floor gallery work was originally shown in Matt's Gallery).
Here you are introduced to the temporary world of the migrant worker via a makeshift gallery wall. Behind it Jackson has created small scale sculptures out of foreign newspapers collected from shops near where she lives in London. Some of these are breathtakingly intricate and detailed as well as being obviously very fragile. Most are on rough plywood table tops carrying on the theme of the temporary installation, and the packing case life. The delicacy of the world's infrastructure is emphasised by one tiny floor sculpture (about 5cm high) of an oil storage tank. Another shows a container port with migrant worker tents (about 1cm high), rigs and containers.
Included in this gallery is a poster you can take away – A list of things you are not allowed to send round the world. A surprising insight into different country's cultures and way of life, for example, no funeral urns containing ashes to China. There are also videos – including a number of TV monitors showing domestic workers in the Phillipines enjoying their one day off together in a public square, and a video of a boat journey. The words to the songs on the boat video are provided for you in a leaflet to take away.
Upstairs the latest work from 2006 is A Global Positioning System, an animation that explores what goes into satnavs, the list of materials, the countries that are involved, and the work required to produce a gadget to help individual drivers find their way. By doing this we are drawn into the socio-economics of globalisation, eg the miners in Africa, the factory workers in China and finally the person ordering the gadget on the phone (a similar gadget).
Jackson teased out responses to images of women in Root Entry – by sending out a worldwide call on the internet for animation companies to complete a narrative of a woman planting seeds (the images had come from the United Nations website detailing research into the minimum amount of land required to sustain life). Although the original drawings were of an African woman some animators turned her into a blonde European woman – we are forced to ask was this on purpose? Had they actually looked closely enough at the picture?
The exhibition is an example of a contemporary artist grappling with some of the key issues of the early 21st century using documentary techniques such as videos and lists. The fact that you can take some of the materials away allows for further contemplation. What was most impressive was the sheer intricacy of the of the tiny paper sculptures forcing you to look closely, bend over and enter that world.
Theo Wood is a first year student on a 2 year Foundation Degree in Creative Practice (Fine Art) at Bristol School of Art