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‘The Dialogue of the Dogs’ takes its title from the Cervantes novel of the same name, in which we imagine two dogs given the gift of speech for one night. In Cervantes’ story, the two dogs tell of the cruelty of their masters and corruption of humanity.
Starting at the final resting places of Cervantes and Velázquez in Madrid, the photographs depict poignant locations relevant to Spain today, such as; unoccupied newly built towns; the deserted airport of Ciudad Real; the former site of Expo ‘92 in Seville; and the imposing Valle de los Caídos. Throughout, there is a sense of a history that always murmurs beneath the surface; images allude to wealth, failure, loss, fallibility and misperception.
This work makes references to two of Spain’s greatest cultural figures, Miguel de Cervantes and Diego Velázquez; both fascinated by shifting perspectives, illusion and the hierarchy of power. Cervantes and Velázquez become the central protagonists in this pseudo-documentary narrative; these historical Spanish figures finding a voice in the present day landscape of La Mancha. This work depicts a quixotic search for something that never quite reveals itself.
The work acknowledges the problematics of documentary; it does not seek to create an authoritative portrait of a place. Rather, it weaves a tall story full of plot-holes and inconsistencies; for places are built on subjective memories and contested histories as much they are on geographic certainties. Page’s study is as much about how representations of place are constructed, and how fiction impinges on documentary realism.