January 23 to March 30, 2014
Adad Hannah. Virginia Hall, 2013. Video still.
Virginia Hall was a hot spot located in Fort George, one of the communities that was later incorporated as Prince George. It opened on January 16th, 1914 as part of the Hotel Fort George. The Virginia Hall, named after the owner’s daughter, was a popular locale where people enjoyed music and a good drink and, according to the custom of the day, men vied for spots on the dance cards of its female clientele.
Photographs in the archives of The Exploration Place show people dressed in costume attending masquerade balls. This new work by Adad Hannah draws from them imagining scenarios that might have taken place within its walls. Images are playful, curious and sometimes tense, foreshadowing what was to come.
In August of 1914 war was declared, an event that would have a devastating impact upon this young community as well as the rest of the world. On November 13, 1914, just ten months after it opened, a fire broke out in the Virginia Hall, destroying it, the Hotel Fort George and the city block of which they were a part.
One hundred years later, the community of Prince George has rebuilt the Virginia Hall, at least in spirit, painting backdrops, sewing costumes, building props, posing and much more. Working with Russ Bonin and a veritable army of volunteers Adad Hannah used his sparse set in this very space to create a suite of videos evoking the illusion of its namesake. Virginia Hall, Prince George, 1914, embodies the spirit of a young vibrant community on the edge of a precipice.
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