The 1951 'Festival of Britain' was intended to encourage post-war regeneration and optimism. It was a statement of social, scientific and cultural achievement. 18 million visitors saw pioneering work in many fields including the first radio telescope and post-war housing solutions. However, the utopianism of the Festival was short-lived: a month after its closure, the Conservative party gained power and the future was re-interpreted through individualism and material aspirations.
Preview and Guide presents the Festival of Britain (FB) through quotations and pronouncements, both predictive and diagnostic. The lack of its concrete-ness is indicated by no direct representation of the festival, and the future it proposed is realized obliquely, perhaps disappointedly, in the final image of social housing in the present day.
MacKisack uses the transparency of glass to present the opacity of history. In the layering of images, we see the marks of time, instead of its flow. Glass, here, has the illusory capacity to look back through time while video helps the artist do so fluidly, without friction, only to realize that a history, or the ideas it proposed, are not fluid. Without critical awareness, one's understanding of the present is sometimes abrupt. The treatment of video in the work highlights this disjunct. Preview and Guide uses a flowing visuality to present exactly the opposite nature of history and its consequent present.