Crowe and Rawlinson: FACT.
The Carriers' Prayer, another single-screen work, shows a cluster of "scally fireworks" arranged in what looks like the altar area of an Edwardian church building. Beloved of English youth in the urban northwest, these straggly objects consist of knotted-together plastic bags. Ignited, in this video, they whoop bizarrely and send flaming dollops streaming upward--or rather, downward, because the plastic stalagmites are actually stalactites dangling from a "floor" that's really a ceiling. In fact, the church is a full-size model, purpose-built upside down, and the video footage has been inverted to make it look right side up. The fiery prayers appear to be rising heavenward, but they are in fact dribbling burning plastic. However, the artists have downplayed this fact, which seems a mistake; it so dramatically expands and destabilizes the image's potential reception, complicating its more obvious topical references (say, to religious fanaticism) with issues of form and structure.
Two Leprechauns and The Name of God intertwine expression and inscription with miscommunication. In the latter, local Christian, Islamic, and Jewish youths stand before the camera and write their deity's name with sparklers; but because they are writing in reverse (from the audience's viewpoint), and the sparklers' lines of light do not persist, the viewer is effectively "cast out" of the work--"exorcised" by the participants' emphatic, ritualistic-seeming gestures. In Two Leprechauns, the artists, dressed as a couple of those mischievous elves, hail one another in Hebrew and Arabic spoken with an Irish brogue. An "evocation of a stubborn belligerence" defining the Middle East conflict, maybe (FACT'S leaflet again); but the work's effectiveness is underwritten by its sheer bizarreness and the chirruping, solipsistic leprechauns' capacity to annoy.
Yes, newsworthy "issues" (or problems, rather, such as urban delinquency, terrorism, religious sectarianism and fundamentalism, the Middle East crisis, and so on) are metaphorically figured in these works. However, a caveat of Gaston Bachelard's seems useful here: Metaphor, for him, is "fabricated," short-lived, "a crude polemical instrument"; in contrast, poetic images are the "pure product of absolute imagination" and inextinguishable, because they confer being upon the reading subject rather than vice versa. Crowe and Rawlinson's practice launches a genuine poetics, and beneath the surface of the "issues" lies a compelling meditation on the friction between instrumental metaphor and poetic plenitude.