Bird on a Wire
In Loco Parentis
La La was exhibited as part of ElectroFringe in Newcastle in 2008. It depicts a couple and a baby in a hotel room in Los Angeles. Planes fly past constantly as if in a traffic jam.
Emu is a twenty-minute video of two emus as they wander into a dangerous suburban environment in search of water during the worst of the 2002 drought. The work, contrasts the inquisitive desperation of the two animals as they wander through a contemporary urban environment. The pace of the video is the result a desire to have the viewer attempt to perceive “emu time”.
This artwork was part of a touring exhibition organised by the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery called “Dust”. It toured Australian embassies around the world showcasing work from the Broken Hill region. It was also exhibited as part of the “Changing Nature” exhibition curated by Greenpeace which focused on issues to do with climate change. In 2005 it became part of the collection of The Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne.
Pace (pach’e) or peace, refers to the peace flag movement that took place in Europe during the early part of 2003. People were encouraged to hang a peace flag in their window. The subtle yet powerful statement of this simple action struck me.
Filmed in Rome in the summer of 2003, the flag featured is gently wearing away a distinctly clean mark on the wall of its apartment. It is a metaphor for the peace movement. That simple, humble yet persistent action can bring about change.
Pace (pase) is a television term used to describe the tempo and rhythm of news stories. disc 1 and disc 3 could be viewed by pressing play on the players. You can simply chose to watch the peace flag or chose to watch the other images and in so doing took metaphorical responsibility for an event.
The peaceful image of the flag is contrasted in two other panels with graphic images of goat and cattle dog carcases being interned at the Broken Hill “Meathole”.
The use of the goat and cattle dog footage was a reference to the social and political situation of the time in which Australia had committed to involvement in the middle east conflict.
UTE is a three-minute video of the finals of the circle work championships at Ute fest in Broken Hill, outback Australia in 2002.
Ute was part of a series of video works produced in Broken Hill between 2001 and 2008. The works sought to document without comment, anecdotal observations of outback-Australian living.
Ute explored a theme, referencing the oft-repeated Australian mantra that supposedly defines authentic Australian culture; “Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden Cars”. The cars enact complex and poetic dance for the audience in the stands.
As time has moved on the work is now imbued with a deeper significance with the passing of Holden car production in Australia.
By addressing this mantra specifically I was highlighting the shortcomings and less than romantic reality of this encompassing definition. Whilst additionally critiquing its failure to address the complexities of contemporary Australian society.
In doing this I hoped to challenge the viewer’s own predetermined concept of Australian society, whether it is multi-cultural and urban, or predominantly mono-cultural and rural.
Mosque (also known as Broken Hill 7.30) is a 5 minute three channel video work depicting three different views of the same event. The event is the evening call to prayer by local residents as the sun is setting on the historically significant 100 year old Broken Hill Mosque. The work was produced for the 2002 Blake Prize.
The work was undertaking in 2001 prior to the events of September 11. It was initially intended to be a simple reference to the forgotten history of Afghan workers involved in the building of crucial Australian info structure, such as the Bush Telegraph. However, following 9/11 the work took on more significance, both for the Muslim and non- Muslim community alike.
Most significant to the Muslim community and in particular the small Broken Hill community was the issue of surveillance. It was common knowledge at the time that ASIO agents were conducting undercover operations inside Mosques.
I was permitted to film in and around the Local Mosque as well as make sound recordings of the service. This represented a significant act of trust (or perhaps resigned pragmatism) considering the tense political climate and events in the towns past history.
The work was a Finalist in the Blake Prize and I understand it was the subject of dispute amongst the Judges, (prompting one Judge to leave the panel). This resulted in the work being given a “Highly Commended” award.
The work toured Australia as part of the 2004 Blake Prize Tour. I was asked to deliver a talk at the Casula Powerhouse and the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery as part of the exhibition.
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