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reclamation

Robert Smithson, Bingham Copper Mining Pit—Utah / Reclamation Project (detail), 1973, Photostat and plastic overlay with wax pencil.

Robert Smithson, Bingham Copper Mining Pit—Utah / Reclamation Project (detail), 1973, Photostat and plastic overlay with wax pencil.

The routine aesthetics of ecological recovery (order, position, repetition, confinement, clearly defined boundaries) are becoming more prevalent in urban and non-urban landscapes globally. As we continue this trajectory of orderly nature-orientation, what influences do these aesthetic outcomes have on ecological memory? Further, what is the role of art within this paradigm of ‘nature’?

At sites where human-driven ecological recovery/rehabilitation is undertaken, natural, cultural and aesthetic outcomes converge to forge new ecosystems that are shaped by deliberate human choices and composed of elements with varied ecological memories (life-history, cycles of water and nutrient availability, experiences of disturbances in varying degrees etc.). If we consider that ecological memory is “maintained by two types of legacies – information and material” (Johnstone et al. 2016) then art’s ability to positively contribute to successful environmental reclamation projects becomes clearer.

If a rehabilitated site is populated by humans using trees grown in an external ecosystem (i.e. embodying a different ecological memory and life-history relative to the site being rehabilitated) then humans must also take responsibility for harmonising the newly introduced information and material aspects of these trees with the site being rehabilitated. Art in the expanded field can play a key role in this mechanism.

A fantastic and ethereal example of art in the expanded playing a key role in environmental equilibration can be seen in ‘Curse Mantra: How to Kill Factory Owners’ an exhibition featuring photographs by Mitsutoshi Hanaga curated by Koichiro Osaka. This exhibition focuses on the efforts of a small collective of Buddhist monks who used ceremony and ritual to bring justice to vulnerable people affected by environmental pollution in Japan in the 1960s. ‘Bingham Copper Mining Pit—Utah / Reclamation Project’ (1973) by Robert Smithson is also a great example.

When the inert is reactive

When considering materiality and permanence in art, Robert Barry’s ‘Inert Gas Series/Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon/From a Measured Volume to Indefinite Expansion’ of 1969 is key. As a gesture pointing to the real but imperceptible, Barry released five gases of known volumes of (then considered) noble gases into specific sites around Los Angeles to equilibrate with a boundless infinity.

I often think about how, at the time of making this work, Barry was guided by the scientific understanding that the gases he was working with were noble, nonreactive or inert. However, as science has evolved, the theory of the nobility of these gases was tested and it was proved that compounds of xenon, krypton and radon exist.

If an artwork is an idea tied to specificity but the boundaries of specificity then change, does the artwork also change? The answer would of course be framed by your definition of specificity; whether you consider the work to be defined by knowledge, space and location at the time of inception or action, or whether specificity is centred on substantiated fact, stability and practicability. From the title of Barry’s work, it appears that the decision to select these gases was at least partly based on the understanding by the artist that these gases shared a common ‘inert’ characteristic.

Barry’s work therefore signals a complex but often not discussed question of conceptual art: if the idea is paramount to the work but the ideas of the materials used to execute a conceptual work change, does the work still ‘exist’? This logic could also apply to the certificates and contracts generated by conceptual artists of this time to separate them from market influences, object which themselves have shifted as legal systems and definitions that influence their meaning also change.

Robert Barry, documentation of  Inert Gas Series/Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon/From a Measured Volume to Indefinite Expansion , 1969.

Robert Barry, documentation of Inert Gas Series/Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon/From a Measured Volume to Indefinite Expansion, 1969.

<second> affect

Mel O’Callaghan, Ensemble (still), 2013.

Mel O’Callaghan, Ensemble (still), 2013.

The relationship between power and feeling is a complex and significant aspect of art made and exhibited today. This relationship has many facets including (but not limited to) the:

  • affect produced by the placement of works or elements within a space in relation to proximity, eye height and configuration (hierarchies);

  • curatorial decisions to include or exclude underrepresented artists or socially marginalised individuals or groups in exhibition programming;

  • curatorial decision to or not to perpetuate colonial or other dominate narratives when constructing curatorial frameworks;

  • collective social understanding of the role, function and ‘value’ or art;

  • position of art and artists relative to privilege and class;

  • transparency of the art industry (commercial as well as public institutions).

The entanglement of institutions with external systems of power has also, in recent times, begun to play an important role in the power + feeling (+agency) equation. One such of example of this relationship is the 2018 decision of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to end its contract with Wilson Security. This decision was publicly announced during the staging of protests by artists who questioned to the appropriateness of the gallery’s continued engagement with the security service provider.

The protesting committee drew attention to Wilson Security’s involvement in offshore detection centres on Nauru and Manus Island from 2012 to 2017. According to the Australian Border Death Database, a number of deaths occurred under security service provider’s management of the facilities, including the murder of 24 year of Iranian man Reza Barati who ‘died of head injuries on the way to Lorengau hospital in PNG following protests at the Manus Island Immigration Detention Centre. Violence resulted in the injury of 77 others, 12 seriously. It is understood that at least 2 security guards were involved in the altercation during the riots of 2014, they were later convicted of Barati's murder.’

man-made

Grayson Perry, The Rosetta Vase, 2011. Glazed ceramic. British Museum Collection. Image courtesy the Artist, Victoria Miro, London and the Trustees of the British Museum, London © Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry, The Rosetta Vase, 2011. Glazed ceramic. British Museum Collection. Image courtesy the Artist, Victoria Miro, London and the Trustees of the British Museum, London © Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry’s 2015/16 exhibition ‘My Pretty Little Art Career’ was probably the first exhibition where I saw gender diversity and sexuality celebrated at a deeply personal level. The large-scale tapestries, ornate vases, meticulous drawings and irreverent photography constructed a schema of an individual who is complex and although influenced by social powers, has an ability to use the forces that would otherwise seek to shape them to generate something entirely their own.

Although Perry is most well known for his commentaries on class and identity, what fascinates me about Perry’s practice is the way his works reflect on thought. Thought, not as something active, but of something guided and directed through mass understanding, corporate messaging and the boundaries of ‘social cohesion’. Often wrapped in the thin veil of ‘the greater good’, what mechanisms make individuals subscribe and adhere to social politics?

More importantly, what do we give up in the process?

manifestations of sensing

Early on in his book ‘How Art Can Be Thought: A Handbook for Change’ Allan deSouza writes ‘individuals amass data through experience, surveillance, research, investigation, imagination and memory’. Although I agree with this statement generally, in our current age there is also a need to acknowledge ‘the unclear’ and ‘the undefined’ as an important part of contemporary experience as well as art generation, outcomes, documentation and discourse.

Particularly since the 1990s, the art world has emphasised clarity, rationality, definition and precision as signifiers of ‘good’ contemporary art. However, as our local as well as global financial, social, political and environmental systems are driven into ever-increased states of uncertainty the high cost of clarity, definition and precision are becoming too obvious to continue to ignore. Under such conditions, maintaining states of being unfinished and unresolved is a difficult but, I would argue, important part of contemporary practice.

Although approached from a more historical and process/outcome perspective, the 2016 Met Breuer exhibition ‘Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible’ that explored ‘the evolving concept of unfinishedness as essential to understanding art movements from the Renaissance to the present day’ provides significant insights into what stands on the horizon line.

Image: Alice Neel.  James Hunter Black Draftee , 1965. Oil on canvas. COMMA Foundation, Belgium, © The Estate of Alice Neel (detail).

Image: Alice Neel. James Hunter Black Draftee, 1965. Oil on canvas. COMMA Foundation, Belgium, © The Estate of Alice Neel (detail).

at the centre of the field

The art of the 1960s pushed the boundaries and relationships between concept, outcomes, documentation and document. Yet looking again at Agnes Denes’ 1982 installation ‘Wheatfield - A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan’, I wonder whether the question of the role of documentation within the context of ephemeral art has ever really been answered.

The monumental nature of ‘Wheatfield - A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan’ has been acutely documented in photographs depicting the artist standing amongst the expansive field of golden wheat. Highly alluring and graphic, it is almost difficult to comprehend the massive human power it took to remove debris and prepare the site as well as sew and maintain the vast field.

As a work that was created with the intention of bringing attention to our misplaced corporate priorities and construction-focused identities, does the work’s documentation contradict its intention? Does the documentation of ‘Wheatfield - A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan’ imbue the work with a sentiment of indifference? Considering that the work’s documentation processes included the harvesting of the wheat grown for the purpose of exhibiting it internationally, can we ask of documentation what we ask of a work? Or are we asking too much? Does documentation have a responsibility to truth?

shadow. over

Leigh Ledare,  Mom and Me on bed (frontal),  2006. via  photography-now .

Leigh Ledare, Mom and Me on bed (frontal), 2006. via photography-now.

Unconscious participation in social and political meta-narratives sits in many of our uncomfortable blind spots. Blurred, difficult or not possible to define they are uncomfortable truths that when left unfaced can become daunting and lingering shadows. Leigh Ledare’s photographic works describe such shadows: how do structures unseen, unfelt, unknown and often unloved impact not just the way that we see the world, but also impede us from seeing other potentialities without fear, judgement or derision. Raising questions of transgression, the laws of physical intimacy and the limits of self-affirmation and expression Ledare provide methods for viewers to discover their own biases, unconscious or otherwise.

It is this quality of non-judgemental questioning and soft diplomacy that I find so alluring. Looking at photographs from Ledare’s infamous series “Pretend You’re Actually Alive”, I get the sense that each work subtly asks a simple and direct but powerful question: but why? Why or why isn’t this image confronting? Who defines for the rules of what is confronting? Speculation drive the dominant narrative. Yet all the while an alternative narrative sits parallel to this speculation; why ask any questions at all? Can an image of consented expression be something that we don’t question? Can people ever be simply what they present to the world?

invisible entities

Hans Haacke,  Helmsboro Country , 1990 via  Frieze .

Hans Haacke, Helmsboro Country, 1990 via Frieze.

Drawing on the complex nature of the connection between inside and outside; internal and external; private and secluded; power and liberty, the socio-politically charged conceptual practice of Hans Haacke is revealing in it’s ability to discuss specific power structures and systems while also allowing individual works to retain an element of ambiguity. The ambiguity of Haacke’s works stem from their deep connection to knowledge, time and context; a knowledge or at least a peripheral understanding of the social systems, political conditions and/or natural systems that form the basis of his works is often needed to understand them entirely. For this reason, Haacke often presents contextual didactic panels in proximity to installations.

Yet for me the magic of not-knowing, of being confronted with half-understood slogans, logos, arrangements and political messages is the most intriguing aspect of Haacke’s practice. Particularly when considered it in the present context of the Trumpian “Fake News” era. For example, one may not entirely understand why the American Bill of Rights has been printed on a larger-than-life pack of Helmsboro cigarettes cascading out of its deck (Helmsboro Country, 1990) but that is exactly the point. Not being able to completely understand a situation we are presented with or confronted by or even simply being allured by the aesthetic qualities of political messages, advertising and symbols reflects the smoke and mirror tactics that corporate and political systems use to disguise intents and achieve objectives. Most of the time we only ever know corporations or political systems present want to tell us, as opposed to what we want or need to know, i.e. motivations for wars, the health impacts of products or decision making processes.

As Australia transitions into a new cycle of political leadership, now squarely defined by the Australian Federal Police’s ABC Raids, Haacke’s works provide a timely reflection on the nature of power.

the consequence of what you do to me

In the 1920s Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company standardised the work week to five days. This initiative introduced the work-free weekend and with it gave Ford workers the time to re-invest back into the company with their higher than average wages. It’s difficult to not feel a little disappointed that the reward that many persevere for is in many ways the carrot at the end of the proverbial stick. Which begs the question: who is holding the stick and why?

I’ve recently finished putting together a photographic work that interrogates the circular truth of the contemporary system of vacations and the often unknown environmental and social impacts of travel. The title of the work ‘If you lived here, you’d be home by now’ is taken from an infamous real estate truism that connects the human longing to escape the mechanisms of capitalist life to physical, purchasable commodities that feed back into capitalism. The title accurately demonstrates the aim of the installation: to present the confusing nature of the leisure in it’s intended form as a capitalist device that ‘create[s] the want it seeks to satisfy’ (John Kenneth Galbraith). Now to, ironically, find the funding. More on this work to come.

Duane Hanson, Flea Market Vendor, 1990 via  saatchi gallery

Duane Hanson, Flea Market Vendor, 1990 via saatchi gallery

breeze between the clouds

Concept image for my new work titled ‘Breeze’.

Concept image for my new work titled ‘Breeze’.

I’m presently creating a new sculptural installation using internally gilded, concrete cloud-form breeze blocks to interrogate through structure, form, light and shadow, the commingling of human and non-human narratives that occurs in our post-natural (the intentional and heritable alteration of nature by humans) contemporary urban reality.

Breeze blocks were an architectural feature commonly used in commercial and residential construction in the 1950s and 60s. Contemporary symbols of suburbia, they are a hallmark of the social and cultural expansion of post-war Victoria. Often used as decorative wall detailing, breeze blocks mark the division of spaces in places such as boundary walls, were gardens meet houses, as patio screens or carports. As a partially solid construction material, breeze blocks have a unique duality that emphasises solidity and permeability as well as division. This duality makes breeze blocks an ideal material to interrogate the commingling of human and non-human narratives.

The idea for the sculpture is play with perspective; as viewers approaches the work, they will see a solid concrete screen. As they move closer and away from the work, their perspective relative to the sculpture will change to reveal and obscure the highly reflective gold internal structure, patterned forms and sections of the landscape visible through the work. More on this work to come.

time, materials and entrapment

Earlier this year I was doing some research on bio-feedback art and came across ‘Eudaimonia’ by Lisa Park, a phenomenal work that translates thoughts into visualisations (click here to visit Park’s website). The black pools of rippling water got me thinking about how humans (mostly unconsciously) translate subjective thoughts into materials to create objective, shared experience. I also started thinking about the role of sculpture within this process and am planning to make a new body of work that interrogates the sociocultural position of sculptural practice to either re-enforce or dismiss subjectivity or objectivity.

The practice of Sekine Nobuo (関根伸夫) came to mind as one that provides a schema for how artists can use sculptural and spatial practice to critique human perspectives and senses of nature. By drawing attention to the surface of natural and industrial materials, Sekine presents us with an interrogation of how we perceive 'solid’ objects and the way we form associations and use personal references to shape our understanding of what is around us. Beyond a critique of sensory experience, Sekine’s practice as well as other members of Mono-ha, are also interesting in their political perspectives of overturning the dominance of art-as-commodity. Mono-ha provides a framework for exploring how one can, through sculptural practice, provide a counterbalance to tricky modern relationship between materials, existing, influence and owning.

Sekine Nobuo, Phase of Nothingness–Black No.1, 1977.  Click here  to visit image source.

Sekine Nobuo, Phase of Nothingness–Black No.1, 1977. Click here to visit image source.

honesty in the mirror eye

Elina Brotherus, I hate sex , 1998, c-print, mntd on aluminum. via  artnet

Elina Brotherus, I hate sex , 1998, c-print, mntd on aluminum. via artnet

The Enlightenment taught us that the environment had been conquered; all places were either known or predictable and reducible; everything understandable and within the grasp of human logic. That has been the message for a very long time. However particularly since the 1990s, individuals and collectives, prompted by the urgency of climate change, are beginning to realise that nature has in fact never and cannot ever be conquered. We’re also coming to understand just how problematic the contemporary global pursuit of human desire fulfilment is both for us and the earth.

As the collective human ego battles with its responsibilities, relevance and position in the world, incompatibilities between for example; need vs. want; love vs. desire vs. lust; feeling vs. perception; and concepts of future vs. present vs. past, within Western-capitalist corporate and social paradigms are becoming increasingly visible. This disharmony between dominant human knowledge/perceptual systems and the realities/limits of things outside us (i.e. nature, geologies, structures and space) is a growing theme in contemporary art practice.

The photographic and video works of Elina Brotherus poignantly captures the struggle of the ego in this discord. In ‘I hate sex’ (1998), Brotherus masterfully renders the tensions between human perception and expectation, natural cause-effect relationships and the influences of feeling on the world outside. This is a quality that I’m trying to capture in my own practice.

urban reality

Concrete is dense, vast and ubiquitous. The material has historically been used in many ways and has such a loaded and varied vocabulary that allows it to be transformed in many ways. I’m currently working with concrete breeze blocks to interrogate through structure, form, light and shadow, the commingling of human and non-human narratives that occurs in our post-natural (the intentional and heritable alteration of nature by humans) contemporary urban reality.

Breeze blocks were an architectural feature commonly used in commercial and residential construction in the 1950s and 60s. Contemporary symbols of suburbia, they are a hallmark of the social and cultural expansion of post-war Victoria. Often used as decorative wall detailing, breeze blocks mark the division of spaces in places such as internal and external boundary walls, as patio screens and carports. As a partially solid construction material, breeze blocks have a unique duality that emphasises solidity and permeability as well as division. This duality makes breeze blocks an ideal material to interrogate the commingling of human and non-human narratives.

This week I also saw the announcement of CONCRETE: art design architecture, an exhibition at JamFactory, Adelaide that looks at the material and conceptual poeticism of the material. I’m very much looking forward to seeing this exhibition. More info at the JamFactory website https://www.jamfactory.com.au/.

Durbach Block Jaggers, Tamarama House, 2015. Photo: Tom Ferguson. Via  Art Guide Australia .

Durbach Block Jaggers, Tamarama House, 2015. Photo: Tom Ferguson. Via Art Guide Australia.

APPROACHING THE POST-NATURAL: PART 2

Ren Gregorčič, One another other (installation detail), 2019.

Ren Gregorčič, One another other (installation detail), 2019.

One another other, my sculptural installation in ‘nature, post-nature’ of composed of a series of 5 solid concrete sculptures each with gold detailing. The gold is highly reflective and so it picks up ambient light, casting warm yellow onto the harsh stone surface. It’s a mesmerising quality that reflects my research into the role of intimacy within the context of the Anthropocene.

As Timothy Morton discusses in ‘Dark Ecology’, climate change is linked to our physical and mental distance from geological and ecological systems that are not. Closeness to physical aspects of nature (i.e. rocks, plants, animals) that are not changed or augmented for the purposes of human use (forests, wild animals, natural fields, cave systems etc.) generates a feeling of place and interconnectedness that promotes awareness and empathy. Distance on the other hand folds nature into simplified versions of complex systems consistent with human logic.

Most people’s relationships to nature, I would argue, sit somewhere between these polar opposites; nobody is ever full removed from human-limited nature. However, our access to these places is becoming increasingly limited and so, in our changed world, there is a need for us to establish empathy with the white plaster walls, grey concrete and cold steel materials that now dominate.

I’ve found that soft light and rippled reflections have an interesting ability to create intrigue that seems to establish this closeness of mind and so I’ve incorporated it into One another other. I’m very excited to continue to test the effects of soft light and rippled reflections in upcoming works.

If you’re in Melbourne, make sure to check to see One another other in ‘nature, post-nature’, my collaborative exhibition with Jessye Wdowin-McGregor, at Rubicon Ari (309 Queensberry St, Melbourne) from 21 March to 5 April.

ambient structures

Helen Pashgian, Untitled, 1968-1969, cast polyester resin.

Helen Pashgian, Untitled, 1968-1969, cast polyester resin.

Helen Pashgian’s dreamy, highly-polished spherical sculptural works exemplify the exactitude and complexity of form common amongst Light and Space artists. Objects of complete fantasy, Pashgian’s sculptures use the qualities of light to obscure and mask the object’s material boundaries in order to reveal murky and internal structures that appear as physical manifestations of ambient and sometimes broken light.

I’ve incorporated many of Pashgian’s principles of ambient light into a work that I’m currently producing for an exhibition presented in collaboration with artist and researcher Jessye Wdowin-McGregor at Rubicon Ari in Melbourne next month (March 2019) titled ‘nature', post-nature’. ‘nature, post nature’ explores the idea of the post -natural landscape, in which plants, animals and natural phenomena reclaim a position within environments where ecological systems have been disrupted by human activity. These can be mundane spaces: in between factories at the edges of cities, under freeways and bordering railways unlikely urban landscapes in which the natural world persists against the odds.

Yet to be titled, the aim of my sculptural installation is to use structure to create devices for observing the post-natural and create situations in which one can experience the post-natural as a phenomenon that contain beauty and softness. The post-natural is not inherently evil or sinister as it is often characterised.

form and proximity

Sculptural and spatial practice for me has always been more expansive than Kraussian quadrants. Simply; sculptural and spatial practice encompasses a wide range of philosophical and artistic interrogations that break down/emphasise/piece together how humans perceive and feel dimension and expressions of form* that can include, painting, drawing, photography etc.

British artist and painter Clare Woods is a great example of an artist working in a medium traditionally considered outside sculpture, but whose practice is formally sculptural. Woods uses paint as a means of expressing the three-dimensional value of form using techniques that emphasise the structure of an image (see below video).

I think it’s important to recognise that historical as well as contemporary sculptural and spatial practice is consistently an expression of form relative to human and human-scale concepts of space and time. As such, form is perceived and experienced at a human level as both a 2D as well as 3D phenomenon relative to distance/proximity. I can’t help but wonder why, at least in Australia, formal distinctions that individuate sculpture from drawing from printmaking from photography etc. continue to persist despite contemporary social shifts in understanding about dimension/space-time concurrently with acknowledgement of the advent of the Anthropocene.

NB. I consider that there is a distinction between the philosophical and artistic interrogation of the dimension and expression of form (sculpture and spatial practical) and the rendering/depiction of form to create the illusion of dimension (broadly printmaking, drawing and painting).

anonymous spectacle

Chair 1966 Formica 151 x 46 x 77 cm via  Saatchi Gallery.

Chair 1966 Formica 151 x 46 x 77 cm via Saatchi Gallery.

Richard Artschwager’s (1923-2013) sculptural practice, characterised by the use of Formica and timber veneer to create sharp-edged box structures, exude character. The materiality and subtle narrative of human gesture that comes with Formica (commonly used in kitchens) lends itself to the Artschwager’s cool and oblique commentary on the links between perception, the tactile and the personal. Colour fields and pattern dominate to produce dreamy, stylised sculptures that neither reject nor elevate their synthetic nature. A balance between what is and what could be, Artschwager punctuates space with anonymous spectacle.

Sitting somewhere between industrial design and sculpture, Chair (Formica, 1966), a swirling Walnut-veneer rectangular form exemplifies what I like most about Artschwager’s spatial philosophy; clean, rectangular shapes defined by organic pattern, harmonising two materials that define different aspects of form.

In 2012 The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles produced a great 1-hour film about Richard Artschwager and his work titled ‘Richard Artschwager: Shut Up and Look’ (Directed by Maryte Kavaliauskas; produced by Maryte Kavaliauskas and Morning Slayter) that gives great insight into Artschwager’s practice. Click here to find out more about this documentary.

the same other side

My grandmother loved The Sound of Music – especially the first five minutes. The opening scene of the movie features a mountainous landscape that was familiar to her, having grown up in the regional town of Celje in Slovenia. She would watch the opening scene and comment on how it reminded her of her youth and hometown, of times before the war and before her migration to Australia in the 1950s.

After my grandmother passed away at the beginning of the turn of the century, I have revisited this scene many times in an attempt see what my grandmother saw on the other side of the mountains, beyond the forest, in the river and up in the sky. As an Australian-Slovenian who has never been to Slovenia, my personal experience of my grandmother’s response to the first 5 minutes of the Sound of Music is a potent symbol of what it is like to have a connection and feel an empathy for a place that you have only experienced through the partially-told stories, actions and emotions of another.

Having no primary experience of Celje myself, my image of this village, Slovenia and my cultural heritage and present is tied to a desire to see what was lies beyond and behind those mountains, forests, river and sky. Trying to augment my view to catch a glimpse of what my grandmother was looking at but succeeding only in being able to slow down and reverse what is being presented to me. This is the basis of a new work I’m currently creating, which will be presented in January 2018. More details to come.

Work in progress.

Work in progress.

On paradise

On November 4th 2018, eligible citizens of New Caledonia cast their vote on whether the nation would remain a part of France or gain independence. The result, 56.4% against and 43.6% in favour of independence, is a reminder of the modern-day experiences of colonisation by First Nations peoples as well as the complexities of colonial spatial identity which often result in changed human-nature relationships.

Referring to the name given to the northeast of the central island by James Cook in the 1770s (apparently Captain Cook considered the land form to be reminiscent of Scotland, or Caledonia in Latin) New Caledonia is a popular tourist destination with a complex history. I recently visited the French territory to see how spatial modernity has influenced human-nature relationships, particularly within the context of sites with a high tourist density. This research has been informed by my recent investigations into the concepts of leisure and luxury. More information to come.

Video still from the ‘Malibu’ film clip by Hole, 1998.

Video still from the ‘Malibu’ film clip by Hole, 1998.

performing the supermodern

On October 2nd I’m excited to be opening ‘400% bonus’ at the Library at the Dock in Melbourne, Australia; a site-specific installation created by me that uses light and colour to emphasise the changed biological processes of the weed Oxalis pes caprae (that have resulted as a consequence of recent human intervention with the plant). The work is heavily informed by supermoderist (otherwise known as hypermoderist) theory.

In 400% bonus, the physical and biological attributes of Oxalis pes caprae are replaced by laser-cut yellow and dichroic acrylic films which generate effects that exaggerate the plant’s qualities (specifically the strong yellow colour of its flowers and dynamic internal structures). These effects are produced in response to the intensity and position of the sun (as well as other light sources) and the relative position of he viewer. The effects created by the acrylic film drive the preformative aspects of the work - individuals experience and perform the saturation of their senses by engaging the installation, which is then observed by spectators.

Biology, human interaction and technology converge to create a work that is not didactic, representative nor bound by material limitations. Instead 400% bonus, like Oxalis pes caprae, seeks to go beyond one hundred per cent; beyond what is considered possible or knowable and where imitation is able to reveal a reality independent of form.

400% is officially being launched between 1-2pm on Saturday October 6th at the Library at the Dock in Melbourne (107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands VIC 3008). All welcome.

Ren Gregorčič, 400% bonus, 2018. Yellow and dichroic acrylic film.

Ren Gregorčič, 400% bonus, 2018. Yellow and dichroic acrylic film.