Using absurd comedy and overactive censorship to address social awkwardness around matters of death and mortality, Will and Testament presents the artist attempting to produce a video will without ever directly discussing death. The mosaic censor block becomes a digital foe, arresting the flow of the content as I loop over and over, trying to find a sufficiently euphemistic way of discussing my own demise. Will and Testament reveals our public squeamishness around frank conversations by extrapolating polite language to its ridiculous limits. In doing so, it seeks to encourage open conversations about death and about the impacts of the ways in which our bodies are treated after we die.
In Living Colour
Carpet, velvet curtains, floating shelves, television screen, 2 min video, 6 Viewmaster reels and devices. Dimensions variable. GI Jane/Space Oddity (edition of 2 + AP) Mulan/Gallipoli (edition of 2 + AP) Joan of Arc/Che Guevara (edition of 2 + AP)
Death in pop culture is dramatic, heroic, and most of all, purposeful. The heroes die for a cause, and they look good doing it.
In Living Colour, saw the creation of Viewmaster reels telling ridiculous, melodramatic seven-frame narratives of my own death through mashed up pop culture, critiquing the heroic representation of death in media. In Living Colour plays with the difficulty of imagining your own death in a society where dying is either invisible or spectacular.
You know the scenes. You’ve seen them a thousand times.
In Mulan/Gallipoli, it’s the crossdressing woman soldier who falls in love in secret, the bullet while running into battle. In Joan of Arc/Che Guevara, it’s the rousing speeches, the fire licking the stake. In GI Jane/Space Oddity, it’s the gruelling training, the slow float through the void.
In a surreal cinema, a screen plays an endless empty tape reel. Take a seat, choose a story. No matter how many times you practice dying, it never seems to get any easier to imagine.
Additional modelling and assistance by: Ry Wilkin, Klari Agar, Roderick Cairns and Mike Greaney.
Binaural audio work. 14’42.
Created as part of ‘Tropical Lab ‘13’ at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore.
Anchored in the real space of the Lasalle campus, Surface Creep is a walking tour that works between worlds. It uses the bleed between narration and diagetic and recorded sound to disrupt the spaces between truth and fiction, present and future.
Set partly in a future where Singapore has reclaimed so much land from the ocean that the world has become a giant dust bowl, the work uses fictive inquiry to bring ecological disaster into the present.
Additional vocal performances by: Brooke Stamp, Rory Beard, Vinhay Keo, Rowan McNaught, Jessie Closson, Khyati Mehta, Vladimir Lalic, Seiya Higuchi, Gary Marshall-Stevens, Pauline Shaw and Shuo Yin.
Sound, inkjet print on Ilford Ilfotex. 5’15.
Bypass describes a moment of guilty decision-making, fractured and obsessively replayed. Hinging around an accident that the artist witnessed and did not intervene in while in Bali, it questions moral obligations around observing and turning away from disaster. The work uses binaural audio and narrative dissonance to create an immersive, alarming interrogation of the role of the bystander, and asks the listener to cast their own judgement on the actions of the artist. Bypass tracks the collision of narratives of holiday bliss and sudden disaster, uncertainty around cultural expectations, fear of the abject body, plain old shock and the number of steps it takes to make a decision. Exploring participation both as an action and an obligation, Bypass extrapolates guilt and implicates the listener in the decision to intervene.
ADO (PILLAR OF SALT)
Single channel video, 15’00.
Displayed at extreme large scale, ‘Ado (Pillar of Salt)’ is an unflinching work of observation. It shows a couple fleeing from an unseen disaster. The woman turns, becoming a witness who fails to look away. Reactions of horror and disbelief transition to a determined gaze that continues to watch as the fire illuminating the scene fades to black.
Presented in extreme slow motion, without sound or context, the work investigates ideas around affect and Iser’s constitutive blank, asking what we choose to witness, and what it means to observe what are told to ignore.
Additional performance and assistance by Mike Greaney. Pyrotechnics by Danny Delahunty.
Prismacolor pencil on paper. 2.5 x 3.5 m.
Testing language to its limits, Bolt Upright describes ten seconds of existential terror through a series of tangential, fragmentary sentences where words sag under their own weight. Using Blanchot’s framework of the disaster as unknowable and inarticulate, the work is an exercise in failure to grasp or articulate fear of death.
The work describes a moment of waking in the night, full of inarticulate horror around mortality, and extrapolates relationships between chaotic content to create a storm of fear on a vast scale.
Drawing on W.J.T. Mitchell and Roland Barthes’ writings around description as a way of disrupting narrative and sense-making, Bolt Upright creates a wall of content that draws the reader forward and backward, moving between the granular detail of words at close range, to a shifting abstraction at a distance.
Sound walk with installation elements. 10’30.
Commissioned for ‘Artland 2018’ by the RMIT Curatorial Collective. Presented at RMIT Brunswick from October 2 - 27, 2018.
Seep is a 10 minute audio walk set partly in a future in which Melbourne has been flooded as a result of climate change. By situating the listener in a space and laying a psychic landscape over the real one, it seeks to create a sense of temporal slippage where this future feels like a real possibility. Additional installation elements help to collapse the membrane between fact and fiction. The use of binaural audio in the recording grounds the work in the installation space, and to emphasizes the sense of uneasy presence of heard but unseen figures in the work
Sound mentoring by Kieran Ruffles.
Additional vocal performances by: Jordan Prosser, Cassandra Fumi, Becca Tilley and Andrea Meacham.
Thirteen A3 sheets of paper, UV ink, UV torch.
Apparition draws on the history of spirit photography and the human need to find meaning in the supernatural.
Thirteen seemingly blank pages contain a description of a real ghost experience, revealed only when seen with a UV light. Each moment of visitation and fear melts away as soon as the torch light moves, creating a frustrating, vanishing, ephemeral encounter for the viewer, who is implicated in the act of uncovering meaning and left to consider their own experience of the uncanny.
Two framed photographic inkjet prints. Each frame 106 cm x 106 cm.
Finding ways to convey the presence of the void and knowledge of death, Colossal uses two titans of art history to physicalise human consciousness of mortality.
Malevich uses the format of the black square as a framing device for a tiny self-portrait, while Mapplethorpe recreates Robert Mapplethorpe’s Self Portrait, 1975 (an image that Roland Barthes considers to contain the quintessence of eroticism and life) with an inset section of darkness.
The works speak to each other across the gallery space, trading heaviness and lightness, as a contemporary memento mori.
‘END FM’ prints a commercial radio text-line transcript. The hosts ask the listeners what they would keep if the world ended. The responses are typical. And then the world ends.
Engaging with current dialogues about the apocalypse and the role of speculative fiction, ‘END FM’ presents a relentless, unstoppable archive of disaster, which repeats over and over, producing reams of paper that spill across the gallery floor.
Coding by Jesper Sidhu.
Digital video work, 10’34.
‘Death Drive’ is a video work using tragicomedy to create a space for honest conversations about death. The artist invites individuals into a coffin nestled in the back of a people mover at night, an unlikely hearse for necessary conversations.
Four receipt rolls, handwritten text. Approx 1000 x 80 cm.
‘Predictive Text’ collects every text message exchanged with a deceased friend, rearranged and rewritten in an attempt to uncover a reason behind his death. The work comprises a forensics of loss, an obsession over an archive to find meaning.
It approaches death through a process of dismantling – through the datification of life, the restructuring of the archive, and the reordering of information through repetition and handwritten labour.
Angry Reacts Only
Six A3 inkjet prints.
Pasted up in a Melbourne underpass, ‘Angry Reacts Only’ is an embodiment of virtual trauma, investigating the way that rage in online spaces impacts the body in the real world. The body becomes a site of psychic impact, where language and judgment inform the narratives that are tied to our physical selves.
‘Dash after being catcalled’, CCP Salon 2016 Best Portrait winner. ‘Strikethrough’ – National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 finalist. ’Faustina on the Porch’ - Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women 2017 finalist. ‘Stack’ – Maggie Diaz Photography Prize for Women 2015 finalist. ‘Mountjoy’ – Moran Contemporary Photography Prize 2015 semi-finalist.