Catalogue complements the room sheet, in order of artwork placement in gallery
Explore opening night and the artworks installed in the gallery.
Tree Veneration Installation
Louise Fowler-Smith with Elizabeth Gervay, Miho Watanabe, Jane Green, Rachel Vosila, Nicola Wilson, Samara Shehata, Jade Gunn and Amanda Farquharson, Gail Jackson and Kathy Devine
From The Re-enchantment of the Tree photographic series, which portrays veneration of trees with light. Louis Fowler-Smith was drawn to this subject not only for the magnitude of its environmental significance, but its universal and pan-religious symbolic importance. Fowler-Smith’s investigation and resultant work has spanned two continents, Australia and India. After travelling across the majority of India over the past 6 years, she is now compiling a book that illustrates and explains the practice of decorating the tree as an act of veneration or worship. This act is not only enchanting, it can also protect trees from loggers.
Urban Swarming online video and video stills (2013)
QR code and online hosted video; beeswax, electronics and mixed media; object credits Andrew Burrell and Madeleine Boyd; cinematography credit Dr Nikolai Leibsch, Queensland Brain Institute.
The video, A Space to Cross, which is accessed as part of this artwork has been created using documentary footage of aggressive honey-bee responses. Contrary to the honey-bees’ usual regulated and purposeful community behaviours, in this video the honey-bees exhibit frenetic, hectic desperation. Urban Swarming aims to consider both the endangered status of the European honey-bee and behavioural parallels between the honey-bee responses and that of city dwellers, as they scurry through the contemporary urban jungle.
Untitled (from the ‘Animal Factories’ series), 2011 – 2013.
Large format giclee prints.
The Animal Factories series pursues an ongoing interest in the role of art in communicating issues surrounding the ethics of human-animal relationships in regards to ‘farm’ animals. It is Watt’s hope that upon viewing the images of these “Animal Factories”, you as a viewer, will think about the source of the eggs, chicken or pig meat you might choose to eat. Perhaps next time you drive past one of these industrial farms you might stop and think about what, or rather, who, might be housed inside, and what conditions these sentient creatures might be enduring in the name of cheap meat or eggs.
Maria Fernanda Cardoso
Installation of video work ‘Stick Insects’ Most Intimate Moments’ and small sculptures on loan from the Museum of Copulatory Organs, MoCO (2008-2011); video credit Ross Rudesch Harley; One Channel HD Digital Video, colour, 37 min.
MoCO’s collection consists of dozens of anatomically accurate models of what is dubbed by scientists as ‘genitalic extravagance’ among invertebrates. MoCO is part an ongoing research project by Maria Fernanda Cardoso. The video work is based on patient documentation and observations of the long and fascinating copulation process of a pair of Australian Goliath stick insects. Witness the most intimate moments between male and female stick insects. Recorded over a two day period at the artists’ home-studio, the video documents the most intimate and domestic intercourse between human and insect worlds. Maria Fernanda Cardoso’s sculptural genetalia works explore the two main schools of thought concerning insect evolutionary theory, sexual conflict and cryptic female choice. The sculptural work shown is an example of the latter, from the fruit fly, the male of which has the longest sperm (relatively) on the planet, to adapt to the ‘cryptic’ female anatomy.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee (2013)
Lego, beeswax, sonic electronics and mixed media; 600mm x 400mm x 500mm. Bombard, a word derived from ‘bee’ brought Nigel Helyer to think about instances of biological factors in war and power. Musing on this complex topic was enacted as he collaborated with several hives of European honey-bees to produce bio-architectures in wax; finding hence an innate morphological resonance between lego and the building block structures created by bees. This work provokes contemplation on acts of both deliberate and unexpected inter-species intra-actions as manifest in idea and material.
Elaine Gan & Anna Tsing
Fungal Time In The Satoyama Forest(2013)
Color inkjet print, two-channel video; duration 5 mins.
How might we animate intra-action as a series of temporal patternings and multispecies attunements? This piece is a small fragment of an ongoing collaboration between an anthropologist, an artist, matsutake mushrooms, and their pine forest hosts. The collaboration tinkers with a fungal clock, a playful figuration of species co-ordinations that unfold different senses of time and history, space and place. It is both hyper-empirical and hyper-speculative. Satoyama is the idealized peasant landscape of central Japan. The term refers to a living assemblage of forests, gardens, rice fields, water channels, and village paths. We consider the forest as a manifold of times, a patch that emerges from durational encounters with fungi. We invite viewers to notice the historically indeterminate patterns of growing mycelia, as these emerge in coordination with the actions of other species, including humans.
Digital print & mixed media; plastic flask containing Chytrid culture.
Chytrids are zoosporic fungi. They are important saprophytes (organisms that derive nourishment from decaying matter) and parasites in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. I have used my own microscopy images of Chytrids in this artwork. They were created for the scientific research objectives Dr Osu Lilje, University of Sydney.
Prince and Maddi Win/Shame-Faced (2013)
Archival print on cotton paper; 220mm x 350mm; photo credit Kylie Boyd
Through 2012 and into 2013, Madeleine Boyd conducted a series of gentle experiential exercises with co-researchers Picasso the golden Arabian horse and Prince the mini horse. She has been living with questions centred on what it is like to engage another sentient being after dissembling expectations. Travelling to their first horse show in Berry, NSW, in February 2013, Madeleine and Prince encountered the traditional horse world. Prince, as always, injected humour into the proceedings with his natural exuberance, still coming out victorious, ribboned as Grand Reserve Champion Mini Stallion. Madeleine on the other hand felt conflicted about their participation, both enjoying the spectacle, and ashamed to have subjected Prince to this anthropocentric amusement and judgement process.
Thneeds Reseed (2011)
Felted reclaimed wool and mixed media; 10cm to 20cm diameter each Thneed.
The Thneeds Re-Seed is a sculptural remediation strategy in collaboration with Bryum Argenteum (Silvery Bryum) moss. As the “first responder” in healing deforested areas, mosses establish basic support systems for the diverse successional species necessary in the restoration of devastated woodlands.
The original Thneeds were a passive, commodified character in Dr Seuss’s controversial children’s book, the Lorax. Now they are re-imagined in a layered, ironic cycle. Recycled wool sweaters are felted into colorful hollow balls, four inches to nine inches in diameter; a perfect substrate for moss, a safe little nesting habitat for critters, munchable protein for insects. These sculptures will decompose completely with time. Of course, the wool probably came from farmed sheep, which were grazed on land which was purposefully deforested for pasture and timber. Ethical questions arise: humans require these creatures to help us restore the environments we have ruined for them. Can we consider them willing collaborators?
American Wilderness Wax Museum (2013)
Live performance and Digital Posters 43.18 cm x 27.94cm. (17″ x 11″ )
The American Wilderness Wax Museum is a fictive museum of the future that specialises in extinctions from the 20th and 21st centuries. “Experience the Lost Wilderness” is our motto, as we represent the legendary habitats and study the cultural questions of the Middle Anthropocene, circa 2012. The AWWM has sent Deanna Pindell to the AASG2013 conference as an ambassador from the future. She will lead an interactive dialogue titled the Post-Humanist Conversation. With a menu of provocative questions, she will engage participants in empathetic examination of complex topics that have no correct answers.
A game of horseshoes for the ineffectual martyr (2013)
Regulation size Horse-shoe pit, horse-shoes used by race horses, mixed media
This work in progress asks the viewer to question the ethics of horseracing as gambling entertainment. Like a race horse, the player’s life depends on their ability to win the game. Miss the post: you’re too slow : off to the doggers (knackery) for you. Photographic images contrast the sadness of ex-racehorses awaiting slaughter in the sale yards with the pomp and fanfare of race day.
Gut Sounds Lullaby Video Artwork & R.A.W. Ass Milk Soap Installation (Ass milk soap and various elemental ingredients); Performance documentation image, from ‘Gut Sounds Lullaby’ live performance at SOMArts,San Francisco (Digital print on archival paper).
Karin’s current installation work Gut Sounds Lullaby investigates interspecies matters of the gut. Donkey and foetus entwined in a lullaby of intestinal expression. The live performance at SOMArts (Saturday, November 17th, 2012) featured experimental musician Melanie Moser and the presence of Fireball, a miniature golden-palomino party pony. Melanie Moser performed live improvisation based on the Gut Sounds Lullaby score, a remixed version of a gnarly old lullaby known as “All the Pretty Little Horses” mixed with live and recorded gut sounds. Bolender’s R.A.W. Ass and Human Milk Soap will also be exhibited along with a Gut Sounds Lullaby video work.
New World Order (2013)
Video Artwork; duration 15 mins 17 seconds; video credit: Barbara Dowse.
The video, New World Order, presents a microcosm of idealized unaffected nature, a hopeful, post-apocalyptic environment, set in a strange petrified forest – outside of external influence with a pervading sense of autonomy, peace and tranquillity; evoking nostalgia for undisturbed nature. Stylistically the hyper-real video is part documentary format, part artifice. Birdlife, rare and exotic live chickens and colorful canaries, are choreographed within a fabulous diorama; an elaborate set created by the artist in his studio. The strutting, perching, scratching, flapping, and feeding of these outlandish and domesticated feathered creatures is intercut with close-ups and panoramas of this fictive and idealised natural space.
in vitero node (Physarum polycephalum) 1 (2011)
Digital Print; 594 mm x 420 mm
Physarum polycephalum (slime mold) is an organism used in scientific research, and is commonly found in piles of leaf litter and human composts. It challenges taxonomic classification, having characteristics of both animal and plant. in vitero node (Physarum polycephalum) displays the fascinating and usually hidden growth characteristics of this multi-nucleic macroscopic single celled organism by encouraging growth within a customized glass scientific vessel. P. polycephalum forms a fan-like network of tendrils in its quest for food. Each tendril moves almost visibly by cytoplasmic streaming a pulsing movement of the liquid inside the cell walls. This organism is simultaneously beautiful and repulsive. in vitero node offers a unique opportunity for us to observe and care for a highly unusual animal/plant that is rarely seen. The living organism will grow and change over the duration of the exhibition evoking and challenging museum exhibits, the still-life and our conception of species classification. in vitero node is part of a larger project developed at SymbioticA, UWA and Perth Institute of Contemporary Art.
Mr Fox (2012)
Digital print on ‘wallpaper’; 914 mm x 122 cm (3’ x 4’).
Living in a rural area allows one to witness the seasonal road kills. This up close and personal image of a slain fox almost seems comically “alive” in its expression. The title conjures up Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox movie with voice by George Clooney. As an import to Australia, the fox has been labelled ‘a pest’ with no recourse. Perhaps in the ‘death stare’ of this individual, we reclaim the fox’s gaze; confronting us with the implications of the death sentence humans have passed upon our colonial cousins.
Beatriz da Costa
Dying for the Other (2012)
Video Work; duration 12 mins
Dying for the Other is a video triptych, documenting the lives of mice used in breast cancer research and humans suffering from the same disease. In order to produce this video, da Costa documented scenes of her own life during the summer of 2011 and combined them with footage taken at a breast cancer research facility in New York City over the same time frame.
Vanishings from the Umwelt (2010-12) & Works from Vanishing series (2009)
Video work; duration 6min; video credit Gary Warner; duraclear on acrylic, oil glaze, mirror.
An installation of moving and still images into which the viewer is immersed. The images are derived from video stills of the breathing bodies of snow leopards. Video footage was captured during Laurence’s artist residencies in wildlife sanctuaries and zoos keeping rare species. This work continues her interest in bringing into art the fragility and threat by man to our natural environment and those who inhabit it.
The Transposon (2013)
Hybrid mixed media, including GMO material; Variable dimensions. Acknowledgements: University of Newcastle, Dr Ian Grainge, Stephanie Boer.
This hybrid tableau addresses Karen Barad’s idea of intra-action as material-discursive phenomena at a molecular liminal level. Using a literal genetic interface involving a permeable, transposable molecular bio-code as an intra-action agency, this work instantiates the idea of a transposon as a human / bacteria bio-creative matrix. This new media bioart entails relocating that material within the corporeal genomic matrix of E.coli as a paint media vehicle and associated genetic manipulations as new bioart transactions, i.e. bioart as painting.
Archival box containing a journal, photographs, and audio recordings.
Blackbox is a collaborative long-distance conversation amongst Karen
Barad, Eben Kirksey, Karin Bolender, and Craig Campbell. Blackbox takes the Multispecies Intra-actions roundtable held at the AudibleObservatories exhibition in SOMArts (San Francisco) as a starting point for an extended conversation. The conversation is structured around the old-timey constraint of postal system. Participants take turns adding to and modifying an archival box containing a journal, photographs, and audio recording before sending it off to the next participant.
Free Range (2012)
Hybrid sculpture, mixed media, sound and video; 3m x 1m x 2m floor standing.
Free Range is a satirical play on the passive-aggressive nature of the machine and its use within the automated food industry. The work responds to our empathy with the machine world and questions why this has led to a diminished sense of responsibility in relation to our compassion with the living things on which we survive.
In Free Range, mechanisation has further distanced us from the dirty work. The passive machine has replaced the aggressive automated harvesting machine, absolving us of blood stained hands. The factory farm still looms in the background, waiting only to repair and rebuild as the happy go lucky farm robots go about their daily business. All is well in this mechanised utopia.
TE+ND Rover prototype (2013)
3-D printed corn plastic components, living plants and mixed media; 500mm x 300mm x 300mm.
TE+ND (Terrestrial Exploration + Nurture Designed) Rovers are an interactive art project that explore migratory ecology in an era of climate change. The rovers are robotic fostering environments that care for their own garden of native plants by interacting with participants and actively seeking out light and water. The design team consists of artist Marnia Johnston, project creator and materials specialist and Corey McGuire, hardware consultant and Linux development.
Night Pillar (2009)Large Format Digital Print; taken with manual Mamiya M645 J camera using 120 Film and printed with archival ultrachrome pigment on BFK Rives 100% cotton rag artist’s quality paper; 1150mm x 910mm framed.
In Memory of the Flying Fox (2013)
The work is a photograph shot with a manual Mamiya large format camera using 120 Film and printed with archival ultra chrome pigment on BFK Rives 100% cotton rag artist’s quality paper.