Last Man to Die collective’s self-titled hybrid-arts show is an engrossing piece of futuristic fantasy, the performance is cleverly structured so you “get it” as it goes along, and the audience participation is non-threatening and often a lot of fun. The Last Man to Die was Last Man to Die's major work for 2010. This one-hour interactive, cross-artform work was performed throughout Australia and, in particular, was featured in Brisbane Festival 2010's Under the Radar program and The Blue Room's season "Young Enough to Do It Anyway" (Perth).
"Triple X Bitter is one of 7 performance-for-video works produced for Eric Bridgeman’s multi-dimensional project “The Sport and Fair Play of Aussie Rules” completed between 2008 and 2009. This performance-for-video work examines a hyper-real pub scenario involving key player Boi Boi the Labourer, a group of boisterous pub-goers, two black babes and an inflatable pool. With Bridgeman as Boi Boi the Labourer, the artist constructs and oversees the unfolding events, allowing the participants to explore their own perceptions, fears and understandings of rules of behavior that govern our experiences in Australian pub environments."
From Momentum Worldwide vimeo of Triple X Bitter.
Eric Bridgeman, video still, 2010.
Growing out of time spent on the Heron Island Research Station and on South Bruny Island in Tasmania, paintings in Spacious explore the elusive qualities of the sea - its vastness, dynamism and strange peace. They create feelings of openness and fluidity and suggest correlations between the forms and inner actions of the deep sea and far space. Drift crosses several boundaries, ... roving through the territory of story, metaphor and myth (Nada and the Whale) and the realm of abstraction where the formal and aesthetic qualities carry the experiential load directly, in and of themselves (the Sea paintings). The thread that weaves through and unites them all is the sense of endless kinetic interaction between material and immaterial force.
Botany Bay today is a meeting place of many historical, industrial, social and ecological forces, some harmonious, many not. We have tried to evoke this complex mix while suggesting that the power of deep time lies within this, strangely, or at least potentially, unifying conflict.
Totaalvoetal is a Dutch term meaning total football. It came to life in the 1970s and when executed changes a formation into fluid movement that gives the game it’s beautiful principles. This was the first time that within the tactics of football an aesthetic value was ascribed. This show is taking elements of football imagery and imbuing them with artistic value. It’s a transgression that moves the audience from the stadium to the white cube.
Image: James Lieutenant, 4-5-1, 2010.
"Careful Messenger is my current residency and project for the State Library. It was inspired by my grandfather Stirling Blacket’s time as a dispatch rider in Gallipoli, relaying and confirming messages from command on his horse. In the two-channel work a horse gallops in the left panel while in the right panel the horse pants exhausted with closed eyes, turning its head towards the viewer. Here Blacket’s horse appears as a modern day messenger, a search engine working overtime for research. In formally combining these two resonating images, the work suggests that the labour and commitments of research and information delivery, is just as critical to us today as Blacket’s missions and should be approached with the same caution and vigilance."
Image: Tim Plaisted, still from Careful Messenger (right panel), 2008.
Within the immersive installation, The Barbed Maze, Denise Higgins and Gary Smith coerce their audience into journey mode; herded and displaced in their movements through the space. Suspended barbed wire panels and mirrors create chambered areas that play with issues of confinement, interrogation and surveillance. In traversing the maze, dust motes coalesce into anatomies; disassociated voice snippets bounce across air pockets; a ruffle of space hints at being tracked. Which path will you take? Who can you turn to? Is there any chance of refuge?
The Barbed Maze, 2015, mixed media installation; dimensions variable. Photograph by Rob Little RLDI
Liam O’Brien’s standalone video works were never intended to be shown as components of a broad conceptual grouping, however, his CCAS exhibition has provided an opportunity to increase their characteristic angst threefold. The selection of I'm Too Drunk To Tell You (2011), Untitled (Clean Skin) (2012) and Whistling in the Dark (2013) not only covers three years of performance but also focus on three different body parts, head, hands and feet. They represent a body of work that is touched by irrational hand of Absurdism and neo avant-garde conceptual performance of the 1960/70s in which the human body became a medium for artistic enquiry. Sound tracks from each work, while varying in intensity, generate a disquieting soundscape that heightens O’Brien’s all encompassing sense of existential malaise.
Liam O'Brien I'm Too Drunk To Tell You (2011) video still, HD single channel video, 10 minutes, edition 14.
Whistling in the Dark (2013) commissioned for Performutations, an Artbank video series curated by Dr Daniel Mudie; photography by Brenton McGeachie Cunningham
"The means are quite minimal, but the intention is far from minimalist, for the subject is the night sky seen away from towns and cities where ambient light dims the stars. But these paintings are not astronomers observational maps of the heavens nor astrological charts with fixed galaxies and stars arranged into the signs of the zodiac and wandering planets connecting the destinies of individuals to the celestial order. These works are the response of the artist to the spectacular show of the Australian night sky experienced on trips across the centre of the continent. This is what it feels like to lie on the ground and look up and out."
From catalogue essay by Graham Eadie.
Image: Frank Thirion, installation view, 2008.
Image: Cole Bennets, installation detail, 2008.