SALA 2022: The Life We Live…

SALA is Australia’s largest and most inclusive visual arts festival, which takes place in galleries and non-traditional arts spaces across South Australia annually, during the entire month of August. Each year, around 8,000 emerging, mid-career and established South Australian artists exhibit in more 500 venues across the state, from sheds, cafés, offices and retail spaces to wineries, schools, public spaces, galleries, major arts institutions and on-line events.

For SALA 2022, I have compiled a collection of my recent videos that explore the unreliable interactions between visual perception and language. In a world of artificial intelligence, what is real? In a multi-lingual society, whose voices do we hear? When language begins to fragment, where do we find meaningful narrative?

I also have an on-line artist talk in which I explain some of the techniques involved in making one of my most successful collaborations, The Life We Live Is Not Life Itself. You will also find links to recent articles I have written about my creative process, the role of translation in video poetry, and how narrative works in short form video.

Click here to visit the on-line exhibition.

Click here to see my on-line artist talk.

An Introduction to the Theory of Eclipses

eclipse (n. countable and uncountable)

1. An alignment of astronomical objects whereby one object comes between the observer and another object.
2. A seasonal state of plumage in some birds adopted temporarily after the breeding season.
3. Obscurity, decline, downfall.

An Introduction to the Theory of Eclipses has its premiere screening and won the Staff Favorite Film Award at Another Whole in the Head – Warped Dimension FilmFest 2022, run on-line out of San Francisco, 14-15 May, 2022. It was developed from some animated sequences I made for our 2022 Adelaide Fringe show UGLY – A NOT Fairytale, in which one of the characters was Eclipse, played by Michael Jaxon Carson. The original concept was inspired by Inori-Prayer-, a short video made by WOW Inc to promote their projection mapping system.

The animations here were very complex to make. The faces are made by an artificial intelligence system (Generated Media, Inc) that was trained on a huge library of images of real faces. This is the same system I used for a previous video: The Life We Live Is Not Itself. However, I composited real eyes (mine!) onto some of them. The … Click here for more.

The Port Trilogy

Over the last few years, I’ve enjoyed spending time around the Port Adelaide area of South Australia. The Port is steeped in histories: First Nations, Colonial, Modern. To varying degrees, it lays bare the evidence of contests within and between these multi-faceted stories. As a sea-port with changing priorities, its environment is constantly under threat from natural and anthropogenic sources.

I’ve used footage taken around Port Adelaide in two of my most successful videos, floodtide and after-image. In each case, the raw images have been composited with multiple sources and animated to create visual worlds that hover in an uncertain space between the real and the imaginary.

Since 2018, I’ve been privileged to be part of a group of artists largely based in Port Adelaide and have contributed to their group exhibitions at Hart’s Mill, Port Adelaide, curated by Tony Kearney: BRIDGE (2018), VESSEL (2020) and HOLD (2022). I’ve now extended and reworked some of that material, along with some new work to create a trilogy of short videos recorded around Port Adelaide exploring the interactions between image and text, between histories real and imagined.


withHOLD

“toe hold… strangle hold… host fast… hold on for the ride of your Click here for more.

REELpoetry Festival 2022

distURBANce promo

REELpoetry Festival 2022 is fabulous program of live and streamed poetry videos, run by Public Poetry out of Houston, Texas, 25-27 February, 2022.

As well as having two videos as official selections in competition program (these days and colony collapse), I have curated a program of videos, distURBANce. In contrast to the reflective nature of many poetry videos, there are no idyllic pastorals here. Instead we have a program of urban stories, distorted by the power of advertising, social media, celebrity, with more than a hint of corruption, crime and miscellaneous bad behaviour, featuring work by Rich Ferguson and Mark Wilkinson (Human Condition); Christine Hooper and Victoria Manifold (On Loop); Mark Niehus (We Are The Device); Sarah Tremlett and Heidi Seaborn (Selfie With Marilyn); RW Perkins (Profile); Kyla and David Kennedy (Red Watch); and me (42nds, Heist and Bayside Reporter).

The Life We Live Is Not Life Itself wins Festival Fotogenia 3!

Much to my delight, the video I made with Tasos Sagris and Whodoes, The Life We Live Is Not Life Itself won the Avant-Garde prize for the top film in Fotogenia 3 international festival of video poetry and divergent narratives, held in Mexico City 24-27 over November 2021. The whole festival was a magnificent feast of diverse forms and voices. The finalist list included some of the best videos I’ve ever seen. So to come out on top is incredibly humbling. Massive thanks to Tasos Sagris and Whodoes for entrusting me with their fantastic words and music and the Institute for Experimental Arts in Athens for supporting the project.

The video was a major technical challenge that developed out of the collaborative nature of the work. Capturing the feeling of Tasos’ poem and the mood of Whodoes’ music required careful scripting. Nearly all of the footage was taken specifically for this project. An important part of the video includes a series of animated faces that were derived from a library of source images generated by artificial intelligence. Nearly every scene is composited from multiple sources – with a few exceptions, none of the scenes exists at they look … Click here for more.

Videos screen in three Portuguese festivals!

November is a big month for my videos, with screenings all around the world (!!) As part of the mix, I have work showing in three different curated video art festivals in Portugal.

Image Play III – International Video Art Festival curated by Hernando Urrutia runs on-line from Madeira on 4/5th November 2021. It includes epithelium, made with Catherine Truman and Angela Chappell, and SPSS, one of my earlier animated, computer voiced pieces. The first session can be viewed on Youtube here and the second session here.

Transborda III – QTV International Video Art Installation, curated by Alberto Guerriero as part of the 7th Festival of Literature and Cinema in Alcobara, running from 1-21 November. I have two videos here, ISOLATION PROCEDURES and future perfect. The installation here is really beautiful, with multiple screens allowing the viewer to move between different parts fo the program: click here to see an overview of it.

Fonland International Festival of Video Art and Performance, runs in Coimbra from 5-27 November, and screens The Life We Live Is Not Life Itself made with Tasos Sagris and Whodoes.

The Life We Live… and after-image at Tranås At The Fringe International Arts Festival

Two of my videos The Life We Live Is Not Life Itself, made in collaboration with Tasos Sagris and Whodoes, and after-image are official selections at the 2021 Tranås At The Fringe International Arts Festival running 16-24 November 2021 in Sweden. I was interviewed film festival curator, Laura Bianco, about these videos, how I made them and theoretical or scientific underpinnings. Both videos explore the notion of uncertain narrators, with shifting voices, perspectives, and time lines in environments that are disturbingly a little off-kilter and disorienting. Indeed, as I explain in the interview, nearly every scene in each of the videos has been composted from multiple elements: almost nothing is as it seems in real life.

TRANSBORDA III – Q-TV: the response of video art to the quarantine times

TRANSBORDA III Q-TV: the response of video art to the quarantine times is part of the Festival of Books and Movies – Alcobaça in Portugal, 1-21 November, 2021. Curated by Alberto Guerreiro, the event features a diverse international line-up of video artists. Amongst so many good friends and colleagues, I’m delighted that two of my videos are on the program: ISOLATION PROCEDURES and future perfect. I also have a component in the international collaborative project, Chant for a Pandemic by Dee Hood.

ISOLATION PROCEDURES was recorded during the 2020, mostly on location at Sleep’s Hill, Blackwood, and Belair, South Australia, where I live, under partial lockdown conditions. The audio samples are made from birds, frogs and voices in the immediate neighbourhood. The text samples advice from various government, business and community organisations. “WE ARE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE… MAINTAIN YOUR SOCIAL ISOLATION…” After the pandemic has passed, the lockdowns persist: this is the new normal…

In future perfect, we see and hear words stripped of their ornamentation, pared back to monosyllabic cores… Are these the roots of language? Or are they the skeletal remains of a lost form of communication? Who is trying to speak here? What exactly … Click here for more.

The Extreme Politics of Adaptive Endosymbiosis

This is the Post-Anthropocene. This is a dystrophic climate of floodtides and wildfires. This is a coercive politics of surveillance and self-mutable technology. This is a degenerate ecosystem of engineered life forms, synthetic symbionts, neo-genetic humans dependent on novel microbial metabolisms. We adapt to extreme heat, extreme wind, extreme salt. We harvest oxygen. We feed on iron and sulphur. We are bound by physics and chemistry. We must follow the rules…

Endosymbiosis is the evolutionary phenomenon whereby one organism lives within another for the mutual benefit of both. Our mitochondria that provide us with our all energy need via the oxidative metabolism of sugars are derived from endosymbiont bacteria. Chloroplasts that convert sunlight to energy in plants are also derived from bacterial endosymbionts. At some stage in the future we may be engineered to host bacterial symbionts that can metabolise iron or sulphur or nitrogen to supplement our dwindling energy sources.

The Extreme Politics of Adaptive Endosymbiosis presents a combination of high-definition 10K video, industrial audio, and live vocal performance developed specifically for the giant LED screens of The Lab, Adelaide, South Australia. Source material includes my videos depicting dystopian cities, damaged habitats, and readapted life forms; massively re-processed audio … Click here for more.