I have been working on the environment for years in different campaigns: for oceans and whales (link to Te Haa Kui), mangroves (link to first Relational Trace), botanical archives (link to Kew Drift), colonial histories (link to book on Indigenous knowledge and taxonomy) and mining in the project below.
Ore Black Ore
Ore Black Ore is an installation including a repurposed granite tombstone on which cyanobacteria are grown following the researchers who appear in a video studying the living paintings of the Gwion Gwion. Mixed with cyanobacteria, these paintings are in fact living organisms that etch themselves into the stone. This was the premise for a large exhibition at Extra City Kunsthal Antwerp and Project Space Dublin. It was followed by the film project Snail Eating Theatre for the Irish Cinemathek, which is further described in the Rise and Fall project.
Living in symbiosis to paint the Bradshaw caves, cyanobacteria are the spark inside steel, the Iron Ore that fuels the Australian mining industry. The economics of this geology simultaneously drives a disregard and destruction of the country and its rock art.
The Ore Black Ore project is based on interviews with scientific expert on cyanobacteria and black fungi, Anna Gorbushina. The camera is poised between a microscopic life and an art history of ekphrasis – of images told, recorded as text -, while the installation hovers between screen and what the screen screens off. The work tells a story of cyanobacteria as an Ur-colonization of the Australian country.
Continuing experiments with photography through microscopes include images such as this above of the paint on the cover of the book.
The Sign Painters
The Sign Painters was a series of paintings made at the very moment before digital printing became cheaper than hand painting advertisements for films in India. Fascinated by the peculiar mix of influences in the visual language and material of acrylic on tin that often also formed parts of the city’s architecture, these paintings were made in Bombay, Chennai, Calcutta and Kerala. Working in collaboration with particular Asari families to create this series of mobile posters on tin board for an exhibition at Platform Gallery in Melbourne (in collaboration with Clemens Fuertler).
Platform Gallery, Melbourne, 2003
t-urn to disurn
Khadija means the prayer for the dead in Hebrew and much of the work I do acts as that of the living giving voice to the dead. In T-urn (architect Alex Schweder and I) sought out ritualistic gestures instead of funerary objects and architectures. Ash was turned to colour
This installation was commissioned (of LOOK, the exhibition design company directed together with Alex Schweder in 2008) by Lundgren Monuments and t-urns to the significant last act performed by those commemorating a departed one.
This means engaging in a process of disurning between funerary ceremonies and monuments of the classic ornamental vase type. Focusing on the act of burying ashes in the water or earth our design leaves a trace both on the substance they dissolve into and on the gloves that we make especially for those wishing to take part. These traces of the ashes that are cast into colored spheres then remain as a memorial to the departed.