Re-act, Re-trace is part of a program of contemporary Australian and international video art presented in five chapters.
Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano, City Score, 2018, High Definition digital video, colour, sound, 6 min 34 sec
The video work City Score traces the steps of the Women’s March through Melbourne’s urban landscape, exploring the act of walking as a consideration of time, place and movement and as a marker of the weight of architecture in relation to the body. The movement is accompanied by a soundscape that Mangano and Mangano suggest ‘embodies a political consciousness, a calling of possibilities that speaks of the singular body, while the vocal soundscape suggests a collective’. The audio also includes the sound of Walking Score being played, propelling the motion of walking throughout key points in the city, revealing the act of marching as a performative protest on a public stage.
Lida Abdul, In Transit, 2008, 16mm film transferred to digital video, 16:9, colour, sound, 4 min 56 sec
Abdul's video work In Transit features school children filling the void of a military airplane with cotton, attaching ropes, and attempting to fly the airplane like a kite. In Abdul's words: "It's really a playful piece, a fantasy piece, with a group of kids who are playing with a very old Russian plane, that was left over years ago. I was really struck by this piece because it looks between a plane and a bird. It's like a skeleton almost….” The harsh reality of the destruction of war is counterpointed by hope in the future represented by the children. "I want to bring out the beauty of the tragic way in which children face violent scenarios and show how they can be flexible in similar conditions with their innocence, by creating an antidote to the tragedy of their condition. Without children playing and running through the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan today would be even more violent than it is.”
Angelica Mesiti, Tossed by Waves, 2017, single-channel High Definition video, 16:9, colour, silent, 6 min 17 sec
Tossed by Waves is marked by silence and languorous travelling movements. The camera captures an ambiguous procession of sculptural bodies, entangled and clamped onto a stone trunk. The monument is never quite revealed, yet clues, such as graffiti bearing the names of loved ones and messages of hope, suggest the present time. This is Mesiti’s meditation on turbulence and resilience from the perspective of her adopted city of Paris, whose motto fluctuat nec mergitur translates as ‘tossed by the waves but does not sink’. In use since the mid-1300s, the phrase has gained a resurgence of popularity with the November Paris attacks in 2015. Over the past two years, Mesiti has engaged with the Place de la République as a place of memory, protest, and perhaps foremost as a contemporary agora - the symbolic heart of a city standing for its democratic values.
Mike Parr, Unaustralian, 2003, single-channel video, Standard Definition, 4:3, black and white, stereo sound, 19 minutes 36 seconds
In UnAustralian, Parr has his lips sewn shut and his face threaded into a contorted grimace by an assistant. This performance acts as a protest against the psychological, political and literal violence perpetrated against asylum seekers by the Howard-era Australian government.
Co-curated by Kelli Alred and Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Presented in partnership with Anna Schwartz Gallery.