Single Channel : Stereo
Heat was originally the name given to a collaborative project undertaken by myself, Philip Brophy, and Philip Samartzis. It was a large ‘live’ audio-visual performance using video, live percussion and surround sound diffusion. The work was a real departure from my work up until that point in a number of ways. I have done a few live works with Phil Samartzis before but they, like my installation practice for the last 5+ years, have involved performance, that is, people in the frame performing. This work was devoid of people. We knew we were travelling to Germany to perform this work and we took as our point of the departure the fact that Australians are often thought of in terms of their natural environment. For example, you meet someone in another country, they ask where you are from, you answer Australia and they say ‘oh yeah, kangaroos’ or ‘Ayers Rock’. We would never meet a British person and say ‘oh yeah, hedgehogs’ so we thought we might try to subvert this clichéd impression of Australia. I began to collect imagery of the Australian environment but I took problematic elements; the dead native animals by the side of our rural highways, the spread of feral animals, bushfires, barbed wire, weeds and erosion. Having subverted the notion of Australia’s natural beauty I then reversed, or compounded, the effect by abstracting and aestheticing these elements.
The work included here, now called Heat, was originally the final chapter of the performed work but here has my own soundtrack and a fixed edit. The performance and the subsequent single channel works were a real departure for me and I was intrigued by this development in my practice given the usually psychological nature of my work. It was interesting to me then that a friend, Tom Nicholson, remarked upon seeing the work that it was clearly related to my previous work in that there was a performer in the very active camera style I have used for this work and through the other formal means I use to transform these landscapes into psychological spaces.