Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ON NOW- Playheads- Alliance Fracaise Gallery

Santina Amato, Ross Coulter, Amelia Johannes, Kiera Brew Kurec, Ben Millar
Alliance Francaise gallery
08 May -04 June 2008


“Playheads” is a group exhibition of artist’s producing video art selected from the 2007 VCA graduate exhibition. Their treatment of video as a medium varies greatly between them and “the artists have each developed a distinctive language, and the coexistance of their work in the same space is an experience in itself” (Patrice Pauc 2008).

The video work can act as a recording device, evidence of objects in space and time. Ben Millar’s work examines this but extends on this concept further by employing more objects into the ‘real space’ in which the video is being shown, thus creating more folds and dialogues between both the real objects in real space and those captured within the recording.

Amelia Johannes puts the focus on a number of different forms of video utilising the projection of stills and running film with both the superior, digital, video projectors and their out-dated, predecessors, the humble slide projectors. She incorporates objects into the work but unlike Ben Millar’s almost field-study type arrangement of objects, Amelia uses more emotive objects: old, wooden drawers, overturned cupboards and broken, obsolete TV set’s.

The drama of the common television set is Ross Coulter’s medium for his own self-stared video work. We follow Coulter from scene to scene in which he is always on the phone, informing the unknown caller of his current (and soon to change) location. Through the power of editing the journey we only see him at a destination, forever being chased by the caller, never meeting.

Live drama played out s performance to accompany video saw Kiera Brew-Kurec wearing white fabric dress continually washing and hanging indescript laundry in a viscous pepetual cycle of the mundane chore outside the window of the gallery space. Her work erring in-between a space of being of either a suggestive nature or a little disturbing. In one of the two, she washes herself from a bowl with soap, performing directly in front of the camera, before attempting to eat the soap with water whilst singing in an operatic style. The result, her gargled singing and inevitable spewing forth a thick soapy mess seems to bare an uncomfortable connection to the torturous nature of niche, oral-sex pornography.

Santina Amato’s, work draws the view into the drama that can be produced with video and the employment of the space. To view Amato’s work the view must engage with it by viewing through a keyhole, forcing the audience to physically enact a popular action of curiosity repeated throughout film history. With this kind of limited view space, the audience has a unique and personal connection to the work, being one-on-one, one-at-a-time, even though everyone see’s the same thing.

The show with the variety of works succeeds at not being just another “screen-show” and legitimately explores the possibility of video art highlighting considerations of display scale, method or medium of display, viewer interactivity, and the combination of accompanying theatrical elements such as props (objects) and live performance. Seeing “playheads” is made very easy as the gallery’s opening hours are generous (Mon-Thur: 9:00am-8:30pm, Fri: 9:00am-6:00pm and Sat: 9:00am-4:30pm) as opposed to the limited opening hours of some volunteer-dependent ARI’s and student galleries.


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