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Video In Australia

20 April 199112 May 1991

20/04/1991 - 05/05/1991

Video Positive '91

Bluecoat Arts Centre

Liverpool, UK

Video In Australia: Installations / Performance /
Electric Images

Brian Langer

This programme is the first inter-related media arts survey from
Australia to be shown in Britain. As the title suggests the project
consists of (two) installations, 'The Fujiyama Pyramid Project' by
Peter Callas and 'Chasing Skirt' by Severed Heads; (two)
performance pieces, 'Old Myths' by Michelle Andringa and 'Glitch' by
Tim Gruchy; and finally a selection of recently completed single
channel video tapes by established and emerging artists/video

Since these selections have been combined with other international
components of Video Positive '91 it is the intention of this exhibition
project to provide a unique edge to Video Positive '91 and bring to
the notice of overseas curators, writers and audiences a stimulating
range of events and video creations from Australia.
The 'Fujiyama Pyramid Project' by Peter Callas (at the Bluecoat
Gallery) is a visually dynamic installation piece utilising 13 monitors
supporting and enclosed in a central pyramidal structure with
several other monitors placed around the edges of a darkened
room. The piece is based on the video tape Neo Geo: An American
Purchase, produced by Callas at PSI in New York, as artist in
residence in the 'Australia Council' studio during 1989 (Neo Geo is
included in the Australian video tape program).
The Pyramid features on one side the masonic pyramid (The Great
Seal') of the American dollar and on the other Mount Fuji (as seen
on the 5000 yen note). The video images that surround the base of
the pyramid are hand rendered computer images of what Callas
calls a 'Japanese Uncle Sam' and an aggressive New York policeman
(this is in reference to a riot that occured in New York in 1988
known as the Tompkins Square riot) The installation is a complex
piece of multi-layered meanings and images scrutinizing the baffling
cultures of America and Japan.
'Chasing Skirt' by Severed Heads (at the Walker Art Gallery) is an
interactive video installation utilising a computer controlled sensor
connected to monitors. The movement of people through the space
allows audiences to control the time-based elements of the audio
and visual compositions making up the piece.

The installation conveys a sense of playfulness with the technology
and with the multi-faceted interpretations of the installation piece
itself. 'Chasing Skirt' was first presented at the 1988 Sydney
Biennale. The contrasting manifestations of the two installation
pieces are in some ways carried through to the two performance
events. Michelle Andringa adds a strong sense of her performance
work while Tim Gruchy's work is literal and concentrates on a time-
based influence. Andringa's performances are almost installations in
concept and presentation while Gruchy's work is a screen based
audio visual exchange of dream like sequences.
The performance elements in Andringa's work allows her freedom to
link her interests in song, choreography and video as well as
incorporating the mis en scene elements. 'Old Myths' is a new work
especially prepared for Video Positive '91, drawing on the 60s
culture from both sides of the Atlantic for its inspiration. Michelle
Andringa's performance work was recently received as being
'essentially about the way we tell stories, it uses technology to
advantage, especially in terms of temporal/narrative perspective. It
works across many genres - film noir, trash films, novels,
melodrama and contemporary soap.'

Tim Gruchy's video and performance works, on the other hand, are
computer based, explosive and provocative, and although the works
are titled they are usually updated and elaborated upon. 'Glitch', the
performance selected for Vide Positive '91, was recently presented
at SISEA in Groningen in Holland.
This exhibition project was assisted by the Australia Council, the federal government's arts
funding and advisory body in association with Video Positive.
The curator wishes to thank Electronic Media Arts (Australia) for its support, Eddie Berg,
Gary Warner and the artists.
(Sydney 1991)

Brian Langer


Bluecoat Arts Centre