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Peter Callas: Initialising History - Foreword


Peter Callas: Initialising History is a three-component project centred around Peter Callas, one of Australia's most distinguished electronic media arts, curators and writers. Produced by dLux Media Arts with the financial assistance of the Australian Film Commission, this concentric focus offers a stimulating perspective of the vitality of Peter Callas' work, and of video art produced by other Australian artists over the past two decades, and, more recently, by international artists.

Rudolf Frielding, ZKM Centre for Art and Media, notes in his monograph essay for this project that "initialising [here] is to be read in a double sense - starting one's own biographical or artistic history [...] and putting one's initials on the representations of history". 

The twelve works which comprise Initialising History were selected by the artists to represent a personal full-career overview of his oeuvre produced in the past twenty years, which culminates here with premiere screening of Lost in Translation (1999), a work in progress. Throughout this chronological program, the viewer is impressed by not only by the artist's creative and technical shifts, but also by the high level of integrity that he has sustained in his work. Visceral colours and enmeshed sounds often saturate his densely mesmeric critiques of media, politics, history and culture.

Callas applies an equally rigorous cultural sensibility. His numerous projects as curator include programs for the 1992 Video Television Festivals in Tokyo, and Phantasmagoria: Pre-Cinema to Virtuality (co-curated with David Watson), Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, 1996.

Peripheral Visions, specifically commissioned by dLux Media Arts for this project, comprises recent international video and television art and computer animation by some of the world's leading electronic mieda artists, most of which has never been screened previously in Australia.

An Eccentric Orbit: Video Art in Australia 1980-1994, has been touring internationally since it was launched at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1994. Although many of the 30 works in the three-part programs have been exhibited individually in electronic media art festivals around the world, this is the first occasion in Australia that this historically significant survey will be shown collectively. As such, An Eccentric Orbit provides a unique opportunity to re/view and re/assess the impressive developments in video art practice in Australia - in particular, the aesthetic and other influences of some of the earlier works on current media art practice.

Throughout the three components of Peter Callas: Initialising History, the mark of both of the artist and curator is clear and indelible.

dLux Media Arts thanks Peter Callas for his generous and assiduous cooperation in preparing this program. dLux is especially pleased that the world premieres of Peter Callas: Initialising History and Peripheral Visions, plus the Australian premiere of An Eccentric Orbit, were staged as part of Articulations, Festival of Perth, in association with Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), February 1999.

dLux Media Arts thanks Sarah Miller, Director of PICA, for her support of the program, and we thank you for your continuing interest in this and other dLuxevents.


- Alessio Cavallaro, Former Director dLux MediaArts