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AIVF '91 - Robyn Stacey - Untitled

16 November 199130 November 1991

The Australian International Video Festival, 1991 - Digital Imaging Installation

Untitled (1991) - Robyn Stacey

Ivan Dougherty Gallery, 16-30 Nov

Stacey's most recent work of digital photography, commissioned for the 6th AIVF, is part of a series dealing with technology, nature and the body. It takes as its point of departure Robert D. Romanyshyn's Technology as Symptom and Dream where the technological world is treated as a work of reason, but of reason which reaches deeply into dream. In dreams we are addressed by the underside of events and things, by the unspoken in what has been said, by connections and allusions which may otherwise be unnoticed. Dreams shadow waking life and what we, individually and culturally, cannot bear in conscious life we dream. To attend to this cultural dream is to attend to the shadows and silences of technology.
Romanyshyn focuses on technology as a cultural-historical dream which, since the 15th century, has radically transformed our self-understanding of the material world and the human body. Technology is deeply rooted in a special kind of vision, linear perspective vision, which developed the modern sense of the self as detached spectator, the world as a measured spectacle, and the body as an observed specimen.

"...the computer can seamlessly synthesize old and new technologies and so for my purposes it is the perfect tool; it mirrors the invisible technology of the late twentieth century like the fax, modem, microwave datalink, and so on..."

Robyn Stacey is a Sydney based photomedia artist who has been working in colour photography since 1980. More recently, Stacey has extended her work with photomontage by using the powerful Quantel graphic paintbox computer to manipulate and digitise series of images originally shot on video.

Stacey's early work stresses the fabricated and theatrical aspects of the medium, often taking on the 'look' of classic Hollywood 'B'-grade film stills. Her work concerns itself with the familiarity and elusiveness of the mass media. The 1987 series Kiss Kiss / bang bang drew its inspiration from “palpitation literature", or pulp fiction. In Red Line 7000 (1988-1989), the central characters are surrounded by the dangers and implied violence of the nocturnal street scenes. The drama is heightened by the use of superimposition, the density of the images and their luxurious 'technicolour' quality. In All the Sounds of Fear (1990) the theme of the city is explored through layers of images rather than single story line.

Stacey conveys the experience of fragmentation and dislocation of the city by the use of deteriorated video images and filmic techniques such as simultaneous points of view and layering of images.

Stacey's work has been both published and exhibited widely including: The Art Gallery of New South Wales and The National Gallery of New Zealand (with Jacky Redgate), 1990/91; Admagic Billboard Project, 1990; Internationale Foto-Triennale, Esslingen, Germany, 1989; and The Sydney Biennale 1986.

Her work is included in several collections, for example The Australian National Gallery, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the Polaroid International Collection, Boston, USA.