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AVF '87 - Dominik Barbier: The Red Shield

4 September 198715 September 1987

The Australian Video Festival, 1987.

Dominik Barbier The Red Shield (1987)
Curated by Brian Langer


The purpose of fiction is to mirror the world and amuse the observer, the purpose of simulation is to create a world and transform the observer.

"As video art merges with the computer, transforming cinema into simulation, we shall gather into autonomous reality-communities1 and conspire to abolish once and for all the ancient dichotomies between art and life, destiny and desire."2

Dominik Barbier's video work and past installations contain a strong sense of the extraordinary and have been inspired from a close working relationship with performance, and performance artists; recently he has been working with poet/performer/designer Bernard Szajner. This association has resulted in the creation of L?euvre Inquietante which is being premiered during this years Video Festival.

On one hand, the imaginative worlds he creates imply a complexity of video inventiveness coupled with computer technology, On the other, his work is a statement of a highly personal aesthetic form ?he subject of human potential and the origins of visual meaning.

This pluralistic status is an important aspect of video art in the eighties and is a distinctive concern of Barbier's video creations.

This new work which has been produced in Australia for the second Australian Video Festival, is a series of impressions of different locations visited by Barbier during July - August, '87. It has been edited for multi-screen exhibition and the sound track has been developed by Sydney Video Artist, Eddy Jokovich on a C.M.I.

Brian Langer. (Curator)

1“Reality-communities" are social groups of politically significant magnitude, defined not by geography but by consciousness, ideology and desire. An inversion of existing social relations.

2 Gene Youngblood, “A Medium Matures: Video and the Cinematic Enterprise.” (from the catalogue The Second Link 1983).

Artists' Statement

Continent at the end of the earth, land of emigration, Australia still holds for Europe the dream of the 'New World'.

The European dream, Australian dream, Dreamtime ... The Red Shield is my personal dream of Australia: having origins in both modernity, and a culture dating back thousands of years.

Dreamland, NECESSARY continent!

From time immemorial the theory of the aesthetic and philosophical necessity of a 'terra australis' has been proposed in order to counterbalance the continental land masses of the northern hemisphere.

This set-up is integrated into the general research on the origins of the image, the origins of the idea of beauty and death.

Support of modernity, the electronic image is still in its prehistory.

Just as parietal paleolithic frescoes fascinate us by their extreme liberty of composition and organisations of figures, the electronic imagery has the privilege today of a great liberty. Partly due to the paradoxical refusal of the video by television, electronic creation is not meant to conform to the narrative system inherent in language codes, and thus continues to explore new fields of communication.

This is probably one of the reasons why the study of the origins of the image is essential to me, and rich with information.

This research initially took place as a spectacular installation setup, inspired in particular by parietal frescoes from the caves at Lascaux: The Petrifying Cave (presented at St. Quentin in Yvelines in April '87, then at SYGRIA, Bordeaux and at the Avignon Festival in '88).

The Red Shield will be the second stage in this research; the other side, or the certain proof of the other end of the world. (Necessity for me of an Australis Video, to counter-balance my work in the Northern Hemisphere!)

Musical and plastic research, multi-screen set-up.

Dominik Barbier,
Central Australia, July 1987

The artist and the curator would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their post-production assistance and generous support:
New South Wales Institute of Technology, Media Department
Metro Television, Sydney
City Art Institute, Sydney, Media Department
The Museum of Applied Ads & Sciences, The Power House Museum, Sydney
Telmac, Sydney
School of Art & Design, Phillip Institute of Technology, Melbourne
Open Channel, Melbourne
M. I. M. A.
The Randellis
Eddy Jokovich.
The artist and the curator gratefully acknowledge the assistance and support given by Alliance Francaise, Sydney, towards the success of this project.