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Double Time (1985)

Jill Scott

Double Time (1985)

Video tape and Installation with spectator interaction.

Actors: Astronaut: Bonita Ely and Aquarius: Hillary Mais
Sound: The Dynabytes
Video Mix: Peter Butterworth
Sponsorship: The University of Technology and Fairlight Instruments Ltd. Sydney.

Presented at:
Perspecta 85 - Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. October-November, 1985.
Recent Australian Video Installations, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 7 August – 7 September, 1986.

From the entry in the Perspecta 1985 catalogue by Linda Wallace, for Jill Scott's Double Time

In a gallery of this floating harbour city, hovering at the edge of terra, and clinging to this blue planet – ourselves, 98% water – you are asked to throw a coin into a wishing well, throw a wish to the screen arms of the water-bearer, bearing the idea of the race ... To trace a genealogy is to defy logic – what reason commanded the joining of stardots way back, when Aquarius dawned in a night sky (and it's still the age of the Age), to the carrying of water on the very real heads and shoulders of ancient women, to some imaginary time when logic is again defied and a female astronautical water-bearer floats unlinked in a deep space sea, beyond human possibility.

This is the scenario /landscape Jill Scott as artist, dissolves, through an interplay of painting, video, sound, lighting and sculptural effect. Her work has concentrated on recontextualising our culture's mythologies and dualisms, as exemplified by some of this year's past works: the DOUBLEDREAM (March, Performance Space) which, through video, sculpture (a vessel in the shape of the gondola), and painting, referenced McLuhanesque ideas of hot and cold media by the creation of two women characters to embody the opposites of land/sea, and the parallels of hot/cold, dry and wet. This work was sequelled in the Scanlight video show (July, Australian Centre of Photography) with "Magnificent Desolation" – a succinct two minute cut-up narrative on the 'sabotaging' of the female symbolic, namely the moon by Neil Armstrong's heavy weightless steps, and points to all that's happened since in subsequent areas of space colonisation. DOUBLESPACE (Aug, Roslyn Oxley) builds on previous themes of metamorphosis by taking a remote point of view back towards the spinning planet as the remnants of deconstructed myths and fairytales form new and surprising narratives. And now this DOUBLETIME... (BLINK. Think Doublethink. Then think again.) Using the video image as a basis for the painterly, her canvases are high-key colour, a teevee pointillism, with the subject momentarily caught in metamorphosis close behind the scanlines. Given that the electronic image is the matrix of information and perception in this age, Scott takes up the notions of motion of transmission/reception and reappropriates them in a departure towards the timeless. This concept is alluded to by spinning repeated metaphorical motifs throughout the corporeal work. The sound of DOUBLETIME is a self generating simple rhythm revolution about the well – double wells – one light, one dark: a diametric dualism of past and future while water undercurrents an eternal present. The two circular screens in each well together form another symbol, that of infinity. The video images within a mirror reflective, the narrative a continuously running tape as imaginary water-bearing symbols meet the 'down-to-earthbound women-water-bearers – they themselves equally imaginary to our urban australian existence.

Like images glimpsed from the underworld, the screens will become camouflaged beneath their pools of wellwater. Here you are. Throw a coin and watch as the image flies out in a centrifugal breath, rippling a departure from the source light. Throw a coin, make a wish as the female subject responds in dissolution to the projected whim in this hallucination of spectator participation/control ... then as the water calms, the image resolves with the screen subjects in secret, sometime, a doubletime, in terra incognita.

Linda Wallace

Catalogue image for Jill Scott's Double Time from the Perspecta '85 catalogue
Catalogue image for Jill Scott's Double Time from the Perspecta '85 catalogue