Tuesday, 3 July 2012

SafARI at ALASKA Projects

Dara Gill, Instrument of Darkness #1 (Microphone Feedback), 2012
ALASKA Projects: June 22- July 15, 2012

When friends told me that I would find ALASKA Projects in a section of a car park in Kings Cross I thought they were being facetious. They weren't. ALASKA is in fact located in an old mechanics office and car bay on the second level of a car park in the Cross- this I haven't seen before. It was with a great deal of curiosity that I headed there with the intention of seeing part of SafARI, the unofficial fringe event to the Sydney Biennale that presents emerging and unrepresented artists.

The old mechanics office is home to Dara Gill's interactive work Instrument of Darkness #1 (Microphone Feedback) and two accompanying photographs, Untitled (Microphone Feedback Portraits: Emma)Untitled (Microphone Feedback Portraits: Adam). On first glance it appears harmless enough but in the realm of art nothing is ever as it seems and as I entered the space my ears were accosted by the most piercing sound- microphone feedback. My instinctive reaction is to cover my ears and as I look up I see two portraits staring back at me mimicking that very movement. It is difficult to stay in the room for any length of time so while I liked the work, it is difficult to say I enjoyed it. It maintained a certain humourous edge I've come to expect from Gill's work.

Dara Gill (L-R), Untitled (Microphone Feedback Portraits: Emma)Untitled (Microphone Feedback Portraits: Adam) 2012

Drew Pettifer, Untitled (Billboard #4) ("Act Up") 2012
The intelligence of Drew Pettifer's work can be found in its words. To revolt is to break away or rise against constituted authority, to rebel, to cast of allegiance. However it can also mean to disgust, to feel horror or aversion. In Pettifer's work Untitled (Billboard #4) ("Act Up") we see a protest and people fighting for sexual equality. The text on the poster, 'Still Revolting' has a double edged meaning- on the one hand it makes the comment that even today people are still struggling with queer politics and on the other hand it reflects the opinions of those who fight back against them. A very powerful & meaningful work.

What I found most interesting about Chris Bennie's film The Western Field was the way in which the film and the surrounding car park setting complimented and added to one another. The film shows a car moving around a car park and as the sounds of actual cars moving about filters down it gives the work an unexpected three dimensional quality. It actually reminds me of the shooting video games I used to play as a child where you adopted the position of the person/ car moving about. Also the idea of sitting in a car park watching a film about a car park had a certain irony to it that I found appealing. 

Chris Bennie, The Western Field, 2012

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