October 2014 work
The components of this xs collective experimental lab installation included four projections, a wall-mounted video monitor, a floor-based installation, a rear-space performance being GoPro-transmitted to an iPad, and a live performance through a sound system connected to several instruments and laptops via a multi-channel desk.
A highly experimental work, Untitled (noise), pictured, was performed throughout the evening from 6.30pm until approximately 11.00pm, with various members of the collective and the public creating their own ‘noise’ from various instruments fed through a sound system with a multi-channel desk. The instruments included an electric organ, a Rowland D2 Groovebox, two microphones, two laptops (with various software, YouTube and mp3 tracks loaded). A voice distorter was used to pre-record lyrics as mp3 tracks, with one sounding like Darth Vader and the other a robot, as shown below:
(Read with robotic voice distortion)
dominated – infiltrated – sublimated – escalated – emasculated – intoxicated – investigated – permeated – accumulated – penetrated – deactivated – relegated – orchestrated – resuscitated – extricated – saturated – frustrated – enculturated – exaggerated – eliminated – masturbated – ejaculated – indoctrinated – exasperated – suffocated – eviscerated – elaborated – exonerated – cohabited – implicated – eradicated – masticated – evacuated – compensated – incubated – paginated – extrapolated – repatriated – over-rated – operated – fabricated – nominated – dehydrated – rehydrated – caffeinated – decaffeinated – chlorinated – assimilated – titillated – consummated
The live performance in the front space was an audio work, Untitled (noise), which used cacophony, or at least multi-layered polyphony, as an expression of excess – much the same as post-punk visual arts performance group Throbbing Gristle did – as explained in Michael Goddard’s chapter on Sonic and Cultural Noise as Production of the New, in O’Sullivan and Zepke’s Deleuze & Guattari and the Production of the New. According to Goddard, noise – whether it is white noise or aural noise or even background fear or distractive noise – is a form of cultural anomaly that retains its potential for reactivation and the production of the new. To Goddard ‘The question is not one of how art is able to represent life but to distil from the world sensations and passages of life, or in other words new rhythms, and maintain them in virtual form.’
Of the two live performances, Rosina Byrne and Rohan Morris’ Inter-action involved the two performers being dressed in white (Byrne in a wedding dress, Morris in a jumpsuit) and bursting many red and white paint-filled and inflated condoms in a remote performance space, with the action being live-stream videoed to an iPad. This work questioned the cultural expectations placed on, in this case Italian women to ‘keep their virginity for their husbands’ (while the male expectation is the reverse), and on gay men who are still openly discriminated against. Byrne and Morris explored the limits and possibilities of ‘acceptable’ sexuality through experimenting with the production of new types of subjectivity through performance.
In Kerryn Sylvia’s Colour code, viewers are urged to ‘take a seat before this pulsating orgy of colour and contemplate your own lived experience of over stimulation and excess. Where do you find it in your own life and what form does it take? Embed your comments and thoughts within the colour space flashing on the wall and add them to the ideas already presented.’ Sylvia’s video work is an intensification of flashing and changing colour used to express her own experience of over stimulation that comes from staring at a computer screen for too long. In Sylvia’s words:
It seems that in our working and leisure lives we are spending more and more time hooked up and connected to the world through technology. Long after l have finished researching, writing and creating l often experience a random flashing of bright colours in the darkness as l lie down to sleep and try to rest my mind. In a way l find that this has become a measure of how hard l have worked and it lulls me to sleep as much as its addictive nature disturbs me.
Stuart Walsh used several disused and variously truncated 44 gallon drums, painted stark white, in his installation White Heads, Black Oil. The ‘heads’, with their frighteningly tortured painted faces, were seemingly immersed in a pool of thick black oil, a grim reminder of our fossil-fuel driven economy and its likely apocalyptic environmental consequences.