Collected (2008)

For the 2008 Undergraduate Degree Show at Sydney College of the Arts I presented three works under the collective heading Collected.

Quercus/Augustus is a video installation consisting of three complementary performances shown on televisions. On the left-hand screen I am putting acorns into my mouth one at a time, until I cannot fit any more. On the centre screen I am attempting to hold my arms above shoulder height for as long as possible. On the right-hand screen I am holding a candle in the palm of my hand while trying to remain completely still. This work is a meditation on the tree as a motif for ascension. The tree encompasses many ideas, like Beuys’ 7000 Oaks Project, the biblical tree of life and my own personal experience of trees as a place of refuge. The first part of the name, Quercus, is the Latin word for oak tree and the second part of the name, Augustus, means revered or exalted.

Axis Mundi is a diagram of the island purgatory with it’s levels of atonement. At the summit is the garden of Eden, innocence restored. The name of the work refers to the point of contact between the high and low realms.

Untitled (Seed) uses the bed as a metaphor for the womb/grave, with the rock as a stand in for a person and for my mental state, both a grave stone and a seed. The metamorphic nature of the volcanic stone, basalt, is something longed for and another reference to Beuys. The rock is a marker for a missing tree, perhaps present but unseen. The basalt is a seed, a beginning and the name is a reference to Acconci’s Seedbed.