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DJ Culture: Contemporary Australian Video Art

DJ Culture is a program of recent videos by Australian artists as part of the Gallery's ongoing series of programs at the Australian Cinémathèque focused on contemporary film and video that extends the connections between art and cinema.

Appropriating and recontextualising images found in popular culture has been a strategy employed by a number of contemporary Australian video artists. This strategy acknowledges the impossibility of an artistic tabula rasa and instead artists have become like djs or programmers who select cultural objects and insert them into new contexts.

Program 1

Program 1

Sat 5 May 1.00pm and Sat 19 May 1.00pm / Cinema A

Soda_Jerk
Australia est. 2002
Dan Angeloro b.1977 and Dominique Angeloro b.1979
With Sam Smith b. 1980
Hollywood Burn 2010
Digital video, black and white and colour, stereo, 52 minutes, Australia
Courtesy: the artists

'This anti-copyright epic is a manifesto against the corporate control of cultural history. Mimicking the hyperbolic rhetoric of today's copyright cops, this work pits a righteous league of video pirates against the evil tyrant Moses and his copyright commandments. Determined to alter the present by changing the past, the pirates travel back to 1955 to construct the ultimate weapon: an Elvis Presley video-clone. Plundered from hundreds of sources, this video project adopts the tactical responses of the parasite, feeding off the body of Hollywood and inhabiting its cinematic structures and codes. Hollywood Burn is also a speculative history of sampling practices, stretching from the avant-guard to the online remix.' Soda_Jerk

Program 2

Program 2

Sat 12 May 1.00pm and Sat 26 May 1.00pm / Cinema A

Grant Stevens
Australia b.1980
Some want it all 2004
Digital video, black and white, stereo, 3:03 minutes
Purchased 2005. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant

'Using the action packed captions from blockbuster movies, Some Want It All leads us on a journey that is in fact an endless trailer for a movie that never even begins. The stream of text on the screen holds out the promise of a drama-filled saga of Hollywood proportions but leaves us suspended in a humorous anti-climax.' Experimenta

Daniel Mudie Cunningham
Australia b.1975
Oh Industry 2009
HD Video, colour, stereo, 4:11 minutes
Cinematographer: Don Cameron / Editor: Vera Hong
Courtesy: the artist

'Filmed at Newington Armory in Sydney, Oh Industry mashes popular culture depictions of factory, military and naval labour with the amusements and distractions of early 20th century modern life. Bette Midler's performance of the song 'Oh Industry' from the film Beaches 1988 and the popular film serial The Perils of Pauline 1914 intersect with conveyor belt choreography to suggest how the machine age and its class structures were shaped during the rise of modernity and industrialisation.' Gary Carsley

Tracey Moffatt
Australia b.1960
Gary Hillberg (in collaboration with)
Australia b.1952
Revolution 2008
Digital Video transferred to Digital Betacam, colour, stereo, 14 minutes
Purchased 2008 with funds from Xstrata Community Partnership Program Queensland through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation

'Revolution is a study of the stereotypes associated with revolution in movies. It explores constructions of those stereotypes, both by revelling in revolutions on the wide-screen and by portraying the presumed disastrous after-effects that cinema conveys. Excerpts from well-known films are juxtaposed with clips from B movies in a dynamic and highly crafted composition accompanied by a rhythmic and melodramatic soundtrack.' Biennale of Sydney

The Kingpins
Australia est. 2000
Angelica Mesiti b.1976
Técha Noble b.1977 
Emma Price b.1975
Katie Price b.1978
Versus 2002 
Digital video, colour, stereo, 5:15 minutes
Courtesy: the artists and Neon Parc, Melbourne

'In Versus The Kingpins lace up their Adidas and leather pants, going head to head with the infamous Leigh Bowery's performance collective Raw Sewage. In the tradition of Aerosmith and Run DMC's collaborative track 'Walk this Way', The Kingpins and Raw Sewage compete for supremacy in a fusion of Rock n Roll wrestling and a Hip Hop pop-off.' Projekt

Heath Franco
Australia b.1984
WUNDER CLOSET 2011
HD Video, colour, stereo, 5:33 minutes
Courtesy: the artist and Galerie pompom, Sydney and Tristian Koenig, Melbourne

'You're just so good. You're so good. You're amazing. You're good! You really are very good. You're incredibly talented... WUNDER CLOSET contains repeated professing of adoration from a range of doe-eyed and fanatical alter-egos performed by Franco, coupled with formal explorations of progressive rhythm structures in both the aural and visual elements of the work. The video places the viewer in the role of hero in a realm of back-patting, hand-clapping, and ego-fluffing, and in doing so, forces a re-examination of the traditional roles of spectator and performer.' The Amazing Rolling Picture Show

Jemima Wyman
Australia b.1977
Combat Drag 2008 
Digital video, colour, stereo, 8 minutes
Courtesy: the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane

'In Combat Drag a small army of flannelette-clad forms stake out their territory. Like YouTube zealots they posture and pose with menace in out of the way places, waving twigs as if they were guns. These figures have an essence of the Monkey Magic ninja, but also of dispossessed Australian youths... Only the performers' mouths and eyes are visible, enhancing a fearful sense of the unseen and unknown. This work disconcerts by skewing the familiar. Cultural symbols, ideas about identity and images of extremism trip each over each other. The strange masks, 'terrorists' in flanelette, ambiguous setting and a disturbing voiceover alerting us to the approach of "something big and scary" collectively evoke a corporeal response. The fear we are meant to experience, nonetheless, feels contrived and ironic—we are told in no uncertain terms that we should be afraid.' Real Time

Chris Howlett
Papua New Guinea/Australia b.1974
Michael Jackson 4 ways: Part IV 2010
HD Video, colour, stereo, 8 minutes
Courtesy: the artist

'In the machinima film Michael Jackson 4 ways: Part I-IV, Chris Howlett questions the slippery position the viewer inhabits to make informed, truth based decisions with the personal information they encounter online. This experience is further complicated, when these personal and moral online statements take their final form in the depoliticized realm of entertainment and video games. Where does one locate one's moral and ethical decisions based on Jackson's aesthetics?' Chris Howlett

Soda_Jerk
Australia est. 2002
Dan Angeloro b.1977 and Dominique Angeloro b.1979
After the Rainbow 2009
Digital video, black and white and colour, stereo, 5:30 minutes, Australia
Courtesy: the artists

'After the Rainbow reflects on the intersection of recorded media, lived history and the passage of time. Through a re-imagining of the initial sequence of The Wizard of Oz 1939, the fantasy world of cinema and the reality of Judy Garland's sad life collide in much the same way as the worlds of Kansas and Oz in the original film. Instead of taking Dorothy to Oz, the twister transports a young, hopeful Garland into the future where she encounters her disillusioned adult self.' Soda_Jerk