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Between a shipwreck and an anthill

 
Between a shipwreck and an anthill
Between a shipwreck and an anthill 2018 mixed media installation inimitables
Artwork, image and photography © Perdita Phillips

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3 x 4 x 4 m POA
found objects (rocks, secondhand aerial photos and books, maps, newspaper, rock specimens, furniture, wood, tumbleweed, souvenirs, protest sign, t-shirt, branches, woody pear, styrofoam, model boat, floatie) digital prints, aerial photos, video, motor, electronic software/circuitry, plinths
Project: Here&Now2018 Besides it is always the others that die 20172018 Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, The University of Western Australia
Exhibition: Here&Now2018 2018 Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, The University of Western Australia
 

 
 
One work that was included in Here&Now2018 Besides it is always the others that die exhibition. It was about the ecological moment 1968 to 1969 at the time when the Mary Sisler Collection of work by Marcel Duchamp was shown in Perth, Western Australia.

I don’t agree at all with the anthill that waits for us in a few hundred years. I still believe in the individual and every man for himself, like in a shipwreck.

Marcel Duchamp (died 2 October 1968)

Asked to work with ‘disruption’ in the gallery, an old termite mound (as dead as, and possibly as old as, Duchamp) was frozen at -20 °C for two weeks to decontaminate it so that it could be brought into the ‘biosecure’ gallery environment. It formed one of multiple loci in the installation… Reversing the individualistic and atomistic interests of Duchamp the artwork arrived at a concern with the environment, collectivity and surviving disaster*. It began with the curious story of the Mary Sisler Collection in Perth (the show opened on 19 September and ran until 20 October 1968) and the stranding of the collection at the Grace Brothers depot after its exhibition (from October 1968 to late January 1969 and maybe much later — and thinking about as late as October — 1969 — a whole revolution around the sun!). It asked, what was this ecological moment and how does it relate to deeper times and present conditions? The overall aesthetic was one of contingency and synchronicity, the relationship between elements building scenarios of connection for the viewer to uncover**

It was about shipwrecks, life rafts, oil culture, 1960s mineral exploration, Kings Park wishing well, BP refinery, mallee roots and land clearing, Meckering earthquake (14 October 1968), Apollo Moon landings, Mt Goldsworthy, J S Beard Western Australian vegetation mapping, 2018 Anthropocene styrofoam from the Swan River (Derbal Yerrigan), real-time earthquake data and Roe8 …and 390 Scarborough Beach Road (where the artworks were stranded)…

* and rocks. Lots of rocks.
**oh yes and everything was on the ground…