ROOTED (or Zoe M. Robertson’s Australia)
“Alienated labour reversed the relationship so that, just because he is a conscious being, man makes his vital activity and essence a mere means to existence.”
-Karl Marx, Early Writings.
“With every purchase you are buying into systemic entropy.”
FB invite blurb:
The free market shares its internal/its externalising logic with poetry (the oblique, the territorialising). Thus, I present to you mere reflections. This season’s range takes “The problem of Australia” as its aesthetic, in these times where the rationalisation methods employed by successive governments are being widely feted as world’s best practise, we are the aspirational, the anticulture. I am abandoning the distinction of the artisanal, abandoning the distinction implied by artist. I hope you will buy from me as much as you will take from me.
Middle of the night anti-curation murmurings in the bloodied dark, someone else’s vision for visual merchandising... I did the better part of a humanities degree before succumbing to the mental illness that is the will to art. The appropriately left wing students of history and philosophy around me in those days had a tendency to decorate their abodes with Absinthe posters or similar, and the irony of advertising posters lining the walls of the residences of sincere and dedicated socialists was never lost on me. Thus, in these times of disciplinary crises, being quite bored with sculpture that looks like sculpture and painting that looks like anything but, I felt like the logical thing to do was to go into the lifestyle market, rebranding myself as the outback entrepreneur that I always was at heart (even having consistently placed myself quite well as a serious artist with the potential to foray into the luxury goods market that is the art world). Capitalism is totalisation; our sense of identity is developed through what products we aspire to; the major galleries are becoming department stores and entertainment complexes; even artists require more training, or proof thereof (university transcripts) in order to enfranchise themselves. Essentially what I’m doing is utilising the soundtrack of my poetry and ideas in order to create atmosphere and make aspirational the products that I would sell, which I intend to be much more proliferate than what would normally be sold as art, something that can be engaged with on a number of levels and not deliberately elite (if likely oblique).
I wrote all of Downunder: An Oral History when I was suffering from prolonged intermittent bouts of illness, crippled by social anxiety, isolated from society, the world of men. What strikes me about it, aside from the violence of my temper, and all the anguish, is all the things that I knew then that I couldn’t express that still form my (now somewhat more lucid) understanding of the world. I always had this problem with language, with the constructions of society being inherited by women from patriarchal systems. The only thing that I regret about my life up to this point is that I have worked so hard to redress these issues that I denied myself the humanity that I, at base, was fighting for, the human right to simple life; simple enjoyment and the cultivation of knowledge, rights that are denied by a system that fails if we do not continuously consume more. Still, we have no better way for organising so many people, for potentially sharing wealth, even basic living standards (and so I put my shoulder to the wheel...)
I did all this research back through Australian history thinking that I needed a subject to write on, like other people do. Whilst I came to see the culture and the history of white settlement as the beaureacratic genius of the British Empire, successive revolutions (their failures) being in the name of basic social justice and distrust of authority... There was little greatness to hang a sense of identity on, the most rational of economies, the furthest from humanity, apparently the most sustainable. And then every time I went to speak to it I was writing about some fresh object of my desires, like a hopeless poet, without a cause, like an individualist. And I realised what I saw in the utter dependance of my own life, thinking to laugh at it, some attempt at externality from the inside.
Opening night social photos courtesy Charles Dennington: http://charlesdennington.com/
Dead Art Souvenir Posters, 2012-2013.
Price: A3- $75, A0- $550.
‘Fauxhemian Fascist Bush Doof Raver Cape/Coffin Flag’ Cape/Coffin Flag, 2013.
Velvet, acetate lining, fabric paint, hi vis tape, pavement tape.
'On Spirituality' t, in 'White Wash', 'Virgin Red', and 'Poet's Heart'.
Lycra t-shirt, acrylic, fabric fixitive.
Price: $40 ea.
Saddy o’ Cultcha, 2005-2013.
Sandwich bag containing exhibition catalogue and sound work transcript, with bonus CD of sound work.
Price: $15 ea.
Plonk Gate (Goon Sack Bloodbath), 2013.
Red goom, rock salt.
‘Life’-sized coffin, 2012.
Downunder: An Oral History, 2005-2013.
Sound work on CD, Duration: 29:00.
Special thanks Charles Dennington, Andrew Haining, Pamela Mahoney, and Firstdraft.