20th Biennale of Sydney

Yesterday I attended my first ever exhibition at the Carriageworks in Redfern, which is a wonderful, open space with a history and culture of its own. The 20th Biennale of Sydney is currently being held and a section of the exhibition is open to the public at the Carriageworks.

Each artwork, sculpture, video or otherwise were completely individual and often unusual. Some were much harder to interpret than others, and some I could not even begin to comprehend. Some of my favourite pieces included the almost laughably simply idea of trying to hold a feather duster completely still, apparently an impossible task. Another favourite artist was Mike Parr whose performance piece of setting his artwork on fire as well as his lines of experimentation work that the view is able to walk on and immerse themselves was an engaging and interesting approach to art.

In closer relation to MEDA and the topics we are currently studying, I chose to examine and analyse Yuta Nakamura’s  Atlas of Japanese Ostracon. It is documentation including photos, video, audio, books, postcards and pottery. Placed in two rooms you must walk around the items, almost as if you are at a museum, and in retrospect I suppose that is the entire purpose. There is a screen on one wall showing a slideshow of photos of where the various bits of pottery have come from and a speaker in the top corner of the room plays a sound at each changing of the picture, what sounds like pottery being hit. Around the edges of the wall are books and postcards paired with pottery from that area.

These individual components display the place the piece of pottery is from as well as the piece itself, combining together to form a “map” of the area, similar to what we have been discussing in MEDA. There is an increased culture in seeing the area in more than one way, physically, digitally etc. It is a series of individual pieces that together function as close inspection of Japan and Japanese culture and history.

The intention of the artwork, in my opinion is as an immersive physical and digital documentation of Japanese history and culture. By having all the different mediums and placing it in such a way that you are surrounded both physically and virtually, it becomes a powerful piece and as a study of Japan. In much the same way we are documenting Fairy Meadow, Nakamura was documenting Japan. Nakamura is mapping such a culturally significant place and in doing so, is able to translate that to the audience through each different medium.

It is a very relevant piece to our work in MEDA and provides an insight into the different ways you can document and translate the mood and feeling of a place.


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