Deborah Kelly's gods, monsters and probable histories

Artlink Australia
Artlink: Australian Contemporary Art Quarterly, 2008, pp. 26 - 31
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Background-This essay was commissioned by Artlink, one of the leading magazines on contemporary arts. It was part of a special issue exploring the work of eight innovators in Australian art. The issue was launched at the Singapore Biennale in 2008, to coincide with the Biennales opening featuring Deborah Kelly's ephemeral installation Beware of the God. I followed this project from its beginning as cinematographer for her Beware of the God Project Documentation, exhibited at Barry Keldoulis Gallery Knicker Knot, 11 April 5 May 2007. Contribution I wrote this 2200 words essay based on a series of conversations and exchanges with Deborah Kelly. The essay takes the form of a fictocritical tale, using storytelling to introduce three themes: the growing influence of religion in contemporary society; vignettes of sexualised monstrous femininity; fictocritical histories of `forgotten events in the Australian past. Significance This essay constitutes a new, innovative and thorough critical appraisal of Deborah Kellys work. It is based on five years of research and collaboration with the artist, in the area of arts and design as tools of political intervention (see also 2005 `Conversation with Deborah Kelly, Klartext! The Status of the Political in Contemporary Art and Culture, January 14-16, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien and Volksbuhne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin). It shares its theoretical premises and aims with my ARC Discovery project, Contact Zones: activism, art and media in Italy, 1994-2006 in the production of new understandings of the use of communicative practices in activism in the age of knowledge economy.
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