Sound of Missing Objects

Performance Space, University of Wollongong
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Sound of Missing Objects
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Background Sound of Missing Objects is a collaborative text, object and sound installation on the gaps in the history of Aboriginal material culture and the role of exhibitions in creating representations of aboriginality in 19th century. It was commissioned by the gallery Performance Space in 2003 and subsequently invited to tour at the Long Gallery, University of Wollongong in 2005. The work consists in five cabinets containing tissue paper stamped with designs, texts and a sound system and in texts inscriptions on the walls. The exhibition received good critical acclaim and specialised media attention (see portfolio). Contribution I researched and developed the concept of this installation and invited artists Jonathan Jones and digital composer Panos Couros to be my collaborators. I wrote all the textual elements in the installation; collaborated in the design and realization of the cabinets, stamped designs and sounds; I oversaw the production and installation of the exhibition. Significance Although Aboriginal art has an extraordinary critical success very little is known and written about early exhibitions of Aboriginal objects. Sound of Missing Objects is based on the research I carried out in my PhD on Aboriginal objects exhibited in International Exhibitions in Europe and US 19th century. It focuses on the narratives and representations woven in the exhibitions and their relations to contemporary politics. On another level it dwells on the absence of the objects, which were never returned to Australia, investigating the role of museums in producing knowledge and memory gaps.
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