Gail Kenning, Making Mayhem - Hexagon, 2010, Still from computer programmed animations ( duration Varies )
Sue Pedley, Sounding, 2010, Paper, cloth, drafting film, 80 x 100 cm
Who’s There?, 2010, Artist: Siying Zhou
Photography by Michael Embelton
Territory Time Amina McConvell, Catherine McAvoy, Rebecca Abon, Simon Cooper and Siying Zhou. Curated by Siying Zhou
“Territory time” is a motto for life in the Northern Territory. It’s a modus operandi for the way people live every day. It draws a boundary around daily achievements. As a result, “Territory time” becomes an attitude towards life held by Territory dwellers and a philosophy for surviving difficult conditions.
“Territory time”, like the puppet masters’ hands, controls people’s lives in the Northern Territory. It co-opts everything into its own timetable. In Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory, people come to understand that things can only be done in line with the seasons. During the ‘build-up’, which is the season between the dry and the wet starting around September and finishing in January, the pace of life slows down dramatically. The desert region of Alice Springs too has its unique timetable. One that exits for the town centre and a ‘timeless time’; a slowing down and giving over, that exits only ten minutes drive away in the open expanse of the ancient desert landscape.
‘Not today, not tomorrow’. A local saying and constant reminder that defines tomorrow (and time) as either the day after today, the day after tomorrow, or someday in the next week… or never. The isolation of the Northern Territory, the lack of many materials and the time involved in product transit gives this Territory timetable an uncertainty… a time of waiting.
In this Territory time zone there are many dangers: dangers from nature and dangers from mankind. A great amount of effort goes into simply surviving the extreme climate. Underneath the breathtaking landscape and scenery there is disease, mould, bacterial and fungal life forms, as well as life threatening animals, all specific to the Territory. As for the human form the two major cities in the Northern Territory, Darwin and Alice Springs, have the highest crime rates in the country. Speeding, drink driving, drunken fights and extreme violence make up almost every front page headline of the NT News… with the exception of crocodiles.
The economy of Territory time is driven by the idea of the ‘Dream Land’; the easy going tropical lifestyle. Yet in Darwin, with house prices and rent rates the highest in the country, living costs in the NT become a nightmare. For art it translates as an art market driven largely by the commercial indigenous art market which generates a huge income for the NT economy and receives the bulk of funding support and national attention.
Territory time denies the ‘Dream Land’ mythology and ‘Tropical Paradise’ rhetoric created for tourism and economic promotion. It silently and persistently reveals its true nature to the people who choose to live their life in the Northern Territory.
Artists in Territory Time
With its dilemmas and ironies “Territory time” has both challenged and nurtured artists. Just like the rest of the population in the NT, artists experience the rawness of nature and must fit their timetable into its elastic time. They go through the process of observing, becoming annoyed, fighting against and eventually adapting themselves into its pattern in order to survive.
NT artists have to cope with a far more risky and challenging environment than ever before. They constantly face the risk of losing their residence and studios. If they do not fit into the Territory ‘Dream Land’ art market they risk their livelihoods as well.
But it appears no risk is too great.
Showing works by five young NT artists, this exhibition explores their interpretations of the idea of Territory time. With each artist’s individual experience of surviving current Territory time, this exhibition intends to question the ‘Dream Time’ in a ‘Dream Land’ image of the NT and attempts to tell different truths about this time zone.
MOP Projects is assisted by the NSW Government through Arts NSW
GALLERY 2 Interweave Sue Pedley & Gail Kenning
Gail Kenning and Sue Pedley share an interest in pattern and processes. Kenning works with form, structure, code and data to create patterns that seemingly dissolve into random or develop into chaos. These emerging patterns are exhibited in the form of programmed animations and physical lace, woven or knitted artefacts. Pedley draws out connections between people, places and objects. These patterns are exhibited as animations and collages. The recent body of work involves interweaving
paper and textiles found in an abandoned house in Teshima, a small fishing village in Japan.
Gail Kenning is a UK-born Sydney-based artist and researcher. Kenning completed a program of research at the Royal College of Art in London working alongside the Fine Art Tapestry course and was awarded a PhD in Art Theory from UNSW for practice-based experimental research exploring textile pattern forms in digital media. Kenning has completed residencies and exhibited in UK, US, Australia and Vietnam. She recently presented digital video animations at the International Symposium of Electronic Art in Belfast and Textile Society of America Symposium in USA and will exhibit at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney in 2011. She has also been involved in the development of software applications in both professional and creative environments.
Sue Pedley is a Sydney based artist who experiments with materials and their relationship to place and explores ways to reformulate basic elements of time, light and space. Pedley has undertaken Australia Council residencies and projects in France, Germany, London, Vietnam, Japan, an Asia Link residency in Sri Lanka, and a Walking and Art Residency in Banff, Canada. Recent exhibitions include Blue Jay Way, Heide Museum of Contemporary Art and Penrith Regional Gallery Lewers Bequest (both 2007). She was an invited participant in Setouchi International Art Festival (2010) and Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial (2006).
Sue Pedley and Gail Kenning, Gallery 2, Installation shot
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.