SCA Galleries, University of Sydney.
Angelica brings together some key elements in my art practice – a critical interest in the body and a fascination with vision devices. In this work the image of a female body is mapped onto a modified factory chair. The lower torso forms the seat of the chair while the upper torso takes the place of the backrest. Beneath the surface of the body is another less recognisable image – an MRT scan of my own body. A thin wavering line, the shadow of my physical body cast across the projected images during filming, creates a transition from one image to the next.
I made this work after spending time in hospital. Hooked up to various diagnostic machines I was reminded of Donna Haraway's comment that today "machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert".1 The machines beeped and crackled as they probed and scanned. in contrast, I had to keep still and wait for the results. To my untrained eye, the MRI images appeared strangely robotic - as if the mechanical vision of the scanner had transformed my body into another machine.
I'm interested in the shift from analogue to machine vision and also in media representations of women. Images liinkng women and technology in popular culture often reveal a deep seated anxiety. For example, in Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis both women and technology are represented as a threat to life. Embodied in the false Maria, who when captured and burnt at the stake reveals her robot form, the film's message is that technology may be seductive but it is also out-of-control. In Angelica I aim to challenge that idea. Technology is not only an integral part of media culture, but with pharmacological and prosthetic aids it is increasingly incorporated into physical bodies.
1. Donna Haraway "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology and Socialist Feminism in the late Twentieth Century". In Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature by Donna Haraway (New York: Routledge, 1991) 152.
ANGELICA – Steel, perspex, video. 120 x 50 x 800cm