ADAM NORTON

Projects

2021

Giant Badges - City of Sydney
06 January – 01 March
City of Sydney, Barrack St

 + EXTENDED UNTIL MARCH 2022 + For Barrack Street I decided it would be a great idea to mount some of my Giant Badges onto lampposts and make them appear to be like giant lollipops planted above the heads of people walking by. The badges also needed to be printed with archival inks to survive the outdoor conditions. This gave me a fresh opportunity to respond directly to a shift in the nature of the course of the pandemic.


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2020

Giant Badges
24 June – 19 July 2020
Galerie pompom

I always have a favourite badge attached to a well-liked jacket. Currently my jackets sport the badges ‘Mars or Bust’, ‘New Mexico’, ‘End Coal’ and the boyishly entertaining 

‘Arizona Sheriff’. The right badge on the right jacket stills seems to me to be cool. A mini snapshot of my intellectual and aesthetic progress at any one time.


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2019

Giant Leap
20 July – 08 September 2019
Casula Powerhouse

'Giant Leap', Casula Powerhouse, 2019, marks the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which saw the first human step foot on another planetary object. The exhibition brings together documentary material from the era and new commissioned artworks celebrating the human desire to reach out to the stars. 'Space Couch Family' represents the artist's own family cast as a set of three unique space seats, each one moulded into the individual's exact shape, and prepared with their own personal effects. Although they are built in a similar way to the method used for Soviet seats now, all the parts are sourced from ordinary home renovation depots.


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Meteor Crater
Cementa 19, Kandos, New South Wales

On Thursday the 21st of November, at 10am local time, a meteor struck the rural town of Kandos, New South Wales. It landed with a very loud explosion, which rattled windows in the town and scared cattle grazing in a nearby field. By a huge stroke of luck it managed to miss all people, animals or buildings. Although the meteor has yet to be excavated, it created a 20 meter wide crater, over 3 meters in depth. Scientists rushed to the scene but the center of the crater was too hot to approach, and was still smoking days after landing. The scientists remain baffled as to the celestial origin of the meteor. Visiting Artist Adam Norton saw the whole thing, and when asked to comment replied, "I thought my number was up, but it landed meters in front of me, I was enjoying a cold beer in the hot weather".


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2018

Blank Spaces for the Imagination
30 January – 18 February 2018
Bondi Pavilion Gallery, Sydney, NSW

A Waverley Artist Studios Project featuring Maz Dixon, Philjames, Kate Mitchell, Adam Norton, Sean Rafferty.

A curatorial project presenting the work of five current and former Waverley Artist Studios artists, Blank Spaces
for the Imagination presents the work of artists who explore, map or chart unrealised spaces as a means of altering
our perception of the world. Curated by Elizabeth Reidy and Todd Fuller


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New Flags
23 January – 28 January 2018
18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, CA

These works produced on residency at 18th Street Arts Center, Australian artist Adam Norton uses postcard images to extend out the picture plane and produce broader paintings that take on the flat aspects of flags. The found images mostly consist of iconic American geography that has been mediated by the hand of man - cityscapes, bridges, landscapes such as Mount Rushmore - and contain mechanical and technical architectures of large scale engineering and manipulation. Norton places these small postcard images into the new context of a larger, planar landscape. This process isolates the original image within a new two-dimensional space and lends the new complete image a flag-like quality, whilst retaining a tension between the three-dimensional quality of the original image and the flat color field of the new picture plane.

January 2018


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2017

New Earths
20 April – 17 May 2017
Gallerysmith, Melbourne

As a dyslexic kid I learnt to read from my collection of comic books aided and abetted by billboards viewed from the back seat of my parents’ car. With both these visual aids the early clues to the meaning of words were revealed to me by first ‘reading’ the image and then attaching that meaning to the shape of the letters nearby. This interest in the relationship of the meaning of things to the imagery of them possibly made me into the type of artist I have become. Much of the source material for my works comes from signposts, book covers, film posters and postcards, the visual ephemera of the everyday.


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Beyond Belief: the Sublime in Contemporary Art
31 March – 17 June 2017
Bathurst Regional Art Gallery

Bathurst Regional Art Gallery 31 March – 4 June 2017 From the C17th onwards there has been a recurring preoccupation with the idea of an art that inspires awe and wonder: the sublime. Historically associated with the natural landscape it remains to contemporary artists using elements of hyper realism, trompe l’oeil, scale, illogic and biology to reinvent the concept of the sublime for modern audiences. Artists include: Daniel Askill, Daniel Crooks, Michael Gallop, Sam Jinks, Christopher Langton, Ron Mueck, Adam Norton, Baden Pailthorpe, Patricia Piccinini and Ricky Swallow. A Bathurst Regional Art Gallery exhibition by Richard Perram OAM

www.bathurstart.com.au


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Open the pod bay doors please, HAL
15 March – 09 April 2017
Galerie pompom

-Open the pod-bay doors please Hal
-Open the pod-bay doors please Hal
-Hello Hal, do you read me?
-Hello Hal, do you read me? Do you read me Hal?
-Do you read me Hal?
-Hello Hal, do you read me?
-Hello Hal, do you read me? Do you read me, Hal?
-Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
-Open the pod-bay doors, Hal.
-I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.


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2016

Black Mist, Burnt Country
01 September – 10 February 2016
Touring Nationally

On 27 September 1956 the British exploded an atomic bomb in the southern part of the Great Victoria Desert of South Australia. The place would become known as Maralinga. It was the first of seven British atomic tests in Australia in 1956 and 1957, which were followed by over 600 so called ‘minor tests’ with highly toxic substances such as plutonium and beryllium until 1963. The Maralinga tests were indeed not the first the British Government conducted on Australian territory. Three atomic devices were detonated in the Montebello archipelago off the coast of Western Australia further two in Emu, about 400 km north of Maralinga. Yet, it was the term Maralinga, an Aboriginal word for thunder, the tests have been associated with and which gave this dark part of Australian history its iconic name. Atomic testing in Australia resulted in the forced removal of its original inhabitants, the Anangu / Pitjantjatjarra, from their traditional lands, the desecration and destruction of country and the exposure of its desert people, military and civil personnel to radiation while causing radioactive fall-out across the Australian continent. 


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Daejeon Biennale 2016: COSMOS – THE FUTURE AND BEYOND
26 July – 20 November 2016
Daejeon Museum Of Art, Republic Of Korea

The main theme in Project Daejeon 2016 is the cosmos. The universe, which holds endless, unsolved secrets, has continuously inspired the human imagination and is being rigorously explored by scientists, whose findings show extraordinary scientific truths about the origin of humanity, evolution, and life. The scientific question of the life of a galaxy from birth to death, in fact, goes back to the fundamental question of human beings, “what is our place in the universe?” The quest for the origins of life in the universe has certainly enriched the language of art by inspiring many artists. Such fundamental interaction between artistic imagination and scientific truth is the kind of the collaboration between art and science that we pursue in the Project.


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WAR A Playground Perspective
14 May – 14 August 2016
Newington Armory, Sydney

Below the streets of towns and cities across the world are the forgotten spaces of past military conflicts—detritus of old wars, or of periods of fear and threat such as the Cold War. Exploring the margins of a city, one can come across overgrown and heavily reinforced doorways leading to some subterranean world of unknown design and use.


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2015

'New Works'
29 July – 22 August 2015
Gallery 9, Sydney

As a dyslexic kid I remember learning to read from the billboards viewed out of the back seat of my parents’ car with a comic book spread over my knees. The first clues to the meaning of words were gleaned by first ‘reading’ the image and then attaching that meaning to the shape of the letters. This interest in the relationship to the meaning of imagery possibly made me into an artist and has continued to have a profound impact on my art practice.


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My Trip To Mars
28 July – 28 August 2015
UTS Gallery, Sydney

The First Man on Mars

In 1948 German American rocket scientist Wernher von Braun published Das Marsprojekt(The Mars Project), a technical manual detailing a potential future manned mission to Mars described as being among the most influential and accomplished books on the subject in history. Von Braun, who was later called to account for his affiliation with Nazism, described in great detail how a fleet of ten spacecraft manned by seventy scientists and astronauts could journey to Mars, find a landing site and establish a base camp for further exploration. The launch date for this ambitious mission, von Braun speculated, could be as early as 1965.


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2014

Conquest Of Space - Sicience Fiction In Contemporary Art
22 May – 05 July 2014
Galleries UNSW, Paddington, New South Wales

Conquest of Space: Science Fiction & Contemporary Art features more than 40 artworks exploring important stories in the history of the science fiction genre.

This exhibition reveals previously unexplored intersections between science fiction (SF) and art. Science fiction and art have long been connected by a set of related interests such as technology and formal expressions.


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This set of works forms the next chapter in a series of large text works based on the subject of space and all things to do with the great unknown. 

The paintings fall into two groups, those based directly on obscure UFOlogy books and pamphlets, and the large text works. The book works enlarged as paintings on canvas re-invent themselves declaring a new future for their subject matter. The titles of old space and ufology books and self published alien contactee pamphlets become source material for new myth making and sloganeering about humankind’s place in the cosmos. 


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2013

Interplanetary Society
20 February – 16 March 2013
Gallery 9, Sydney

Fly me to the moon

Let me play among the stars,

Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars…

Adam Norton’s exhibition Interplanetary Society deals primarily with two cultural artifacts with long histories: painting and our romanticism with space. More specifically Norton is rediscovering and recalibrating a particularly modern understanding of both painting and space exploration. In the post-modern period the utopian aspects of modernism were parodied and questioned; in contemporary painting this ironic stance cannot be put back into the bottle but it is tempered by a more studied and thoughtful approach to modernism as something that was pluralistic, complicated and anxious as well as hopeful.


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Space Posters contain a set of six colour posters based on the covers from a range of 20th Century Space Science and space speculation books. They are printed by Blood and Thunder Press, with durable soy ink on acid free paper. Edition of 50, with 5 AP.


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2012

A light-weight portable habitation unit designed for easy assembly after arrival on the planet Mars. Based on the traditional nomadic Yurt, the circular walls support a conical roof. Another design influence was the various solid insulation shelters used at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, USA. This version includes a weather station, communications ariel, interior lighting and the official Mars Flag. Some homely photographs of the artist in his Mars Utility Suit visiting various tourists sites on Earth are also included.


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The Mars Project
Broken Hill, NSW

The Mars Project is a video work which use the theme of space travel to explore the Australian landscape. The Mars Project is the result of a residency in Broken Hill in 2012. Funded by The Artist & Curator in Residence Grant Program, which is supported by the Copyright Agency Limited’s Cultural Fund, and managed by Museums and Galleries NSW. The Mars Project was made with the help and support of the Staff at the Broken Hill Regional Gallery


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Virtual Reality Simulator
19 February – 18 March 2012
Cockatoo Island, Sydney

Anybody who grew up playing with video games in the 1980's will recognize this installation. As you enter the space you appear to be inside an early generation computer game. With the electric green grid marks and the fluro block-like tank. You are physically inside your virtual Commodore 64 or Pac Man video game. Installation from Drawing lines in the Sand, Cockatoo Island, curated by Claire Taylor.

photo credit - Craig Bender


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2011

Mars Gravity Simulator
15 April – 14 May 2011
Performance Space, Sydney

Awfully Wonderful - Science Fiction in Contemporary Art, Performance Space, Sydney

Mars Gravity Simulator is a fully functioning experiment adapted from the design of Apollo-era lunar gravity simulators, but made for Martian conditions. It can be used to assess the maneuverability of astronauts at a gravity approximately 40% that of Earth gravity, as well as to study gait changes for those conditions. Locomotion styles copied from Apollo landing footage were tested for speed and efficacy and conclusions were drawn as to the most affective gait for human bipedal locomotion in Mars gravity.

Mars Gravity Simulator is a real art/science crossover project. It is a hugely engaging performance work that draws the audience into a complex area of scientific activity. The work suggests there is a parallel between exploration and the creative imagination by presenting a purely scientific experiment in a major art venue. The technical ‘beauty’ of the work becomes something to admire.

Mars Gravity Simulator was commissioned for the exhibition 'Awfully Wonderful: Science Fiction in Contemporary Art’, 15th April - 14th May, 2011, Performance Space, Sydney.


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Extraterrestrial Highway
31 March – 23 April 2011
Gallerysmith, Melbourne

Extraterrestrial Highway

Extraterrestrial Highway, in Nevada, is the semi-official title of an ordinary strip of desert highway that runs north east of Las Vegas and ends at the ghost town of Warm Springs. It is well known in UFO circles because of the very high number of strange sightings seen along its route. These events are often alleged to be connected to the top secret military research establishment at Groom Lake, otherwise known as ‘Area 51’. Part way along the highway a dirt tracks heads off west into the hills that screen the secret testing facility from the main road. In another part of this huge restricted area the US government let off 900 plus nuclear bombs during the cold war era.

13,000 kilometers away, the Stuart Highway runs 315 km past the British nuclear test sites at Maralinga, then sweeps on south past the Woomera Prohibited Area and the old rocket launch facilities at Lake Hart. Like Groom lake, it is mostly desert landscape isolated from large populations and with access prohibited to ordinary citizens. Travelling along these highways the old signage marks the borders between the different types of human exploitation of the landscape. Places we are not allowed to go or see, typographic markers to 60 years of secret missile, aeronautical and space research.

Recreating these signs unhinges them from their purely practical function and gives them a new totemic meaning. This meaning wobbles between the written content on the signs with all its historical associations, the supposed dangers of the ‘badlands’, and their new function as paintings about these landscapes. Although now removed from their origins, they chart the history of the areas they served and the aspirations and fears of the people that erected them. They are marked, scratched and stained by their time supposedly spent upon it.

Adam Norton, February, 2011


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2010

Ad Astra
21 July – 14 August 2010
Gallery 9

‘From the vicinity of the moon on the way home I had a sense of awe at the wonder of the universe and sensed an interconnectedness that was beyond my previous experience. Perceiving the separate galaxies and galactic clusters and stars and planets but knowing that somehow they were interconnected - and feeling a sense of wonder and joy and buoyancy associated with that insight - I came to realize that our story of ourselves as told by science and our religious cosmologies was incomplete and flawed and that we needed a new story to answer the questions in the space age of who we are, how we got here and where we’re going.’

Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 Lunar Module pilot and sixth person to walk on the Moon

‘Ad astra’, or ‘to the stars’, is an exhibition of acrylic paintings dealing with mankind’s attempts to reach the stars, both physically and metaphorically. The works try to discover common cause between the widely differing interests of interplanetary groups, from the strictly hard science of the modern space industry to the more exotic beliefs of ufologists and fellow travellers. The works in this exhibition also touch on some of the secrecies and paranoia inherent in such activity.


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Road Trip
07 May – 12 June 2010
Gallerysmith, Melbourne

Road Trip is an imagined work about a possible post apocalyptic future history of the world. A recognisable life-size copy of a standard Land Rover has been made from recycled plastic and wooden stakes. Inside it contains a motley collection of chairs and stools, an old wooden crate and a slide projector. The seating faces the windscreen of the vehicle and on the windscreen the slide projector plays an endless carrousel of typical road movie images.This car seems to have been built by someone who has never seen or been inside a real working motor car, perhaps they have only ever seen a dog-eared photograph of the vehicle, hence the apparent lack of detail of the interior and the non- functioning of any single part. This Land Rover will only ever rove over the countryside on the back of a horse or cart as it wanders from one post apocalyptical village to another. It is nothing but a fairground ride, built by a fading civilization. The piece has a quasi-nostalgic quality reflected in the fact that the car is stationary and goes nowhere but it is built from the few remaining plastic scraps from a previous society. The images playing on the temporary screen range from cityscapes of New York and Los Angeles to deserted highways of the American West, and together resemble some demented Jack Kerouac road movie. In fact the imagery includes: The elevated L train from Long Island, New York City; Sunset Boulevard in North Hollywood; Route 66, from California through to New Mexico. All images have the iconic look of scenes from American road movies.


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A painted series of logos from many of the worlds space agencies, centred onto the middle of a sheet of watercolour paper, they appear to become flags. 

The complete installation has the look of a United Nations of Space Agencies. Perhaps a herald of the future, when the off-world planets are ruled by all the 
space-faring nations of Earth. Acrylic on paper, 27 x (57 cm x 76 cm)


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2008 - 2010

The work consists of 16 acrylic paintings and 16 found objects or books. The paintings are facsimiles of a range of small instructional books, arranged with their corresponding pair on five narrow shelves. The title of the work confuses the different meanings between a painting and a book. A painted copy of a book is not a book so therefore it must be a lie to pretend its a book. However, some of the books are of marginal instructional worth and a therefore not completely true either. Also, as the paintings are close enough copies of their books, a nice little perceptual feedback loop is set of as the viewer is drawn into checking to see which of the pairs of works are the book and which is the painting.


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2009

Bunkers
01 June – 30 September 2009

A series of painted works based on existing Bunker doors explored and photographed in two cities a month apart. It is the record of a series of separate walks taken in Sydney and Los Angeles. The first set of walks around the old Bunker Hill district of Downtown Los Angeles, looking for traces of the cheap rental district described in the novels of John Fante and Charles Bukowski.

The second set of walks ranged around in Sydney, traced the war-time fortifications that dot the three headlands that protect the harbor. These fortifications, derelict since the second world war where periodically renewed and updated whenever Australia or the commonwealth found its self at war.

The connection between the two is initially just the word bunker, and then the discovery of the contemporary bunker on Bunker Hill, and the WW2 bunkers on Sydney's South Head. Then some strange overlap around the 1930's. John Fante's novel, 'Ask The Dust' was published in 1939. In my head, the two places mysteriously join.


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Big Painting
Fraser Studios

2008

The Great Reclaimation
06 September – 05 October 2008
Pictura, Dordrecht, The Netherlands

‘History is a race between education and catastrophe.’  - H.G.Wells

 

Since the tyranny of the age of Newton, and the barbarism of the 

terrible ‘redundancy’, we have seen nothing but the fragile pinnacle 

of a previous civilisation pitched into the undergrowth. We dumbly 

ignored the old machines and ideas that were decaying at our feet.


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Big Science
11 June – 28 July 2008

The term Big Science is usually attributed to an article by Alvin M. Weinberg, the director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, (producer of The United States Military grade Uranium). This was in response to US president, Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address, in which the departing U.S. president warned against the dangers of what he called the "military-industrial complex" and the potential domination of the Federal government by large corporations and military industrialists. It basically alludes to scientific projects that require the resources of an entire modern nation to accomplish national strategic goals. US nuclear missile technology and the Apollo Space program being two interlinked projects. The term 'two edged sword' is tailor made to describe the scientific advances generated by these huge technological feats.


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Commissioned by The City of Sydney for Live Lanes – By George! Between the 10th and 24th of October 2008, three armoured personnel carriers rumbled through the laneways of Sydney’s CBD, parking up for the day, then moving on again to a new site at night. They were manned by ex-Australian defence force personnel decked out in black overalls and military boots. The drivers were asked to keep a distance from the public whilst they went through their daily maintenance procedures and rituals, as if deployed on foreign soil. Tank Project was designed specifically for the general public who might stumble upon the tanks in the course of their day, and pause to question what was going on around them. Tank Project is a reminder of the security we take for granted in the western world, a security not shared by citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria at this present time. Tank Project was managed by Claire Taylor.


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2007

The Visitors: The Australian response to aliens and UFOs, Penrith Regional Art Gallery, 2007. This work is basically a research piece. This work is a visual presentation of all the research I have conducted about the New Mexican town of Roswell, USA and attached to a time line from 25,000 years ago until the present time. I visited Roswell in 2007, and collected anything I could find about the town that might shed some light onto why the town has become such a centre for Alien Conspiracy Stories/history. I think it is deeply significant that the The 509th Bomb Group were stationed at the Walker Airforce Base at Roswell during the UFO crash incident. The 509th were responsible for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


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2005 - 2008

This set of paintings were made over a three year period using reference material from the web magazines and 
newspapers. Historical UFO sightings and a military night vision image painted with the blur left in so that the 
mystery of the subject is the main focus of the work.


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Camouflage Suit Experiment
Hazelhurst Regional Gallery

Six hooded overalls were made from various domestic fabrics, together with canvas shoes painted to match. The artist was filmed wearing the different suits and shoes, trying to fit into or hide in different places around the landscape of the Cronulla peninsular, including the beach where the riots kicked off. The film plays inside the open lid of an old suitcase, surrounded by a display of the suits. The audience can then make a judgment on the effectiveness of each disguise and whether or not the artist fits into the different locations. Camouflage Suit Experiment was made in response to the Cronulla race riots in New South Wale in 2005. The footage for the work was filmed in the area, whilst on a residency at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, and shown there in Our Lucky Country, Still Different in 2009. The Exhibition was curated by
Ron and George Adams.


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2005

Hand built into a 1930s bedroom wardrobe, the Generic Escape Capsule (G.E.C.) is a one-person survival unit designed to blend into the domestic environment of a normal household without raising any suspicion. The rather cramped conditions contain all the basic necessities of life. Stored within the G.E.C. are fourteen days’ supply of food and water, a sleeping area with a makeshift toilet and a camping kitchen with mini-sink and drain. With its independent battery operated lighting the occupier can read through the survival handbook or first aid manual. With the adjustable periscope, the occupier can hide away until any external threat or danger has passed. The G.E.C. is also supplied with a first aid kit, a small tool kit and sewing kit for running repairs, and a pack of cards for entertainment.

Superficially the G.E.C. is extremely practical but at the same time it is patently absurd. The single occupancy suggests a lonely paranoia running out of control and the domestic origins of the object places that paranoia inside the home. The work can be seen as a response to the geo-political unease, which swept through the early part of the decade following the 9/11 attack on New York in 2001.
Total of 12 glass mounted prints, 20 cm x 20 cm - Collection of Griffith University Art Gallery.


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