Everything Falls Apart, at Sydney’s Artspace, explores perceptions of political and ideological systems collapsing around the world. Curated by Mark Feary and Blair French, the exhibition is presented in two installments and brings together several prominent international and Australian artists. Pointing to worldwide occurrences, Part I looks broadly at the disintegration of ecological and cultural belief systems. Part II, on exhibition in August this year, involves more locally based artists and links the international backdrop closer to individual narratives and local contexts. The works in Part I incorporate several significant recent and historical global activities, challenging viewers to re-generate future possibilities for today’s society.
New York based filmmaker Jem Cohen presents Little Flags – 12 ‘newsreels’ that explore the rise and decline of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Cohen’s style is described as a ‘video-essay’ – an un-edited recording that reflects the event from a personal perspective. The work captures the initial impulse and energy of the grassroots movement, then chronicles the momentum of the protest through to periods when it began to diminish. By charting this entire build-up and breakdown, Cohen considers the necessary failure of many revolutionary movements.
From a local perspective, Sarah Goffman looks at how the Occupy movement shifted around the world. Occupy Sydney is a collection of cardboard signs based on protesters’ placards and presented in an installation covering a gallery wall. With an accumulation of handmade statements, Goffman turns the slogans into a witty, poetic and engaging textual work, in turn questioning the aims and agendas of the protesters, and the legacy of what remains after the event.
Marxism Today by Phil Collins comprises several interviews with former teachers of Marxist theories in Berlin and Russia. Collins focused on three individuals who have taken on new and diverse roles in today’s society, from banking to setting up a dating service. The interviews are biographical accounts of their lives, intersected with archival footage of classroom lessons, combining contemporary reflections with lost heritage. The work reveals how Communism still exists in the mind-set of Germany today.
Chronoscope, 1951, 11pm, by collaborative duo Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck and Media Farzin, is based on ‘Longines Chronoscope’ – one of America’s first infotainment programs of the 1950s. Yazbeck and Farzin re-contextualise the TV footage of men discussing the political and economic state of the world, in the spirit of 1951. The work explores the early endeavours that ultimately lead to today’s unrest in the Middle East and the rise of terrorism against the west.
Everything Falls Apart (Part I) is an intense collection of works that reconsider the structure of international social systems and political regimes. The show considers the aftermath of specific events, leaving us to consider the future based on our current actions. By incorporating personal narratives through the works, the exhibition directs these questions to us as individuals. It challenges the way current revolutionary events are being played out now, recognising the failure of past events and proposing a re-generation of new ideas for future society.
June 27 to August 5, 2012
Sarah Goffman, Occupy Sydney, 2011, installation view. Courtesy the artist and The Cross Art Projects, Sydney.
Jem Cohen, Little Flags, 1991-2000, still from super 8mm transferred to DVD. Courtesy the artist and Gravity Hill Films, New York.