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1001 nights cast archive edition



Barbara Campbell

1961 -


Barbara Campbell has been working with performance since the early 1980s across live, documented and broadcast modes. Her major work '1001 nights cast' unfolded over three years, from 2005-2008, and involved Campbell webcasting a story 'live into the ether' every night for 1001 consecutive nights. The stories were written by hundreds of collaborators who responded to a brief text prompt that Campbell had pulled from the day's newspapers, specifically from stories about events in the Middle East. The spoken stories could only be witnessed in real time; the watercolour prompts and written texts that form the basis of this print edition remain as both original 'scripts' and archival traces.

The expansive structure of the work takes its cue from the famous anthology of stories The Arabian nights also known as the 1001 nights, a provisional, evolving compendium of tales by anonymous authors which evokes 'the East' as an abstract, imaginary realm. The larger narrative which frames this book is one of storytelling for survival: the young woman Scheherazade stalls her execution by weaving an endless story of such intrigue the King Shahriyar eventually grants her a reprieve.

In Campbell's words: "1001 nights cast is a project generated by the forces of The 1001 nights: the theatrics of the voiced story, the need for framing devices, the strategies for survival, the allure of the Middle East and its contrasting realities."




Media category


Materials used

colour printed using an HP Indigo 5500 digital offset printer on satin 170gsm stock


archive edition 5/10


dimensions variable

Signature & date

Signed l.r. [part a], pencil "B Campbell". Not dated.


Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2015


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Barbara Campbell

Works in the collection


Referenced in 5 publications


Barbara Campbell, TDR: The Drama Review, 'The movement of ghosts: 1001 nights cast', pg. 2-3, Spring 2009, 2-3.

Barbara Campbell., The Live Art Almanac, 'Travels through 1001 nights cast', London, 2008.

Jane Goodall, Artlink, 'The virus and the oracle: words as signs', pg. 22-25, Henley Beach, Mar 2007, 22 (colour illus.), 23 (colour illus.), 25.

Branislava Kuburovic, Performance research: on duration, 'Strange attractors: Barbara Campbell's 1001 nights cast', pg. 31-33, Oct 2012, 31-33.

Barbara Campbell with Norrie Neumark., Unsitely aesthetics: uncertain practices in contemporary art, 'In conversation', Berlin, 2013. Surface Tension Supplement no 6