We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Title

Techno/Dumb/Show

1991

Artists

John Gillies

Australia

1960 -

Sydney Front

Australia

1986 - 1993

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Sydney New South Wales Australia
    Date
    1991
    Media categories
    Time-based art , Installation
    Materials used
    single channel digital video, colour, black and white, sound
    Edition
    un-editioned
    Dimensions
    duration: 00:20:49 min, aspect ratio: 16:9
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    219.2013
    Copyright
    © John Gillies

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    John Gillies

    Works in the collection

    1

    Artist information
    Sydney Front

    Works in the collection

    1

    Share
  • About

    John Gilles' 'Techno/Dumb/Show' is a pioneering example of 1990s video art in Australia. It was created over three months with the avant-garde theatre group The Sydney Front. Gillies encouraged the performers to self-direct their actions in front of the camera. This reversal of performer/viewer relationship references a critique of the camera and its perceived use for surveillance and control. In other ways this work draws on the tropes of cinema and theatre to question the nature of melodrama via non-narrative means.

    Visually textured and multi-layered by the condensed use of montage, this work focuses on the improvisatory actions of its performers to explore the full spectrum of human emotion and bodily expression. Theatrical even histrionic gestures of the face, body and hands convey dismay, horror and an array of conflicting emotions. As Marie Craven wrote in 1996 "It's an aggressive piece that takes the repetition of gestures and details to ecstatic heights. The human actions captured in the piece - a man riding a bicycle, another conducting an orchestra, to name a couple - become amazing conductors of energy. The simple actions are performed with great gusto, an almost demented physicality. Gillies edits the piece in virtuosic style. It's a work-out, this video." (Marie Craven 'Mesh' issue #10, 1996)

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Sydney

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 11 publications