video installation, 2011. 52min, on loop

‘You can’t own a landscape’ (Arthur Boyd)

Us, Ours: Them, Theirs is inspired by the biological and sociologically imperatives of all living organisms to seek out, claim and maintain territory.

In the video two young men carry a palanquin burdened with totemic objects of the philosophical aspirations of colonization and sovereignty; caricatures of the markings and defence of territory.

The two young men carry this litter in and out of a series of single frame scenes shot in the natural surrounds of Arthur Boyd’s Bundanon Trust. Some of Boyd’s favourite portraiture subjects are noticeable in various scenes of the video.

Each scene makes for a new contested site, between the two figures and the natural territories of the land, and a new contested sight (of the camera and viewers gaze) with the trajectory of the litter offsetting the composition of the frame with an oppositional refrain.

This video captures a performance of which no one was present to witness; except for a camera, which remains unmoved for the entirety of each shot and makes for the performance of the two men to happen entirely in isolation. They play roles that mimic with a DIY aesthetic the stereotype and caricature of the conquest of the Spaniards to El Dorado in the Werner Herzog film Aguirre, Wrath of God. The subject of each landscape is manipulated and re-ordered by simply allowing the quest of the foreign subjects to the frame pass through in real time. Their quest is a vain one. Their means for claiming sovereignty are draconian and a fiction based on humankinds deeming of ownership and not natures. And they are but an insignificant speck against the landscape.

Exhibited as part of solo exhibition Me: Mine at Firstdraft Gallery

Me: Mine catalogue