Das Platforms / Contemporary Art

Boggling Point: ‘small works for a large universe’

by Julia Landrey

12 Apr 2011

‘Small works for a large universe’: Nicole Toms, Alex Jackson Wyatt, Peter Williamson, Tom Isaacs, Thomas C. Chung, Sue Story, Gilbert Grace, Melanie E. Khava, Alex Wisser, Georgina Pollard, Anthony Bartok, Ro Murray, Monica Levy, Adrian Clement, Kate Mackay, Lynn Cook, Steven Fasan, Ben Croser.

INDEX Gallery Feb 4-19th 2011

“I am one seven billionth of my global community” Wisser scrawls on the white walls, after bouts of reading the names from the white pages. His performance, There are more of us than there are stars, is one of eighteen contemporary works in this show at Index Gallery in St Peters.

While Wisser’s work hums on in the background: “A. Abode, A. Abode, A, Abode, B. Abode”, I walk around an exhibition laden with relativity. Many of the artists have responded expectantly to the theme of their art, and the place of art in the universe, by exploring aerial and distant perspectives, minute detailing and scales. It takes a discreet couple of minutes to find Clement’s work, entitled Suggestion, which warmly I find is a 1cm tall, text: “rhinoceros”, printed on clear tape and stuck to the wall.

Another leaded scrawl: “I am one twenty millionth of my Australian community” triggers the idea that world population, like breathing, are realities we are not conscious about unless we choose to be, or are forced to be. It’s boggling to try to consider certain scales and facts: that there are as many galaxies as grains of sand on a beach; that we each have 80,000 thoughts a day; that we are consciously aware of 2000 bits of information a second (to do with our body, temperature, the environment, our next event) and yet that there are 400 billion bits of information we are absorbing every second. Billions of our thoughts, information processing, and fellow people are out of sight out of conscious mind. How many people do you know and interact with on a weekly basis? What about the other 6 999 999 000? And what the heck is happening in our subconscious?

Well, I like to imagine it is something a lot like an art gallery, performance space, or a realm of dreams where what might usually cause us to furrow our brows instead may cause us to smile or raise a quizzical eyebrow; where the universality of dialects of symbol, gesture, and emotion, override restrictive bounds of local language. Dreams of teeth crumbling, of flying, or of fire share meaning across the globe. Pollard’s work, Sample, three snap lock bags filled with bright acrylic house paint that are pinned to the wall, offers the description “Dear Alien it’s really just about colour”. This puts a potential intergalactic invitation for Aliens to communicate with us through experimentation with one of our most malleable materials, on the lips.

While alien communication is not what we always mull over while we brush our teeth in the morning. The process of walking into an art space, suspending our everyday ways of being, invites a conversation and recognition between what’s on the shelf in our subconscious and the artists’.

Just like the fatal fate of the proverbial frog I got gradually warmed at Index revelations bubbled to the point where I could die a welcome death. Leaving behind my skins and feasting on the small work portions of self-knowing and the boggling mysteries of stars.