The ordering of worlds: two recent video works by Stella Brennan
Reading Room, 4, .
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This essay is about two single-channel digital video artworks by Auckland artist Stella Brennan, South Pacific (2007, 11 minutes), made with David Perry, and The Middle Landscape (2009, 10.30 mins). In rather different ways, these meditative works, which combine imagery, on-screen text and sound, speak to, from and of the necessary but historically necessarily tragic ordering of the world that every human and technical action produces. Art is charged with imagining and perhaps putting into practice orders other than those we inherit. For moving image media, the inherited order is inescapably tied up with the heritage of classical Hollywood cinema, directly in the case of South Pacific with Rogers and Hammerstein's musical, more loosely through the cinema's fascination with landscape from the Western to Middle Earth. Brennan's art reconsiders the order of the world, re-orienting it around a Pacific perspective, from which order no longer appears as static structure, but as a imagination of other futures.
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