2016 Program pt 2

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Map to the Treasure

Map to the Treasure

Charlie Donaldson

Opening 05.10.16 6-8pm
Artist Talks 27.10.16 6-7pm

The way images exist and are consumed in the networked space of the Internet highlights a decisive turn away from traditional conceptions of the cultural significance of texts.

Preinternet visual culture utilised a linear narrative where images were published in newspapers, magazines, billboards, and TV programs at specific times. Now images are presented in a non-linear and interconnected space where they are named, marked and sorted. When we search or casually wander the Internet, our experience is running on a system of associations based off things you’ve purchased, videos you’ve watched, and articles you’ve read. However, these systems are rarely perfect, and often things can go awry, resulting magical extrapolations of what we seek to answer, purchase, or learn. The bizarre ability of these systems to create humorous, strange, and often dangerous associations through chance and data mining has quickly become a visual language in itself. Research into visual responses to this language is an emerging and important voice in contemporary art.

My practice is interested in the relationship between online systems of association and the role of magical thinking within our current cultural climate. Magical thinking within the rubric of psychology is the association between actions and images, which cannot be reasonably justified. This kind of faulty psychology is analogous to the current state of online associative systems designed to sell you things and to pander to your desires. The intersection of magical thinking and associative systems form the framework of my research manifested as collage- and installation-based practice. Magical thinking allows the connections formed in archival collage to become entangled in empirical histories and imagined narratives. The information we glean from images is underpinned by our engagement with images being increasingly defined by their ability to connect with each other.

My aim is to explore how I can take control of these associative systems to reveal something hidden about our world.


Charlie Donaldson was born in 1991 in Brisbane, where he lives and works today. Donaldson studied a Bachelor of Photography at Griffith University in Brisbane from 2009 to 2012 and returned in 2014 to Griffith University in order to complete his Honours classification. He has exhibited across a range of Brisbane cultural institutions including the Queensland Centre of Photography and MetroArts. Currently, his practice is continues ongoing research into the intersection of online systems of association and storytelling. Donaldson was twice selected as a finalist in the graduate art prize at Griffith University in 2012 and 2014, as well as a finalist in the inaugural Laundrie art prize in 2015. In 2016 he has produced a collaborative installation with Spencer Harvie at MetroArts in Brisbane, participated in a residency at Arteles in Finland, and has exhibited work at two group exhibitions. In August, Donaldson was a finalist in the Churchie national emerging art prize at the QUT Art Museum in Brisbane, and held his first solo exhibition at Cut Thumb gallery in Brisbane.

Earlier Event: September 7
Later Event: November 2
Athena in Thorns