2016 Program pt 2

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Thoughtless Extravagance

Thoughtless Extravagance

Caroline Garcia

Opening 02.11.16 6-8pm
Artist Talks 25.11.16 6-7pm

Thoughtless Extravagance refers to a desire to splurge during critical times. This exhibition adopts the format of an immersive installation built around the concept of a Palengke, a type of public marketplace that is common throughout the Philippines. A series of sculptural tableaux and video works create the framework for this cultural milieu, in order to interrogate the hierarchies of taste, class and race.

The title of the exhibition is taken from The Civil Code of the Philippines that operates to protect people from each other, in this case, prohibiting any incidents of ‘thoughtless extravagance.’ The rationale for this legal provision outlines: “when the rich indulge in pleasure or display during a period of acute public want or emergency, they may unwittingly kindle the flame of unrest in the hearts of the poor who thereby become more keenly conscious of their privation and poverty and who may rise against the obvious inequality.” (Tolentino, I Civil Code of the Philippines (1990), pp. 91)
In Thoughtless Extravagance, a playful choreography emerges through the assemblage of disparate objects and images that include banal, everyday items, sculptural reproductions of tropical produce made from skin-whitening soaps, samples of popular culture and anthropological artifacts. These encompassing elements also function as markers of culture and class, and their arrangements merge the language of museology with kitsch sensibilities, nouveau riche aesthetics, and colonial ideologies of beauty and the Tropics.

Thoughtless Extravagance offers the eccentricities of tropical paradise, and its intoxicating colour, sound, movement and hospitality. It negotiates the complex relationship between cultural aesthetic and economic value by questioning exploitative social systems, especially notions of labour, privilege, wealth inequity, colourism and authorship. Thoughtless Extravagance is a space that carries histories of colonisation and seeks to confront contemporary consumer culture and capitalist imperialism, as well as the commodification of race, the shortcomings of anthropology and the impossibility of not fetishising otherness.


Caroline Garcia (Sydney, NSW) is a culturally promiscuous, performance maker. She works across live performance and video through a hybridised aesthetic of cross-cultural dance, ritual practice, new media, and the sampling of popular culture and colonial imagery.

Caroline’s practice is shaped by alterity, echoing notions of cultural ambiguity and displacement by adopting the role of shape shifter – sliding into the gaps between cultures, experiences of otherness, and timeless clichés of exotic femininity. She takes an intersectional approach to contemporary dance (read: twerking), the politics of cultural identity and the diasporic body. She is concerned with forgotten choreographies, mimetic movement, alternate ways of viewing images of the past that eschew classical myths, and the cultural make up of the Filipina.

Caroline has presented at Underbelly Arts Festival, Channels: The Australian Video Art Festival (VIC), Proximity Festival (WA), Junction Arts Festival (TAS), MCA ARTBAR, Art Month Sydney, and PACT Centre for Emerging Artists, among others. She has exhibited at the ACMI, CCP, The Substation, Firstdraft, Sydney Contemporary, The Sydney Film Festival Hub and UTS ART. Caroline is currently developing a new multi-disciplinary work called Flygirl, as part of The Curtis R. Priem EMPAC Residency in New York, facilitated by Australia Council for the Arts.

Earlier Event: October 5
Later Event: December 2