Artificial Islands (Interior Archipelago)
Opening 11.01.17 6-8pm
Artist Talks 27.01.17 6-7pm
Artificial Islands (Interior Archipelago) is a manufactured landscape – a sand monument replica of the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Tracing a line from the mythic (and mostly male) earthworks and conceptual artists of the ‘70s – from Robert Smithson to Bas Jan Ader – to the territorial claims and artificial geographies of the South China Seas and Dubai, Artificial Islands (Interior Archipelago) explores the power dynamics and politics at play in making and marking space. What does it look like to represent a site, a self, a culture or a state?
Within the Anthropocene (the ‘Age of Man’), our current unofficial but widely accepted geological epoch, the border between nature and culture and the ‘authentic’ and ‘artificial’ is becoming increasingly unstable, even irrelevant. From Smithson’s Spiral Jetty to Dubai’s artificial islands, artists and powerbrokers mark and make territory to express selfhood and sovereignty. Compressing time and conflating art-making with island-building, Artificial Islands reflects the speculative aesthetics of the near future.
As Shumon Basar writes, Dubai is a ‘City from Zero’, the ultimate site of globalisation, hyper-capital and artificial ecology. Dubai boasts the world’s largest marina, motorway intersection, shopping centre and skyscraper. It may already have broken the record for the most world records. Dubai is also one of the world’s most intense building sites: 12-hour construction shifts merge into unpaid overtime, 6-7 days a week, 365 days a year – only stopping for prayer time.
Who builds paradise? Does one man’s exploitation and hard labour equal another man’s luxury? Artificial Islands (Interior Archipelago) is built by local workers remunerated at the average daily rate of a Dubai construction worker* under the supervision of Eugenia Lim.
*(53 UAE dirhams per day or AU$19 per day)
Eugenia Lim works across video, performance and installation to explore the formation of nationalism and stereotypes with a critical but humorous eye. Lim invents personas to explore the tensions of an individual within society – the alienation and belonging in a globalised world. Her work has been exhibited internationally at festivals and venues including the Tate Modern, Dark MOFO, Melbourne Festival, Next Wave, GOMA, ACMI, HUN Gallery NY, FACT Liverpool and EXiS Seoul. She has been artist-in-residence with the Experimental Television Centre NY, Bundanon Trust, 4A Beijing Studio with Shen Shaomin and in late 2016, will be in-residence with the Robin Boyd Foundation. Currently, she is working towards The People’s Currency, a major performance commission with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art for AsiaTOPA 2017. Collaboration, artistic community and the intersection between art and society informs her practice: she co-directed the inaugural Channels: the Australian Video Art Festival (2013), is a board member at Next Wave (2013–current), the founding editor of Assemble Papers (2011–2016) and co-founded temporal art collective Tape Projects (2007–2013). Her work is held in private and public collections internationally. She holds a Bachelor of Media Arts (Hons.) RMIT University and a Bachelor of Creative Arts, VCA / University of Melbourne.