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Jane Polkinghorne & Ingrid Stiertzel

Opening 05.04.17 6-8pm
Artist Talks 27.04.17 6-7pm

SADISCO, a conflation of sad and sadism and disco, is a collaborative installation by Jane Polkinghorne and Ingrid Stiertzel. It considers the lingering effects of the tragedy of the disco era – its ridiculousness and absurdities and its appearance in the 1970s at a time of social transformation, upheaval and possibility.
Both artists were children through the 1970s and its affects linger in their taste in music, fashion and politics, and the usual associated nostalgic clichés. The political changes that occurred in the time of disco (also the time of Whitlam, coincidence? we don’t think so) – the opening up of a stultified Australian culture to indigenous rights, migration, women’s rights, universal healthcare, free university education – have stalled or been utterly diminished as Australia seemingly harks back to the 1950s.
Combining performance, video, and installation Jane Polkinghorne and Ingrid Stiertzel work through the badness, the passion, the fashion and the aesthetics of the disco era, to explore the integration of pleasure with politics, the dance floor with liberation, glitter with guts, and the horror of middle-age women still behaving like the young 1970s teenagers they once were.

Polkinghorne and Stiertzel’s collaborative installation SADISCO sees 2 large vertical projections facing off. The artists sing and dance along to the same hits from the mid to late 1970s in a paradoxical game of one-upmanship and race to the bottom as a combination of Aussie classics and US disco chartbusters are butchered and lionised.
Alongside the collaborative video installation the artists host 2 SADISCO performances:
Jane Polkinghorne will undertake an endurance performance dance to Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits on a weekend. Join her in learning the dance. Repeat it over and over until you have it down … or you’re lying down.
Ingrid Stiertzel will merge roller-skating with karaoke in the First Draft car park in an effort to re-perform the mysterious National Xanadu Dance Contest of 1980 on roller skates. All skaters are asked to join in her roller-skating disco/karaoke dance-off.

Fusing gender politics with lamé, SADISCO is horrible and beautiful, bad and sad, groovy and ghastly, like disco, like Australia.

This proposal marks the first collaboration between Ingrid Stiertzel and Jane Polkinghorne. Meeting as student and lecturer at The University of Newcastle, the 2 artists have found affinities in themes and attitude towards performing, and a love of trash(ed) aesthetics.


Jane Polkinghorne’s practice works across photography, sculpture/installation, performance and video, often in collaboration. Drawing on popular and trash culture, she explores a feminist, embodied, humorous, interpretation of our bodies and the world in which we exist.

Ingrid Stierzel is a recent Honours graduate from The University of Newcastle. Ingrid works in the intermedial spaces between video, photography and performance to investigate themes of nostalgia, memory and the uncanny. “Starring” constructed stereotypical characters and alter egos, her videos are presented as multi-screened installations that produce an audio-visual cacophony and transform otherwise familiar pop cultural formations into uncanny experiences.

Earlier Event: April 1
Rogue Agents
Later Event: May 3
Of All Others