Video Art Across the PacificJune 4, 2016 - June 4, 2016
June 4 – September 5, 2016 | Curated by Haema Sivanesan | Centennial and Ker Galleries
Trans-Pacific Transmissions: Video Art Across the Pacific brings together the work of artists from around the Pacific Rim* to examine a broad history of trans-Pacific exchange as it has captured the imaginations of artists working in video. The works in this exhibition consider cross-Pacific and trans American experiences and vectors of exchange that shape our imagining and understanding of the region. This exhibition contextualises the work of pioneer video artists alongside artists working today, tracing shifting concerns and approaches to video art. The early works in the exhibition variously explore the refraction and interpellation of time and space as made possible by the technologies of video. Ideas of “networking”, exchange and the juxtaposition or transposition of cultures are important in early video art as a means to collapse geographic space, and to suggest the possibility of instantaneous communication and possible experiences of collectivity across diverse communities. Recent video work around the Pacific has developed in contrasting ways, being influenced by film culture, approaches to broadcast media, and as a means to document and convey social actions. To a significant extent, video art around the Pacific Rim has developed hand-in-hand with digital infrastructure. Interestingly, the current generation of video work from around the region is oftentimes inward-looking and centres on subjective relationships between people and the specificities of place in contexts of significant social change. Around the Pacific, the mythologizing of relationships between the land and the sea are re-current themes, especially with relation to issues of identity and sovereignty, given the immense diversity of the region. The ideas of both “the land” and “the sea” are fertile ground for a utopian sense of history, place, nationhood and belonging.
This project is being presented against the backdrop of wide international discussion anticipating the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement designed to promote regional economic integration. The exhibition title, in part, references this proposed trade partnership, whilst acknowledging a long history of trans-Pacific trade, which has, in essence, shaped the terms of East-
West encounters. This exhibition also acknowledges and considers the experience of social change in the context of the shifting geopolitics of the region. It is an attempt to visualise our regional geographic context, across a vast ocean, and criss-crossing the continents, to consider our place in an increasingly complex, globalised world.