In a darkened space a human form, spinning steadily in a fluid field, is projected against a white sand-strewn surface, inviting differing states of meditation, stillness and renewal. This video installation invites the viewer to meditate upon and witness the human body disintegrating and transforming whilst in motion.
Shifting Dusts is single channel video installation, presented in a darkened room, depicting a life-sized shadowy, ethereal body, floating and spinning continuously within a backlit petri dish-like circle that is also filled with an ambiguous mixture of fluids and solids. The imagery is projected onto a 1.9m diameter circular, white-sand covered wooden disc, mounted at ankle height. It is accompanied by a two channel experimental soundscape. Throughout the ten minute sequence the body moves from a state of apparent birth, eventually through to an image reminiscent of death, as a layer of granular dust slowly eats away and infuses itself deep into the imagery and increasingly ‘granularised’ sound.
Shifting Dusts engages with the time of human lifecycles to remind us that both we and the world under our stewardship are literally and figuratively turning to ‘dust’. Whilst acknowledging decay, renewal and the transitional, cyclical natures of interrelated ecologies, the work also suggests advanced levels of human induced ecological degradation, now potentially beyond reparation. To achieve these sensibilities the timbre of the work, both in image, sound and physical context, invites differing audience states of meditation, exploration, stillness and play.
Shifting Dusts was achieved through developing new engagement and image making strategies for media arts practice, drawing on the application and re-envisioning of both kinetic and proprioceptive dance/performance knowledges, whilst promoting new opportunities to foster a better understanding of cultural and ecological co-dependencies.
1: Solo exhibition, Over Many Horizons, UTS Art Gallery, Ultimo, Sydney, (An official event of National Science Week), Aug 3rd- Sept 28th 2016, Mon-Fri 12-6pm, Sat 12-4pm. (Opening 6-8pm, August 2nd, 2016)
2: Solo exhibition, The Mesh, Stegmann Gallery, Sasol Library, UFS, Bloemfontein, South Africa, Jul 17th- Aug 11th, 2017, (An official event of Vrystaat Kunstefees/Arts Festival/Tsa-Botjhaba), Opening 8pm, July 17th, 2017
Keith Armstrong (Artistic director), Charlotte Vincent (Co-Artistic Director Vincent Dance Thetare), Guy Webster (Sound Director), Dancer TC Howard.
Australia Council For The Arts, UTS Gallery, Curated by Tania Creighton and Eleanor Zeichner, QUT Creative Industries, Vincent Dance Theatre, England, National Science Week 2016, Sydney Science Week 2016, Sydney Design 2016, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD), Vrystaat Kunstefees/Arts Festival/Tsa-Botjhaba, Angela De Jesus, Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, University of the Free State, South Africa, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This project has been kindly assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Keith Armstrong is supported by a part time senior research role at QUT Creative Industries.