On the wing [2014]

On the wing  (2014) 33x20x17cm, mixed media automaton

An automaton made predominantly from foam core, cardboard and newspaper commenting on Australian news media’s role in circulating the myth of a federal debt crisis, an idea propagated by the Australian Liberal Party in order to sway the Australian public to vote in their favour.

This automaton is from a series that looks at the spectacularisation and aestheticisation of Australian politics in the media. Each automaton refers to specific media events or what I perceive as constructed ‘images’ surrounding political figures that are circulated by mass and social media. My current practice is concerned with relationships between the ideas of spectacle, mass and social media, political art, and the handmade and new media.  

Through the mechanism that requires the viewer’s involvement for the images to animate, the works actively draw the viewer in to become a participant in the process of the spectacle making. I am interested in how this interaction can be used metaphorically to question the roles and relationships between producer and consumer in the circulation of spectacles and images in the media. These roles become more complex and blurred with the rise of social media as everyone can become a contributor or a user. The exposed mechanisms of the objects are suggestive of these underlying, often unseen processes and connections that allow the spectacles to function and circulate. The fragility of the objects and the use of nonprecious materials reflect the short-lived nature of the media events and images cultivated and spread through the media.