They liked the onion [2015]


They liked the onion (2015) 28.5 x16x17cm, mixed media automaton


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.

The work They liked the onion directly refers to the viral circulation of a six second Vine video uploaded by ABC News. It shows the then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott biting into a raw, unpeeled onion [1]. The video’s viral spectatorship quickly informed media outlets nationally and internationally resulting in the production of media and television coverage.

They liked the onion and ‘We need more flags’ on display at ‘Everything is Connected’ Exhibition at the Hold Artspace, 2015

With their dependence on participant interaction to animate the images, I was interested in how these objects draw the spectator in to become a participant in the spectacle making. I had hoped to use this to critically engage the participant to consider their role in the production and circulation of spectacles, particularly on social media.


[1] ABC News, “Prime Minister Tony Abbott eats an onion, skin and all, while touring an onion farm in Tasmania,” Vine, last modified 13 March 2015,