Remote control

THREE diverse video exhibitions create a strange, alternate reality at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.

In Chalkroom, the white gallery walls have been transformed into giant blackboards by American artist/musician Laurie Anderson and Taiwanese media artist Hsin-Chien Huang.

Viewers were set to don virtual reality headsets, but that element of the exhibition has been dropped because of Coronavirus.

Havelock Stevens’ video Let’s Groove is a self-portrait looking back at her teenage-self listening to funk and disco, while learning to play the drums.

• Let’s Groove

“It was unusual for a teenage girl to be drumming at that time, so this work is about the artist being comfortable in that role and acknowledging the uncertainty she felt as at teenager,” curator Charlotte Hickson says.

Another of Stevens’ videos Ghost Class, was filmed in a plane “graveyard”.

“It’s a spontaneous composition performed in the carcass of a passenger plane during dusk in a desert boneyard,” Ms Hickson says.

“She simultaneously embraces and releases trauma and triumphs that have shaped a sense of the world and her place in it.”

Jacky Connolly’s Hudson Valley Ruins is a film produced entirely in the computer game Sims 3, with a complete narrative and cast of characters.

• Hudson Valley Ruins

The film follows the two young women navigating the banal, tense and quietly disturbing world of suburban, upstate New York.

The connection between Hudson Valley Ruins and Chalkroom is interesting,” Ms Hickson says.

“Both artists are interested in storytelling and how we receive and store information, but they approach this in very different ways. Being artists of different generations, they have very different approaches to the internet and virtual spaces.”

• Chalkroom

In 1995, Anderson described browsing the fledgling internet as an abstracted and disembodied experience, where you float freely and engage in text and dialogue, disconnected from the physical form.

“In a way, Chalkroom can be understood as a version of this experience,” Ms Hickson says. 

“Whereas Jack Connolly grew up understanding the internet as a space that you could manipulate, where you could build entire worlds and create new bodies and character in the form of avatars.”

The free exhibitions are on at PICA, James Street Northbridge until April 19. 

by JENNY D’ANGER

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