Exhibition design & installation—Clandestine

At 5.57pm on Saturday 7th February, 2009 (now known as Black Saturday), an unimaginable freak of fire incinerated many of the homes along Sparrowhawk Road in West Bendigo. Although, this carnage was happening simultaneously across much of the State, in each instance the impact was deeply personal and both physically and psychologically destructive. Within minutes on that fateful day, a wall of orange, pure flame had reduced a family home at number 60 to charred ash, twisted metal and rubble.

The objects inside the house, accumulated over several lifetimes, and imbued with idiosyncratic identity, ‘are wrenched from the thunderous context of the real world’. (Baudrillard, 1997) A fire of this severity can be a clandestine event. It moves quickly, almost secretly, its intentions concealed, taking all, and at times illicit and furtive in its reasons. As Salman Rushdie once said, ‘most of what matters in your life takes place in your absence’. To be clandestine is to be an outsider, to operate against all orthodoxies and conventions. Everyday objects too become outsiders, when their conventional banality is transformed by the disappearance of the real or their immanent form. When burnt, a dimension is taken away, thus highlighting the objects presence and its magic. Gilles Deleuze in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, writes, ‘…the secret has lost both its content and its form, where the imperceptible, the clandestine with nothing left to hide, has finally been perceived’. These objects, salvaged from the ruins are both intimate, yet strange. They appear without aesthetic value or importance, but ‘behind each of them, something has disappeared’.(Baudrillard, 1997) Objects that are no longer objects, they instead assume an immaterial presence. The subtraction, the stripping of the object’s origin, its use or judgment of value, its functionality, transforms them into ‘pure objects’. A type of aura, maybe an enigmacity, a momento mori, emerges from the absence. Clandestine was exhibited in Mildura & Bendigo.



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