Dispatch Review respectfully acknowledges the Whadjuk people as the traditional owners and custodians of the lands upon which we live, work and enjoy. We pay deep respect to Elders past and present. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

Reviews:

  1. Death Metal Summer by Sam Beard.
  2. Players, Places: Reprised, Renewed, Reviewed by Aimee Dodds.
  3. Scholtz: Two Worlds Apart by  Corderoy, Fisher, Flaherty, Wilson, Fletcher,  Jorgensen, & Glover.
  4. Partial Sightings by Sam Beard.
  5. True! Crime. by Aimee Dodds.
  6. The Human Condition by Rex Butler.
  7. Light Event by Sam Beard.
  8. Rejoinder: Archival / Activism by Max Vickery.
  9. Access and Denial in The Purple Shall Govern by Jess van Heerden.
  10. 4Spells by Sam Beard.
  11. Abstract art, DMT capitalism and the ugliness of David Attwood’s paintings
    by Darren Jorgensen.
  12. Unearthing new epistemologies of extraction by Samuel Beilby.
  13. Seek Wisdom by Max Vickery.
  14. Something for Everyone by Sam Beard.
  15. Violent Sludge by Aimee Dodds.
  16. State of Abstraction by Francis Russell.
  17. Double Histories: Special Issue, with texts by Ian McLean, Terry Smith, and Darren Jorgensen & Sam Beard.
  18. Six Missing Shows by Sam Beard.
  19. What We Memorialise by Max Vickery.
  20. At the End of the Land by Amelia Birch.
  21. The beautiful is useful by Sam Beard.
  22. ām / ammā / mā maram by Zali Morgan.
  23. Making Ground, Breaking Ground by Maraya Takoniatis.
  24. Art as Asset by Sam Beard.
  25. Cactus Malpractice by Aimee Dodds.
  26. Sweet sweet pea by Sam Beard.
  27. COBRA by Francis Russell.
  28. PICA Barn by Sam Beard .
  29. Gallery Hotel Metro by Aimee Dodds.
  30. A Stroll Through the Sacred, Profane, and Bizarre by Samuel Beilby.
  31. Filling in the Gaps at Spacingout by Maraya Takoniatis.
  32. Disneyland Cosmoplitanism by Sam Beard.
  33. Discovering Revenue by Anonymous.
  34. Uncomfortable Borrowing by Jess van Heerden.
  35. It’s Not That Strange by Stirling Kain.
  36. Hatched Dispatched by Sam Beard & Aimee Dodds.
  37. Fuck the Class System by Jess van Heerden, Jacinta Posik, Darren Jorgensen, et al.
  38. Wild About Nothing by Sam Beard.
  39. Paranoiac, Peripatetic: Pet Projects by Aimee Dodds.
  40. An Odd Moment for Women’s Art by Maraya Takoniatis.
  41. Transmutations by Sam Beard.
  42. The Post-Vandal by Sam Beard.
  43. Art Thugs and Humbugs by Max Vickery.
  44. Disneyland, Paris, Ardross and the artworld by Darren Jorgensen.
  45. Bizarrely, A Biennale by Aimee Dodds.
  46. Venus in Tullamarine by Sam Beard.
  47. Weird Rituals by Sam Beard.
  48. Random Cube by Francis Russell.
  49. Yeah, Nah, Rockpool by Aimee Dodds.
  50. Towards a Blind Horizon by Kieron Broadhurst.
  51. Being Realistic by Sam Beard.



Paranoiac, Peripatetic: Pet Projects

An endoscopy into the bowels of an underground secret location, delivered by a remotely operated subterranean camera; eerie green and purple lights undulating and saturating the room; a hand, finger-fucking a piece of dough so that it appears like a Scream face—Munch’s, or the titular horror movie mask, take your pick. What the hell am I looking at?
        The answer is Mixxed Business: Fully Reloadeded II, one of the current exhibitions showing at Goolugatup Heathcote. The funky title, with its double x and doubled suffix, indicates that this work is something else, something drawn out, not fully of this world or even fully understood. Taking the form of a two-room installation and video, the exhibition is by Pet Projects—the brainchild of Perth-based artists and long-time collaborators Dan Bourke, Gemma Weston and Andrew Varano. The initial sense of quiet and discomfort of the installation quickly stretches into a visceral experience of horror and morbid curiosity.
        The first room is disquieting, darkened, the walls covered in charcoal stencils of those "inspirational” words that so often adorn classrooms, like ‘CREATE’, ‘INSPIRE’ and ‘EXPLORE’—but here, the meanings of the words seem flipped, inverted like negatives. The texts are erased or stencilled into the pencil and charcoal scratchings and scribbles, rather than coloured in themselves, present through their absences. At once clinical and ironic, discordant and balanced, this room is immediately off-putting.
        In the centre of the room is an uglyish doughy installation like a flat circular maze, a creature’s burrow or an abandoned totem. Laid out on a small table, still bearing the prodding marks of thumb and finger-prints and pressed and stretched indentations, the sculpture is surrounded by three empty chairs. A series of shelves in the entrance corner near the doorway is adorned with funny childlike critters made out of the same pasty dough. These pudgy and bloated little sculptures—a frog face, an urchin, a turd—are comical as well as unsettling.
        As you enter the second room there are other signs that something is not quite right: the spooky green and vermillion lighting, the upended children’s plastic chairs affixed askew to the doorway appear like the residual presence of some poltergeist. The scraping and beat-thrusting video work, the seats sprawled about, the graffitied walls, unsourced noises and moody darkness indicate some malevolent presence, and my first instinct is to GTFO. Nonetheless, I proceed into the second space, intrigued by the sounds of the looping video and drawn in by the palpitating illuminations—like an alien craft beckoning me home.
        This video, titled 5-minute crafts, is ironically labelled “fun for the whole family” in the catalogue essay, which was written with the aid of ChatGPT. This is perhaps why robots are quite so scary—they almost get it right, but something is always awry or misread.
        The video depicts evidence of the clay-maze’s making by the Pet Projects team, remixed with footage from an endoscope camera exploring a sewer or tunnel in a “secret location.” The content of the video feels freakishly Freudian. The camera is inserted underground and penetrates deep, empty tunnels; the artists’ hands prod, examine and manipulate the dough. I project various faces and emotions into the amorphous blobs of clay—almost a case of pareidolia, peripatetic or paranoiac viewing.
        The exhibition is labelled as “a prequel and origin story set in a children’s activity station at a public art gallery, in 2013.” It follows a residency undertaken by Pet Projects in 2016, where they found a Ouija board stuck behind a painting. Something here is dormant, lurking—but, as yet, this story feels a little unfinished.
         The video leaves me unsettled, uncomfortable, but also a little unsatisfied. I want to know where this secret underground place is, I want to be certain of what the clay form is trying to become, of what lurks in the dark corners of this haunted daycare. Is the mood funny or serious, or something outside or containing both? The notion of the repressed or the uncanny comes to mind—something familiar yet frightening, an extension or exacerbating or twisting of what is known. The translation is literally, from the root “unheimlich” or unhomely, signifying something that doesn’t quite belong.
        I leave the show feeling that its premise remains half-articulated; it is reloaded but not quite realised or resolved. Maybe this is intentional on behalf of the artists—to leave us uncertain, almost infantilised, confused and desirous of a resolution that never comes. It certainly has me fixated, projecting and sublimating that drive for more here, into this review.


Pet Projects: Dan Bourke, Andrew Varano, Gemma Weston, Mixxed Business: Fully Reloadeded II, 3 Jun – 16 Jul 2023, Goolugatup Heathcote.



Photography by artdoc_au.