SUPPORT MATERIAL FOR BOXCOPY EXPRESSION OF INTEREST 2019
This page contains the following supporting material:
- Bio & CV
- Project Description
- Research images & screen descriptions
- Examples of Previous work
Claire Robertson is a Melbourne-based artist working in a range of mediums; specialising in video and installation. Adapting cinematic devices, she responds to different sites using video to explore personal and broader social narratives. Her work questions the fine line between interior and exterior, ‘real’ and ‘imagined’ space—where the physical setting serves as an outward manifestation of the human psyche. Her past works have investigated themes of the prevailing colonial relationships to the Australian desert landscape through fly-in fly-out mining camps in the Pilbara; architecture as façade through the heterotopia of a hotel in Long Beach, New York.
Robertson holds a Masters of Fine Arts from Parsons New School of Design (New York)/ RMIT (Melbourne) 2012 and have exhibited extensively nationally and internationally including exhibitions in the US, Italy, Sweden, China, Hong Kong and Canada. Her work is held in the Documentation Center for Visual Arts, Milan.
The Jewel is a eulogy for history’s inability to record objectively and completely. It explores the complex and ongoing colonial relationships to the Australian landscape and draws parallels between the constructed nature of influential historical narratives and film.
The four channel video work, which is currently in development, will be displayed on four TV screens in portrait orientation. On each of the screens, Robertson performs as one of four fictional and non-fictional Australian women; Elaine Fleetwood, Louise Lovely, Marie Bjelke Petersen, and her own mother, Adele Robertson. Each short scene repeats on loop, with each repetition being an analogue copy of the previous. This results in a mechanical process of disintegration. Throughout the day the footage becomes unrecognisable, until all that can be seen is static and artifacting.
The Jewel makes reference to Robertson’s own history, growing up in remote mining towns including Zeehan, Tasmania, the setting for Marie Bjelke Petersen’s 1924 romance novel titled Jewelled Nights. In 1925, Jewelled Nights was made into a silent film by the same name, directed, performed and produced by Australian actor Louise Lovely. The film has been deemed lost and now only exists in the form of outtakes held in the National Film and Sound Archive. However, from the film film fragments and notes on the filmmakers copy of the novel, we can decipher that it tells the story of a young woman, Eileen Fleetwood, who escapes from an unhappy marriage, disguises herself as a male prospector called Dick and finds refuge in an isolated mining town. Dick prospects for the rare alloy Osmiridium. Devalued as a romance, often seen as a predominantly feminine genre, Robertson is interested in revisiting a story that sits outside of what is viewed as a culturally important representations of history.
Like Louise Lovely, Robertson both directs and performs. Using backdrops, Robertson will bring the audience’s attention to the boundaries of the set, slippages in time and the presence of the author.
RESEARCH IMAGES & SCREEN DESCRIPTIONS
The following images are for research. They are indicative only and do not represent the actual work.
Robertson reenacts a romanticised scene from her childhood where her mother would awake at dawn and run through the landscape, looking into the freedom of the horizon. Her mother was the wife of a mine manager and spent years in remote areas of Australia with little access to a car and ability to leave the mine camp. At one of the locations, during her daily run, she would pass the loan grave of a woman who had also attempted to join her mine manager husband in 1986, but died of heat exhaustion before she arrived.
Robertson performs as Marie Bjelke Petersen. The loop will depict a close up of osmiridium nibbed fountain pen inscribing a romance, where the lover is replaced by the landscape. Marie Bjelke Petersen based Jewelled Nights around stories of the osmiridium prospectors in Zeehan and the bluff around Savage River. This is where osmiridium was first discovered. Osmiridium was mostly used to make artillery and pen nibs, both authors of ‘history’.
Robertson, dressed as ‘Eileen’ pretending to be ‘Dick’ from Louise Lovely’s silent film ‘Jewelled Nights.’ Robertson performs a repetitive ritual of pegging out and claiming land with pan and shovel in hand.
Close up of Robertson’s mouth as she eats sweets in a sweet shop. After Jewelled Nights, Louise Lovely’s marriage fell apart following the bankruptcy of their filmmaking business. She remarried and the new couple moved to Hobart, in 1946, where her husband became the manager of the Prince of Wales Theatre. Louise Lovely managed the theatre's sweet shop, where she worked until her death in 1980.
Other reference material:
EXAMPLES OF PREVIOUS WORK
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