Gross Bodies of Light

Gross Bodies of Light was a one-night only exhibition of ‘ephemeral’ artworks comprised of light, sound and moving image adapted for the heritage building site of Collins Place (MAAP’s former residence) and curated by Brisbane Artist Run Initiative SPEC.

On the 30th of July 2010, artworks and performances by Brisbane artists rubbed up against the idiosyncratic colonial features of the building, such as the generous balcony spaces, the expansive windows and the cavernous central hallway.

A number of artists projected handmade 16mm film and over-head transparencies on the surface of the windows (backed with semi-transparent architectural paper), to animate the entire ground floor of the building, which was visible from the popular restaurant and culture district of Grey street, South Bank. In the Collins Place car park that backs onto the South Bank train-station, performers intrigued and entertained Queensland Rail passengers with a variety of home-made and improvised instruments. The unassuming office space by day was made luminous at night.

The curators, Alex Cuffe & Helen Rogers, described the artworks as follows:

“Patrick King confronted the audience with his intricate installation of eight-channel 72 8ohm, 0.25 watt speakers which produced a narcotic sound that was unnerving and disorientating. In a little room to the side, the viewer is overwhelmed with the sublime colours of Annie Robertson’s work, recreating the blinding colours of the African sunset, witnessed and documented from her recent journey to Africa. Opposite Robertson’s work is the cool, yet mind-bending work of Ross Manning, whose work explored the ‘Moire Effect’, an interference pattern created when two grids are overlaid. On the balcony of ‘Collins Place’, was Stephen Russell’s rotating architecture – a domestic-like house that stained the retina with a strobe light flashing images of home.

Among the artists occupying the windows of the building is Jason Fitzgerald, whose artwork explores expanded cinema. A part of the show, Fitzgerald had two of his hand made films, which were printed with an Inkjet printer onto transparencies, cut out and taped together. Chloe Cogle also projected onto the existing windows. Cogle performs with experimental films and slide projection that explores the history/mythology of cemeteries in Brisbane, using performance and heat distortion. Another artist who projected onto the windows was Danni Zuvela, whose colourful, interchanging landscapes lit up the balconies. Zuvela uses film and chemical manipulation techniques from the 1960s, to create psychedelic chemical landscapes. Nicole Gillard’s overhead projections also occupied a window space, exploring memory and place using photographs from her childhood. Sky Needle performs live with their home made instruments, playing a shanty town of sounds to the break ground of the South Bank train station”

The two-hour exhibition attracted over 200 visitors, along with a sizable group of passersby who looked on from the train-station and Grey St. SPEC reported that they considered the exhibition broadly to be a “success” and a “dream come true” and that working with MAAP had been a “fantastic experience”.