Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the excursion to the Museum of Contemporary Art. I did, however, read up on the two exhibitions that were on offer.
TELLING TALES – Excursions in Narrative Form
The explores the varied, inventive approaches taken by leading Australian and international artists to narrative form. Using diverse materials including light, fog and hand-typed text, their works pick apart conventional story-telling approaches to reconsider ideas around structure, duration, repetition and fragmentation (MCA, 2016).
Breaking away from a traditional linear format, their works instead offer cyclical and open-ended stories, narration through non-verbal communication or silence, and mysterious, incomplete narratives constructed through fragments and clues. Questions around authorship, truth and fiction emerge through some artists’ works whilst others embrace oral histories and live durational events, including shadow puppetry and opera, to convey their stories (MCA, 2016).
NEW ROMANCE: ART AND THE POSTHUMAN
New Romance: art and the posthuman brought together artists from Australia and Korea whose works encouraged us to ask what it means to be human, and what it might mean in the future. Drawing inspiration from science fiction, robotics, biotechnology, consumer products and social media, they offered experiences that raised questions around the idea of the posthuman; a concept that signals new understandings of humanity and a breakdown of boundaries between what we think of as natural and artificial (MCA, 2016)
Born across five decades, from the 1940s to the 1980s, the artists employed an eclectic array of technologies in their works. These technologies ranged from the highly specialised to the mass-produced and were used to create everything from crossbred cacti and LED books to dancing robots and a pneumatically powered blender mixing human biomaterials. The thread that linked these diverse artworks was an exploration of new kinds of encounters, not only among technologically connected humans but also between so-called ‘intelligent’ objects, plants, animals and all manner of hybrid entities (MCA, 2016)
The artists also reflected on issues such as hyper-consumerism and alternative futures; inviting us to consider how our relationship with the natural world is changing, through our increased ability to alter our environment and through the threat of ecological apocalypse. Several of the artists took on the role of inventor or even mad scientist; experimenting with living organisms, building strange machines and constructing artificial worlds. Some investigated how our emotions are triggered when interacting with kinetic objects, while others tried to see the world from a non-human perspective (MCA, 2016).
MCA, 2016, ‘Telling Tales’, Exhibition Website,
MCA, 2016, ‘New Romance: Art and the Posthuman’, Exhibition Website, About,