What will the world look like 100 years from today?
TEXT ON SCREEN: 2112 Imagining the Future at RMIT Gallery. Exhibition dates from 2nd Dec 2011 to 28th Jan 2012.
AUDIO: Opening music
TONY LLOYD SPEAKS: My name's Tony Lloyd. I'm an artist, a painter in particular. I live in Melbourne and I show regularly here and overseas.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: My name is Sam Leach. I'm a painter based in Melbourne, in Brunswick. I paint in a mostly fairly realistic figurative style.
TONY LLOYD SPEAKS: Well, Linda Williams Came up with this theme of imagining the future and this date, 2112.
VISUAL: Artwork, glass jars on shelves.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: The theme of this show, Imagining the Future, is a fairly wide ranging theme and allows a lot of scope for different interpretations and I think in a sense this show in particular really looks at work that has a content that specifically tries to imagine a future scenario or condition some kind of response to future events.
VISUAL: Different pieces of art shown.
TONY LLOYD SPEAKS: One work in the show which is called, Sometimes You Have To Leave Without Saying Goodbye ...
VISUAL: Different pieces of art shown.
TONY LLOYD SPEAKS: ... it's a small painting of a kind of beautiful landscape with a rocket taking off in the background and that rocket that I painted was ... it was … : it's an actual rocket designed by NASA, it's called the Ares rocket and it was set to take over from the space shuttle when the space shuttle program ended and the day that I finished the painting Obama cancelled the program on the Ares rocket, so that rocket never got built, so that's ... it was going to be a painting of the future and now it's a painting of a past future, a future that never happened.
VISUAL: Zoom-in showing rocket in painting.
TONY LLOYD SPEAKS: But also with the rocket taking off from this pristine landscape and the title, sometimes You Have To Leave Without Saying Goodbye, it suggests some kind of greater narrative there, that perhaps something's going to happen to the world and we have to leave.
TONY LLOYD SPEAKS: Even though it looks beautiful now perhaps it's not going to stay that way. I've got a painting in the show called, Why Do We Remember The Past And Not The Future, and that's a title from a physics book, a kind of a popular book on explaining entropy to non-scientific people and the thesis of the book is that we can remember the past but we can't remember the future so what gives time its arrow forward and this painting that I did is all about a really deep forward arrow into time. It shows a landscape that's eroded away, it's possibly in another ice age.
VISUAL: Zoom in showing artwork’s details.
TONY LLOYD SPEAKS: There are some ruins in the top corner but they're kind of futuristic looking buildings, so they're ruins of buildings that haven't even been built yet. So I really wanted a really deep ... I'm thinking beyond 2112, which this show is about.
TONY LLOYD SPEAKS: I mean the buildings are a little bit like Pine Gap, so you could almost imagine what if the Great Australian Bite had eroded all the way up to Alice Springs and now Pine Gap's sitting on the edge of a cliff.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: My work about the future, in the context of this show, is a relationship between humans and the non-human world.
VISUAL: Sam Leach artwork; We Have Never Been Modern.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: The painting, We Have Never Been Modern, the title comes from Bruno Latour's book of the same title and it ... in that painting I have a Griffin Vulture, which is the same type of vulture I saw while I was travelling in Tibet last year consuming a human corpse. It's a traditional burial right that they expose the body to vultures and it gets consumed.
VISUAL: Leach’s artwork shown; We Have Never Been Modern.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: The humans in that painting are taken from NASA archives, they're three technicians building a satellite and I thought of this connection between humans being consumed by a vulture and their energy and intelligence being distributed through space through the means of a vulture and the connection with humans inserting their intelligence and energy into this piece of technology which then goes into space and distributes this human intelligence through space through that means.
VISUAL: Details of Leach’s painting.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: It also touches on some ideas of animism and this idea of objects and entities having agency. I think that when you look at engineers and NASA technicians and scientists they quite often invest the technology that they're working with with a sense of animism, they often think of this technology as becoming a liable being, a ... you know, naming these things, caring for them and ultimately releasing them.
VISUAL: Details of Clay Pruning painting.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: The painting, Clay Pruning, is about a technician who's working on a little clay diagram, which is ... he's literally pruning with a pair of scissors while the seal looks on in the background and the suggestion that I want to get across is there's ... on one hand there's this very pristine scientific environment and on the other hand there's this non-human animal, which in a sense represents the opposite of a pristine environment, in there in the lab but on the other hand there's this genetic connection between the seal and a human and, indeed, there are these Irish myths about the selkie where there are still families now who claim some ancestry from a seal, that these seals, you know, at a certain point would take off the seal clothing and boom, boom, there's a person inside.
TONY LLOYD SPEAKS: It was great to be included in a show like this and to be ... to have your work put next to other artists who do similar things, like Sam Leach, like Darren Wardle, and Patricia Piccinini's work also, just staggering, staggeringly, amazingly realised and such a beautiful idea or provoking, thought provoking, idea.
VISUAL: Various artwork pieces shown.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: I particularly love Ken and Julia Yonetani's work, the salt sculpture which I think is just a ... just a beautiful, a beautiful work both in terms of its execution and the sense of fragility and imminent destruction that it has within it is something that I really enjoy.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: Another one that I really like is Kirsten Johannsen's Nomadic Nature Kit and for me, I'm a big science fiction buff, and this is exactly the sort of kit that you would take on your journey to colonise the distant planet and I like ... I just ... I love having that artefact realised and there in the gallery.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: What's great about it is she has this combination between the very high-tech perspex and plastic dome sitting on the stainless steel apparatus and feather dusters and very prosaic packets of seed that it looks like she's bought from, you know, her local hardware store.
VISUAL: Various artwork pieces shown.
SAM LEACH SPEAKS: So there's this very prosaic banal almost domestic element to it jammed into this futuristic high-tech apparatus.
VISUAL: List of artists in the exhibition.
[End of Transcript]
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