Every Act of Reading Performs the Work

A virtual world entered via a number of unfamiliar portals.

A project in collaboration with: Agatha Gothe-Snape

"[A]n ocean of text is presented by Agatha Gothe-Snape as a virtual-reality environment made in collaboration with Andrew Burrell and devised as a conceptual response to being invited to participate in all three iterations of The National to date – to somehow forge connections across the sites and historical moments of the exhibitions. A green Corten-steel base supports a large vertical LED screen, acting as a portal into the artists’ virtual world. Placed adjacent to the entrance to the main gallery it literally becomes a doorway into both the exhibition and the artists’ imaginations. Fragments of handwritten black text morph within white digital space. Gothe-Snape performs remotely, appearing at Carriageworks as an avatar, a green blob, on the screen. The performance is an incantation, a dream, an apparition – a summoning of recollected thoughts and utterances. When Gothe-Snape is not activating the work, it is motored by a daemon. Textual fragments undulate, giving a sense we are swimming through words. If this universe was a body, we would be right inside the artists’ heads." Abigail Moncrieff, The National, 2021

See also: The National 2021 Catalogue entry

Credits and Attribution

Commissioned by the Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Carriageworks, and realised at AGNSW and Carriageworks for The National 2021: New Australian Art

Research: Alexandra Chalmers-Braithwaite

Technical support: Dara Gill

Fabrication: Man of Steel (Lee Tunks)

Agatha Gothe-Snape is represented by The Commercial, Sydney.

The artists thank Katrina Dunn-Jones, Mike Hewson, Mitch Cairns and John Maynard.

This project has been assisted by the NSW Government through Create NSW and the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Technology Sydney.

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