TechnoCulturalBodySuits series at ISEA Sydney

Written by: Sam Fox on June 7, 2013

The TechnoCulturalBodySuit series opens this week as part of SymbioticA’s Semipermeable exhibition in ISEA 2013 at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

Sam Fox will perform live at the official reception on Wednesday the 12 June. The exhibition runs through till August 26.

Many collaborators and supporters contributed to this work: SymbioticA as the commissioning laboratory and project facilitator, incredible fabricators Kristy Armstrong and Pierce Davison, Hydra’s projects manager Laura Boynes, and especial thanks to the team who helped bash Fox out of an oversized Piñata – Sete Tele, Tarryn Gill (and impromptu camera op), Storm Helmore, Trish Woods, Yilin Kong, Kristy Armstrong, Laura Boynes (& camera op). Thanks to the Chapel Space and Steve Campbell (rigger), and to Sohan Ariel Hayes and Pierce Davison for gear lends.

The series articulates a triptych of ethics towards the membrane, it is to be concurrently attacked, endured/indulged, and defended.

Extract from artist statement about the pictured TCBS (#1):
‘This suit is inspired by activists from the Western Australian refugee rights movement who held a public trial of the then Minister for Immigration, Phillip Ruddock in 2002. The proceeding was convened outside the Perth Detention Centre and coincided with the first national Freedom Bus tour that travelled to all of the Australian remote detention centres. Charges were numerous, evidence based, and would have been incontrevertible if not for parliamentary privilege and the vast protections of state sanctioned institutional violence. Upon conviction, and in quite a rare display of Australian protest humor, the people’s court were invited to beat the Temporary Protection Visa’s from Ruddock’s symbolic effigy, a bloblike piñata, kept abstract and without detail in an effort to maintain respect for the human kernel of the man that once must have been, and to performatively capture the reptetive, durational abuse asylum seekers had to endure in order to be granted a temporary, retractable reprieve without recreating and indulging that violence themselves.

And the same system continues under the successive Labor governments. The excision of the Australian mainlaind from our own migration zone – legislating that parts of Australia are not parts of Australia, but only for the purpose of suspending the right to apply for visas within excised areas of Australia, is exemplary of complete membrane manipulation. In this performance I personally inhabit the carapace symbolic of my federal representatives, who use my power to deploy borders for brutal violence, and I invite people to bash me free of it with sticks. To bash me free of the murderous misuse of our collective national membrane and I will emerge a free, new thing (symbolically), like a polymorph emerging from the imago state. I invite you to consider your prefered type of upheaval and violence that we should grow through. Because it is a denial of social-political and biological mortality to think the bell won’t toll for you/us and our honorable members.’

Image: Laura Boynes