of a house besieged (preposition tweaked)

Hyper-linked is an exhibition for the digital realm, presenting new projects by seven contemporary Australian artists. Each artist is alert to the almost paradoxical fact that we are experiencing mass disconnect in an age of hyper-connectivity.

Like his peers, Brian Fuata examines the role the internet plays in shaping our lives and the ways in which we communicate, bearing witness and paying tribute to our networked selves.

Brian Fuata

born Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand 1978. Lives and works Sydney

of a house besieged (preposition tweaked) 2020

speculative performance document
Courtesy the artist

An Art Gallery of New South Wales Together In Art New Work 2020 © Brian Fuata
Supported by the Tindale Foundation

 

When the Gallery closed at the end of March 2020 we were mid exhibition rotation in our major temporary exhibition space. The exhibition program had ground to a halt and the rooms on lower level 1 sat empty. I asked Brian Fuata if he wanted to see the space. His improvisational performance practice is partly built around the character of the ‘ghost’. It seemed fitting.

The double-height room in the centre of that circuit of gallery spaces was eerie as hell. Elongated shadows from now-abandoned spotlights spilled over the walls. It echoed. We spoke about his speculative performance in the dark.

A few days before the shoot, Brian emailed me a link to a short story by Lydia Davis called In a house besieged. In her sparse, cutting prose, Davis describes a scene in which a man and a woman are haunted by noises that they attempt to explain away. They could be ‘the wind’, ‘hunters’, ‘the rain’, ‘the army’. They want to retreat but can’t, for they are already at home.

The text became the anchor and a point of departure for the performance. Brian, as a shadow – another archetype of absence – animates and inhabits Davis’s story. He runs his own internal monologue. But don’t we all? For the threats – all of them – are feeling very close to home.

— Isobel Parker Philip