Edge of Elsewhere

Month: October, 2011

Newell Harry – Istanbul Biennial

Newell Harry, Untitled gift mat series, installation view, Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011

The Edge of Elsewhere team would like to share some installation images of Newell Harry’s work that has been included in the 12th Istanbul Biennial, Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011.Harry’s contribution to the Biennial included a number of his untitled gift mat series. This series (pictured above) are a group of Tapa mat’s that Newell Harry commissioned in 2009. Other Australian artists in the Biennial include Simryn Gill, with her series of photographs, My Own Private Angkor. Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011 run until 13 November, 2011.


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Why Remember?

Peter Allen sings Tenterfield Saddler. (Sound only, static images)

by Helen Fong

The late singer/ songwriter, Peter Allen, changed his surname from Woolnough. In his autobiographical song “Tenterfield Saddler”, Allen told how his grandfather, his father, and by implication his Tenterfield past no longer had a place in his life. Then came the throwaway line leading to a rousing chorus- “except in this song”. In the song’s three short minutes, Allen deftly managed to memorialise his family while also making a clear statement that he had moved on. Some people who have had traumatic childhoods, as Peter Allen did, seek to reinvent themselves and leave the past behind. It can be an act of courage to do so. Why do others choose to remember? Why did FX Harsono choose to recall his Chinese name in “Rewriting the Erased Name” and “Writing in the Rain”?

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Flip was presented as a case study as part of the emerging critics workshop and curatorium, In Memory of a Name, by participant Scott Wark. Initiated by Indonesian artist FX Harsono, the project aims to provide emerging cultural practitioners with a unique professional development opportunity, to gain invaluable insight into a creative methodology for art making and thinking. The project invited a handful of individuals to research the socio-cultural implications of changing one’s name and what we can learn about representation and identity from this process.

In a pause between recollections, my partner’s Eighty-eight year old grandmother, Flip, said that she didn’t know where the memories spurring her stories and musings came from. The waves of her voice breaking over us appeared from an indistinct part of her past, lacking a linear chronology for her or for us. True to this mode of experience, I am going to tell the story of her name(s) as I know it, partially and disjunctively, speculatively and digressively, from her, from my partner and from their family.

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Remembering and Forgetting the Name

by Macushla Robinson

In his recent work ‘Writing in the rain’, FX Harsono writes his Chinese name with a calligraphy brush repeatedly on a sheet of glass, until it is difficult to see the artist through the network of interlocking characters and drips of ink. After a while, water begins to splash against the glass and over the artist, washing away his name in a flood of black ink.

FX Harsono’s recent work deals with personal and political histories: the artist seeks to re-learn his Chinese name, which was changed by Indonesian Government mandate. This is an act that reclaims an ethnic identity and an a personal history.

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