2011 – Underbelly Public Arts Lab & Festival
Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour, Australia
Case Study was a multi-media interactive art installation created by Perran Costi, Jesse Cox, Emily McDaniel, Adam Parsons, Damian Martin, Justin Harvey in collaboration over a two week period in the Blade Room, Cockatoo Island.
The collaborative work explored ideas about how societies are created, colonialism, colonisation, migration, utopianism, as well as discussing Australia’s own response to migration, refugees, population growth, Australia’s Indigenous histories and the way white settlement and Aboriginal people have interacted.
The artists imagined the discovery of a new land, exploring what it would be like to be the first-wave of settlers – free from the controlling force of a motherland. Given the chance to start over, the artists asked themselves ‘how would we set up this new society and what would we change?’
After visiting I spent some time thinking about Costi’s works Baggage - Land Grab and Portable City and how they themselves, with references to urban life, city spaces and the environment, related to the Renew and Pop-Up philosophy overall. The Baggage series is a work that for me illustrates the endeavour.
Land Grab featured a brown vintage, leather suitcase and opened to bare its insides, the lower half is filled with lush green grass. The upper lid is a screen filled with bright blue sky and happy skipping clouds. The pieces spoke of history and reminded that spaces retain memory yet are open to hold something new; pointing to the hope and the new life that comes from the courage to re-write and innovate.
Alex Christopher 2011, Artgaze Magazine
Creating a New Society
With much of the Australian public feeling disenfranchised, frustrated with governments doing little to address significant social issues, the artists saw the project as an opportunity to trial all the different things that can be done – to create a place, open to the public, where fresh perspectives can be voiced and things can be judged on merit without the influence of political alliances, corporate interests, lobby groups, media spin and electoral manipulation.
Sydney’s history of migration was also given special emphasis with Perran and his fellow artists inhabiting the island with only that which they could carry in suitcases.
Over 16 days the artists created their new world together in the Islands Blade Room, a 20 by 20 meter space in which the blades for the propellers of big ships were once made. Aside from what they brought, the artists scoured the island for resources and bartered with other Underbelly artists outside their collective.
Photography, UV prints on glass, suitcase, wood, lights, audio
Portable City is at once a love letter to Sydney and recognition that, as an artist, moving to new places can bring new inspiration. It is a way of simultaneously holding on and letting go. The work also feeds into a greater dialogue about land and land ownership in the 21st century in a world with ever increasing levels of migration.
It is a mini bustling city growing out of a suitcase, photos of the city at night are printed onto six layers of glass using special UV inks designed to recreate the properties of natural light.
Old wooden microscope case, acrylic, lights, old light fittings, telescope parts, NASA Slide
Micro Cosmos is an old microscope case with the illusion of a miniature three-dimensional galaxy inside. This work is part of the Baggage series which explores and expresses those things in our life we hold onto. Memories, hopes, ideals.
Specifically Micro Cosmos responds to and addresses the fact that living in the inner city, I rarely get to see the stars.
Presenting the work of Perran Costi. The Baggage Series is a comment on land ownership and the often unattainable dream of buying a patch of earth to call one’s own. In this series the artist created a solution of sorts which has come to the attention of the Department of Silver Linings.
The Ministry is particular interested in the idea of taking a little piece of the sky home to one’s rented dwelling as an expression of optimism and a reminder of the power of contentment.
Department of Silver Linings :: Dossier 02.11 :: Perran Costi :: ministryofclouds.com