Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre Feast Festival 6 November - December 2003
I think I badly need a visit from the team of Queer Eye for the Queer Critical Guy. While Klutzy is explaining to me that pinot grigio is not a beer, Campy is transforming my medieval Tuscan peasant dining room into an art nouveau cinema with Japanese woodcuts in Perspex, and Ordinary Guy is working on my abs, I'm going to snatch my credit card back and run to Trendy . Trendy is the one who does the final touches with throw rugs, netsuke and baby spinach, and arranges the lobotomized partner to come in on video and say 'Wow. This is so different. I really like this. Wow.' If anyone can explain why Homostrata is 'subversive to the hetero normative definition of homo (male)' it's Trendy.
For a start, he could probably parse that last sentence and explain how a Greek word has migrated into Latin. Then he could hypnotise me into the usage of the phrase 'impact on' as a verb, and lead me through the mysteries of these 'artworks that have all been constructed by men.' Not that I haven't seen comparable male collections before in most places in the world, or even experienced the sacred hush that descends when entering a room full of quilts, chairs and Chrysler engines and sensing with a surge of estrogen that they are the work of women.
I could tell that Chris Chapman's work was done either by a Designated Man or Woman by the fact that they were posters of Eminem with no shirt on. This was clearly an indication of (a) the fact that he was being satirized by a Woman who found his phallic cockiness absurd (b) that he was being perved on by a Man ( but oh the shame because he's such a piece of misogynist, homophobic crap) or (c) that he was advertising jeans. Still, they were striking, well lit and there was no confusion about the fact that they were, in some infantile South Park sense, gay. Luke Roberts' video of Pope Alice suffered from the fact that it was virtually invisible and had to be explained by the arcane prose of the programme, which owed something to Andy Warhol's dialogue and much to an outburst of Parkinson's disease. Nonetheless, we were assured 'There is no confusion in Pope Alice's perception.' There is in mine, Trendy. If a combination of the event, the environs, the verbal description and the visual force of the objects themselves doesn't excite a response of some coherence from the spectator, it just might be a sham.
Some of this is the result of curator Troy-Anthony Bayliss' clumsy, inflated expression. Better known as a role-switching performance artist, he might have had more success with a recorded commentary, in which the inflection and rhythms of the voice led the viewer to the exhibition's common theme.
'Architecture', 'design' and 'shelter' are words he strings out like the snaky lines of Steven Carson's beaded cups. But it takes Christian Thompson's autobiographical photos to make the concepts coherent. Show me the way to go home 2002 enacts not only the sense of division between his European and indigenous identity, but also the sense of loss and homelessness. It highlights the contrast between Scott-Parslow's gleaming but impractical model for a Gold Coast high-rise and Bayliss' sketchbook attempt to form shelters from the crossed T's of Tina Turner and Tiny Tim. Geoffrey Parslow's Dicklink is apparently to be read as a commentary on male exteriors. Gary Carsley's Monaro supposedly reverberates with drag. Here's where Trendy could come up with a Queer Theory paper to explain why.
That's the trouble with the ragtag of feeble ideology which sounds as if it's been automatically translated by Google from French. It has no real understanding of the psychoanalytic and post-structuralist ideas by which it was shuttled between the ghetto and the academy. The result is that exhibitions like this one get on their feet by using random definitions of anything that has ever connoted homosexualities. Then there's a weary free-association on the result.
So a lot of people think 'homo' in this word means 'man'? O.K., critical pedant, so it means 'same'. To me it suggests 'home-o' contributes Trendy. Well, I think of Omo, so let's put in a washing machine and show the exploitation of women's labour and the power of capitalism.
This reductionist pattern of thought ends in solipsism. The lack of civil rights still suffered by homosexual people in this country is a political outrage. Seeing penises in every vertical construction and soft femininity in every interior is a pretty silly response, and reflects the situation rather than engaging with it. Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe, and a urinal hung on a museum wall entitled 'Fountain' is a revolution .