Brad Darkson: Ritual Space

 As an artist of Narungga and Anglo descent, Brad Darkson, has long been fascinated by the status of objects and artefacts held in museums and considered to be culturally significant. Recognising the contradiction between this status as a revered object and their ultimate use value, Darkson writes “Ritualistic objects can be considered to foster a transcendent experience, and necessarily fall short in reproducing the same experience when displayed for consumption.” The object becomes a representation of an action from the past, a mere relic of the ephemeral trace of something that no longer exists. As he says further, “It becomes irrelevant what the original custodians intended. Artefacts are made public and deemed ‘significant’. How that object then performs in galleries and museums does not necessarily align with original intent.” While acknowledging the complex and problematic nature of collecting institutions, it is the physical placement of objects within this secular space that is of most interest to him. The display of hundreds of artefacts is designed to engage the viewing public, who more often than not move quickly from one to the next, impacting the performative role of the cultural object in facilitating and registering a belief system as transcendent experience.

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