Gavin Hipkins references a past that haunts the future

 

Set along the Brisbane River, the dual projections of The Precinct 2018 in ‘The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT9) continue Gavin Hipkins’s blurring of documentary and experimental narrative film structures. The double perspectives draw on and quote from the first published novel set in Brisbane, The Curse and its Cure (1894) by Dr Thomas Pennington Lucas, a two volume fiction which forecasts The Ruins of Brisbane in the Year 2000 and Brisbane Rebuilt in the Year 2200.

Lucas envisioned a ruined and corrupt city suffering floods, separatist wars with rival states and 19th century colonial treatment of Indigenous people having a rebirth as a utopian moral paradise. With its fragmentation of sounds and sights along the Brisbane River Hipkins’s The Precinct connotes a past that haunts the future.

Hipkins is a photographer and film maker based in Aotearoa New Zealand whose work addresses representation of place, particularly ideas of reimagined communities and social and political utopias in relation to Commonwealth countries.

Photographs, photo installations and moving image works strategically deploy various techniques and styles of image-making to interrogate how images create meaning. Over the last two decades, the artist’s work has been concerned with photography and architecture as modernist technologies, as well as the nation state — particularly in colonised countries in an era of reimagined communities and ideas of social and political utopia.

In 2010, Hipkins began making non-linear narrative films, which frequently reference nineteenth-century texts. These films adapt selected writings to contemporary settings that relate to both the past and to possible futures. His recent moving image works engage film as a cinematic art.

Gavin Hipkins, Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1968 / The Precinct 2018 / Two-channel HD video, 16:9, 10:40 minutes, colour, sound, ed. 1/3; Sound: Ben Sinclair / Purchased 2018. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Gavin Hipkins

READ more on APT9 / subscribe to youtube TO WATCH BEHIND-THE-SCENES video

Delve deeper into APT9 with Karrabing Film Collective

The Karrabing Film Collective is an Australian Indigenous media group who use filmmaking to interrogate the conditions of inequality for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and retain connections to land and their ancestors.

The group features an intergenerational mix of more than thirty members of the Belyuen community, together with anthropologist, activist and gender studies professor Elizabeth Povinelli, who has worked with the community since 1984. Together they have sought to create a model for Indigenous filmmaking and activism, by bringing together different tribes and languages, conceiving works through an infrastructure of communal thinking and experimentation, and seamlessly blending fiction and documentary traditions.

APT9 publication

APT9 has been assisted by our Founding Supporter Queensland Government and Principal Partner the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.
Gavin Hipkins has been supported by Creative New Zealand.

Feature image detail: Gavin Hipkins The Precinct (still) 2018

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