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White night Melbourne 2015

Projections and Plasma Screen @ Melbourne City Library and Docklands


We asked members of the crowd at Sydney Road Street Party (March 2014) to sit down and build with wooden blocks for 20 seconds. Most said no. Only those who felt happy with the project participated, and we only asked those we felt comfortable in approaching. Some were camera shy. Others were worried about their capabilities. Some couldn't wait to get started. Others froze, overwhelmed by choice and crippled by the limitations we'd placed on them. Some wondered if their work was good enough, anxious we'd reject their work or judge their competence. Some participants tested the limits of the project and asked for more time or blocks or a second take. Friends and family jumped in and help out, while others instructed from just out of shot. It became clear that a level playing field did not bring equality. Participants asked me what the project meant. Was it supposed to be easy, challenging or fun? Was it about childhood and play? Colour and shape? Another ‘participatory’ art project? A skill or intelligence test? Did it mean something? Was it about creative expression? Government or social regulation? Opportunity and choice? Operating within the system? When presented with exactly the same situation, participants acted according to the knowledge and skill they literally brought to the table. But only within the constraints of the project. They could only participate within the framework we had already established, guided by their strengths and limitations.

Concept and camera - Gracie Lolicato


A year ago, we found a musty box of 8mm and 16mm film in the back of a secondhand shop. Written on the side of the reels were the names of cities and countries that spanned the globe as well as dates from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. We believe the film makers to be a man and a woman on holiday with friends. They enthusiastically record the landscape and people they encounter, as well as their experiences as tourists, looking into other cultures and places.

Is their collection about the objectification or celebration of who and what we see? Is it about the perspective or prejudices of the film makers? Or is it about the historical and social context of both? What does our interpretation of their footage and our assumptions of the film makers say about us and our social values, our time and our place?

We don’t know what the people in front or behind the camera were thinking. We can only presume their intentions and guess at their history, their lives and social situation. But as we watch and make those presumptions and judgments, what we really see are our personal prejudices, our history and current social values.

Creative Direction - Katrina Lolicato and Gracie Lolicato Editors - Monique Henry and Agostino Soldati

Footage used in good faith. Courtesy of the foundling archive.

the foundling archive was established in 2014 to collect, digitise and preserve lost or abandoned film and photographs, as a record of everyday life and society. It consists of both amateur and professional footage, abandoned or lost from its author or owner.

When: Thursday 2 October – Thursday 30 October Where: Projections Library Foyer/Lower ground Plasma screen @ City Library


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