Do you believe in aliens? I found it more frightening to consider a universe that has no other life in all it’s expanse than one that does, somewhere out there. In the same breath, I found it difficult to believe we have encountered aliens on earth. The question Physicist Enrico Fermi asked comes to mind, “Where are they?”. In the past, I’ve never really given this much thought. That changed when I went to ACCA, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.
There had been other talks, and more was to come, but today happened to be about Alien Invasions. Something I didn’t particularly seek out but since I happened to be free that afternoon I went along. It was a subject I didn’t know a lot about. One that comes with much criticism and scepticism. Especially with the media representations of UFO followers out there. But very quickly, I was engaged in the subject. The local Melbourne sightings I had never heard of, like the Westall UFO sighting in 1966, where 200 school students witnessed an unidentified flying object. The speakers from the Victorian UFO Action Group, the sensibility so conflicting with stereotypical representations, the belief that has changed their lives and the strength it takes to follow it. Thoughts like “Trying to think of an alien species is like trying to think of a new colour” stayed with me. Something so different it cannot be comprehended. Would we even recognise it?
And in the end, I was overwhelmed by how hearing new voices in natural spaces had succeeded in engaging the audience in a different perspective. And that’s exactly what Field Theory, the creators of this exhibition, ‘Bunker’, aims to do. Field Theory is about immersion into a place and community, in mixing interesting subgroups, breaking barriers, engaging in different perspectives.
I’ve been studying regional arts and getting more and more intrigued by how arts in a community can foster new ideas. What’s the best way to achieve this is an unending question, but I’m glad to feel some of its effects at ACCA.
The other artist within this exhibition ‘Greater together’ all deserve consideration, but here I will just quickly go into a couple others.
There was a tree inside, it’s branches reached up and seemed to disappear into the ceiling. A closer look and I can see the places where it was cut, where it was bolted back together. A Frankenstein tree. Killed and then resurrected into this space. It feels the room with life, even after death.
Another room, and it’s filled with red dirt. A red dirt that reminds me of Australian country towns, but seems brighter, cleaner. Voices rising from under white plights that cut over the dirt. The stories being told seem to emulate from under the dirt, I couldn’t help think they were graves – memories of the dead rising. Or as the artist duo, Bik Van Der Pol say of their exhibition “seeing the land as memory”.
The whole exhibition was amazingly curated by Annika Kristensen.