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S. Shakthidharan – Carriageworks Artistic Blog

December 16, 2015

A Universe of Stories 

by S. Shakthidharan

My second public work as Associate Artist, Emergence, had its world premiere at Carriageworks this June. It was part of the huge and immersive 24FPS exhibition of dance film works, and was lucky enough to also travel to Limerick festival in Ireland this November.

Emergence is a triptych video work made in close collaboration with Yolngu dancer and artist Rosealee Pearson. The music is designed by sound artist Leah Barclay, and features the vocals of Rosie’s mother Lak Lak Burarrwanga.

Emergence is a contemporary work inspired by a Yolngu creation story. It tells the story of two women who created the world, forged all of its connections, and ultimately lost control over its physical and spiritual power. I believe the story has great resonance for our age – the idea that we live on a planet with a myriad of intricate, close connections between land, animal and human – and most of us no longer understand, let alone believe in what they are. This despite there being so many places – like the wisdom of our First Peoples – where we can begin to re-learn what we have lost.

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S. Shakthidharan, Emergence, multi-channel video installation, 2015. Commissioned by Carriageworks for 24 Frames Per Second. Image: Zan Wimberley. Courtesy the artist.

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S. Shakthidharan, Emergence, multi-channel video installation, 2015. Commissioned by Carriageworks for 24 Frames Per Second. Image: Zan Wimberley. Courtesy the artist.

But 24FPS is not the last you’ll see of Emergence. This short form work is actually one part of a larger artwork called Myth.

Myth is the result of collaborating further with Rosie and Leah – and building a work inspired by Rosie’s own life story. Its loose narrative is one of a young girl brought up in Arnhem Land, moving to Sydney for school and then work, and struggling to balance her divided sense of home. The story initially posits two different modes of relating to our environment. First, the one the young girl learns from her elders growing up in Yirrkala. Second, the one the young woman learns through school and work in Sydney. Eventually she must find a way to meld the two philosophies.

But this story is not going to be told in a traditional film format. It’ll have no dialogue, and won’t be screened inside a cinema. Instead, you’ll find it on the walls of giant buildings scattered in cities across the world. You’ll be able to listen to the soundtrack through your mobile, which will geo-locate you and deliver layers of sound based on your location.

Myth has been selected by the Streaming Museum (New York) as part of its new curatorial program called A View from the Cloud. Through the Streaming Museum network, A View from the Cloud is going to be streamed to large screens around the world – and is slated to reach over 1,000,000 in 7 continents from 2016-2018.

Pretty exciting stuff.

Production has started, and we’ve been thrilled with the results thus far. While I can’t share too much – we don’t give away some of the story’s big surprises – here’s a couple of stills from the raw footage and  behind the scenes at different locations.

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Image courtesy Rosealee Pearson, S. Shakthidharan and CuriousWorks

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Image courtesy Rosealee Pearson, S. Shakthidharan and CuriousWorks

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Behind the scenes on location for Myth

While most audiences won’t be able to see Myth until late 2016, you can grab a sneak peek at my final event as Associate Artist, at Carriageworks on March 8th 2016.

At this event we launch Colony – a huge project that I’ve been dreaming up over my three years at Carriageworks as Associate Artist. Colony is an invitation into a universe of stories – a series of artworks made over the next decade that all connect into each other, with shared characters, locations and themes. It’s going to be huge! Myth is one of its key stories.

The event is free – but is likely to fill up, so reserve your spot here:  https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/colony-s-shakthidharan-tickets-19923822690.

See you in March!