Film program for Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminism
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne
15 December 2017–25 March 2018
Artists: The Kingpins, Barbara Cleveland, Deborah Kelly, Megan Cope, Soda Jerk.
To borrow a phrase from Barbara Cleveland, this film program explores “how and why we perform” through the medium of short-length video made between 2005-2017. The selection traces the impact of queer theatrical aesthetics beginning with the Kingpins, whose merging of performance tropes with camp humour and high-end video production values proved influential for a decade of Australian feminist filmmaking. Theatrical conventions of costume and stage lighting appear in Barbara Cleveland’s Runaway (2008), which parodies the role of women in Hollywood action films, and Megan Cope’s The Blaktism (2014), which borrows religious theatrical conventions to parody white Australia’s insistence on the authentication and performance of Aboriginal identity. Deborah Kelly’s depiction of an otherworldly queer mating dance in Beastliness (2012) embodies the pleasure of women performing erotically for one another, while Soda Jerk’s Undaddy Mainframe (2014) uses a cyber avatar to perform the text from VNS Matrix’s'A Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century.’