The False Demographic
Robert Carter, Brendan Jon Philip, Stella Corkery, Ondřej Vicena
Co-curated with Ted Whitaker
Blue Oyster, Dunedin, 7 – 31 October 2015
Developed and presented at the ICI Fall Curatorial Intensive in New York (September 2015), developed into a paper and presented at Cultural Typhoon conference in Tokyo (July 2016)
As an exhibition and public programme responding to NZ’s flag referendum, The False Demographic was a curatorial experiment designed to reflect the diverse potential of socio-political dialogue within art practice.
Questioning the debate as an automatic discussion, Robert Carter’s installation ‘The Voice of Authority II’ embodied and distorted the forceful nature of political dialogue. Enclosed by a border of quiet but invasive Kikuyu grass, Stella Corkery’s painting ‘Ears Burning’ accompanied ‘Stateless Vexilla’—a series of new drawings by Brendan Jon Philip explored the indeterminacy of individuation in post-global society. Prague based Czech artist Ondřej Vicena’s sculptural installation (pictured above right) ‘I saw how tourist view burnt a spoon’ intersected the gallery space— hyperreality and reality interweaving to offer a much-needed viewpoint from the outside.
A central part of this experimental exhibition was a constructed demographic of artists, writers, poets, designers, students, activists and politicians (pictured above left). These 40 people answered a brief list of questions from the curators about nationhood and became the interactive architecture of the exhibition. Visitors were able to access and view any of the interviews in any order. This free structure aims to delineate the flag debate in order to create diverse pathways that reflect the complex nature of the referendum process.