The Sydney-based artist describes the process of creating The Gods of Tiny Things at 'collage camp' on beautiful Yuin Country with visual and musical collaborators, as an exploration of the threats of extinction and the climate crisis, the tolls of colonialism, and the global political shift to the right. The resulting work is a kaleidoscopic video that unleashes a vivid collage of animated figures and landscapes cut free from the pages of old magazines and encyclopaedias.
Credits for excerpts from The Gods of Tiny Things
Animation: Melody Pei Li
Sound design and score: Justin Ashworth
Original composition for prepared piano: Lex Lindsay
Collage figures: Joanne Albany, Alana Ambados, Kate Andrews, Justin Ashworth, Kathryn Bird, Karen Golland, Amanda Holt, Deborah Kelly, Kath Lim, Lex Lindsay, Megan Rushton, Rie Tamaoke, Anna Tregloan
The Gods of Tiny Things is commissioned by Bundanon Trust with support from Create NSW
I'm Deborah Kelly. I'm an artist. I live in Sydney but I'm from Melbourne so I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be showing at ACMI.
The work is called The Gods of Tiny Things. I did begin with an idea that was to invite people to come and imagine a series of deities and their interactions to reflect upon, contemplate, struggle with contemporary conditions around politics and environment and the era of the Pyroscene.
I got to convene a collage camp. We started with a little bit of instruction so that the people who didn't know how to do collage could learn some technical skills. We just got to work like demons the whole time. I took an absolute truckload of obsolete encyclopedias mainly and various reference books and we took great delight in eviscerating them because, you know, they're old obsolete knowledge, mainly. They are the scaffolds of the edifice of racist misogyny and so it is quite pleasurable to stab them, to gut them, and to build new worlds from their remains.
The people who've made their characters don't participate in trying to make a story out of them. I do that with the animator and in relationship to the music. The music comes first for me. It is the bones of the film and then all of the visual material is the flesh and blood and the beating heart. It is with collective action, collective creativity and just hanging onto each other that there is any way to step forward into the future