“Photography’s historical association with the colonial project has positioned the gaze within the coloniality of power – a system which compartmentalises First Nations art and cultural practice, bound by an essentialist lens. Avert rejects this position.”
First Peoples are constantly captured by the white gaze. Historically, the camera has been weaponised through anthropological photography and surveillance. There is also a history of retaliation by First Peoples subverting this gaze in contemporary art and screen culture. Avert joins the legacy of resisting this pervasive observation, turning every viewer – every watcher – into the watched. Steven Rhall does this by refusing the gaze, obscuring the view of the work and aiming surveillance cameras at the viewer.
The frame of the gallery itself is also called into question. What role do institutions like museums play in promoting narratives and practices that have been used to oppress us? How have Western notions of artmaking put limits on Indigenous expression? By forcing you to view through a peephole, Steven challenges the very walls in which art exists and the role of museums in telling our stories.
Not in ACMI's collection
Previously on display
19 February 2023
ACMI: Gallery 4
How I See It: Blak Art and Film → Zone 5
Avert: 174 x 60 x 60cms (each glass section sits out approx. 10cms from the face of the work)
Particle board, krypton-filled glass, light sensitive paint, video cameras, coaxial cable, electric motor, LCD monitors, architectural intervention, various supports