The Dark Current

Australia, 2023

Ian Potter Moving Image Commission
ACMI Collection
Courtesy the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney

Artwork ACMI commissions
Angela Tiatia, The Dark Current (2023). Image courtesy of the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf

The Dark Current has a specific shape to it, that reaches for the essence of a multi-generational experience. One that starts with my mother’s generation, through to mine and on to our children.” Angela Tiatia, 2023

The Dark Current was conceived as a “dream-like visual poem” in three parts that represent the past, present and future. The artwork opens with a striking close-up of a glamorous woman with a pearl in her eye, who is slowly engulfed by water. The artist considers this scene an allegory of the promise that lured her mother’s generation to migrate from the Pacific Islands to countries like New Zealand and Australia in the 1960s.

The middle section weaves together choreographed performances filmed in a production studio with footage of Pacific Island landscapes. It seeks to capture the dark and chaotic feeling of the current moment, as the climate emergency and rising sea levels wreak catastrophic damage across the Pacific Islands and global south.

The final scene is created with software more commonly used to develop videogames. This hyper realistic world is filled with towering ice monuments set atop colourful disco flooring and populated by a cast of performers dressed in pink. The artist describes this joyful vision of the future as “a space of cultural self-actualisation and celebration.”

The Dark Current reflects how we no longer think of the physical and the virtual as being separate spaces, while celebrating Tiatia’s connection to her family history and Sāmoan culture.

Angela Tiatia is a Sāmoan and Australian artist who lives and works in Sydney. She works primarily with moving image and performance to explore contemporary culture, in particular the relationships between representation, gender, neo-colonialism and the commodification of body and place. Tiatia’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and her work is held in private and public collections including Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.

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In ACMI's collection

Previously on display

4 February 2024

ACMI: Gallery 3



Angela Tiatia



Production places
Production dates

Collection metadata

ACMI Identifier


Subject category

Digital Art

Object Types




Single-channel video, sound. Duration: 17:19mins, looped


13694 times

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If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url= |title=The Dark Current |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=24 July 2024 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}