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2010 CCP Lecture Series

Centre for Contemporary Photography presents an annual series of free public lectures.
No bookings. Seats strictly limited. Gold coin donations gratefully accepted.

Is Photography Global?
Taryn Simon: Hidden and in Plain View
Video Void: Australian Video Art — 1970s, 1980s & 1990s

Performing Colonial Photography
Event Horizon Public Program
Liz Wells: Topographic Narratives — on Landscape and Geography


Presented by the Faculty of Art & Design, Monash University

What are the relations involved in the global production of photographs? In what ways are new technologies influencing, shaping or impinging on these relations? Does photography have a specific place in globalisation? Are some kinds of photography more global than others?

Is Photography Global? aims to begin an international conversation among critics, historians and practitioners of photography on global thinking within the discipline.

Paul James (Director of the Globalism Institute, RMIT), Natalie King (curator/ writer) and Matthew Sleeth (artist) will discuss issues around the global production, distribution and local reception of photographs. Led by David Bate(University of Westminster, London) and Daniel Palmer (Monash University, Melbourne).

MP3 Download Daniel Palmer's introduction recording MP3, 7MB

MP3 Download David Bate's introduction recording MP3, 6.4MB

MP3 Download Paul James' lecture recording MP3, 13.5MB

MP3 Download Natalie King's lecture recording MP3, 14.5MB

MP3 Download Matthew Sleeth's lecture recording MP3, 10.1MB

considering Taryn Simon's Index
Thursday, 25 November 2010, 6.15pm  

Inspired by rumours of WMDs and secret sites in Iraq, American photographer Taryn Simon decided to address secret sites in her own country. For An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar 2006, Simon photographed hidden places and things within US borders. Her subjects range across realms of science, government, medicine, entertainment, nature, security, and religion. As Australians, what do we make of Simon's America, are we both intrigued and repelled? While this series has been described as the 'aesthetic antithesis of photojournalism' Simon draws upon traditions of documentary photography to create this disorienting image of contemporary America. 

From disciplines of law, criminology and documentary photography, academics Sundhya Pahuja and Alison Young, and curator Kyla McFarlane reflect on Taryn Simon's work. Chaired by Naomi Cass.

Dr Kyla McFarlane, Associate Curator, Centre for Contemporary Photography

Associate Professor Sundhya Pahuja, Melbourne Law School, Director, Law and Development Research Programme, Institute for International Law and the Humanities, University of Melbourne 

Professor Alison Young, Criminology Discipline, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne

Chaired by Naomi Cass, Director, Centre for Contemporary Photography

MP3 Download Noami Cass' introduction recording MP3, 5.3MB

MP3 Download Kyla McFarlane's lecture recording MP3, 9.9MB

MP3 Download Alison Young's lecture recording MP3, 15.8MB

MP3 Download Sundhya Pahuja's lecture recording MP3, 15.4MB

Video Void: Australian Video Art
1970s, 1980s & 1990s

Presented by the Faculty of Art & Design, Monash University

In Australia there is a significant lack of knowledge regarding early Australian video artworks and an audience faces substantial difficulties in accessing these works and tracing the history and leitmotifs that connect them. American theorist Fredric Jameson described this as the 'disappearance of history' — the way in which our society is losing the capacity to retain its own past and has begun to live in a perpetual present. Jameson blamed electronic images like these because, in his opinion, they represent a paradox for memory and history as they connote the immediate instead of the past.

Video Void will re-engage the audience with important historical Australian video artworks from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s through a series of lectures and parallel screening programs. These works have been loaned from Australian collections and archives such as the Australian Video Art Archive, National Gallery of Australia and Griffith Artworks. Our aim is to draw attention to the seminal works of Australian artists, which would otherwise remain lost in time.

Convened by Matthew Perkins, Studio Coordinator of Photomedia in the Faculty of Art & Design, Monash University and Dr Elena Galimberti, research assistant for the Australian Video Art Archive in the Faculty of Art & Design, Monash University.

PDF Icon Video Void Lecture Series brochure 387 kb

Video Void: 1970s

Video Void: 1980s

Video Void: 1990s

Video Void: 1970s

In his paper Archive Fever (1998) Jacques Derrida suggests that the archive is motivated by a need to discover the seminal historical moment, as a way of owning those initial times in history. So while the archive can be seen as an institution dedicated to issues of preservation, storage and retrieval, it is also motivated by a need to capture and own those moments in history. This knowledge may affect our translation of events and objects that occurred after and indeed before those archived artifacts were created.

In the context of video art in Australia identifying that 'historical moment' is not without its problems, primarily because documenting this history has been somewhat neglected. In Australia in the 1970s video was marked by its experimental pluralism with a variety of approaches to the medium, for example: commenting on the social or political; documenting performances; and exploring the synthetic potential of the video image and television as a mass-media icon. This lecture will trace a number of these important historical threads through the 1970s and highlight the importance of accessing these works via archives and collections.

Matthew Perkins' video and photographic works have been included in exhibitions such as Testing Ground, Melbourne; Figuratively Speaking: The Figure in Contemporary Video Art, Brisbane; Stranger Geography, Italy; and Skin Alive, Canberra and Melbourne. He has also curated a number of exhibitions such as Vernacular Terrain, China, Japan, Australia; Anxious Bodies, Melbourne, Hobart; and Unsharp/Unconscious, Brisbane, Launceston. He has contributed to a number of publications including The International Journal of the Humanities and When You Think About Art: The Ewing & George Paton Galleries 1971–2008. With Professor Anne Marsh he founded the Australian Video Art Archive in 2006 — a project dedicated to the archiving and distribution of Australian video and performance art.

Warren Burt 5 Moods 1979
Bush Video Meta Video Programming One 1974
David Perry Interior with Views 1976
Gary Willis '… and the Leopard looked like Me!' – Play for You 1979
Peter Kennedy and John Hughes November Eleven 1979–1981

MP3 Download Matthew Perkins' lecture recording MP3, 13.2MB

Video Void: 1980s

A cultural shift occurred in terms of video art in the 1980s with the introduction of the domestic VHS video recorder, the first video libraries, and the ability to record and cut up appropriated material — the seeds of an early remix culture. At this time, developments in technology with the introduction of digital systems such as the Fairlight Computer Video Instrument and Amiga computers saw the early hybridisation of video which lead to new funding initiatives to support video and emerging technology.

There was also a shift in the critical reception of video art, as the practice became contextualised within 'screen culture' and less within the space of the gallery due to theatrical screenings of artwork at festivals such as the Australian Video Festival.

Ian Haig works at the intersection of visual arts and media arts. His work explores the strangeness of everyday reality and focuses on the themes of the human body, transformation and psychopathology. His work has been exhibited in galleries and video/media festivals around the world, including exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. In addition his animation and video works have screened in over 120 festivals internationally. In 2003 he received a fellowship from the New Media Arts Board of the Australia Council. He is currently undertaking a PhD on the abject and uncanny in contemporary media arts practice.

Randelli A Taxi to Temptation and Dial T for Terror 1981
Philip Brophy ADS 1982
Ross Harley Beauty and the Beat 1988
Geoffrey Weary Failure to Materialise 1988
Peter Callas Neo Geo: An American Purchase 1989

MP3 Download Ian Haig's lecture recording MP3, 25.7MB

Video Void: 1990s

In his book Mutant Media (2007) John Conomos discusses the possibility of a reclusive narrative, a narrative yet to be written. That narrative, of local video art in Australia, remains as elusive today as it was in 1994, when Nicholas Zurbrugg asked a similar question. Zurbrugg was writing on the cusp of the emerging paradigm of interactive media art, Conomos at a time when the fervour of new media had all but disappeared. Perhaps somewhere between these two poles of anticipation and longing we may find some answers to a persistent question, but also to the question of why we keep asking it in the first place: why is the history of Australian video art as yet unwritten?

Darren Tofts is Professor of Media and Communications at Swinburne University of Technology. He is a well-known cultural critic who writes regularly for a range of national and international publications on issues to do with cyberculture, new media arts and critical and cultural theory. His work appears regularly in publications such as Photofile, RealTime, Rhizomes and Scan Journal of Media Arts Culture. His books include Memory Trade: A Prehistory of Cyberculture (with artist Murray McKeich), Parallax: Essays on Art, Culture and Technology and Interzone: Media Arts in Australia. He is currently working on a book project with Stelarc on the history of the

Troy Innocent and Dale Nason Cyber Dada Manifesto 1990
Ian Haig KRad Man 1991
John Gillies Techno/Dumb/Show 1991
Ross Harley The Digital Garden 1992
VNS Matrix Beg and Gen in the Bonding Booth 1993
Lauren Berkowitz and Lisa Andrew Sightseeing Tours 1993
Justine Cooper Rapt 1998
Barbara Campbell Inflorescent 1999

MP3 Download Darren Toft's lecture recording MP3, 45.8MB

Performing Colonial Photography

Presented in conjunction with The Australian Centre, The University of Melbourne.

PDF Icon 2010 CCP Lecture Series brochure 388 kb

1. Jirra Lulla Harvey
A Minstrel Legacy: Typecasting Indigeneity

2. Wendy Red Star
Crow Indians Past and Present

3. Tony Birch
'Red is the Colour': the Archive, the Image, the Word, the Ngamajet

4. Dianne Jones
The Girl Next Door: In(digenous) Suburbia
Anne Maxwell
Colonialism and Eugenic Photography

5. Penny Edmonds
The Waitangi Treaty Photographic Tableau and the Idea of the 'Maori Magna Carta'
Jane Lydon
Bullets, Teeth and Photographs


1. Jirra Lulla Harvey
Wednesday 18 August 6.15pm
A Minstrel Legacy: Typecasting Indigeneity

Jirra Lulla Harvey looks at Bindi Cole's photographic series Not Really Aboriginal in relation to the history of Blackface performance in Australia. Underpinned by the question of light skinned Aboriginal identity, this paper draws parallels between government led assimilation policies and minstrel performance, both of which claim the right to classify another's racial identity.

Jirra Lulla Harvey is an advocate for Indigenous self-representation in the arts and media industries. She focused her studies on representations of ethnicity in popular culture and the creation of racial stereotypes that permeate contemporary Australian life. She has worked in Aboriginal education and youth affairs, while gaining experience as a freelance curator, arts writer and journalist.


2. Wendy Red Star
Wednesday 25 august 6.15pm
Crow Indians Past and Present

Wendy Red Star grew up on the Crow Indian Reservation in south central Montana, USA. She is half Crow Indian and half Irish American. Red Star's art explores her cultural and ethnic hybridity—the notion of navigation and negotiation between the two worlds she occupies. Working across different media including photography, installation and sculpture, Red Star will discuss her practice.

Wendy Red Star (BFA from Montana State University and MFA in sculpture, UCLA) currently lives in Portland, Oregon where she is an adjunct professor at Portland State University. Exhibitions include Helen E. Copeland Gallery, Bozeman, Montana; the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, Paris; Museum Tower at MOCA, Los Angeles; UCLA New Wight Gallery, Los Angeles; Laura Bartlett Gallery, London; and Luckman Gallery, Los Angeles.

Visit Wendy Red Star's website

MP3 Download Wendy Red Star's lecture recording MP3, 30.2MB


3. Tony Birch
Wednesday 1 September 6.15pm
'Red is the Colour': the Archive, the Image, the Word, the Ngamajet

Over the last three years artist Tom Nicholson and writer Tony Birch have shared their interest in the colonial archive and the act of intervention. Recently they collaborated on the project Camp Pell Lecture for Artspace, Sydney. Tony will discuss this and other projects including Duetto, based in part, on a commemoration and recognition of Indigenous Sovereignty and celebration of the life of William Barak.

Dr Tony Birch is a writer, curator and historian, and teaches in the School of Culture and Communication at The University of Melbourne. Tom Nicholson is a Melbourne-based artist and teaches in the Faculty of Art and Design at Monash University.


4. Dianne Jones & Anne Maxwell
Wednesday 8 september 6.15pM

Artist Dianne Jones discusses her performative use of iconic imagery and academic Anne Maxwell discusses the use of photography in eugenicist propaganda. Chaired by Kate Darian-Smith.

Dianne Jones
The Girl Next Door: In(digenous) Suburbia

Dianne Jones foregrounds the homogeneity of dominant visual ideologies, while creating representations that are inclusive of marginalised bodies and voices. Drawing on family experiences and memory, Jones disrupts stereotypical and racist notions of what constitutes 'Indigeneity'.

Nyoongar artist Dianne Jones lives and works in Melbourne. Her studies include Aboriginal Orientation Course at the University of Western Australia and a Bachelor of Visual Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth. Recent exhibitions include, Gayme, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick; Lookin' Up, Gorman House Arts Centre, Canberra; Half Light: Portraits from Black Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Jones is represented by Niagara Galleries, Melbourne.

MP3 Download Dianne Jones' lecture recording MP3, 10.8MB

Anne Maxwell
Colonialism and Eugenic Photography

This paper examines one of photography's more controversial social applications or performances, its cooption by the eugenics movement, which lasted from 1880 to 1940, when photography was unambiguously thrust into the world of colonial race-based politics.

Dr Anne Maxwell teaches in the School of Culture and Communications at The University of Melbourne. She is the author of Colonial Exhibitions and Photography (Leicester UP, 2000); Picture imperfect Photography and Eugenics 1870-1940 (Sussex Academic Press, 2008); Maoriland Stories by Alfred Grace (Ngaio Press, 2008) and Ethical Evolution: Eugenics and Genetic Engineering in Science Fiction (forthcoming Toronto UP, 2010).

MP3 Download Anne Maxwell's lecture recording MP3, 16.8MB


5. Penny Edmonds & Jane Lydon
Wednesday 15 September 6.15pm

In their papers Penny Edmonds and Jane Lydon will address issues of Indigenous sovereignty and rights through colonial photography and performances.
Chaired by Kate Darian-Smith.

Penny Edmonds
The Waitangi Treaty Photographic Tableau and the Idea of the 'Maori Magna Carta'

In 1923 a set of photographic tableaux illustrating key historical moments between settlers and Maori peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand was produced. Penny explores this series, in particular Signing the Waitangi Treaty. In this tableau vivant we see how the Treaty was performed as the 'Maori Magna Carta', portraying the apparent transference of English liberties and rights to Maori peoples.

Dr Penny Edmonds is a historian at The University of Melbourne, with research interests in colonial histories, Australian and Pacific-region contact history, and visual culture. Penny is the author of Urbanizing Frontiers: Indigenous Peoples and Settlers in Nineteenth-Century Pacific Rim Cities (UBC Press, 2010).

MP3 Download Penny Edmonds' lecture recording MP3, 12.6MB

Jane Lydon
Bullets, Teeth and Photographs

In 1927 an inquiry into the Forrest River massacre sent shockwaves across Australia. Photographic evidence was tendered to the inquiry: how were these images seen at the time? How should we look at them now? The horrified public preferred to look at more eloquent images of Indigenous suffering. This talk reviews these parallel ways of seeing Aboriginal people and the role of photography in arguing for Indigenous rights.

Dr Jane Lydon is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies at Monash University. Her books include Eye Contact: Photographing Indigenous Australians (Duke University Press, 2005) and Fantastic Dreaming: The Archaeology of an Aboriginal Mission (Altamira Press, 2009).

MP3 Download Jane Lydon's lecture recording MP3, 10.4MB

Event Horizon Public Program
Wednesday 7 July 2010 6pm

CCP presents an evening of lectures by astrophysicist Professor Jeremy Mould and scientific photographer David Malin as part of the exhibition Event Horizon. These leading authorities discuss the phenomenon of black holes, space travel and the seemingly impossible task of documenting the parameters of our universe. 

David Malin is a British-born astronomical photographer who between 1975 and 2001 worked at the Anglo-Australian Observatory in Sydney. His training and previous career in chemistry enabled him to pioneer methods—including ‘malinization’—of radically enhancing faint photographic images of distant galaxies and other celestial phenomena, greatly increasing the information obtainable from them. Malin has had a galaxy and a minor planet named after him. Among his many publications are Colours of the Stars (1984, with Paul Murdin) and A View of the Universe (1993).

MP3 Download David Malin's lecture recording MP3, 44.1MB

Jeremy Mould gained his PhD from the Australian National University and held postdoctoral positions at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Observatories of the Carnegie Institute of Washington. He joined the Caltech faculty in 1982. He returned to Australia in 1992, where he became Director of Mount Stromlo & Siding Spring Observatories. He was Director of the US National Optical Astronomy Observatories from 2001–2007. He is now Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne School of Physics.

MP3 Download Jeremy Mould's lecture recording MP3, 18.2MB

Liz Wells:
Topographic Narratives — on Landscape and Geography
Wedneday 31 March 6pm

Centre for Contemporary Photography in association with the Faculty of Art & Design at Monash University is pleased to announce a lecture by leading UK based academic and curator Liz Wells on the topic of topographic narratives in relation to photography.

The authority of topographic photography derives primarily from the integrity of photographers as researchers exploring land and environment. Reference will be made to work by practitioners from Europe and USA including Olafur Eliasson (Denmark), Doris Frohnapfel (Germany), Mark Klett (USA), Ingrid Pollard (UK) and Jem Southam (UK).

Liz Wells writes and lectures on photographic practices. She is editor of The Photography Reader, 2003 and of Photography: A Critical Introduction, 2009, 4th ed.; also co-editor of Photographies, Routledge Journals. Land Matters: Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity, is due for publication in 2010. Other publications on landscape include Liz Wells, Kate Newton and Catherine Fehily, eds., Shifting Horizons, Women's Landscape Photography Now, 2000. Wells' recent curatorial projects include Uneasy Spaces, 80 Washington Square East Galleries 2006 and Facing East, Contemporary Landscape Photography from Baltic Areas, UK tour 2004 – 2007. She is Professor in Photographic Culture, Faculty of Arts, University of Plymouth, UK, and convenes the research group for Land/Water and the Visual Arts.

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