serial 7's

tv moore, alex kershaw, shay launder, the kingpins, astrid speilman, andrew liversidge, shaun gladwell

Serial 7's was an exhibition of seven short videos. A single projection looped the individual works into a montage of reality bytes that alternated between the sleek aesthetics of advertising and the amateur style of porn videos. The hit and miss 'piss-take' that emerged from some of the works in Serial l 's, played on its simulated referent, as the compilation doubled over in convulsive mimicry of the film Series 7(2001). Each work ran for approximately four minutes and was sequenced to read like prime time viewing, complete with adbreaks. And yet the cinematic staging of the works complicated this commercial reading. Facing the images' larger than life scale, the familiar act of watching television was transformed into a self-conscious performance of viewing.

The street kid, featured in TV Moore's Untitled work, relayed anecdotes of adolescent ridicule and violence with deadpan urgency and claustrophobic intimacy-he was aloof, yet needy. With his back to a wall of graffiti, the hooded tough's confessions of mundane domestic traumas were filmed in a series of single shot perspectives. Scattered throughout the video compilation, these confessional mug shots of teenage angst parodically winked at the up-close and personal style of 'Reality TV' and its self-conscious narration. The mug shot reappeared in Alex Kershaw's Pencil as Repository, as the sitter, or 'artistic type', performed the cliched gestures of a pensive artist searching for inspiration in the body of a pencil. Played out against a monotone background, the miseen-scene was reminiscent of the cool photographic style of Thomas Ruff. The myth of the genius came to its logical end as the performer finally ate the pencil. Meaning came to rest inside the body in an imploding of the Pollock brushstroke, as the creative act was given over to consuming rather than purging. Shay Launder's Gratitude and the Kingpins' Men's Club both engaged in a similar satirical critique of the male artistic 'hero', except their attack took place within the realm of the music video. 

Accompanying the 'original' Gratitude video clip was Launder's reworking of the song. As she monotonously dragged her voice over the lyrics, an equally generic drum machine beat out the rhythm. The combination of Launder's apathy mixed with the passionate gyrations of the Beastie Boys lip-synced performance made for a wry send-up of MTV masculinity. The Kingpins' video spoof, Men's Club, continued the display of macho hyperbole. Like Bruce Willis action heroes, the female drag group was filmed running from all directions to climactically meet for the chorus at an underground car park toilet-the Men's Club par excellence! With nonsense lyrics like 'this relationship is null and void/it's not you it's just my hemorrhoid' culminating in the refrain 'pushing devon', the Kingpins pitted their cock-rock personas against the style of glam boy bands, like 'n sync and Take That, in a perverted reference to the classic '80's rock video. This farcical strategy recalled a transitional time in pop performance, when masculine signifiers shifted from macho boys bands playing their instruments (musical and phallic) to clean-cut adolescents mincing in choreographed sequences.

The travelogue end of Serial l 's, discursively plotted the various stages of tourism in the work of Astrid Speilman, Andrew Liversidge, and Shaun Gladwell. Speilman 's video, Miami Part 1, was an entropic journey to nowhere. She recorded her view from the passenger seat of an aeroplane during the moments of take-off and landing. The duration of her Miami trip was collapsed into these two markers of anticipation in a repetitious cycle of stalled potential. Speilman's vision recalled Warhol's philosophy on 'the time between the times', whereby the non-events of arrival and departure form the final memory of the overseas vacation in an ironic twist of metonymy. Gladwell's piece Federation Parade, performed a similar contraction of time, however with the broader focus of cultural memory. Armed with handy-cam, and skateboarding backwards through the parade's narrative formation (moving against the flow of traffic), Gladwell's footage created a meta-language of Australian history and its 'floating' signifiers Liversidge's piece Untitled From Another took a poetic look at tourism and history. Shot while traveling through Indonesia, his meditations on cultural displacement within the landscape walked a tenuous line between exoticism and aesthetics. Yet this romantic sentiment was needed in the context of the other works. After all, what is there left to dream about when, in the parting words of TV Moore's hero, 'there's nothing left but bad television and you?'