Dim the lights. Close the door. Light a candle. Sit very still…
Collective: Ghost is a playful vigil to 2020, the year that was lost and rewritten. It is a chance to gather digitally for collective catharsis and experiment with messy strategies for how to imagine new futures. Following on from Collective: Trace, presented with PACT Centre for Emerging Artists in the midst of the July COVID-19 lockdown, Collective: Ghost addresses that which is haunting us, alternate timelines, unrequired longings, ideas, expectations and desires that were left unrealised. Artists Pony Express, Katy B Plummer, Meng-Yu Yan, Jazz Money and Sancintya Mohini Simpson unpick the threads of the internet, crafting digital experiences filled with humour, heartbreak, divinity and the supernatural. Each of the artistic apparitions embedded in the Collective: Ghost site is a reflection on this heightened moment, travelling beyond our ‘uncertain’ past and offering us a tool, a guiding light, a laugh, a poetic word to move into a future.
I Don’t Sleep Anymore, 2020
Sancinya Mohini Simpson
My Mother’s Garden Is Haunted By Birds, 2020
This year we have been haunted by timelines of what was possible, what is and what could be. We find ourselves recirculating to a quote by Ursula K. Le Guin, “the only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next”. Holding these timelines against the other, we feel where one deviates, where one possibility is closed, postponed, erased all together. What has made life possible has not been the “intolerable uncertainty” but the moments of connection, with one another, with art and hope that have occurred in that ‘uncertain’, ‘unprecedented’ place. As we meet digitally through Collective: Ghost, witnessing one another through the flower counter at the bottom of the site… “You are the XXX visitor to this site” or laying a wreath in condolence of lost plans, we gather at a precipice point. Throughout this year we have moved through time knowing the alternate timeline that should have occured. Whether you had a trip planned, a job lost, an encounter to occur or a life changing event never-to-be, we felt this impossible timeline tick by. Now, we have reached a moment beyond that, where we need to reflect on what was, what could have been and look to what can. At Collective: Ghost we meet this point that looks out beyond imagination.
Katy B Plummer
WE ARE ALL ASTONISHINGLY WISE, 2020
Phantom Glimmer, 2020
In Collective: Ghost we aimed to turn these feelings into code, to build a digital place to meet. The platform that has emerged is a space for offering, uncovering and holding one another. Welcome! Each artwork within Collective: Ghost offers a key to speculative possibilities. Katy B Plummer’s WE ARE ALL ASTONISHINGLY WISE is a digital oracle offering a poetic glimpse into the otherworld, influenced by the old per-minute phone psychic services that used to be advertised on the telly after midnight. Meng-Yu Yan in Phantom Glimmer plunges us into messy late-90’s internet aesthetic and spirit photography, offering an orb as a portal to understanding your own moods, intuition and alternate realities. Pony Express offers a messaging service in PORTAL, forging networks of communication between us via deep-fakes and deep-play - “Pony Express is the medium, you are the message, the superstar is the spirit”. Jazz Money reflects on a sleepless year in her interactive digital poem I Don’t Sleep Anymore, navigating our mouse across words, letters, breaks and emojis to reveal alternate endings and reshaped beginnings. Finally Sancinya Mohini Simpson invites you into her parents digital garden with My Mother’s Garden Is Haunted By Birds, an invitation to slow down, listen, click and reveal glimpses into their daily life - a life that has been physically distanced from the artist this year.
In Collective: Ghost we situate care in the centre of the digital experience. We ground the abstract in the intimate, and allow ourselves to grapple with the future through our relationships with each other and ourselves, our belief systems and strategies for creating meaning. Care in Collective: Ghost is a tool to work beyond crisis and find solace in love.
So we thank you for gathering here at Collective: Ghost and witnessing this vigil to the year we lost. Together we bow our heads and think about those plans that were set in stone and how they crumbled, the ‘ghost’ exhibitions that sat unseen in darkened gallery spaces, the ideas, expectations and hopes that were left unreleased. In our hearts we pile that was lost into a mould and set it alight.
Let’s join hands across the internet and wait to see what will emerge from the ashes.
Collective: Ghost and Outer Space acknowledges the traditional custodians of the stolen land where this project was created and presented, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, Meanjin, lutruwita and nipaluna, the land of the muwinina people. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. Always was, always will be Aboriginal Land.
This project is presented by Outer Space, and has been assisted by Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.