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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Unknown Territories: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The first Artists in Residency Program is set to bring a host of new contemporary artists to this alluring heritage site, the island that successfully bore the wonderment of the 17th Biennale of Sydney earlier this year.
By Bridie Connellan
September 08, 2010
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By Bridie Connellan
September 08, 2010
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Sydneysiders, let's be honest; Cockatoo Island is Jurassic Park. A looming, gargantuan island of mystique and fossilised structures, with an eerie array of tunnels and apatosaurus-worthy grassy plains, this hub of artistic sorts seems only too appropriate for an exhibition entitled Unknown Territories — Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Hold the dilophosaurs, on with the art.

The first ARP (Artists in Residency Program) is set to bring a host of new contemporary artists to this alluring heritage site, the island that successfully bore the wonderment of the 17th Biennale of Sydney earlier this year. With acclaimed artistic director Annie Laerkesen at the helm, the ARP is a new collective of sorts in which eight established and emerging modern artists bunkered down on the island to create an ongoing spring exhibition. Laerkesen selected artists at differentiating stages of career prowess, with the likes of Sydney-based installation artist Mikala Dwyer, artistic architect Richard Goodwin, interdisciplinary visual artist Keg de Souza, Cairns painter Daniel Boyd, Sydney favourite Justene Williams, installation and video artist Margaret Roberts, interactive media artist Mari Velonaki (work pictured) and Australian activist art collective boat-people.org installing their fresh and original works for the month of September.

With site-specific pieces, robotic installations and a fusion of performance and video art, Laerkesen’s artist selection is drawing upon the mysterious qualities of the space itself alongside the fresh vision of her residents. "Notions of displacement, disorientation, intervention and reinterpretation underpin the works in this exhibition creating an exciting launch for this new creative initiative," she says. But despite ARP holding no responsibility for raptor assaults, the beauty of this little adventure is all in the ability to interact and engage with the space. Approaching via ferry with John Williams to soundtrack, a little artistic tyrannosaurical adventure never went astray.

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