Soda_Jerk wins Ian Potter Moving Image Commission 2016 by ACMI

Third edition of the Ian Potter Moving Image Commission Award goes to Australian video collective Soda_Jerk.

The Australia-based Ian Potter Moving Image Commission (IPMIC) is awarded to mid-career Australian artists. Artist duo Soda_Jerk takes home the AUD100,000 prize money, which will fund the production of an ambitious new work in 2017.

Soda Jerk profile image. Image courtesy the artists and Ian Potter Moving Image Comission.

Soda_Jerk profile image. Image courtesy the artists and Ian Potter Moving Image Comission.

IPMIC Award

The Ian Potter Moving Image Commission (IPMIC) is an award designed to enable mid-career Australian artists to produce an ambitious new moving image work that demonstrates a major development or shift in their practice. Through the commission partners, the award provides two levels of support to the successful artist: AUD100,000 from The Ian Potter Cultural Trust as well as specialised curatorial, production and presentation expertise provided by Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne.

The IPMIC has so far enabled the production of two major artist works, by Angelica Mesiti and Daniel Crooks respectively. In Mesiti’s case the AUD100,000 prize money supported a series of visits to the village of Kuskoy in Northern Turkey, the island of La Gomera in The Canary Islands and the Island of Evia in Greece where whistling languages are still in use. Mesiti made a film entitled The Calling (2013-2014) that included documentary elements shot in these locations exploring how these communities are adapting their traditional techniques of communication to a modern world.

Angelica Mesiti, 'The Calling' (2013-2014). Film. Installation view, Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Photo credit. Mark Ashkanasy. Image courtesy the artist.

Angelica Mesiti, ‘The Calling’, 2013-2014, film, installation view at Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Photo: Mark Ashkanasy. Image courtesy the artist.

Daniel Crooks 2016 work Phantom Ride also involved dedicating a portion of the prize money to a travel budget as the artist shot footage of a series of roads, railroads and tram lines across the country in urban and rural contexts. This material was then stitched together creating the illusion of a single journey through diverse landscapes. The film references the phantom rides of early cinema, a genre of film popular in Britain and the United States in the early 1900s.

2016 IPMIC winners Soda_Jerk

The awarding of the prize money to Soda_Jerk perhaps marks a shift in direction for the type of projects the IPMIC has previously honoured, largely characterised by documentary style elements. Soda_Jerk do not often have to travel for their work. In fact they have never shot original footage. The duo work exclusively with sampled material and are known across the Asia-Pacific region for their darkly comic and playful video, editing and installation work. Often taking the form of videos or cut-up texts, their archival practice can be aligned with a series of editing practices that emerged at the beginning of the 2000s dubbed “postproduction” by critic Nicolas Bourriaud.

Soda_Jerk, The Avalanches with Chris Hopkins & Al Smithee, 'The Was', (2016). Digital video, 13:40 minutes. Image courtesy the artists.

Soda_Jerk, The Avalanches with Chris Hopkins & Al Smithee, ‘The Was’, 2016, still digital video, 13:40 minutes. Image courtesy the artists.

Soda_Jerk have also garnered attention for their multi-channel lecture-performances, such as The Carousel (2011). According to the duo’s website, the work is

a live video essay that unearths these séance fictions of cinema, tracing an alternative history of film as a burial crypt where we collectively commune with the dead. Within this work live narration is used to navigate an eclectic matrix of film samples, producing a multi-channel video essay where it makes perfect sense to conjoin media theory, mysticism, deconstruction, kung-fu, vintage sci-fi, zombie flicks and techno horror.

Soda_Jerk, 'The Carousel',(2011). 2-channel video lecture performance, 60 minutes. Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2012 Image courtesy the artists and Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane.

Soda_Jerk, ‘The Carousel’, 2011, 2-channel video lecture performance, 60:00 min, installation view at Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2012. Image courtesy the artists and Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane.

Terror Nullius: “a rogue remapping of national mythology”

The commission will make possible Soda_Jerk’s new work, Terror Nullius, which will have its world premiere at ACMI in 2018. In the press release the work is depicted as a genre bending production which traverses the visual languages of Australian gothic, eco-horror and road movie. By weaving together fragments of Australia’s cultural history and film history, Terror Nullius will sketch the unstable entanglement of fiction that underpins this country’s vexed sense of self in “a rogue remapping of national mythology”.

On 6 December Soda_Jerk spoke in a statement released by the IPMIC about their excitement in receiving the commission:

It’s a staggering honour to be selected for the Ian Potter Moving Image Commission, our collective head is spinning. But we are also ready to get to work. To be braver, graver, more ambitious, technically dexterous and politically urgent with this project. It is this commission’s incredibly generous gift of time and resources, as well as ACMI’s expertise, that will make this possible. We are epically thankful.

Rebecca Close

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Related topics: international art, art world happenings, news, Southeast Asian, Australian, Awards Ceremonies, Fact and fiction blur, Film, Time

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