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The False Demographic
The False Demographic
Curated by Chloe Geoghegan and Ted Whitaker
7 – 31 October 2015 at Blue Oyster Project Space
The call to “design your own flag” aligns with New Zealand’s proud DIY culture, a want for modern democracy and an exacerbation of our wry antipodean humour. Exploring an alternative voice within the mainstream flag debate, The False Demographic reflected the diverse potential of socio-political dialogue within art practice. Questioning the debate as an automatic discussion, Robert Carter’s installation ‘The Voice of Authority II’ (2015) embodied and distorted the forceful nature of political dialogue. Enclosed by a border of quiet but invasive Kikuyu grass, Stella Corkery’s painting ‘Ears Burning’ (2015) and Brendan Jon Philip’s drawing series ‘Stateless Vexilla’ (2015) explored the indeterminacy of NZ’s sometimes post-global society. Prague based Czech artist Ondřej Vicena’s installation ‘I saw how tourist view burnt a spoon’ (2015) intersects the gallery space; hyperreality and reality interweave to offer a much-needed viewpoint from the outside looking in.
Alongside these works were nearly forty interactive responses from a constructed ‘demographic’, which formed a curatorial architecture for the exhibition and perhaps also a reverse-public programme whereby the exhibition audience could access a pre-existing discussion around the exhibition, in the exhibition. By presenting these responses from a range of different voices we asserted an alternative flag debate in order to explore some of the more complex issues the referendum process inadvertently exposed. We asked our demographic: what does the referendum mean to Aotearoa’s largely apolitical and globalised youth? How does it affect the current nature of post-colonial dialogue? Is New Zealand the perfect sized soapbox for political empowerment or disempowerment? Does the referendum consider the ‘otherness’ that many if not most New Zealanders identify with? Isolated geographically to the rest of the world and living in a destination country (unless en route to Antarctica) demands an outward perspective, which The False Demographic sought to do through a discursive framework.
1. Brendan Jon Philip, Stateless Vexilla (detail), 2015.
2. Ondrej Vicena, I saw how tourist view burnt a spoon (detail), 2015.
3. Robert Carter, The Voice of Authority II (detail), 2015.
4. Stella Corkery, Ears Burning (detail), 2015.
5. The False Demographic, installation image of interviews.
About the Curator
Chloe Geoghegan is Curator of Art at the Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. In 2017 and 2018 she was an independent writer and curator; 2014-2017 she was Director of Dunedin’s Blue Oyster Art Project Space; 2012-2014 she co-founded Dog Park artist-run space in Christchurch. In 2016 she travelled to China and Korea for 3 weeks on the annual Creative New Zealand Asia New Zealand 2016 Curators Tour; in 2015 she took part in the ICI Fall Curatorial Intensive in New York; in 2015 and 2016 together with Melanie Oliver she developed NZ’s first Emerging Curators Programme. She is interested in furthering curatorial discourse in Aotearoa through critical writing, exhibiting and publishing. She holds a BFA(Hons) from the University of Canterbury in Graphic Design and Art History, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Art Curatorship. Recent projects include: ‘Abject Failures’ at Hastings City Art Gallery (2018), ‘Cul-de-sac’ at RM, Auckland (2018), ‘A Year of Conscious Practice’ online (2016-present) and ‘Zero to Hero’ at TBC Art Inc, Melbourne (2016). She intermittently writes for: Contemporary HUM, Pantograph Punch and the Journal of Curatorial Studies and for a range of other publications, institutions and artists.