2017 | Single Channel HD Video | 13’39’’
Diana Baker Smith and Kelly Doley
Videography and Video Editing: Kate Blackmore
Sound and Original Music: Andrew McLellan
In this work Diana Baker Smith and Kelly Doley delve into the erotically charged archives of the Australian artist Pat Larter. While best known as the ‘muse’ to her husband, Larter was also one of the leading figures in the international mail art movement, and created an extensive number of performances, films and photographs from the 1970s up until her death in 1996. Through a performative film essay, Baker Smith and Doley reactivate Larter’s work in the archive and on the screen. They move between the physical space of the Pat Larter Archive at the Art Gallery of NSW and the recording studio, where they read out a series of letters to the late artist and to each other. These gestures are intercut with excerpts from Larter’s films (made in collaboration with Dick Larter) as well as images from her performances and mail art. As Baker Smith and Doley search through Larter’s extensive archive, they contemplate the difficulties associated with revisiting ephemeral art practices and the gender politics that structure art history.
2017 | Single Channel HD Video | 7'28''
Concept and Direction: Diana Baker Smith Frances Barrett, Kate Blackmore and Kelly Doley
Video editing: Kate Blackmore
Original music: Andrew McLellan
Bad Timing is the fifth in a series of works exploring the life and legacy of the mythic performance artist Barbara Cleveland. In 1977 Cleveland undertook a 24-hour performance based on a score of absurd and provocative instructions, bringing together her interests in humour and endurance. This score, when read as a whole, formed an embodied manifesto that enacted the idea of ‘bad timing’ as a feminist political strategy. Four decades later, the art collective Barbara Cleveland, revisit this score to forge their own sense of bad timing. As serious as it is absurd, this work foregrounds humour as part of their collective feminist methodology and seeks to draw attention to the lineage of humour throughout feminist performance practice over the past 40 years.
Commissioned by Hannah Matthews for The Humours, MUMA 2017.
Installation images: Andrew Curtis
2015 | Performance Lecture | Duration variable
Diana Baker Smith and Kelly Doley
In 1975 the American art critic and curator Lucy R. Lippard came to Australia to deliver the Power Lecture at Sydney University. She also held a number of informal lectures and discussions about gender inequality in the arts and conducted studio visits with women artists. Lippard’s 1975 visit is now legendary. In reaching almost mythical status, it is said to have kick-started the Women’s Art Movement and other important feminist activities in Australia.
For The Lucy R. Lippard Lecture, the artists re-visit this historic moment through re-enactment and a discursive program of events held at Artspace. The artists examine the significance of Lippard’s visit through collecting a range of eye witness accounts, memories, and stories from those who were ‘there’. Forty years on, this project considers the legacy of feminism in Australia and how it ghosts and overlaps with the contemporary context.
2016 | Single Channel HD Video | 13’46’’
Concept and Direction: Diana Baker Smith, Frances Barrett and Kelly Doley
Choreography and Performance: Angela Goh
Videography: Gotaro Uematsu
Video editing: Kate Blackmore
Sound and original music: Andrew McLellan
Production: Bev Shroot
Hair and make-up: Sophie Roberts
Bodies in Time is the fourth in a series of works exploring the life and legacy of the mythic performance artist Barbara Cleveland. The work is based on a series of 1973 scores by Cleveland, in which she accumulated gestures from the history of performance across both dance and the visual arts.
Working with choreographer and dancer Angela Goh, the artists reanimate Cleveland’s score to consider how performance is transmitted between bodies and across time periods. By further translating the action into video, they construct a dialogue between the body as a volatile form of ‘living archive’ and the mediated status of performance documentation, which foregrounds the multiple levels of authorship at play in the work.
This work was commissioned by the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the Contemporary Projects series, which supports new work by living artists at the progressive edge of contemporary practice.
Images by Zan Wimberley and courtesy of the artists.
2015-ongoing | Live Performance | Duration variable
Diana Baker Smith, Frances Barrett, Kate Blackmore and Kelly Doley
In this participatory work, the four members of Barbara Cleveland sit in a circle recounting personal memories of performances into a microphone. The microphone is passed around the circle, inviting the audience to also contribute to generating an oral history of performance. The memories are audio recorded and archived to allow these unreliable narratives to take their place in history, thereby highlighting the complexities associated with historicising performance.
Installation view, Making History, 20th Biennale of Sydney, The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed. Images by Jessica Maurer and courtesy of the artists.
Curated by Diana Baker Smith and Kelly Doley
Artists: Kate Blackmore, Mikala Dwyer and Justene Williams, Amala Groom, Deborah Kelly, Joan Ross, Soda_Jerk, Angelica Mesiti and Caroline Garcia
Moving Histories // Future Projections is an exhibition of screen-based works by Australian artists that explores the interplay between portraying the past and staging the present. The artists approach their subject matter in a variety of ways. They turn the camera on themselves and those around them to revisit historical events, using editing, repetition and montage to create new relationships across time and space. Many of the artists focus on marginalised histories and disappearing cultures and languages, attempting to capture what might soon be lost through the lens of the camera.
Through these various approaches to the moving image, the artists in Moving Histories // Future Projections ultimately adopt the role of historian, archivist and archaeologist, using the camera and the screen to excavate historical materials and reanimate archives. However, unlike the traditional historian or archivist, the aim is not simply to represent the past as it really was. Instead, these artists create portals between now and then, blurring fact and fiction with real and speculative events, in order to imagine alternative histories and to project potential futures.
Moving Histories // Future Projections was commissioned by dlux Media Arts and toured by Museums and Galleries NSW.
Toowoomba Regional Gallery, QLD
18 February - 23 April 2017
Cairns Regional Gallery, QLD
28 April - 18 June 2017
Mosman Art Gallery, NSW
21 October 2017 - 6 January 2018
Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, NSW
20 January - 11 March 2018
Bega Valley Regional Gallery, NSW
16 March - 28 April 2018
Latrobe Regional Gallery, NSW
5 May - 8 July 2018
Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, NSW
20 July - 2 Sept 2018
Broken Hill Regional Gallery, NSW
28 September - 11 November 2018
Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre, NT
16 January - 3 March 2019
Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, NSW
16 February - 12 May 2019
2016 | Live Performance, Installation and 2 Channell HD Video | 5'
Concept and Direction: Diana Baker Smith, Frances Barrett, Kate Blackmore and Kelly Doley
Videography: Dominick Kirkwood
Video Editing: Kate Blackmore
Signage: Kelly Doley
Set Construction: Daniel Hollier
Production: Bev Shroot
Invited participants: Amy Ireland, Anne Marsh, Sunday School, Eugene Choi, Francesca da Rimini, Mike Parr, Richard Bell, Salote Tawale with Get to Work, and Virginia Barratt.
Making History is the third in a series of works exploring the life and legacy of the mythic performance artist Barbara Cleveland. Taking Cleveland’s 1970s sketches of theatre sets as a starting point, the artist’s created an architectural framework to consider the legacy of performance and live art histories in Australia. This took the form of an installation of set pieces, theatrical structures, and video installations, which operated as both a performance space and an evolving archive of performance.
Working with a range of invited guests, the artists reactivated Cleveland’s original designs through a discursive program of performances, lectures, re-enactments and discussions in the gallery over a 3-month period. Some of the participants chose to revisit the work of Cleveland, while others used re-enactment to re-visit their own work, or the work of other artists that have been marginalised throughout art history. Through these various approaches to archival material, the artists examined how alternative historiographical approaches and embodied practices can be used to reimagine past acts and events in the here-and-now.
The program included the following presentations by the invited participants:
Eugene Choi, This Moment (2016)
Anne Marsh, Archives, Performance Art and Feminism/s in Australia (2016)
Richard Bell, Making History (2016)
Mike Parr, Barbara Cleveland Eats and Apple (2016)
Salote Tawale with Get to Work, Making History (2016)
Amy Ireland, Virginia Barratt, Francesca da Rimini, B.A.B.S, (2016)
Sunday School (Kelly Doley and Diana Smith), In Search of Pat Larter (2016)
This project was commissioned for the 20th Biennale of Sydney The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed and was supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.
Images by Jessica Maurer and courtesy of the artists.
Performance Perspectives is an online archive of video interviews exploring performance art in Australia. The project was directed by Diana Baker Smith, produced by Nick Garner and presented by Das Platforms.
Participants include Barbara Campbell, Bonita Ely, Lyndal Jones, Anne Marsh, Jess Olivieri, Jill Orr, Sarah Rodigari, Denis Beaubois and Mike Parr.