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The Shadows Calling

by Patricia Piccinini (2015)
 

“The Shadows Calling” imagines the amazingly evocative space of the Mercury Building as a fecund and unsettled environment, where strange forces work to reclaim the building. There is a sense of decay and rebuilding, suggesting the idea of industrial biodegradability, where the technological world is broken down by natural forces to grow new forms.

The space is both empty and occupied. We see relics from some sort of expedition sent to chart the processes of transformation, but the explorers are gone. In their place are creatures and plants that sit in the space between the artificial and natural worlds. We are inspired by fungi, that are neither plants nor animals but their own unique ‘kingdom’, and are both parasites and symbiotes, poisonous and delicious. These organisms are a vital but largely invisible instrument in the complex systems of the natural world.

Visitors enter the amazing space of the basement of the Mercury Building to discover that while it is deserted, strange organisms have started to reclaim the space. In the low, vaulted cellar that once housed the maintenance workshops, a field of strange, pallid flowers have grown up to fill the emptiness. In a series of cell-like rooms off the side, we discovers the remnants of an abandoned expedition that has been investigating these organisms. This makeshift campsite contains drawings and recordings documenting the new ecology of the space, and discussing its implications. These derelic spaces are overgrown by strange metallic insects and glossy fungus-like growths.

On the other side of the building, the hall that once contained the printing presses presents a loft contrast to the compressed gloom of the vaulted space. It has also been reclaimed by a strange new ecology. At one end stands a pair of figures; a ten year old boy and a matronly figure, who on closer inspection turns out to be some sort of amorphous organism. She is neither animal nor vegetable but somehow both - grotesque yet gentle. The two figures are surrounded by a ring of surreal objects; strange visceral plants, glossy growths and organic objects. They stand at the centre of a ring of growth that is beautiful and obscure.

At the other end of the room is a huge organism that seems to be growing out of the floor of the building. It is also amorphous, but more insect-like or animal. It is dark but not foreboding, seeming to be drawing form and nutrients from discarded objects and rubbish. It is like some sort of spirit of the building, given form - derelict but wonderful.

Between these creatures, is a raised platform, like a pulpit. At various times during the day, a woman mounts the platform and performs. She sings a strange song, an amorphous blend of natural and unnatural voice, directed at the massive building spirit. Perhaps it is an offering to the spirit to placate it, perhaps an attempt at communication.

“The Shadows Calling” is a sensual world: visual, aural, tactile, olfactory - although perhaps not gustatory. The exhibition includes sculpture, drawing, video, performance and narrative. Visitors have the chance to explore a dark, strange, beautiful world, where the boundaries between the real, the fantastic and the hypothetical are difficult to make out.

 

 

 

Interview with The Condition Report by Patricia Piccinini and The Condition report

Just Because Something Is Bad, Doesn't Mean It Isn't Good by Basak Doga Temur

Patricia Piccinini interviewed by Jane Messenger by Jane Messenger

Speculative Fabulations for Technoculture's Generations by Donna Haraway

The Naturally Artificial World by Laura Fernandez Orgaz and Patricia Piccinini

Border Patrol by Stella Brennan

We Are Family: Patricia Piccinini at the 50th Biennale of Venice by Linda Michael

Patricia Piccinini's Offspring by Peter Hennessey

Fast forward: accelerated evolution by Rachel Kent

One Night Love by Nikos Papastergiadis

Autoerotic by Amanda Rowell

One Night Love by Linda Michael

Atmosphere by Juliana Engberg

Biopshere by Edward Colless

Patricia Piccinini: Ethical Aesthetics by Jacqueline Millner

Patricia Piccinini - Early Installations by Peter Hennessey

The NESS Project and the Birth of Truck Babies by Hiroo Yamagata

Some thoughts about Embryo by Patricia Piccinini

The Rookie by Patricia Piccinini

The Shadows Calling by Patricia Piccinini

Meditations on the continuum of vitality by Patricia Piccinini

Six observations about The Skywhale by Patricia Piccinini

Those Who Dream by Night by Patricia Piccinini

The Fitzroy Series by Patricia Piccinini

Eulogy by Patricia Piccinini

The Lovers by Patricia Piccinini

The Welcome Guest by Patricia Piccinini

The Observer by Patricia Piccinini

Aloft by Patricia Piccinini

Balasana by Patricia Piccinini

The Gathering by Patricia Piccinini

Perhaps the World is Fine Tonight by Patricia Piccinini

Bottom Feeder by Patricia Piccinini

Not Quite Animal by Patricia Piccinini

The Long Awaited by Patricia Piccinini

The Foundling by Patricia Piccinini

In Another Life by Patricia Piccinini

Big Mother by Patricia Piccinini

Bodyguard by Patricia Piccinini

Sandman by Patricia Piccinini

The Leather Landscape by Patricia Piccinini

The Young Family by Patricia Piccinini

Still Life With Stem Cells by Patricia Piccinini

Swell by Patricia Piccinini

The Breathing Room by Patricia Piccinini

Truck Babies by Patricia Piccinini