EXHIBITION DATES: 11 November - 1 December 2011


HORSTORY by Susan McMinn

The fragmented and distorted way history tells and retells the story of the Australian horse at war has resulted in its trials in WW1 being lost in the larger overarching narrative. If we reflect on the changing role of the horse since the war, and consider this icon of Australian history through a contemporary lens, its use in war becomes disturbing. Contemplate, for example, Ion Idriess’ graphic description of the horse charging directly into gunfire and ‘the sickening thud of a spray of bullets into solid flesh’ resulting in ‘panting horses with crimson chests.’ One just has to recall the outrage and horror at the image of blood streaming down the chest of racehorse ‘Maldivian’ after he was involved in an accident at the 2007 Caulfield cup. One observer said he ‘felt sick’ and was ‘profoundly affected.’ Today, our society fervently questions using horses in ‘sport’ going so far as to call for its abolishment. Nonetheless, history shapes our perception of today and yet present thought, such as changing attitudes towards the animal, shapes and disrupts the way we consider events of the past. 
 My work is concerned with the emotive content found in the personal histories and the aesthetic in which histories are presented. I am interested in the way in which drawing and space can be used as tools to re-present fragmented histories concerning the horse in war. Inspired by archival information from the Australian War Memorial, including war diaries, letters, veterinary records and narrative histories, small scale works seek a connection that recalls the intimate atmosphere of the reading room. Drawing, printing, tracing, erasure, frottage on paper demand resonance with the archives and their associated materials. Focusing on the personal empathetic understandings of the horse in war, a sense of space and disorder explores an underlying interest in the disjuncture existing between oral histories, archival stories, and the historical narratives concerning the horse’s fate. ‘Horstory’ intend to pervade the gap concerning the story of the horse in war, through gathering fragments of historical narrative, some parts truth and some parts myth, and visually piecing them together to re-present new narratives for consideration.





































Michelle Cox is both an atmospheric scientist and a visual artist and will present an art/science project called Climate Laboratory. The project is an exploration of links between the earth’s climate and the environment through quirky, retro-style computer-generated animation and interactive game-based art. The works have been generated using computer code and historical climate data using Processing and Pygame. The computer-based work will be accompanied by mind maps, with geographical, geometrical and environmental science imagery which represent the underlying source material of the project.
















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