June 19, 2013
Separation by long distances is a recurring theme in Australian culture. Enduring the hardships of isolation is a familiar trope of our music, literature and art, from the folk song Botany Bay to Henry Lawson’s short story The Drover’s Wife or Russell Drysdale’s painting of the same name. Other iconic works, such as Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri’s epic canvas Warlugulong (1977), or Doris Pilkington Garimara’s Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence and the film based on it, emphasise rather our interconnectedness across the vast continent.
The rise of fast broadband is providing new ways for us to relate to each other and the environment over long distances, collapsing space and time in important ways. What does it mean for the way we think and talk about distance, and how we connect?
Exploring that question is the focus of The Portals, a curated program of telematic art which opened on 8 June at Nan Giese Gallery in Darwin and The Concourse in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood. It is one of the projects supported by the Australia Council’s Broadband Arts Initiative and forms part of ISEA2013, the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art.