Reading between the lines

For a recent drawing project we were asked to consider ‘text’ in art. Text is strongly connected not just to the visual but also the oral. I decided that I wanted to play with the saying: “Reading between the lines.” It occurred to me that politicians, like Tony Abbott are constantly using rote answers to questions they don’t really want to answer. How many times have Australians heard Abbott and members of his cabinet say: “I will not comment on operational matters at sea.” This is obviously covering up a lot of information. It reinforces his political stance, while at the same time saying nothing at all. Its repetition is deliberately used to dull the reality of the situation.

I felt that it also sounded a lot like something like a punishment, so to emphasise this punishment I repeated wrote out the line, “I will not comment on operational matters at sea.” According to the Guardian, in the first 18 months of the current immigration policy, 20 boats were turned back with a total of 633 people. Using this information I wrote this line 633 times on twenty pieces of paper. I then repeated the whole process on a second set of twenty pieces of paper and folded them into paper boats. I placed these boats out into the water to see what happened. Unsurprisingly, they quickly were dashed against the rocks and the paper disintegrated. The following images are of the final installation. I included video of me writing these lines, both from an outside perspective, but also from a personal perspective: the fact that although they are not our words, we are implicated in their consequences.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. zenschoolforcreatives says:

    Jeanette, this is fantastic work. My theme was also on words used by politicians only I used individual words such as “shirtfront”, “lifestyle choices” etc. and talked about how these words are commodified in order to profit through online and paper media. The work was eight A1 collages of a faceless politician placed over newspaper pages with unreadable word captions. I did not video anything probably because I couldn’t work out how to film the verbals with different connotations.. Love your work, so well done, congratulations!

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