Gary Willis

Interview with Gary Willis, Melbourne, 11/10/11

CM-A: When did you first encounter video and where was it?

GW: Bush Video. I am not sure about the date – I imagine you’ve already spoken to Steven Jones?

CM-A: Yes, I saw him in Liverpool last week but I will be seeing him next week in Sydney so I will catch up with him on some of the details, so don’t worry about if you don’t remember exactly.

GW: I have been slightly confused as to whether it was late 60s or early 70s. I was living in Sydney in the late 60s and doing a lot of gallery and alternative activities, although I moved to Melbourne in the early 70s, I re-visited Sydney in the early 72 and so some of those early art memories have merged.

CM-A: So it was with Bush Video and you think it was early seventies?

GW:  Yeah

CM-A: So, where you coming to video as a filmmaker, or a painter, or from other media?

CW: I began my practice as a conceptual artist, staging events, setting-up installations and doing performances. Although I did my first work for television in 1973 I didn’t really start making videos until late 70s. Thinking back, Bush Video first appeared at the Aquarius Art Festival in Canberra 1971, I was in Canberra at the time and was aware that Bush Video were working up in Nimbin, the (hippy) community on the North Coast of N.S.W. they would have been doing port-a-pack documents of alternative life and processing their footage through feedback loops; very whole earth, very – psychedelic.

CM-A: It was the Australian equivalent of San Francisco.

GW: Oh yeah, but think in terms of 60s Brit Rock, ‘OZ’ magazine (London 1967-73), Martin Sharp’s artwork for the Cream ‘Wheels of Fire’ albums or the poster he did for Bob Dylan during the same period. Nimbin was the counter-culture’s optimum alternative; it had captured the imagination of most of my generation.

CM-A: Right, but what was your own practice at that stage??

GW: Conceptually driven events, installations and performances – ephemeral work. I am often tagged as a ‘performance artist’ although I rarely performed. My work usually constituted staged social actions, it didn’t really matter who performed them. For example, the ‘naked circumcised youth’ referred to in the review of my first performance was actually a ‘masked naked circumcised youth’ … Stephen Jones.

CM-A: So he was up for that, was he?

GW: Yeah. He had arrived just before the performance and asked “Anything I can do, Gary?” I said: “Well, you could do the performance”.

CM-A: So were you attracted to the medium because of its function as a documentation medium- documentation of performance? How did you gravitate to it as a medium? Was it because of the instant nature of it and the fact that you could easily use it to make a documentation of events?

GW: No, I had no interest in documentation – it seemed somewhat counter-revolutionary to document work at that time which was all about being in the present. No video or photograph could possibly give you the conceptual impact that work had on its audiences. The first video I made was an intervention work for television. I had been staging events around Canberra in the early 70s, when ABC television asked me to re-stage one of those events so that they could show it on their cultural events program. I explained, “that’s not what I do … its all to do with offsetting expectations not restaging the same event for an expanding audience”. My events usually went off unannounced. They would just happen … -happenings.

So I said “Look, how much time would your programme allocate to my work?” They said: “ mmm … about 5 minutes”. So I said: “OK if give me 5 minutes air time and I will construct a 5 minute event for your programme, but no introductions or explanations”.

That piece, ‘About-Face’, went to air in Canberra in 1973; it was a television event, it was produced on 2 inch broadcast videotape.

CM-A: And was it recorded or did it go out live?

GW: A bit of both. The program went out live, but it contained a pre-recorded lecture on art, which was on the screen within the performance. Of course the whole piece was recorded but I have since lost the tape.

CM-A: How was it presented on television? Was it packaged up in some way within a programme or was it a direct intervention that came up without prior announcement? Or, how did it work?

GW: It appeared in the context of a cultural events program that went to air just before the 6 o’clock evening news, a time when the whole family would be in front of the television. “About-Face” was a performance piece set in the living room of a family house. The family were chatting and half-watching a cultural programme on television; paralleling the reality of the actual programme.

Canberra 1973; Dad, the civil servant, just home from work; Mum, the housewife catching up on the ironing and fussing with the children; The kids were doing their homework and mucking about; all in front of the television. The programme they were half-watching was a pre-recorded academic lecture on the definitive parameters of contemporary art, presented by myself as a static talking-head on screen. The day before the program made announcement that the kids should put their texta-colors on the television set in preparation for tomorrow’s show.

Within the event, the ‘cultural discourse’ provokes a conflicted discussion about the pretensions of art & culture between the parents, the kids get restless & bored and eventually take out their texta-colors and begin scribbling around the static ‘talking-head’ on TV, turning the tele off and on to admire their drawing as the parent’s become more absorbed in their discussion. By implication it might have provoked the actual kids watching television to scribble on their own television sets at home. Whether anybody ever did or not, I wouldn’t have a clue. I very much doubt it, but I am sure it would have been quite provocative, for those that were watching.

CM-A: With that kind of work, you never know what kind of impact it might have.

GW: Yes

CM-A: Were you aware of the kind of television interventions that have gone on elsewhere? The ones that David Hall did on STV in Scotland in 71, for example?

GW: No.

CM-A: So you weren’t aware of the context of artists doing something specifically for television?

GW: Well, I was aware that there had been all sorts of events and interventions, happening outside the boundaries of the conventional artworld.

CM-A: So, beyond the Bush Video-

GW: Just to make it clear, I had no direct involvement with Bush Video.

CM-A: So, take me forward into the later 70s. When did you start being aware of artists who were working with video and at what point did you get involved in that way with that sort of approach?

GW: Well, I was aware of the crossovers between art, performance, poetry, theatre and pop culture from the late 60s. Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground, Nico & Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys and Joseph Kosuth, The Theatre of Cruelty, The Living Theatre and the rising interest in video, although the divide between video and film has always been pretty fuzzy.

Late 1978 early 79, I spent a few months in New York and would have seen some video during that time although I don’t remember any specific video per se. I was aware of Anthology Film Archives. I was looking at the broadest spectrum of activities; performance, poetry and painting, whatever was on … everyone I met in New York seemed to be an artist of some sort or another.

CM-A: Did you go to The Kitchen, for example??

GW: Oh Yeah, I went to The Kitchen, along with almost every other listed gallery, in New York at the time. I had already shown some work at Franklin Furnace by then.

CM-A: When was that??

GW: Dates?? … I had a ‘Manifesto’ shown in a Book Works show, maybe 77 and a little later an Audio Tape was included in an Audio Arts show at The Kitchen.

CM-A: So you really worked across a range of media. It is really the conceptual notion that drives what you think is most effective?

GW: Yes

CM-A: So it’s not like you were attracted to the medium per se. It was the other way around- You were interested in what the medium might make possible-

GW: Yes … well actually it was more like you have a sort of conceptualizing response to the conditions at the time. For me art practice was never a matter of following a tradition, discipline, medium or technology.  It raises questions like “Where do our ideas come from?” or “How is it we become artists?”

For me there was a sort of pivotal shift between early-70s and late 70s work.  By the mid-70s my work was becoming increasingly formalist, a sort of mannerist, structuralist approach to making art about art-making. In New York I did a back flip to an earlier more expressive mode of response to being-in-the-world. I think of it in terms of a Punk influence.

At the time the mass-media seemed preoccupied with a soppy pop idea of romance, but my experience of romance was far from romantic; it was complex … tricky … scary even. The real challenge was not ‘falling in love again’ but what happens after the fall. Love can tear you apart as much as it might promise to bring you together. These sorts of human concerns underpinned my work in the late 70s. Unlike the formalist approach to art making … a transition of three primary squares … human concerns gnaw away at your subconscious and give often rise to poetic expression of their own accord.

An example; “Is This You Call love?” was not unlike the early work “About Face” in that both videos were interventions into the value systems predominant in the glossy world of television. With “Is this what you call Love?”, Eva Schramm and I set-up a personalized diagram of love’s rites of passage, to unravel its mystery.

CM-A: And what was on the screen? What did the viewer see?

GW: “Is this what you call Love?” came in the form of 6 (x 30 sec) television commercials: 6 little ads with no identifiable product. They made a direct claim on the viewer’s innate curiosity, taking their visual references from performance art rather than TV, and thus did not look anything like an the ads you see on tele. A man with M-A-N stenciled across his chest A woman with W-O-M-A-N stenciled across her breast, like some sort of experimental lab dummies. Each ad presented a diagram of a different stage of the actual relationship between Eva Schramm and myself. These dummy ads were cut into late night romance movies during the commercial breaks … unannounced.

CM-A: Right, So spaced across the duration of traditional programmes, in little bursts. How much of that were you able to dictate and control?

GW: We had no say in the choice of movie or the placement of the ad breaks, but aside from that pretty much total control. The videos were carefully scripted, staged and produced by Eva and myself, and then dropped into the late night romance movies presented in Canberra and Adelaide during arts festivals; the 1980 Adelaide Festival of the Arts and the 1981 ACT #2 Performance Festival in Canberra.

CM-A: And this is commercial television. Were advertisers okay about this, because I would imagine this would have been subversive in a sense because it was going against the programme that it was inserted between I am curious about how that would work in the context of a commercial TV station. Presumably you have advertisers, and advertisers are sponsoring a programme that has a particular message and here you are potentially undermining it or contradicting it. I just wonder, did you have any difficulties with anything? Were there any restrictions?

GW: Yes they were subversive, but once we got the OK from the station’s CEO, they just ran them. The respective stations presented them as a gesture of support for the arts festivals and fortunately, we didn’t have to pay for the advertising space.

CM-A: Did it lead to any further pieces with a similar approach?

GW: Not that I am aware of … we didn’t try to make it a series, we just moved on to the next concern.

CM-A: What did you do next using the medium?

GW: I was concurrently working on my static 2D plastic works as well as two other pieces which gave rise to videos; “… and the Leopard looked like Me!” and “Strategies for Goodbye”. These works have very different conceptual origins and aesthetic structure to the “Is this what you call Love?” tapes.  “… and the Leopard looked like Me!” was inspired by the psychological impact of my experiences in New York and began as a performance piece – a sort of critical response to Joseph Bueys’ 1974 performance “Coyote’ (I like America – America Likes Me), whilst ‘Strategies for Goodbye’ began as a manifesto … a text work. Each project has a very different focus to the previous project. My work doesn’t progress in a linear sequence.

A picture being worth a thousand words – take a look at these screen images.

You can see the aesthetic structure of “Is this what you call Love?” in this image… the work presents as a diagram of the existential complexities of relationship. This piece “TE VE VU DU” has a completely different conceptual and aesthetic structure.

CM-A: There is often a collaborative element in the work, which you haven’t yet touched on and which is quite interesting because it does take a particular discipline to work together. So how did it work?? Where they collaborations? You mentioned Stephen Jones, you said “Okay, you do the performance”, which I think was not really collaboration in the sense that perhaps the later works were. I am curious as to how this worked for you and how the collaborative aspect of it worked….

GW: This is an important question, although ‘collaboration’ has become a key word for contemporary art, I think there is a lot of confusion around what it means to ‘collaborate’. In the early days, I was just fascinated by the talents of other artists.

I had not done any art at school. I did Maths and Science and found my way into art later … by chance really. I was fascinated by artists and sometimes felt like some sort of impresario surrounded by luminous talents. Although my conceptual processes were driven by a compulsive need to understand my own experience, I saw myself as some sort of ‘everyman’, who could easily be exchanged for a more appropriate talent or character. I have always had tremendous fascination with the ‘other’ … that which I am not … and my work often switches sides to appropriate the concerns of the ‘other’.

CM-A: I am curious about what you think or whether you felt at the time that video was a particularly useful medium as a way of facilitating collaborative practice or helping to facilitate your ideas.

GW: OK … with video, like film or theatre, teamwork is essential for the material realization of the production. But for me there is a big difference between working on a production, and working together on a project, the difference is between technical support and creative collaboration. This distinction is worthy of some articulation.

For example most of my early video work was done with the technical support of Robert Randall and Frank Bendinelli, the Randelli’s, but I wouldn’t call all of that work collaborative. In collaboration you quickly come to the question of intellectual or creative property and the problem of agreement.  Having everyone equally excited about the production of the event … often what you think is a good idea can appear completely naff to your collaborator. I ran across this problem during the years I collaborated with the dramaturge, Simon Hopkinson. Eventually we agreed to keep working through our ideas until we both felt equally able to claim our common project as if it were our own. Unless we could claim the common project as our own, we retained the power of veto.

CM-A: So, there needs to be a mutual agreement from the beginning?

GW: That is what collaboration means to me. I have worked with many artists over the years but I have not always collaborated with them. Sometimes they just played a part or fulfilled a function in the production.  I think of the composers I have worked with; Jim Cotter, Paul Grobowski, Ken Guntar, Warren Burt, whilst they have had a sense of creative autonomy, they have not had the power of veto over the project. When I collaborated with Simon Hopkinson and with Eva Schramm they had a power of veto, which they would exercise.

CM-A: What was Eva Schramm’s background?

GW: She came out of RMIT sculpture department in the late 70s.

CM-A: I was wondering whether there are any video artists in Australia or internationally that you thought might be influential on the way that you think about the medium. Did anything stand out particularly?

GW: It is the technology that demarcates the difference between film & video. In Australia I was aware of Mike Parr’s self-mutilation films and Peter Kennedy’s political video with John Hughes ‘November Eleven’ but they weren’t really relevant to my video work. Andy Warhol was working with film, not video.

In New York I remember Anthology Film Archives and met Sam Schoenbaum, who made the occasional video although I don’t remember discussing video as an art form with him. There were many artists using video to document performance projects. Joseph Beuys’ 1974 “Coyote” (I like America – America Likes Me) piece, was a direct influence on my “… and the Leopard looked like Me!” performance although Beuys’ video was irrelevant.

Significantly the funding for “Is this you call Love?”, was conditional that on our working with Robert Randall and Frank Bendenelli, who I did not know until the Australian Film Commission introduced us in 79.

The Randelli’s were specifically focused on video as an art medium, experimenting with all of its technological possibilities. In retrospect, they were the most advanced video artists I had met. In 1979 the Randelli’s curated an exhibition at Open Channel ‘The Video Plus Group’ which included the work of Warren Burt, Chris Mann, Phil Brophy, Maria Kosic from memory, my work and of course Randelli’s work. Tsk Tsk Tsk presented “What is this thing Called Disco?” at the George Paton Gallery in 1982, which manifested as pop/art/disco/performance, they produced an LP record, no doubt they would have documented the performance in video, but I am not sure if it was produced as video art, but around that time the music industry gave rise to MTV, where the line between art, popular culture and video art vaporized.

I became aware of Peter Callas’ work in 82, he was Sydney-based, as was Jill Scott who returned to Sydney from San Francisco that year.

CM-A: How did you acquire your technical skills with the camera, and lighting, etc.?

GW: I was taught Video Art at Phillip Institute of Technology and also Television Production Melbourne State College, which was later absorbed into Melbourne University. Aside from the exemplification of the theoretical/historical background to the art, teaching video was largely a matter of introducing and exploring the technological parameters of its systems; setting up a port-a-pack, the studio, cameras, tripods and dollies, zooming and cross-fading, the lighting grid, patching and switching systems, the range and capacity of the various lights, patching the editing suite and add-ons such as the Spectron video synthesizer, etc. Today the technology has radically changed … but the learning process remains quite similar … the introduction to and exploration of the limits of the technology. However whilst technological familiarization is essential to the learning process it is no guarantee of artistic merit. Given the technological specificity of video as a medium, a ‘video artist’ probably has as much to learn from television and advertising as they would art or film. Of course many video artists quietly drifted into television and advertising, but this is where I drew the line.

CM-A: So you did make the distinction… Some people did get drawn into broadcasting television. I remember noticing that some people who started off as video artists, very quickly got attracted to broadcast television or even drama or documentary. They were only just flirting with being artists. It was kind of attractive. Maybe because of it being somehow alternative or it might have been a way of showing something somewhere under the umbrella of artists’ video or experimental video or whatever it was.

GW: I came into video from a specifically ‘art’ background. I always thought that, although art was given to reflect upon the real, the artist was best advised to keep a critical distance from the coercions of commerce. I have had no interest in drifting into television or advertising, becoming a rock star or for that matter an art star.

CM-A: A lot of artists who work with video and more ephemeral practices, like performance, etc, didn’t want to get involved with the whole kind of art object, gallery, treadmill thing. And didn’t want to bring more objects into the world. Was that something that was important to you – that was alternative and outside the conventional gallery structure at the time?  Was that significant or important or relevant in any way?

GW: A lot of my early work was anonymous, went unannounced. My artistic project has been to account for my own experience of being-in-the-world, not because I am ego-centric but rather because I have considered it is the artist’s responsibility to engender a subjective response to the world. My shifting aesthetic has always followed the aesthetic conditions of my ongoing existential experience. In this regard my project has stood against the production of signature style, and fixed cultural identity. Whilst I appreciate the production of artistic identity can be integral to an artist’s survival, I have had little interest in it myself. I didn’t become a video artist to become more commercial, but to engage a broader audience.

CM-A: You got into using video during a period when there were a lot of technical changes and that would have affected what you could do and what you could get your hands on. I would imagine that when you did the very first pieces it probably wasn’t all that easy to get access to editing, for example.

GW: The early work was all done using high-end professional equipment. It was all produced to television standards on 1 inch or 2 inch tape.

CM-A: So you were working almost like a director with a team of engineers and technicians.

GW: Broadly yes. It is very easy to become technology dependant. I could not have done what I did had I not been teaching within the institutional networks. Although the technology has moved on, the problem is always the same … in order to stay ahead of the game you have to stay ahead of the technology. Your future becomes dependent on your access to technology and that is usually institutionally determined.

CM-A: Did that ultimately make you consider shifting away from the medium? Did those things get in the way you wanted to work as an artist?

GW: Yes.

CM-A: When did that happen- In the 80s?

GW: Mmm … ‘82.

CM-A: So it was really about a decade when you were really quite involved with the medium, and that you were able to access very sophisticated broadcast quality equipment to realize your projects?

GW: In many respects it was a relatively brief period. Between the 2 television pieces there is a massive gap, then a short but intense burst of videos. Some of them are … (looking at material he brought to the interview) … interesting … but I was concurrently doing static 2D works in my studio, which enabled me diect access to my own creativity. In this aspect of my practice I recognized I didn’t need to spend time social networking, fund raising and team building, rather I had almost direct access my own creative energy.

In the bid to access the best technology, you can easily find all your time taken up with teaching, publishing papers, writing grant applications which often put considerable limits on the nature of your creative output. Even when you succeed your access to creative production can be all too brief.

CM-A: I recognize the pattern actually. I think it has got to a point for me where I am thinking, “this is not what I signed up for”. Trying to think, okay what else can I do instead. You obviously had that ability to move to painting, which I guess is very direct- there is no technology in the way. You can do it without applying for grants and you can do it without collaboration and all the rest of it. I can see that the appeal of a direct engagement with the medium and with a way of looking at the world and of a way of thinking. I got into video because I thought it was an instant response – to pick up the camera and get something immediately. I thought it was amazingly like a mark on the surface. But yes technology does get in the way and it did so at the level of your work.

GW: Yes but it is not so simple, you can’t just turn around and go back to the good old days. Whilst painting remains, in theory, one of the many technologies available to a practicing artist, but the reality is that painting has been pretty much orphaned as archaic by the institutional artworld. The gallery system, which once flourished in support of the studio artist, is now in decline. Contemporary art’s avatars are almost invariably institutionally determined.

CM-A: Eventually you find yourself a part of the system…..

GW: If you are lucky …

CM-A: Let me ask you, what you think are your key works within video. I know you have got a much larger career than that, but within video section of the work, I guess some of the pieces you already identified would be key video pieces. If they do a retrospective of Australian video art and they want a couple of works, those will be the ones I suspect, is that right?

GW: If I had a curatorial input would recommend, “Is this you call Love?” with Eva Schramm. Although it looks very dated today but I think its quirky performance stance and interventionist nature marks it out as historically significant. I also like the disco/space invaders sound track by Ken Guntar.

Then there is the performance/video “… and the leopard looked like Me?” with Richard Boulez, which is cut through with a lot of video synthesizer (Analogue Spectron) work. Again, I like Paul Grobowski’s sound track, which drives both the performance and the video synthesis. I recognize its ‘world-view’ is a little adult (punk) and again, dated. I think it is a little closer to film but more importantly I think the thrust of its narrative still works on a mythic level.

The third work I would propose would be “Strategies for Goodbye”. Like all my work, I squirm in recognition of the hyper subjective investment in its values, but seeing it again recently I think it still packs a punch. It began as an artist’s manifesto, albeit a nihilist punk one, and published as text. I was encouraged to do a reading of it for “Writers Radio”, which provided the soundtrack for the video, which I later produced with Eva Scramm. I still think the concerns it represents remain relevant to today’s artistic production.

CM-A: What are the dates?

GW: “Is this what you call LOVE?” – 79; “..and the leopard looked like ME!” – 79-81; “Strategies for Goodbye” – 80-82.

I always think a work has to have its own life; a life that is not solely dependent upon the reputation of the artist who made it … but rather the spark it engenders in the imagination of its viewer. Early works were often anonymous, the names on projects were often bogus: everyman, nobody special, somebody else.

Even today I change the aesthetic parameters of production after the completion of each project. This means not only that you can’t fall back on old tricks but also you have to re-consider your raison d’etre and rebuild your aesthetic and technological structures. This forces each body of work to re-ground itself in the present, I think it is better that way, so I usually trim my biographical notes to cover only the project under consideration.

CM-A: Oh really? That is intriguing. In your experience was video accepted as an art form in Australia right away or was there a sort of resistance to it as a medium for artists? Especially with curators and galleries? I think with audiences it may be a different issue because I think people respond to television quite comfortably because they are comfortable with television sets and information on the screen. But I wonder with the galleries or curators, whether there had been initially a romance period when it was seen as a novelty, and I wonder if that carried on?

GW: In the 82 Sydney Biennale, for example, video was not presented within the art gallery, but was shown separately because it was seen as a completely separate thing.

CM-A: Yes so there were paintings and sculpture… and video art grouped with Avant-garde experimental film/video?

GW: Yes video art was not integrated into museum gallery, like painting & sculpture until relatively recently. Today, video (with add-on installation effects) has become, what Yve-Alain Bois, calls “the Esperanto of globalism’.

CM-A: Yes it is all blended together. There was a point when suddenly it was all mixed up. But previously it was streamed and it had a certain place.

GW: In the early 80s I cynically remember thinking; If you put a couch and a TV set in a gallery, everyone will sit down and watch TV. So instant audience. If the average time someone spends looking at a painting is averaged out to between 1.5 & 3 seconds suddenly your work gets its 15 minutes of fame in one sitting. (laughter)

CM-A: So there was a logistical thing. There were strategies that one had to evolve to make it accessible.  What about broadcast, because you are obviously someone who had quite a bit of success in getting quite radical strategies onto television. I mean where the Australian broadcasting companies comfortable and happy with showing artists’ videos on television or were you the exception, you and maybe one or two others.

GW: In those days the television industry was very narrow, so yes it was a bit of a coup. Today we see all sorts of things on television. I was probably one of the first artists in Australia to try it on, probably because it was so odd, they were like “OK, maybe just once.”

CM-A: Was it marginalized? For example the piece you had “Is this What You Call Love”. That was prime time?

GW: Well it was Friday night in the middle of James Bond movie, “From Russia with Love”

CM-A: Fantastic! Did you get audience responses? Did people call the station and complain?

GW: I believe there were a couple; but we had no direct connection with the station. There was an article in the Adelaide newspaper the following day, which was probably set up by the festival in conjunction with the media networks.

CM-A: Which is exactly the sort of thing you want really. Television can be many things other than what it is. And things like what you were doing were glimpses into another set of possibilities. Who knows which artists may have been turned on to video and television because of seeing that or experiencing it. That is also an interesting thing to speculate about.

GW: Yes. When I think back to the 60s when I wasn’t an artist but I did start going to exhibitions and often found myself confronted by art; Christo’s wrapping of Little Bay in Sydney, Martin Sharps’ tribute to Magritte in the “Yellow House”. Even painting was exciting in those days, I think of Brett Whiteley’s ‘Alchemy’ or Arthur Boyd’s ‘Nebuccadnezzar’ series. For me these shows were totally extraordinary. I would often walk into a gallery and be astounded; like ”O.M.G. where is this coming from? I remember going out to ‘Little Bay’ to find the entire landscape wrapped and you’d go “wow! that’s amazing”. Yeah, so it is engendering that sense of disbelief that came to interest me as an artist.

CM-A: I guess those are the things that got you involved in your own practice. And I would imagine there are artists out there who have seen these things and have gone “wow, I want to know more about this, I want to get involved in it.”

GW: I think it is important to mention the work of Robert Randall and Frank Bendinelli. Are you familiar with their work? I think they were the progenitors of ‘video art’ in Australia. The reason I keep coming back to their work is that I don’t think they have had the dues they deserve, they were the first Australian artists to exclusively experiment with video – everything from multi-screen presentations, complex chroma–key cross fading and video synthesis work, the appropriation of art history and collaboration with contemporary talents

They no longer live in Melbourne. But their work was seminal; ‘Fantales’, ‘Leash Control’, ‘Stargazing’, ‘Pauses’, the collaborative work they did with Eva & I ‘Holy Word’ … 81, they were doing experimental work exclusive to video before that. I think they are very important.