Australian contemporary artist Ian Strange and acclaimed American musician and producer Trevor Powers come together for major new film work and photographic series
Photography: Dalison 1 by Ian Strange
Words by Sonia Zhuravlyova
Communities ebb and flow, with some springing up and then disappearing just as fast. As they vanish, their stories – and histories – often vanish with them. This, and what happens to those who stubbornly cling on to their homes in dyeing towns, is the subject of a new artwork by Australian contemporary artist Ian Strange and American musician Trevor Powers.
Strange’s light installation, choreographed to Powers’ original 18-minute composition, transformed the empty residence of 20 Dalison Avenue, Wattleup, Western Australia, using a stadium-sized LED video screen. The performance, Dalison, was documented over the course of three nights. The resulting film and photographic works will be shown in exhibitions and screenings around the world.
Photography: Dalison 2 by Ian Strange
The artist’s large-scale architectural intervention illuminates the death of Wattleup, once a thriving suburb of Perth, and examines the notion of home and social displacement. Today, Wattleup sits eerily empty as the site of an industrial project called Latitude 32, first instigated in 1996. The scheme has seen more than 300 homes demolished, leaving many families uprooted and others, who remain scattered around the area in defiance, uncertain about their future.
‘The idea of the project was to build this large-scale screen that would allow us to cut the house out of the landscape with light, to experience the home in shifting states of visibility, either silhouetted, isolated in darkness, or revealed in its vast, empty context,’ explains Strange. ‘Early on, I started to think about this project as a musical collaboration and I thought Trevor was the perfect person to score that experience.’
Video: Single-channel film work by Ian Strange and Trevor Powers
Powers was up for the challenge, composing the score from his home in Idaho. ‘I wanted the music to sound like it was dug up in a field, like something that was discovered, covered in dirt, that it had some kind of past life or maybe multiple past lives,’ he says.‘Dalison’ is Strange’s first piece exploring the phenomenon of a home that holds out against all odds. ‘I’m interested in universal and shared connections to the image of the home,’ says the artist. ‘These are places we tend to project with a sense of stability, but are often more vulnerable and temporal than we would like to think. This is especially true in the experience of hold-out homeowners like those of 20 Dalison.’
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