VCA ART 2021

Melody Woodnutt

Master of Contemporary Art

The Ship references an unfinished familial project in the form of a 17-metre wooden boat frame located in North Queensland. This conspicuously absent 'boat' has no hull, sea, or captain, and is instead conjured as a curious intermedial and transhistorical world. Presented as a portal into a 'tropical gothic' realm and the boat’s contextual/colonised landmass, the artwork becomes an allegory for historical objects persisting over time and space. The myriad meanings associated with 'ships' both within and beyond the violent construction of so-called Australia represents a fractured colonial inheritance, at once personal and societal.

Utilising expanded cinema and cues from The Ship of Theseus, this work constitutes an attempt to finish building my grandfather's 39-year-old unfinished boat. The artwork thus becomes its spectral fiction.

Melody Woodnutt, Tropical Gothic Disco Ball, Archival pigment print from 16mm film still, 2021.
Melody Woodnutt, Pre/Post-human Cheeky Fella, Archival pigment print from 16mm film still, 2021.
Melody Woodnutt, Blueprints, 16mm film stills, 2021.
Melody Woodnutt, The Ship, Kinetic sculpture using 16mm film projectors, 16mm film loops, film reels, soundscape, synaesthetic light, crocodile skull, salt, pink pigment, light, 2021.
Melody Woodnutt, The Ship (installation detail), 16mm film on salt, 2021.

We acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Owners of the lands upon which our campus is situated, the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung people of the Kulin Nations, who have created art, made music and told their stories here for thousands of generations. We also acknowledge and extend our respect to the Traditional Owners of all lands on which our work is viewed, shared and enjoyed, and to all Elders, past, present and emerging.

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