Year

2015

Degree Name

Doctorate of Creative Arts

Department

School of the Arts, English, and Media

Abstract

This research explores responses to global ecological issues via an intercultural and multi-screen approach that focuses on the resources exchange between China and Australia. The project reflects on the proposition that Australia and China are equally implicated in climate change. Drawing on case studies of the work of Bill Viola, Isaac Julian and Yang Fudong, the project begins from a critical enquiry into intercultural documentary and experimental cinema. It proposes the “intercultural” as a key mode through which artists might approach the parallel aesthetic histories found in the treatment of nature and landscape—in both Australian and Chinese contexts. The final chapter examines the history of ecological art making in Australia, locating this practice within the boundaries of ecological thought and documentary film. In the creative component of this project, Daoism provides a framework for a multi-screen installation by offering working metaphors for environmental and cultural interconnectedness. In the creative work, five channels of video explore the movement of coal and mineral ores across the two continents through the elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The “stories” told through these elemental perspectives concern environmental impacts, with particular emphasis on climate change and Australia’s fragile landscape. The architecture of this five-channel installation works in parallel with the non-linearity of the video. This creates a space that contemplates ecological issues in relation to globalisation and the resources relationship between China and Australia.

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