Document Type

Creative Work

Publication Details

A. Golda & M. V. Johnson 2012 Inferno Wonderland Sydney MOP Projects 25 October to 11 November.



Research Background

The motivation for this collaborative installation project began with the intersections between Polish and Japanese animations, folktales and ritual practices. It further solidified with scholarship from contemporary studies of philosophy (Massumi 2002), anthropology (Howes 2005, 2007; Classen 1997, 2005) cultural theory (Ahmed 2004), human geography (Thrift 2004; McKay 2005) and art theory (Bond 2006; Bishop 2005; Bennett 2005; Carter 2004) based around topics of affect, emotion and the senses. It expanded into the realm of futuristic projections concerned with the socio-political implications that accompany animist belief systems and female anthropomorphic bodies.

Research Contribution

Central to Inferno Wonderland is the view that feeling arises out of the mediation between bodies and the power structures of place. Moreover, expressions of political resistance and epistemological criticism of power politics including the politics of emotion (Ahmed 2004) and the politics of gender (Classen 2005) are dependent on the registration of empathy through the felt (affective, emotional and multi-sensory) capacities of the body and installation (Bennett 2005). In Inferno Wonderland the conjunction of these perspectives with the concepts of total installation (Ilya Kabakov) social sculpture (Joseph Beuys) and animism within (Anselm Franke) evoke a cross-cultural mytho-sacral territory, a space situated on the edges of visible and invisible worlds that allows for encounters with otherworldly presences separated by time, geography and the politics of exclusion.

Research Significance

The competitive peer-review selection process for inclusion in the exhibition program at MOP and the self-authored catalogue essay (A. Golda) in the recognised gallery publication series indicates the research significance of this installation.



Inferno Wonderland is an interdisciplinarycollaborative installation constructed byAgnieszka Golda and Martin Johnson thatattempts to critique some firmly establishedsystems of knowledge by evoking a crossculturalmytho-sacral territory, a space situatedon the edges of visible and invisible worlds. Themixture of interconnected objects, includingpaintings, textiles and wooden sculptures isused as a device for negotiating the affective,emotional and sensory dimensions of bodilyencounters in intercultural contexts.Agnieszka Golda and Martin Johnson arecurrently based in Wollongong. Through InfernoWonderland, both artists draw on their recentfield studies in France, Poland and Japan toexplore how narratives invested with politics ofemotion shape bodies and spaces and howsuch political practices can be resisted throughthe immersive, ritualistic and fragmentednarrative modes of contemporary installation art.Golda and Johnson have collaborated on anumber of projects for over twenty years. Theirworks have been exhibited nationally andoverseas, most recently Last Exile (2011), alarge-scale installation at the Wollongong CityGallery was supported by an Australia Councilfor the Arts New Work Established grant.



infernowonderland1.pdf (11629 kB)
Images of Inferno Wonderland exhibition