‘Installation View’ in The Conversation

Hoda Afshar’s portrait series Remain in Melbourne 2019. One of myself and Daniel Palmer’s picks for ‘Ten Photography Exhibitions that Defined Australia’, to promote our book Installation View: Photography Exhibitions in Australia (1848-2020), out now through Perimeter Editions.
Photograph by Leela Schauble. Courtesy the artist.

https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-10-photography-exhibitions-that-defined-australia-166755

https://perimetereditions.com/INSTALLATION-VIEW

On ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’


As a young snob I used to enjoy ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’ in an ironic way, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It really was a televisual manifestation, and a direct continuation, of Australian vaudeville, which  reaches right back to the middle of the nineteenth century. Researching Australian spectacular visual culture in the nineteenth century I realized that touring black-face minstrel troops such as the ‘Ethiopian Serenaders’, the ‘Congo Minstrels’ and similar, were a popular and integral part of that Australian theatre tradition from the early 1840s. The racist mocking of Black people was central to the genre everywhere. Early on, black face minstrelsy was a marker of up-to-the-minute international modernity, later it was a marker of nostalgia. For instance I sometimes watched on Channel 2, with my grandmother, the BBC’s ‘The Black and White Minstrel Show’. It ran until 1978. I didn’t enjoy it as much because it was presented as nostalgia for ‘the good old days’ to an elderly TV audience who would themselves have seen the original music hall and vaudeville shows. For most of ‘Hey Hey’s’ demographically wider audience racist black-face was no longer direct nostalgia, but it still had enough residual power to be part of its weekly ‘familial ritualistic loosening up’, giving permission for younger viewers to go out later in the evening and have a good time, and for older viewers to retire safe in the knowledge that things weren’t changing all that much. This isn’t to excuse the racism of ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’, it’s to put it in its larger historical context.

(re)create art and the activation of heritage

One-day symposium, Wednesday 21 April 2021, 8:45am-5pm

Ann Harding Conference Centre, University of Canberra

re)create is a one-day symposium exploring the role of creative art practice in the activation of heritage places, practices and projects. Artists are adept at generating new perspectives on seeing, feeling and thinking. In doing so they play an important role in urging us to consider how we perceive and value the world around us.

(re)create brings together artists, curators, heritage professionals and other researchers to explore the new perspectives that art can bring to heritage interpretation, engagement, community participation and collective problem-solving. Speakers will discuss their involvement in reanimating archives, reimagining histories, place and ecologies, and drawing inspiration from collections and things. Whether it be the activation of dormant seed banks, endangered mammals on the edge of suburbia, or the values of mid-century modern buildings, art has a role to play in how we frame our future heritage.

 Keynote Speaker: 

Stuart Jeffrey (Glasgow School of Art)

Keynote Speaker: 

Stuart Jeffrey (Glasgow School of Art

 Speakers include: 

Tessa Bell, Elisa de Courcy, Ursula Frederick,  Katie Hayne, Cathy Hope, Tracy Ireland, Edwina Jans, Martyn Jolly, Martin Rowney, Joanne Searle, Erica Seccombe, Tim Sherratt, Denise Thwaites, Sharon Veale, Carolyn Young, and Ruth Waller.

Speakers include: 

Tessa Bell, Elisa de Courcy, Ursula Frederick,  Katie Hayne, Cathy Hope, Tracy Ireland,  Edwina Jans, Martyn Jolly, Martin Rowney, Joanne Searle, Erica Seccombe, Tim Sherratt, Denise Thwaites, Sharon Veale, Carolyn Young, and Ruth Waller.

Conveners: Ursula Frederick and Tracy Ireland (University of Canberra)

Hosted by the Centre for Creative & Cultural Research (CCCR

Faculty of Arts & Design

University of Canberra

http://www.canberra.edu.au/cccr

More information and registration:

http://www.canberra.edu.au/research/faculty-research-centres/cccr/events/recreate

Image: UK Frederick, Planet X (detail), 2019, chemigram, slide mounts and plastic sleeving

The publican and the daguerreotypist

Chau Chak Wing Museum, University of Sydney

Dr Elisa deCourcy and Dr Martyn Jolly, with Dr Donna West Brett
Thursday 11 March, 6.30pm

[Portrait of Edward TYW McDonald,] 1848. Photographer: JW Newland. Macleay Collections: SC1977.40.6

In the mid-19th century, daguerreotype portraiture was taking the world by storm. Join historians Dr Elisa deCourcy and Dr Martyn Jolly, in conversation with Dr Donna West Brett, for a discussion on this portrait of Sydney publican Edward McDonald.

Edward McDonald, the publican of the Forth & Clyde hotel at The Rocks, obviously had a strong personality. It still twinkles through his daguerreotype portrait now in the collection of the Chau Chak Wing Museum and featured in The Business of Photography: the 19th century studio in NSW. Our speakers will connect this palm-sized image, captured by JW Newland in 1848, to the intricate local, imperial and global visual economies in which it was embedded.

Thursday 11 March, 6.30pm
Nelson Meers Foundation Auditorium, Chau Chak Wing Museum 

A Zoom link will be provided to those attending online.

Attend in-person

Attend online

Daguerreotypes and Chromatropes

We’ve just received a few advanced copies of our book Empire, Early Photography and Spectacle: The Global Career of Showman Photographer J. W. Newland in the post. It was wonderful writing it with Elisa deCourcy. And now we’ve got it, it is so great seeing the daguerreotypes and magic lantern shows we discuss reproduced side by side as they should be.

We are going to give it a bit of a launch on 18 February next year, so for those in Canberra put it in your diaries, we are even going to put on a magic lantern show under the trees at PhotoAccess.

You can get the ebook if you forgo a few coffees. Or the hard copy if you save up a bit.

https://www.routledge.com/Empire-Early-Photography-and-Spectacle-The-Global-Career-of-Showman-Daguerreotypist/deCourcy-Jolly/p/book/9781003104780

Reviews

“Driven by some extraordinary research, this fascinating book traces the itinerant career of nineteenth-century photographer and projectionist J.W. Newland as he restlessly traverses the world in search of images and customers. Offering a new way of understanding the early history of photography, deCourcy and Jolly embed Newland’s story in an intricate global network of spectacle and exchange. The end result is a brilliant exposition of one man’s working life that also illuminates the advent of the modernity in which we all still live.”

Professor Geoffrey BatchenUniversity of Oxford  

“This fascinating book turns on its head ideas about Empire, and indeed colonial, visual culture. As it makes clear, many more people encountered images of Empire in theatres, music halls and popular lectures than through fine art. Empire, Early Photography and Spectacle helps address the common over-emphasis on paintings and prints when describing how empires illustrated themselves. The reality, as this book demonstrates, is a much more messy, less linear, often technology-based conflation of images, which are teased out through this eminently readable text. By its focus on someone apparently inconsequential, something of real substance and importance emerges.”

Richard Neville,Mitchell Librarian, State Library of New South Wales 

Original, thoughtful, and remarkably readable, this book presents a fascinating story of international and inter-imperial mobility during the mid-nineteenth century. In tracking the itinerant career of the daguerrotypist J. W. Newland across the margins of global empires, deCourcy and Jolly consider the significance of the showman as a shrewd negotiator of colonial and other networks, finding a mixed media space at work in territories from the United States, to the Pacific Islands, Australia and India. An extraordinary global research project in its own right, this book discovers a diversifying trade in cultural goods in this period, offering enlightening insights not only to media and art historians, but also to observers of contemporary global media spaces.”

Professor Joe Kember,University of Exeter

Empire, Early Photography and Spectacle takes the career of British daguerreotypist and showman J.W. Newland as a central device to explore the volatile world of image production, consumption and transnational cultural exchange in the mid nineteenth century. Exquisitely researched and written with extensive illustrations, this book draws on international archival material, images, historical and biographical data to consider the relationship of one itinerant photographer to the global explosion of image making and visual culture. Through this important and richly illustrated study deCourcy and Jolly reveal both the historical and ongoing relevance of photography as a global visual media.”  

Associate Professor Donna West BrettUniversity of Sydney

A dazzling and dynamic journey through a world on the brink of an enormous expansion in global visuality.  Empire, Early Photography and Spectacle is a major achievement, offering a new way of understanding the intertwined complex of optical technologies, visual experiences, practices, and audiences across multiple sites of empire in the 1840s and 1850s.” 

Associate Professor Jennifer TuckerWesleyan University 

Much more than an episode in the history of photography, Elisa deCourcy and Martyn Jolly’s book is an excavation into the emergence of modern media culture. The biography of photographer and performer James William Newland is turned into a chapter of the wider biography of entertainment media, providing us with a powerful testimony of how the new appetite for mediated entertainments emerged and developed across the globe in the mid nineteenth century.” 

Dr Simone Nataleeditor of Photography and Other Media in the Nineteenth Century 

Won’t You Buy My Pretty Flowers

This video was made for Fiona Hooton  to project on the walls of Verity Lane Canberra, as part of Localjinni’s AlleyHart video walk for Contour 556 2020, Canberra’s public art biennial, and the  Design Canberra 2020 festival. The song was arranged and sung by Jacqui Bradley and Krista Schmeling. In a video studio they stood either side of the screen as I projected the original slides through a pair of magic lanterns, using the bat wing dissolver to dissolve between the slides, and a piece of black cardboard with a hole in it to ‘iris’ in on details. The video was shot and assembled by Amr Tawfik and then projected from a mini projector. The life-model magic lantern slides were made by Bamforth & Co after 1897. The song was written in 1877 by George W. Persley and Arthur W. French.

Won’t You Buy My Pretty Flowers
Projection in Verity Lane, Canberra.

Free Download! ‘Frontier and Metropole, Science and Colonisation: The Systematic Exhibitions of Richard Daintree’

Daintree detail

Figure 21. Detail from Centennial Photographic Company, Philadelphia International Exhibition, ‘Queensland Court, Philadelphia ’76, Evening Before Opening’, 1876.

Abstract

Richard Daintree is well known as an Australian colonial photographer and geologist. I look at six international exhibitions he created from 1872 to 1879 that promoted the colony of Queensland by systematically integrating spectacular grids of painted photographs with displays of scientific samples. By analysing installation views, I argue that the popular success of these exhibitions came from the use of various new photographic technologies within the space of the exhibition, where the frontier directly interacted with the metropole. Further, I argue that Daintree’s personal passion for the science of geology profoundly structured the colonialist narrative of his exhibitions, which combined the latest apparatuses of scientific knowledge and imperial communication, revealing him to be an innovative and internationally significant creator of synthesised exhibitionary experiences.

Martyn Jolly (2020): Frontier and Metropole, Science and Colonisation: The Systematic Exhibitions of Richard Daintree, History of Photography Journal.