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5 Years of ARTBAR

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MCA at the 2017 Venice Biennale

Canals, cats and curators. Clothilde Bullen reflects on the experience of attending the 2017 Venice Biennale on the occasion of Tracey Moffat’s Australian Pavilion. more

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Blog – Girl On Film: Erin Coates

Posted on March 29, 2017 by Claire Hastwell in Artist and curator Interviews. View Comments
Erin Coates is a Perth-based artist and creative producer working across video, installation and drawing. Her new work is presented in The National 2017: New Australian Art, open on 30 March 2017. Between creating art and rock climbing, Erin found the time to curate an exciting program of film and art events at the MCA. Each event will take you deep into unusual themes through video art, cinema and conversation. Erin talks us through her practice and her uncanny inspirations.

As an artist I work across a range of mediums. I always start with a drawing, which then often leads to creating sculptural props for a screen-based work. For a number of these films I’ll also make a specific installation or screen-environment in which to view the film. I love working with video because for me the process involves all mediums and is a way of creating a complete vision of an idea. Across all of this work I focus on our interactions with the spaces we build and inhabit, as well as elements of the natural world. I set up extreme versions of this interaction. What I’m really interested in is our direct physical, and bodily relationship with our environments. My works amplify this experience to reveal something of ourselves, the limits of our bodies and the potential of physical interaction with an environment. My screen works include protagonists who find unconventional ways of engaging with everyday spaces, by using utopic, absurdist and guerrilla strategies.

Our experience of cities – especially car-centric ones like Perth, where I live – is strongly shaped by moving through them inside of cars.

Erin Coates

A recurring theme in my film work is urban and automobile space. Our experience of cities – especially car-centric ones like Perth, where I live – is strongly shaped by moving through them inside of cars. Acting as a wrap-around cinema screen, the car window provides us with a seated, glassed in view of the landscape that shapes our ideas of it. I have made a number of artworks exploring the car as a discrete architectural space and looking at its connection to screen-culture. These works draw on the use of cars in cult cinema as well as dystopian science-fiction and body horror. Another ongoing series of video works relates to my background as a rock climber and my interest in architecture. Over a number of early-morning sessions my friends and I have climbed many of the public sculptures and architectural facades in our city. These acts create a different reading of urban space by appropriating civic structures in unintended ways. For us it became another way of knowing our city, through direct bodily apprehension. These films and drawings also provoke questions around how public space is controlled and for whom it is intended.

I also work with another artist, Anna Nazzari. The screen works we make through this collaboration present an alternate vision of the Australian Gothic genre by focusing on oceanic histories specific to WA coastal environments and communities. These works draw on real incidents, endemic marine species, the experiences of deep-sea divers and seafarer mythology. While this work is filled with dark and phantasmagoric elements, it is similarly focused on the relationship between the body to its environment.

Drawing on her interests in body horror, the city, and post-human possibilities, Erin Coates has curated our April film series. Each Saturday event will focus on a different theme and include a chance for discussion and debate. Pick and choose your themes or see as many films as you like with an unlimited monthly ticket (with a 20% saving).
Saturday 1 April: Rough Raw and Magic in Australia Saturday 8 April: The Art of Slow Saturday 15 April: Post Human Architectures Saturday 22 April: Rewriting the city; subtle, subversive physical acts Saturday 29 April: Beautiful and Deathly Nature: New World Gothic Unlimited monthly April Art + Film Screenings Package Tickets

Erin Coates, Driving to the Ends of the Earth (still), 2016, High Definition video, sound design: Stuart James camera: Sohan Ariel Hayes gaffer: Dion Borrett, image courtesy and © the artist

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Claire Hastwell
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Claire helps grow online audiences for the MCA. Listening to them, talking to them and understanding them. When she is not working she is hunting for the best scoop of gelato. Real Italian gelato.

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