Christian Thompson: Beta City
Sarah Scout Presents is delighted to announce BETA City by Dr Christian Thompson AO, the second solo presentation by the artist at the gallery, comprised of new photographic and video work.
Thompson's BETA City is a tale of two cities of formative importance to the artist, Amsterdam and Melbourne, and also, as the title suggests, a reimagining of outdated systems and modes of living in a post COVID world.
A remarkable new immersive, large-scale flower wall work, Barindyila Barindyila (SIster Sister) reflects our contemporary social and political context, presenting Thompson as both deity and symbolic offering. During lockdown we witnessed the injustice of racial and gender inequity. The work is dedicated to—and in solidarity with—social movements and protest actions, such as Black Lives Matter, Me Too and March4Justice, which demand equality and speak truth to power.
The video Amsterdam RMX, 2020 extends Thompson’s project of re-imagining his traditional language, which has been categorised as extinct, or lost. The work, which features Thompson singing in Bidjara, presents the artist located in an ambiguous, snow-filled setting—referencing his connection to both Australian and European contexts, and the fraught relationships between these two places.
BETA City probes at the memory of cities and how we might imagine a more sustainable way of living. The exhibition captures the momentum and energy of social protest movements, and is positioned in a moment of here and now in a poetic exchange.