Review of Transit in Dunedin
A bit behind the 8ball here, meant to post this a while ago but a bit distracted. This is a wonderful personal account of one persons experience of the TRANSIT exhibition in Dunedin for the recent Fringe Festival.
A massive thanks to Mark Tyler for the honest account
“This exhibition was held at the Glue Gallery as part of the Dunedin Fringe Festival. Mr Sterile Assembly were blown away to have recently received Creative NZ funding to record an album so decided they would send each song to various artists that would be interested in coming up with their visual interpretation of the song they received. This was the result.
The central theme was the way our culture has been moulded since 9/11, and the frightening extent to which the average citizen can now be spied upon. Our civil liberties have been eroded at an astonishing rate.
Each picture was spaced out around the walls and accompanied by the title and lyrics of the song it represented, carefully written in pencil. Mr Sterile then proceeded to discuss each one, lucidly explaining the depth of meaning behind the lyrics and a brief spiel about each artist. What started as a lively and informative performance for me soon gave way to the bleak and somewhat astounding personal revelation of how utterly coccooned i have become in my systemised way of thinking. Despite being aware of sweeping “big brother” reforms being passed almost weekly, i am happy to insouciantly accept each act with little more than a mild grumble in the work truck maybe. And it has nothing to do with paranoia or Orwellian hysteria, its just the most fundamental awareness of these changes, that stretches so much further than what is outlined and presented in the mainstream media. In short, this presentation shook me up like an educational earthquake. Rattled my brain a little. If performance art is supposed to provoke and stimulate, then Mr Sterile Assembly delivered in spades, taking each story so much further with humour, clarity and unswerving conviction, before playing us the music behind it. Skillful, original and slightly unsettling music that could loosely be tagged under the Punk Rock moniker, each song taking on a heightened significance when the lyrics were scrawled right in front of you.
Regretfully i couldn’t stay for the whole performance, justifying my early exit with having somewhere to be, i’d run myself out of time. But thats just a bullshit cop-out. I should have MADE the time available, just like i should take the time to delve a little deeper to increase my knowledge and understanding of the issues presented. At least make the effort instead of meekly pretending it doesn’t matter cos it won’t affect me all that much. It shook me up humans, shook me up.
Thankfully, i managed to obtain a copy of the CD which comes with two little booklets containing the lyrics of each song and their respective artworks, a permanent memoir of what i’d seen and heard, and more importantly, a personal little kick up the arse whenever i choose to slip back into the comfort and convenience of complacency. You could probably get yerself a copy by contacting: http://www.mrsterileassembly.com
The next day i got home and read in the paper that the new “Search and Surveillance Bill” had been narrowly passed in parliament by a majority vote of 61 – 57, opening the door for an unstoppable tsunami of control-driven “i spy with my little eye” type of activities. Jesus.
Footnote: great to see that Mr Sterile Assembly won the award for BEST VISUAL ART at the festival. Well deserved.”