Res Ipsa Loquitor (‘The thing speaks for itself’) 2007
A traditional full length portrait of the last Australian Anzac from the Gallipoli campaign, Alec Campbell, is repeated four times. From left to right the image fades in clarity, the detail in the last almost indiscernible. Officially Alec Campbell stands in for all those that were there, becoming the generic Anza; perhaps a fitting and enduring symbol of national conscience subsumed into our collective memory. This apotheosis of the warrior is in stark contrast to the actual words of Alec Campbell who stated; “I wonder if Howard would give me a state funeral if he knew what I really stood for”.*
Superimposed over each figure, a refrigerator magnet; a number creating in total the year 1915. Individuals’ identities morph into numbers. A mass produced period frame accentuates and historically pinpoints the image at that far distant time. But the memory, like the image, is fading. In contrast, the contemporary numbers are made of lurid plastic, playfully saturated colours widely sold as popular instructional mnemonic tools for the young. Disparate elements combined, connect past to present. The magnets placed over the Anzac images referring to Gallipoli of 1915 which reinforcse our patriotic obligation for remembrance, or do they?
* Alec Campbell, Union man, Vietnam War protester and the last Anzac. Quoted in Workers online – May 2002