Youthamnesia—Lament on the Democratisation of Knowledge 2010
Mixed media: Corrugated iron column, wooden filing cabinets, casters, aluminium hat stretcher, mortar board, academic gown and hood, spoons, fly swat and Union badge
158 x 40 x 40 cm
This piece represents a lamentation on the democratisation of knowledge. An anthropomorphic and somewhat phallocratic figure in full traditional academic regalia is comprised of a white painted corrugated iron hollow column set between two wooden cabinets. The upper capital of the column has two drawers offering alternate career pathways, either left or right. These left or right choices are themselves negotiable depending on the viewer’s ideological positioning. In the left drawer is a solid red painted brick and in the right a white painted but perforated (holey) brick. The supporting base cabinet has a funereal metallic plaque on which gone to rest is inscribed. The head is an antique hat maker’s stretching block made of aluminium. Attached are two spoons, space age sun reflectors, heavily protected eyes with limited vision. There are no ears and the corners of the mouth offer a size 23 & ¼ and the number 218. The academic gown is a standard Oxford undergraduate gown and mortarboard and the caped hood has the colours of the Master of Arts in Visual Arts from Sydney University. Suspended on a hook in the middle of the column is a cheap tourist Oz Swat fly swatter. Attached to this is a 1980 Barrier industrial Council Union badge from Broken Hill. The whole piece is semi-mobile as it is mounted on nylon castors.