IPMIC: The Dark Current by Angela Tiatia

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Angela Tiatia
The Dark Current, 2023 (stills)
Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf
The final work in the decade-long series of Ian Potter Moving Image Commissions (IPMIC), The Dark Current by Angela Tiatia, premiered at ACMI in September 2023. The new moving image work will be exhibited at ACMI from 5 September – 4 February 2024, with free entry for all visitors.

Australian and Sāmoan artist Angela Tiatia uses performance, moving image, painting, sculpture, and photography, to explore contemporary culture, drawing out the relationships between representation, gender, neo-colonialism and the commodification of body and place.

The Dark Current, Tiatia's most ambitious project to date, continues this dialogue. The single-channel video opens with a close-up shot of a pink linen dress embroidered with hibiscus flowers. While dark currents of water lap gently in the background, the camera slowly pans across the wearer's body to reveal a glamorous, serene woman with a pearl placed in the corner of her eye.

Tiatia describes this opening scene as an allegory of the promise that lured her mother's generation to migrate from the Pacific Islands to the West in the 1960s.

“There is something beguiling about a lie beautifully told. But I have no interest in cynically romanticising this, or even in just observing it. The intention of this work is to confront it. To unwind the lies. To show the sleight of hand behind the trickery. And for the audience to feel the unravelling."  - Angela Tiatia 2023

Using a combination of videogame software and carefully crafted live-action scenes, Tiatia's The Dark Current creates a hypnotic world where boundaries blur and perceptions shift. 

ACMI Director and CEO Seb Chan commented "The Dark Current represents a major development in Tiatia's practice. For the first time, the artist combines live-action filmed content with animation created using software more commonly used in the development of video games. Editing these different types of content to create a singular narrative has pushed her practice into new territory."

The work was described by The Sydney Morning Herald as “A dreamy exploration of colonialism and climate change”. 

Ian Potter Moving Image Commission

The Ian Potter Moving Image Commission (IPMIC) is Australia's most significant long-term commissioning program of new contemporary moving image art by Australian artists. 

A joint initiative of The Ian Potter Cultural Trust and ACMI, this biennial award represents a ten-year commitment to the art form.

The commission provides two levels of support to the successful artist: $100,000 from The Ian Potter Cultural Trust and highly specialised curatorial, production and presentation expertise from ACMI.

In addition to supporting artists to produce ambitious new work and develop their professional practice, the commission series aims to cultivate a greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary moving image art for Australian audiences. 



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