Media: My Front Magazine Cover, May/June 2008, Vancouver, Canada

Front Magazine Cover Photo by Carl Gopalkrishnan 2007
The ‘silencing effect’ of laws that make being ‘un-Australian’ (or Un-American-Un-British) harder to measure, while increasing the power to detain us indefinitely without sufficient evidence of guilt, creates a real fear of self-expression. It dampens the creativity and honesty in our work. - Carl Gopalkrishnan, 2006 

My photo from the 'Suburban Dreamtime' series, which was part of my 2006 exhibition 'Sedition and Other Bedtime Stories' is featured on the cover of Vancouver arts magazine Front Magazine. Front is an arts organisation in Vancouver that supports experimental work, often challenging the mainstream, and enjoy exploring new ideas. Sold in Canada and the US, the magazine has a large subscriber base internationally.

It is a theme around the Iraq War, specifically how we are led to believe things, like children. It came about from my research on the Anti-terrorism legislation in Australia which produced the work for my 2006 exhibition, Sedition and Other Bedtime Stories, at Kieth+Lottie Gallery in Perth, WA. Some people found this image a bit confronting, but it turned out exactly as I wanted it to. The model, who was supervised in the shoot by her mother, was amazing.

Front magazine in Canada is featuring a photograph from my "suburban dreamtime" series which I used in my 2006 exhibition Sedition and Other Bedtime Stories at Kieth+Lottie Gallery, Northbridge in Western Australia. The issue's theme is "Envies", and it is one of many themes that runs through the series. Certainly policy-envy was one of them. The process itself began with investigations of Australia's Anti-Terrorism Act 2005, and how to explain this to children. A big thanks to Front curator/editor Andreas Kahre and everyone at Western Front for asking me to contribute to the May/June 2008 issue.

SUBURBAN DREAMTIME - notes from the exhibition (August 2006)

You cannot stop society imprinting its values on you. It is relentless and it starts early. This point was driven home to me when I found myself speechless trying to bring some balance into what is happening to “Australian values” to my nephew and niece last year.

I was not totally without words, but it was clumsy and though I realised something significant had happened when Australia passed the Anti-Terrorism Act 2005, I knew I wasn’t very educated about it. Like so many other Australians, I find reading legislation the least attractive activity I can imagine. Nevertheless, I resolved to read it before creating the following images for my exhibition in Perth, Western Australia in August 2006.

The results were a series of art photography with a young person with surprising awareness of the issue. We had fun and her mum talked to her throughout the shoot about the planes, the Twin Towers and the toy guns. She knew about September 11. It was the world she had grown up in. As I took the photos I remembered how I felt about the Cold War in the 80s and the social studies projects where we discussed bomb shelters and surviving nuclear winters.

But this little girl didn’t remember that. Her mum and I reflected on the toy guns, and wondered at her dexterity at striking a pose. She called out the names of characters like ‘Aeon Flux’ and ‘Ripley’ but then, when asked about the images she saw in the little screen of the camera and what it meant replied “war is bad”. Oddly enough, the simplicity of that statement from her made me feel very patriotic - but it had nothing to do with the flag she was waving for the camera.

At the very least, I am hopeful that these images make us re-think what we teach young people about who we are, who to admire and grow into. To do this we need to question the symbol of the national flag. Doing this in these photographs led me to experience, first hand, the very issues which opponents of the Anti-Terrorism Act are trying to make us aware of.

The ‘silencing effect’ of laws that make being ‘un-Australian’ (or Un-American-Un-British) harder to measure, while increasing the power to detain us indefinitely without sufficient evidence of guilt, creates a real fear of self-expression. It dampens the creativity and honesty in our work. In times of fear, we look towards others - and envy their surety in what they believe. We copy before we think. It's that part of childhood that never leaves us. We look up to others. But sometimes we look up to the wrong ideas and grow into what we fear most in others.

 

Comments:

I really like the layout of the website - its all about the art which is great. The cover of 'Breadcrumb Scabs' and the new US administration series are my favourite pieces.
6/11/2009 1:24:35 PM
Beautiful website, I am really drawn in to the dynamic narratives of the works, it is exciting to see such passion in a world teeming with passionless artists.
Fern Petrie
6/11/2009 7:53:01 PM
Carl, the website looks great and of course your work is gorgeous, gives one a lot to think about!
Raeshri
6/11/2009 11:35:33 PM
The new site showcases the vibrancy and evocative nature of your work particularly well Carl - with the narrative completing the 'picture'. It was worth the wait.
Joan
6/16/2009 6:00:56 AM
i couldnt live with some of this stuff, but it is weiredly fascinating. the Obama daleks are cool.
rodriquez
6/28/2009 10:33:35 PM
Great colours and thought provoking political humour. I love it.
Heather
6/29/2009 5:59:40 PM
Carl, your work always prods one's mind to think a little differently
Warren
7/4/2009 11:08:40 PM
hi carl, i LOVE your stuff. legend!!!
RONA
8/20/2009 9:12:40 AM
your work is very interesting, yes it is. is a modern Art, you express our complex reality in your artexpress our modern time.
Assaad K Salame
8/20/2009 12:15:09 PM
like the bedtime stories
Peter
9/11/2009 11:26:13 PM
Carl, your work is amazing and definitely has the WOW factor!!
Naomi - bunnings
11/13/2009 9:49:03 PM
Great. Genuinely creative and that is rare and valued.
dr charlie
5/6/2010 4:52:31 PM
Inspired work Carl!
Barbara Dordi
6/15/2010 8:23:30 PM
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