Rachel Joy
White Noise
Performance and charcoal on wall
White Noise, 2008.
Video Projection and Charcoal on walls,
Dimensions variable, 3 min video loop.

The work White Noise was made in response to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the stolen generation when he took office in 2008. In 1987, then Prime Minister John Keating made his famous Redfern Speech outlining the failings of white Australia regarding its interactions with Aboriginal Australia but also imagining a hopeful future. The intervening years were filled with the deafening silence of John Howard's refusal to say sorry. This triumvirate of works examines this historical period and asks if words alone will be enough to heal the wounds of the stolen generation. The Keating and Rudd speeches adorn two facing walls, written repeatedly over themselves to form woven text-blocks that resemble furnishings such as wall hangings, curtains or other domestic features, thus referencing the fabric of our nation, the walls of our national “house.” The repetitive action of writing over and over reduces even the most well meaning of words to mere shapes, a black and white blur, rather like the static hiss of white noise from a television tuned between stations. Between these two facing walls, a third wall bears a projection of the work “sorry” where this single word is repeatedly written on a wall in a time lapse recording of a performance work that lasted two and a half hours until the writing on the wall was illegible. White Noise poses questions about the meanings of words and actions and the significance of moments in political history to our lives.
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