Artswipe was hanging in a cave last week… a cave at Artspace. No, this was not Plato's cave – Artswipe has already loitered in that dark-hole-in-the-wall and let me tell you, representation has never been so fucked up in its metaphoricality. Yes, that's right, Artswipe's been really getting into ending rather commonplace words with "-ality". Made by a pack of cave dwellers known as the Wild Boys (Trevor Fry as Trix, Richard Gurney as Sonic Yootha and Tim Hilton as La Donna Rama) this installation forms part of the exhibition It's a New Day. Curated by Sally Breen, the exhibition, which explores process-driven art practice, also features Sarah Goffman, Lisa Kelly, Josie Cavallaro, Anne Kay and numerous collaborators.
So I am experiencing this cave, waiting for my own primal moment. There wasn't even any womb or penis envy involved, just a good old fashioned art-cave more glamorous and gimcrack in flavour than Plato could have ever imagined. Having sat on the delicately positioned cushions for awhile, watching a video work about an old man, a seagull and a suitcase – enigmatic – Artswipe got a little nostalgic for the old days. You know, back when we all lived in caves, spoke an obscure native tongue, celebrated the loin cloth and waited for the onset of modernity.
It wasn't until I looked at the art-cave's markings that I realised there was no dot painting to be seen. Rather these tribal configurations seemed to derive from Dotti – that girly store franchise that sells dancepartyslutskirts for the tweenywhorebrigade among us. Oh now I get it! This is a gay cave. So this is what it must be like to be inside a rectum, I thought. Those gay boys really know how to break down barriers. When I say "gay cave" I don't mean what the ten-year-olds mean when they say, "That is so gay." I mean gay as in Kylie, Madonna, Cher. The kind of gay that has its own special access to irony; if you don't get the intertextual minutia the door bitch doesn't let you in. And good on her; knowing your popular culture and knowing it well is a rare talent and it's what makes the day gay.
Having given up rebirthing because my psychic space hasn't been so great since the last time I tried, I decided to check out what's on the other side of the cave. Otherness is often a trumped up term for the simple fact that some of us don't like anyone but ourselves. But seeing I spent my mid20s getting into community formations and out again, Artswipe decided getting on the other side is exactly the tonic of the hour. So gathering all my strength (and realising the constant move between first and third person makes language very crowded) Artswipe decided to risk entering the white cube. Tunneling through to the other side where otherness comes gay and nubile, Artswipe entered a paradise of amylsoaked whipsmart spatial frenzy.
Some wiccan-lookin drag-chick known as La Donna Rama (Tim Hilton) hulahoops on the big screen (much like she did opening night, as pictured above). A visual alphabet of cheesy disco albums adorn the wall on one side, toy knives and machetes on the other. Silver toy blowup guitars and mallets litter the floor in that casually messy but precise manner (the gays get that balance so right with their hair as well). It's then I find I have fully rebirthed despite myself. Cavorting on the floor – what else do you do when the moment grabs you – I was back in my teenage bedroom with posters on the wall, listening to American Top 40 with Shadoe Stevens on the radio. I am in my own private music video and nobody can take that away from me.