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Screen Test (Revived) – Devils Tower



Project Details
Screen Test (Revived) – The Devils Tower
Durational performance with community participation and mixed media installation with single channel 4K to HD video 

For Cementa_17, John A Douglas revived his Screen Test works from the mid 2000s where where he re-created scenes from iconic American and Australian cinema.  Screen Test (Revived) – The Devils Tower is a response to the scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind where the character of Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfus) becomes obsessed with the mountain where, later in the film, the aliens land. In his crazed obsession he builds a large model of the mountain on the living room table in the house where he lives. Another character in the film, Jillian Guiller played by Melinda Dillon, shares the same obsession with Roy but instead obsessively draws the mountain on paper and hangs the drawings around her house.

On the road to Kandos, in the Bylong Valley, there are sandstone mountain formations that evoke the mountain in the film – The Devils Tower in Wyoming. For this live performance installation, Douglas built a model of Mt Fitzgerald, located few kilometres out of Kandos, in a large shed in the town and scribbled drawings of the mountain..

Audience members were invited to share in the social imaginary of the film and take on the roles of Roy and Jillian’s obsession, drawing the mountain (in its various real, model or cinematic forms) with charcoal or helping build the model. The drawings were hung around the space.

The site was set up like a small film set with lights and a camera documenting the performance and audience participation.  A video screen was a positioned in the space showing various shots of the mountain and a time lapse of the night sky.


Screen Test (Revived) – The Devils Tower was commissioned as a site-specific work for Cementa_17.

Production Credits

Performance,  Costume, Makeup, Video, Sculpture & Installation:
John A Douglas

Photographic Documentation: Ian Hobbs & John A Douglas

Timelapse Video Documentation: John A Douglas

Thanks to everyone who participated in the project by drawing or adding to the sculpture.

This work was performed at  Cementa_17. Many thanks to the Cementa crew and their install team.


The Australian Artists’ Grant is a NAVA initiative, made possible through the generous sponsorship of Mrs Janet Holmes à Court and the support of the Visual Arts Board, Australia Council for the Arts.