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The Nine Circles




Project Details
About the Exhibition
The Nine Circles is a culmination of research and studio based photographic outcomes and includes digital collage photographs compiled from portraits of the performers in  the Circles of Fire (variations) video, also on show. These digital collage photgraphs are the first outcome of his recent 2017 documentation of museum objects and ruins in Italy as part of  a current createNSW Fellowship mentored by artist Kate Scardifield.  Most notably is the  anatomical wax model ‘Venerina’ by Clemente Susina 1782 photographed in-situ  with the permission of the Museo Pallazzo Poggi, Bologna Italy. Also featured are three large experimental based analogue photographs of the artist own T-cells made using the digital microscopy images produced at a residency at SymbioticA Lab in 2016 and are exhibited as a form of self portraiture. Two glass sculptural pieces, L’ Intrus #1 and L’Intrus #2, made in collaboration with glass artist Nadege Desgenetez  and augmented with handmade stainless steel and patina stands, are informed by a 2015 research visit to the Pasteur Institute in Paris and named after philosopher Jean Luc Nancy’s treatise on his own experience as a heart transplant patient .  The exhibition also draws to a close the trilogy of studio based works beginning in 2012 with Body Fluid – The Seven Cycles, The Visceral Garden – Landscape & Specimen and finally The Nine Circles.

Back to the Lit World 

Catalogue essay excerpt by Bec Dean

The Nine Circles by John A. Douglas is epic theatre, distilled to video and photomedia. Its canonical tropes are all there: a maligned protagonist; a journey across time and space; encounters with advocates and tormentors; contests and challenges; an internal battle of the psyche, all intermingle with the accumulated experience of an individual living an extraordinary life in a literally extra-ordinary body.

The title of the exhibition is lifted from Inferno, the first part of Dante Aligiheriʼs epic poem The Divine Comedy (c. 1308-1320), in which the author is guided by the Roman poet, Virgil, through the nine circles of hell. The Nine Circles and its main video component, Circles of Fire (variations) has been the creative focus of artist, John A. Douglas since his successful kidney transplant operation in 2014. The work forms part of a trilogy of video, photomedia and performance in which Douglas engages directly with his experience of chronic long-term illness, and treatment and interventions upon the medical patient body. The trilogy includes Body Fluid (2012), The Visceral Garden: Landscape and Specimen (2014) and Circles of Fire (2016- ongoing).

For the complete essay please download the gallery catalogue here

Production Credits

Principal Artist: John A Douglas

Associate Producer: Bec Dean

Performers: John A Douglas with Celeste Aldahn, Stella Topaz, Yiorgos Zafariou

Performance Director: Sue Healey

Videography: John A Douglas, Dara Gill

Ariel Videography: Rubicon Cinema (BC, Canada)

Studio Lighting: John A Douglas, Martin Fox, Mark Mitchell, Yiorgos Zafiriou

Editing, Compositing and Colour Grading: John A Douglas

Digital Stills Collage: John A Douglas

Soundtrack: Justin Ashworth

Additional Sounds:Glam Cyborg (Celeste Aldahn, Freya Adele), John A Douglas

Arrangements, Sound Design and Mixing: Justin Ashworth and John A Douglas

Costume Design and Production: Michele Elliot, Yiorgos Zafiriou, John A Douglas

LED Costume Design, Production and Rigging: Alejandro Rolandi

Object Design and Production: John A Douglas, Nadege Desgenetez (glass objects) and Yiorgos Zafiriou (surgery sequence costumes)

On Location Production Management and Camera Operator: Melanie J Ryan

Digital Print Colour Consultant: Warren Macris

Analogue Lab Colour Consultant: Sandy Prints

Exhibition Documentation: Docqment

Gallery Installation: James Kerr

Special Thanks to:

First Nation Okanagan custodian of Spotted Lake(Kliluk), Alex Louis (Senklip Skalwx) for permission to perform and shoot at Spotted Lake, BC, Canada.

Artik Gubaev and Batyr Nitazov for clearance and transport in Turkmenistan.

Dr Stuart Hodgetts, Assoc Prof Silvana Gaudieri, Guy Ben-Ary and Celeste Wale for assistance with the artist’s T-cell experiments and microscopy and Symbiotica Lab, UWA.

Museo Palazzo Poggi, Bologna, Italy for permission to photograph in situ Clemente Susini’s anatomical wax venus, Venerina, 1782

Ingrid Bachmann, Concordia University Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Andrew Carnie, Winchester School of Art, Southhampton University, UK

Helen Pynor, University of London, United Kingdom

Kate Scardifield, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of The School of Art, ANU Canberrra, ACT, School of Media Arts, UNSW, Symbiotica Lab, UWA. and The Bundanon Trust.

The artist would also like to acknowledge the First Nations people of the Osoyoos Indian Band (BC, Canada), the Yuat of the Nyoongar Nation (WA), the Gadigal of the Coastal Dharug (NSW) and the Turkmeni of the Karakum Desert (Ahal) on whose land this work was made.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. This project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.





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