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Screen Idol



Project Details
Screen Idol (Americana)
Acrylic Lightbox Material, Photoframes, Silver Gelatin Contact Prints & Polaroids, Brass Bullet Shells, Cut Crystal Glass, Looped SD Video, DVD Player, Dimensions Variable, 2005

Screen Idol (Americana), which recontextualises Screen Test (Americana) #1 and Screen Test (Americana) #2, is a humorous take on gender and movie stardom and is a deliberate exercise in camp kitsch. Norma Desmond’s numerous iterations, encased in vintage porcelain floral photo frames, are displayed on a tiered lightbox surrounded by relics of fake jewels and evoking the character’s obsessive shrine to her own image. Mirrored on the highest tier (to indicate dominance and power), the numerous repeated images of the hyper-masculine robot gunslinger are similarly displayed within souvenir frames dating from the US Civil War through to World War II and surrounded by bullet casings. Housed in one of the photo frames, a miniature video screen shows Norma Desmond and the robot gunslinger performing their assigned actions and roles ad infinitum.

First Exhibited at Sherman Galleries Artbox, 2005.

Shortlisted for the Canberra Contemporary Art Space Prize, CCAS 2005.

Winner of the 2005 COFA SRC Art & Design Award, 2005.

Screen Idol (Australiana) — Wake Up and Puke
Acrylic Lightbox Material, Timber  Photo Frame, Beer Bottle Glass, Two Up Pennies, SD 16:9 Video Tryptych Looped with Sound, 16:9 miniature TV Screen, Dimensions Variable, 2006.

Similarly, Screen Idol (Australiana) – Wake Up and Puke literally re-frames Screen Test #5 (Australiana), a performance based on the 1971 movie Wake in Fright. Within a wooden Australiana-kitch photo frame, a loop plays of the out-of-control drunken doc cheered on by his mates. Relics of the shoot (broken beer bottle glass and the two up pennies) are scattered around the photo frame on the lightbox. This work distils the Screen Test performance into an aestheticised object, amplifying the ugly realities exposed in the film and Australian masculine culture in particular the Cronulla riots of 2005.

First Exhibited for Half Dozen Projects Exhibition, Miniatures, Ivan Dougherty Gallery,  COFA, 2006, Curated by Oliver Watts and Dougal Phillips.

Short listed for the NSW Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship and Exhibited at Artspace, 2006.

Production Credits
Screen Idol (Americana)

Performer: John A Douglas

DV Cam and HD Video Camera: John A Douglas, Alex Kershaw

Large Format Camera: Alex Kershaw

Lighting Consultant: Chris Ryan

Performance Coach: Chris Ryan

Make Up: Chrissy Colour Consultant, Melanie Ryan

Costume Design: ABC TV costume department, John A Douglas

Jewellery Design: Melanie Ryan

Special Effects: Melanie Ryan

Prosthetic Lens Technician: Bill Perryman

Backdrop: David Pavich

Theatrical Armourer: Tony Garland at The Stockade

Screen Idol (Australiana) — Wake Up and Puke

Performer: John A Douglas

Sound Samples: Wake In Fright ( Dir Ted Kotcheff, United Artists, 1971)

HD Video Camera: Tristan Kenyon

Large Format Camera: Alex Kershaw

Location Sound Recordist: Melanie Ryan

Special Effects Make Up: Melanie Ryan

Performance Coach: Chris Ryan

Sound and Video Editing: John A Douglas

Set Design, Props and Costume: John A Douglas

Thanks to: Blue Mountains City Council

Catalogues, Articles and Reviews

icon_cloud-download  Dr Oliver Watts, Screen Idol, Catalogue Essay, Sherman Artbox, 2006

‘Beard Club For Men’, The Art Life, 21 September 2006

John A Douglas’ Screen Idol (Australiana) – Wake Up and Puke draws on our national history of cinematic horror and the bush-as-abject, and shrinks this vast landscape down into a nightmarish installation of broken beer bottles atop an illuminated Federation star, surrounding a video triptych. The vertiginous spinning the images on the screen are taken from Douglas’ own recreation of an infamous scene in the cult Australian film Wake In Fright (1971), and this mania is framed by the quiet kitsch of Australiana photo-frame.
— excerpted from Dr Oliver Watts, ‘Approaching Intimacy: Contemporary Miniatures’, 1/2 doz catalogue, 2006, p9

cloud download iconDoug Church, ‘Hearts of Darkness in the Australian Gothic’ catalogue essay, Australian Gothic: Video Art Now, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, 2008