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Screen Test (Australiana) #6 — James Dean Jesus



Project Details
Screen Test #6 (Australiana) — James Dean Jesus
Single Channel HD 720p Video with Sound, Duration, 7 minutes, 2007
1 x C-type photograph, Kodak paper on aluminium,  120cm x 100cm, 2007. Edition of 5.

Screen Test #6 (Australiana) – James Dean Jesus fuses the aesthetic elements of James Dean’s last film (Giant, 1955) together with his death which was re-enacted in Cronenberg’s Crash, 1996. Douglas’ performance captures the moment of transcendence in which James Dean is elevated to a godlike Hollywood icon worshiped by his fans, the Widows of James Dean, who knelt and prayed to his relics. The flatness and space of the drought-stricken Hay Plains evoke both the dusty plains of Marfa, Texas, where Giant was filmed, and the masculine mythology of Australia and the Australian outback that is lost to emptiness, desolation and ruin.

Sites of Refusal
5 x Silver Gelatin Photographs on fiber based paper and aluminium, 70 cm x 55cm, 2007. edition of 1.

In Sites of Refusal, a shrouded body or bodies repeatedly appear in the desolate landscape, leaving the viewer to wonder how and why the corpses have been dumped. Although these images are a visual quote of Robert Frank’s roadside car accident victim, the abandoned body may also suggest the shrouded corpse of James Dean or the unknown, unnamed traumas of the outback..

Photographic Works held in private collections.

Video held in the Monash University Video archive.


Production Credits

Performers: John A Douglas, Melanie Ryan

Soundtrack: Windmill, Bruce Langhorne from ‘The Hired Hand’ (dir Peter Fonda, Universal Studios, 1971), courtesy of Mute Records London

HD video camera: John A Douglas, Melanie Ryan

Large format still camera: John A Douglas, Melanie Ryan

Make Up & Special Effects: Melanie Ryan

Location Sound Recording: John A Douglas, Melanie Ryan

Video and Sound Editing: John A Douglas