Look down. Down on the floor of RMIT Gallery. That’s where artist Charlie Sofo’s video work is. And as you look, you are mesmerised. You see a hand – Charlie’s hand – and it is touching objects; grass, glass, sand, metal, wood – all of a sudden you feel those sensations on your own skin. At the artist talk on the first weekend of Experimenta Speak To Me at RMIT Gallery, people crowded around Charlie’s work Touch (Dunedin) 2011 – and looked down. “It makes me feel like a child again!” exclaimed one person. Another added, “I almost flinch when you pick up a broken bottle”. Charlie said his work, a short, single-channel video made during a residency in Dunedin, New Zealand, is a visual diary, a “certain framing of experience” that allows for empathy. “When you make an artwork, you invest an object with some sort of meaning. While the subject matter of the video is very simple – it’s about experiencing the world through touch – it is also about constantly tracing and retracing particular things, memories and the environment”, Charlie said. “I could touch things that are of great importance to me, but that seems kind of clear already, it is safe I suppose. However, when I went to New Zealand, the locality meant there was a lot more nature than where I live in Brunswick. It was new. It’s also very bucolic. That’s the other thing as well; the mapping of space in such a place, one that I wasn’t familiar with, it just seemed to make a lot more sense”.
Source: Evelyn Tsitas: THE HAPTIC MOMENT: Charlie Sofo’s video touches viewers. RMIT Gallery, 2012. RMIT Gallery is the main venue for the launch of Experimenta Speak To Me.
Video: Touch (Dunedin)
- Charlie Sofo, Australia. Exhibiting in group and solo shows since 2005, Charlie Sofo combines a variety of media including sculpture, video, installation, drawing and text. Primarily concerned with the documentation and cataloguing of experiences – street walks and the variety of odours found in suburbs, the detritus removed from his running shoes, a video catalogue of lounging cats – Sofo’s taxonomic aesthetic is precise and humorous. Source: monash.edu/mada/about-us/residencies/past-residencies/charlie-sofo