[TISEA 1992] Artist Statement: June Savage – Scanners

Artist Statement

Mixed media

While the methodologies of art and science may differ, and their social values under capital appear at odds, their systems of representation have interesting commonalities and contingencies. Both encode and reproduce dominant ideologies indirectly and through application. Just as the landscape tradition in art has historically presented an order of human construction as a mythic range of immutable essences, representations of space provide a frontier metaphor for universal wonder and continuity. Landscape and representations of space mirror the phenomenological desires of both science and art which at various times, regard the earth as a finite inherited commodity or an infinite natural disorder that must be tamed through measure and map.

June Savage’s wall clocks, whose faces have been replaced by abstract imagery derived from satellite photographs, inhabit an immaterial globe, a world surveyed in data relations, a world of information exchange. Banked in an ordered visual display upon whitewashed art gallery walls, they appear here like radar scanning devices. Only their second hands remain, steadily traversing obscure terrain in a cycle bound to repetition. Without a point of reference or scale of measure their movement proceeds without limit or intrinsic, rational meaning. They appear as instruments in the service of an undisclosed imperative to monitor, to measure, to survey, but their purpose is classified, and access to the nature of their data remains unavailable except to authorities.

As metaphysical tropes, they may mark the endlessness of time against the uncertainty of matter. Yet the Sublime of nature exists here only as a motif in perverse subjugation. The worlds represented within these small circles, enclosed by these clock frames, measure against the satori moment described by astronauts who experience the earth’s biosphere in overview from space beyond. The clocks’ moving hands describe technology’s relentless circumscription as functionary to a pre-existent ideological apparatus. The images they scan suggest dynamism but present here as still frames, mute, unchanging, ordered, controlled. In their quiet abstraction, they bring certain constituent and referential elements to the fore, supporting a silent interrogation of contexts, specifically the social conditions by which technology, science, and art have developed and are applied.

_Jeffrey Fereday & Susan Fereday 1992

  • June Savage, Australia