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Light Materials

Caroline Huf

21.10.2021 - 27.11.2021

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In a series of video works deconstructing and recombining film materials through a process of digital or analogue weaving, Huf explores the exhaustion and re-invention of settler Australian myths about the mystery and threat of the bush. 

Huf’s It's No Picnic disrupts Peter Weir’s iconic 1975 film, Picnic at Hanging Rock, a key cultural expression of colonial anxieties about the unfamiliar Australian landscape. While in Let’s Get Lost, the artist presents her personal engagements with local environments, unravelling and projecting dresses she created from strips of 16mm film to evoke the fleeting nature of experience with and memory of landscape.

Light Materials presents outcomes from Huf’s PhotoAccess 2021 Dark Matter residency.

 Let’s Gets Lost: The Picnic Dress 2, 2021 , video still

It’s No Picnic, 2021, digital video woven in Adobe After Affects, 4.06 mins.

It’s No Picnic, 2021, installation, digital video projected onto sandstone, 4.06 mins.

Let’s Gets Lost: The Picnic Dress 2, 2021,  digitised 16mm film, 11.07 mins.

Let’s Gets Lost: The Picnic Dress 2, 2021, digital video of performance at Red Hill ACT, dress woven from 16 mm film strips, performer Janet Long

Artist Statement

Light Materials

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a process of video ‘weaving’, that is to edit video so that it appears to weave in patterns such as twills. I use this process to show multiple time zones. Sometimes the 'weaving' is a means to gather disparate images into a pattern; and other times I use 'weaving' to pull apart a video and find within it threads of different times to reveal the delayed duration of the present, that our experience of 'now' occurs over a few seconds. Each video is pulled apart, altered in speed, scale, and moved out of time.  During the ‘Dark Matter' residency at Photo Access, I explored weaving 16 mm film as well as digital video. The result is the series Light Materials, including my It's No Picnic series and Let's Get Lost: Picnic Dress 2.

 

For It's No Picnic, I wove the iconic Australian film Picnic at Hanging Rock directed by Peter Weir and released in 1975.  For better or worse, I grew up with this film, which tells the story of a group of schoolgirls lost to the mysteries of the Australian bush. Miranda (the lead character) and her friends, their floating white dresses, the vistas of granite rock that dominate the film’s landscape and the pan pipes of the soundtrack are deeply embedded in my psyche. By weaving sequences of Picnic, I wove the music of the haunting pipes into grating industrial sound. The twill pattern becomes increasingly threadbare as the colonial myth of an unknowable Australian environment dangerous to European settlers becomes tired and worn out. 'It's Time' for a new picnic dress.

 

I decided to weave myself a dress out of 16 film strips. After learning how to use the 1950's non reflex 16mm film Bolex camera I bought on eBay, and with the help of PhotoAccess staff, how to develop 16mm film, I set out to weave a dress so that it could unravel and play through the projector. As a contrast to the digital weaving of Weir’s masterful film, in this work I wanted to respond to the landscape more directly. I began to film my walks near where I live, on Mount Majura. The film is like a visual diary, a ‘brushing up’ against the landscape. Like memory of our experience, the dress is ephemeral; after projecting it I need to weave the dress again. 


As a friend pointed out to me, children lost in the bush is a major theme in Australian art. It is the colonial fear of an unfamiliar landscape. I am tired of this story and yet it is very much part of my own story. However, perhaps we/I need to get more lost in the landscape – to get lost in, to get consumed by, to fall in love with, the landscape.  So, I called this collection of film dresses Let's Get Lost (after Chet Baker’s 1950’s love song).

Artist Bio

Caroline Huf is a contemporary visual artist making experimental work that combines performance art, sculpture and video in new and exciting ways. She began her training in  sculpture and performance art at the Australian National University School of Art, and went on  to study a degree in dramatic arts and acting at the Victorian College of Arts. She performed in  many professional theatre productions and devised experimental performances. This theatre experience translates into her performance-based video artworks.  

She gained a Masters in Media Art from the UNSW College of Fine Arts where she explored  abstract sculptural stop motion animations. Her improvised animations with found objects and  plasticine have screened in international Film Festivals including: the European Media Arts  Festival, Osnabruk Germany; Melbourne International Animation Festival; Sydney Underground  Film Festival; the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Festival of Technology at MOMA,  Washington, and two of her stop motion animations are in “The Magic Arts: Australian  Animation from 1970s to Now” presented by the Australian Cinémathèque as part of the tenth  Asia Pacific Triennial (APT10) at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA).  Her works are held in the National Film and Sound Archive Collection. 

In 2019 Huf completed a practice led Masters of Philosophy at the ANU School of Art and  Design. This research culminated in the development of a unique process of video-editing which she calls ‘video weaving’. In these works, audio tracks have been woven with the video, creating flickering fabric of the film. The woven video works drew on neuroscience and psychology  relating to the perception of time, as well as the practice of meditation to explore neuro-media  as a structural basis for the temporal dimension of experimental film. Her recent work the  'Monologues’ series explores self-portraiture, acting, and identity. After the Masters, Caroline  received an Arts ACT grant enabled her to attend a residency at the Icelandic Textile Centre  (ITC) where she incorporated Icelandic weaving patterns into editing. This year Caroline was a recipient of a Dark Matter 2021 residency. During this residency she has further developed her work into the theme of weaving, time and landscape. 

Huf has received a number of arts grants from organisations including the Regional Arts Council  in Central Queensland, as well as funding from Arts ACT with the artist collective Relative  Constructions (which won a Canberra Critics Circle Award for the exhibition ‘The Poetic Lens’  which toured to Tamworth Regional Art Gallery in 2015). Recently Huf received an Arts ACT Grant to attend a residency at the Icelandic Textile Centre where she continued to develop  ‘video weaving’ using traditional weaving patterns. Her research was funded by an Australian  post graduate scholarship.