TV Times

TV TIMES (35 years of watching television in Australia)

The mythical nature of the outback remains the most celebrated aspect of Australia whilst the vast proportion of the population sit in suburbs on the edge of the vast continent facing out to sea watching soaps on TV...

This multi media exhibition was created for the opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney to celebrate 35 years of watching television in Australia. Made in collaboration with David Watson and Denise Corrigan it was described by Bruce James of the Sydney Morning Herald as "A crowd pleaser, provocative, hilarious, strange, nostalgic and instructive".

Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney 1991 and tour of Australia 1992/1993

The first thing the visitor saw as s/he came up the stairs in the museum was a stylised Australian canopied SHOPFRONT and his/her own face on a TV set inside the window. Alongside were monitors with feeds from all the other parts of the show.

Next to the shopfront was a SPIN THE WHEEL device which viewers could spin themselves and view random selections of game show clips. 

The TV VOLCANO, comprising of a compilation of historic TV images including news, drama, soaps, and ads shown on TV sets from successive eras surrounded contemporary props and products, spilled out from behind the shopfront.

For the show we asked Rolf Harris to make a painting of the outback directly on the gallery wall surrounding the TV Volcano. It turned out to be his biggest ever. Viewers could sit on a bench in front of it and contemplate the volcano whilst listening to a quintessentially suburban soundtrack of lawnmowers and water sprinklers.

In the HALL OR FAME iconic images of TV personalities blown up to several times life size were shown as portraits on the wall and stacks of TV Times magazines were presented as minimalist sculpture in the centre of the room.

The ANT FARM was a black box which contained the whole ground floor of a suburban house in which people were living an ordinary life. The public could spy on the occupants though slots in the back of the fridge, the fish tank and paintings on the walls as well as via a remote control TV camera secreted below the TV set in the living room. 

Letters and photos sent in by the public describing their earliest memories of TV were presented alongside the structure.