“A different weed-inhabitant of Sydney forms the focus for Paul Gazzola’s video, this being the palm tree Washingtonia Robustia, an introduced species planted by Governor Macquarie in the early 1800’s ‘to create a more harmonious view within the harsh lines of the Australian landscape.’ Originally trained as a dancer, Gazzola currently works across video and performance to explore the relationship of the body to space, in the production of strategies and situations which investigate ‘the performativity of the act of looking itself.’ In the midst of the xenophobic right-wing debate on the status and legitimacy of the ‘immigrant’ in Australian contemporary society, Gazzola provocatively assumed the role (via the video lens) of a foreign interloper, who supposedly wastes time by lying down, gazing up at one of these trees. In its original configuration, a deflected video projection on the ceiling was framed above an inflatable mattress on the floor, that allowed audience members to assume this same contemplative position. Here, however, a monitor is located within a trapdoor, and the palm tree descends into a secret Linden crawlspace, as if pointing straight through the floor to the other side of the world, the source of the original – and future potential – migrant.”

Andrew Gaynor, Curator of A Secret Life of Plants – extract from exhibition text.

Exhibition presentations
2009 A SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS – Linden Gallery, Melbourne and
Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle
+ POINTS OF VIEW, Sara Asperger Gallery, Berlin