Three Scenes from In Memory of Johnny B. Goode: World Tour (2014–2017) THE GHOSTS OF NOTHING, LAURA PURCELL
WHEN: Thursday 18 January –Sunday 25 February 2018
WHERE: Contemporary Art Tasmania Gallery
In Memory of Johnny B. Goode - World Tour of Abandoned Gaol-Houses 2016/18
Performance artifacts from The Mirror, 2016; Black Butterflies, 2017; and Suicide, 2017
Posters, In Memory of Johnny B. Goode: World Tour (2014-2017)
Design based on found postcards ca. 1900-1920, original artist unknown
Sean Lowry and Ilmar Taimre are the Ghosts of Nothing. An artistic collaboration that has spanned several years and is based around the fictional world of an imaginary rock-band. This made-up world is presented to the public as an exuberant array of objects and events - some real, some unreal - and fuses together an invented rock-star figure (Johnny B. Goode - from the Chuck Berry hit song of the same name) with the tragic historical clown known as Pierrot. Each scene in the World Tour is based on a rondel from Pierrot Lunaire (1884), a collection of fifty poems by the Belgian poet Albert Giraud (1860 – 1929).These are presented, in the original French and “mistranslated” English versions, as spoken word recitations with music re-mixed from the rock opera version.
For this iteration the Ghosts of Nothing have collaborated with leading Tasmanian performer Laura Purcell to create three scenes from their World Tour sequence, performed and videoed in the Tarkine Wilderness and The Hobart Convict Penitentiary in 2016 and 2017. These scenes are now presented here, in the Contemporary Art Tasmania gallery.
To date, this work has been remixed and refashioned across various media formats, including a rock opera CD, a radio play, published writings, exhibitions, conference papers and this multi-year world tour of performances. From stories of debauchery to promotional merchandise, the conceptual complex of a band is capable of accommodating an entire universe of non-musical objects, events and places. Within this project, a barely existing pseudo-rock band becomes a conceptual vehicle through which the artists present a rich universe of diverse events and artefacts.
Images courtesy of Contemporary Art Tasmania. Photo credit: Louise O’Connor