Experiencing Interruptions?

Natura Morta ~ Still life ~ Five creeks

“I believe nothing can be more abstract, more unreal, than what we actually see,” remarked that wonderful still life artist Giorgio Morandi. But what’s less abstract and more real than what we can’t see? What is inside these five bottles at a time of environmental crisis?
This work tags Morandi’s ‘Natura Morta’ and investigates ‘Dead Nature’ as a plausible endgame, canvassing: Morandi’s oeuvre, Sianne Ngai’s aesthetic category of ‘interesting’, conceptualism, water quality (laboratory tested), climate change, and asks - what’s happening upstream?
The work allows for contingencies and limitations in technology and technique, the key being thinking through what responsibilities artists have. The text with references and water quality results are available on request.

  • John Bennett
  • John Bennett
  • John Bennett
  • John Bennett
  • John Laidler
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental
  • Genres:
    Fine art, Art history, Environment and ecology
  • Runtime:
    34 minutes 33 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 1, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Nexus Gallery, Bellingen Community Arts Council
    October 20, 2019
Director Biography - John Bennett

John Bennett is a poet, published worldwide, who has won major poetry prizes. John also writes essays on environmental issues and his PhD explored ecopoetics. He has become a visual artist, but one with text embedded in most of his work.
He gives talks at Coffs Harbour Regional Art Gallery where he exhibited a multi-media presentation ‘First Light - from Eos to Helios’, Coffs Harbour Regional Galley, from July, 2017. A documentary on this project, ‘Poetry at first light’ was broadcast by ABC Radio National’s Earshot, February, 2016.
Other screenings/exhibitions include: Biligan (commissioned), Bellingen TurtleFest, 2016; the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre, Blackheath, Oct 2013; Matilda St Gallery, Macksville, Sept 2012; Balmain Watch House, Sydney, Oct 2011; Sydney Writers Festival, 2010; Newtown Underground Film Festival, Sydney, 2010; a multi-media installation, MacLeay Museum, University of Sydney, 2007.
Videos have also been published in the special 30th anniversary edition of Going Down Swinging; ekleksographia (USA); Poetry Australia and online.
His images are used by The Dept. of Primary Industries, New South Wales, National Parks and Wildlife Service, local councils, tourist authorities, festivals and schools.
He has been Artistic Director of the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival for five years. John is currently providing texts, photographs and videos for artists, and teaching schoolchildren, for the national ‘Overwintering’ project (migratory shorebirds), Coffs Regional Gallery.

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Director Statement

Glass usually magnifies, reflects and refracts, but Giorgio Morandi’s everyday objects appear ethereal and telluric. He painted bottles matte to eliminate reflections or poured coloured pigment into transparent ones, avoiding Roland Barthes’ criticism of, ‘Still-life painters like Van de Velde or Heda [who] always render matter’s most superficial quality: sheen.’ (1972).
I live by the sea in a beautiful sub-tropical region of rivers and forests, the ocean and sky are blue and everything looks fine, but that’s superficial - we know the air and sea are badly polluted. There is needless logging and badly thought development in this region with poor water quality in some catchments.
I am a fan of Morandi’s oeuvre, but we are in the midst of climate change, increasing biodiversity losses and diminishing abundances. Artists as citizens have a responsibility to play a part in advocating change and informing their audience.
The contents of these five bottles was laboratory tested, but the issue is - will artists realize the potential of art. ‘The great collective project’, says critic and artist Suzi Gablik, ‘has presented itself. It is that of saving the earth - at this point, nothing else really matters.’