Notes on 'The Last Broadcast from Egham'

Enem Murphy, 2003 and 2007

(These are the notes for the installation: 'The Last Broadcast From Egham')

From one perspective, the environment in which we exist is a multi-dimensional collage. We are surrounded by a seemingly jumbled collection of impressions, events, styles, objects, data and information, and this is the context in which all of our perceptive mechanisms must operate. But it is also the fundamental methodology that this collage provides which is essential to survival. We require the juxtaposition of things to be able to contrast and compare, to determine the friendly from the predator, the mate from the meal, the prize from the punishment - it is our primitive necessity.

As post-modernists, we engage this device for other ends. When we watch a movie, on television, we experience a plethora of separate images, a gigantic collage formed by the editing and realised as the cut. We experience images that change every second, and when the advertising break occurs we are bombarded with further disconnected images adding to the already vast phenomena of collage. And we have another dodgy weapon in our hands - the remote control device. At any time during the visual performance we use it to add even further visual packages, sometimes distracting, usually fleeting, to the stew. Add the news - or, the 'newses', the even more disconnected events and stories always pre-filtered, stripped of human detail for us by benevolent information architects - more image topup.

And when we sit, we sit in another vast collage: our lounge room- our media room- the bookshelf, the wall with pictures of odd things behind the television set, its accoutrements: digital box, DVD player, the video, the pile of tapes and discs, their labels (not to mention the pile of magazines and newspapers). Not satisfied with all that, at some point we get up from our armchairs and wander off to the kitchen for a brew, the 'fridge for a can, or put the cat or milk bottles, out, or even chat, check the guides, or many other things. All these form an animated collage of events that inform, occupy, even saturate, our perceptions.

All is a vast juxtaposition mainly animated, occasionally human, all increasingly being superseded by the virtual, by the 'simulcra'- 'wars that won't happen, are not happening and didn't happen'. We don't need to stop to understand it. It's our culture. But can we represent it? Quantify it? Can we visualise this chaos, and can we order it in representation? We perhaps can write about it but barely touch upon or access the unique experience. And all society's structures may be like that too - knowable but not representable.

These drawings are graphical translations of the artist's perception of the world. Certainly chaotic, sometimes collages of disperates, organized into compositions, mosaics of cultural identity. You, the spectator, the reader are invited to follow the eye of the artist, relentlessly oscillating, looking for the foothold, caught up in the urge to find meaning and, simultaneously, in the urge to deconstruct.

The title of the recent exhibition (2004), 'The Last Broadcast from Egham', where many of the images here were exhibited, alludes to the idea of last chance to participate, to communicate, to remember, before some calamity or necessity or finality takes over. It alludes to the great movie titles: 'The Last Exit to Brooklyn', The Last Picture Show', The Last Train to Pimlico', 'The Last Tango in Paris'.

Enem Murphy 2003 and 2007

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