From initiating the Enchanted River festival to being the lead artist for the fire event at the closing ceremony of the renowned Woodford Folk Festival for the past 15 years, former Albury Wodonga artist, Annie Edney, is about to have her work shown in Venice.
Annie took some time out from her busy schedule to chat to Border Cafe about having her work in Anima Mudi when the art world’s spotlight will be on the Italian City.
What is the form of the work that is going to Venice and what is it about?
I started making videos while doing my Masters and have developed a unique method (sorry can’t tell you or I’d have to kill you – it’s top secret!)
It works for me to have the integrity in the actual work not in the techno program skills. Suffice to say I have been working in Tondo focussed format (circular works of art) since beginning video making in 2015, reflecting my MCA research into how we assimilate information from external factors at a molecular level.
The theme of the exhibition in Venice is Ritual, a subject I have always been fascinated with, and one that has been ever present in my work for over three decades now.
Recently I have been drilling into what we carry forward from our ancestors. I guess it began in my early 20’s when I had some vivid recurring dreams about “past lives”. Now I think we hold the memories of all our ancestors in our DNA, and these memories are triggered by mysterious unexpected subtleties. Not much of that in our everyday lives now sadly!
Annie how did you feel when you found out your work would be in Venice at the same time as the Biennale this year?
Two of my videos in Venice! I was beyond excited.
Even though they’re not in the actual Biennale it’s still an enormous honour to have my work in Venice while the international art world is there.
The exhibition I’m in is staged by an amazing architectural company, Luca Curci, so who knows, my videos may end up on the walls of some vertical green city, or sustainable organic city (that’s what they do!) Or Vivienne Westwood (British fashion designer) may just cruise through and want my imagery at the back of her next collection showing. (Laughs)
What was the process to put your work forward?
While I was doing my Master of Contemporary Art at the Victorian College of the Arts, one of the lecturers said that being an artist is 50% making work and 50% writing applications. It’s true!
The magnificent Andy Dinan, owner/manager/proprietor of Mars Gallery, forwarded the Application call out to me, I applied, and was accepted. I had a video in Mars Melbourne Art Loop 2015 and have another in the 2017 one, currently showing at Melbourne Central.
“There have been a couple of projects brewing in Albury”
What part did your time in Albury-Wodonga play in your development as an artist?
Living in Albury-Wodonga showed me very clearly that dogged perseverance pays off!
In the years before moving to the region, I’d been making large scale community celebration events with themes of environmental awareness in some truly beautiful places. It had become my Enchanted series. Because I knew we were going to be living in Albury for some years, I’d been doing some research and had developed an annual celebration of the Murray River. However, when we arrived in Albury there was no Arts or Cultural officer on either Albury or Wodonga councils.
A project as big and comprehensive as Enchanted River, to engage with the broadest possible community as I intended, required council support and with some perseverance and meeting with key cultural people, eventually we got the project up.
And it was in Albury where I began doing study to develop a studio practice with those marvellous women working with Mary-Jane Griggs at Albury TAFE. I still regularly think about what I learned there.
Do you have plans for any projects back in Albury-Wodonga?
There have been a couple of projects brewing in Albury. One is a continuation of some shadow puppetry work I did with Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Services, and another with a friend who, when she finished her PhD, applied her prodigious research skills to finding her biological family, and uncovering the disturbing story of Forced Adoption in Australia.
So, what is your focus now?
After more than 25 years of working with community, I am much more focussed on my solo practice now.
Apart from the conceptual research mentioned above, I’m investigating projection mapping and am HUGELY excited about it! It’s what I’ll be experimenting with during my residency in Ireland, and have recently met a guy who is a total projections genius. We’re starting to brew a project, so watch this space!
Video: Watch By Blood
Find out more about Annie and her work at https://annieedney.org