..A single creation of great power, at once subtle and necessarily confronting. Kieth Gallasch, Realtime.
What house of horrors is this?/ A soundscape of distorted, industrial hum - white noise.../...An ossuary collection, housing reliquaries encasing/embracing engraved bones, marked by words rarely spoken, not on this temporal plane at least/ Relics arranged meticulously, seductively, agonizingly just so/ Shadows shift across opaque walls, in a discordant stippling waltz of light and dark/ The maze entices you to come hither, past the cold steel medical beds – did I imagine those, or were they there?
Brenda L Croft
Unsettling Suite is a body of 8 works, including: Bone Library (2011), Take This For It Is My Body (2010), The Great Plague, (2013) Corpus Nullius/Blood Country (2010) , The River's Children (2013), Heirloom (2013) and The Shearing Duet (2013), and an untitled soundscape.
In 2013, as the major visual arts commission for Performance Space at Carriagework's Matters of Life and Death season, the entire Unsettling Suite was presented for the first time as a single, immersive installation.
Unsettling Suite powerfully and unflinchingly address Australia’s intertwined Indigenous and colonial histories. Often featuring traces of the artist’s own body, the works connect Norman’s own personal history and familial narratives – and in particular, her mixed Aboriginal and British heritage – with the larger histories of post-colonial Australia. Reflective in mood, Unsettling Suite explores the ways that repressed or hidden aspects of our past continue to return to haunt the present.
Unsettling Suite invites us into a dreamlike farmhouse. Each room within the house contains an installation eerily reminiscent of a domestic interior, some of which are periodically activated by performance. Subtle recurring themes underpin these broader issues: generations of Aboriginal women in domestic service, the connection between land and body in both Western and Indigenous myths and cultural narratives, and the blur between the personal and the political - Jeff Khan
WATCH >> Short tour of the Unsettling Suite installation, by Performance Space
To accompany the exhibition, Performance Space and the artist produced a limited edition catalogue, featuring essays and writings by leading artist and scholar Brenda L Croft, Jeff Khan and S.J Norman, featuring conceptual design by the artist and Blood & Thunder. Copies of this book can be accessed at the National Library of Australia, The NSW State Library, and the UNSW College of Fine Arts Library.