“It Took Forever to Fall Asleep;” excerpt, 2021, 1 minute, 47 seconds; stereo; black and white.
Produced and directed by Robert Hamilton. Audio editing by Robert Hamilton with an original audio recording by mario1981.
This film methodically illuminates a ghostly cityscape at night, frozen in time; a transformative reflection of the COVID world we find ourselves in today. The film is a steady, gradual exploration of a miniature landscape constructed in the early 1960s by David Lee, a lawyer from Dundas, Ontario. Built in relative isolation in his basement and untouched for 50 years, the details are fascinating – finely fabricated buildings and streets, working lights, hundreds of hand-painted figures spread among the lush rolling papier-maché landscapes. The diorama suggests a reflection on identity and community – a fractured series of rough representations, tableaux and narratives. There is a deep sense of melancholy in these delicate and static constructions, with thematic parallels echoing current events.
“It Took Forever to Fall Asleep” reflects on the opportunity for the potential rebirth a post-COVID world offers, whether this rebirth comes by public policy or public self-determination. Just as the 1950s came to a close, so too will COVID. Eras end, and with them come change.
This work was produced during the pandemic while isolating at home. The video follows a boy’s response to COVID-19. The boy participates in his community’s “isolate, test, treat and trace” initiative, marked by red crosses on their homes. This work reflects on COVID-19, our relationship with the environment and sustainability. This work features minor digital image manipulation where symbolic red crosses were added to trees and homes.
Shot in Melbourne’s CBD, this photo series selectively erases elements of the environment surrounding figures in public space. The images are stark; the human body against an enhanced dark background to emphasize isolation, gesture, colour and movement. The images exaggerate a powerful natural mid-afternoon light that creates an intense contrast between the public and the urban environment. This project relates to my practice of utilizing erasure as a means to represent partial blindness.
A late night photo series exploring the empty storefronts in what are typically busy daytime stores, banks and other businesses. Many businesses in Melbourne regularly keep their lights on through the night.