Returning - Chapter 1

Returning - Chapter 1

Responding to our collective moment in time, Returning offers succinct meditations on the events, experiences and propositions prompted by the pandemic.

As we navigate our re-entry into the public realm, we have emerged into a world increasingly drained of wonder and physical connection. After living our separate, secluded lives, we are not the same people we were a year ago. Though restrictions have relaxed and populations are gaining immunity, our present is still uncertain. Globalisation has seemingly been put on hold, the legacy of Colonialism has been brought to the fore, while radicalisation is more present and the effects of climate change more real.

Against this backdrop, Sydney Opera House has commissioned several artist perspectives from Australia and Asia to accrue, gather and snowball the mood swings of the past year, transforming our private and societal reorientations into works that ring fresh and clear. While much of the imagery is drawn from the past twelve months, these works are more than mere artefacts of the pandemic. The artists have created enduring works that beat with a rhetorical urgency. Conceived as online moving image works, video is used as a tool to navigate forward. They have taken to individual forms of political activism and social commentary, creating works that impel us to view the recent past differently, while asking what the future might portend.

Through poetic metaphors and expressive soundtracks, graveness and humour, focused videography and experimental moving image, the artists demonstrate that art is not only a dream or a vision, but can contain a skeleton architecture for our lives. By leaning, listening, watching and adjusting ourselves to the new rhythms of the unknown, these screen-based works offer us glimmers of how to find our way again and make sense of our changing surroundings as we return - return to the world, return to each other and most importantly, return to ourselves.

Accompanying each artwork are behind the scenes video interviews as well as past works by the artists. A series of personal essays by a selection of writers unravelling each artists’ response will be released later this year.

Returning: Chapter 1 is co-presented with The Japan Foundation, Sydney. Returning: Chapter 2 launches in late 2021.

Artists:
Yu Araki (Japan)
Caroline Garcia (Australia)
Cherine Fahd (Australia)
Koki Tanaka (Japan)

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Returning - Chapter 1
  • Yu Araki - Bivalvia: Act I | Returning - Chapter 1

    Yu Araki, Bivalvia: Act I (2017), HD video, colour, sound, 20:00. Courtesy the artist and MUJIN-TO Production.

    The desire to understand the origins of ideas, histories and objects runs as a connecting thread through artist Yu Araki’s work. Layered with ornate footage, rich soundscapes and refere...

  • Yu Araki - Bivalvia: Act II (L) | Returning - Chapter 1

    Yu Araki, Bivalvia: Act II (L) (2021), HD video, colour, sound, 21:04. Commissioned by The Sydney Opera House for Returning with support from the Arts Commission Yokohama (ACY) and The Japan Foundation, Sydney and The Japan Foundation, Japan.

    Continuing Araki’s interest in bivalves, the scientif...

  • Yu Araki - Behind The Scenes | Returning - Chapter 1

    Watch artist Yu Araki in conversation with dramaturg and vocalist Katherine Allen on the making of Yu Araki’s Bivalvia: Act 2 (L) and participating in the Returning project.

  • Koki Tanaka - Reflective Notes (Reconfiguration) | Returning - Chapter 1

    Koki Tanaka, Reflective Notes (Reconfiguration) (2021), HD video, colour and sound, 06:32. Commissioned by The Sydney Opera House for Returning with support from The Japan Foundation, Sydney.

    Koki Tanaka’s video essay, Reflective Notes (Reconfiguration) explores the impact from COVID-19 and se...

  • Koki Tanaka, Provisional Studies: Workshop #7 (Day 2) | Returning - Chapter 1

    Koki Tanaka, Provisional Studies: Workshop #7 How to live together, and sharing the unknown (day 2) (2017), action, workshop and video documentation, 32:30. Commissioned for Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017 by curators Kasper König, Marianne Wagner and Britta Peters with production cooperation from...

  • Koki Tanaka, Provisional Studies: Workshop #7 (Day 9) | Returning - Chapter 1

    Koki Tanaka, Provisional Studies: Workshop #7 How to live together, and sharing the unknown (day 9) (2017), action, workshop and video documentation, 46:43. Commissioned for Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017 by curators Kasper König, Marianne Wagner and Britta Peters with production cooperation from...

  • Koki Tanaka - Behind The Scenes | Returning - Chapter 1

    Watch artist Koki Tanaka on the making of Reflective Notes (Reconfiguration) and participating in the Returning project.

  • Caroline Garcia - Force of a .22 Calibre Bullet | Returning - Chapter 1

    Caroline Garcia, Force of a .22 Calibre Bullet (2021), digital video, colour, sound, 7:55. Commissioned by The Sydney Opera House for Returning with support from The Japan Foundation, Sydney.

    Filmed on a body camera, typically used by the police force, Caroline Garcia’s Force of a .22 Calibre ...

  • Caroline Garcia - Choose your Fighter | Returning - Chapter 1

    Caroline Garcia, Choose your Fighter (2020), HD video, colour, sound, 3:24. Courtesy the artist.

    Caroline Garcia’s Choose your Fighter, is a moving image work in which Garcia recasts herself as a (Head)hunter. Armed with an Indigenous Filipino blowgun known as a sumpit, Garcia moves throughout t...

  • Caroline Garcia - Behind The Scenes | Returning - Chapter 1

    Watch artist Caroline Garcia on the making of Force of a .22 Calibre Bullet and participating in the Returning project.

  • Cherine Fahd - Play Proximus | Returning - Chapter 1

    Cherine Fahd, Play Proximus (2021), HD video, 10:37. Courtesy the artist. Commissioned by the Sydney Opera House for Art Assembly, with support from our Corporate Partners and Donors as part of New Work Now, project donors and the ARROW Collective.

    An articulation of touch and intimacy, artist C...

  • Cherine Fahd - Behind The Scenes | Returning - Chapter 1

    Watch artist Cherine Fahd in conversation with videographer Sophie Georgiou on the making of Play Proximus /em> and participating in the Returning project.