Zaum Tractor is a 2-screen video work filmed throughout Southern Russia as part of the artists’ 3-month residency in Rostov-on-Don. Zaum Tractor addresses notions of freedom and collectivity - contradictory forces within contemporary Russia - sweeping past tractor races, church bells, river barges and the ceremonies of modern-day cossacks.
Throughout, a series of individuals perform zaum, the experimental performance poetry of the Russian Futurists that avoids fixed meanings to reveal the pure sound and wild rhythms of language. One hundred years after its invention, zaum is performed here in front of symbolic Constructivist Soviet architecture, presenting a clash between past and present, the rational and the transrational.
56th Biennale of Venice: All the World's Futures
9 May - 22 November 2015
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'Communications technology shapes our world but the artists’ video of an abandoned newspaper building shows how far and fast technology moves…In trashed offices and workshops, the artists discover all manner of redundant communication technologies: rotary dial telephones, Morse code devices, Linotype machines, ticker tapes. They show that the urgency of communication has shaped innovation, economics and social experience for almost two centuries... In the end, the work isn’t just an elegy for the printing press; it’s a reminder that communication is our life blood.' - Judge, Dr Chris McAuliffe
2014 Gold Coast Art Prize
6 December 2014 to 8 February 2015
Gold Coast City Gallery
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Sonia Leber and David Chesworth were selected as the winners of the 6th Screengrab International Media Arts Award for their 2013 video work We Are Printers Too.
Judge José Da Silva explained that he selected Leber and Chesworth’s work, "because it is a fascinating exploration of sound and communication, and a decidedly moving ode to lost forms of communication. I kept returning to Leber and Chesworth’s work, increasingly feeling that it had made the most thoughtful, well resolved and even challenging contribution to the award's theme of Velocity, that curator Mitch Goodwin eloquently describes in his catalogue essay as ‘the comings and goings of objects, the rhizomatic fever of life – of memories and of perception – is the stuff of both nature and the machine but also the stuff of change – of a compelling need to move forward, at pace’.”
- Judge, José da Silva, the Senior Curator of Australian Cinémathèque Curatorial and Collection Development for the Queensland Art Gallery
6th Screengrab International Media Arts Award
20 September - 26 October 2014
Pinnacles Gallery, Riverway
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This Is Before We Disappear From View was created for the walled space of the coal bunker on Cockatoo Island. It exists significantly in the realm of the imaginary. The artists use vocal sounds they recorded from over 100 individual voices, which, brought together as a kind of choir of poltergeists, rise and rise, in never-ending escalations. A single voice is also heard in measured, staccato bursts. Robotic, synthesized and genderless, it delivers instructions, admonishments and encouragements – dogma. It is both overlord and oracle.
This is the artists’ response to Australia’s policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers, a policy that presents us all with challenges both personal, political and institutional. Their work is a fiction that provides a mirror on histories of containment from historic houses of discipline with their attendant philosophies, through to the current policy by the Australian Government.
Forum: Dream Factory
7 June 2014
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Dream Factory looks at the influence of film on the practice of contemporary artists. Leber and Chesworth will be in conversation with Nikos Papastergiadis.