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Debra Petrovitch

Debra Petrovitch is an artist who works in a variety of mediums including film, video, audio, performance, sculpture, photography and new media.

As the founder of Subcutaneous Theatre, Debra has experimented mainly in a psycho-dramatic vein in order to create a new dark theatre that constantly shifts between fractured drama and new media immersive environments that often use triggering devices.

Her subject matter ranges from Shakespearian tragedy, to the body and suburban crisis. All these themes feed into one and other as she attempts to investigate Artaud and what shedescribes as “the intersections created when lancing the wounds of society”.

She is also an academic specializing in media studies and time based art (at the College of Fine Art UNSW). She is also a tutor in language and discourse at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is currently undertaking a PhD at University of Sydney.

Debra Petrovitch has been commissioned as a sound artist to create soundtracks for film (including works by Tracey Moffatt), theatre (Tess DeQuincey) and video (John Douglas).

Super 8 Film

1978 Adelaide Zoo, Research Documentation of Chimpanzee behaviour during a lunar eclipse, working with Anne Miskelly (University of South Australia). Also research documentation of Orangutan grooming and dominance behaviour.

1979 Torrens College of Art and Education, Adelaide, Sound and Light Exhibition. First installation of Super 8 Film loops, excerpts from Chimpanzee behaviour as an accompaniment to installation ‘Modern Unit’.

1979 Documentation of durational performance, Super 8 film & transducer mikes to capture heartbeat and neck pulse during swim in winter sea, Henley Beach. Excerpt used as part of Death by Drowning Super 8 Film 1

1980. Death by Drowning, version 1, A collage of the swimming documentation and telecined biological footage of camera probe moving through the oesophagus and into the stomach. Also telecine material of xray footage of human diaphragm expanding and contracting with each breathe.

1980 Death by Drowning/version 2, Te Ve Tabu Paddington Town Hall (shown in conjunction with fourth Biennale of Sydney. 19-24 April 1982 (Super8 Collective event).

1981 Feint Heart, Te Ve Tabu Paddington Town Hall (shown in conjunction with fourth Biennale of Sydney. 

1980 Death by Drowning and Feint Heart shown at Clifton Hill community Centre, Melbourne with other Sydney filmmakers Kevin Sheehan and John Letherbridge.

1983 Tribute to Artaud, Installation SCA, Sound, Super 8 Film loops, plaster floor, 6 mirrors, ciberchromes, electric fan, life size statues plus text.

1984 Red Dogs are Coming, Super 8 Film shown at Performance Space Sydney as part of Installation, Flesh Flesh Cut Cut Burn, Curator Nick Tsoutas.

1985 Cut, Super 8 film shown at Super 8 forum Dendy cinema Sydney; Roma Theatre Sydney.

1985 The Tragedy of King Lear, Super 8 extract from performance/installation (Performance Space) shown at Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide, South Australia.

1986 Crying from the Stream, Super 8 film shown at Chauvel Cinema Sydney.

1987 Cut, shown at Berlin film Festival, Germany, Curator Stephen Cummings.  

1988 Untitled, Super 8 film co-produced with Lynette Hearne Sydney Film and Video Festival.


1989 King Lear, (two monitor installation) shown at Arthouse audiovisual Festival Sydney.

1989 Lava Flow, single channel video,Sydney Film and video Festival, Performance Space.

1991 Exordium, Installation, mono sound of self giving birth, one video monitor displaying various degrees of TV static, First Draft – curator Michaela Dwyer

1994 King Lear (version 2) shown at Experimenta International Video Festival Melbourne Victoria.

1996 Aunty Annie And Uncle CharlieExcerpts From The Battleground, Solo Performance, 3 channel video, 2 channel audio, Live Mix with text, Artspace.Sydney, curator, Nick Tsoutas.

1997 Cut Version 2 reopened, Performance/Video Installation, assisted by Anna Munster (performance) and Wade Marynowsky, Video morphs, Curator Nick Tsoutas.

2003 ‘Shangrila Collective’ Video with performance documentation of self, curator Maria Cruz.

2006  Water Festival, Large screen DVD projection to accompany piano recitals based on the theme of water. A collaborative work with yr 9/10 students, St Scholasticas College, Sydney.  

2008 Piss/Artaud, Single Channel video with sound, Sguardi Sonori Festival of Media and Time Based Art; tour, Lanificio Conte Schio, Palazzo Orsini Bomarzo, Viaa d’Este Tivoli Rome, Rocca dei Rettori Benevento, CAM Casoria Napoli, curator Carlo Fatigoni

2009 Birth of an Idol, single channel video with sound, Sguardi Sonori Festival of Media and Time Based Art, Italy, curator Carlo Fatigoni

2012 Skins of Language, single channel video with sound, Squardi Sonori Festival of Media and Time Based Art, Italy, curator Carlo Fatigoni.

Other works 

Soundtracks for film, video and theatre.

1990 Soundscape for Tracey Moffatt’s Night Cries, shown extensively Nationally and Internationally including Cannes Film Festival (1990).

1998 Sound composition for Dale Burke’s film/video Passage and Lunge, shown Queerscreen, Sydney and Melbourne.

1998 Sound composition for Julianne Pierce’s Olympic City, shown Artspace and toured Australia.

1996 Sound composition to accompany Joy Saunder’s multimedia installation, Where it all began, Artspace and First Draft, Sydney.

1997 Sound composition for Sydney Dance and Development Centre International dance competition, Kupio, Finland.

1999 Bare, curated and produced CD of Australian Experimental Sound Artists, launched Performance Space.

2000 Dislocated, soundtrack on ‘Extreme Women sound Artists’ released through Susan Lawley productions, England.

2001 Nerve 9,Tess De Quincey Company, audio visual sequences, Performance Space, Dance House, Melbourne and Performing Arts Market Adelaide; later work went to Biennale Nationale de danse du Val-de-Marne France

2002. Soundtrack to Dale Burke’s Pillion, Queerscreen, Sydney New Media.

2000 Launch, Uncle Bill Interactive CD Rom, Artspace Aug. 2nd Sydney. Programming and Interactive Design Wade Marynowsky, Further Programming Peter Miller. Website: 5th International Festival Of Film Split, Sept- Croatia 2000;  Documenta Film and Video Fest; Kassel Germany; Artspace Sydney, curator Jacqueline Phillips.

2002 Uncle Bill, Interactive CDRom D-Lux Media Arts Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney and National Tour; ‘Excerpt from Uncle Bill’ Random Programmed Hypnotic Digital Sound/Visual Loops, Biennale of Sydney’ Exhibition, Wollongong City Art Gallery, programming Gary Zebington; IMPAKT Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Centre for Contemporary Photography and Regional Galleries Melbourne, curator Danial Palmer

2003 Uncle Bill Interactive CDRom, ‘Remembrance + the moving image’, Australian Centre for the Moving Image Melbourne, curator Ross Gibson; Multimedia Art Asia Pacific Festival, Beijing, China, curator Kim Machan (MAAP); Microwave International Media Festival; 13th International Electronic Arts Festival Videobrasil’ Sao Paulo Brazil; Transmediale’ International Media Art Festival February Berlin Germany; European Media Arts Festival, Germany; Paris/Berlin International Meetings’.

2003 The Anita Project, ‘Anita and Beyond’, Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest, curator Lisa Havilah.

2005 The Anita Project/ Version 3 (with DVD Triggering System by Stephen Jones), Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery, DLUX Tour project.

2005 The Anita Project/Version 3 (with Triggering System by Stephen Jones), Wollongong University Gallery, Faculty of the Creative Arts; DLUX Tour project.

2009 Solace in Black Sun, 4 channel Video, 5 channel audio with interactivity and triggering devices. (Interactivity programmed and installed by Wade Marynowsky), Artspace, curated by Blair French.

Other solo exhibitions 

Awards, collections 
2001 Uncle Bill Interactive CDRom Awarded best New Media work at ‘13th International Electronic Arts Festival Videobrasil’ Sao Paulo Brazil Mediterranean & Balkan Art & Technology Festival + Pendulum-International Symposium Athens Greece (John Conomos presentation of digital work).
opening Uncle Bill Interactive CDROM - Documentation Artspace Installation, – from Uncle Bill, via Vimeo 
– from Cut, via d/Archive 
Anita Project Version 3, – from The Anita Project/version 3, via Vimeo 
Solace in Black Sun - Documentation - Artspace 2009 - reworked for Thesis 2015, – from Solace in Black Sun, via Vimeo