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John Conomos

b. 1947
New South Wales

John Conomos is a writer, artist and theorist. In addition to his exhibitions, he has written extensively on film, video and the visual arts, as he seeks to chart a path between the practice of the essay as a written form but also as an ongoing practice across video, films, lectures, radio and other media. 

Conomos’s first gallery solo exhibitions were Museum of Fire (with Chris Caines and David Haines) at the Australian Centre for Photography, and Untitled (with David Haines) at Camera Lucida, Sydney, both 1991. Since then he has exhibited in group and solo shows in Australia and overseas, including at Tate Modern, London, in 2009.

Conomos’s work as an artist has often been collaborative. His film Waiting in the Wings (1989) and videos The Voice of No One Once Again and Light Was (both 1989) were produced with Mark Jackson, while The Algebra of Stars and Of Dust and Time (both 1989), Bottle and the Sea (1990) and White Light (1993) were made in collaboration with David Haines. Conomos has continued to make video essays and experimental narratives with pieces including Cyborg Ned (2004), Aura (2005), Lake George (After Mark Rothko) (2008) and Rat-a-tat-tat (2008).

Conomos’s writings on new media, as well as other subjects, are extensive, in catalogue essays, journal articles and other collections. He was a founding editor of the journal Scan+ and he has contributed catalogue essays to a diverse range of publications.

Mutant Media: Essays on Cinema, Art and New Media (2008, Power Publications/Artspace) collected together more than 20 years of Conomos’s writings that, he stated, were to “address (the) continuing fragmentation of cinema in the context of the increasing ascendancy of new media in our private and public lives and the very recent phenomena of visual artists resorting to cinema, its icons, narratives, genres, and history, in their artworks in the art gallery world” (from the Introduction). Like much of his work, this grand aim was reflected through the author’s consciously declared subjectivity.

Andrew Frost
Birth place
Grafton, New South Wales, Australia
Period of activity 
from 1980
Interview, – via Vimeo 
John Conomos, Lake George (After Rothko), 2007, Video Still
John Conomos, Lake George (After Rothko), 2007, Video Still – from Lake George (after Mark Rothko)