If Pigs Could Fly (The Media Machine), (1987), 4:20 mins, Sydney.
Produced for the Bicentennial Travelling Exhibition which circumnavigated Australia during 1988’s ‘celebration of a nation’, this work represents a return by Callas to distinctively Australian imagery: the Anzac, a kangaroo playing the fiddle, the swagman, and the surfer. These patriotic and nationalistic icons are intercut with references to contemporary media culture to reflect a process of ‘cultural de-territorialisation’, brought about by the advancement of communications technologies in the late 20th century. The irony of the national media promoting and perpetuating the notion of a unitary, cohesive Australian identity in a nation made up of multiple racial and ethnic groups and founded on a largely unresolved colonial past, is not lost on Callas.1
- 1. Rachel Kent from “Peter Callas: Initialising History, video works 1980-1999”