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Strange Land Vol 1 Miner

John A. Douglas
2010

John A. Douglas’s work uncovers images of ideology (with a particular focus on lm) and Strange Land Vol 1 continues this ongoing exploration. The setting of the various scenes is Glen Davis - a metaphor for a Golden Age of rural/industrial Australia now passed and passing: a shale oil mining town whose heyday was in the WWII period. Since its closure in 1952 it has become a ghost town. The cast of characters in this work comes from this nostalgic time when perhaps Australia felt

it knew itself more clearly - even the land- scape becomes signi ed as the archetypal McCubbin/‘Mad Max’ backdrop of Australian

hostility and beauty. There is the squatter pioneer who walks the line, surveying. The young seminarian con ates the dif culties of enculturating the hostile landscape with the dif culties of masculinity; the rituals of drinking resonate with church rituals and it is a weird coincidence that the seminary in town (after the priests left) was turned into a pub. There is the good English wife desperately trying to civilise her surroundings; the waitress/horror actress; the good miner/worker; the WWII scientist/contamination expert. In a comic twist, as if clutching at straws, it is the gold alien that offers the last chance to understand the strange lmic qualities of the place. 

 

John A. Douglas, Strange Land Vol 1 The Miner, 2010, HD 720P with sound, 9:30 min. Courtesy of Chalk Horse Gallery. 

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