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Barbara Campbell

b. 1961

Barbara Campbell was born in Beaudesert, Queensland in 1961. She completed a Master of Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney in 1998. Campbell works primarily in the medium of performance. Since 1982 she has worked with the specific physical and contextual properties of a given site, be it art gallery, museum, atrium, tower, radio airwaves or on the World Wide Web, in developing and presenting her works.

Campbell says about first working with video:

“It was a natural progression from my interest in the Super 8 medium, which was the artists’ (as opposed to commercial filmmakers’) way into working with film. In the 1980s I was at the beginning of my art practice and was interested in any media that could be wholly controlled by the artist, that is, not just in all areas of production but also exhibition and critical writing. Towards the end of the 1980s, as my work focused more on performance, I continued to use Super 8 and then video as a way of integrating other image sources into the performance frame. Video was particularly useful in setting up live video feedback – the camera and monitor could be used to define relationships between performer and audience that became a dialogue between mediation and ‘liveness’. I continue to use video in this way rather than making stand-alone video works.”

Of her influences she lists:

“Artists/social context: peers within the Sydney Super 8 Film Group; Films of 60s minimalists: e.g. Stan Brakhage; Technologies: Any medium that became domesticated and therefore accessible to the artist/amateur. Education: Student in Film Studies taught by Alan Cholodenko, Rex Butler and Keith Broadfoot at Power Dept of Art History, University of Sydney, 1987. Texts associated with this course included French Film Semiotics, e.g., Metz, Baudry, Bazin, Baudrillard & Bellour.

Also in 1987, a course in Super 8 at Tin Sheds, Architecture Faculty, University of Sydney, taken by Geoff Weary. Informally, I did numerous small workshops organised by Sydney Intermedia Network, instructed by artist/peers such as Andrew Frost, Anthony Foot, Nick Meyers.”

Of her involvement with organisations or artist-run initiatives that dealt with experimental media, she says:

“I was a member and sometimes president of Sydney Super 8 Film Group Inc., which became Sydney Intermedia Network Inc. around 1990. By the time it became dLux/Media Arts, I’d moved away from Sydney and the organisation had shifted its focus from makers to audiences."

Of her first and latest show she says:

“Originally I showed work in programmed screenings of SS8FG and SIN like SS8FF and Matinaze and site specific commissioned events. Later, as my use of video was incorporated into my performances, in performance contexts such as galleries, museums, festival sites. Most recently, in my work 1001 nights cast (2005-2008), I used video to live web-stream my performances through the project’s dedicated website:”

Scanlines email interview with Barbara Campbell, 2010.

Birth place
Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia
Period of activity 
from 1982
Other works 

2004 "The Grimwade Effect", performance, Craft ACT, Canberra Footage, frottage performance and print edition, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra

2003 "The Grimwade Effect" (premiere), performance, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne Plaint, ephemeral war memorial for Iraq, Woolley Building, The University of Sydney

2002 Flesh Winnow", performance survey, presented by The University of Sydney

2001 "Cameral", public art commission, ACT Legislative Assembly, Canberra;
"The Machine", oiled again, performance, The University of Sydney;
"Sécateur", performance commission, Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney, for Likeness: Biography and Portraiture symposium

2000 "Remanence", performance, The University of Sydney
"Inflorescent", performance, Performance Season, Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

1999 "Inflorescent", (premiere) performance, The Macleay Museum, The University of Sydney
"Cloche", performance, Centre for Performance Studies, The University of Sydney

1998 "The Seduction of Art", performance, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Fresh Glories, exhibition, CAST, Hobart

1997 "Fresh Glories", (premiere) performances and exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra for Archives and the Everyday, site-specific projects
"The Midday Movie and the History of Australian Painting", workshop performance, Centre for Performance Studies, The University of Sydney
"The Secret, multiple, International Multiples", Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
"Lozenge", audio performance and installation, Central Theatres Foyer, Griffith University, Brisbane

1996 "Galatea", performance and video, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne and Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart for How Say You exhibition
"Zero Hour", audio performance with guest artists Amanda Stewart and Stevie Wishart, Art Gallery of New South Wales. Radio adaptation broadcast on 'The Listening Room' ABC Classic FM and ‘The Eleventh Hour’, KPFA-FM, Berkeley, California for Soundculture 96

1995 "I have been given the name Tania", event for Polaroid camera, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts
"Backwash", performance, The Lab, San Francisco
"Cries from the Tower", performance, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra as part of the first National Sculpture Forum

1994 "Fleas or The Menses of Lizzie Borden", performances, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney as part of 25 Years of Performance Art in Australia. Components in national touring exhibition

1993 "Backwash", (premiere) performance, Art Gallery of New South Wales for Australian Perspecta 1993
"The Diamond Necklace Affair", performance, The New Gallery, 18th St Arts Complex, Santa Monica, California

1992 "Cries from the Tower", (premiere) performance, ABC Ultimo Centre, Sydney for the Third International Symposium on Electronic Arts (TISEA)

1989 "Carmen (privately)", performance, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Public Collections National Gallery of Australia; Griffith Artworks, Griffith University; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; James Hardie Collection, State Library of Queensland; University Art Museum, University of Qld.

– via Vimeo 
Script for
Script for "Banner" – from Banner 
Image from zero hour flyer
Image from zero hour flyer – from Zero Hour 
'Newsrub' by Barbara Campbell, – from Newsrub, via Vimeo 
Farewell to Meng Haoran at Yellow Crane Tower, – from Farewell to Meng Haoran at Yellow Crane Tower, via Vimeo 
1001 nights cast, – from 1001 nights cast, via Vimeo