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Christopher Bennie

b. 1975

Christopher Bennie’s videos capture the unseen mathematical beauty that underscores even the most seemingly insignificant event. Binary Equation [2001] is a single continuous shot of a public swimming pool at dusk. Lap swimmers create wave patterns on the water as reflections ripple across its surface. Off camera, a voice attempts an explanation of the mathematical concept of permutations. In the later work Mothership [2004] Bennie is seen dancing to minimal techno music in a tightly furnished and decorated lounge room. As the music slowly evolves, so do Bennie’s dance moves - variations in the dancer’s body movement accompany each change in the music. Although these videos avoid drawing an overly explicit parallel between what is seen and what is heard, the sound and image cue the viewer into the artist’s main concerns: finding patterns and repetitions within enclosed systems. 

To explore these ideas Bennie mixes science with science fiction. That Which Requires Space [2001] is a gently humorous homage to sci-fi cinema in which the artist plays with crudely constructed space ship models in the darkness of his backyard. One of the models is remarkably similar to the spaceship Discovery from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey [1967]. Bennie directly references Kubrick’s film in Down To Earth [2005], a trippy light show of lens refractions created by pointing the camera at a video projector. Although made using very limited means, Down To Earth suggests the planetary encounters of Kubrick’s masterpiece using nothing more than available light. In Supernova [2005], Bennie records a sideshow ride called The Whirlitzer in which giant cups spin on a huge carousel-like construction, sideshow workers providing a random element of movement.

Bennie’s recent video works have continued to explore his main thematic interests. The Average [2007] shows two people turning lights on an off in a darkened house while attempting to anticipate the changes to electronic music playing in the background; Pop [2007] documents the encounters of a tiger-shaped balloon with passers-by on a busy riverside promenade, while Elasticity [2007] is a recording of the patterns of movement on a woman’s buttocks.

Andrew Frost
Period of activity 
from 2001
Other works 

Selected solo exhibitions: Sydney Biennale, Revolutions: forms that turn, online venue website, Sydney, 2008. State Library of Queensland/Artworkers Residency Program Exhibition, SLQ, Brisbane, Our Communication Recorded, Blindside Artist Run Space, Melbourne, MSSR project, Brisbane Math Collaboration with Sebastian Moody and Craig Ward, QCA Galleria, Brisbane,  New Video: Made in China. Griffith University Queensland College of Art Galleria, Brisbane, 2006.

Other group exhibitions 

Selected group exhibitions: New Work 07, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth, State Library of Queensland/Artworkers Residency Program Exhibition, SLQ, Brisbane, Figuratively Speaking: The figure in contemporary video art, Queensland University of Technology Art Museum, Brisbane; The One and the Many with The General Will, Dell Gallery, Brisbane, 2007. Greatest Hits, Previously Unreleased Tracks, IMA, Brisbane, 2006.

Selected publications: MSSR. Daring to disturb the universe: the contemplative video art of Christopher Bennie, catalogue, MSSR, 2006. The General Will presents general will, Machine Issue 5, vol 1. May-Jun 2006. Name That Tune, Plus Factors exhibition catalogue, Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts, 2006. Where There’s Video There’s Love, Machine Issue 1, Vol. 1. July-Aug 2005. Artdatum: QUT Contemporary Arts and Research Zine, April 2004. Channel Nine News, Conrad Jupiters Art Prize report, December 2004.

From The Aliens Back, via d'archive
From The Aliens Back, via d'archive – from The Aliens Back, via d/Archive