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nova Milne

Author 
Andrew Frost

nova Milne is the working name of duo Stephanie nova Milne, born 1980, Sydney, Australia, and Richard nova Milne, born 1977, Toronto, Canada.

They also sometimes exhibit under the generic title Ms&Mr.

Exhibiting in numerous group and solo shows since their gallery debut as a duo in 2003, Ms&Mr's work combines science, fiction and autobiography in a series of video intsallation, sculptural and drawing works that conflate world historical moments - such as the Apollo program moon landings - with personal histories recorded in video and film.

The duo's overarching interest that links many of their projects is in theories of space/time that connect past and present through the materiality of their chosen medium. The duo describe their work as collapsing "...space and time, fabricating liminal relationships through the combination of anachronistic elements. Informed by micro-historical events, space travel and the tropes of science fiction, nova Milne create self-contained universes that often anthropomorphize theoretical concepts from physics. These multi-temporal relationships defy single categorization, and offer augmented possibilities" [msandmr.net]. 

For their gallery work Mystic Mnemonic (this film is forming crystals), [1998/2008], the duo combined an animated video loop playing on a video screen with sculptural installation that included a roll of Super 8 home movie film sitting on a shelf. The film was a record of the couple’s first meeting in 1998 and images from it were used as raw material for the video animation. With fractured, diamond-like images of the couple melding together to become a single, glowing crystalline shape, Mystic Mnemonic was a romantic reimagining of the couple’s individual histories, passions and interests, mixing pop culture reference points with science fiction and fantasy.

The duo’s early video The Woman Who Mistook Her Husband for a Work of Art [2004] told a surrealistic, stream-of-consciousness narrative of the couple at a home organ, drawing, playing tunes, and then climbing inside the musical instrument to explore its depths. The video‟s playful disregard for conventional cinematic narrative proposed an exploration of the conceptual relationships between space and time that would form the basis of much of their subsequent output. The Wedding Video [1999/2006], for example, used personal archive footage of the couple on their wedding day re-edited and manipulated so the couple – as they were in 2006 – could step back in time to appear in their own wedding video, hidden spirits communicating with their past selves. Their Videodromes for the Alone series elaborated extensively on this idea: The Lovecats [1991/2007] inserted an adult Richard into video footage of a teenage Stephanie doing a dance routine for a high school assembly while in Teleplasmic Mass [1987/2007], Stephanie visits Richard as a boy while he is sleeping, caresses and cuddles him, creating a romantic and tender moment through a combination of “new” and “old” footage.

Ms&Mr’s projects are often exhibited in installations. Their Videodromes series, was exhibited on multiple screens with stills and a giant, outsized VHS box, while I Need You Here And Not Here Too [2008] featured drawings, paintings, sketches, three video screens and wall paintings. The duo’s work proposes that narratives are built from individual components, a kind of three dimensional montage that can be 57 assembled in the viewer’s mind and, like memories and recollections, are not restricted by time or space.

The large-scale installation 808.838 / grandfather paradox [1967-77/2010] shown at Artspace Sydney, mixed sculptures referencing the Soviet space program with video that combined footage of the artist as a baby and his deceased grandfather, interacting across time. XEROX MISSIVE [1977/2011] at the Art Gallery of NSW, was a multi-screen video installation that combined archival footage of the late SF author Philip K. Dick with contemporary footage of his living fifth ex-wife Tessa.

Period of activity 
from 2003
Group
Selected works
Selected events
Videodromes for the Alone: Love Cats, – from Videodromes for the Alone: Love Cats, via Vimeo 
Videodromes For The Alone: Study For Retrograde Motion, – from Videodromes For The Alone: Study For Retrograde Motion, via Vimeo 
Videodromes for the Alone: Breaking The 4th Wall, – from Videodromes for the Alone: Breaking The 4th Wall, via Vimeo 
Videodromes for the Alone: Boy / Cosmonaut, – from Videodromes For The Alone: Boy/Cosmonaut, via Vimeo 
Videodromes for the Alone: Teleplasmic Mass, – from Videodromes for the Alone: Teleplasmic Mass, via Vimeo 
Videodromes For The Alone: Two Figures In A Landscape, – from Videodromes For The Alone: Two Figures In A Landscape, via Vimeo 
Frame Drag 1988 / 2009 / 2024, – from Fame Drag, via Vimeo 
808.838/grandfather paradox, – from 808.838/grandfather paradox, via Vimeo 
Ms& MR, XEROX MISSIVE, 1977/2011, video still from 4 channel video installation, 3K and archival 16mm transferred to HD video, 16:9, 4 min loop
Ms& MR, XEROX MISSIVE, 1977/2011, video still from 4 channel video installation, 3K and archival 16mm transferred to HD video, 16:9, 4 min loop – from XEROX MISSIVE