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How to Build a Universe

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‘How to Build a Universe’ is generously supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants.

About the exhibition:
In the past museums built universes that were miniature representations of the world but these microcosms were limited and limiting constructions. This exhibition takes the theatrical methodologies of dominant museums as a jumping-off point to launch a creative intervention.
Four installation artists respond to the idea of universe building, commenting on the impossibilities of constructing a complete or neutral representation of the world we inhabit. These artists critique and pose alternatives. Through their works and experimentation we access multiple perspectives as if looking in at the world through a microcosm of speculative lenses.

About the artists & the works:
Museum-universes are mimicked in Hannah Toohey’s installation-works, Progeny (2016-20) and Scuttle (2016-20). Both blur the lines between art and science quoting the staged botanical, ethnographic and zoological environments of dominant museums and poke at the theatrics beneath these supposed neutral representations.
Our material relationship to world-building is explored in Daniella Ruffino’s Endless/ Columns (2020). Made from a sustainable concrete, her work critiques the architecture of environmental domination - of man over nature.
Depicting the perimeters of various countries on fine Japanese paper, Chaohui Xie’s series of geographic drawings, Boundary Lines (2020), highlights the fragilities of state-building and nationhood.
While Jacqueline Felstead’s Failing Forms (Love without a receiver) (2020) is an alternate 3D atlas which maps the emphatic instead of an empirical representation of a geographic landscape.

Overall, this exhibition asks each of us to consider what kinds of universes we build or could create in the future.

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