Matthew Sleeth <em>A Drone Opera</em> 2019 (still); 4K video, 5.1 audio. Producer: Kate Richards; composer: Susan Frykberg. Commissioned by Experimenta. Courtesy of the artist<br/>
© Experimenta. Photo: Lucy Spartalis

Matthew Sleeth

Matthew Sleeth
(b. 1972, Naarm/Melbourne. Lives and works in Naarm/Melbourne)

Matthew Sleeth is a visual artist and filmmaker whose multidisciplinary and collaborative practice focuses on the aesthetic and conceptual concerns of new media. Sleeth explores the performative and photographic nature of visual culture through diverse processes of mechanical reproduction, creating objects and experiences that are political, visually ambitious and technically experimental.

A Drone Opera, 2019, is a poetic and visceral expression of the new reality of constant surveillance and our broader love affair with technology. Loosely structured around the myth of Icarus, A Drone Opera presents a self-contained and uniquely seductive world featuring opera singers, lasers, custom-designed drones and their live-video feeds, and an original libretto. The opera singers and drones navigate through geometric worlds: a red cone, a landscape of green and blue planes, the ‘shock and awe’ of flashing and moving lasers. Footage from the drone’s perspective is woven through these images as they explore and track the singers to an electronic soundscape that blends operatic singing and drone music.

Sleeth’s work is widely collected and is held in various public and private collections. Recent exhibitions have been held at Sydney’s Carriageworks, Gertrude Contemporary and the Lyon HouseMuseum in Melbourne, and Claire Oliver Gallery in New York. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, including Queer (2022), Melbourne Now (2013), Negotiating This World (2012), Contemporary Encounters (2010), Long Distance Vision (2009), Light Sensitive (2006) and the Felix H. Mann Memorial Prize (1993). In 2017 he directed the feature film GUILTY and in 2014 completed a PhD at RMIT University. In 2008 his work Pattern recognition was installed across thirty-two billboards, screens, public spaces and galleries as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Sleeth is represented by Claire Oliver Gallery in New York and Kronenberg Mais Wright in Sydney.

A Drone Opera appeared in Community Hall on 25-28 May 2023.

Film credits
A Drone Opera 2019; 4K video, 5.1 audio, 15 minutes. Producer: Kate Richards; composer: Susan Frykberg. Commissioned by Experimenta and supported by the Australia Council for the Arts. Courtesy of the artist ©Experimenta.