Arini Byng (indistinct chatter) 2018 (still); single-channel video. Musical score: Luke Howard. Courtesy of the artist © Arini Byng

NGV X recess: Artist Film Program – (indistinct chatter) Arini Byng

Free entry

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square

Community Hall Ground Level

Arini Byng (indistinct chatter) 2018 (still); single-channel video. Musical score: Luke Howard. Courtesy of the artist © Arini Byng
Past program

Co-curated with Olivia Koh from recess – a Melbourne-based online platform showcasing contemporary moving-image works – this series will comprise daily screenings in Community Hall. Featuring all Melbourne-based filmmakers, the films highlight the city’s breadth of talent in art-filmmaking – an expanding arena of creative practice with a bright future. 

Arini Byng’s ‘body-based’ work is concerned with how the affective qualities of materials, gestures and settings enter into sociopolitical conversations. Byng works with image, movement and form to negotiate political scenes and produce intimate studies of gesture and action. Her works use the body in motion as a way of unpacking familial ties and histories, physical intimacy between friends, and the interrelation of performance and screen.

(indistinct chatter), 2018, is a personal work in which the artist and her father improvise a performance, handling and passing industrial materials and objects to each other. To a score of intermittent chimes from a piano, the performers engage with the objects in a kind of dance, negotiating each other’s limbs. The everyday objects they exchange are laden with meaning, speaking to Byng’s family roots in manual labour. The objects are personal and historical markers for the performers – Byng’s father was raised in an African-American working-class family in north-east America in the 1950s and 1960s, a place and time where US manufacturing and production was thriving and employment was readily available.

The work’s title, (indistinct chatter), relates to a caption seen in films when there are multiple audible conversations taking place but no single dialogue is discernible. Similarly, details of Byng’s biography and relationship with her father remain private. The objects become wordless stand-ins for the family’s experience of race and class. Moments of comprehension and incomprehension enter and recede in this wordless exchange, as the viewer is invited to consider how each of us handles and perceives family history and memory.

Byng’s work has been presented nationally, including in Melbourne at Blak Dot Gallery, Gertrude Glasshouse, Darren Knight Gallery, FUTURES, Centre for Contemporary Photography, TCB Art Inc., Bus Projects, Neon Parc Project Space, MPavilion, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, c3 Contemporary Art Space and BLINDSIDE, and in Alice Springs at Watch This Space. Selected works have been published by Perimeter Editions and in Higher ArcLe Roy and Photofile. Byng also has work held in the publication collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Tate Modern, London.

Film credits
(indistinct chatter) 2018; single-channel video, 12 minutes 58 seconds. Musical score: Luke Howard. Courtesy of the artist
© Arini Byng

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