The Model Citizen - group exhibition

The time has come to decide what sort of citizens we want to be. From harvesting the data of the dead to hybrid bio robot citizens, the high stakes are explored in RMIT Gallery's new exhibition The Model Citizen. Curators Sean Redmond and Darrin Verhagen say it is now more important than ever to ask what defines a ‘model citizen’, as the question of citizenship is newly and sometimes cruelly defined by governments.

“The exhibition investigates the way humans map and make sense of the world, and how they form imagined communities,” said Dr Verhagen, senior lecturer in Media and Communication, RMIT. “Too often, the question of who is classified as a model citizen is related to access and power, to gender and race. What we propose is that art can operate as a public form of truth or dare, and in its ‘making’ or ‘modelling’ can shine a powerful light on what it means to belong.”

© Bronek Kozka. Model Behaviour, 2018. from Surveillance series (2018/19). Thermal image. Courtesy of the artist and Bett Gallery,
© Bronek Kozka. Model Behaviour, 2018. from Surveillance series (2018/19). Thermal image.
Courtesy of the artist and Bett Gallery,

According to Prof. Sean Redmond (Screen and Design, Deakin University), the two aspects of the exhibition title are equally important: artists desire that through modelling, their art becomes political life; and citizenship itself needs (re)modelling as it suffers in an age of withering truth and fake news.  “As creative and critical stakeholders, artists have a central role to play in shaping public life. This exhibition isn’t intended to just creatively comment on the politics and poetics of the model citizen, but to offer up ways of transforming the processes of citizenship itself.”

The Model Citizen features artists Asim Bhatti, David Cross, Larissa Hjorth, Leah Kardos, Jondi Keane, Bronek Kozka, Lyn McCredden, John McCormick, Shaun McLeod, Rowan McNaught, Olivia Millard, Adam Nash, Patrick Pound, Sean Redmond, Sadia Sadia, Polly Stanton and (((20hz))).

Award-winning Canadian-born UK-based installation artist Sadia Sadia’s immersive, large scale video work ‘Ghosts of Noise’ is a reaction to, and comment on, the cyclical nature of 24-hour news. In creating the piece, she recorded a multitude of newscasters from a wide assortment of news channels then layered the images one over the other creating a work with ever-increasing layers of disturbance, streams of facts, figures, voices and faces to produce an omnipresent ‘noise’ of information. “Model citizenship exists in the tension between compliance and subversion, in the friction between individual integrity and the needs of the state,” she said.

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