Exhibition: 11 May – 24 Nov 2019
Venice Biennale - AUSTRALIA
ASSEMBLY opens with the ‘Michela’ machine, a 19th century stenographic machine, modelled on a piano keyboard, which is used in the Italian Senate for official parliamentary reporting to ensure transparency within the democratic process. The machine’s inventor, Antonio Michela Zucco, was originally inspired by musical notation as a universal language.
Mesiti uses this device to code “To Be Written in Another Tongue,” a poem by David Malouf, which is then arranged into a musical score by composer Max Lyandvert, and played by an ensemble of musicians whilst performers, representing the multitude of ancestries that make up cosmopolitan Australia, gather, disassemble and re-unite.
In ASSEMBLY, a communal gathering is a means for making those with authority recognize the collective power of ‘the people’.
“Through both the metaphor of translation and the act itself, I am exploring the very human and increasingly urgent need we have to assemble in a physical way, in a physical space, in these complex times,” Angelica Mesiti said.
“In ASSEMBLY, Angelica translates text to code, music to movement and actions to occupations to represent the way a society gathers and builds upon itself,” said curator Juliana Engberg. “The exuberant energy she unleashes in ASSEMBLY, demonstrates the creativity and strength of community in evolution.”
Adrian Collette AM, Chief Executive Officer of the Australia Council, added, “The Australia Council is proud to present Angelica Mesiti’s deftly nuanced, deeply moving new work, ASSEMBLY, at the Biennale Arte 2019. The work uses metaphor, performance and a multitude of diverse voices to suggest a new world where a growing and evolving society is open to new ideas, desires and beliefs.”
“Angelica has worked with close to forty Australian artists including dancers, musicians and film and sound practitioners to produce this monumental new work, which demonstrates how Australia’s presence at Venice can generate myriad flow on benefits across the broader visual arts sector.”
ASSEMBLY will open in May 2019, and will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue that includes essays by Jennifer Higgie, Luca Arnaudo, Caleb Kelly and 2019 Australian Pavilion curator Juliana Engberg.
Angelica Mesiti is one of Australia’s foremost contemporary artists, with an internationally renowned practice that combines video with performance and installation to create immersive environments that require absorption and contemplation. Her practice is focused on diasporic cultures, gestural communication and multi-cultural dimensions through musicality and movement.