Shayne Higson - Attachment

Exhibition: 13 October to 13 November, 2004

Shayne Higson

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Attachment explores relationships dependent on the written word. Old letters and telegrams, letters to and from detainees, SMS text messages and romance on the Internet. People revealing themselves; some slowly and thoughtfully, some provocatively, others impulsively, spontaneously, even recklessly.

The work contrasts the poetry of letters from the past with the phenomena of the young communicating instantly, relentlessly, in the abbreviated language of the text message.

In this increasingly technological world, there are those who search for love in a way impossible to imagine in the past. They enter a chat room; they reveal all or nothing, are truthful or not; who's to know? A flirtatious dialogue over years, or perhaps just hours. Some works allude to the contradictory situation in which technology allows us to write our thoughts and send them instantly through cyberspace, yet that same technology is keeping us from those around us, as we sit, glued to the screen, clutching mouse or phone.

Ironically at a time when it is possible to communicate instantly, some are being forced to step back in time in order to establish relationships. Letters, most written using pen and paper, are the only form of communication between concerned Australians and asylum seekers held in detention.

This exhibition looks at the comfort of communication and explores the physical yearning we experience when being separated from others, especially from those we love. Visual elements, some produced instantly, by literally embracing the technology, merge with text to create intimate, impulsive, flirtatious and moving images.