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© John Gillies & the authors. All rights reserved.

Divide
single channel split screen, stereo sound, 25 mins 2016

2 channel video installation, 4 channel sound, 2006

single channel video, stereo sound,  25 mins 2004 - 2006

 

'Four men, a horse, a Chinese opera singer and 2,000 sheep in a landscape with texts from the old testament.'
 

 

As white settlers drive their flocks of sheep across Australia, biblical quotations heralding the Promised Land provide the ironic justification for the appropriation of land. Vexed questions of nationhood, identity and land ownership circulate and disturb this profoundly lyrical work.   program note, Figuring Landscapes Tate Modern, 2009

 

 

Declaimed now in the voice of the dispossessed, the story of the call of Abraham is turned back on itself to expose the impossibility and supreme arrogance of this storyʼs ideology of land possession. Just as the tribes of Abraham came to see when they faced famine in the so called promised land, Divideʼs final devastating image shows how European land-possessing doctrines and practices have led to an unmitigated destruction of the land in Australia. Sheep watch on as we come face-to-face with this failure.                             Therese Davis, ‘Beyond Possession: John Gillies’ Divide’, 2008

                     

Credits

performers: Denis Beaubois, Ari Ehrlich, Feng Shan Xu 许凤山 (Kunqu), Matt Millay, Dalisa Pigram (voice over), Lee Wilson

sound, image and direction by John Gillies

written by John Gillies

with texts adapted from 'Genesis' and 'Numbers', King James Bible
animal wranglers: Claudia Blakebrough-Hall, Steve Hartup, Jean Marden
location manager, construction, practical effects: Willy Hall

 

 

music: Qin Tiao 琴挑文君 by Gao Lian 高濂 [16th century]

vocal: Feng Shan Xu 许凤山

all other music and sound: John Gillies

co-producer: Penny McDonald
production company: Chili Films

 

produced with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission

Show More
 first installed: Tramway, Glasgow ( 2 screen version)
Bibliography

Divide 2006: John Gillies by Rachel O'Reilly
John Gillies: Divide by Fiona Trigg
Beyond Possession: John Gillies' Divide by Therese Davis
Of Beastly Beatitudes by Penny Webb
John Gillies: Old land, new testament by Ruth Holdsworth
John Gillies: A Geography of Longing and Belonging by Marie-Anne Mancio
Across Great Divides by Keith Gallasch
John Gillies Makes Video by Ruark Lewis 
A Figure in the Distance: Re-viewing the Australian Landscape by David Mackenzie
Exhibitions & Screenings
John Gillies, Articulate, Sydney 2017 (split-screen version)
Melbourne Cinémathèque, Melbourne 2010
Tate Modern, London 2009
ACC Galerie, Weimar 2009
FACT, Liverpool 2009
Vivid, Birmingham 2009
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff 2009
Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee 2009
Mermaid Arts Centre, Wicklow 2009
Brighton Film Festival, Brighton 2009
Hull International Short Film Festival 2009
Shroud Vallery Artspace, Shroud 2009
Showroom, Sheffield 2009
ArtsWay, New Forrest 2008
Brut, Künstlerhaus Wien, Vienna 2008
Film Study Centre, University of Chicago 2008
Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, Bangkok 2008
Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh 2007 (2 screen version)
John Gillies: Video Work, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane 2006 (2 screen version)
Greenroom, Manchester 2006 (3 screen version)
Arnolfini, Bristol 2006 (2 screen version)
Tramway, Glasgow 2006 (2 screen version)
Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne 2006 (single screen version)
John Gillies, PICA, Perth 2005
Videobrasil Festival of Electronic Art, SESC Paulista, São Paulo 2005