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© John Gillies & the authors. All rights reserved.

made in collaboration with The Sydney Front


20.35 min video, stereo sound, 1991


Melodrama draws attention to its own histrionic display. It presents a public language of the emotions. The interest is not in psychological subtleties, but in the permutations within a finite array of possible meaning.          

John Baylis, The Sydney Front


Techno/Dumb/Show is a visually elaborate and extraordinarily sensual piece of work which focuses on the formal aspects of performance in a way which rescinds narrative. Yet in a paradoxical way, it is in this act of cancellation that questions about the conditions for, and functions of narrative, can be asked anew.

        Pamela Hansford, 'John Gillies and The Sydney Front', Australian Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1991



At the intersection of performance and installation, Techno/Dumb/Show generated a set of untruthful allusions to narrative that varied from each other in such a way that a mesmerising copy was preferable to any original. 

Charles Green, Peripheral Vision: Contemporary Art in Australia 1970 - 1994

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performers: The Sydney Front (Elise Ahamnos, John Baylis, Andrea Eloise, Clare Grant, Nigel Kellaway, Christopher Ryan)
sound, image, music, direction, edit: John Gillies 

guitar: Michael Sheridan 

drum programming: Jamie Fielding

thanks to: Stephen Harrop, Rik Rue

first installed: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

first broadcast: Eat Carpet, SBS TV, Australia


Elevations of Trauma - Techno/Dumb/Show - John Gillies and The Sydney Front by Vikki Riley

A Video that questions the Primacy of Narrative by John Conomos

John Gillies interviewed by Nicholas Zurbrugg

John Gillies and The Sydney Front by Pamela Hansford

John Gillies: A Cinema of Lost Images by Therese Davis

Live Art/Media Art: John Gillies and the Techno Live by Edward Scheer

John Gillies makes Video by Ruark Lewis

John Gillies and the Craft of Video by Nicholas Zurbrugg


1st Prize, 9˚ Festival Internacional Vídeobrasil 1992

Special Mention, New York Video Festival 1993
Special Award, Australian International Video Festival 1991


Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Fukuyama Museum of Art, Hiroshima

Griffith University Art Collection, Brisbane

Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

Videobrasil Collection, São Paulo

Exhibitions and Screenings

Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane 2016

Queensland University Art Museum, Brisbane 2012

Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide 2010

Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne 2010

Monash University Faculty Gallery, Melbourne 2010

John Gillies: Videoworks, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane 2006

John Gillies, PICA, Perth 2005

John Gillies, Performance Space, Sydney 2004

Ayoul Festival, Beirut 1999

The Liquid Medium, Queensland Art Gallery 1999

Videoformes Festival, Clairmont-Ferrand 1999

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 1999

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne 1999

Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart 1999

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 1999

Substation, Singapore 1999

Brisbane City Gallery, 1996

Queensland Art Gallery, 1996

Canary Island International Video Festival, Las Palmas 1996

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid 1995

NBK, Berlin 1995

Taipei Museum, Tapei 1995

Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen 1995

Museum of Modern Art, New York 1994

Montpellier Arcana Gallery, Montpellier 1994

Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax 1994

Espace Lyonnais d'Art Contemporain, Lyon 1994

Scene Nationale Les Plateaux, Angouleme 1994

World Wide Video Festival, Den Haag 1993

New York Video Festival, New York 1993

National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul 1992

Spiral Hall, Tokyo 1992

Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne 1992

Festival Internacional Vídeobrasil, São Paulo 1992

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 1991

London Film Festival 1991

Tate Gallery, Liverpool 1991