Daniel Crooks: Phantom Ride

Daniel Crooks Phantom Ride 2015The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and The Ian Potter Cultural Trust present the world premiere of Phantom Ride – a brand new work by one of Australia’s leading moving image artists, Melbourne-based Daniel Crooks, opening at ACMI on Tuesday 16 February 2016.

Phantom Ride is the second Ian Potter Moving Image Commission (IPMIC), a ten-year, biennial program providing $100,000 for the creation of new works by mid-career Australian artist – and the most significant moving image commission in the country.

Practising across a range of media including digital video, photography and installation, Crooks’ work plays with the notion of time, stretching and distorting reality while questioning our perception of it. Phantom Ride is a two-screen video work inspired by a history of cinema and the way in which trains have featured as an extension of the camera for the purposes of experimentation with the moving image.

Taking as a starting point films such as the Lumiere Brother’s Leaving Jerusalem by Railway (1896), regarded today as the first ever tracking shot, Crooks’ latest installation creates a continuous, seamless tracking shot that moves the viewer through a fragmented reality, constructed from a collage of Australian railways.

The work references the phantom rides of early cinema, a genre of film popular in Britain and the United States in the early 1900s. Pre-dating narrative features, these short films showed the progress of a vehicle, usually a train, moving forward by mounting a camera on its front.

Phantom Ride comes out of my long held fascination with the convergence of trains, the birth of cinema and modern ideas and representations of time,” said Crooks, “I’ve presented it as a two sided video; the forward facing journey on one side and the rear looking journey on the reverse.”

“The screen becomes a meniscus of the present, separating the past and the future. For me, the never ending concatenation of railed spaces is a metaphor for our experience of time while the branching forks and parallel sidings conjure multiple worlds.”

The Ian Potter Moving Image Commission is a year-long commitment that supports artists to dedicate a significant period of time to creating a new work that will significantly further their practice. For Crooks, the commission enabled a collaboration with a motion-control engineer to create a highly sophisticated filming device that has allowed Crooks to capture incredibly smooth tracking shots.

This device, combined with the time and resources to develop sophisticated video compositing techniques, has allowed Crooks to create a work that pushes his practice into a new realm.

“Phantom Ride is a stunning new piece from Daniel Crooks, whose work constantly surprises and enthralls as it manipulates time and space, captivating the viewer with often mesmeric imagery” said ACMI CEO and Director Katrina Sedgwick, “It is a particularly fitting moving image art work to be premiering at ACMI, taking its inspiration from early cinema and yet pushing new technological boundaries in how these moving images are captured and framed for audiences.”

Daniel Crooks is one of Australia’s most renowned contemporary artists. His work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally and is held in private and public collections including Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Crooks has received awards including the Digital Video award at the inaugural Prudential Eye Awards (2014), the inaugural Basil Sellers Art Prize (2008), and the Juror’s Choice Award for Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation, Signature Art Prize (2011). Daniel Crooks is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery and Future Perfect, Singapore.

Daniel Crooks: Phantom Ride
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Federation Square, Melbourne
Presentation: 16 February – 29 May 2016
Free Admission

For more information, visit:  www.acmi.net.au/danielcrooks for details.

Image: Daniel Crooks, Phantom Ride, 2015 (detail)