Dead Tongue

Christian Thompson_Dead TongueCoinciding with the exhibition, David Bowie is, currently on show at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Dead Tongue is a video installation by contemporary Indigenous artist Christian Thompson responding to themes in the work of David Bowie.

In 1983, David Bowie and director David Mallet worked on location in Carinda, New South Wales, to create the music video for Let’s Dance (checkout below). The video featured young Indigenous performers and has been described by Bowie as a  “simple and direct statement” against racism.

Christian Thompson is a Melbourne-based contemporary Indigenous artist (Bidjara People) who has recently returned from London. His works explore notions of identity, cultural hybridity and history. Formally trained as a sculptor, Thompson’s multidisciplinary practice engages mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound. His work focuses on the exploration of identity, sexuality, gender, race and memory. In his live performances and conceptual portraits he inhabits a range of personas achieved through handcrafted costumes and carefully orchestrated poses and backdrops.

In addition to Dead Tongue, ACMI in association with the Koorie Heritage Trust will present Let’s Dance: In Between the Message and Medium – a forum to discuss Indigenous representation in non-Indigenous media and give historical context to David Bowie’s 1983 music video for Let’s Dance.

Panellists in the fields of Indigenous art and culture, moving image and popular culture will explore the rapidly changing landscape of Australian Indigenous representation and identity in new media art and moving image. They consider challenges faced by Australian Indigenous artists, including preconceptions about contemporary Indigenous expression.

Dead Tongue
Koorie Heritage Trust – Federation Square, Melbourne
Exhibition: 1 August – 13 September 2015

Let’s Dance: In Between the Message and Medium
Koorie Heritage Trust & ACMI – Federation Square, Melbourne
Screening & Forum: Saturday 5 September 2015 – 1.00pm

For more information, visit: or for details.

Image: Christian Thompson (supplied)