Giselle Stanborough: Cinopticon

Carriageworks-Giselle-Stanborough-Cinopticon - photo by Mark PokornyCarriageworks has unveiled an online program created around the major new installation Cinopticon by Australian artist Giselle Stanborough.

Cinopticon – which was commissioned by Carriageworks as part of Suspended Moment: The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship – is fully installed at Carriageworks and has been transformed into a digital offering following the closure of Carriageworks to the public in line with Government advice around COVID-19.

“Although Carriageworks doors are currently closed, it is with immense pride that we share an online experience of Giselle Stanborough’s Cinopticon, a powerful new work which has been a year in development, and which is now supported by a specially curated online program,” said Carriageworks Director and CEO, Blair French.

The online experience of the exhibition, supported by a regularly updated public program, is accessed via the Carriageworks Journal and includes artist diaries, artist and curator ‘in conversations’, playlists, video content and exhibition imagery supplemented with curatorial insights. Carriageworks plans to release new online content weekly, including an interactive art-wall, curatorial essays and a new video work created by Giselle Stanborough exclusively for Carriageworks Journal.

“At the heart of its sensory quest, Cinopticon probes what it means to both be watched and watch others,” said Exhibition Curator and Carriageworks Director of Programs, Daniel Mudie Cunningham. “Stanborough’s practice is primarily concerned with the relationship between connectivity and isolation, public and private. Over the past decade, her work has consistently addressed how fast evolving media technologies encourage us to perform our private selves, publicly, all of the time.”

Cinopticon draws on internet narcissism, corporate surveillance and the manipulation of social media algorithms. It is an immersive performance installation in which audiences see their reflection in unpredictable ways. The most unpredictable being the manner in which we now find ourselves, at home and socially distant, seeing Cinopticon from afar.

“Bringing aspects of the work online is a challenging task because whilst the work was about the internet, Cinopticon used physical presence, both mine and the audiences, as an essential element,” said Artist Giselle Stanborough. “Whilst the form in which the work is experienced being different, I believe the ideas that inspired me through the development of Cinopticon are more important than ever.”

Cinopticon contemporises Foucault’s theory of the ‘panopticon’ – a model of surveillance where the few watch and control the many. In the physical exhibition, the artist uses searchlights, sculptural forms, colossal wall diagrams and mirrored digital surfaces to reflect the performative experience of social media platforms.

As the subject and object of her own system of visual scrutiny, Stanborough is the ghost in her own machine. She haunts its house of mirrors, trapped as a digital apparition at the bottom of the well.

Giselle Stanborough’s Cinopticon is made possible with funds from the Estate of the late, Italian-born Australian artist, Katthy Cavaliere (1972-2012). Announced in October 2018, The Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship awarded $100,000 to each of the three female artists, Giselle Stanborough, Sally Rees (Mona) and Frances Barrett (ACCA) to create ambitious new work focused at the intersection of installation and performance art practice.

Giselle Stanborough is an intermedia artist based in Sydney who lives and works on Gadigal land. Her works combine online and offline elements to address how user generated media encourage us to identify and perform notions of self, and the relationship between connectivity and isolation.

Motivated by a curiosity in the increasing indeterminacy between the private and public spheres, Stanborough’s work often addresses contemporary interpersonal experiences in relation to technology, feminism and consumer capitalism.

Her work has featured in the Washington Post’s Pictures of the Day and has been shown at major venues such as Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne, Australia (2018); Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney, Australia (2017); Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, Australia (2015) and Next Wave Festival 2014, Melbourne, Australia (2014).

For more information on Giselle Stanborough: Cinopticon, visit: for details.

Image: Giselle Stanborough: Cinopticon (Installation view at Carriageworks) – photo by Mark Pokorny