13 Jun 2020— 3 Oct 2020

Ngaio Fitzpatrick - Dissonance

Ngaio Fitzpatrick - Dissonance

Dissonance is about time: our relatively brief time and geological or ‘deep’ time.
Until recently, both existed independently. Both have now been inextricably linked by our dependence on fossil fuels.
Having just passed the winter solstice, one cannot help but think our time is passing.
Ngaio Fitzpatrick


An excavator methodically dismantles a suburban house. Its deliberate movements precisely smashing through windows, pushing over brick walls and crushing once sturdy foundations. A tall eucalypt is silhouetted against a flaming sky and a hulking old power station appears to stand as a lingering relic from another age. Looming above, the giant silver moon, our nearest neighbour in the universe, is imaged in exquisite detail.

These are the elements of an interconnected un-natural ecology of things that artist Ngaio Fitzpatrick draws together in her installation Dissonance. Their images are layered together over broken glass, both in the video and within the space itself; fractured lines reaching out into the public square like a web.

Broken glass has been a material of potent metaphor within the artists’ practice in recent years. The development of her works have been informed through her role as a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute and in collaboration with musicians, scientists and technical image makers she has created immersive installations of a savage beauty that invite quiet contemplation.

The CMAG on the Square program offers the opportunity for artists to submit proposals that respond to the very particular challenges and opportunities of this glass walled gallery space on Canberra’s Civic Square. This particular installation responds to the shortened day light hours of winter and the projections become vivid at night. The message streamed live from the Mercator Carbon Clock housed in Berlin is that the world has seven and a half years before our reserves of carbon go into the negative. Here the artist draws us in to pause and imagine the threshold of difficult decisions that our society must cross.

Alexander Hunter: composer, Riley Post: web design and tech services, Angus Lawrie: tech services, Doc Baldwin: drone services, Charlie Prell: Farmers for Climate Action, Matt James: astrophotography assistance, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC).

Project supported by Arts ACT

CMAG on the Square is supported by John Hindmarsh AM 



Visual Art