Entrance to the VULCAN WING where you will find information about this performance and installation at Mount Gambier South Australia and Mackay Queensland..

When you are ready you may want to check out one of the other galleries. Just click the appropriate button below.

image details artist's running commentary general commentary




took place at Mount Gambier in April 1989,
curated by David Hansen, director of the Mount Gambier Regional Art Gallery at that time.




David Hansen's observations.

In 1988, in an abandoned limestone quarry in Mt Gambier, he built two chimneys, the largest a two and a half metre pyramid above an old lime kiln. These were stuffed with dry leaves and branches from the surrounding scrub, and were to be ignited as part of a performance in which the artist, dressed in a suit and with his face immobilised by a mud mask, "recited" a paranoid-prophetic-luddite Armageddon monologue, through a cassette player in his pocket and a small speaker in his lapel. As it happened, the performance was scheduled at the end of a dry summer, on the final day of a period of fire bans. until the last minute it seemed possible that the district council would deny permission; in the event the performance had to be attended by two local fire units.

Not only was permission finally granted, but in addition to the pyro drama of Wicks' blazing Volcanoes and other primal vents and the eco-psychodrama of his rant, we also got the theatre spots of the fire trucks' headlights, the yellow strobe of the flashing lights on their roofs and the pumps and extras of throbbing engines, large machines and men in hard hats and orange overalls. Behind the pre-recorded tinny demagoguery issuing from the artist's suit, fire service radios crackled. All of these additional special effects were unplanned, but perfectly in harmony with the performance's mood and metaphors.  Arthur Wicks is lucky.


Full text Hansen's article Deus ex Machina published Art Monthly Australia June 2002; click here

















audio track 9 mins long
Read David Hansen's observations while listening, to get a feel for the work itself.

Alternately, click here for the actual text. and join into the monologue with your own interjections,







composite image giving better idea of how the performance would have been experienced by the audience.
David Hansen organised to repeat the work several years later with another artist performing.



















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