Callum McGrath is an artist and researcher currently based in Naarm/Melbourne. McGrath’s work applies experimental archival and historiographic approaches to reconceptualise methods of queer memorialisation. His research-led projects resist the hegemonic and institutional structures of archival repositories and instead work toward methods of queer remembrance where queer temporalities and futurity can take precedent.
Your practice disrupts typical engagement with the past and challenges the aesthetics of public memorialisation to make way for a speculative queer community. What is the significance of forming such a community and what interests you in particular about expressing these ideas through acts of remembrance?
Hmm.. big question… I am interested in the ways in which queerness can be used as a methodology to consider the challenges and complexities of representing, presenting, documenting, and archiving the past. I think each work I make deals with history in a way that is against the hegemonic systems that deal with and organise the past. As much as my work is about remembering and acknowledging the past, I think the work is equal parts against history or opposed to its linear and temporal unfoldings. For me, the queerness of this methodology lies in its resistance to history as something that is linear and or a closed loop. I think by looking at queer history (which is just one example of the kind of marginalised past this methodology can be applied to) we can see the destructive and corrosive nature of the past. History for me is negotiated through a complex web of comprises, truth, lies, mistakes ect. Take for instance the work at Metro, as much as this work is framed as a historiographic project, I think in many ways it’s intentionally failed. It refuses to give away details and compromises truth, instead, it is a fragmented cinematic failed picture of a violent past that continues to secrete/ leak into the future.
What is particularly interesting to you about the case of Ross Warren?
The Ross Warren case has been of interest to me for quite some time, I have wanted to make a work about it for many years but never really known how. What is interesting for me is not the particular circumstances that happened which is of course awful but instead, him being a semi-media figure and that being something that we can cling to. Unlike many of the other queer people who were murdered, Ross’s image exists recorded on film. Particularly significant for me knowing I wanted to make a video work. That said, part of the reason in the video it included fragments from other incidences from a range of historical time periods is precisely because I didn’t want to just priorities the case of Ross’s. I think this is where I am attempting to negotiate to complexities of the past and utilise an experimental approach to re-telling a history?
How do you hope people will engage with this work?
Well, I think there are two mains goals for this project, firstly I think it’s important for the public to become aware of this history and engage with it in a way that is on an emotional/ affective level. Something that I think public memorial spaces often lack. Secondly, I really want this work to generate conversations around histories problems; specifically the complexities of remembrance and memorialisation. Thinking through different and experimental approaches to telling the past that can do interesting and important things in regards to temporalities and a de-linear or even messy image of the past. I think the work pulls, stretches, and distorts time, in a way that doesn’t attend to hegemonic systems, and reproductive futurism; a methodology that is in many ways indebted to writing on queer temporalities.
By Callum McGrath
Tue 6 – Sat 24 Jul, 2021
4-6pm, Sat 24 Jul
Gallery One, Metro Arts
Tue 6 – Fri 9 Jul 7am – 4.30pm
Sat 10 Jul 10am – 9pm
Sun 11 Jul Closed
Mon 12 Jul 7am – 4.30pm
Tue 13 Jul 7am – 4.30 pm
Wed 14 – Fri 16 Jul 7am – 9pm
Sat 17 Jul 10am – 9pm
Sun 18 Jul 5pm – 9pm
Mon 19 – Fri 23 Jul 7am – 4.30pm
Sat 24 Jul 10am – 9pm
Sun 25 Jul Closed