Hivemind Catalogue Essay

 HIVEMIND brings together the synergies and diversities of four emerging artists completing Honours in the School of Art at RMIT University. Each of the four young artists in this exhibition re-present and re-use information to reflect the nature of today’s society, seeking to locate clarity within a seemingly random world. The idea of a hive mind is unsettling as it reminds us that we may live in a world unconsciously enacting a life without meaning where we are generally passive and therefore consistently useful to those who unwaveringly control power. While there may be some truth to this view during these times, Martin Heidegger, reflecting on the broader nature of our existence, came to believe that for all of us any thoughts of a proactive interference and manipulation of reality are often pointless and that this impulse simply hides from us our true being, which is essentially as limited participants within a world that we discover. However, Heidegger also considered that while we find ourselves always and already fallen into a world that has already always existed, we are practical agents within this, caring and concerned about our projects, and allowing the world to reveal or ‘un-conceal’ itself to us1 . Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist considers art as ‘the least bad place’ within the world today and holds the view that art is a focal point within the world; that it ‘reaches across’ the conditions that we find ourselves within, and like ‘a gigantic trunk’ sucks everything in, utilizing and reflecting on everything. Considering Obrist’s view, it does seem that in these times, because our definitions of art have expanded, the art of today has become a conduit that is capable of linking to, and reflecting on all aspects of contemporary life. Obrist also reminds us of the Nietzschian view that ‘art is the desire to be different, to be elsewhere’. Artists are in a unique position reflecting on Art = the world = art.  


Daniel Stojkovich has developed a series composed of nine book covers, reproduced and selected for their titles which are related to philosophy, history,form criticism, psychoanalysis, time, existentialism, God, death and art. Each book cover selected by Stojkovich seems to pose an impossible (and at times metaphysical) question within the title: Who is God? What is History? In turn the covers of each book have been scanned and their titles digitally reformulated to generate a definitive answer to the questions that they pose: Who God is. What History is. Contradictory to their claims these works do not address or answer these questions, instead formulating and making apparent a false dilemma or a dichotomy, a logical fallacy that presents the essential heterogeneity of epistemology, prompting the viewer to question the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as memory, truth, belief and justification.


Dylan Hammond’s work constructs a simulated living space through which elements that are possibly significant to his past are presented to us apparently for examination and evaluation. Presenting his work in the form of a domestic display, Hammond works seemingly as auteur organizing and selecting amateur photographs, wallpaper and furniture to form various constructed environments that are evidently based in personal recollection along with other forms of imagery that conversely evoke a shared or communal memory. In this Hammond seeks to diffuse the distinction between private and public remembrance. At the centre of this work Hammond is exploring and reflecting on how we construct shared memory and how we use the various methods of memorializing and communication within society to construct memory and recollection, and in turn history.


Raphael Buttonshaw explores interior environments as a ‘staging ground’ to address what he perceives as a growing tension between design within contemporary society and what might constitute contemporary art. Buttonshaw questions how may the aesthetics from utility-based design objects be used to create interventionist art strategies? He investigates this question through an extended painting practice where he seeks to explore the shifting boundaries of experience in our private spheres. Buttonshaw deliberately usurps the function of his objects to twist and subvert perceived conventions of interior space, in order to form an intercession to disrupt and unsettle the social and psychological narratives that we have grown to expect in encountering modern and utilitarian design. Buttonshaw attempts to displace our experience of the environments within which we feel most at home, and perhaps this may be a way of evoking the unsettling relationship that we currently experience with incessant change within the world at large.


Tyler Clark’s works are formed through gleaning significance from objects and images that have been sourced from our cultural environment. Clark focuses on the seemingly relentless flow of information, communication and production within modern society, where the concept of ‘the original’ has increasingly become insignificant, particularly in the face of a multiplicity of versions of objects and images. Through his work Clark seeks to gather, recollect and reactivate information in a world where meaning is increasingly fractured. The central function of knowledge is to provide mechanisms for interpreting and understanding the world. Clark’s fine pencil drawings and latex casts are renderings, hand made reproductions that seemingly provide a point of difference to the inundation of objects and images within society. However, in turn Clark’s images and forms may simply provide another type of reverberation.

Peter Westwood

Peter Westwood is an artist, writer
and curator based in Melbourne and
is a Lecturer in the School of Art.