25 September 2023

Australian democracy on view in Venice

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Old Parliament House in Canberra is on display in Venice, Italy this year as the historic building is the location for Australia’s representation at the Venice Biennale, ASSEMBLY.

Director of the Museum of Australian Democracy which is housed at Old Parliament House, Daryl Karp (pictured) said a three-channel video installation, created by Australian artist, Angelica Mesiti for the Biennale, features performers moving through many of the heritage spaces at Old Parliament House.

Ms Karp said ASSEMBLY presented Ms Mesiti’s perspective of the current social landscape.

She said by using music, dance and poetry it communicated ways in which communities could come together in solidarity as a means for making those with authority recognise the collective power of the people.

She said a 19th century Michela stenographic machine, which Ms Mesiti found at a flea market in Rome, was the focal point of the multi-media visual artwork.

The machine – modelled on a piano keyboard – was once used in the Italian Senate for official Parliamentary reporting to ensure transparency within the democratic process.

Ms Karp said museum staff had been thrilled to have been a partner in the creation of Ms Mesiti’s artwork.

“We are immensely proud that the heritage spaces of Old Parliament House will be on the world stage during this year’s Venice International Art Exhibition and congratulate the Australian team for the exhibition at the prestigious event,” Ms Karp said.

ASSEMBLY was commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts.

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