On your mind, get set, go! (Before 20), 2013

On your mind, get set, go - Before 20, 2013 © George Shaw

Before 20, 2013

Before 20

In an alarming non sequitur in the middle of our Scripture class, Father Ardile asked his group of naïve 13-year old students, “Who here has masturbated? C’mon, put up your hand if you…” as he lifted his own hand, fingers curling as if gripping a pipe, while making a back and forth motion at a 45-degree angle. I can’t remember much about the rest of the day except that, for once, none of us could wait to get home and get stuck into some homework on what we had just learned.

On your mind, get set, go! is an autobiographical work that explores a ‘memory-per-decade’ through image and text. While each vignette has the ability to stand alone, its cumulative power is evident through the chronological presentation of events. And although sexuality is the theme of this particular series, the idea lends itself to the investigation of other themes such as friendship, race, family, love, politics or work.

Because of the narrative nature of On your mind, get set, go!, each image/text construction is realized as if it were a double-page spread (DPS) in a book. When displayed, each DPS is scored down the middle and each half of the print curved to mimic the way in which pages fall in an open book. The finished prints are then installed on small timber supports. These photographic prints are also to be read as sculptural objects.

Adding to the chronology of events, the mimicking of a book is the presentation of the photographic image. In an allusion to the subjectivity of memories especially those which may be distant and loaded with specific meaning, the images travel across time starting out somewhat blurry and soft while ending in clear, sharp focus.

As the concept behind On your mind, get set, go! appears to have enough depth and breadth to be explored across a variety of themes by multiple storytellers, there is now a book in in the works that will do just that. Each chapter will ‘belong’ to a different person, who will rifle through their memory bank on the theme of their choice. If the person is in their thirties, he or she will have three double-page spreads; if the person is in their sixties then there will be six double-page spreads to fill, and so on.


On your mind, get set, go! has been curated into an exhibition of photo books at the Damien Minton Gallery in Sydney in 2014.