On your mind, get set, go! (Before 50), 2013

On your mind, get set, go - Before 50, 2013 © George Shaw

Before 50, 2013

Before 50

It was 2am and the bacchanal was over. Even before the front gate had slammed shut behind the last guest, Andrea and I became intimately engaged in the dimly lit lounge room, consumed by lust and vinous fumes. As the carpet burned our knees, Andrea suddenly shot away from me into the darkness. Returning minutes later to find me still naked but bewildered, she said she’d opened her eyes only to find nine-year old Roman standing two feet away from her face. As she consoled him in his room, he asked why my penis had been in her bum, to which she replied, “Oh no, it was in my vagina…and that’s perfectly okay.”

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.