2014 Merrick Belyea
2014 Merrick Belyea
2014 Merrick Belyea
2014 Merrick Belyea
2014 Merrick Belyea

The Majestic

Merrick Belyea


8 November to 14 December 2014

Exhibition Catalogue

Recent focus has seen a shift toward information gathering; the task of the photo-journalist who is briefed to capture the surrounding streets of Heathcote Museum. Mapping the growth and changing demographic of the suburb of Applecross. The artist is positioned as a covert observer gathering information using a variety of techniques including security camera footage, night vision and remote devices. This exhibition gives a stark and oblique view of the suburban street.

Seventeen days in a hide waiting for the suspect to return.

In The Majestic I am an interloper. I am moving silently through the streets. I am floating above houses. I am a covert operative collecting information. Capturing a streetscape living in the shadows of an asylum. A sleepy hollow. After midnight a series of random events occur in the suburb. A parked car moves without a driver, an apartment light goes on and then out again, a sleepout in a boarding house has a visitor, a front door bell rings at 4am. The camera, a headless horseman, rides slowly through town gathering the surreal, the unseen, the resident.

A babysitter, a beautician, a social worker.

Imagining myself as a night walker. A compulsive gatherer of information but with no agenda. A momentary visitor. An anxious observer. The compulsion is not malicious, merely driven, constant. I view other interlopers with suspicion. Criminals whose activities are at cross purposes to my own. Malingerers. Vagrants.

A grocer, a student, a passenger.

This problematical information gathering is faintly dangerous in a society alerted to the alarm of dissident reactionaries. Concern over access to this information leads to the risk of being dictated to by the voyeur. More wall is built, gates are bolted, dogs are barking. The status quo can only be maintained if we match the speed of information transfer. In a lightning quick digital world, this industriousness is breathtaking.

Nonetheless the surveillance continues unabated. The journalist becomes the perpetrator and the lines of control are de-focussed. An elderly couple find a rifle in the bushes down near the river.

by Merrick Belyea