Angelica Mesiti: The Begin-Again
It’s a beige, beige world and The Begin-Again showed us that it doesn’t have to be so.
Craig Edmondson, Places Manager, Hurstville City Council *
In May 2010, after Liz Ann Macgregor spoke about C3West at a Local Government Managers Australia Conference, she was approached by Hurstville City Councils Administration Director, who realised his council may have a project for C3West. Hurstville Council was in the process of developing a Community Strategic Plan (CSP), a requirement of all local councils; but how to get the community’s response was a challenge. Could an artist help the Council communicate? The answer was yes, and in October 2010 Australian artist Angelica Mesiti was commissioned.
In April 2011 C3West, in partnership with colleagues from Hurstville City Council, presented Mesiti’s night time art walk, The Begin-Again. Focusing in and around the main streets of Hurstville, this project engaged the architecture as the backdrop for the story of the area. Mesiti produced four site-specific video installations and a live performance that transformed the stories of Hurstville, its residents concerns and anxieties into a celebration. Each work showcased local residents and their story through song, dance and performance.
These performances were articulated as a series of five ‘episodes’ that evoked a different aspect of the Hurstville story; past, present and future. Not following a traditional narrative, the experience of viewing these episodes had a cumulative effect in creating a sense of place over the duration of the two nights.
Angelica Mesiti is a video, performance and installation artist based in Sydney and Paris. She is well known for her involvement with the female art collective, The Kingpins. Her work often operates within a cinematic framework. For this contemporary art event, Mesiti in part references the Golden Age of the Hollywood musical. Each of its video works is brushed with the controlled elegance and ageless beauty of the era, conjuring up images of silver screen sirens and music hall dancers.
Over the two nights The Begin-Again attracted more than 5,500 visitors, and it attracted far-reaching media coverage. Another positive outcome of Mesiti’s project was the new partnership that C3West formed with Westfield Hurstville.
A full colour publication featuring an essay by MCA senior curator, Rachel Kent and full photographic documentation was produced in association with the project, and is currently available at the MCA Store.
The Begin-Again, Parking Lot Dragon (still) 2011, performance and installation with Chinese New Year Dragon Dancers, customised cars with underbody lighting, smoke, ultra-violet light and broadcast audio track, Commissioned by C3West for Hurstville City Council, image courtesy and © the artist.
- Craig Edmondson, Places Manager, Hurstville City Council, email correspondence with Anne Loxley, C3West Curator, 7 April 2011