Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with the assistance of Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM, 2004
multi-channel digital video, colour, sound
6 min 29s
6 min 29s
4 min 50s
9 min 7s
5 min 57s
5 min 38s
TV Moore works primarily in installation and moving imagery, often depicting outsiders and other figures on the margins of society. The Neddy Project is an ambitious installation, which explores his fascination with underworld identities in Australia and responds to popular mythology of the Australian outlaw.
This immersive six-channel video cycle with ten projections intersects moments drawn from the lives of two men named ‘Neddy’. These ‘Neddies’ are each infamous in their own right—the first, Ned Kelly, the 19th century masked Victorian outlaw; and the other, Arthur Stanley ‘Neddy’ Smith, a figure associated with organised crime in Sydney during the 1980s. Separated by 100 years, but united through their national infamy, Ned Kelly and Neddy Smith have proven figures of enduring fascination for Australians. By fusing aspects of theatre of the absurd with pantomime and fantasy tropes, histories merge and become an essay of play.
The artist and his friends re-enact and re-imagine events from the lives of both characters using handmade props and video wizardry. This includes the famed 1880 siege at Glenrowan, restaged as a endless shootout on top of a mountain range. Neddy Smith’s time is also featured, with historical notes such as his pursuit of restoring clocks as a hobby in spite of the onset of Parkinson’s disease.
The Neddy Project is also a tribute to Sidney Nolan, whose depictions of Ned Kelly and his distinctive metal helmet are iconic in twentieth century Australian art history, and are often referred to as symbolic self portraits of the artist as ‘outsider’.
The work was created over three years and capitalizes on budget constraints with a crafty use of simple digital editing techniques including repetition, doubling and inversion used to explore and connect the characters’ lives. An ingenious do-it-yourself use of cardboard props, designed with the assistance of Sydney artist Simon Yates, which include everything from false beards, beer bottles and pinkie rings to an army of rigmarole horses. Moore presents this work with a musical score, produced in collaboration with musicians Jonathan Blackman and Steven Foster. A re-imagined version of Wild Colonial Boys originally sung by Mick Jagger in the lead role of Terry Richardson’s 1970 film Ned Kelly, knits the multiple narrative threads together.