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The rights of things
2018


Installation
Hand-dyed batik on cotton (iron oxide, beeswax), steel pole

3,2 x 3,30 m

The rights of things, Ideas Platform, Artspace, Sydney, Australia (top)
Fictional Frictions, Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea (bottom)

Four suspended lengths of dyed batik panels are inscribed with boxed text fragments that read as:

WHAT IT IS

THAT GAVE
A HOLD
SO STRONG

OF THE LAND

THE AIR OVER
AND EVERY
THING UNDER

ANY GROUND
SOIL
OR EARTH
WHATSOEVER

REALTY
REALITY

OF THE
PERMANENT
AND FIXED

THINGS REAL

They are taken from ‘The Rights of Things’, a chapter in an influential 18th-century treatise ‘Commentaries on the Laws of England’ (1765), written by English judge and politician Sir William Blackstone. The work attempts to undermine the Western economic system to own, build on and trade land. The symbolism of the different hues of orange that originate from rust – iron oxides – colouring the soil red and bedrock orange in many parts of Australia, is imbued with past claims for land and contemporary claims for industrial minerals that fuel the nation’s economy today. 

Curators: Elyse Goldfinch – Artspace / Jenni Nurmenniemi – Gwangju Biennale

Photos © Artspace (top) / © Doyun Kim (bottom)