SCOTT MORRISON SMALL CHOIR – BEAM CONTEMPORARY
Words – Kate Forsyth
Photos – J Forsyth
Beam Contemporary is the perfect place (sorry, still can’t bring myself to say ‘space’) for Scott Morrison’s video installation and accompanying photograph, Small Choir. Constructed of exposed brick and beams, wooden floors and even a lovely aroma of timber, the gallery makes you forget you’re in a Melbourne laneway near two busy streets. The lack of glaring lights, polished concrete and stark white walls is a pleasant change.
Morrison’s new work, Small Choir is a nine minute video installation including ‘intricate sound compositions’ filmed in NSW’s Penrose. The work also includes a beautiful photo of the same forest he filmed, which was so detailed and spectacular that at first, I thought it was a painting, for it could not possibly be real. Watching the video in the darkened room, the trees, light and movement had quite the tranquilizing effect, while simultaneously making me feel as if I was running through a forest. To acquire such an exuberant feeling with zero energy exerted increased my general wellbeing at least 26%.
Watching trees for nine minutes? Well I would have said no thanks beforehand, but as the media release says, “Morrison is encouraging us to locate the familiar and experience it through the act of looking, and looking again.” Which I did and I felt transported, suddenly possessing that excellent feeling I have only come to know and like in my third decade– that ‘getting back to nature’ feeling.
Nature is nice. Scott Morrison agrees.
I interrogated him briefly and he graciously conveyed a charming current love of trees, and a previous penchant for grass. Talking about the two weeks shooting in the bush for this project, I understood it was more than shooting a bunch of footage for later editing. He chose trees he liked the look of (“I like you, tree,” said Scott) to film and compositions of trees that appealed, much like one might choose a partner, friends or a new couch, as well making choices based on the light filtering through.
When I accepted this reviewing mission from Melbourne Arts Club HQ, I very swiftly scanned the invitation, and went along erroneously thinking the launch had something to do with beams of light, and that a choir was performing. As an avid choir hater, I thought this an excellent opportunity to practice my poker face, so the next time I’m ambushed by my workplace’s choir (no, I don’t work in a church), I will be able to walk by, with no colleague the wiser that I think choirs are just the worst. Please note, I blame my cranky, knee-sock and walk-short wearing grade four music teacher Mr. Johnson for my choir contempt.
And while I will be no better at hiding my disdain for choirs the next time I’m ambushed in the work lobby, I did very much enjoy Scott Morrison’s work and his explanation of it. It reminded me that I might benefit from getting back to nature. So I’m off to hike Mt Kilimanjaro. By which I mean I will walk to my local park and listen to Toto’s Africa on my portable music device. Good day.