Title: Artists’ Survey: On Surveillance
Mr Tim Burns, Artist, Western Australia
This paper examines the role of the artist as a surveillance proponent through the history and development of artistic observation, aspects of control, developments in observational technologies and the moral landscapes that shape the cultural endeavor. The core concerns the work of the presenter looking at a selection of his past works where the aspects of control have been reversed or the intended outcomes have been subverted.
'Control controls in order to control', as William Burrough's said. Like it or not, we're all in it for keeps.
“...Tim Burns is a legendary figure in the history of Australian underground art. He rose to notoriety in the early 1970s with a series of (literally) explosive art actions, before decamping to New York, where he remained, on and off until the mid-‐1990s. He now resides on a large property near the town of York, in Western Australia. Rather than identifying as a painter, filmmaker, karaoke videographer, installation artist, theatre director or performer (although he has done all these and more), Burns calls himself “a context artist”. What unites the hugely varied set of projects Burns has worked on over the last forty years is a constant desire to set up situations which critically reflect on our hypermediated, industrialised western society. His interventions are usually created live, in the public sphere, rather than being quietly crafted in the privacy of a studio setting. More often than not, they result in some sort of dramatic surprise or shift in the participants' attention.”
Lucas Ihlein (2011) for Artists Profile, Sydney
Recently Tim has been living and teaching film, art and interactive broadcast television in Perth, Western Australia at Edith Cowan University and Curtin University and is currently completing a Phd. in Future Filmic discourses, Surveillance and Interactivity at Murdoch University where he has taughtDocumentary and film production. He has an MFA from the University of Western Australia on determinism in the Pintubi community in the Western desert on which he wrote a feature film script 'The Stolen Film' with support from Screenwest, the WA state film commission.
His work has been exhibited in numerous major shows and art institutions, worldwide, including The Beaubourg Paris, ICA London, ICA Boston, MOMA New York, The Hirschorn Museum Washington, The National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of NSW and South Australia, The National Gallery of Australia and the Sydney Biennale. He is represented in public and private collections internationally.