Video Art Program[The 59th Program] Erin Coates


Driving to the End of the Earth, 2016, color, sound, 11min.22sec.

Erin Coates uses the technique of digital synthesis to blend in footage shot by dashboard cameras, which she appropriates from TV news programs and YouTube videos, referencing the often unnatural quality of synthetic scenes in old movies while highlighting the gulf between the worlds inside and outside a moving vehicle.
In this video work the protagonist, played by Coates herself, sits in the driver’s seat while her dog sits obediently on the passenger side. While speeding recklessly along the highway and threading her way among other vehicles, the driver begins nonchalantly preening in the mirror. Nothing fazes her, even an increasingly torrential downpour and sudden gale-force winds assaulting the vehicle. A flood of sludge approaches the car from behind, and giant boulders start falling amid a chaotic dust cloud, but the car keeps moving as if nothing were happening.
Disastrous scenes continue unfolding outside, but the unperturbed driver keeps engaging in humdrum activities inside. The car keeps managing to circumvent the encroaching dangers, but in the end it comes up against a stream of vehicles evacuating in the opposite direction and heads into the heart of darkness.

Erin Coates:
Born in Albany, Western Australia in 1977, lives in Perth. Coates is a Perth-based artist and creative producer working across video, installation and drawing. Coates has participated in various group exhibitions, such as “spaced 2: future recall,” Perth International Arts Festival, The Western Australian Museum, “Paris Short Film Festival,” Paris (2015) and “The National: New Australian Art,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2017).