(left to right) Gary Carter, Tim Burns + Tatjana Seresko with Homeless Carapace, 2016. Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe. Image courtesy of the artist.Tim Burns, ‘Resistor’

Words by Jon Tarry

To be accountable for what is produced is secondary to artists driven by an acute engagement in the culture of critical thought. As Lawrence Weiner implies, ‘I personally am more interested in the idea of the material than in the material itself.’ (Lawrence Weiner, Statements, 1969 -1972.)

Burns’ filmic narratives blur art and life, setting up harrowing conditions within visceral encounters. Road movie collides with uncanny, disruptive prevailing social commentary. The known for places of unknowing, in with ideas constant, transitional on this charred track shard, all diffuse at velocity undoing. All that road going in the night folding. Ahead a future obscured, seen through smeared locus screens of reverse mirror framing, a past uncut, unedited, laying there on the cold stone. Sparkle Horse on the stereo, erasing it, the tape, head chewing thread cogs of an A chord, relentless song repeating. Flame tree bright against the strains, brightly at this juncture, time now, paradigm shift.

At 2016 Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe. Photographer: Tatjana SereskoBurns lights the fuse in front of peers, Xanthorroea lulled in afterglow, nearby displaced playful beach side settings, Sorrento, Cott, Bathers, lay me down in this quick sandy land.

Disrupted expectation, de staging, difficultly in confrontation, working to a mass, a tidal audience of strollers, heavy high rollers, broking art works with litigant eyes, rivalry there in seen, scene, sensibility beside road kill husk, live dingoes hide, fire on fire performance singing crashing smashing, relaxing hold roll-over chassis.

Homeless Carapace, talking with viewers, engaging in dialogue, developing significances, contemporary ideas, on ‘all art is relationalist’, that is, until it’s not completed by director of public engagement, the institute of thought. These works reach back to earlier with revision and revelation. Oh Carnage, why gold watch detector, dynamiter, no honorific in the third degree heat.

Tim Burns, Just Testing / Homeless Carapace (detail) at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe. Image courtesy of the artistBurns, are you trying to tell us something?

‘Ok, there it is, at the entrance, wait there for the next mind merge,’ he says. And it does - BOOM - old dogs new, a kangaroo, dead cars, hoods for hoodies, grass trees on fire at Bathers Beach. A close-up frame of cake eating, vertigo, hacking through bark born, shins torn, those goggles, what are they for? They work, but not that way. The wrong way is right. Postcards, diced placards, playing cards, chance, two-up, jack, spade river ace, and from this dry edge plate, a dust chrome community gate. The art’s in the mail - hey, what? You say it again.

Patti Smith tells us, talking straight up on being creative, "do your thing". You do what you do, you do what you don’t. You try to fit it in, or not, it’s tight, you tear it out, rip it up and off, smash it to pieces, blow up time’s passing. Putting it backwards, but not as before, or it will never be again. It never goes the same, shackled dead ideas sink, for all in all and after all, it is about the force of resistance. 

Jon Tarry is an artist with a diverse practice in sculpture, sound and situation. Based in Perth, Tarry exhibits regularly in Australia and in parallel worlds, Los Angeles, Perth, Valetta.

More Tim Burns: Show & Tell, Anthology Film Archives NYC

IMAGES (top to bottom): Tim Burns, Tatjana Seresko and Gary Carter with Homeless Carapace, 2016 Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe. At 2016 Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe. Image: Tatjana Seresko. Tim Burns, Just Testing / Homeless Carapace (detail) at 2016 Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe.