How brutal, really

In the traces of disaster, a landscape comes into view, one in which I am made vagrant. My subject is a string of projects by New Zealand–born, New York–based artist Kate Newby. All occurring in 2018, these projects are geographically spread, scattered over the earth’s surface. In the time of short-form speech and the drinking eye that notices the ground and crevices because there is no need to be guarded, everyone else has already gone, or has not yet arrived.

The accident has already happened: economies implode, the ground is said to be uninhabitable. I have forgotten where I live, and all that is left looks like debris. It is to be itemised as a catalogue of nouns, not to redeem anything—there is no need to console—but to accept what is self-evident. Things are strewn and I feel like I am looking at sedimentation. I am mindful that some lichens grow at a rate of one thousandth of a millimetre a year.


Image: Kate Newby, Swift little verbs pushing the big nouns around, Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, 2018. Image courtesy the artist and Michael Lett.


This is a preview of 'How brutal, really'. The full article can be found in Art + Australia Issue Five.

Gwynneth Porter is a writer, editor and educator from New Zealand. She is a doctoral candidate at Monash University, Melbourne, her thesis addressing adolescent museum visitation narratives and dissent. She was the editor of the Auckland-based art press Clouds, and the former editor of Natural Selection magazine. She was also a member of the organising committee of the itinerant curatorial project Cuckoo.