The Agony and the Ecstasy
2022, 2 Channel HD Video, Audio, Sound 8 mins. The University of Melbourne Art Collection, Purchased 2022.
View excerpt here
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Commissioned by the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, for the exhibition Collective Unease.
Andy Butler investigates the ways that structural inequalities in society are reproduced by institutions. In "The Agony and the Ecstasy", the athleticism and buoyant positivity of cheerleading symbolise the effort required to remain optimistic about institutions that often appear on the surface to evolve with the times, but on a deep structural level fail to reflect shifts in contemporary values. Students from the Melbourne University Cheer and Dance Club perform against the backdrop of the Old Quad Library. The cheerleaders' high-energy routines contrast starkly with the decorative art objects and landscape paintings, gifted to the University by an earlier generation of alumni whose collecting tastes suggest a nostalgia for European traditions and social hierarchies. This work celebrates the positivity of a new generation of university students preparing to enter a precarious adult world and workforce, and asks the question, 'how can we maintain a spirit of hope in the face of continuing inequity and uncertainty?'
Lead Artist: Andy Butler
Assistant Director: Amrita Hepi
Cinematographer: Justin Balmain
Camera Assistant: Luce Nguyen Hunt
Production Assistant: Leila Doneo Baptist
Gaffer: Chris Dewhurst
Sound Design: Daniel Jenatsch
Percussion: Dylan Lieberman
Colourist: Daniel Stonehouse - Crayon Studios
University of Melbourne Collections Coordinator: Brad Rushbridge
University of Melbourne Project Coordinator: Nikki Van Der Horst
Choreographer and Cheer Coach: Maddy Theobold Athletes: Megan Allis, Sarah Browne, Carmen Chung, Molly Corr, Imogene Creati, Olivia Div, Eloïse Hardy, Anouk Heidenrich, Yoshika Hida, Josey La, Yifan Li (Lily), Ziyi Mak, Maya Pearson, Anais Peate, Renae Potts, Kezia Sanders, Maddy Theobold, Zoë Amanda Wilson, Emily Yamashita, Emily Ye, Mia Ylagan
This work was produced with the support of the Sustaining Creative Workers Initiative, Creative Victoria
Cargo Collective 2017 — Frogtown, Los Angeles