Molly Stephenson

The Boudoir Laboratory

2020

Trolley, tripods, fairylights, striplights, tarot cards, plastic, foam, salt, earthenware clay, jewelley, cotton, wire, rope, acrylic, wool, glass, wine, mirrors, silk, shells, golfballs, tarot ash, wood, oil paint, spray paint, salt, cinnamon, resin, bronze, dried flowers, pearls, ribbon

Dimensions variable

Monash University, Honours Grad Show

Photography by Adam O'Sullivan

The Boudoir Laboratory is a hazardous, haptic, throbbing residue of activity. Resisting

classification, The Boudoir Laboratory is neither a performative installation, a sculptural assemblage

or a non-human wake, but rather an intimate yet detached visceral ‘residue’ that alludes to or hints

towards the activation of a ‘prior’ non-human/non-being activity that obstructs the linears of time

and place.

An ode to Kenneth Anger’s 1950 Rabbit Moon, Marc de Camille’s 1970 Celebration? Realife and

Jason Rhoades’ 1999 Perfect World, The Boudoir Laboratory is an externalised horror of the living

reality of the moment. Heavily informed by Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx, in particular, the

neologism of Hauntology as well as Nele Wynants When Fact Is Fiction: Documentary Art in the

Post-Truth Era, ‘human’ projected psychologies, colonial mythologies and oceanic-gothic

aesthetics (such as that of anxiety, fantasy, isolation and fear) are displaced, interrogated and

re-fleshed within the installation to allude to our current ecological crisis. Manipulating, assembling,

abandoning and neglecting botanicals, objects and things seem to have become the bread and

butter to paradoxically forming, shaping, fusing and separating seductive, romantic anthropological

binaries that have forged the floodgates between the ‘human,’ ‘non-human’ and ‘non-being’ world.

The installation aims to explore how the employment and rejection of projected Oceanic-Gothic

aesthetics and themes will not only fracture and dismantle the boundaries between reality and

fantasy, fiction and nonfiction, play and depression, but diffuse the very anthropological,

essentialist binaries that have continued to nourish the privileged and exploit the vulnerable.

However, in order to encourage the employment of non-dualist, emancipatory thought that

ultimately releases a ‘being’ or ‘non-being’ from inflicted performative displacements, one must

simultaneously engage in and neglect these performative notions in order to create a differing ‘third

course.’