Daniel Crooks’ Phantom Ride to premiere at ACMI

19 January, 2016 by Staff Writer

Phantom Ride, by Daniel Crooks.


The Ian Potter Cultural Trust and ACMI will present the world premiere of Phantom Ride, a new work from Melbourne-based moving-image artist Daniel Crooks. 

Phantom Ride is the second Ian Potter Moving Image Commission (IPMIC), a ten-year, biennial program providing $100,000 for the creation of new works by Australian artists.

Opening at ACMI on February 16, Crooks' work is a two-screen video work inspired by the history of cinema and the way in which trains are entwined with the history of experimentation with the moving image. 

Crooks' installation creates a continuous tracking shot that moves the viewer through a collage of Australian railways. The work references the 'phantom rides' of early cinemas.

Pre-dating narrative features, these short films showed the progress of a train moving forward by mounting a camera on its front.

Phantom Ride comes out of my long held fascination with the convergence of trains, the birth of cinema and modern ideas, and representations of time,” Crooks said.

“I’ve presented it as a two-sided video; the forward facing journey on one side and the rear looking journey on the reverse. The screen becomes a meniscus of the present, separating the past and the future. For me, the never ending concatenation of railed spaces is a metaphor for our experience of time while the branching forks and parallel sidings conjure multiple worlds”.

The Ian Potter Commission supports artists in dedicating a significant period of time to creating a new work that will significantly further their practice. For Crooks, the commission enabled a collaboration with a motion-control engineer to create a highly sophisticated filming device that has allowed him to capture smooth tracking shots. 

Phantom Ride is a stunning new piece from Daniel Crooks, whose work constantly surprises and enthralls as it manipulates time and space, captivating the viewer with often mesmeric imagery”, ACMI CEO and Director Katrina Sedgwick said.

“It is a particularly fitting moving-image art work to be premiering at ACMI, taking its inspiration from early cinema and yet pushing new technological boundaries in how these moving images are captured and framed for audiences”.

Lady Potter AC, Trustee of The Ian Potter Cultural Trust, noted “how exciting it is to see the second Ian Potter Moving Image Commission come to fruition”.

“In establishing this commission we hoped to enable talented mid-career artists to take their art and their careers to the next level, and to engage new younger audiences in this important contemporary art form. There is no doubt that this has been realised, first with Angelica Mesiti’s mesmerising commission The Calling and now with this brilliant work by Daniel Crooks."

Crooks' work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally, and can be seen in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Crooks will present a selection of his work at ACMI to coincide with Phantom Ride's exhibition. Daniel Crooks Presents: On Art and (The Manipulation of) Time will take place on February 23, and will see the artist introduce a number of his works. 

Daniel Crooks: Phantom Ride runs February 16 until May 29. Entry is free.