Traversing the line, with no fixed point

August 21 - November 13, 2021
Central Gallery

Traversing the Line, with no fixed point

Briana Palmer


Briana Palmer gathers images, objects, and ideas from the everyday, exploring the intersections between the perception, experience, and social ideologies of her own cultural practices and upbringing. Traversing the line, with no fixed point unsettles our assumptions of place and belonging. The main component of the installation is the “Iron horse” – a railway system that runs through an installation of ephemera, nostalgic paraphernalia, and cultural artifacts. Large abstract wood block prints are accompanied by ceramic biomorphic components of various sizes. These are punctuated by a multiplicity of miniature narrative assemblages made from collected found objects and handmade elements. Similar narrative elements imbued with nostalgia, societal values, and the detritus of a media saturated culture are echoed in collages across the installation.

The use of the railway has been part of society’s cultural fabric since the Industrial Revolution and for many, it evokes personal memories and experiences. For Palmer, the railway is the sound of home and memories of her grandfather. For some, it is a reminder of their heritage, an industrial feat to be celebrated, a promised freedom or a trip to the hobby shop; for others, it is the symbol of the diabolical underbelly of environmental destruction, genocide, and colonization. The recontextualization and juxtaposition of the objects in Palmer’s work as a narrative strategy points to an instability of meaning and interpretation. As the assembled objects and images are transformed from their original context their history becomes relocated, positioning them between uncertainty and new possibilities of meaning. The exhibition title, Traversing the line, with no fixed point encapsulates various prevailing ideologies by neither denying nor allowing one fixed meaning, rather cultivating an experience of constant flux. While the narratives constructed in these miniatures seem whimsically surreal on first viewing, it is important for them to be regarded within a social and historical framework. The conflicting narratives of collections are revealed through the process of transporting images and objects, both literally and conceptually, from their original context and unsettling their history.