Runway Journal has partnered with All Conference to present a series of Conversations from its network of artist-led, experimental and cross-disciplinary arts organisations around Australia. Throughout the year, 16 organisations will each present a new piece on Runway’s Conversations platform.
The third Runway Journal x All Conference Conversation comes from BLINDSIDE, situated on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation.
BLINDSIDE asked writer Anador Walsh to respond to Francis Carmody’s exhibition Gateway (BLINDSIDE, 17 Mar – 3 Apr 2021).
What one sees in a harbor is the concrete movement of goods ... If the stock market is the site in which the abstract character of money rules, the harbor is the site in which material goods appear in bulk, in the very flux of exchange. 
Dazzle Camouflage, Of course I’m happy with my Trade, 2021, Francis Carmody. Photo by Andrew Curtis.
In the centre of the gallery, installed on the floor and ascending in scale, is a series of found objects that constitute this exhibition’s least formal but most significant element. These works bear media-inspired, sensational titles: Joint Agency investigation drug haul (2021), Fish smugglers schooled (2021) and Chinese Cigarette & Tobacco smuggling operation snubbed out (2021), and are the detritus of attempts to smuggle contraband into the country by way of Australia Post. Joint Agency investigation drug haul is made up of 24 hollowed out bars of Imperial Leather soap; Fish smugglers schooled is an empty suitcase that at one stage housed a small school of fish, and Chinese Cigarette & Tobacco smuggling operation snubbed out is a car seat with several of its foam components (and presumably many cigarettes) removed. Carmody attained these objects as, due to their being sent alone via post and not in the presence of a human mule, they were unable to be used as evidence in the prosecution of any legal case.
These works and all of their companion pieces (including a very shoddily hollowed out safe), initially present themselves as readymades that point to the third and final of Carmody’s Gateway deceptions — the layered systems of obfuscation employed by people in their attempt to smuggle contraband from point A to point B without detection or ramification. Whilst the gallery may be filled with soap, suitcases, car seats and safes, these items act as stand ins for the processes that have been used to convert these objects into illicit Trojan horses.
The big reveal
I am always somewhat trepidatious of work that falls under the category of ‘readymade’. There is an established tradition of readymade art in Melbourne, that, more often than not, I find to be elitist. It is my position that these readymades tend to constitute and bolster the kind of intellectual privilege that automatically excludes anyone who didn’t go to art school or take more than one subject of art history during their BA. I find myself asking of these works: what is the impetus behind making art that is by its very nature inaccessible? But during a conversation that begins with our mutual love of Lisa Radford and ends with the movie 28 Days Later (a conversation I feel I should note has informed the bulk of this article), I began to realise that in my apprehension, I had nearly missed the brilliance at work in Carmody’s Gateway.
 Allan Sekula, Fish Story (London: MACK, 2018) 12.
 Joshua Simon, “Neo-Materialism, Part II: The Unreadymade,” eflux 23, 2011, https://www.e-flux.com/journal/23/67825/neo-materialism-part-ii-the-unreadymade/.
 Carmody, Francis. (Artist). Interview with Anador Walsh. 19 March 2021.
Anador Walsh is an emerging curator and writer living and working in Naarm (Melbourne). Anador is passionate about performance and conceptual art practices, and their ability to reflect our current socio-cultural condition. Central to her curatorial practice is a dialogical approach that preferences relationship building and the sharing of knowledge. In 2020 Anador took part in the Gertrude Contemporary Emerging Writers Program and was the 2019 recipient of the BLINDSIDE Emerging Curator Mentorship. Anador has held the professional positions of Marketing and Development Manager at Gertrude Contemporary and Gallery Assistant at both Neon Parc and STATION Gallery. Anador is the founding editor of Performance Review.
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