Angelica Mesiti Relay League

In March and April 2017 I assisted visual artist Angelica Mesiti by fabricating a series of sound sculptures. The sculptures were exhibited at Artspace, in Sydney, Anna Schwarz Gallery, in Melbourne and at Art Sonje Centre in Seoul.

The hanging brass sculptures are similar to tubular bells and make sound when activated by the viewer. The forms, brass tubes and spheres, represent the dots and dashes of morse code. The largest sculpture, 3 metres in height, spells the phrase “Appel à tous. Ceci est notre dernier cri avant notre silence éternel.” meaning “Calling all, this is our final cry before our eternal silence.” and was the last message sent in Morse Code by the French Navy in 1997.

At Artspace the sculpture was installed in a semi darkened space which was divided by translucent walls through which the light of the accompanying three video projections could glimmer and flicker. In the videos the morse code phrase was a starting point that Mesiti and her collaborators translated into percussion and dance.

Spanning the expanse of the galleries, the videos and sculpture in Relay League are connected by a labyrinth-like structure that functions as a membrane between the physical and psychological elements embodied within Mesiti’s work. As a point of initial encounter, the sculpture is germane here and provides a visual and sonic cue to the ideas of transmission and reception that resonate throughout the work. The first video features the musician-composer Uriel Barthélémi translating the Morse code message into a percussive score that permeates throughout the entire installation. The second shows a unique form of dialogue and exchange between two dancers, Emilia Wibron Vesterlund and Sindri Runudde, who is affected by impaired vision. Together the pair have developed an intimate and corporeal language that communicates movement and gesture; Emilia guides Sindri’s understanding of choreography through the touch and feel of her body against his. The third depicts the dancer Filipe Lourenço interpreting Uriel’s percussive sounds in a new choreography that directly references silence and vision through gestures loosely drawn from the vernacular of folk dance. This final video reveals that a dialogue is playing out between each of the performers, and the dots and dashes transmitted throughout the galleries produce a subtle dissonance so that the work continually slips back and forth between cohesion and dissolution.


Smaller brass hanging sculptures were produced for the presentation of Tossed by Waves, Mesiti’s 2017 solo exhibition at Anna Schwarz Gallery in Melbourne. These works spelled the phrases “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur”, the motto of the city of Paris, and the acronyms “INTQRK” (How are you receiving me?), “QRK5” (Loud and clear), and SOS.

Once again the sculptures were accompanied by a single channel video:

The single-channel video Tossed by Waves, 2017 is marked by silence and languorous travelling movements. The camera captures an ambiguous procession of sculptural bodies, entangled and clamped onto a stone trunk. The monument is never quite revealed, yet clues, such as graffiti bearing the names of loved ones and messages of hope, suggest the present time.

This is Mesiti’s meditation on turbulence and resilience from the perspective of her adopted city of Paris, whose motto: fluctuat nec mergitur translates as “tossed by the waves but does not sink.” In use since the mid-1300s, the phrase has gained a resurgence of popularity with the November Paris attacks in 2015. Over the past two years, Mesiti has engaged with the Place de la République as a place of memory, protest, and perhaps foremost as a contemporary agora; the symbolic heart of a city standing for its democratic values.

More information and images of the Relay League project can be found on the Artspace website. and on Angelica’s website

More information about the works shown at Anna Schwarz, Melbourne can be seen on the Anna Schwarz website.

Angelica Mesiti will represent Australia at the Venice Biennale in 2019.

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Angelica Mesiti Relay League | 2018 | B L O G