Site-Specific Work

Site-Specific Work (Suggested Corporate Names – Catholic Church Child Abuse Compensation Entity), 2015

House dust, glitter and adhesive on paper in Perspex frames.

2 panels, 33.1 x 46.8 inches.

In 2007, the Court of Appeal in New South Wales, Australia found the Catholic Church could not be sued by victims of childhood sexual abuse because it was not a legal entity. A later federal investigation recommended that separate corporate entities be established by the church to solely to compensate victims. Within a month of this ruling, the federal government announced the Northern Territory Intervention in response to (since discredited and heavily criticized)  allegations of childhood sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities. The intervention allowed the federal government to, among several other things, seize Aboriginal lands and defund education, employment, and heath initiatives. Building upon Miwon Kwon’s notion of the ‘discursive vector,’ the title to this work reflects upon the site specificity of discourse concerning child sexual abuse, particularly the acute differences between treatment of the Catholic Church and Aboriginal people. It is a list of suggested corporate names that comprises found text from five levels of rhetoric: satirical, political, legal, church and victims’ speech, to highlight discursive spaces and suggest alternative interventionist narratives. Written in dust and glitter, these textural contrasts symbolize the cultural exceptionalism expounded by powerful institutions against victims and Aboriginal minorities. As an urban Aboriginal person, the use of dust from my house reflected the severe proprietary consequences levelled against Aboriginal persons as a result of the intervention.