Jem Noble's Dream Dialects
was the most disappointing art show I'd seen in years. Noble, who is a British-born Canadian with a background in performance art, had been given a couple of large rooms at Pakuranga's Te Tuhi gallery after promising to build an exhibition around CK Stead's classic dystopian novel Smith's Dream.
Noble spent a lot of time on EBay buying up old copies of Smith's Dream
, as well as memorabilia associated with Sleeping Dogs
, Roger Donaldson's 1977 adaptation of the novel. He also acquired a large disco ball and a large toy gun. Somehow, though, these items didn't do much to illuminate one of the most famous stories in the Kiwi cultural canon.
I've discussed Noble's show with Judy Darragh and Mark Amery in the latest podcast for the Circuit website
. Darragh and Amery were no more impressed by Dream Dialects
than me, but we put the exhibition aside and discussed the book and the movie that inspired it. I talked about my first encounter with Sleeping Dogs
in 1991, a year of mass protests against austerity and the Employment Contracts Act.
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]