Amanda Newall

Act Normal (2020)

3 min 55 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

Act Normal (2020) by Amanda Newall is a music video that the artist created for the single ‘Act Normal’ by New Zealand band Fagan and The People. Its frontman, Andrew Fagan, was previously the lead singer of The Mockers and features in Newall’s earlier work The Hoover Diaries (2017). The work is part of the second instalment of The Hoover Diaries, and was inspired by the sailor costume worn by Fagan in documentation of early live performances with The Mockers. Here, Newall has appliqued the logo of the World Trade Organization (WTO) onto an updated version of this costume. Fagan’s own personal 'Gombolic' symbol is included on the turtleneck undergarments, linking the costume to the story of his life and music.

Newall’s practice-based PhD ‘Costume in Art Education and Institution’ (Chelsea College, University of The Arts London) addressed the role of costume practice within contemporary art, illustrating how costume can communicate in multiple contexts and produce a multiplicity of diverse readings. Says the artist:

“My costume art practice is triggered by situation-specific knowledge and anecdotal information, often involving synchronicity. At the time I was making the garments, I was interested in the Phaistos Disk (a disk of fired clay from the Minoan palace of Phaistos on the island of Crete, created around the 2nd millennium BC), emojis and other forms of visual symbolism that could be used to communicate complex information through costume practice.”

The video also includes scenes from Naked Lodge (2002), one of Newall’s early video performance works, in which she installed a series of imagined creatures created out of vinyl costumes in the twelve windows of an abandoned and squatted building on Customs Street in Auckland. Each window was dressed with handmade bedspreads and wallpapered in the style of cheap 1970s hotel rooms, similar to those found within the sex industry. The work was part of ‘Story Board’, an exhibition series curated by Melissa McCleod.

Other works by Amanda Newall

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