3 December 2005

Beware of the God

Like the U.S., Australia has a growing problem of fundamentalists in politics.

In response, graphic designer, artist, and activist Deborah Kelly has undertaken a large scale public art project in the streets (skies and train stations) of Sydney. From bewareofthegod.com:

“This site intends to be a resource of diverse material documenting, analyzing, and musing upon the impacts and aspirations of religious literalists in the public sphere. It is being produced in Australia, in 2005, so that is its first focus. However, you will also find here information, ideas and reportage from other places, because even though context is everything, a global phenomenon is also something.”

The project incorporates multiple media, including:

A 30 second film shown every ten minutes on 42 billboard screens in Sydney train stations, viewable in miniature here [Quicktime 874 Kb]

Projections onto clouds over Sydney Harbor:

Beware of the God, at the Opera

Distribution of 40,000 free postcard/stickers (you can mail or peel the front off and stick to your door.)

Beware of the God

And essays and analysis posted on the project Web site. On the site is an open call for further cultural and analytical material.

The effort is backed by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney as part of their biennial Contemporary Australian Art show, this year called Interesting Times.

Related projects from Kelly include a series of posters designed with Tina Fiveash satirizing the right wing regime of “compulsory heterosexuality”.


And a series of illustrated matchboxes satirizing the Christian right push in Australia to have muslim women and girls banned from wearing hijab “because they might be hiding bombs.” Kelly and friends made thousands of satirical matchboxes and left them lying around.

Indendiary Device

Kelly is also involved in a collective challenging the rhetoric of politicians calling refugees ‘boat people.’ See more at http://www.boat-people.org/

Boat People

Though not aligned with a specific organizing campaign, I think such cultural work is important in the battle for hearts and minds.