John Conomos

Leftquote A roofer takes more risks than an intellectual. Rightquote
The Absent Sea, 2014
7 minutes, Video

The Absent Sea is a seven-minute essay video shot with a Red Epic camera and was made in homage to the late Allan Sekula and Noel Burch’s recent documentary The Forgotten Space (2013).


The Girl From the Sea, 2014
30 minutes, HD Video, colour, sound.

This is a personal essay documentary about my mother coming to Australia in the early 1940s as a teenager. The film’s title with its overtones of Margeurite Duras is emblematic of the subject’s ancestral and mythic roots (Piraeus and Kythera, Greece) and her migration to Australia to work in country NSW cafes for her uncles and aunts. This ‘letter chain’ mode of migration was the major form of migrating from Greece to Australia back then.


Miro on The Beach, 2014

Miro On the Beach is a major performance video shot with a Red Epic camera and a movie crane and it depicts the artist writing the expression ‘camera stylio’ into the sand of a local Sydney beach.


Nocturnal Bench, 2013
5 minutes, Video

The Nocturnal Bench is a meditative essay performance video that was primarily inspired by Bill Brandt’s post-black and white photography and American film noir. In particular, Brandt’s photograph of the writer Elias Canetti sitting on a park bench at Hampstead Heath has haunted me for years.


The Spiral of Time, 2013
5 minutes, HD Video, black and white, sound.

The video is a distillation of many of the themes, motifs and concerns that characterise the artist’s oeuvre in general. And in particular, it is autobiographically inflected like his prize winning video of 1997 Autumn Song.


The Spiral of Time: ACP Documentation, 2013
22 minutes, Video

Documentation of The Spiral of Time exhibition at The Australian Centre for Photograph, 2013.


Insomnia, 2013
Mixed-media installation

It kept looking at me. This owl perched on the window still. It was night. And I was in my cot as a toddler looking back at it through the bars of the cot’s wall. Unless I am mistaken this is the first memory I have of my childhood in Wauchope in 1947.


Paging Mr Hitchcock, 2013

Paging Mr Hitchcock is a performance video shot with a Red Epic camera in a studio, where the artist addresses Alfred Hitchcock and the decisive impact his cinema had on him.


Shipwreck, 2011
Mixed-media installation

Shipwreck is one of Conomos’ most overtly existential works. The title comes from Orson Welles and Charles de Gaulle. Welles quoted de Gaulle’s remark on old age in an interview recorded shortly before Welles’ death.


The Bells of Toledo, 2008
Radio show, 44' 33"

The Bells of Toledo is a passionate cinephile’s idiosyncratic homage to the great Spanish film maker Luis Buñuel. Best known perhaps for his scathing, surrealistic satires of middle class mores in films such as ‘The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie’ and The Exterminating Angel, Buñuel was a savage critic of…

Lake George (after Mark Rothko), 2007
24 minutes, Mini DV

A homage to Mark Rothko, and also in the long take cinema tradition (specifically Jean-Marie Straub and the late Daniele Huillet’s Too Early, Too Late [1982]), a landscape video about the ‘disappearing’ lake located outside Canberra, Australia. This work is in two versions; Installation and Essay (forthcoming).

Lake George (after Mark Rothko)

Aura, 2004
11 minutes, Mini DV

A video essay on the new ‘technological’ sublime in every day life.


Cyborg Ned, 2003
24 minutes, Mini DV

An homage to Nam June Paik TV Buddha series, this video sculpture represents Ned Kelly as Australia’s first ‘cyborg’ outlaw.

Cyborg Ned

Cinema of Solitude, 2001
Radio show, 28' 12"

French film-maker, Robert Bresson died in December, 1999 at the age of 92. Although he left behind only twenty hours of screen time, Bresson created one of the most distinctive bodies of work in world cinema. An enigmatic, solitary presence who became a figure of awe and …

Smoke in the Woods, 1999
Radio show, 37' 42"

Smoke in the Woods is an autobiographical meditation on exile, memory and time. This lyrical sound collage deals with the author’s ‘milk-bar childhood’ memories of 50s Sydney and of the Greek island of Kythera – whose inhabitants have travelled to Australia since the nineteenth century.

Album Leaves, 1999
39 min, SP Beta video

A three-channel video photo and neon installation dealing with the Diasporic Greek reflections on his childhood, cinema and the visual arts.


Autumn Song, 1998
23 minutes, SP Beta

Autobiographical performance about the artist’s childhood in a milk bar at Tempe and his ancestral forbearers from the Greek Island of Kythera.

Autumn Leaves