‘42nds’. A video poem by Ian Gibbins

42nds (2017, dur: 0:45)

Who owns the country? Who can come? Who can go? And when we are here, how long can we stay? This is the pitch… this is the sale of your life…

Part of the brief for the original commission was that videos had to be 40-45 seconds long and suitable for screening on the wall of a building in the main shopping strip of the Adelaide CBD. So I decided to make it look like a cheap TV advertisement. As part of my research, I timed the scene changes and counted the numbers of words per scene in dozens of TV commercials. Surprisingly, they are remarkably similar and I used these numbers as template for making 42nds.

This video was commission by the Adelaide City Council and the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) for “WORD!! East End Moving Image Project”, a public art initiative screened in Rundle Street, Adelaide, South Australia, 2017 and 2018. It was then screened at Water Screen LaserVision projection as part of HybridWorld Adelaide 2018. (Adelaide Riverbank, 20-22 July 2018). Most recently, it was commissioned for display at the Adelaide Festival Centre digital screens (King William Road, Adelaide, April, 2019).


Ian Gibbins is a widely published poet, video artist and electronic musician. His videos have been shown to acclaim at festivals, exhibitions, commissioned public art programs and installations around the world and have won or been short-listed for multiple awards. His videos have gained more than 5000 views on his Vimeo channel. In 2020 alone, 18 of his videos have been screened in more than 50 international festivals and events.

Ian’s poetry has been short-listed for national prizes and selected for several anthologies, including Best Australian Poems. Ian has produced four collections of poetry: Urban Biology (2012); The Microscope Project: How Things Work (2014, with artists Catherine Truman and Deb Jones); Floribunda (2015, with artist Judy Morris) and A Skeleton of Desire (2019).

Ian has collaborated widely with artists on projects bridging art and science, culminating in several major exhibitions (2009, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2020) and two projects with Australian Dance Theatre.

Until his retirement in 2014, Ian was an internationally recognised neuroscientist and Professor of Anatomy at Flinders University, South Australia, having originally trained as a zoologist. He still lives on Kaurna land in South Australia.

For details of Ian’s creative work, visit http://www.iangibbins.com.au.
For his videos, visit: http://vimeo.com/iangibbins
For his audio, visit: http://iangibbins.bandcamp.com/
Social media: http://www.facebook.com/IanGibbins.poetry.music.science


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