SAM’s summer exhibition - Cover Versions: Mimicry and Resistance opens in November

Please note: this is an old article.

This article was published on 14, September, 2017. The infomation contained wihin may be out of date or inaccurate.

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is excited to present Cover Versions: Mimicry and Resistance as its major Summer exhibition. Featuring the works of thirteen artists and collectives, the exhibition explores ideas around mimicry and impersonation, re-performance or reiteration, as artists and collectives expand on the notion of the cover version and its subversive potential within the digital age.

Cover Versions: Mimicry and Resistance quotes from the histories of music, popular culture and the internet, ethnography and the natural world. This is expressed through a range of media including sound art and instrumentation, robotics, video, photography and installation. Mimicry has been equated with camouflage but it is also like holding up a mirror. Whether employed as a means of survival, in homage, or for the purposes of political critique, these works reveal something about the nature of our times.

Departing from Arthur Merric Boyd and Neil Douglas’ earthenware platter that depicts a lyrebird— a creature that can mimic multiple sounds and voices—the exhibition will examine the ways in which artists have used mimicry as a means of resistance, as a comment on contemporary culture, or as a means to subvert perceptions around gender, sexuality and ethnicity.

Curator, Anna Briers states:

This major group exhibition features two specials commissions anchored in SAM’s unique site and context. Artist collective Super Critical Mass will present a participatory sonic performance from a newly assembled community choir in response to the museum’s architecture, the collection display and each other. Also included, artist Michael Candy has produced a series of robotic pollenizers that mimic flowers, addressing the bee crisis that is both a local and global concern. These projects enable large-scale participatory audience engagement, while furthering cutting-edge experimental media art practice.

For the exhibition, two artists/artist groups have been commissioned to make new work.

The New York/Sydney/Brisbane artist duo, Super Critical Mass has been commissioned to create a version of their ongoing work, Moving Collected Ambience. It is a participatory sound art performance in which participants move through the gallery spaces producing simple vocal sounds in response to SAM’s permanent collection, the gallery architecture and each other. Artist Julian Day has been in Shepparton recruiting a choir to perform this work for the opening night of the exhibition.

Brisbane-based media artist Michael Candy has been commissioned to create a series of Synthetic Pollenizers - robotic flowers that work in concert with the local ecosystem to attract bees and increase the pollination of flora in the Shepparton region. This will occur in peak spring, assisting the bees with their pollination and documenting their activities with a motion tracking camera. On Saturday 23 September, the artist will be testing his Synthetic Pollenizers at Tallis Wines in Dookie. This is a public event, and those interested can RSVP via the SAM website. From Saturday 11 November, the bee activity will be live-streamed into SAM, from the rooftop residency of Melbourne-based beekeeper, Honey Fingers.

Yuki Kihara’s Culture for Sale 2014 will also be featured in the exhibition. Kihara, leading contemporary New Zealand- and Sydney and Samoa-based artist, here has employed a type of reverse anthropology in which the viewer participates in the exoticisation of the subject in the work by asking the viewer to insert a twenty cent coin in order for a video to be activated. Here, the artist subverts what was known as Samoan participation in the ‘Völkerschauen’, a popular form of exotic entertainment and colonial theatre in Germany in the early 20th century. The work makes viewers question practices that have been embedded—albeit more slyly—within mainstream culture throughout time, now expanding on the ways in which we consume video games. 

Artists in the exhibition include: Arthur Merric Boyd and Neil Douglas, Michael Candy, Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Marco Fusinato, Percy Grainger and Burnett Cross, Yuki Kihara, The Kingpins, LOUD + SOFT (Julian Day and Luke Jaaniste), Frédéric Nauczyciel, Soda Jerk vs The Avalanches, Super Critical Mass, Christian Thompson, and Jemima Wyman.

Curated by Anna Briers

Artists available for interview Yuki Kihara, Julian Day, Michael Candy

Resources Dropbox of high-res images -

For further information, or to arrange interviews with SAM’s Director Rebecca Coates or artists included, please contact SAM Marketing Coordinators by phone (03) 5832 9494 or by email on or

Image: (foreground) Super Critical Mass (Julian Day and Luke Jaaniste), Moving Collected Ambience 2014, participatory sound work, commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art and Performance Space, Sydney, 2015. Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the MCA Foundation, 2015. (background) Kerrie Poliness, OMG 2014, graphic film on wall, installation view, MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday, 2016. Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the MCA Foundation, 2014. Image courtesy the artists and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney © the artists, Kerrie Poliness/licenced by Viscopy 2017. Photo: Hospital Hill.