Invasion (UFO possums)

Cook, Michael
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Object Detail

Invasion (UFO possums)
Production date
inkjet print
81 x 120 cm
Interpretive text
Michael Cook is a contemporary Queensland photographic artist, practicing since 2010. As well as exhibitions across Australia, he is an internationally exhibited artist with solo exhibitions in Hong Kong and London as well as work displayed in a high-profile 2018 exhibition at the British Museum, ‘Re-imagining Captain Cook’. His work is found in several international art collections including the British Museum. Within Australia, his work is held in several state and national art gallery and museum collections, several university art museums, and many Queensland regional galleries including Artspace Mackay.

In his practice, Cook is often a mythmaker who creates fantasised versions of Australian history focused on the narrative of colonialism through photographic and image editing skills. Invasion is one of Cook’s most ambitious projects to date. Over a year in production and featuring a large cast and crew, the photographs visualise a distinctly Australian-themed invasion on the streets of London. Amid the laser fire of flying saucers, massive goannas, witchetty grubs and possums with laser eyes tower over human figures who run screaming from the monsters’ attacks. In Invasion (laser girls), the invaders are a procession of dark-skinned women spouting killer lasers from their nipples.

The photographs are staged as if screen stills from a mid-century B-grade science fiction movie (see War of the Worlds 1953 and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds 1963). These movies, and consequently Cook’s photographs, speak to the heightened fear of Soviet invasion for the UK, USA and other Allied Forces during that era. Cook exploits this fear to make a wild and humorous comparison to the British invasion of Aboriginal Australia, compelling non-indigenous audiences to imagine what First Contact must feel like from an Indigenous point of view.

Artspace Mackay 2021
Credit line
Mackay Regional Council Art Collection, gift of the artist through the Cultural Gifts Program 2021.
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