Map of Spirits (2015)
Map of Spirits (2015) is a five-channel work, commissioned by Gallery 4A, Sydney, for the 2015 exhibition, Tell Me My Truth. The work combines historical photographs and the artist has used a small wearable device that tracks and photographs the pathway of walks undertaken by the artist and others. These paths map a former precinct of Sydney’s Chinatown, demolished in the first years of the 20th century to make way for Wentworth Avenue, a grand boulevard leading to the newly-built Central Station. The Chinese cabinetmakers, small businesses and residents occupying the narrow treeless streets stood in the way of ‘progress’, and ironically, given Grace’s methodologies, police facilities (the Federal Police Building, the NSW Police Centre, the former CIB building on Campbell St) have occupied almost every corner of the location since – a long history of ‘security’ concerns. In Grace’s provocation of ‘incidents’ in micro-performances, Map of Spirits traces photographic resonances of Liang Qichao ( 梁啟超), a political refugee and one of the most important thinkers of modern China, visiting Australia at the time of the Commonwealth’s inauguration, and the names of the area’s residents who disappeared after Federation (when restriction on Chinese immigration was legislated).