Legions in the Ceiling

published in UN No.2, Melbourne, 2004

Geoff Robinson is deaf in one ear. This makes him a more interesting installation artist than those with balanced hearing. To the impaired, sight and sound are treated less as sensory comfort and more as unqualified phenomenae. Images, echoes, forms, resonances, shapes, harmonics, shadows, drones, glare - all are reworked as suspect material in Geoff's installations. His work is seeded with doubt and apprehension. His materials are less about fragility and more their unsettling tactility. Water is about to pour over an edge; clouds rise like steam; light shafts stun the eye; trees grow unpredictably; indistinct rumbles disorient perspective.

In LEGIONS IN THE CEILING at Bus, all sound and vision are located in the roof: the ceiling is peeled back to revel strange shadows and bursts of light. Lo-fi rumbles suggest chairs being dragged across the crawlspace above. Someone’s doing something not-nice. This is Geoff doing cinema without being photo-precious about it. This ain’t sepia turn-of-the-century poetic crud with a few dried apples in Joseph Cornell boxes: this is carney spooksville abstracted. It’s pop without Pop Culture 101; it’s the fetid inversion of materials in order to bypass references. (References are for dorks.) Don’t open the fridge. Don’t go down the basement. Don’t go up the attic. LEGIONS IN THE CEILING points at you: it saw what you did and it knows who you are. Geoff is with the people who live under the stairs. They are legion. He’s making noise with them. He’s deaf in one ear but he hears cinema better than you.


Text © Philip Brophy. Image © Geoff Robinson.