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Luke Penders

Luke Penders


Artist biography

A colour portrait photograph of a young white man. His face fills the image in an extreme close-up. The bottom of his chin and the top of his head are outside of the image. He has dark hair, stubble on his face and the beginnings of a moustache. The top part of his dark shirt is just visible in the bottom of the photo. He looks up and to the left of the image. In the background of the image are objects that suggest he is in a computer laboratory.

I am a sound artist who works with found sounds such as field recordings and homemade instruments. The majority of my work is based around experience and events that happen in my life. Whenever I make a sound piece, it is always based around an experience, or a discussion of an idea or concept.

I am currently undertaking a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree at the Australian National University. I have played my music alongside many prominent experimental musicians such as Seaworthy, Mike Cooper, Pimmon, Spartak and more.

I also work with video and animation. My experimental film Tokyo, Japan (Detail) was shown last year at the Open Frame Festival held at the Australian National University School of Art Gallery. A collaborative experimental film which was created by myself and 10 other students was shown at the National Film and Sound Archive earlier this year.

Artist statement

A colour photograph of an audiovisual artwork installation. In the centre of the installation is what appears to be a data projector mounted on a tall plinth. The plinth has been draped with black cloth. The projector appears to be partially covered in black cloth as well. Scattered on the floor in front of the plinth are numerous small white objects of the same size, which appears to be that of about half a ping pong ball. To the left of the image, on the floor, is either another data projector or a light. It illuminates the objects on the floor and causes deep shadows on the cloth on the plinth. There are no other light sources in the room in which the artwork is installed. Consequently there are deep shadows either side of the installation.

This project was based around convict love tokens, many of which can be found at the National Museum of Australia.

The round object upon the plinth, serves as a 'screen' for rear projection. I projected images of convict love tokens, on a 10 frame per second, 3.5 second loop, Scattered on the ground are 5000 'love tokens', each one representing each convict that was aboard the first three fleets. The sound component was immersive, with messages from the love tokens being recited over the top of one another, making it impossible to hear each message.

The idea behind this project was to put in contrast the beautiful and emotional nature of
the tokens, with the sheer number of convicts that were transported.

Artist work

A colour still image taken from an audiovisual piece showing an engraved coin. The surface of the coin has an ornate pattern engraved on it. In the centre of the pattern are engraved two names: 'James Godfrey' and 'Hannah Jones'. At the left of the coin, toward its edge, a name is engraved in the border of the pattern. The name is 'T. Boulton'. Another name is engraved on the right of the coin. This name is 'S. Stevens'. The face of the coin has soft shades of pink, copper and grey on it. Beyond the edges of the coin is a solid black background.


Title: Longing from New Holland

Medium: Video
Date: May 2009

View Luke Penders' Longing from New Holland (MPEG4 16mb) duration 2:50

Artist inspiration

Convict tokens

Some 160,000 convicts were sent to the Australian colonies from 1788 to 1868. One of those convicts was Thomas Lock. He was convicted of highway robbery and sentenced to 10 years' transportation to New South Wales. Before Lock left England, as he waited in prison for his sentence to be carried out, he used a penny to make a token of remembrance to leave behind. The inscription reads:

ME WHEN / I AM FAR / FROM the[e] /
10 Years

Lock gave this memento to a loved one when he sailed for Australia. He arrived in Sydney in September 1845. It is not known if he ever returned to England.

Convict token in the form of a circular copper disc stipple-engraved with 'THOMAS / LOCK / AGED 22 / TRANSPed / 10 Years" is impressed in side one, and "WHEN / THIS YOU / SEE / REMEMBER / ME WHEN / I AM FAR / FROM THE [sic]' is in side two.
Photo: Dragi Markovic.

Read more about the convict tokens

Collector and consultant Peter Lane detailed his research on convict tokens in a presentation at the National Museum on 13 June 2009. The talk also covered the Alexander Mussen ambrotype and the Muriel McPhee trousseau.

audio_w15 Listen to 'Stories of sadness and loss' audio (MP3 42mb) 1:32:00