Motherboard Olympus

Installation, Logan Art Gallery and Pine Rivers Regional Gallery, 2011
Kitchen objects, yarns, furniture, lights, disco ball, wedding dress trash can lid, pearls and beads, and metal grids (9m x 7m room)

In Motherboard Olympus, the centrepiece of this installation, Zantis is inspired by word play and the conventional cultural assignment of gender to inanimate objects. The idea for this work came from a conversation Zantis had with an IT consultant who was repairing her computer. The IT consultant informed the artist that the motherboard was clearly at fault. Zantis replied without hesitation “typical – blame the mother!” Zantis’ humanised Motherboard wears a garish train of lantana like tulle, decorated with the artist’s trademark knitted vulvas and wrapped kitchen utensils. Perched on her throne of white leather and with a metal halo, she appears as the Madonna of the digital age.

At the same time, her kitchen trimmings, teats and vagina-covered gown channel the Madonna of popular culture. The soft voluptuous layers of tulle, ripe fleshy pearls and pink fluffy “lady bits” radiate an empowered female sexuality and sensuality as well as a confident authority. The relationship of power and sexuality is complimented in the surrounding works: Facebook Matrix, World Wide Web, Laptop and Cookies, which pursue the implications of security and control in the digital era. In Cookies Zantis’ Cookie Cutter Girls are suspended in cages, with their vulvas safety-pinned closed to form chastity belts- a confronting visual pun on the computer’s anti-virus security software, which cannot help also alluding to sadomasochism and genital mutilation.

Zantis is challenging us to adopt a playful but at the same time questioning stance. The exhibition is a riotously over-the-top, brash assemblage of the supposedly feminine. But it is also an inquiry into the layers of cultural meaning that shape our assumptions about gender and power.