Meet Virginia Rigney

Super Souvenir Guest Curator & Public Programming

Virginia Rigney is an independent curator and writer whose practice has sought to interogate the cliche that the Gold Coast is a ‘place of no history and no culture’. Her curatorial projects have explored historical and contemporary artistic perspectives in unexpected places from real estate hoardings to surf boards, fibro shacks and beach fashion. She previously collaborated with Bleach* in 2014  to present 'Fibro Coast: The Bleach Extension' and in 2016 was a Queensland Government Smithsonian Fellow.

 

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Souveniring Paradise

The Gold Coast appears, shimmering on the horizon of the national imagination, as a place of promise, fun, and escape to a place where conventions are relaxed and anything could happen.

First a string of beachside villages and now a 60km city, its lifeblood has consistently been about attracting visitors and wanting them to leave with happy memories. The souvenirs that they might purchase to fulfill a desire to capture and hold that experience, were designed to express, enhance and exaggerate those feelings.

As a relatively new city, its reputation now sits on the shelf of collective memory through photographs in family albums, shared on facebook, film clips on Youtube and with these original souvenirs.

Usually something quite small, these objects might have proudly gone “straight to the pool room!” as the character of Darryl Kerrigan in The Castle might exclaim or be sitting quietly forgotten in a bottom drawer. Increasingly they could be attracting attention on E-bay and Instagram or be commanding a premium price in a retro-cool vintage shop.

For locals these little ‘talismans of memory’ have an ongoing resonance, especially because the city itself feels so ephemeral and changes so rapidly.

The Gold Coast souvenir can be read as a potent symbol that can represent the collective experience of the changing identity of the city.

As part of this first presentation of the Super Souvenir project, we have brought together a collection of original Gold Coast souvenirs that have been kindly lent by local residents.

They sit in dialogue with the works of the six contemporary artists as a provocation to consider how might we create a new generation of souvenirs that address the Gold Coast as a more complex city with new narratives.

 

VIRGINIA RIGNEY