Rewind: Lyndal Jones: Prediction Piece 6

by Lyndal Jones

Study for the Prediction Pieces, Performance Space, Sydney, 1989 photographer; Sandy Edwards

Prediction Piece 6 (version 1) was an installation comprising a 2 x 5 metre Besser Brick wall with 2 returns built inside the gallery to seal off the rear exit to the garden. This created a ‘courtyard’ unable to be entered by viewers. Instead, in the darkened room of the gallery they could look up to see a continuous multiple projection of phrases and images across the ceiling.

Central to all versions of this work, which included other installations and a large-scale performance for the theatre, is the phrase ‘the writing is on the wall’.

This phrase, with its ‘implication of a fate already sealed[1]’ is tied here to the image of someone blindfolded, standing against a wall before a firing squad, their future determined. PP6 was thus created as an extended image of revolution, of war.

The action of the work was to proceed to make this future more complex, more open. Thus, the writing appeared here, not on the wall but on the ceiling, as a series of projections. These images were thus ephemeral and also had random relationships to each other in order to suggest a range of possibilities, a range of futures. The soundscape comprised only the clicking over of the slides in the automated unseen projectors (there were 5) in the otherwise silent, darkened room.

I remember the delight of having this huge grey wall built in the gallery and of setting up the projections the day before the opening, only to find myself completely unmoved by them. This was an important moment for my future works as I threw out the phrases I had and rewrote them. The phrases substituted were intimate and vulnerable, so that the viewer became implicated as the lover being directly addressed. And they were placed in the projectors only an hour before the opening. My first viewing was with over 100 other people in the room, some of who lay on the floor to watch it. I remember being exquisitely embarrassed by having created such a relationship, but knew this approach made for a much more powerful work. These and other phrases, which had almost accidentally created the viewers as performers, then became central to the rest of the Prediction Pieces. Importantly this one work had allowed me to create a way to use language and sound to create audiences as performers which has informed my artworks ever since.

Lyndal Jones, Prediction Piece 6: Pipe Dreaming (Installation Version 1) 1988, installation view, ACCA. Courtesy the artist and ACCA Archive.

Lyndal Jones: Prediction Piece 6: Pipe Dreaming (Installation Version 1)  was held at ACCA from  21 October – 20 November 1988.

Lyndal Jones is an artist who uses performance (live and video) to focus on context, place and empowerment through long-term projects.  In 2001 she represented Australia at the Venice Biennale and in 2008 held a survey exhibition at ACCA. The Avoca Project: Art, Place and Climate Change, her current 10 year project, addresses climate change action. She is currently Professor of Contemporary Art in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University.


[1] Cramer, Sue 1992, ‘Introduction to the Prediction Pieces’ in Lyndal Jones: The Prediction Pieces 1981-1991, Museum of Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art Archive, Sydney, Australia