Secret Life

CF + Melinda Smith, PhD Project 2014-17

Secret Life, 2014.
Broadside: digital print on archival photo paper.
594 x 420mm, edition of 5.

Melinda worked with Caren on an iterative poetry collaboration from 2014 to 2017, based around the history of Australia’s first Parliament House in Canberra. This was part of the first project of the series, initiated by an exhibition call-out by Craft ACT and the Museum of Australian Democracy, asking artists to respond to some of the MoAD permanent displays of historic furniture and other objects. We chose the Sign Room, which had a collection of hand-lettered signs outlining rules, regulations and directions for negotiating the building and its activities. 

This broadside was designed for the wall of the room; its framework reflects the architectural elements of the building. There are four poems built into the print, each original works by Melinda.

The signs and broadside were on display in Old Parliament House for a year, from December 2014 to December 2015. The poems were recycled when we composed the artist book 1962: Be Spoken To.

Other projects with Melinda:  Be Spoken To (2014–15); 1962: Be Spoken To (2014-15); ; Members Only (2017); and Red Language (2015-  ).

Melinda Smith won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for her fourth book of poems, Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call. Her work has appeared widely in Australia and overseas. She was Poetry Editor of the Canberra Times from 2015 to mid-2017. Her latest collection, Goodbye Cruel, was published by Pitt St Poetry in 2017.