The San Francisco conceptualists Ant Farm (1968–1978) are rightly famous for their radical architecture (The House of the Century, 1973), iconic land art (Cadillac Ranch, 1974), and pioneering video/performance (Media Burn, 1975).
Much less well-known are Ant Farm’s projects in Australia. Yet it is undeniable that their 10 week visit to Australia in mid 1976 turned the group upside down in more ways than one. Importantly, the focus of their work shifted, with Oceania not only becoming an important base, but also a critical concept for the group. Central to this shift was perhaps Ant Farm’s most ambitious project, the Dolphin Embassy (1974–1978), and in January 1977 the group’s co-founder Doug Michels relocated to Sydney to establish a consulate there.
Until now, the historical accounts of Ant Farm have misrepresented and misunderstood the nature and extent of the group’s work in Australia. Equally, Ant Farm’s projects are invisible in any account of Australian art.
Ant Farm 1976–1978 Australia (KANN-Verlag, Frankfurt, 2014, 23.5 x 18.5 cm, b&w, 155 pages, edited by David Pestorius, with cover by Liam Gillick), is the first book devoted to the activities and critical reception of Ant Farm in Australia. It adopts a form favoured by Ant Farm — the photo-collage — and critically builds upon their artist’s book Dolphin Embassy (Log: 1976–1978), Sydney, Australia.
- Ant Farm 1876–1978 Australia
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