Lara Thoms

di·a·log·ic [dahy-uh-loj-ik] (adjective)
1. of, pertaining to, or characterized by dialogue.
2. participating in dialogue.

Also, di·a·log·i·cal.
1825–35;  < Medieval Latin dialogicus  < Greek dialogikós,  equivalent to diálog ( os ) dialogue + -ikos -ic

Lara as Jackson, The Experts Project

Lara as Jackson, The Experts Project

In South African artist Candice Breitz’s two part video installation Him + Her (1968-2008), Breitz selected stationary close-up shots from various films featuring the artists Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. With the background blackened out, the focus of the piece remains firmly on the dialogue. Cut loose from their original storylines, the fragments of speech and the actors’ characterisations find a new relationship with each other, resulting in a pair of free-associating meta-characters.

Him + Her highlights the range of characters, as well as the gender stereotypes that both actors have so effectively embodied throughout their careers. Continual slippages of self are shown and identity is represented as liquid and mutable.

Dialogue, alongside social engagement and participation, is a strong theme also present in the work of Melbourne based artist Lara Thoms.

Lara as Shirl, The Experts Project

Lara as Shirl, The Experts Project

In The Experts Project (2010-2012) Lara sought out dialogue of a different sort in an attempt to explore those moments when you’ve asked one question too many of a stranger; questions to draw out a particular area of expertise and reveal the skills, passions and wisdom the participants didn’t realise they possessed.

In order to do this, Lara convinced a cross section of people to let her into their lives. Invited into their homes she donned their footwear, their clothes and posed in front of their mementos. The dialogue was documented with a photograph.

The process culminated in a series of lessons distilled into a three-hour performance lecture (with the audience free to come and go) where Thoms presented her research as a list of ‘How To’s’  based on her findings.

The Experts Project is not only a testament to Thoms’ charm and powers of persuasion but also to the meaningful engagement and level of trust fostered over a series of conversations.

Lara as Ronnie, The Experts Project

Lara as Ronnie, The Experts Project

What hidden qualities will Lara find in her Profile Me winner?

Lara Thoms is one of four artists participating in Profile Me; a competition inspired by our current exhibition Candice Breitz: The Character. Visit the Profile Me hub for more information on how you can enter and be in the running to win your very own digital portrait.

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