'Honesty', 2016, Riso-printed catalogue, reduced A5 (138 mm x 200 mm),
black and white, 20 pp, on 45GSM (newsprint).

Honesty was presented at TCB art inc., Melbourne, within a gallery that had been the former Communist Party of Australia Offices. The work elaborates the magical and spiritualistic entanglements of Melbourne’s early anarchist-communist movements, exploring the ways in which mysticism may enhance knowledge and politics. The exhibition itself was a large research project, conceived as a spatialised essay, in which works spanning video, performance and sculpture served as fragments and appendices to a narrative conveyed in a long-form text piece. This text focuses on the careers of the two brother magicians who founded the 1880’s Melbourne Anarchist Club (M.A.C.); it explores the degree to which this community of precarious qua-spiritualists confronted global and sexual political issues that remain pertinent today, and how discredited libertarian-socialist ideas might help to increase the justice of human relations.

Throughout this project, conjuring—as it exists in the realm of both magic and spiritualism—was used as a strategy for advancing the thesis that M.A.C.’s discarded (or dead) theories provided timely answers for issues of the present day. For a performance aspect of the project, a renowned spirit medium facilitated a public séance with the spirit of M.A.C.’s self-declared founder, magician David A. Andrade (d. 1928) via Skype. This discursive gesture represented a genuine—Feyerabendian—research effort conducted in the confidence that any ad-hoc hypotheses that were divined during the séance, had the potential for offering a truthful account of Andrade and his ideas.

A collaborative video work in the exhibition, 'Untitled (Story Trick)', involved a professional magician performing a ‘story trick’ using a deck of cards. The trick was based on Herman L. Weber’s ‘Jack Goes to Town’ trick, in which a monologue delivered by the magician contains words that miraculously correspond with images and numbers dealt from the deck. However, unlike Weber’s trick, this work presented a historical narrative focusing on the formation of the Australasian Secular Association—of which M.A.C. was an outgrowth—by a spiritualist renowned for channelling Giordano Bruno.

'Untitled (Bush Gate)', 2016, eucalyptus branches, rusted wire and nails –
2280 mm x 1480 mm x 150 mm
Based on the "Bush Gate" design by David A. Andrade.

'Honesty' (Gallery One), 2016.

'Honesty' (Gallery Two), 2016.

'Untitled (Story trick)', 2016, single channel video of magic performance English and Italian-language narration – 05'30'' looped.
Performing artist: Davide Gaido

'Untitled (Séance)', 2016,
séance with David A. Andrade, Frm. Hon. Sec. Melbourne Anarchist Club.
2–3pm Thursday 17 November 2016.
Medium: Deborah Malone

Also pictured: 'Untitled (believe, imagine, dream)', 2016, glitter on card, dimensions various.

This project is the outcome of a State Library Victoria Fellowship.