Paradise Falls 1

Video Artist: Kate McMillan
Country: Year: Duration: 2 min 49 sec


This film was shot in the Black Forest in 2011 during a residency with the Christoph Merian Stiftung in Basel, Switzerland. The lake in the image is on the top of an extinct volcanic for called Mummelsee (Mother Lake). There are many myths associated with this lake in German folklore, most notably about a siren who lures men into the forest and kills them. ‘Paradise Falls I’ considers how history can leave a residue in the landscape and the past often comes back to haunt us.


The second film (Paradise Falls II) that accompanies this work, was shot in early 2012 off the coast of Wadjemup/Rottnest Island in Western Australia. This film employs a similar technique whereby an Aboriginal man (Aaron Wyatt) rows towards the island appearing and disappearing. The island was the site of an Aboriginal prison, that is barely acknowledged. The film portrays a man rowing back to his captors, highlighting that history can not always be forgotten.


The sound for both films was developed by Cat Hope. The sound is an important aspect as it provides an un-nerving contrast to the poetic images of the film, highlighting the persistent disquiet of history.


The films are HD digital and were shown on large screens with headphones at Venn Gallery in 2012. In optimum viewing conditions, the films would be projected in a dark room with surround sound.


The films are editioned to 3 and the first edition is in the Collection of the University of Western Australia.



Paradise Falls 1

Sound: composed by Dr Cat Hope, performed by Decibel,

recorded by Stuart James at Soundfield Studio

Camera: Luc Renaud

Woman on lake: Eveline Bouvla

Editing: Sohan Ariel Hayes

Kate McMillan

Kate McMillan’s work incorporates a range of media including installation, sculpture, film, sound, photography and painting. McMillan is interested in the linking narratives of forgetting and place, often focusing on the histories of various island sites. Her artworks thus act as haunting memory-triggers for histories and ideas that are over-looked.


She is currently working towards a major commission with the Kunsthaus Bethanian and 'Momentum: Global Platform for Time Based Art' to coincide with the 2016 Berlin Biennale. The work entitled The Ghosts of Material Things engages with ideas of involuntary memory and uses the Musee Marcel Proust in Illiers-Combray, as well as the Musee Carnavalet in Paris as starting points for research. In November 2014 she presented a project three years in development with Performance Space in Sydney that was presented at Carriageworks entitled The Moment of Disappearance. The five channel film and installation included a new sound work composed by Cat Hope and recorded with the London Improvisers Orchestra. The work will tour to various Australian and International venues in 2015 and 2016. In early 2015 McMillan will present an exhibition of small sculptures and experimental films at Moana Project Space in Perth, Australia entitled Anxious Objects.


Previous solo exhibitions include The Potter’s Field, 2014, ACME Project Space, London; In the shadow of the past, this world knots tight, 2013 Venn Gallery; Paradise Falls, 2012, Venn Gallery; Lost at the John Curtin Gallery in 2008, Broken Ground in 2006 at Margaret Moore Contemporary Art and Disaster Narratives at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts for the 2004 Perth International Arts Festival. She has been included in various group exhibitions over the last few years including the 2010 Biennale of Sydney, the Trafco Centre for Contemporary Art, Poland, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Gertrude Street Contemporary Art in Melbourne, Govett Brewster Art Gallery in New Zealand, Doit curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist & Sophie O'Brien as well as the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney.


Since 2002 she has undertaken residencies in London, Tokyo, Switzerland, Berlin, Sydney, China and Hong Kong. McMillan has been the recipient of numerous grants including a 2011 New Work Grant from the Australia Council, which she also received in 2009. In 2013 she was awarded a Fellowship from the Department of Culture and the Arts (WA) and a Mid-Career Fellowship in 2008. She has resided on the Board of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) based in Sydney and has worked as a Peer and an Advisor for the Australia Council for the Arts. Her PhD (2014) explored the capacity for Contemporary Art to unforget history. She currently holds an academic post with Open University via Curtin University, Perth, Australia; University of Creative Arts, Farnham and Coventry University in the UK. McMillan is an External Examiner for Brighton University, UK.