Art & Moving Image Commissions

The biennial Art & Moving Image commission by the Adelaide Film Festival, in partnership with the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, supports the development and presentation of bold and innovative screen based works by artists and screen creators.

Established in 2007, this special partnership has produced major works of distinctive creative vision that explore the moving image in all its manifestations. To date five prominent Australian contemporary artists have been recognised through this partnership.

The major works produced as part of the Commission have premiered in the Samstag Museum and form an integral role in the Adelaide Film Festival program.

Past recipients include: Lynette Wallworth (2009), Warwick Thornton (2011), Daniel Crooks (2013) and Hossein Valamanesh (2015) and in 2020 Soda_Jerk.

In addition to the Art & Moving Image Commissions, Samstag has partnered with the Adelaide Film Festival to present Trent Parke & Narelle Autio: The Summation of Force (2017) and Molly Reynolds & Rolf de Heer: The Waiting Room (2018).

Soda_Jerk: Hello Dankness

2020 Recipient

Soda_Jerk is a two-person art collective who work at the intersection of documentary and speculative fiction. They are fundamentally interested in the politics of images: how they circulate, whom they benefit, and how they can be undone. Predominantly working with video and lecture performance, their sample-based projects have also taken the form of cut-up texts, manifestos, screensavers and public interventions. They have been based in New York since 2012.

Their ambitious new work, titled Hello Dankness, addresses the seismic cultural transformation wrought by the internet. The work merges documentary with narrative film running riot through the genres of dystopian sci-fi, Hong Kong horror, 70s political thrillers, 90s sitcoms, internet instructional VHS, Soviet spy films, anime, dank memes and the blockbuster musicals of the early 80s.

Hello Dankness will screen in 2020 as part of the Adelaide International Film Festival alongside a retrospective of the pairs 17 year art practice.


Hossein Valamanesh: Char Soo

2015 Recipient

Hossein Valamanesh is noted for his transcendental and enigmatic works of art that engage with Sufi philosophy, ephemerality, and the intersection of nature and culture. Born in Tehran in 1949, he immigrated to Australia in 1973. Since making his home in Adelaide, Valamanesh has become one of Australia’s foremost contemporary artists, at the same time developing an international profile.

Char Soo is the artist’s first large-scale screen based work. This immersive four-screen projection places the viewer in the midst of the bustling crossroad of an Iranian bazaar to contemplate movement, human interaction and the passing of time. The ‘char soo’, or ‘four sides’, is also a metaphor for the country of Iran; itself criss-crossed by invasion and religious and cultural interaction for centuries.


Daniel Crooks: Pan No. 11 Cross Platform Transfer

2013 Recipient

Daniel Crooks’ major exhibition for the 2013 Adelaide Film Festival challenged audiences used to the narrative qualities of cinema to experience the power of the moving image as a tool to explore the spatial quality of time. In viewing his largest commissioned work to date, viewers traced the slippages and overlaps of bent time as they navigated the folds of what was effectively one screen concertinaed into the vast space of gallery one in the Samstag Museum.

Pan No. 11 (cross-platform transfer) was a technically and conceptually deft treatment of the concept of time itself, and situated one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists within the broader context of film and the moving image.


Warwick Thornton: Stranded

2011 Recipient

Warwick Thronton, a Kaytej man from central Australia, is a filmmaker of singularly distinctive vision. His first cinematic feature, Samson & Delilah (2009), took the national and international film world by storm. The 2011 Art and Moving Image Commission represented Thornton’s first foray into creating work expressly for an exhibition context.

Entering the darkened gallery, viewers found themselves faced with the three-dimensional spectre of Thornton’s Christ-like figure revolving in space in the brilliant harshness of the broken heartland, the tension heightened by the unnerving sounds of open spaces. An example of technical dexterity matched by conceptual depth, Stranded explores redemption and sacrifice with a sharp satirical edge.  


Lynette Wallworth: Duality of Light

2009 Recipient

Lynette Wallworth is an Australian artist who works across video installation, photography, and film. Wallworth’s immersive installation environments are intriguing ecosystems that rely on activation by the viewer.

Duality of Light focused on the interplay between moving image, sound, space and visitor. Wallworth employed interactive technologies that invited visitors to pass through a series of sound thresholds indicated by subtle light transitions into a space that invokes a Cambodian temple. Once inside the temple visitors come face to face with their own image – captured on entering the space – in a layered and confronting spectoral vision.