Species of Spaces 2014

A preview of Species of Spaces a 5 channel video piece (10 channel audio) commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney.




Filmed over a year in the disused industrial spaces of Cockatoo Island Species of Space is a response to the monumental materiality of the island with small simple gestures and improvised actions that sound the island’s varied spaces, materials and constructions then catalogues them. So the island and its objects are read as a kind of score, their shapes and abilities suggest actions and these actions are tested against this materiality.

I'd like to thank the Biennale;  it’s staff, board and sponsors and the artistic director.

This work was withdrawn because of The Biennale’s sponsorship arrangement with Transfield a company that profits from and provides material support to the Australian Government’s offshore mandatory detention of Asylum Seekers.

It is shown now because of the end of this sponsorship arrangement and in the spirit of good faith with the Biennale.

I'd like to state that I stand in solidarity with asylum seekers and their resistance against offshore mandatory detention, a policy that contravenes United Nations conventions on human rights.

Film No. 9 (Don't Worry Love) 2014

Response to Yoko Ono's score Film No. 9 (Don't Worry Love) made for Experimental Universe Curated By Other Film at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney 2014.  

My interpretation is 3 concurrent shots stretched from 20 seconds to 9 minutes.

"Film No. 9 (Don't Worry Love) 2 hr. to 45 mins. Colour highspeed camera synchronised sound. This is a love message we send from England to all over the world and to the future. The idea was conceived from the fact when a star blinks, we only conceive it 2000 years after it's actually blinked. And that they say that the love we feel now is the love that's been conceived by some- body 2000 years ago, or that somebody in the corner of the world is sending love vibrations just to keep us in love, etc. The film will be 20 seconds each shot of people smiling and saying "don't worry love", but because the shots are done in highspeed, each smile would actually be synchronised to the highspeed motion so that what you actually hear would be a strange elongated version of "don't worry love". I hope this film will make the whole world a shade happier and rosier, and that our smile would encourage people of 2000 years later, just as the blinking of stars. It is actually a film that would be most effective if it's seen in our great, great grand- children's time. We must get a galaxy of people with strong good vibrations to smile in this film-people who represent our age."

Ball Hits Camera 2014

Please view at C3's website http://www.c3artspace.com.au/
4 images of people playing sport, in each image a ball is about to hit the camera
Ball Hits Camera – Nathan Gray 2014 – 3:07 minute loop
Ball Hits Camera is a collection of moments of violence towards video devices, told by the devices themselves. It’s a compilation of accidental structural films where the sounds and vision is generated by the camera being struck, jostled or broken and the recording technology becomes the subject of the work. Commissioned by c3 as part of the online project lab Ball Hits Camera challenges the complacency of the viewer as objects repeatedly attempt to break the fourth wall and do the audience damage.

Queen Size


Queen Size, 2014, Plinth Projects
Nathan Gray's work for Plinth Projects, Queen Size, pays tribute to the inner spring mattress; its centrality to our lives, its difficult materiality, durability and portability and its soft horizontal contrast to the rigid verticality of the plinth.

Works Under 30 Seconds 13-15







The full vimeo channel is available here http://vimeo.com/channels/under30 and as always for exhibition enquiries please contact me or contact: info@utopianslumps

Works Under 30 Seconds 10-12







The full vimeo channel is available here http://vimeo.com/channels/under30 and as always for exhibition enquiries please contact me or contact: info@utopianslumps

Works Under 30 Seconds 7-9







The full vimeo channel is available here http://vimeo.com/channels/under30 and as always for exhibition enquiries please contact me or contact: info@utopianslumps

Works Under 30 Seconds 4-6







The full vimeo channel is available here http://vimeo.com/channels/under30 and as always for exhibition enquiries please contact me or contact: info@utopianslumps

Works Under 30 Seconds 1-3





Nathan Gray’s latest works improvise within self imposed time and material constraints. They aim to have an economy and lightness of touch that deflects attention from the “work” aspect of the artwork. More generally they are improvisations with the time limits and economic constraints of the artist's life.
The full vimeo channel is available here http://vimeo.com/channels/under30 and as always for exhibition enquiries please contact me or contact: info@utopianslumps

Boxes (with the sound of their own whatever)


I’m starting to think that performing a work (art or music) is the best way to experience it, partially and willingly subverting my sovereignty in order to carry out a pre-ordained action, and letting that action take me over. Whether I am the composer or not seems to be irrelevant at this point.



I’ve been inspired by Cornelius Cardew whose ethos and works have made been examples to me, but I’ve approached him with a lack of respect, with my works falling uncomfortably between parody and homage.

And like anyone musically minded I’m also haunted and taunted by Cage who’s imperative to LISTEN and Buddhist acceptance of what IS seem to promote a charged apathy which is at odds with Cardew’s political actions. Cage also leaves little room for the performer either, enslaving them to random processes.

When I started to look for objects to work with, I had something much more sculptural in mind for my piece. But on finding multiple TV cabinets with castors I realised what I should do. I realised that these casualties of the rise of the flat screen TV, whose natural de-selection had placed their squat frames in my clutches, had actions implicit in them, other than their intended use, that they too could be scores for improvisation.

The final form of the piece sees each cabinet reconfigured as a speaker, playing back a 4 channel recording of me and my friends riding these cabinets down a slope, the damages inflicted on the boxes are recorded in their surfaces those inflicted on us are recorded in the audio.


Maybe it’s a parody/homage to Robert Morris’ Box With the Sound of Its Own Making or more likely a piss weak version of a Jackass skit. At this point I don’t feel like I’m in control of my work any more, objects demand actions of me I just try to work out the best way to perform them, its not so bad really.