Xanthe Dobbie



Eidolon is a fanatical ode to the image – a myth built on fragmented histories. In the year 2000 Jennifer Lopez wore a green, Jungle-print dress designed by Donatella Versace, so iconic that she broke the internet and Google had to invent Google Images just to keep up. A few thousand years before, Helen of Troy’s face launched a thousand ships, kick-starting the legendary Trojan War. However, some say Helen never even went to Troy, that a carbon copy sculpted by the Gods – an eidolon – was sent in her place. If so, the ten year war was fought for an illusion. Our time is drenched in images and images of images. Merging past, present, and potential futures, this desktop performance dredges the internet, conflating facts and fictions in an act of post-truth digital myth-making.


Interested in harnessing liveness in recorded materials, Eidolon is a single-take performance. Exploiting the power of basic desktop softwares (Word, Stickies, Chrome, Preview), the work was rehearsed like a piece of theatre and then recorded live with the artist composing visuals and mixing sound in real time from a second screen. Eidolon was commissioned by Sydney Opera House (Sydney, NSW) for their online Shortwave Program and was shortlisted for Digital Innovation in the 2021 Woollahra Digital Literary Award. The work includes original score elements by award-winning composer Jorde Heys.


Xanthe Dobbie (1992, Sunshine Coast) is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher based on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation in Naarm, Melbourne. Working across on- and offline modes of making, their practice aims to capture the experience of contemporaneity as reflected through queer and feminist ideologies. Drawing on humour, pop, sex, history and iconography, they develop shrines to a post-truth era. They have exhibited extensively locally and internationally with recent works including live-streamed theatre, interactive media, AR, VR, collage, performance and installation. Significant exhibitions include Matrix Re-Loaded at RMIT First Site Gallery (2023), Cloud Copy at Lismore Regional Gallery (2023), The Long Now at ACMI (2022), and Don’t Be Evil at UQ Art Museum (2021). Xanthe recently won the Incinerator Art Award for Social Change and in 2023 was Guest Editor for Runway Journal Issue #46 Ghost. They co-founded performance series Queer PowerPoint for which they have performed at major festivals and institutions including MCA, Sydney Opera House, WA Museum, RISING, and Now or Never. Xanthe is currently undertaking a PhD focusing on digital and interactive art at RMIT University as part of the ARC Linkage Archiving Australian Media Art: Towards a Method and National Collection.

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