Until the 26th of September 2020 you can conduct your own reading at the biennale installation at Carriageworks. Onsite there is an installation of unbound booklets from the production of NIRIN NGAAY – you can take a selection and do your own reading. Go visit!

Reading NIRIN: Andrew Rewald

In this video, Andrew Rewald reads 'On the Movement of Plants' from NIRIN NGAAY. Watch here

Reading NIRIN: Karla Dickens

Karla Dickens reads her contribution, 'Ready, Willing and Able'. Watch here

Reading NIRIN: Gladys Milroy

In this video, Gladys Milroy reads her story, 'The Black Feather'. Watch here

Reading NIRIN: Jessyca Hutchens

In this video, Jessyca Hutchens introduces us to the book. Watch here

Printed matter & NIRIN publications

Stuart Geddes and Trent Walter speak with Brook Andrew about their own artistic processes in printed matter and how they came to collaborate and produce two publications for NIRIN. The two publications, the exhibition catalogue NIRIN (edge) and the 'reader' NIRIN NGAAY (see the edge) were created in collaboration with (editors) Jessyca Hutchens (Assistant Curator to the Artistic Director) and Brook Andrew. Watch here

An artist’s book by Stuart Geddes and Trent Walter.
Edited by Jessyca Hutchens, Brook Andrew, Stuart Geddes and Trent Walter.
Commissioned for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney.

The Biennale of Sydney team and authors of this publication acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation; the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation; the Bidiagal, Dharawal and Gamaygal people, on whose ancestral lands and waters NIRIN gathers.

NIRIN is a safe place for people to honour mutual respect and the diversity of expression and thoughts that empower us all.

NIRIN NGAAY is a compilation, a collection, a volume, an Artist Book, a Reader, an artwork, a sprawling, excessive heterogenous space of connections. Published as part of the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), titled NIRIN, A Wiradjuri word meaning ‘edge’, this book is a space where ideas, themes, research, and experiments arising out of NIRIN find places on pages. Traversing many disciplines and forms, encompassing new and previously published works, complete works as well as excerpts and fragments and responses, each piece may ask for new modes of reading and seeing. Instead of disorienting, we see many lines darting and weaving across these works, beautiful moments of syncing and overlap, affective and abstract resonances, moments of density, as well as pauses to breathe deeply. Read and see and touch at random or with resolve – we hope that you will appreciate the way these works unfold and twist together, creating movements of meaning between them. ‘NGAAY’ is a Wiradjuri word meaning ‘see.’ To really see ‘edges’, might also be to sense and feel and trace them, they come into view with clarity, hover in the periphery, or drift away like memories.

Buy the book

Copies of NIRIN NGAAY can be purchased at the
Biennale of Sydney Shop

Book credits

First published in 2020 by the Biennale of Sydney Ltd.

Published with generous support from Aesop and the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

This publication is copyright and all rights are reserved. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced or
communicated to the public by any process without prior written permission of the copyright holder.

© Biennale of Sydney Ltd
All texts and artworks © the author or artist.

Published for the exhibition the 22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN, 14 March – 8
June 2020.

ISBN: 978-0-9578023-9-1

Biennale of Sydney
Chief Executive Officer: Barbara Moore
Artistic Director: Brook Andrew
Editors: Jessyca Hutchens, Brook Andrew, Stuart Geddes and Trent Walter
Publications team: Sebastian Henry-Jones, Liz Malcolm and Jodie Polutele

Designed, typeset and printed by Stuart Geddes and Trent Walter on a Heidelberg GTO 52. Some sections printed by Printgraphics and Newsprinters.

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Biennale of Sydney.

Biennale of Sydney Ltd
Level 4
10 Hickson Road
The Rocks NSW 2000

Film credits

Director & Producer
Amy Browne

Amy Browne
Jason Heller

Jaime Snyder

Sound by
Jaime Snyder
Ben Coe

Nirin Ngaay


Year: 2018
Duration: 4’50”
Single-channel HD video projection, color, sound
Video produced by the Han Nefkens Foundation

This work, which includes dialogue and film stills from Aesthetics of Weapons (2018), was originally published in Erkan Özgen: Giving Voices, Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2019, pp. 93–117

States can wage violence in the name of security, punishment, and even freedom. Yet those who behold the weapons, i.e. police, military and paramilitary forces, act as the mediators of violence. They control the fate brought upon by the weapon, so their functioning requires that the violence legitimized by the government trickle down to the individual. How does the beholder of the gun legitimized using it? Perhaps if we repeat the following questions we could get a semblance of an answer: Who is the subject of the gun? And who is the object?

When weapons are used, violence grows exponentially. Thus, weapons are quite literally the means to an end. The shooter is the subject of the gun and the victim is the object. In Aesthetics of Weapons, Erkan Özgen films a state-sanctioned subject of the weapon: a police officer. However, the artist blurs the subject-object relationship by the anonymous protagonist’s account of his gun. The video begins with a narrated personification of the gun attracting the gaze of the viewer, which in effect dually objectifies and subjectifies the gun. Thereon, the work moves through the intimacy of the protagonist and his gun, giving us an insight into this destructive relationship and representing a scenario of legitimization.

00:00 − 00:05

00:06 − 00:08
Sarjör değiştir..

00:09 − 00:13
Ben cizgilerine baktım. Cizgileri çok hoştu, hatları güzeldi..
I looked at its lines, they were very pleasing, its body’s lines were beautiful.

00:16 − 00:20
İlk defa 1994’te tanıştım..
The first time we met was in 1994.

00:22 − 00:26
Onu sıfır kutusunda alıp evime geldim o zaman..
I brought it home in its brand–new box.

00:27 − 00:36
Tabii kimse bilmiyor görmemiş, görmeyen de var, babam da annem de. Ilk etapta tabancayı alıp da evimde çok heyecanlıydım..
Of course, no one knew. My parents had never seen one before. I was very excited to bring it home.

00:37 − 00:39
Kutusunu açtığımda yağlı bir ambalaj içerisinde idi..
When I opened the box, it was all greasy inside.

00:40 − 00:43
Yedek parçaları, işte, malzeme, materyalleri vardı..
It came with the spare parts, materials and all.

00:44 − 00:50
Orda işte o yaşadığım, bi ufak, bi böyle, bi farklı, bir enstantane orda yaşadıklarımız..
Then there was a weird little incident with my father.

00:51 − 00:55
Babam hemen içeri girdi. Tabancayı gördü ellerimde ben onun yağını arındırıyorum..
All of a sudden, my father entered the room. He saw the gun in my hands whilst I was wiping off the grease.

00:56 − 00:59
Temizliyorum işte, parçalarını takmaya calışıyorum..
I was cleaning it and trying to assemble the parts.

01:00 − 01:08
Bu esnada biraz benden erkeksi duyguları vardı yani ben benim oğlumun tabancası var ama benim yok gibilerinden bir duyguya erişti..
I think he felt that his masculinity was undermined by the fact that his son had a gun and he didn’t.

01:09 − 01:10
Orda aramızda bir sürtüşme oldu..
We got into a little tiff.

01:11 − 01:16
O surtuşmeden dolayı da bana dedi ki sen dedi al bu tabancanı benim karşımda temizleme git dedi başka yerde temizle..
After the row, he told me to get the gun out of his sight and go clean it elsewhere.

01:17 − 01:19
Elinizin altında bir güç olduğunu hissediyorsunuz..
You can feel some sort of power in your hands.

01:20 − 01:23
Ona dokunduğum zaman tabii ki o hissiyat çok hoşuma gidiyor.
Of course I enjoy that feeling when I touch it.

01:24 − 01:27
Benim 24 yıllık eşim gibi bu şekilde düşünüyorum..
I think of it like my wife of 24 years.

01:28 − 01:32
Bir insan eşine nasıl durup dururken buse kondurursa yanağına..
In the same way you spontaneously kiss your spouse on the cheek.

01:33 − 01:37
Ben de onu temizledikten sonra, tamamen bütün kıvrımlarını ellerimle gezdiriyorum..
Once I am done cleaning it, I will trace its curves with my fingers.

01:38 − 01:40
Tıpkı bir kadının vücüdunda elimi gezdirir gibi..
It’s just like feeling a woman’s body.

01:41 − 01:42
Onu hissediyorum onun soğukluğunu..
I feel it, it’s cold.

01:43 − 01:45
Bazen benim elimde ısındığını hissediyorum..
Sometimes I can feel it warming up with my touch.

01:46 − 01:54
Ondan sonra da içimden [mucuk] öperek ona olan sevgimi, duygularımı dile getirmiş oluyorum..
By giving it a soft kiss [kisses the gun], I show it love and affection.

01:55 − 01:58
Herhangi bir yerinde bir şey var mı yok mu diye sürekli ellerimle kontrol ediyorum..
I constantly check its state with my hands to see if it’s all right.

02:01 − 02:05
Ben somut şeylere dokunmayı severim..
I like touching inanimate objects. 

02:07 − 02:11
Ama hoşuma giden somut bir şey ise de, mutlaka onunla konuşurum da..
And if it’s an object that I really like, I’ll talk to it. 

02:15 − 02:16
Bazı insanlar sevmez ama.
Most people don’t like doing this, but

02:17 − 02:26
ben tutar, sürekli alırım, kılıfını temizlerim, içini temizlerim; içindeki şarjörleri, mermileri teker teker söker, yağlarım. Tekrar takarım..
I constantly hold it and clean it. I clean the holster, 
I clean the inside, I take out the bullets one by one, and grease them. And then I reassemble it.

02:27 − 02:30
Başkaları gibi alıp hemen raf üstüne atıp da arkamı dönüp gitmem..
Once I’m done, I don’t just put it away and turn my back on it like other people do.

02:31 − 02:33
Onu koymadan önce bi mutlaka prova yaparız..
We almost always do a practice run before I put it away.

02:34 − 02:38
‘Bugün seninle biraz bi beş dakika kas hafızamızı güçlendirelim, ne dersin?’.
“How about we strengthen our muscle memory for five minutes today?” I say.

02:39 − 02:40
O da benden ‘olur’ der..
And it says, “Of course.”

02:41 − 02:48
Geçeriz aynanın karşısına boş bir ortamda kimsenin olmadığı bir ortamda ayna karşısında sürekli hızlı silah çekiş provaları yaparız..
We set up in front of a mirror, in a space with no one around, and continuously practice quick draws.

03:09 − 03:11
90’larda 80’li yıllarda Robokop diye bir film vardı..
Back in the ’80s or ’90s a movie called RoboCop came out.

03:12 − 03:13
O filmden de ben çok etkilenmiştim..
I was profoundly influenced by that movie.

03:14 − 03:18
Robokop’un silahi tamamen kendi bacağının içerisine monteliydi..
RoboCop’s gun was concealed in a holster built into his own leg.

03:19 − 03:23
Bir anda açılıyor kapağı eline tabancası geliyor ve hiç bitmezdi onun şarjörü..
It would spring open and the gun would be pushed up into his hand and his bullets would never end.

03:24 − 03:25
Bazen derdim ‘senin sarjörün de keşke bitmese’..
Sometimes I’d say, “I wish my bullets would last forever too.”

03:37 − 03:43
Hedefi gördüğüm zaman insan siluetine benzer kağıt hedeflerimiz var bunları gördüğü zaman nereden nasıl vurabileceğimi çok iyi biliyorum..
We have human–shaped silhouette shooting targets and I know how and where to shoot.

03:44 − 03:47
İkimiz aynı anda tek vücudu oluştururuz..
We become one.

03:48 − 03:52
İkimiz de birbirimizi iyi tanıdığımız için tetiğe bastığım anda merminin nereye gidebileceğini.
Because we know each other so well, I know exactly where the bullet will go when I pull the trigger.

04:16 − 04:20
Yıllardır taşıdıgım bir arkadaş, bir hayat arkadaşı gibi görüyorum onları..
I see it as an old friend or a life partner.

04:21 − 04:25
Yaşamım devam ettiği sürece bunlardan ayrılmayı pek düşünmüyorum..
I won’t think about cutting loose from it for as long as I live.

04:26 − 04:27
Cünkü seviyorum..
Because I love it.