A Precarious Convergence of Light: The Photography of Peter Karuna
by Simon Orpana
At the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new highway, Peter Karuna arrived early and uninvited to find a spot where he and his video camera could blend in with the authorized attendees. The lanyard around his neck looked official, and was usually enough of a prop to allow him to pass for a member of the media. The strategy worked this time too, and though an assembled group of concerned citizens were corralled at enough of a distance that their voices would not interfere with the self-congratulatory tone of the ceremony, Karuna captured up-close footage of the elected officials and other VIPs mocking the protesters from their front row seats.
Mud-smeared Security Car, Red Hill Valley, 2003
While he recounts this story, Peter and I are having tea in his sunny, high-ceilinged kitchen at an old wooden table strewn with paint brushes, sketchbooks and a computer. For the past few weeks, we've been meeting like this on Wednesday afternoons to converse about art, politics, society and philosophy, and to ignore, for a couple of hours, the pressing and endless demands of work. Before this ritual developed, I had already known my neighbour as an accomplished photographer and art teacher, but over the course of our conversations I began to appreciate the cross-disciplinary scope of his creative endeavours. I learned, for example, the story behind the naming of his art cooperative, Careless Servant Woman Productions, under which moniker he, his partner Anne Milne, and other family members and friends have collaborated in a series of art installation and video projects.