The BIG book of LittlePricks An artist’s safe guide to the Northern Territory (2014) is a response, over a period of two years or so, by Northern Territory artists to life as it is lived and experienced by us in the political and social sphere—both in the Northern Territory and nationally. So while what we have done is arguably art, it is also a historical snapshot (but that doesn’t make it art history). Arranged more or less chronologically, you can see some of it maps our past, and some is undoubtedly out of date. Some of it points to strange futures. Things, as the politicians say, move forward. Or backwards, as the case may be. Theoretical physicists are still divided as to whether time is linear, and in which direction it travels. In the Northern Territory, it is even less clear. The Artnotes in the back of the book document the work—and sometimes, in great detail. That is simply because we come from a different country to much of the rest of Australia. When we take the piss out of local politics, we often have to explain it to outsiders. And for much the same reasons, our response to national and international affairs has a decidedly local twist. Other jurisdictions in Australia don’t have the US marines, or Muckatys. Other jurisdictions don’t have the same species of local politicians, let alone the political ecosystems that nurture them. There, but for the grace of God, other jurisdictions don’t have ratbag artists that are prepared to have a wry laugh about the world we live in.
We live and work in a confused and often confounding space. At around one sixth of the geographic area of Australia, and with just one per cent of its population, the Northern Territory is the bastard child of a federated nation, which, in turn, is the progeny of unresolved colonialism.
For 35 years, we have been urged to celebrate something called “the Territory lifestyle”. With as much gentle humour as possible, LittlePrick tries to do just that.”