Born 1960 – Sydney, Australia, Lives and works in Sydney, Australia. www.johnadouglas.com.au
John A Douglas is a Sydney-based interdisciplinary artist working across video, animation, VR, performance, live art installation, photomedia, sound and objects. His work involves collaboration with artists and practitioners from a variety of creative fields including dance, theatre, 3D and VR design, performance, costumes and textiles. Since 2011, his practice has investigated his ongoing experience of chronic illness through scientific and collaborative, immersive performance approaches. . Douglas offers a unique and personal perspective as both artist and patient that intersects with biomedical science, clinical treatment and the human and emotional experience of a renal transplant patient. Douglas’ work seeks to map a psychological geography of the patient-subject as a parallel world of existence in which he cycles between places of healing, regimentation, wellness and suffering. His video and live performances often pay homage to, and reference, cinematic scenes and mythologies. They act as loose structural narratives or templates that articulate the inner world of the lived patient experience, transforming these banal and often uncomfortable experiences into a moving and poetic vision of performative actions. Ultimately, the work makes visible the often hidden and unspoken world of the chronically ill and provides a space for audiences to reflect on their own encounters with chronic illness. Douglas has completed several major interdisciplinary experimental projects. In 2013, he performed a live durational performance whilst connected to a peritoneal dialysis machine for ISEA13 and a four channel installation at Performance Space, Carriageworks assisted by an Australia Council AIR grant. It drew an audience of 8-10 thousand people & was shown on ABC television’s 7:30. Douglas produced two commercial exhibitions for Chalk Horse gallery in Sydney and works were acquired by private collectors and Artbank with further exhibitions at MARS gallery Melbourne, Hazelhurst Regional, and at FICEA video art festival in Spain. Douglas received a transplant in April 2014. While recovering from surgery he and producer/curator Bec Dean put together a team of local and international artists and was awarded a Creative Australia Development grant. He completed two residencies at SymbioticaLab, research at Concordia University Montreal and a studio collaboration at ANU. In 2016, a 2 channel video work titled Circles of Fire (variations), commissioned for the exhibition The Patient, was exhibited at UNSW Galleries and toured regionally. CoF(variations) was also acquired and exhibited by Artbank. Douglas is the recipient of the inaugural 2017 CreateNSW Artist With Disability Fellowship for skills development and several Australia Council Grants that have enabled the research,development,production and presentation of several projects of my lived experience of chronic illness and organ transplantation. The multi-platform project Circles of Fire: The Amphitheatre premiered in Performance Space’s Liveworks 2018 Festival at Carriageworks in Sydney. In 2019 exhibited and performed live at the Science Gallery London exhibition Spare parts: Rethinking Human Design. He is the ambassador for The Big Anxiety Festival 2019 and will be exhibiting and performing in The Empathy Clinic at UNSW. His work is currently showing on the ABC miniseries Art Bites: Biogenesis on iview. John A Douglas identifies as an artist with non-visable disability and is a descendant of the Walbunja people of the Yuin Nation.