Pride, Mischief & Murder

'Pride, Mischief & Murder' (2015) animation by Rebecca Young, illustrations by Helen Kocis Edwards

MELBOURNE WRITERS FESTIVAL
NO VACANCY PROJECT SPACE
THE ATRIUM FEDERATION SQUARE
18 AUGUST - 30 August 2015

A collaboration between Melbourne visual artists Helen Kocis Edwards, Andrej Kocis and Rebecca Young with Jacky Cheng, students from Kimberley TAFE Broome and other Melbourne based printmakers. This exhibition explored the words and imagery of real and imagined collective nouns through printmaking, drawing, photo-imaging and animation. The project has created a conversation between the public, artists and students from remote and urban Australia around these beautiful and often humorous phrases.

'Hanging Pride, Mischief & Murder' (2015), video by Andrej Kocis

Collective nouns originated in 15th century England, when terms of venery (hunting terms) formed part of a gentlemen’s education. These terms highlighted a shared feature or characteristic of a group of animals, such as a ‘pride' of lions or an ‘exultation' of larks. Coining such terms became a game of wit in which players devised the most apt, humorous or evocative word to capture the spirit of the animals. The game was also extended to inanimate objects (a ‘quiver' of arrows) and to human groups and professions (a ‘sneer' of butlers). We invited word-lovers to send us their favourite collective nouns (real or invented) for animals, people or things that have captured their imagination. These collective nouns formed the basis of an art project (Pride, Mischief and Murder) for the 2015 Melbourne Writers Festival. The resulting art exhibition visually explored the wit, whimsy, social commentary and sheer poetic invention of collective nouns in an Australian context.