Peta Duggan is a young woman who thinks things through, who asks the difficult questions and worries about the answers. Her interaction with the Maryborough Military Museum led to hours of thought and internal discussions that were documented in diary format.
Working with the Military Museum presented her with a personal dilemma. She was acutely aware of the honour and pride that the museum and its collection engendered in its custodians and in the community, and of the need to give due deference to the museum’s stories and heroes; and yet she was also not prepared to ignore her own distaste for war and aggression. Peta’s diaries tell of an internal conversation and questioning that went far deeper than interaction with mere objects.
The curator and the selection committee had deliberately chosen this vibrant young digital artist to interact with the conservative militarymuseum, and were sure the owners and staff had the goodwill and maturity to cope with what might come of it. The outcome has been exciting and rewarding.
The museum gave Peta full access to the collection and to a bank of many images of objects. She used many of these images in her work, combining them with her own imagery into a richly layered digital tapestry of story upon story.
To overcome some of the conflicts Peta found in dealing with her subject she positioned her work well into the future.
A time capsule (a large sculptural object created from found objects and digital imagery, created 100 years earlier has recently landed in the year 4200AZ into a world where humans are no longer like us, but wars and conflicts are still occurring. The contents are now opened and revealed to the earth’s inhabitants.
Peta’s collection of 18 digital images shown in the exhibition documents the contents of the capsule. They represent both an aftermath and our own future. Many fantastic and unimagined things have happened, and many wars have taken place, but ethical questions remain unanswered, which leads us to wonder about the nature of conflict and war. Will we continue to repeat history?
Her work recontextualises the message of the museum, placing it in a far less certain environment where truths are contested, assumptions are laid bare, and alternative points of view are allowed. In doing so she allows her audience to consider the message of the museum outside the emotive context of its sacred objects and stories.