Melody Woodnutt



Current Work

     Velvet Gloves
     Celestial Bodies
The Ship
Death Shroud for a Ship
16mm films
Tropical Gothic

Past Work (selected/partial)

The Symposium
Blind Coven
The Raven
Apathy and Wonder
Sex, Space, Intimacy
The Last Century Was About History, The Next Will Be About Belief 

Ongoing Project

The Weight of Mountains

Archived Work
2008 - 2018
(under construction) 

Sound pieces
Art Direction for film


   Artist Film Workshop


   Law and the Senses

   The Esoteric Travel Writing Research Group


The Ship
Expanded Cinema

The Ship references an unfinished familial project in the form of a 17-metre wooden boat frame located in North Queensland. This conspicuously absent “boat” has no hull, sea, nor captain, and is instead conjured as a curious intermedial and transhistorical world. Presented as a portal into the boat’s contextual/colonised landmass and a ‘tropical gothic’ realm, the artwork becomes an allegory for historical objects persisting over time and space. The myriad meanings associated with ‘ships’ begs a question of context and subjectivity; within the violent construction of so-called Australia it represents a fractured colonial inheritance, at once personal and societal. Beyond this, a romanticism lies within ships or boats as an heterotopian world upon an unknowable sea.

Utilising expanded cinema and cues from ‘The Ship of Theseus’, this work constitutes an attempt to finish building my grandfather's 39-year-old unfinished boat - the artwork thus becomes its spectral fiction. My grandfather intended to build this massive 17m long, 9 meter wide boat for my grandmother before her death, upon which the boat was never finished come his own death years later. The love story is held up as a Sisyphean futility and full of potential within this cinematic sculptural ghost. 

The skeletal wooden boat frame left behind in the ship yard had only a keel and some ribs. No hull had been constructed over the 40 years that it waited with his grandchildren climbing over it. This source material has generated a series of works under the umbrella of “The Ship” - given a name bigger than a boat, for all that it holds.

Please see here for elaborations on Time Theory and The Ship.

Field recording, 16 mm film (Bolex, contact printing, optical printing, hand processing), sound samples/recordings.

16mm short film; kinetic 16mm film sculpture and immersive installation; cinematic score & vinyl release, ambisonic sound for installation.

The Ship, 2021, Victorian College of the Arts.
16mm film loops, film reels, film projectors, crocodile skull, synaesthetic light, salt, neon pink pigment, cyanotypes.

Image by Melody Woodnutt of Frank Woodnutt in his ship yard, May 2019. On the occasion of his 90th birthday, months before his death.



Chion, Michel. The Voice in Cinema. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

Chomsky, Noam. “Part 4: Open Talks on Open Enquiries.” In Of Minds and Language : A Dialogue with Noam Chomsky in the Basque Country, edited by Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, Juan Uriagereka, and Pello Salaburu, 381-382. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Craven, Allison. Finding Queensland in Australian Cinema: Poetics and Screen Geographies. London; New York: Anthem Press, 2016.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema II - The Time Image. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.

Goswick, Dana Lynne. “Change and Identity Over Time.” In A Companion to the Philosophy of Time, edited by Heather Dyke and Adrian Bardon, 367. Malden, Massachussetts: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.

Hitchcock, Alfred, dir. Rebecca. United States: United Artists, 1940. Feature film.

Lundberg, Anita, Katarzyna Ancuta, and Agnieszka Stasiewicz-Bienkowzka. “Tropical Gothic: Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.” eTropic 18, 1 (2019): 1-11.

Perkins, Rachel, dir. Radiance. Western Australia: Independent, Polygram Filmed Entertainment, 1998. Feature film.

Tuck, Eve and C. Ree. "A Glossary of Haunting." In Handbook of Autoethnography, edited by Stacy Holman Jones, Tony E. Adams, and Carolyn Ellis. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013.

Walley, Jonathan. Cinema Expanded: Avant-Garde Film in the Age of Intermedia. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Wollf, Mark. “In Search of a Tropical Gothic in Australian Visual Arts.” eTropic 18, 1 (2019): 192-212. DOI:10.25120/etropic.18.1.2019.3691

Youngblood, Gene. Expanded Cinema. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1970.