Lick Lick Blink

Fri 29th March, 2019 – Tue 23rd July, 2019
Museum of Contemporary Art
140 George Street, The Rocks
You, an empty cinema and a breast-shaped Messina choc-top. This 10-minute film questions female representation in pop culture.

An Australian artist is using the movie-going experience – replete with the humble choc-top – to prompt questions about gender, female representation and cultural norms.

Willoh S Weiland has created Lick Lick Blink, a 10-minute video that will be screened at the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of The National 2019: New Australian Art exhibition (opening March 30) – and it’s got a couple of twists.

The first is that, before you enter, you’ll be given a choc-top crafted by Gelato Messina. This isn’t your standard choc-top, though: each cone is topped with a scoop of ice-cream made with milk gelato, milk jam, milk Chantilly cream and milk crumbs encased in milk chocolate – then finished with a chocolate nub to look like a nipple. It comes in a variety of shades to reflect a diversity of skin tones – something often lacking in mainstream cinema.

Twist number two is you’ll be in the cinema alone. The final twist is that the film you’ll be watching features only women, who Weiland recruited from the Older Women’s Network (an organisation focused solely on older women and the issues that affect them).

Weiland’s work was inspired by the #MeToo movement and the Bechdel test – a measurement that highlights female representation (or lack thereof) in pop culture. The uncommon sight of only women on-screen is meant to confront viewers.

Weiland collaborated with cinematographer Sandi Sissel for the piece, who has worked on many films including Salaam Bombay! and Master and Commander.

She says the purpose of the choc-tops is to encourage viewers to examine how they consume women’s bodies, and she worked closely with Messina to ensure the nipples were inclusive of all skin tones.

Lick Lick Blink is being presented as part of the second instalment of The National, a six-year project encompassing three shows at three galleries every three years. It features more than 100 emerging, mid-career and established artists.

More information here.