Reality Check - by Martha Ackroyd Curtis

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Reality Check - by Martha Ackroyd Curtis

This written piece was commissioned by Midsumma in April 2020 as a response to the mass loss of the Melbourne queer arts industry (due to COVID-19). This blog is part of a series of works from our LGBTQIA+ arts and culture community that gives Midsumma audiences an insight into the practice of the queer arts and helps to make queer arts and cultures more accessible to diverse audiences in this time of social distancing and uncertainty.


A proud Melbourne based artist. She works combining multidisciplinary conceptual elements into cohesive installation exhibitions. Martha also ‘pares back’, anchoring solo shows with one discipline with visual theatrical intent and/or an ethical message; such as SWEAT from Midsumma 2020. Martha has also written throughout her creative endeavours, combining text with seriousness or hilarity alongside her conceptual work. 



I will be honest; I am scared about what is happening in terms of this pandemic. I worry about my parents. I cannot see them at the moment. My partner, I worry will she experience racism during this time and after. I want this worry and scared feeling to be though channelled into care, hope, and primarily protection of all, nobody singled out. I acknowledge the world is paused and lives are what matter. My response is from a social media post, and my creative response to it.



After witnessing an Instagram post…

I see the post
New York City
Moving down my screen
Ugly, shiny
A video smuggled out
On my screens feed
I cannot just UN see this
I have gone back to the creative outlet of writing
Trying to document

It is April 3 2020.
Armageddon video game unfolding

Moving with precision
A city visited
A city I thought would never enter this terror
The Empire State,
A thermometer of Architecture

I feel selfish sitting watching the shiny box
Tales about overseas
Writing this, is the document
Me trying to make sense of it

We are in a suspension

It feels like the only thing
I can do now
Trying to make sense of this
The world

We realise that we are biology
A makeup of cellular entity

I worry about the mad hate and blame
Remember we are all biology

Remember we are all biology

Asphalt wet
reflections ugly
City scrapes
I want it to scrub away
The disease
Like I have to wash my hands



I felt with this piece that I needed to focus on biology and that we are all human. We are all biological. This disease that is so full-on and toxic does not discriminate; that is the cold hard irony.

The Instagram post was a video of a hospital in New York. A shock to see and to read comments also. A strange digitalisation, I felt it would be disrespectful to comment.

The piece I wrote is not prettied up. I feel at the moment I cannot really create a personal account that does not register with the state of things at the moment. So what is happening at present is being reflected in my art practice in a sense, in my writing. I think a lot of our present lives are more connected in real-time on a global scale as this is affecting us all, but of cause in different extremities.

~ Martha Ackroyd Curtis

April 2020.


~ to find out more about Martha Ackroyd Curtis visit


@ thestrollcollective


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