Re:View

Ba Dum Tsssh delivers more than a punchline

with Cameron Platter

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Working in drawing, sculpture, video, collage and tapestry, Cameron Platter finds that the best way to describe his practice is by referring to it as a casino. A roulette of mediums, materials, messages and processes underpinned by the country’s politics, his new solo at WHATIFTHEWORLD, Ba Dum Tssshhh keeps the same energy. Featured as this week’s Re:View. 

Making subversive work that in refusing to conform presents its audience with questions about the zeitgeist, Cameron Platter’s practice brings director, writer and actor, Jordan Peele to mind. 

Before earning his name in the horror genre Peele was best known for his comedic offerings. During a press tour of his neo-Western science fiction horror film, Nope, Peele visited The Daily Show to have a conversation with South African comedian Trevor Noah.

Considering Peele’s career as a whole, Noah asked about Peele’s decision to transition from comedy to horror as tools for social commentary. “Is it weird that I think it’s funny?” asked Peele, referring to his genre of horror noire. “You know I think the comedy part of my career is still going. I think it’s still active… the difference between comedy and horror is the music and it really does feel like that. I love comedy (but) it became very complex somehow, making comedy in this world,” explains Peele who then goes on to talk about his current practice being an examination of “things that are so entertaining that we’re blinded to the danger of them”.

Like the title of his current exhibition, Ba Dum Tssshhh, Platter’s work comes from a point where horror, humour (satire), typography, linguistic studies, and abstraction intersect. The short series of sounds a drummer makes to punctuate the end of a joke or a sonic call to action encouraging laughter from the audience, the term resonated with Platter. “I like the fact that it’s a nonsense word that doesn’t make sense. I stumbled across ba dum tsh online and it had this sort of abstract, playful, nonsensical, poetic quality that my works should ideally have. You don’t go around saying, ba dum tsh, or at least I don’t. It’s the same with the works.” 

An even blend between words and obscure imagery, Ba Dum Tssshhh is an invitation to consider visual, oral and written communication (whether between political figures and armed forces, organised religious leaders and their followers, brands and their clientele, or even between parents and their children) as the source of decision making and principle building. An illustration of the cues we give and receive incessantly, Ba Dum Tssshh says everything in the world and nothing at all.

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Ruth Ige. Don't hide your glory, 2022.
Acrylic on canvas. 122 x 122cm. (© Copyright 2022, STEVENSON. All rights reserved)