Ghostpatrol : ‘Spaceship of the Mind’

‘Spaceship of the Mind’ takes it’s title from the opening sequence of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, in which viewers are asked to imagine their minds floating above the earth, to be ready to see ourselves as if from the outside.


Ghostpatrol floats above his most familiar and formative spaces, as if in a video game. And while the drawings are structured to strict, isometric grids they are also composed from memory, becoming hugely distorted. Small, important objects and knick-knacks dominate the works, while mundane details are forgotten altogether. Arrows float in the spaces, like a guide for a video game protagonist – a little reminder that while the rooms seem like shelters from the outside world, that the character is always walking in and out of them, part of a bigger quest.

The spaces featured in the drawings are always the spaces we come back to in dreams or meditations; domestic environments, childhood bedrooms, friends’ spaces, routine streets. The feature works of the exhibition show a scroll-like Tokyo landscape – a home for Ghostpatrol in recent years. The drawings are rendered entirely from totemic objects and tiny queues, almost devoid of any of the landmarks we would use to recognise a city. This heavy emphasis on memory has the effect of looking at a city through an almost synaesthetic or hallucinogenic filter – where Shibuya’s life-size Hachiko dog statue becomes a giant, looming over the neighbourhood like a protector.

These separate environments combine in the installation Spaceship One; an intimate room to be occupied by one person at a time, shoes off, kneeling. It has the feeling of a Japanese temple, crossed with the private world of a childhood bedroom and an artists’ studio, a warren arranged with gathered relics and imaginative objects. It becomes a way to process this history of private worlds, to sit and contemplate and see it as if from the outside – for the artist and viewer alike.

We delve a little more into the mind of Ghostpatrol..

Damo: You reference Tokyo and it appears as this is an inspiration for this show. What initially drew you to Japan, and what keeps you returning?

Ghostpatrol: I’ve been spending a few months every year for the past 6 years in Tokyo. Spending time there enlivens your sense and there’s always something new or someone to meet or places to visit. I’ve got some strong connections to some artists in Tokyo – and it’s great to spend time learning from them. I feel at home and also a visitor. It’s a nice contrast to my daily studio lockdown routine.


Damo: where else do you draw your inspiration?

Ghostpatrol: Some of the artists I’ve been looking at while making my new body of work are: Yuichi Yokoyama, Simon Hanselman, Peter Mcdonald, Jun Inoue

Damo: What puts a smile on your face?
Ghostpatrol: playing music with friends, be in the wilderness away from things

David - Ghost Patrol. Diptych February 2014 FULL RES JPEG (sRGB) 8973 x 8276 pixels

Damo: if you weren’t an artist, where would you be and what would you be doing?
Ghostpatrol: an arborist, maybe something to do with dogs – anywhere beautiful

Damo: What else do you have happening this year?
Ghostpatrol: I’m about to open a new solo exhibition of watercolours and wooden sculpture. I’m also working on some animations for a great film project I’m part of that focuses on a indigenous elder – Djalu Gurruwiwi; The film should be released later in 2015.


Damo: Finally, what are you currently listening to?
Ghostpatrol: YMO – Rydeen