Annotations (Edition of Fifty), 2011

Annotation is an incomplete archive of an endless process.

Searching through libraries for any book that could possibly be meaningful. I flip through the pages of random books, tending towards anything that shows signs of wear and tear. Using only the traces left by other travelers as an indication of value, I slowly gather a collection. Taking them back to my desk, I sift through the pages and digitally scan any containing marks left by human hands. These are marks of distinction. These are thoughts. These are drawings. Still cluttered with text, I take these digitized pages and run them through a custom computer program. This program automatically detects and erases any printed text, leaving only the residue left by human hand. This is a program written in code, a text that erases text. I repeat this process.

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Work in Progress (cia studios 2011)

A selection of documentation from Benjamin and Rhiannon’s three week residency at CIA studios in October 2011. Utilising their own disciplinary frameworks and expertise as initial starting points, they began to construct simple experiments in order deconstruct the boundaries between architecture, drawing and movement, and at once learn about each other’s practice. The aim was to simultaneously develop multiple possible direction’s that can be selected from for future development. Everything is very much still in the stages of becoming, nothing is static.

Below are a selection of the experiments that occurred during this first stage of development.

Installation View

Fremantle Arts Centre
25 Mar – 15 Apr 2011

The result of an extended residency through FACAIR, Fremantle Arts Centre’s Artist in Residency Programme, )( continues Forster’s critique of drawing, tracing the boundaries of logic, economy and the role of the artist in art making.

Forster’s curiously titled )( engages in the meaning of construction and the construction of meaning. His work is full of the fun of language puns but also a serious critique of the limitation of language. In )( Forster has erased much of the source material only to find a significant new language in the often overlooked lynch pins of text – punctuation and space. Forster reminds us that translating meaning fundamentally relies on a constant and expected language, however an artist’s practice, and importantly for Forster drawing, relies on and expands from the shortcomings of this same language.

Detailed list of works ( download ).

Catalogue with essay by Liang Luscombe ( download ).

“All the books, no matter how diverse they might be, are made up of the same elements: the space, the period, the comma, the twenty- two letters of the alphabet… In the vast Library there are no two identical books. From these inconvertible premises he deducted that the Library is total and that its shelves register all the possible combinations of the twenty-odd orthographical symbols (a number which, though extremely vast, is not infinite) : In other words, all that is given to express, in all languages.”

— Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel

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According to the Rules of Chance, 2009

Inspired by Jean Arp’s Untitled (Collage with Squares Arranged According to the Laws of Chance). This video work is generated by randomly rearranging and moving image fragments depicting the Belconnen bus interchange (now demolished). Artworks like our built environment are not static they live and breath, come into being and disappear again. All of my digital works rely heavily on notions of chance, although ironically there is no chance within a computer. Everything is deterministic.

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An overview

Spatial Drawing
27 July – 31 August 2012
VENN Gallery, Perth

Spatial Drawing investigated contemporary approaches to drawing, featuring works of three Western Australian artists, Benjamin Forster, Tom Freeman and Clare Peake. Drawing underpins diverse and complex approaches to art making for each of these artists, whose practices also comprise of sculpture, video and installation. In Spatial Drawing each artist explored drawing further through the creation of physical formations and sculptural works that discuss notions of how we engage with space.

The catalogue essay by Gemma Weston is available here.


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Resulting from a residency at Canberra Contemporary Arts Space in 2009, Rational was Benjamin Forster’s first solo exhibition in the ACT. The exhibition ran from 25 March to 04 April 2010.

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Blind Drawings, 2008

A series of experimental blind drawings created in direct relation to Benjamin’s Drawing Machine Project. These drawings are a study of the inconsistency between a drawing and the artists internal representation of the drawing in progress

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Last Man To Die

documentation of ‘the last man to die’ (2010)


Last Man To Die is an active experiment in the relationship and interaction between three, traditionally distinct, art forms – Drawing, Performance, and Percussion. This experiment takes three artists, each successful in their own disciplines, and through active synthesis and disjunction attempts to generate a new and common expression.

In this experiment each discipline is equal but not equivalent, each has influence and is influenced and each is dependent and independent. We exploit the nature of digital technologies to provide a common language for immediate communication and interaction between the different art forms. Each one becomes a data source for the others.


Last Man to Die, the cross artform collective of Hanna Cormick (actor), Benjamin Forster (artist) and Charles Martin (percussionist) was founded in 2008 during their collaboration on the work Cognition performed at Belconnen Theatre, The Street Theatre and the ANU School of Music (Canberra) as well as La Mama Theatre (Melbourne).

In 2009, Last Man to Die presented Vital LMTD, a cross-disciplinary response to the creation and definition of life in The Street Theatre’s Made in Canberra season and showed in the Crack Theatre Festival at Newcastle’s This Is Not Art Festival.

In 2010, supported by ArtsACT, the Australian Government’s Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and the Australia Council for the Arts, Last Man to Die created “THE LAST MAN TO DIE”, an installation/performance exploring the possible consequences of indefinite extension of human life.

“THE LAST MAN TO DIE” was shown throughout 2010 at Belconnen Theatre (Canberra), The Street Theatre (Canberra), PACT Centre for Emerging Artists (Sydney), The Blue Room (Perth) and as part of Brisbane Festival’s Under the Radar season at Metro Arts (Brisbane).

Find out more here.

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Untitled, 2011

A generative work made in response to Anna Madeleine’s as part of the project Re:.

Re: is a playful and experimental online project involving six young artists – Anna Madeleine, Benjamin Forster, Robbie Karmel, Luke Penders, Sarah Catherine Firth and Travis H Heinrich. Over seven months each artist will create five artworks – a total of thirty works. The artists will take turns each week presenting a new work. There’s only one rule; each new piece must reference the one produced the week before. Not intended as a site for complete and finished works, rather re: can be seen as a simple game that allows for the artists to play with the intersections of each of their individual practices.

Find out more and view some of the work here.

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Postulating the Accumulation of Meaning Through the Constantly Becoming Constellation of Signs. 2011

As part of this event an edition of one-hundred unique prints on tracing paper were free for visitors to take away.