When we dig, things come up

Daniel Peltz

Vernissage fredag 16 feb kl 18-21

When we dig, things come up contains artifacts from a public art work produced in Tom Price, Western Australia from 2013-15 by the American artist Daniel Peltz as part of the SPACED biennial of social practice. Peltz was commissioned to spend two-months in residence in the town, spread over two visits, and to make a work that was informed by his experiences of this iron-ore mining super town. Peltz responded to this charge by developing a ‘narrative mining industry’. Over the course of his time in residence, Peltz extracted a series of narrative fragments that explore the complex relationship between this town, that bears the name of the U.S. industrialist and mineral prospector, Thomas Moore Price, the U.S. steel company and steel manufacturing facility that he worked for outside of Los Angeles and the industrial town of Baotou, in China’s Inner Mongolia, where the steel manufacturing facility was relocated after the bankruptcy of the American company. 

The basis for this project comes from an engagement with the transnational flow of people and resources that makes up Tom Price’s brief history and Peltz’ own sense that the Spaced 2 commission, and his arrival as an artist-in-residence in Tom Price, was something of a re-enactment of the American engagement with this place, a further mining of the site. Peltz developed a range of extraction and transformation strategies for activating the story of the ’two Tom Prices,’ the man from the California Steel Company and the town/mine. Over the two-year period of Peltz’ engagement, the narrative fragments he extracted were sent to a Chinese Opera company who Peltz commissioned to ‘process them into a traditional Peking opera’. The opera was rehearsed and performed in Taiwan before being transported back for a performance in the town of Tom Price. For the exhibition of this project at the Western Australia Museum in Perth, Peltz worked with a prominent Chinese landscape painter who he commission to translated the narrative fragments into a scrolling series of paintings depicting this complex tale. The exhibition features a video of the opera performance, the landscape series and an email containing the raw narrative fragments.


Daniel Peltz is an artist and educator. Through his site-responsive projects and media installations, Peltz explores social systems, attempting to provoke ruptures in the socio/cultural fabric through which new ways of being may emerge and be considered. To accomplish these goals, he uses a range of intervention, ethnographic and performance strategies. His projects often take the form of existing social systems [instant messaging protocols, karaoke bars, political campaigns, parking regulations, etc.] to directly engage non-art audiences in the language of critical art practice. 

Since 2009, Peltz has been co-directing the artist-run organization Rejmyre Art Lab, along with Sissi Westerberg. Through this organization they host resident artists for collective, thematic investigations, organize and facilitate annual post-MFA workshops/gatherings for recent graduates of Nordic and Baltic art and craft academies, conduct collaborative artistic research and facilitate seminars in the rural glass factory town of Rejmyre.

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