DEMOCRACY COUNTS

Democracy Counts (2012), Watercolour, graphite pencil with stamping on 100 gsm ivory Freelife vellum, 20 x 30 cm., 32 pp. in an edition of 5. Red, blue, and green, watercolour dots, cumulatively numbered below, represent votes cast. Softbound red cover stamped 123456789, stitched, with pocket in back cover containing a photograph.

Collections: National Library of Australia (1/5), State Library of Queensland (2/5), State Library of NSW (3/5), Bibliotheca Librorum Apud Artificum (4/5), Private Collection (5/5).

Democracy Counts is a play on two meanings of the word ‘count’; (i) to be significant, and (ii) the act of determining the total number of something.

In this work I reflect on the electoral system which makes a parliament accountable to the people. Small watercolour marks represent a vote for different parties. Each vote has been meticulously numbered in graphite pencil. The votes accumulate as the reader proceeds through the thirty-two pages of the book, until the total number is determined for each party and translated into seats in parliament. Each book in the edition has a slightly different outcome. As I painted votes and drew numbers under them (many thousands during the production of the editions), I thought about the contribution to democracy that each person makes as they enter a voting booth and mark their electoral paper with those finely-sharpened, but rather short graphite pencils provided by the Australian Electoral Commission. 

Tucked inside the back cover is a photograph I took on the streets of Paris during the 2012 French Presidential election, a comic reminder that not everyone believes in the power of the vote.

 

Le Parti Des Abstentionnistes poster, Paris, 2012, tucked into the back cover of Democracy Counts and Recounting Democracy.