No Ordinary Love is a requiem to two Bondi histories: iconic mermaid sculptures once mounted to a boulder at the northern headland cast in the same conceptual net as the scores of men murdered on the southern headland, a cliffside gay beat. Drawing on the glitch of VHS and the kitsch of karaoke lyric videos, Sade’s No Ordinary Love is reinvented as an ode to those lost to sea. Released in 1992, Sophie Muller’s music video saw Sade dressed as a mermaid and bride, a poignant marriage of tails and veils. As marriage equality debates rage in Australia, these visual cues are reimagined as a melancholy karaoke poem to Bondi Beach as a site of fantasy and trauma – a sea of love and loss.  This video performance, in which I dance alone to a song stripped of words, recuperates voices long surrendered to the sea.


SD single channel video with found sound, 4:3 aspect ratio, 4.43 min

Editor: Vera Hong
Music: Sade, No Ordinary Love, 1992 (karaoke version sourced from YouTube)
Songwriters: Helen Folsade Adu, Stuart Matthewman
Thanks: Craig Bender, Sarah Contos, Rhonda Davis, Elliott Bryce Foulkes, Elizabeth Reidy

Making a Splash: Mermaids and Modernity, Macquarie University Art Gallery, 2017
Making a Splash: Mermaids and Modernity, Cowra Regional Art Gallery, 2017