They Made a Meme Out of My Legacy
16 Mar–2 Apr 2022
You can clone the look of a dog,
but you can’t clone the soul.
Still, everytime I look at their faces,
I think of my Samantha…and smile.
- Barbra Streisand, 2018.
They Made a Meme Out of My Legacy is an exhibition that explores the emotional possibilities of cloning, as seen through the lens of Barbra Streisand’s choice to clone her dog, Samantha. The story is told through a variety of mediums, including video and hand-sewn textile sculptures made out of materials that embody the domestic, echoing the familiarity of the household pet.
The project raises questions of ethics and accessibility, as connected to the online influence and responsibility of celebrities. What is a clone, and what are the pros and cons of cloning? Is the cloning of pets a step on the way towards cloning humans, and could Streisand’s example be part of the normalisation of cloning in society?
Cloning evokes conflicts concerning uniqueness and individuality, and exposes us to the uncanniness of copies. The exhibition approaches these subjects via the specificities of Streisand’s case, anchoring it to one individual’s perspective.
Once upon a time, cloning was science fiction; today, it is simply science. The question is, what do we do with this knowledge? We know what Barbra Streisand did. She cloned her dog. She cloned her dog, and may have, in the process, made a meme out of her legacy.
In Every Dream Home A Heartache, 2021. Mixed media collage of Barbra Streisand’s Malibu mansion. Paper, acrylic and wood glue on cardboard, 1000 x 35cm.
The Way We Were x2, 2021. Video of Barbra Streisand performing The Way We Were with a second audio track of the studio version of the same song, 3:30min.
Miss Scarlett and Miss Violet, 2021. Installation of custom-made soft toy clones based on Barbra Streisand’s dog. Scarves, rug, soft toy parts, accessory parts (belts, handbags), textile, thread. Dimensions variable.
They Made a Meme Out of My Legacy is an exhibition that explores the emotional possibilities of cloning, as seen through the lens of Barbra Streisand’s choice to clone her dog, Samantha.
This program takes place on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded - this land is stolen land. We pay respects to Wurundjeri Elders, past, present and emerging, to the Elders from other communities and to any other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders who might encounter or participate in the program.
Henrik Haukeland, born in Sweden 1980, is a multidisciplinary artist. Conceptually, his work often deals with the body—both physical and social—as well as the corresponding ideas of consumption, excess, and transformation. He received his arts education at the University of Bergen, Faculty of Fine Art, in Norway (BFA, 2014-2017), the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR, U.S. (exchange semester, 2016), and the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts in Sweden (MFA, 2018-2020). He is currently based in Melbourne, Australia.