17 August 2020
17 August 2020 - Selected by PHmuseum
British photographer Chris Hoare undertakes a trip to the other side of the world to Australia to examine how the concepts of good luck and bad luck are built into the very fabric of the country’s culture.
The Worst Poem In The Universe is a journey through Australia and a response to the idea that it could be regarded as a lucky country. Australian author Donald Horne wrote a book entitled Lucky Country in 1964, it was intended ironically but has since turned in to a phrase that is commonly heard throughout Australia. This work is an exploration of how good luck and bad-luck reveal themselves on the surface of the country.
The title of the project is in reference to a poem entitled ‘Our Future’ written by Gina Rinehart, the wealthiest person in Australia. The poem has been described as the “worst poem in the universe” partly because of the way Gina explicitly rallies for minerals to be dug out the earth at all costs and with as little taxation as possible, but also because the poem lacks the sensibility of poetic prose, reading more like a manifesto. Gina herself could be described as perhaps the luckiest of Australians, since she inherited her father’s (Lang Hancock) mining empire, which included some hefty annual royalties, alongside a clean $75 million. Since then she has gone on to benefit hugely from the selling of iron ore to feed China’s exponential boom to her credit multiplying the value of her fathers business many a fold.
This project in turn then is a response to the idea of ‘luck’ and how almost anything can be subject to the grip of good luck/bad luck. But most pertinently how the word seems to be so applicable to Australia, a country that has enjoyed continued prosperity and holds 18% of the worlds total known mineral resources. To add to this, with a population of 25 million, the country holds all the statistics as the worlds most prolific gambling nation.
Words and Pictures by Chris Hoare.
Chris Hoare is an artist based in his hometown of Bristol, UK. It is in Bristol where he also works at the Martin Parr Foundation and has completed an MA at the University of the West of England. Find him on PHmuseum and Instagram.
This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.