Wheel of Misfortune collides pop cultural icons embedded in Albert’s childhood memory with catchphrases of the political present. Leveraging the visual framework of prominent 80s gameshow Wheel of Fortune, Albert asks the question: how would it read if Indigenous people got control of the board? The answer looks to the sense of place and history that, to this day, lacks visibility in mainstream vocabulary and imagines them emblazoned on the Wheel of Fortune board.
Following many of the same rules of the original game, where the answers were popular song titles, movie references or cultural mementos, Albert introduces narratives neglected during the era of Wheel of Fortune’s reign in the zeitgeist. These phrases–Live, Laugh, Land Rights; I See Deadly People; or Invasion Day – tell the story of the shifting conversation in the Australian political vernacular and the strain that continues to define the discourse. Many of the slogans of Albert’s Wheel of Misfortune now find themselves as mainstays in the cultural conversation surrounding First Nations People and their relationship to their own history and how colonial Australia has controlled it’s telling.
Never entirely didactic, Albert invites us to stand with him at the edge of the meaning behind these phrases. Through a mix of humour, nostalgia and deliberate juxta-positioning, we are invited to arrive at the meaning by placing it in the context of our own political position. Imbued with the same sense of playfulness that has brought a buoyancy to Albert’s career of agitating complex social and political histories, Wheel of Misfortune presents interventions in the game board with catchphrases of today’s vocabulary.