Skip to main content

Our only concern is the void, 2013

by Nik Lee

Winner, Macquarie Digital Portraiture Award 2013
Single-channel HD digital video

Our only concern is the void, 2013 by Nik Lee
Video: 12 minutes

Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist theories informed youth culture in postwar France. The unique social and political conditions of the time afforded teenagers the opportunity to explore and reflect on existence. In this digital portrait I explore contemporary youth culture through the performance by eighteen-year-old actor Henry Strong of a complex passage from Sartre’s novel Nausea. The loops of thought in the text and Henry’s struggle to interpret and perform them call into question the roles we play in life. Me as the interviewer, Henry as the actor, Sartre as the writer and you as the audience cannot escape our roles and consequently this informs our existence.

© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery of Australia (NPGA) acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.