Boytown, 2012
Daniel Mudie Cunningham & Stephen Allkins, Boytown, 2012
Photo: Zan Wimberley
Collaboration with Stephen Allkins.

A collaboration between visual artist Daniel Mudie Cunningham and DJ Stephen Allkins, Boytown samples the imagery and music of several narrative music videos of the 1980s. It deals with growing up gay in the suburbs and the desire to escape elsewhere. Boytown ostensibly remakes Bronski Beat’s 'Smalltown Boy', a seminal music video in gay culture as it was one of the first to openly depict queer experience of leaving an unhappy suburban home for the lure of gay city life. What resonated was its theme of an imagined utopia, a universally recognisable theme rendered queer in an age when music video culture was testing the boundaries of sexual expression. A chart success in many countries, reaching number 3 in its native UK and entering the top 10 in Australia, 'Smalltown Boy' was one of few iconic gay anthems of the eighties to break through a social, cultural and political backdrop of homophobia that reached hysterical fever pitch during the AIDS crisis. 

Boytown replaces the ‘smalltown’ suburban UK setting with Campbelltown, depicting a teenage boy (Fabian McCallum) leaving home for the glittering lights of Sydney’s Kings Cross. In escaping, he leaves behind a lonely, disaffected world of alienation seeping through the cracking edifice of his domestic life comprised of single mum (Dione Bilsborough of Sylvania Waters reality TV fame) and bowling companion girlfriend (Emma Campbell). Unlike the clip for 'Smalltown Boy', the narrative here offers no easy sense of hope, opting for an open‐ended ambiguous resolution and the sense that another set of challenges await.

Boytown, 2012
HD single channel video with sound, 16:9, 5:20 min
Performers: Fabian McCallum, Dione Bilsborough, Emma Campbell, Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Stephen Allkins
Camera: Don Cameron
Editor: Vera Hong
Music engineer: James Atherton
Music samples: 'Man Overboard' by Do-Re-Mi; 'Ghost Town' by The Specials; 'Smalltown Boy' by Bronski Beat; 'Breakaway' by Big Pig; 'Heaven (Must Be There)' by The Eurogliders; 'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush 
Edition of 5 + 2 AP
Campbelltown Arts Centre
Solo exhibitions:
Boytown, Screen Space, 2013
Group exhibitions:
Transmission, Campbelltown Arts Centre, 2012
Going Nowhere, Boxcopy, 2013
Video Stage, Art Stage Singapore, 2015
Campbelltown Arts Centre
Australian Queer Archives