Brown Council: Critical Comedy

In his proposition for ‘the emancipated spectator’ philosopher Jacques Rancière argues for a rethinking of the relationship between performance and spectatorship.[1] For Rancière, considering these terms binary is problematic in that it is based on a paradox that frames spectators as necessary for performance, but entirely without agency. He characterises this lack of agency in the following terms: being a spectator means looking at spectacle; looking is the opposite of knowing and of acting, and so the spectator is by nature disempowered. As a counterpoint, he calls for an understanding of spectators as active interpreters—as such, able to bridge the divide between looking and acting.

This idea has gained significant traction among commentators on visual arts performance, particularly in relation to participatory practices, though some, such as Caroline A. Jones, have pointed to its utopian idealism…

Inside Issue #18

Backyard Music Machines and Other Devices

Holly Williams

Vicky Browne, Dead Wood, 2006, sticks and glue. Photo: Silversalt Photography.   Over the years Vicky Browne has made large psychedelic installations, co-hosted radio shows and pressed playable records out of unlikely materials. Now based in the Blue Mountains, her work fits neither the description of quirky, nor crafty, although at times it comes close

Justin Shoulder: Under This Mask, Another Mask

A. Groom

Justin Shoulder, V, 2009, performance still from ‘The Glitter Militia presents Clown Cult’ at The Red Ratter, Sydney. Photo: Mat Hornby.   From 1908-1929 the prolific English theatre designer/director/theorist/tyrant Edward Gordon Craig published his periodical The Mask, in which he systematically and dogmatically enumerated his visions for the dramatic art of the future. What he

Networks (cells and silos)

Media theorists Lev Manovich and Anne Friedberg have, in recent times, argued that the computer, a device originally modelled in part on earlier cultural forms, has become engrained to the extent that it now structures cultural forms to which it bears no ostensible relation…

Impossible Consummations: Encounters with Daniel Mudie Cunningham

Ann Finegan

Daniel Mudie Cunningham is atypically, in equal measures, artist, writer and curator. Across multiple encounters and modes of expression, his collective body of work pulls no punches in its interrogation of politics, history and being. Always grounded with respect to the local, his many projects have a tendency towards a grandeur of scale…

Drain Lake Project

Amy Howden-Chapman is an excellent writer. She completed an MA in Creative Writing in Wellington before moving on to her current studies in Visual Arts at the California Institute of Arts. Her practice is diverse—employing performance, painting, sculpture and installation—but language is always there, ghosting the edges of her physical objects…

Territory Time

Megan Robson

Territory Time brought together the work of five artists who live and work in Darwin: Amina McConvell, Catherine McAvoy, Rebecca Abon, Simon Cooper and Siying Zhou, who also curated the exhibition. ‘Territory Time’ is a concept that not only reflects the understanding of time in the Northern Territory but also attempts to acknowledge the specific characteristics that affect art making in the region…

Material Release

Elizabeth Stanton

The press release is almost universally considered the lowest form of art writing. It has shifted from its role as a promotional tool to become a short-attention-span substitute for the catalogue essay and (when copied verbatim in the media) for journalism. Often made available in the gallery space and downloadable from websites, press releases are written for an ambiguous audience that could include the public, media, students, collectors and funding bodies. They follow predictable formulae and are often laden with abstract rhetoric designed to present their subject (such as the exhibition, prize winner or work of art) as worthy of our attention and time…

Welcome to the land of opportunities

Jared Davis

Piero Golia, Infinity Fountain or Prototype for a Clockwise Swirling Flush in the Southern Hemisphere, 2011, screenprint. Photo: Uplands Gallery.   I heard Piero Golia’s first installation in Australia before I saw it. A steady whooshing sound that drew my attention to a section of Uplands Gallery near to the entrance. A toilet sat in

Dirty Fingerprints

Liang Luscombe

Disconnected sounds of police sirens, coughing, spluttering, and flocks of birds confronted the viewer as they entered the darkened space of Pete Volich’s exhibition Dirty Fingerprints at Canberra Contemporary Art Space. Videos projected on left and right walls stood either side of me as I walked into the gallery; behind me were a small number of collages, lit from above by fluorescent lights…

Elsewhere the Castles are Pink, the Mountains Golden

Darren Jorgensen

In 1972, reviewing an exhibition of art in LA, the American critic Harold Rosenberg asked whether art made outside New York really mattered. The large canvases of Ed Ruscha on show there were about the great spaces of Los Angeles, its service stations and drive-ins, freeways and billboards. But at the time nobody cared except the people living in LA. So Rosenberg argued that LA art represented a regionalism that was, ‘the revolt of geography over history’…

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