Runway Magazine is created on Gadigal Country. Issue #33 POWER begins with a Welcome to Country by D’harawal woman and local elder Aunty Deborah Lennis. In beginning this issue with a Welcome conducted by Aunty Deborah Lennis, we acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. We acknowledge and respect the First Nations, Indigenous peoples and sovereign bodies past and present who carry the brunt of imperialism, resist, survive and continue to fight colonial power structures.
This Welcome to Country positions the rest of the issue to be conscious of politicised socio-historical spaces that have informed the way we move, position and align ourselves within a power matrix.
A collaborative process between , each editor brought their own understandings of power to the issue. These individual ideologies, along with a universal drive to question and disrupt modes of power are seen in in the works we commissioned, the way that we introduce the issue, are translated into the disruption of ‘the list’ in the website layout (articles are reordered with each ‘refresh’) and also in the editorial byline as circle. Here (in no particular order) we aim to introduce the works that have been commissioned for issue #33 POWER, positioning each piece within the overarching editorial intention.
Reimagining the Matriarchy: One GIF at a time by Lana Lopesi hails the internet as a space for Indigenous women to reclaim and assert their histories, cultures, identities, and power.
Fresh and Fruity, an art collective based in Aotearoa/online, reflects on ‘the fraught nature of having an Indigenous identity while working within white institutional spaces’ and the toxic interactions within art communities.
Alice-Anne Psaltsis’ essay Systems of Black Power: Richard Bell’s Aboriginal Tent Embassy explores the idea of the Tent Embassy within a global community of black power activists and associated aesthetics.
David Corbet discussed the curatorial research project The Museum of Dissensus – the explicit aim of this platform is to explore works which reveal and memorialise silenced histories and cultural erasures which might otherwise be forgotten – including those of First People, feminist, queer and self-taught artists worldwide.
Dominic Goulding’s Silos questions the power and privilege at play when we discuss activism for refugees, the business end of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and community development projects to alleviate poverty.
Power and its relation to desire is explored in Kelly Doley & EO Gill’s video work bb / bb. This piece is text-based and performative, using placards and bodies to question relationships, identities, orientation, agency and autonomy.
sxc-spiritual-aggressive-spiritual-sxc is Laura Hunt’s sound track to make you feel sexual, spiritual and powerful. This tongue-in-cheek sonic novel plays with capitalist and corporate culture and speculates the power of good vibrations.
Lucy Ainsworth explores outside institutions into public, socially engaged art projects. This model of art as social practice that exists outside the gallery context re-frames the power of the art world, producing art that cannot be collected and sold on or invested in. Yet, there is space to discuss how this mode of practice has been a natural move in light of funding cuts, where artists are expected to not only make art, but also provide social engagement projects; vying for council commissions over arts grants.
Interviewing two multidisciplinary artists; Sheida Soleimani and Jonno Revanche, Nina Dodd unpacks the power and privilege in play when taking images of others. Discussing intersections between photographic, self portraiture, commercial art structures, political art, identity and culture, Dodd presents two conversational video interviews with accompanying imagery and text.
In Reclaim Control (Through Sound), Sophie Mallett discusses anthems, radio and borders as tools to create and dismantle power structures. Where maps and zones mark out occupation, radio “depends on other factors – weather, topography, the strength and location of transmitter and receiver”. The lines are constantly moving and uncertain.
Shot from the back of a taxi in Mumbai, Shivanjani Lal uses her conversations with taxi drivers as a vehicle to discuss the transferal and interchange of power between the local and the visitor. Subtitles transcribing conversations, fares and distances provide an insight into Lal’s moving landscapes, giving details of encounters between two people attempting to find a space for communication.
Naomi Riddle and Emily Parsons-Lord begin with the atom, and expand to nuclear warfare and the atomic bomb and then to magnetic force in their piece Ways to Split an Atom / An unwarranted pull. This poetic exploration of power and explosion as “mutated sublime” examines human power through science, and nature’s power to fuck with us all.
In Awful Windmills, Power and The Landscape, Peter Nelson refers to art history for examples of colonial intervention as ‘picturesque’. When open cut mineral mines are scattered across the landscape yet wind turbines are labelled an eyesore, Nelson argues that the links between power, control, greed and ownership and their ties to colonial Australia and “the visually awful externalises of political power” are hard to ignore.
Co-Editor Tania Canas’ The Poetics of the Urban WOC Guerilla reflects on the battle Women Of Colour (WOC) engage in constantly and inevitably. She ruminates on resistance, Racial Capital, and tactics to navigate the terrain and not lose yourself.
Power seeps into all facets of life, from the clear hierarchies and politics that our society is governed by to the everyday decisions that privilege and power inform and dictate. The process of editing an issue about POWER for a magazine that discusses art creates many problematic spaces. From the privilege and power structures of the art world, the prevalence of unpaid labour and the way that this informs the voices that are represented in the arts (often voices of privilege who can afford to work for free) to the very process of selecting and editing creative works.
As an exercise, editing a magazine issue that intends to disrupt power is doomed for failure, as the structures that aim to dismantle one type of power also benefit from another. We hope that through this issue we have been able to represent some of this slippage, and feel incredibly appreciative to all who have contributed their thoughts and labour to Runway Issue #33 POWER.
Thank you for reading,
Rebekah Raymond is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman and an emerging curator, writer, and artist. On her mother’s side, Rebekah is Arabana from...
Siân McIntyre is a Sydney based artist and curator and recent MFA graduate from UNSW Art and Design. Currently Directing Verge Gallery, Sydney, Siân was...
Tania Cañas is the Arts Director at RISE Refugee as well as a lecturer and PhD candidate at the Centre for Cultural Partnerships at The University...