Archives for posts with tag: Arts Interview 2012

Photo: courtesy of Mosman Council

These responses were recorded as part of the panel discussion Who You Know: Building Networks in the Arts at The Museum of Contemporary Art on June 9th 2012 .An event in partnership with arts interview and VIVID Sydney.

Original panel discussion chaired and transcribed by Eliza Muldoon

Peter Nelson completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts with First Class Honours and the University Medal for Fine Arts in 2006 at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. In 2011 he was an artist in residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris and won the Art and Australia Credit Suisse Private Banking Contemporary Art Award. He is currently finishing a Masters by Research at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, developing a critical framework for analysing invented landscapes.

How do you manage the juggle between promoting your work and making your work?

I have a natural tendency to be isolated and work by myself. That has changed in the last few years though; I’ve found myself working with other people lately. That has broken down the distinction that I used to have, that either I was away by myself working or with others and being distracted from working. I now understand that I can work while being with other people and that promoting work feels like more of a part of making my work than it used to. I now think that being around others not only helps in building a profile it also is important because it allows you to put your work out there in your artistic community. Putting it out there forces you to engage in a community that challenges you intellectually.

I’ve seen a few interviews with you lately. How do you feel about doing interviews?

I often think I’ve said really silly things, things that I would not have said if I had responded via email. I’ve come to realise that interviews are not the worst thing in the world though. Somebody wants to talk to me about things that I’m interested in, things that I’m interested enough to build my career around. Usually we bore our friends to tears with that stuff. In an interview someone sits down with you and wants to talk with you about it for an hour!

How did the Cité (Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris) residency assist you with networking?

The Cité is unique partly because of its size. There are something like 218 studios in the one complex. There are always a lot of people around. Other residencies often have up to 8 studios. Everybody there is outside of their regular networks, their regular life and their regular commitments, so you have time to sit around and talk to them. These are people you might not otherwise get the chance to talk to, or perhaps might not otherwise ever be willing to talk to, simply because you are in awe of them.

An Italian architect and I actually ended up delivering a lecture together because we were both obsessed with particular periods of European architecture. That developed from a chance meeting and because we both had the time. We sat around and chatted and it evolved into a lecture.

What about follow-up? What advice do you have for maintaining a new professional relationship?

I think you need to make sure that communication is relevant. If you want to have a professional relationship with someone and remind them of your existence then it is good to have something valuable to say. I contact people a lot more when I have show coming up because I have something to contact them about- otherwise it would be a very strange email or telephone call.

The best connections happen when there is some purpose behind the communication.

How important do you think investing in a social media presence is for an artist?

It’s important. There is a blurred distinction on these platforms between your social life and your professional life though- they bleed into one another. It is a good way of putting things into the public forum without a whole lot of effort. You can also then build upon the discussion and interact with people. Most of the exhibitions I go to are via word of mouth or facebook. It’s where many day-to-day conversations happen, and it’s where many of the relationships are.

www.peteracnelson.com

Here you all were thinking that this post was the first interview of the year? Alas no, this is our heartwarming introduction for 2012! Our first interview with the fascinating scientist/ biomedical animator/ artist Drew Berry will launch next Monday 5th of March.

2012 is shaping up to be a big year for Arts Interview. After the fantastic response that we had in 2011- including a nomination for an Arts Hub award and over ten thousand views, things are only getting bigger and better. We will be continuing our weekly interviews across monthly themes and we may be be adding a couple of surprise events throughout the year.

Our first theme of 2012 will be Collaboration: The Intersection of Art & Others. Many of Australia’s most well known and fruitful artistic practices have been born out of the fusing of creative minds. Collaboration is not just the playground of artists, many organizations have used collaboration to strengthen community bonds, create a stronger organization or present something unprecedented. The four interviews throughout March will give you some deeper insight and hopefully a small buzz of inspiration.

For now, though, sit back, drink the last gin, soak in the final ray of Summer and enjoy the final re run of Arts Interview 2011 with Russell Storer.

Eliza Muldoon & Alex Bellemore

Russell Storer, alumni of COFA, UNSW, is a Curator of Contemporary Asian Art at Queensland Art Gallery (QAG). He has been working collaboratively to curate exhibitions such as the QAG’s Asia Pacific Triennial (APT) and the ongoing  Singapore Biennale 2011. He was also a visiting curator at Documenta 2, Kasel and Curatorial Comrade for the 2006 Biennale of Sydney. In his previous role with the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, Russell curated a number of exhibitions among which was the Situation: Collaborations, collectives and artist networks from Sydney.

Interview by Shivangi Ambani

What was the experience of working across a geographically dispersed curatorial team for the Singapore Biennale 2011?

Working long-distance is a common situation for biennales today, with curators working from a home base as well as in the host city often in tandem with others. It offers the possibility for new connections and to draw in different networks of knowledge, experience and information. It does of course also present major challenges in terms of time and communication. Fortunately Matthew (Ngui), Trevor (Smith) and I all knew each other and had worked with each other before, so we had an established understanding of each other’s approaches, and we shared points of reference. We communicated regularly via Skype and email and every few months would come together in Singapore or Australia for intensive meetings. We also had a wonderful exhibition manager, Michelle Tan, who could co-ordinate with us and centralise information in Singapore, and we also had an online ‘cloud’ where we could share materials and documents.

For the APT you work with your curatorial team at the QAG as well as external curators. What were the challenges and benefits of working in this kind of collaborative environment?

The benefit of working collaboratively is that you expand your knowledge base and shift the dynamic into a more discursive mode rather than as a singular statement. There are benefits in that approach, but I love the dialogue that takes place and appreciate the multiple perspectives that collaborative curating offers. In some instances, as in APT, external curators are essential if you are working in areas that are unfamiliar or inaccessible to gallery staff, where you cannot proceed without specialised knowledge and on-the-ground contacts. As with any relationship there are negotiations and compromises to be made, which depending on the spirit in which this is done can be very productive or very difficult, but fortunately I’ve only really had positive experiences so far!

What do you look for in a collaborative curator when embarking on such a project?

I think as with any collaboration, you look for the experience and knowledge that people offer, but what is also important is that they are people you can relate to and there is some kind of shared goal in mind. There may be different views on how to get there, and the goal posts may shift, but there needs to be a desire to develop something together that you can both contribute to and learn from.

The upcoming Sydney Biennale for the first time will have a curatorial team rather than an individual. Do you see collaboration between artists, curators and institutions becoming increasingly important?

That is true, although the 2000 Biennale did use a ‘curatorium’ of advisors/curators from around the world to develop the project. Artists and curators have been collaborating for decades, from early 20th-century avant-garde groups to the activist collectives of the 1970s and 1980s to the participatory projects of the 1990s and 2000s. There has been increased attention and historicising of collaborative activity over the past decade, as well as expanding possibilities enabled by technology and new forms of organisation and production. With the enormous emphasis on the individual in society, and with the increased instrumentalisation of culture, the critical possibilities that collaborative work offers in setting up alternative structures and approaches will definitely continue to be significant into the future.

Any lessons learnt from your past collaborations—would you do anything differently the next time?

I see curatorial work as a constant process of learning, with each project teaching you so many new things. There are always aspects you might like to have done differently in hindsight, but that applies to everything in life I think! It’s important with collaborative projects to always be open and flexible while having a clear sense of what you are trying to do. You can bring your experience to each new project, but there are always situations you have never encountered before which makes it exciting and requires you to think in new ways. Collaboration – with other curators, with artists, with audiences – is a significant way of developing these new ways of thinking.

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