The 2018 AAANZ conference opens critical dialogue on the histories of art by examining the social contexts of aesthetics and politics. Bringing together art historians, theorists, curators, critics, and artists from across the region, the conference offers a stimulating four-day program of panels and papers, publication prizes, masterclasses and encounters with Melbourne’s vibrant arts sector with a parallel artistic program to be announced in coming months.
The conference features distinguished keynote speakers who will present expanded and alternative frameworks for understanding the diverse contexts and histories of art. Gabi Ngcobo (South Africa), curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale; Genevieve Grieves (AUS), Head of the First Peoples Department at Museums Victoria; and Ema Tavola (Fiji), independent curator are each engaged in critical curatorial practices aimed at democratising and decolonising art institutions and opening up art collections to alternative perspectives and narratives traditionally overlooked by museums and galleries. Art historian Professor Griselda Pollock (UK) from Leeds University is renowned for her postcolonial, queer feminist analysis of the visual arts, visual culture and cultural theory and research of trauma and the aesthetic in contemporary art. Curator and Associate Professor David Teh specialises in contemporary art in Southeast Asia.
The intersection of art and society is where differing worldviews and opposing epistemologies can meet and clash. Art offers a site for modelling political alternatives, questioning dominant discourses, and producing new historical narratives. Responding to the political, economic and environmental tensions of the present moment, the conference explores the relationship of the arts to social life throughout history. Located in a region marked by multiple and overlapping colonial and postcolonial histories and contemporary processes of globalisation, the conference aims to initiate critical dialogues that foreground the complex contexts, diverse practices, multiple histories, and contested trajectories of art.
Genevieve Grieves is Worimi – traditionally from mid north coast New South Wales – and has lived on Kulin country in Melbourne for many years. She is an educator, curator, filmmaker, artist and oral historian who has accumulated nearly twenty years’ experience in the arts and culture industries. Some of her projects include the documentary, Lani’s Story; the video installation, Picturing the Old People; and, she was the Lead Curator of the internationally award-winning First Peoples exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. Genevieve has a role as a public intellectual and speaker and is undertaking her PhD in arts, memorialisation and frontier violence. She is Head of the First Peoples Department at Museums Victoria.
Gabi Ngcobo is the curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale. Since the early 2000s Ngcobo has been engaged in collaborative artistic, curatorial, and educational projects in South Africa and on an international scope. She is a founding member of the Johannesburg based collaborative platforms NGO – Nothing Gets Organised and Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR, 2010 – 14). NGO focusses on processes of self-organization that take place outside of predetermined structures, definitions, contexts, or forms. CHR responded to the demands of the moment through an exploration of how historical legacies impact and resonate within contemporary art.
Recently Ngcobo co-curated the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, which took place in 2016 at the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion in São Paulo, and A Labour of Love at Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main in 2015⁄16) and travelled to the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2017. She has been teaching at the Wits School of Arts, University of Witswatersrand, ZA, since 2011. Her writings have been published in various catalogues, books, and journals. She currently lives and works between Johannesburg and Berlin.
You can find out more about the event here.
Daniel Palmer is Associate Dean of Research and Innovation in the School of Art at RMIT University.
Daniel Palmer’s research and professional practice focuses on contemporary art and cultural theory, with a particular emphasis on photography and digital media. Prior to joining RMIT in 2018, Palmer was Associate Dean of Graduate Research and Associate Professor in the Art History & Theory Program at Monash Art, Design & Architecture. He also has a long association with the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne, first as a curator and later on the board of management.
Palmer’s book publications include Photography and Collaboration: From Conceptual Art to Crowdsourcing (Bloomsbury 2017); Digital Light (Open Humanities Press, 2015), edited with Sean Cubitt and Nathaniel Tkacz; The Culture of Photography in Public Space (Intellect 2015), edited with Anne Marsh and Melissa Miles; Twelve Australian Photo Artists (Piper Press, 2009), co-authored with Blair French; and Photogenic (Centre for Contemporary Photography, 2005). His scholarly writings on photography and contemporary art have appeared in journals such as Photographies, Philosophy of Photography, Angelaki, Reading Room and the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art. Palmer has also published over sixty catalogue essays and fifty art reviews since 1997, in art magazines including Art and Australia, Photofile and Frieze.
Palmer has been the recipient of various awards and grants, and has been Chief Investigator on multiple ARC projects, including the ARC Discovery Project ‘Genealogies of Digital Light’ (2008 – 11) with Sean Cubitt and Les Walkling; an ARC Linkage Project ‘Photography as a Crime’ (2009 – 2012) with Anne Marsh, Melissa Miles, Mark Davison and the Centre for Contemporary Photography; and the ARC Discovery Project ‘Curating Photography in the Age of Photosharing’; (2015 – 2017) with Martyn Jolly. Palmer is currently a researcher on the ARC Discovery Project ‘Digital Photography: Mediation, Memory and Visual Communication’ (2020 – 2022) with Scott McQuire, Nikos Papastergiadis, Sean Cubitt and Celia Lury.
This project explored how museums can engage with social media platforms beyond the blunt instrumentalization of hashtags, likes and follows, to co-create and co-future inventive and responsive engagements with and for diverse and intergenerational museum audiences. Deploying the notion of digital wayfaring that acknowledges that digital, social and material worlds are interconnected, the project used ethnographic techniques in the context of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Ethnography provides insight into practice and lived experience — dynamic processes that big data can’t address.
Creative Citizenship, in partnership with local cultural organisations, is encouraging youth to learn in inspiring environments.
The project explores:
— learning outside of the classroom;
— social inclusion through youth-generated teaching and learning materials; and
— improving digital literacies and social capital of young people through the creative exchange.
Visit the Creative Citizenship website.
Cultural organisations — galleries, museums, archives and libraries — are designing new ways to engage with the public. Audience Lab brings together these institutional players with industry and academia to discuss the collaborative possibilities of a publicly-facing product testing ground for new ideas. Our focus lies in developing a Lab where industry can user-test ideas, publics can be introduced to the technologies employed in contemporary media creation and academics can interlace between both, to explore the larger questions facing the future of design and media.
Dr Martyn Hook is Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Partnerships in the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. He also holds the position of Dean at RMIT’s School of Architecture & Design alongside his role as Professor of Architecture. In addition to his work at RMIT Martyn is a director of multi award winning iredale pedersen hook architects, a studio practice based in Melbourne and Perth dedicated to appropriate design of effective sustainable buildings with a responsible environmental and social agenda.
Hook has particular expertise in the implementation of strategic vision in creative practice and driving organisational change through the lens of an integrated scholarship model that links teaching and research. Prior to this appointment he was Acting Dean of the School of Architecture & Design and Acting Head of the School of Art.
Building on Phase 1, this project specifically sought to identify and develop socially thick understandings of the (digital and non-digital) experiences and potential opportunities for older adults in the museum sector.
Using a series of postcards aimed at discursive elaboration, we invited audiences to share cups of tea and biscuits as they wrote and discussed their responses. We engaged these audiences to ethnographically and creatively reflect upon how they view the museum as an institution, as a place for belonging, and what they would like their digital (and non-digital) experiences with the museum to involve.
David Chesworth is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at RMIT, based in the School of Art and DCP Research Platform. He is a cross-disciplinary artist, composer and researcher with an experimental background, He has created investigative artworks in visual art, music, screen-based media, performance and installation, and across the wider cultural sector, including major museums and artist run initiatives and the public domain. Recent artworks created with collaborator Sonia Leber were exhibited in the main programs of the Venice and Sydney Biennale’s and the satellite program of Moscow Biennale. His sound works have been presented internationally, including Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival and The Bang on a Can Marathon in New York, and Ars Electronica in Austria (Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention).
His recent award-winning PhD investigation into ontologies of listening within visual arts practice interrogated artworks at Dia:Beacon in upstate New York. This led to a practice-based research project as an Associate Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) where he investigated, with Earth scientists and Indigenous traditional owners, different understandings of the world.
His postdoctoral research will involve the creation of three artworks that investigate sound archives: a collection of early Indigenous recordings, an experimental music archive, and a collection of recently unearthed séance tapes, this will be supplemented with a range of written research outputs. David is also co-creating a large-scale research artwork called What Listening Knows for exhibition in the UK later in the year.
Dr Jonathan Duckworth is a digital media artist, designer and founding director of the CiART Lab (Creative interventions, Art and Rehabilitative Technology) RMIT University. Duckworth’s research spans media art, digital design, game technology and human computer interaction. He was awarded a RMIT Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellowship between 2012 – 2015.
Duckworth brings to RMIT a broad range of industry and research experience in digital media design from his practice called ZedBuffer. His practice specialises in research, development and production of novel interactive installations for government clients, museums, galleries and public venues using computer game technology. The practice also serves as a repository for his funded research activities, speculative designs and experimental interactive media art works.