INFECTIOUS: Crisis, Contagion and Communication Aesthetics

When: Fri, 11 Sep, ’09
Where: Main Lecture Theatre (EG02), COFA

Yang Shaobin, Blind Spot No. 6 (2008)

Yang Shaobin, Blind Spot No. 6 (2008)

How has the everyday been transformed by the emergency: real, imagined or instigated? Across the spheres of public health, finance, media and government, ‘crises’ are a regular occurrence, generating levels of anxiety and panic. The rhetoric characterizing both the ‘global financial crisis’ and the ‘swine flu epidemic’ has fueled anxieties, which are themselves infectious, seemingly subject to transmission through media. What then is the role of media and aesthetics in crisis driven culture? The Infectious symposium brings together researchers, artists and curators to discuss practical and analytical methods and concepts that might lead us towards alternative responses to crisis – from the Intervention in the Northern Territory of Australia to global health epidemics to urban and industrial development in China. The symposium will also address artworks and themes raised in the exhibition REAL Emergency, (Ivan Dougherty Gallery, August 27 – September 20, curated by Jill Bennett and Anna Munster), which features video art and post-documentary work by internationally renowned artists such as Hito Steyerl and Yang Shaobin.

International speakers:
Jiang Jun, Chief Editor of Urban China Magazine and lecturer at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts
David Teh, Curator of 5th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival and lecturer at the National University of Singapore
Zoe Butt, Director of The Long March Project, Beijing

Australian speakers:
Anna Gibbs (Cultural Theorist, Writing and Society Research Group, UWS)
Jennifer Biddle (Visual Anthropologist, CCAP, UNSW)
Niamh Stephenson (Public Health, UNSW)
Ross Harley (Media Arts, UNSW) and Gillian Fuller (EMPA, UNSW)

REAL Emergency

When: Fri, 28 Aug, ’09 – Sun, 20 Sep, ’09
Where: Ivan Dougherty Gallery, CoFA

What effects do crises – Hurricane Katrina, environmental catastrophes, war, for example – play in transforming aesthetics? Conversely, how have ‘real’ crises been reconfigured by a new visual language and sensibility in contemporary art practice? Emerging art forms and fields have arisen as responses to real world emergencies including post-documentary film, video and new media art. This exhibition highlights these new approaches with the Australian premiere of video and new media works by renowned international and national artists.

CURATORS: Jill Bennett and Anna Munster, with exhibition design by Adrian Davies

ARTISTS INCLUDE: Yang Shaobin, Hito Steyerl, Liza Johnson, Sharon Daniel, Michele Barker and Anna Munster, Atanas Djonov

OPENING: Friday August 28 at 5:30pm with drinks and special guests

Art and Appropriation Post the Apology

Vernon Ah Kee, 'George Sibley' (2008), charcoal, crayon and acrylic on canvas, 180 x 240cm, private collection, image courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane

When: Fri, 1 May, ’09 – Sat, 2 May, ’09
Where: Main Lecture Theatre (EG02), COFA

Art and Appropriation Post The Apology draws together diverse voices — including those of artists, academics and curators — to discuss the issues surrounding Indigenous art and appropriation in the new context of the Australian government’s apology to the Stolen Generations, and nearly ten years after the decade-long formal reconciliation process.

Key questions will include:

• Have events in political, social and artistic realms changed the terrain of the debate, or are initial goals to be realised?
• With the increasing abundance of Indigenous imagery in contemporary Australian culture, what are appropriate ways for non-Indigenous artists and curators to engage with this material? Is it more acceptable for a non-Indigenous artist to draw inspiration from Indigenous artists if the resulting work may be characterised as abstraction rather than representation?
• The protocols for working with Indigenous artists and cultural products have been republished; but does the case for these protocols need to be remade?
• For what reasons would we privilege Indigenous art over that of other cultures whose cultural values might be transgressed or other religions who might find particular works blasphemous?

Keynote Speakers:

Dr Brenda L Croft, A/Prof David Garneau (Canada) and Prof Vivien Johnson

Additional speakers:
Vernon Ah Kee, Dr Jennifer Biddle, A/Prof Rex Butler, Felicity Fenner, Lisa Havilah, Djon Mundine OAM, Aaron Seeto, Abdullah Syed and Tamara Winikoff

Gerald Raunig speaks on ‘A Thousand Machines’

When: Thu, 16 Apr, ’09
Where: Elwyn Lynn Conference Centre, College of Fine Arts, Selwyn St. Paddington

The Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics and the Centre for Cultural Research, UWS, are proud to present a seminar with Gerald Raunig, who will speak at the Elwyn Lynn Conference Centre, College of Fine Arts, on Thursday 16 April, 2009. Gerald Raunig is the author of Art and Revolution (Semiotexte, 2007). His book, A Thousand Machines, will be translated into English this year. He is a philosopher and art theorist who lives in Vienna and lectures at the University of Klagenfurt and the University of Luneburg. He is the co-director of the Vienna-based EIPCP (European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies), which publishes the journal Transversal, and he is coordinator of the transnational research project republicart.

Flash: Film, Image, Culture

When: Fri, 24 Oct, ’08 – Sat, 25 Oct, ’08
Where: EG02 Lecture Theatre, College of Fine Arts

Film still (detail), River of No Return (2008), directed by Darlene Johnson

FLASH brings Prof Laura U. Marks to Australia for the first time. Her groundbreaking work on intercultural cinema explores the disjunctions in space and time that characterise the contemporary conditons of exile, immigration, and displacement. Within these disjunctions intercultural cinema appeals to memory – along with other, non-visual forms of knowledge – to represent and transmit otherwise unknown and even disavowed versions of history and experience. In her recent work Marks has turned her attention to intercultural dynamics of a particular order,  tracing a history of aesthetic relations between Islamic philosophy, European modernism and new digital media art.

FLASH brings together film makers, ethnographers, artists, and cultural theorists in order to explore how memory and experience are made palpable and proximate by new visual techonologies – allowing us to experience in a flash what cannot be known otherwise.

Under Construction: Strategies-Models-Links

When: Mon, 29 Sep, ’08
Where: Zendai MoMA, Shanghai, China

How do exhibitions serve as sites for the construction of networks and spatial relationships, and how might they present new models of social life?

This workshop, convened by CCAP Director Jill Bennett and Zendai MoMA Deputy Director Binghui Huangfu, seeks to understand how art constitutes our relationship to a changing social and physical world – a world that is itself ‘ under construction’. It will look, in particular, at exhibition models that reveal the way artists perceive, negotiate and respond to spaces in transition – spaces that are continually reconstructed in light of social and economic change, migration and movement, devastation and conflict.

Focusing on and comparing recent curatorial strategies, the workshop will look at how social connections are generated through curating, and at how curators materialise relationships between different works from different places. The focus will be on the interfaces between visual art and other practices and disciplines, and between art and community/cultural space. It will examine how artists work in relation to physical, cultural and disciplinary frameworks, and how artists and curators work in collaboration with other kinds of practitioners, including architects, who have an explicit concern with the relationship of human subjects to the built environment. The aim will be to identify the practical, constructive purpose of art and exhibiting practice in a broader arena.

Questions to be discussed:

1)     Exhibitions do not merely represent existing cultural groups but generate new social networks and possibilities.
2)     Contemporary art curating doesn’t conform to ethnographic principles but creates dynamic engagements between works from different locations.
3)     What are the means by which art acts as a conduit and forges connections rather than representing what already exists?
4)     How are conversations realised in aesthetic terms? What are the social entities that are forged in the dynamic space of an exhibition?
5)     Does interdisciplinary practice charge and subvert disciplines and the spaces in which they operate, or does it enlarge those disciplines?
6)     Is this a new way of connections art and general community or simply a ay for various forms of art culture to become more entrenched?

Affect at the Interface: Biology, Culture and the Human

When: Sat, 21 Jun, ’08 – Sun, 22 Jun, ’08
Where: Elwyn Lynn Conference Centre, CoFA

Affect at the Interface brings together leading national and international scholars working in the burgeoning area of affect theory. The small, residential group format (30 invited participants) is designed to enable the kind of intensive exchange that larger conference formats generally preclude. The symposium series forms part of a collaboration between the Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics, the Writing and Society Research Group at The University of Western Sydney, and the Centre for Women’s Studies at UBC, Vancouver, which hosted the Decolonising Affect Theory conference in June 2006.

The broader aim of the symposium is to rethink the relationship between biology, culture, and the human, beyond the universalising reductionism of biology in relation to gender, ‘race’, ethnicity, and culture which were rejected in the latter part of the twentieth century, and the biologically incurious cultural constructivism that has resulted. Our specific focus is affect. If affect is emerging as the primary structural system through which we interface physically – that is, biologically and neurologically – with the social, then how to rethink the relationship between biology and culture?

The format of this symposium takes shape through an examination of key readings in affect theory Silvan Tomkins and Darwin, to be circulated in advance. These readings will provide the background for the symposium. No formal papers will be presented. Rather, a series of six workshop topics will be introduced by leading scholars, combined with short presentations of work in process case material for discussion. The major topics will be rethinking the human, language and affect, the maternal, the intercultural, aesthetics, and mimesis and contagion.

Constellation 3: Extra/Ordinary Cities

When: Mon, 23 Jun, ’08
Where: Bach Dang Restaurant, Canley Vale; Casula Powerhouse; Ivan Dougherty Gallery

Extra/Ordinary Cities: The Cultural Dynamics of Urban Intervention is a dynamic forum examining the relationship between art, politics and the built environment in Asia and Australia. Travelling from Sydney’s eastern suburbs to the city’s southwest, this day-long event centered at the Bach Dang Vietnamese Restaurant in Canley Vale/Cabramatta brings together leading international artists, architects and writers for a series of presentations and discussion panels, culminating with a reception at the Concrete Culture exhibition at the Ivan Dougherty Gallery. The forum explores complex crossings, transformations and challenges in relation to urban landscapes and a series of urban interventions by artists.

Participants include:

Neville Mars, Ou Ning, Map Office (Laurent Guttierrez & Valérie Portefaix), Ruangrupa (Ade Darmawan & Reza Afisina)

International (Biennale of Sydney)
Michael Rakowitz, Rene Gabri, Manray Hsu

Richard Goodwin, Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan, Squat Space, Shakthidharan

CCAP Residency: Jim Wilce

When: Mon, 16 Jun, ’08 – Mon, 23 Jun, ’08
Where: CCAP, College of Fine Arts, UNSW

From mid- to late June, Jim Wilce, Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University, will undertake a residency with the CCAP. Prof Wilce will participate, along with Sneja Gunew, Adam Franks, and Anand Pandian, in the CCAP ‘s Affect at the Interface symposium, to be held on June 21-22. Prof Wilce is the author of Eloquence in Trouble: Poetics and Politics of Complaint in Rural Bangladesh (Oxford UP, 2003), and the editor of Social and Cultural Lives of Immune Systems (Routledge, 2003). Prof Wilce has served as the editor of the Blackwell Studies in Discourse and Culture series since 2005, and is soon to publish two more books: Language and Emotion (under contract with Cambridge University Press), and Crying Shame: Metaculture, Modernity and the Exaggerated Death of Lament (in press with Blackwell Publishers).


Susan Norrie, Digital Video Still from Havoc (2007)

When: Fri, 15 Aug, ’08
Where: EG02 Lecture Theatre and Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts

Recent occurrences in different spheres of life from the ecological to the judicial have redefined our notion of the unbelievable. While maintaining continuities with a long history of the irreal, this new unimaginary confronts us with radically diverse realities, reformulating the condition and expression of life itself. Digital imagery plays a critical role in this reformulated notion, since it presents itself not only as a medium but also as a limit of contemporaneity. The Un_imaginable project invites a range of artists and writers to investigate this new unimaginary and explore the unique qualities of its terrain. It comprises both an IDG exhibition (curated by Peter Weibel and Felicity Fenner), and a symposium (convened by the CCAP). The exhibition includes works by Dennis Del Favero, Korpys/Löffler, Susan Norrie (with David Mackenzie), Peter Weibel, and young Australian filmmakers Jacob Nash, Warwick Thornton, Pauline Whyman and Adrian Wills. Speakers at the Un_imaginable symposium are as follows:

A/Prof. Jill Bennett
Dr. Jill Bennett is Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics, and is currently working on the CCAP’s Construction, Community and Connection and Practical Aesthetics projects. She is the author of T-Visionarium: A User’s Guide (UNSW Press and Hatje Cantz, 2008) and Empathic Vision: Affect, Trauma and Contemporary Art (Stanford University Press, 2005). She has co-curated several exhibitions for the Centre, includingAfrican Marketplace (Sydney, 2002) and Prepossession (Sydney and Belfast, 2005).

Dr. Jennifer Biddle
Dr Jennifer Biddle is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics. She conducts research with Warlpiri women in Lajamanu, and has published widely on language, affect and cultural difference; translation, art, aesthetics and the politics of interpretation; Central Desert writing and art. Her recent book is entitled Breasts, Bodies, Canvas: Central Desert art as Experience (UNSW Press, 2007).

Prof. Catharine Lumby
Catharine Lumby is the Director of the Journalism and Media Research Centre at the University of NSW. She was the Foundation Chair of the Media and Communications Department at the University of Sydney. She is the author of numerous books and journal articles. Professor Lumby is a well-known public commentator who has worked as a news reporter, feature writer and columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Bulletin magazine. Her latest book is The Porn Report (Melbourne University Publishing, 2008) co-authored with Alan McKee and Kath Albury.

Prof. Paul Patton
Paul Patton is Professor of Philosophy at The University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He has written widely on Deleuze’s political thought, and is the author of Deleuze and the Political (Routledge, 2000). He has also published essays on Foucault, Derrida, Nietzsche as well as a range of issues in contemporary political philosophy. His major research interests include Modern European philosophy since Kant; political liberalism; and the rights of colonised indigenous peoples.

Prof. Terry Smith
Terry Smith is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. From 1994–2001 he was Power Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the Power Institute at the University of Sydney. He was a member of the Art & Language group (New York) and a foundation board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. He is the author of The Architecture of Aftermath (University of Chicago Press, 2006) and Transformations, vols. 1 and 2 (Craftsman House, 2002). His major research interests are world contemporary art, including its institutional and social contexts; the histories of multiple modernities and modernisms; the history and theory of contemporaneity; and the historiography of art history and art criticism.