Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gosford Art Flux Forum

“The flux of art is a cultural and intellectual commons, and is the vital foundation for all creative engagement as well as being a playground for imaginative and critical conjuring with possibilities.”

Gosford Art Flux Forum is an initiative of Brown’s Cows Art Projects. Gaff was incorporated to provide a legal entity to facilitate the development of contemporary art within the Town Precinct of Gosford and places within the City’s ambit.

An objective of Gaff is to be a catalytic art presence in the town centre; promoting creative processes of democratic engagement in the production and presentation of socially engaged, collaborative and temporary projects for non-gallery situations where context is integral to the meaning of the work.

Gaff will also operate as a street front venue in the CBD serving as a focus for contemporary art and a locus for the presentation of art projects, the provision of information resources, and a coordination place for work in the public domain,

GAFF will conduct art research through praxis of Gosford itself as a process of contemporary art and encourage projects in which the people of Gosford can be part of the invention of “Gosford”, gaining both understanding of its emergent identity and its place in the world.

We recognise that autonomy is an essential part of the culture of effective contemporary practice and, at the same time, that art can play a role in creating the context in which it functions. GAFF will work to address its context by developing infrastructure for sustainable contemporary art practice in Gosford City through discussions and partnerships with various stakeholders, including all levels of government, artists and artists’ organizations, educational organizations and business.

Gosford Art Flux Forum understands itself as part of an international network of artist directed organizations and groups that share a number of attributes. These include a culture of open enquiry, a sometimes alternative and critical position in relation to civic and commercial art operations, and an interest in playing a catalytic and engaged role in generating an immediacy of experience in contemporary cultural and social issues.

In order to engage with critical issues and new ideas and practices in contemporary art, and to place local artists within the ambit of developments internationally, GAFF will support the development of contemporary art in Gosford by building partnerships, linkages and exchanges with other organizations beyond the region.

Gosford Art Flux Forum seeks to reinvigorate the urban ‘commons’ with imagination, the poetic, and an enjoyment and enthusiasm for contemporary art processes and practices.

GAFF has a program of activities scheduled for 2007 and is currently working on the programs for 2008 and 2009.

GAFF Secretary:

Sculpture in the Vineyards

Opening event - 20th October, 2007.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dispatch From the Front

Feed-back from the Cultural Spaces and Places Framework process.

The consultants engaged to make a report to Gosford Council gave a progress presentation to some of the “stakeholders” at the Laycock Theatre on Monday, prior to it also being made to Council today.

The general response to the presentation was very positive, with agreement that the consultants have listened well and integrated most of the community’s comments into their report. It was also clear that they have brought insights gained from other places and situations to balance the pressures from particular lobby groups who understandably are pushing their own agendas.

This “dispatch” is in no way meant as a summary of the multifaceted presentation and workshop at Laycock. The process has many phases yet to go, and while stage one in still not finished, but there were a few highlights that might interest contemporary artists.

Not surprisingly "Performance Spaces" head the list of facilities required, with specifics for a major Concert hall/Theatre of 1,000 seats with rehearsal rooms etc., and a “Black box” multi-functional space of 250 seats accommodating everything from Arthouse cinema to new media, dance, comedy and cabaret.

The next listed “Element of Gosford’s Cultural Precinct as Regional Capital for the Central Coast” is a Contemporary Art Gallery of 1,000 square metres, followed by facilities for Artists’ Studios and Workshops. At this early stage the specific functions of these spaces relative to each other and to existing facilities needs some further work, but it is gratifying, not only make it onto the radar, but to have the critical role of contemporary art presented to Council as a central part of the cultural life of the city, at its own expense.

Given the high cost of building the “Performance Spaces”, and the inevitable squabbles about the Theatre’s siting, it seems to me that it will be a long time before we see any major infrastructure projects funded for contemporary art. So life goes on - “You can stand for a long time on the side of a mountain with your mouth open waiting for a roast duck to fly in”

There will no doubt be modifications to the report before it is completed at the end of the month, and a chance for public comment, but it is shaping as a useful document with Council elections due next year.

There were other areas in the presentation including public art, residential and commercial uses and a 3,000 capacity sound shell, but the purpose of this dispatch was to keep you in the loop about contemporary art issues from a personal perspective at this interim stage, not to make a definitive report.

Neil Berecry-brown.