Tuesday, March 25, 2008


A motion was passed at tonight’s Council meeting which might be of interest.

The gist being that a report to council will be prepared on:
1. Developing an indigenous and others cultures gallery at East Gosford;
2. That Council review the purposes and role of the Regional Gallery in the long term, and its relationship to the City Centre and previous plans for its expansion and;
3. Determine the economic benefits of supporting YAG with the development of a gallery and contemporary art space in Gosford, including how it would interact with Gosford City art and culture policies, plans and strategies.

The motion was stitched together by Trevor Drake and Terri Latella.

I do not know what YAG stands for, but it would seem to be a non-profit association currently being cobbled together by Terri Latella, who will be on its executive. A site is already being negotiated at the eastern end of Erina Street.

You know something is going on here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones.
(Bob Dylan)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tactical cartography

The emotional mapping project at Art inTent is being covered on the Gosford Times blog, for those who have not checked it recently.
When discussion came around to the work of Christian Nold, I was interested to hear from Anne Graham about new work she is doing using emotional responses measured by GSR (Galvanic Skin Response), and the significance memory had regarding the feelings people had about places, which were picked up by the apparatus.

Christian Nold's Bio Mapping is a community mapping project in which, over the last four years, more than 1500 people have taken part . In the context of regular, local workshops and consultations, participants are wired up with an innovative device which records the wearer's Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), which is a simple indicator of the emotional arousal in conjunction with their geographical location. People re-explore their local area by walking the neighbourhood with the device, and on their return a map is created which visualises points of high and low arousal. By interpreting and annotating this data, communal emotion maps are constructed that are packed full of personal observations which show the areas that people feel strongly about and truly visualise the social space of a community.

Another useful read on the subject is Jessica Clark's The New Cartographers, which contains good links. To quote a little, "In many ways, these mapping tools are re-locating us as the center of our personal universes. We no longer go to maps to find out where we are. Instead, we tell maps where we are and they form around us on the fly, a sensation that can be comforting or stifling. After all, while finding the right map can orient you, having dozens can threaten to tip the signal-to-noise ratio toward cacophony."

"Maps are everywhere these days. The ubiquity of global positioning systems (GPS) and mobile directional devices, interactive mapping tools and social networks is feeding a mapping boom. Amateur geographers are assigning coordinates to everything they can get their hands on—and many things they can’t. “Locative artists” are attaching virtual installations to specific locales, generating imaginary landscapes brought vividly to life in William Gibson’s latest novel, Spook Country. Indeed, proponents of “augmented reality” suggest that soon our current reality will be one of many “layers” of information available to us as we stroll down the street."

Finally, there are some examples of mapping as an art of rhetorical engagement; a process where art does not simply reflect upon its context but, as Trevor Plagens says, takes a "position" within what ever matrices of power constitute that reality.
The following quotes are from An Atlas of Radical Cartography, Ed. Lize Mogel and Alexis Bhagat, Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Press, 2007. (Ten essays with accompanying maps)

"There is a Long tradition of making maps that present alternative interpretations of various landscapes and reveal implicit relationships between power, control, and spatial practice."

The essay Tactical Cartographies, by the Institute of Applied Autonomy, which I thought pertinent to our project in Gosford, contained the following:

"Embracing the potential for maps to be used in advocacy is an explicit recognition of maps as rhetorical devices. In short maps don’t merely represent space, they shape arguments; they set discursive boundaries and identify objects to be considered. When individuals make their
own maps, they offer an expression of what they consider important, what they consider to be "of interest," and for what they are willing to fight. In openly acknowledging the rhetorical power of maps and positioning themselves as interested parties taking sides in contentious debates, tactical cartographers offer a direct challenge to the presumed neutrality of mapmakers as mere visualizers of spatial data. Tactical cartographers make claims about
landscapes, but also about their own status as authors of spatial narrative. In creating maps that confront power, tactical cartographers claim their right to set the rules of debate and to provide interpretations of local events with both an authority and a contingency equal to
official representations."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

inTent update

Art inTent update.

An inspiring presentation was given by Steffen Lehmann, Astra Howard catalysed a valuable discussion about local issues, we were joined by artists Cida de Aragon and Anne Graham who contributed insight gained from their extensive practices, artworks by Sharyn Walker and Judy Harris appeared in the Park, people contributed to an intriguing emotional map of Gosford, Councillor Vicki Scott attended representing herself as well as the Mayor, and Member for Gosford, Marie Andrews, opened the event and stayed well beyond her scheduled time to take part in the open forum session.

The forum will continue, and a time will be scheduled soon for this, as the conversation was extremely productive, but had to be curtailed when the tent removers arrived.

Professor Steffen Lehmann – Key Note Presentation.

Matters arising, DVD projections, and further psychogeography outcomes will be presented in Gosford as soon as approval can be obtained for a site.

Unscheduled installation/tableaux by Judy Harris

The mapping project proved popular, and requests for late additions have delayed its display. We expect it to be on the Gosford Times blog within the next couple of days as a work-in-progress.

Liz Wright considers her options.
We must acknowledge once again Marie Andrews’ engagement and interest in the future of art in the Gosford region.
[Images thanks to Sharyn Walker and Fiona Doyle]

Friday, March 07, 2008

inTent forum

Forum/discussion sessions at Art inTent

Following presentations by professor Steffen Lehman and Astra Howard, there will be a short break after which Anne Graham will address issues arising from her considerable experience as an artist, and I will speak about locality and regionalism in a global context, as well as critique the function of 'art for social betterment'.
Integrated with words from Anne and I, will be round table discussions about local issues in light of the presentations.

The nature of Click Here as a project will be put in the context of related projects of urban intervention occurring around the world in what is becoming a mainstream genre of practice.

The purpose of the discussions is to share our perceptions about the current character of contemporary art and to envision its future in the local context. From this we will move towards some proposals and strategies for the next steps forward in Gosford.

Some recurring topics have emerged from recent conversations with local artists, and we will endeavour to address these as well as issues arising on the day.

Local opportunities for strengthening art milieu (resources and impediments)
Communication and coordination
Locus focus
Financial support
Education, and critical context needed for, contemporary practice.
Action plan

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Art inTent

Art inTent

Announcing the next activity in the Click Here series of art interventions in the centre of Gosford, Art inTent (Ceci n’est pas Baba).

Art inTent is a being organised by Brown’s Cows Art Projects and Gosford Art Flux Forum, who will be joined for this event by eO inc.

Open from 11am, in a tent in Kibble Park on Saturday the 8th of March will be presentations and restagings of past projects in the Click Here series, including the Bloomsday psychogeographic dérive. There will also be an opportunity for people to contribute their impressions to a collective “mapping” of Gosford.

If you missed, the Space Between, Buy Nothing – Get One Free, Astra Howard’s SPI vehicle, Scoop Shadow, or Streaming by Korean group KoPAS, this will be your chance to catch up.
There will also be new works, information about contemporary art groups in the region, and a mini-workshop/introduction to a project by eO inc.

Marie Andrews, MP for Gosford, will be there to officially open activities at 1pm.

The Key Note speaker at Art inTent will be Dr Steffen Lehmann. Art inTent is the next in the Click Here series of art activities being conducted in the centre of Gosford by GAFF and Brown’s Cows Art Projects, assisted by a Cultural Grant from Gosford City Council.

Dr Steffen Lehmann is the Artistic Director of the ‘Back to the City’ project in Newcastle, a new biannual public arts festival about temporary interventions in public space. Its aim is to gain new readings of the city and experiment with innovative forms of collaboration, bringing into focus the revitalisation process of Newcastle's city centre.

“Steffen brings a wealth of international experience and extensive knowledge of curatorship to the exhibition of public art. His practice, teaching and research demonstrates an enduring commitment to involve the local community in excellent exhibition projects about the contemporary city. He is a German-born architect and urban designer and holds the Chair in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Newcastle. He is Founding Director of the s_Lab Space Laboratory for architectural Research and Design (Sydney-Berlin).”

In regard to the Gosford Art Flux Forum, Click Here project and Art inTent, he said: “I congratulate the organisers. This exciting initiative is based on a continuing dialogue between the different disciplines, and different worlds will be engaging with each other in this collaborative site-specific endeavour.” – Professor Steffen Lehmann Ph.D., AADipl. Chair, School of Architecture and Built Environment. The University of Newcastle.

Elephants boycott The Room

As with the parable of the six blind men asked to describe an elephant, six topics examining aspects of contemporary art practice in Gosford will make up a framework for open discussions. These hybrid performance installation-roundtable discussions have been designed to facilitate informal conversations. Come along and give your opinion! Neil Berecry-Brown will offer some thoughts on locality and regionalism in a global context, as well as critique the function of 'art as a tool for social betterment' in relation to local practice.

Joining us will be Professor Anne Graham, School of Drama, Fine Art & Music, The University of Newcastle. Anne Graham is an artist and an academic; she teaches performance, installation and sculpture. She has exhibited in the Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne Festivals, the Biennale of Sydney, Perspecta and in many curated exhibitions nationally and internationally. In 2000 she completed ‘Passage’ a major permanent public art work for the City of Sydney. She has recently completed major public artworks for the Tweed River Regional Gallery and the Newcastle City Council. She has worked extensively in Japan and has recently designed a public park for the Second Echigo Tsumari Triennial in Nigata Province, Japan.

Astra Howard, who was in Gosford in December with her SPIV project, will present documentation and ideas about her innovative form of art. Astra Howard is an Action Researcher/Performer working predominantly within public city spaces. She has completed a PhD centred on facilitating communication via performance-based interventions. Her most recent solo works have been commissioned by the City of Melbourne, the Frankston City Council and the Queensland Department of Communities. Astra also works in a crisis accommodation centre in Sydney, designing and facilitating educational programs and professional services for the homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged community.

During the event no harm will be inflicted unnecessarily on elephants in the room, real or imagined.

Details of the discussion section of the schedule will be posted before Saturday.