Common Knowledge, collaboration and collectivity in artistic, curatorial and critical practice

Common Knowledge, collaboration and collectivity in artistic, curatorial and critical practice
| Tuesday 23 February, 11am – 4pm
Location | Artspace, Ground Floor



Common Knowledge is the third in Artspace’s series of discussion forums examining organisational and institutional practices within the field of art and its various intersections with the social sphere. Bringing together artists, curators and critics working in Australia and internationally, it seeks to explore modes of collaboration and collectivity, and their operation across artistic production, presentation and reception. Of course, collaboration in the arts is nothing new. Conventional histories of modern art abound with ‘isms’ constituted by shared stylistic and ideological approaches to art making. Meanwhile, the mechanisms required for the public presentation of contemporary art — museums, galleries, art fairs and biennales — regularly function through the cooperation of a number of cultural workers. However, it is arguable that Western notions of the individuated creation and experience of culture remain ingrained within art systems and infrastructures.


Recent times, though, have seen practices associated with a so-called collaborative or participatory turn gain increasing, if still marginal, institutional legitimacy. Artistic, curatorial and critical collectives are emerging as a vital force on the contemporary landscape, while complex patterns of collaboration between artists, art professionals, institutions and audiences present a significant challenge to current understandings of authorship and interpretation.


WELCOME: 11.00 am

SESSION 1 (chair: Blair French)


What, How & for Whom?

What, How & for Whom (WHW) is a non-profit organisation for visual culture and a curatorial collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb, Croatia. Its members are curators Ivet Curlin, Ana Devic, Natasa Ilic and Sabina Sabolovic, and designer and publicist Dejan Krsic. Since May 2003 WHW have directed the program of Gallery Nova, a non-profit, city-owned gallery in Zagreb, and they were curators of the 2009 Istanbul Biennale. Besides exhibitions, WHW projects encompass lectures and public discussions conducted by international artists, curators and cultural theoreticians, publications and a book edition on contemporary cultural practice and theory, radio broadcasts and interventions, screening and live acts.



Along with Tony Albert, Bianca Beetson, Richard Bell, Andrea Fisher, Jennifer Herd, Gordon Hookey and Laurie Nilsen, Vernon Ah Kee is one of the eight Aboriginal artists and agitators who make up the Brisbane-based collective proppaNOW. All accomplished individual artists—Ah Kee was part of Australia’s representation at the 2009 Venice Biennale—the collective’s work confronts the mainstream misconceptions, stereotypes, urban myths, romanticised views and institutionalised racism of colonial Australia. proppaNOW is exhibiting new work at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute as part of the Adelaide Festival 2010 Visual Arts Program.


Jayce Salloum

Jayce Salloum is a Vancouver-based artist who works across media, in particular video and photography, and often in various collaborative formats including community-based work. He has exhibited extensively internationally and his survey exhibition Jayce Salloum: history of the present (selected works 1985-2009) is currently touring Canadian venues. Salloum has been undertaking an Artspace Studio Residency since early December 2009, and his Artspace Gallery Project all is not lost but some things may have been misplaced along the way (or) of endings and beginnings and some points in-between, and other works from the ongoing videotape, untitled, 1999-ongoing runs until 27 February.


SESSION 2 – Panel discussion (chair: Reuben Keehan)


Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly is a Sydney-based cross-media artist whose works have been shown in streets, skies and galleries around Australia and elsewhere. She is a founding member of, who make public artwork around race, nation and history. Her photomedia project, Hey, hetero!, created in collaboration with Tina Fiveash, has been displayed on bus shelters, billboards, screens, magazines, newspapers and text books in Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington, Glasgow and Berlin since 2001, and with Martha Rosler and others, she produced a major work for Utopia Station at the 2003 Venice Biennale. Kelly participated in the 2008 Singapore Biennale, and her participatory Tiananmen Square memorial was performed in twenty cities on 4 June 2009.


Sumugan Sivanesan

Sumugan Sivanesan maintains a multi disciplinary practice across installation, sound, video and performance. Often working collaboratively, he is largely concerned with issues of globalisation, de-colonisation and cultural exchange in a networked world. He is part of the collectives and theweathergroup_U. Sivanesan is currently engaged in post–graduate research with the Transforming Cultures Research Centre at UTS, as well as lecturing in Experimental Film and Video at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW, and he is a current Artspace Studio Artist.



Russell Storer is a Curator, Contemporary Asian Art at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane. He is part of the curatorial team for the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art and is a co-curator of the third Singapore Biennale in 2011. He was formerly a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, where he organised the group exhibitions 'Video Logic', 'Interesting Times', and 'Situation', as well as exhibitions by artists including Simryn Gill, Matthew Ngui, Paddy Bedford, Juan Davila, Ugo Rondinone, and Simon Starling. He has written on contemporary art for a range of Australian and international publications.


BREAK: 3.00 – 3.15 pm

SESSION 3 (chairs: Blair French and Reuben Keehan)


Gerald Raunig

Gerald Raunig is based at the Zurich Hochschule der Künste and the EIPCP (European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies), Vienna, where he is coordinator of the transnational research projects republicart and transform. His recent books include Art and Revolution: Transversal Activism in the Long Twentieth Century, (Semiotext(e)/MIT Press, 2007); as co-editor with Gene Ray, Art and Contemporary Critical Practice: Reinventing Institutional Critique, (Mayflybooks, 2009); and A Thousand Machines (Semiotext(e)/MIT Press, forthcoming 2010). Raunig participated in the Artspace conference Spaces of Art in April 2009.


CLOSE: 4.00 pm


ThparticipatioWhat, HofoWhoiiassociatiowitMonasUniversitMuseuoAransupporteby thAustralian Government through the Australia Council, its art funding and advisory body. A guest of the 2010 Adelaide Festival Artists’ Week, Gerald Raunig’s visit to Sydney is supported by Austrian Embassy Canberra, and University of South Australia.