Artists’ Week, Art in the Global Present
26 Feb – 1 March, 2010
victoria Lynn & Nikos Papastergiadis
Day Four Convenors:
Charlotte Day & SarahTutton
Artists’ Week had a new look, timeframe and location in 2010. At its core was a four day symposium, Art in the Global Present, presented at the Hawke Building, University of South Australia. Taking place over the opening weekend of the Festival, this symposium not only featured international keynote presentations, but also many artists visiting Adelaide as part of the Festival’s Visual Art Program.
In the weeks leading up to, and following this symposium were several workshops with international artists and scholars, in partnership with Helpmann Academy for Visual & Performing Arts. Specifically targeted at final year tertiary students and emerging artists, these workshops provided opportunities to develop new skills and perspectives. In addition, the Art Gallery of South Australia presented its Adelaide Biennial artists’ talks and performances in parallel with our symposium.
The ‘week’ transformed into an interrelated set of events that not only aimed to raise the profile of visual arts in the Festival, but also provide audiences with a range of stimulating and current perspectives on art.
Art in the Global Present considered some of the most significant issues for contemporary art today: the global, collaborative, virtual and intangible. Each day was dedicated to a single topic: Day One – Art & Politics, Day Two – The Open Studio, Day Three – Participatory Cultures and Day Four – At the Edge of Reason. These topics were considered through both broad discussion and specific examples by a range of scholars, artists, curators and critics.
This program focused on how contemporary art is produced in the context of intense globalisation. It examined the impact of migration, the ‘war on terror’ and global financial crisis as well as questioned the transformations produced by new forms of flexible labour and the digital revolution. The aim is to reflect on the interaction between diverse forms of art and politics. This is not to claim that art is now doing the work of politics but rather to see how art is part of public culture; to consider the ways it expresses indigenous and non-indigenous voices, complex emotions and new ideas within contemporary debates.
This symposium provided the opportunity to reflect on how artists also operate at the intersection between local and global perspectives. Artists might present local content in the face of global frameworks, or join with various groups to form collaborative situations. At other times they turn to the virtual environment not simply to network, but also to re-think the real spaces of our cities. Art is speculative. It delves into regions that our everyday media cannot even imagine, and seeks new trajectories through aesthetic means, responding to specific narratives in the global present.
Art in the Global Present searched for new connections across art forms and the situations in which they are produced and exhibited. Conversations highlighted the current paths along which contemporary artists travel: social, local, virtual, archival, imaginary, passionate and elusive.