Friday, August 03, 2007

FOCA Happenings

It has been a busy week for the Festival of Contemporary Art.
Silvia Velez' project Cook's Creative Endeavour was launched and sailed away on Wednesday night. Silvia and the Cook Primary School community developed a project to negotiate the end of their school and its community - Cook's Creative Endeavour. Cook Primary School was one of the schools that last year was targeted for closure in the restructuring of the ACT’s education system. The Cook School students, teachers and community have been through a long year of fighting for their school and grieving its closure. As part of the Festival of Contemporary Art IN PUBLIC theme, Silvia Velez, as parent and artist, has been facilitating a community project that has enabled students to farewell this public school and move onwards to their next place of learning. The theme of the Endeavour is central to the process of travel and change, and around this the students and community have responded with a variety of creative works that symbolise how they are collectively dealing with the break up of their small community.

This photo was from Thursday's Canberra Times page 3.
Also on Wednesday some of the artists in the exhibition Proof which is the ANU School of Art Gallery gave a floor talk about their work as part of the ANU School of Art Art Forum program.
On Thursday I presented a talk on the Knit1 Blog1 exhibition. It went really well and I think it was enjoyed by all particularly as the very talented Christopher Chapman, who is the Art Forum co-ordinator did a wonderful job of jumping from knitting blog link to knitting blog link without back tracking once, as the visual display for my talk. We covered heaps of blogs. Here is an extract from the paper I gave:
Knitting has become what: a movement; a lifestyle; a passion; a new language; an art form. Since the late 1990’s there have been a number of knitting exhibitions – knitting has moved into the gallery and elevated itself to art. Recent forays and discourses into the world of non functional knitting, big and very small knitting and wearable art knitting includes: Blurring the Boundaries: Fashion Design Innovation in Contemporary Knitting, at Fairfield City Museum and Gallery, Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting, at the American Museum of Arts and Design, Knit 2 together, at the British Crafts Council, smaller exhibitions/events such as House Cosy, by Bronwen Sandland or the Big Knit by Caroline Love and many more.
A seasoned performer such has knitting has slipped off the craft needle and onto the contemporary art needle, and today artist’s move between these classifications just as easily. Larry Shiner in his book The Invention of Art, considers these classifications in the following terms: The assimilation of craft media into fine art began in the late 1950’s from two directions: from the side of artists, who began to take up craft identified materials, and from the side of craftspeople who began to take up the styles and nonfunctional aims of fine art.

And here it is in practice as Merryn Gates comments on Bronwen Sandland’s House Cosy:
For two brief, mercifully dry, weeks Housecosy transported Bronwen's neighbourhood out of the normal. Northbourne Avenue traffic had a new landmark which made Canberra a kind of Lilliput. Scale and materials were suddenly, gloriously, out of joint, and in that space we could imagine other possibilities: collective action, civic pride, the artist and the public in dialogue, play, a moral dimension to social policy.

And part of the literature for the exhibition
Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting writes: Artists employ a variety of media, from traditional yarns and laces, to found objects and video, and explore contemporary currents in art practice of socially engaged, participatory work. Radical reformers in the world of knitting and lace making have overthrown the status quo from the inside out. In the space of ten years, knitting has emerged from the “loving hands at home” hobbyists’s den into museums and galleries worldwide.

Knitting can simultaneously talk about gender politics, feminism, domestic issues, history, survival and nurture as much as it can reflect one of the wonders of the human world – engineering. It can throw out your usual expectations, and engage in topical issues of many political causes including the environment, identity, war and migration. It has as Jennifer Craik suggests
regained its place in the crafts and arts pantheon.
...This realm however is not dominated by the fine art knitting seen in carefully prepared exhibitions that focus on the unfunctional, the radical material uses, and the consciously determined context. The true world of knitting is the knitting of hundreds of thousands of people who love to knit, who love to wear what they knit, who love to knit quirky odd objects, who love to give it away to someone else, who love nothing better than a brand new ball of hand dyed yarn and two new knitting magazines in the post, who will join a knit-a-long, who will knit jumpers for children with aids, and panels for a House Cosy. The most common knitter who blogs, blogs because they are passionate about the craft of knitting, and it is these people that are in the exhibition Knit1 Blog1.
And finally tonight - The Beamers as I like to fondly think of them, otherwise known as BEAM are projecting onto 8 stories of blank building wall with their eclectic range of moving and static and extraordinary images. They are projecting right now in fact and will keep going until 10pm tonight. They will also be projecting onto the western facade of the National Library of Australia next Friday night 10 August from 6.30 - 10.00pm. Their work is really in the public realm, one minute you are trundling along the next minute an avalanche of snow is cascading above you, or a series of political truisms are talking to you or you'd swear that you just saw three people crawling across the face of the building. Catch it if you can!!

Believe it or not this is my short circuit scarf that I started at the workshop a few weeks ago. I know it is slow, but it actually grew at today's Knit In - with much help and big thanks to Jacqui Kempton who saved me from my mistakes as I was talking to much and not concentrating. I am such a beginner!

1 comment:

Felicity said...

Hi, I am very interested in the talk you gave at the ANU. Was there a paper handed to the students at the art school- and is it possible to obtain a copy of this?