Sunday, 19 January 2014

broadsheet - hate and love, ethics and YouTube...


I have a love/hate relationship with contemporary visual art and culture publication broadsheet. At times the art wank is insanely infuriating. Post-critical art? Post-crisical? Please...spare me. I am getting on in years and simply don't have time for this crap, and why, I ask: when we have hundreds of years of great literature to draw inspiration from do artists and critics feel the need to invent a new language? Stick to the pics I say, especially when I am served up this kind of drivel...

"The term "post-crisical" refers here to the notion of an art beyond that of the crisis-driven criticality of Western post-Enlightenment discourses and not that of a non-critical art." Paul Gladston, Associate Professor of Culture, Film and Media and Director of the Centre for Contemporary East-Asian Culture Studies at the University of Nottingham. Jeez, with that lot you would need an A3 size business card! Anyway, I am sure he's a lovely bloke...

But, every now and then broadsheet serves up some more digestible articles and even concepts. I had done a post ages ago that dealt with an issue dear to my heart, that being the rise of 'curators' and in my opinion their over importance. Too many curators spoil the wrath referred to an excellent article in broadsheet about the failure of many curators in Australia to live up to expectations while they swanned around in 'artist as celebrity' land.

The December issue of broadsheet begins with darling of the moment (or at least an Adelaide moment) Richard Grayson's critique of the Australia show at the Royal Academy. Well, it was always going to be an impossible task to draw together a survey of ALL Australian art with a loose theme of 'the land' and do it justice. Perhaps the art could not be seen for the exhibition.

Of more interest is the piece on video artist Craig Walsh's latest work at the MCA in Sydney, where he was sponsored by mining giant Rio Tinto to do a residency in the Pilbara that refers to the aboriginal 'owners' of the land and the company that exploits it's natural resources. Ethically an interesting dilemma...

But, the article that I found the most thought-provoking was Lebanese multimedia artist Ali Cherri's 'found archives or, what we can learn from YouTube', where he talks about using 'found footage' and it's distinction (if indeed there is one) from 'archival footage'.

As someone who draws on the 'archival' resources of the Internet Archive for my own work, Ali's use of amateur footage of the 'Arab uprising' from YouTube in his, propelled me to think of taking some different directions in 2014. While eros and thanatos will always be dear to my heart I believe that artists have a role to play in defending freedom of thought and expression in a time of a global push to the far right. I cannot sit back and ignore this any longer. And while Ali's interest is within the Middle East, are the recent protests in Hamburg and Spain a premonition of what's to come in Australia? Ali's thoughts can be found here...