The Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab: What happens now? announces the artist list for its inaugural edition.
Thirteen artists will spend two weeks in June 2016 developing their ideas in an intensive laboratory setting at Melbourne’s historical Queen Victoria Market.
Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab
The inaugural Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab takes place this year, comprising an artists’ lab summit in June 2016 co-convened by Claire Doherty and David Cross and the realisation of temporary commissions in October 2016 as part of the Melbourne Festival.
Curated by Natalie King, the Lab explores the possibilities of transformation of public spaces through the historical platform of the Biennial Lab site. The title “What happens now?” was derived from a Jenny Holzer paste-up programme throughout New York City in 1979. According to the press release, Holzer’s slogan anchors the curatorial framework while “offer[ing] an open ended inquiry and the prospect of imagining new possibilities”:
By asking about “now,” we can interrogate the multi-layered and deeply condensed history of the Biennial Lab site: Queen Victoria Market (QVM). QVM has long been a communal meeting place. It was a gathering place first for the clans of the Kulin Nation, for the “suburban swagmen” of late 1880s Melbourne, for market gardeners, customers, and the community.
An open call was held last month to recruit participating artists, and thirteen artists were selected from over 150 applications. The artists will spend two weeks in June developing their ideas in an intensive laboratory convened by Claire Doherty MBE and Professor David Cross from Deakin University. The list of artists is as follows:
- Hiromi Tango
- Jessie Bullivant
- Kiron Robinson
- Steven Rhall
- Willurai Kirkbright
- Sanné Mestrom
- Jamie Hall from The Mechanic’s Institute
- Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine from Isobel and Van
- Jason Maling and Martyn Coutts from Field Theory
- Will Foster from A Centre for Everything
- Timothy Moore from SIBLING
The selection panel comprised a curatorium that included Natalie King, David Cross (artist, curator, Head of Art and Performance, Deakin University), Jefa Greenaway (architect, Director, Greenaway Architects and Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria), Veronica Kent (artist, The Telepathy Project), Djon Mundine OAM (curator, activist and writer), Fiona Whitworth (QVM) and Lynda Roberts (City of Melbourne).
International affiliates included Claire Doherty (Director, Situations UK), Khairuddin Hori (artist and former Deputy Director of Artistic Programming, Palais de Tokyo, Paris) and Hou Hanru (Director, MAXXI, Rome).
The magic of the encounter
The Lab will also include an amplification programme inviting the wider community to participate in public conversations. Ultimately, the programme re-imagines the market site as a microcosm and incubator for alternate patterns and possibilities, offering a platform to “listen to the murmurings of Melbourne”.
In a provocative manifesto published in 2013 entitled New Rules for Public Art, Doherty outlined her principles of public art:
Believe in the quiet, unexpected encounter as much as the magic of the mass spectacle. It’s often in the silence of a solitary moment, or in a shared moment of recognition, rather than the exhilaration of whizzes and bangs, that transformation occurs.
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