Curators Katja Aßmann, Lorenzo Mele and Michael Cohen came together to investigate a core question—how do we create site specific work that is both grounded in place and made to tour?
They proposed a new collaborative model to align the setting for the presentation of an artwork with their thematic concerns and creative methodology, prior to commissioning the work.
In January 2014, they brought together European and Australian artists Andre Dekker, Graham Eatough, Robyn Backen, Nigel Helyer and Jennifer Turpin to collaborate in a laboratory environment with experts in fields as diverse as urban planning, social geography, maritime archaeology and marine engineering.
Over 10 days the artists, curators and cross-disciplinary experts explored the maritime/fluvial details of each site (tide, water depths etc.) as well as contextual information such as history, social profile, urban identity and contemporary use. The synergies and differences between the sites were explored in relation to the following specific themes:
- urban connection to waterways
- the social impact at the interface between land and water
- urban redevelopment and social change
- historical connection and resonance with the Great War
Cross sector participants provoked new paradigms and learning. Artists from a variety of disciplines tested and extended their practice through collaboration. In addition, a level of attachment to the project outcome was borne that could not have been replicated in a standard commission process.
A parallel focus of the residency was on producing work in European-regional collaborations. The curators jointly explored the co-commission process, in-situ arts development and trends in urban arts intervention and presentation models.
Two strong and genuinely collaborative artwork ideas arose, both of which reflected the practice of all the artists concerned and fit closely with each site’s needs. The concept for No Man’s Land : Niemandsland will be further developed by the artists and engineers in the latter part of 2014 and the work’s tour will commence in April 2015.
With thanks to the Bundanon Trust and our cross-industry consultants Angus Bruce, Dr Deborah Dearing, Dr Stephen Gapps, Dr. Leah Gibbs, Prof. Ian Hoskins, Jan McReadie, Tim Smith.