An exhibition of works by Australian and international artists who lived and worked in remote and regional Western Australian communities in 2013 and 2014, spaced 2: future recall runs at the Western Australian Museum – Perth until Sunday, March 29. We speak to the co-founder and artistic director of the International Art Space, Dr Marco Marcon.
What is the driving idea behind the exhibition?
future recall explores the idea of collective memory as a source of competing narratives through which communities create new visions of their present and future. Such creative reinterpretation, reprocessing and reassembling of a shared heritage is one of the fundamental means by which new ideas are collectively developed to meet the challenges presented by social, economic and environmental change. This process is neither conflict-free nor unanimous, as even small communities encompass different social identities, views and interests. These differences should not be denied but instead embraced as a source of cultural dynamism and an opportunity for acknowledging social diversity through dialogue.
How were participating artists chosen?
We advertised for applications globally and received over 400 submissions. The final selection is the result of recommendations made by a panel of curators, although I had the final say.
Tell us about the process of working with the remote communities involved in the project.
Community partners were selected from those that responded to a call for expression of interest made in October 2012. Their role was to liaise with us and the Western Australian Museum to plan and manage the residency project hosted by their community. The heart of each residency is the interpersonal and communicative relationship that develops between visiting artists and the local residents who are directly or indirectly involved in the project. The resulting artworks distil the process of interaction between artists and community and give it a durable and tangible form. As such they not only constitute a historical record of the process that produced them, but they also make it available to broader audiences beyond the communities in which they were created.
What are you hoping or expecting patrons to take away from the exhibition?
My hope is that visitors will not limit themselves to appreciating the final works but also look at the artists’ blogs posted on our website and the mini documentaries presented in the museum’s foyer. Blogs and docos offer essential information of the development of each project and on the interactions between artists and communities
Anything else to add?
We have an exciting new plan for spaced 3. The event will focus on an exchange between Australian and Nordic artists and will be managed in partnership with Botkyrka Konsthall (Stockholm). The event will explore significant but sometimes overlooked similarities between Australia and the Nordic countries. Both regions are highly industrialized but somewhat peripheral, located as they are respectively on the northern edge of Europe and just beyond Asia’s southern border. In both cases a relatively small population is scattered across a stunningly beautiful but harsh natural environment. At social level, the views and values of a predominantly European majority are balanced by the presence of ancient indigenous cultures and the relatively recent influx of migrants. The Nordic countries and Australia also share a comparable reliance on primary industries such a mining, logging and fishing. Yet Australia’s Scandinavia’s responses to these common environmental, geographic, cultural and economic issues are sometimes very different and could provide a rich ground for artist to explore. The plan for this project takes into account Scandinavia’s long and proud tradition of developing residency-based and socially responsive art projects that are perfectly in line with the spaced philosophy.