installation / two HD videos with stereo sound, 28 minutes
In 2018, Canberra’s You Are Here decided to step back from running a festival program and undertook a twelve-month program of research, planning and strategising, which was aimed to “regroup, reassess and reacquaint ourselves with the city and its creative communities”.
Part of this research and development process was to commission five artists from a range of disciplines and creative communities and ask them to:
a) take an unflinching critical eye at the past and future of You Are Here and engage with questions like: What does Better mean for artists and art? What does Help mean? What does Growth mean?
b) reflect on Canberra as a city and as a situation for artistic practice. How has the city changed since You Are Here began? What is lost, and what is gained? What spaces intersect with our aims? What use is art in the making of a city (for right or for wrong)? And so on. (quoted from the You Are Here website)
With these instructions, I came up with the ‘transparency’ concept. Having worked within arts administration and number of government funded organisations during my work life, I thought that the notion of public accountability and knowledge was important to explore for a forward thinking group such as You Are Here.
Rather than just responding to a great idea from my own point of view, I placed festival ‘gap year’ producers Nick Delatovic and Yolande Norris into the heart of the work, using their minds as the thoughts to use as my narrative. While I knew that they had deep thoughts about how the festival should move forward, I also provoked them with questions around how You Are Here was placed within the Australian arts landscape, what the festival come to represent for the Canberra community in general and how was it placed to support Canberra-based practitioners to find their voice within the wider world.
The idea of ‘transparency’ is something that is manipulated time and time again so I played with the notion that while people will speak about a topic with transparency in mind, you may only hear what they say but not always understand the meanings in real time, only to reflect on it in hindsight. Using the audio recorded during my interviews with Nick and Yolande, the final work juxtaposes a cut-up of the text where the words spoken have been removed and sped up so it becomes a hyper-kinetic blur of breathes, glottal stops and thought pauses while important comments on the thoughts mentioned earlier are quoted and suspended in motion for the viewer to ponder.