A Melbourne Engagement

This coming weekend I’ll be in Melbourne for Next Wave Festival. I’m speaking in a forum entitled “Taking it to the Streets” (!).

All the Details are here.

Come along to help me celebrate an early Bob Dylan’s Birthday!

2010 Next Wave Festival Club, 1000 £ Bend, 361
Sunday 23 May, 2pm-3:30pm
Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

This forum will explore the potential for publically-sited art to meaningfully engage with social issues beyond the art world. If one accepts that art can and should be marshalled towards social justice, then what are the specific artistic competencies that are best deployed towards these ends? What have been some of the successes and failures of socially and politically charged art in the public realm? And can art enact social change and still be good art?


Deborah Kelly (Chair)
George Egerton-Warburton
Lucas Ihlein
Iain McIntyre

4 thoughts on “A Melbourne Engagement

  1. mayhem

    Argh! so sad I couldn’t drag meself away from the magpies and the missus. hope it went well, and hope your melbourne shenanigans are coolio. I’ll be wandering around the city tomorrow so lettuce know if you’re gonna be at large. X

  2. Lucas Post author

    dr mayhap! sorry to miss you, but the nice sunday arvo/magpies/misses coalition is too seductive compared to art-talk in the bad old city. anyway, i enjoyed meself. hope to catch you on the next one…

  3. Lucas

    Thanks to all who came along! I had a great time. I’ll upload my presentation diagrams in a bit…

    Here’s a roundup of the forum from Melbourne writer Julia McGrath, from Arts Hub:

    Forum 4: Taking it to the Streets

    By Julia McGrath ArtsHub | Monday, May 24, 2010

    The last of the forum series for the Next Wave Festival, Forum 4: Taking it to the Streets, took place this Sunday at 1000 £ Bend. Chaired by artist Deborah Kelly, the forum focussed on the theme of art in public space and included presentations by writer/publisher/activist Iain McIntyre, and artists Lucas Ihlein and George Egerton-Warburton.

    McIntyre gave an overview of the significance of art in political activism throughout Australia’s history, drawing upon research for his recently published book How to Make Trouble and Influence People (Breakdown Press, 2009). The use of creative props and theatre in public protests, McIntyre pointed out, has linked creativity with politics over time and that artistic strategies continue to inform political expression. Art, he proposed, can be a powerful means to interrogate forms of control over public space and to expose both the limitations and potential of such spaces.

    As Kelly introduced artist George Egerton-Warburton, she lamented the bureaucratic red tape that has tangled the project he developed for Next Wave, The Fucken Chicken Sound Stampede that will go ahead next Sunday, minus the 500 live chickens included in the original concept.

    Egerton-Warburton explained the development of his project, mapping out the bizarre, yet compelling logic that led him to his artistic vision of 500 chickens stampeding down Collingwood’s Smith Street, to be fed by surplus food from local restaurants, before heading to Next Wave Festival Director Jim Khan’s house where the livestock would be taken home and cared for by members of the public – in the interest of self-sufficiency. Suffice to say, the RSPCA intervened on the grounds that there was no guarantee the chickens would be given to safe homes. The Fucken Chicken Sound Stampede will, however, take place in its alternative form as a human stampede accompanied by chicken sounds, beginning at Lamington Drive in Fitzroy at 3pm next Sunday, 30 May.

    Artist Lucas Ihlein took the stage with his theory of art practice as a straddling of “the world” and “the art world” that exists within it. Ihlein posits himself with one foot in each camp. His “import/export” model of art sees the artist as a participant who changes something within his/her immediate world, and treats the art world not as the ultimate destination for their art but as one step of many an artist takes in the realisation of an artwork. Ihlein’s process, like Egerton-Warburton’s, was fascinating to dissect. Ihlein uses blogging as a medium for his art, embracing its virtues of local knowledge and global audience, while innovating its presentation according to its limitations.

    Amongst the many questions posed by members of the audience was one that asked the artists to explain their practice in terms of whether they “appropriated” or “created” public space. As Ihlein pointed out, discourse itself is a public space, and this is the ultimate outcome for all art. So although the forum series is finished, the conversation continues with a calendar of events for Next Wave running until 30 May.

    …and another one over here at Bake Sale for Art written by Megan Garrett.


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