The Arts of Logistics conference

The Arts of Logistics conference, Queen Mary University of London

I will be a co-presenter at The Arts of Logistics conference at the Queen Mary University of London. The conference takes place on June 3 & 4, 2016, with keynotes from Deborah Cowen & Alberto Toscano.

I co-present the panel “Art and Logistical Disruption” with Danny Butt from the Research Unit in Public Cultures, University of Melbourne, from 2pm – 3.30pm on the second day of the conference, June 4, and our guests are Leah Lovett and Michael Wilson.

“The Arts of Logistics” brings together scholars, activists, and artists from across the humanities and social sciences to interrogate how social movements and the arts respond to a world remade by logistics. Long an important topic for economists, management theorists, and sociologists, logistics is only recently emerging as an object of substantive study by artists and researchers in the humanities. Thus, this conference seeks to further define scholarly, political, and artistic conversations on the nexus of political economy, anti-capitalist struggle, and art.

Art and Logistical Disruption – Indentured aesthetic economy on the professional frontier

Australia can be seen as a settler colonial nation that has effectively neoliberalised its cultural infrastructure over the last three decades, constructing a speculative futurity for an institutionally unbound professionalism that subtracts a historical ‘labour’ consciousness from dominant forms of production. The effect of this “turn” in the visual arts of the settler colony, partially due to its coincidence with a relatively healthy public arts funding until very recently, is a transition that brings institutionalised “professional” art work and workers into line with a global paradigm of deskilling and proletarianisation.

In this space, the coincidence of curatorial and artistic professionalism with the neoliberal State form risks working away at a frontier of a frontier – a frontier of labour, value and place – whereby the reimposition of speculative limits for capital, or the demand for foundation, results in what Angela Mitropolous describes as “calls for genealogical order” that could be observed both in calls for and against the widely debated boycott of the 2014 Sydney Biennale.

As nominally “public” institutional art of the biennial becomes increasingly bound up in contractual play in the post-welfare settler colonial state, fine art’s residual discourses of modernist autonomy appear not simply paradoxical, but indicative of a “machinery of fealty” that circulates the performative defense of aesthetic autonomy precisely to suppress the material-symbolic dynamics of its contractual base. Exploring Mitropolous’ elaboration of the contractual and the subject-form, and responding to recent re-examinations of aesthetic and political autonomy by UK and European theorists and historians in the wake of major arts cuts and populist takeovers of re-nationalized funding programs of export-oriented utility, this paper pays special attention to the spatial and contractual fix of neoliberal disposition in the ‘contemporary’ to ask questions about affective composure, forms of negation, divestment and reinvestment as alternate forms of professional response-ability.

More information on the conference here: Arts of Logistics conference

The Gas Imaginary artist talk, Institute for Modern Art, Brisbane

The IMA’s current exhibition Frontier Imaginaries: No Longer at Ease features two collaborative drawing series’ from my ongoing project The Gas Imaginary (2011-). On May 26, 2016 at 18:00, I will discuss this project in more detail in a free lecture at the IMA.

The first series—The Gas Imaginary (2014)—traces the difference between the modernist imagination of underground mining versus contemporary fracking regimes. The second series—Gladstone, Post-pastoral (2016)— has been commissioned for the Brisbane launch of Frontier Imaginaries. It gives a deep time and horizontal social image to the privatised drama of approvals surrounding the expansion of the port of Gladstone into a gas export hub for Queensland.

Despite traversing World Heritage Protected and UNESCO-listed terrain, the LNG developments and dredging were made possible through legal innovations and special economic zonings. Environmental Impact Assessments of the infrastructure itself have since been proven to have lacked ‘critical information’ on groundwater and well locations, while the process of approval has been subjected to a 2015 Federal Senate Inquiry. 

Both series have been produced in collaboration with PALACE architects (Valle Medina and Ben Reynolds) and artist Rodrigo Hernandez.

Born in Gladstone and based in Berlin, Rachel O’Reilly is a poet, critic, independent curator and researcher. Her work explores relationships between art and situated cultural practice, media and psychoanalysis, aesthetic philosophy and political economy. From 2004-08 she was a curator of film, video and new media at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. She has a background in comparative literature, and a Master (Cum Laude) in Media and Culture from the University of Amsterdam. Rachel is part of the How to Do Things With Theory program at the Dutch Art Institute. From 2013-14 she was a researcher in residence of the Jan van Eyck Academie, NL. Her critical writing has been published by Cambridge Scholars Press, MIT Press, and Postcolonial Studies and in collaborative criticism e-books by the V2 Institute for Unstable Media, Rotterdam.

Website: The Gas Imaginary talk

The Gas Imaginary, in Frontier Imaginaries, The Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (AU)

The Institute of Modern Art and QUT Art Museum present the launch edition of roaming art platform Frontier Imaginaries across two exhibitions: No Longer at Ease (IMA) and The Life of Lines (QUT Art Museum), and takes place between 14. May and 9. July, 2016.
Frontier Imaginaries is founded by QUT Alumnus Vivian Ziherl through the IMA Curatorial Fellowship.I was commissioned to make a new piece, The Gas Imaginary, for IMA’s No Longer at Ease show in collaboration with PA/LA/CE Architects Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds (Switzerland, United Kingdom) and artist Rodrigo Hernandez (Mexico).

Across the IMA and QUT Art Museum, local and international artists address the role of the frontier within the global era through works ranging from an oyster shell installation to monumental history paintings and multi-channel video. Linking both galleries together will be a specially commissioned exhibition design by award-winning Brisbane architects Kevin O’Brien and Claire Humphreys. This design will include an ‘assembly point’ conceived to host reading groups, community meetings, workshops, and artist talks.

No Longer at Ease at the IMA presents new commissions by Alice Creischer (Germany); Gordon Hookey (Waanyi/Australia); Rachel O’Reilly (Australia; Germany), in collaboration with PA/LA/CE Architects Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds (Switzerland, United Kingdom), and artist Rodrigo Hernandez (Mexico); alongside works by Juan Davila (Chile/Australia); Demian DinéYahzi’ (Diné/United Sates of America), Bonita Ely (Australia); Tshibumba Kanda Matulu (Zaire/Congo); Ryan Presley (Marri Ngarr/Australia); and Wendelien van Oldenborgh (Netherlands). These are joined by a presentation of Virtual Meanjin by the Virtual Songlines project, and a curated selection of materials from the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum.

The Life of Lines at QUT Art Museum includes new commissions by Megan Cope (Qandamooka/Australia); Ho Rui An (Singapore); and Tom Nicholson (Australia); as well as works by DAAR (Palestine); the Karrabing Film Collective (Karrabing/Australia); Elizabeth A. Povinelli (United States); and Sawangwongse Yawnghwe (Myanmar/Canada). Also on display is a selection of archival real estate posters from the collection of the John Oxley Library; the film The Changing Face of Australia produced by the Shell Film Unit Australia in 1970; and a selection of photography documenting the installation of the Shell Oil Refinery in Geelong circa 1953-1958 by legendary fashion photographer Helmut Newton.

Further information on the exhibitions: Frontier Imaginaries

Future Vocabularies event, BAK, Utrecht

Artist talk: Instituting for the Contemporary, BAK

As part of BAK’s Future Vocabularies project, I particpated in an Artist Talk/public editorial meeting alongside Simon Sheikh and Ewa Majewska, April 11, 2016 from 19.00–22.00 hrs,  Utrecht’s BAK, basis voor actuele kunst.

Details:

In the first of three Public Editorial Meetings held towards the publication of the new critical reader Instituting for the Contemporary, Ewa MajewskaRachel O’Reilly, and Simon Sheikh will present draft contributions in response to one of the reader’s eight guiding concerns: “compositionalism”; “not not art, not not politics”; and “care to power” respectively.

These terms bring to question the methods of, and resistance to, the institution. They raise a number of considerations: the transversal assemblies of contemporary organization and its forms (compositionalism); the slippage between categories and methodologies in such practices (not not art, not not politics); and the intertwining issues of care and interlocution in relation to the institution (care to power).

Ewa Majewska’s presentation outlines her proposal for a non-heroic “weak resistance,” that poses the question of an institution of the common. This new form of institution would be one rooted in the resistant composition of singularities that make up feminist, post-colonial, and so-called “periphery locations’ debates on the commons and its political agency.

Drawing on her ongoing project “The Gas Imaginary,” Rachel O’Reilly presents a selection of interventions, images, and vernacular texts, useful for reading the historical present of “extractivist realism” alongside counter-politics, their limits, and the convergences between the aesthetic tactics of contemporary industry and neoliberal culture sectors.

Simon Sheikh connects the notions of care (for the self), through the capacity for speaking of truth to power, to a consideration of the question of how to institute anew. If the speaking of truth has long informed the artistic political critique of institutional critique, the coupling of care to power proposes that the position of speaker — produced as an audience, and speaking for this body — be central to thinking institutionality, and indeed governmentality today.

More on the program: BAK Future Vocabularies

‘Harbour Imaginaries from Below - on the aesthetics of limits to cheap labour and nature’, by Rachel O’Reilly

‘Harbour Imaginaries from Below – on the aesthetics of limits to cheap labour and nature’ talk

I give a talk, ‘Harbour Imaginaries from Below – on the aesthetics of limits to cheap labour and nature’, on Friday 8. January, 2016, at the MUHKA Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp as part of the School of Missing Studies’ Lodgers #4 program.

Could the desire for the fully automated movements of goods also be a desire for silence, for the tyranny of a single anecdote?

From January 4-16 Lodgers #4  presents a series of reading-, scriptwriting, – and performance workshops, departing form the harbour as a plethora of disparate languages. Each stage in the reception, processing and distribution of goods comes with its own syntax, vocabulary and infrastructure. Each of these languages also has its own history and evolution.

We will be looking at the coded communication between ships, the harbour master, dockworkers – but also at the PR language used to present the ideal harbour; the programming language of automatization, the human language of formal and informal labour protest, and the gaps in the story that the colonial leaves.

Accumulated, this Babel-like situation marks a point on the evolution of the harbour, one that offers an insightful opportunity to investigate the many facets of its influence and breadth. For some, automatization threatens the future of the voice(s) that the harbour can speak with – traditionally the setting for interaction and tales of fantasy. For others, the future harbour is a utopian site where humans are emancipated from the location itself, leaving the harbour silent and speaking in inaudible code.

Participants are invited to participate and engage in a collaborative process incorporating the many disparate languages with which a harbour ‘converses’ – working on a speculative narrative that takes place in the harbour of 2050. Departure points for this narrative are silence as a political imperative of infrastructure, and the role that silence will play in the future harbour both in its human and automated state. In proposing that the future harbour may be silent, we’d like to increase the volume of the stories, which must be told now.

More information on the program: Lodgers #4