Saturday, April 14, 2012

GoMA - Social Networking Exhibit 'In Conversation' with Pat Hoffie

Way back on the 29th of March, I went into GoMA for an 'In Conversation' event about their current 'Social Networking' exhibit. The curator Peter McKay was talking to Brisbane artist Pat Hoffie, and because I forgot my Moleskine, I had to type the whole damn think into my iPhone. I took some snappies and thanks to GoMA's free wifi they went straight up to my tumblr.
First off, it must be clarified that the exhibit isn't about 'social networking' in the same way that you're probably thinking. In fact, most people arrived at the exhibition expecting some sartorialist and clever insight into the role of social media in our lives. As someone that just quit Facebook, I was certainly looking foward to some critical discussion on the topic. However, this is how the exhibit is described:

"This exhibition shows how contemporary artists are exploring social contact with their subjects and audiences. Many are interested in historical events, but others look at the ways we perceive the world today and our place within it. Addressing themes including human rights, sustainability and cultural exchange, the works reflect on the ways that individuals shape, and are shaped by, their social networks."

So.... It's more about the process of humans creating networks with one another, than about the movie about El Douchebagorado Zuckerberg.  
The works themselves were not too numerous, but the photography by Darren Siwes was fucking incredible. SO DAMN EERY. Really moving. I'd never even heard of him before, but I did a little searching and found him to be a talented and accomplished indigenous photomedia artist. 
This is just one photo from a whole, breathtaking, series. I would also highly recommend reading into the story behind the photos. The whole thing is really powerful. 

But anyways, scooting right along to the part where the important ARTY people talked to each other then asnwered our (read: my) questions. These are the notes I took from the 'In Conversation' session. They're in chronological order as the talk progressed, so you can even map my opinoin of Pat and of the exhibit slowly changing:

  • These works [Pat Hoffie's pieces for exhibit] are actually a decade old and have been sitting in the GAG vault for all those years.
    Peter and Pat sitting in front of her works.
    She had impeccable white nail polish on her toes.
  • She comes across as quite pseudo intellectual, talking about anthropology and things.
  • I think perhaps she's some kind of lecturer or academic, she's name dropping and mentioning all these movements that the average punter wouldn't recognise.
  • She's at least open about the fact that she didn't make them herself. She's talking about 'where the artists is in this'. She says that having so many contributors reminds us to focus on the work itself instead of all the stuff around it. She's talking about art's interaction with change movements and the power of art to change the world.
  • But she is very very stylish. I'm being swayed... Also crushing on this curator - what's his name?
  • She makes an interesting point about how since Duchamp argued that anything could be art, but now essentially the gallery is enough. She suggests that the curators have great power and that it takes a brave one to show art that is t just from another gallery, you know, something totally fresh and new.
  • Think about the power of curators and then how there are no curators of the web.
    I don't know her name or a single thing about her,
    but this girl works at GoMA and just consistently
    wears very excellent clothing.
  • I asked him about the role of a curator. He says it's going towards artists being more self-powered. But he's not worried about his job because there is a big history of tangible art that needs to be curated. Also, they can adapt to the modern world, the ability to organise things online means they could adapt the idea of a traditional curator. - Perhaps this means a shift from the hegemony attached to the traditional ideas of gallery spaces etc?
  • These four where 'ideology and artifact' in adelaide. The curators of that time selected these 4 from for a larger collection, her favorite is at home.
  • There are lots of young people asking questions and attending in general. Apparently a class from one of the creative universities was told to come. Lol. This, of course, means that I'm admiring lots of cool outfits.
  • Pat challenges tertiary art education - hooray! I agree. It's not about what it used to be a about. Is it try about authenticity now? Go back to he author-centered point from which to judge the art. She seems to think we should look at the work itself.  

So there you go...

As a single exhibit, I wouldn't kick your ass out the door to see it. Darren Siwes' photography is obviously the highlight for me, but what I will also say, is that GoMA are currently showing a LOT of really great exhibits. There are some pictures of the great stuff on the 3rd and 4th levels of GoMA on my tumblr from that day, but what I'm saying is that if you haven't been into the gallery for a month or so, then definitely make the trip. The 'Lightness and Gravity', and the 'Across Country' were particularly strong showings.

Also, I'm not sure if this is open to non-members of GAQoMA too, but this Sunday at 11:30 there will be a little preview of some of the gallery's new acquisitions. It will be in the QAG not GoMA, but the details are all on their website (scroll to the very bottom of the page).

Night night!

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