April 23, 2016 - Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab - Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab 2016: What happens now?
April 23, 2016

Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab

Queen Victoria Market at night. Photo: Sharon Blance.

Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab 2016: What happens now?

Deadline: April 29, 2016


Curated by Natalie King 

The City of Melbourne announces the curatorial concept, open call and dates for the inaugural Biennial Lab. Structured around two nodes, the Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab comprises a lab summit for artists in June 2016, co-convened by Claire Doherty (Director, Situations UK) and David Cross (One Day Sculpture, Iteration: Again), followed by the realization of a suite of temporary commissions in October 2016 as part of the Melbourne Festival.

The title chosen by Chief Curator, Natalie King, What happens now? is derived from an anonymous paste up program throughout New York City in 1979 by American artist Jenny Holzer. Like a manifesto, Holzer’s slogans are part of her acerbic "Inflammatory Essays." While anchoring the curatorial framework, this proposition offers an open ended inquiry and the prospect of imagining new possibilities.

By asking about "now," we can interrogate the multi-layered and deeply condensed history of the Biennial Lab site: Queen Victoria Market (QVM). QVM has long been a communal meeting place. It was a gathering place first for the clans of the Kulin Nation, for the "suburban swagmen" of late 1880s Melbourne, for market gardeners, customers, and the community.

Established in 1878 as part of the City Council’s mandate to manage Melbourne’s consortium of markets, the site of QVM is also the site of one of Melbourne’s earliest cemeteries. The sacred and commemorative place, redolent with history, has also seen bartering, racketeering and extortion. QVM provides a place to imagine the traces of Indigenous, mercantile, migratory and colonial histories that are embedded in the site.

What happens now? suggests that we are at crossroads in our city. How has the city’s migratory patterns affected the market as a microcosm? How can we work with local communities within larger social and cultural structures? What is the role of the feminist agenda and slogans? How can the lab be an incubator or micro-ecology? What can "happen" in a market situation that is voluble on some days yet static on others during the weekly market calendar cycle of open/closed, day/night? How can we listen to the murmurings of Melbourne?

A curatorium, led by Chief Curator Natalie King, will select Australian artists for Melbourne Biennial Lab, which will include an amplification program inviting the wider community to share in the social, public and communal conversations ignited by the commissions.

The open call closes 11pm, Friday, April 29, 2016, Melbourne time.

Natalie King (Chief Curator), David Cross (artist, curator, Head of Art and Performance, Deakin University), Jefa Greenaway (architect, Director, Greenaway Architects and Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria), Veronica Kent (artist, The Telepathy Project), Djon Mundine OAM (curator, activist and writer), Fiona Whitworth (QVM), Lynda Roberts (City of Melbourne)

International Affiliates:
Claire Doherty (Director, Situations UK), Khairuddin Hori (artist and former Deputy Director of Artistic Programming, Palais de Tokyo, Paris), Hou Hanru (Director, MAXXI, Rome)

Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab
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