Artist Contingent: Strike 4 Climate

On the 3rd of May WTS will be taking part in the Climate Strike.

We strongly encourage all other arts organisations and independent artists across the country to join us in solidarity. Add your name to the document here and strike this coming Friday 3rd May.

We, the undersigned artists and arts workers, offer our support and stand together with striking students to call for immediate political action to address climate change and add our voices to the call for climate justice.

On May 3, 2019, artists across Australia strike in solidarity with the global climate strike led by young people across over 100 countries. We recognise that this third major climate strike must be bolstered by a general strike of all members of our global communities, and so we come together as an artists’ and arts workers’ contingent (although we are also teachers, students, parents, carers, hospitality workers, among many other things).

We recognise that the precarity, inequality, alienation and co-option of art and artists by neoliberal capitalism are interconnected with the political forces that have driven us to this urgent moment of worsening climate impacts. We are subjected to the same dehumanising systems and corrupt leadership that have prioritised corporate greed over public good. Artists join the call for an urgent realignment of policy and action to create a safe, healthy and just future for all.

We recognise the role of both artists and young people in creating bold new imaginaries - of imagining new futures into existence. We come together at the Student Strike 4 Climate to acknowledge that climate damage is affecting all of us right now; and we support the call for a general strike that reflects the urgency and vastness of the climate crisis.

We echo students' demands in the lead up to the 2019 climate election:
- All parties commit to stop digging, burning and exporting coal.
- 100% transition to solar and wind energy by 2030 at the latest.
- Stop the Adani coal mine.

We also demand an end to and refuse to partake in artwashing - the unethical instrumentalisation of the arts by companies that support the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

Q&A with WTS Coordinators: Catriona Stanton

 

Catriona is a multidisciplinary artist who thrives on cross cultural exchanges and projects that are site specific. 
 

Period as WTS Coordinator: 2000-2001

 

Catriona Stanton,  Inhabit your skin , 2018, bamboo toothpicks, aluminium, pva and aerosol (detail)

Catriona Stanton, Inhabit your skin, 2018, bamboo toothpicks, aluminium, pva and aerosol (detail)

 

Why did you apply for the Coordinator position originally? Was it what you expected? 

 I was interested in the experience of running an artist run initiative in the central desert after the recommendation by the previous coordinator Cath Bowdler. 

 

How did you find working at WTS? Was it different from arts organisations you had/have since worked for? 

It was extremely stimulating, deeply engaging and completely exhausting! 

 

What were some of your fondest memories at WTS? 

The artist camp I ran with Joy Hardman at 2 Mile Waterhole, running a video projection night at the Old Drive In and hosting German artist Renate Anger .

 

Tell us about your greatest achievements during your time as the Coordinator.  

Conceiving of OUTSITE, an annual site specific event located in the Alice Springs Desert Park  and securing the funding for the inaugural event. I was also successful  in increasing the organisations funding by 50%. 

 

In your eyes, what makes WTS an important organisation? 

This organisation works across so many different cultural bodies and practitioners of the wider Alice Springs region while also connecting local audiences with artists from across the nation and beyond. It is a cultural hub that plays a vital role in the arts for the Northern Territory.

 

Where are you now: geographically, work-wise, life-wise? 

I am now based in Wollongong in a seaside village called Austinmer with my two children. Currently I am working as the painting technical officer in Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong while continuing my studio practice and curating an exhibition of local practitioners called "In the Making" for March 2019 

 

Has WTS contributed to where you are now? 

Definitely. It enabled me to gain skills in curating, writing grant applications, managing a gallery and networking with artists, cultural organisations and communities. 

 

Watch This Space as an acrostic poem...

What a wild ride

Alice Springs opened up

The interactions, projections, installations

Creating visions of painted glass splendour and a 

Harrowing performance of Indonesian rancour

The flickering light of filmic desert nights

Heaving a generator onto a truck

In the spirit of good luck   

Surrealism with Salamone 

Staccato stutterings from Ruark's raft all alone

Peace and wonder from Irrkerlantye 

And the renderings from homeless teenagers

Come all young and old to the place to  behold 

Eat drink and jive, for Watch this Space is now twenty five!

 

 

This interview is part of WTS's 2018 program Still Alive After 25 celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Read more interviews with past and current WTS coordinators here

Q&A with WTS Coordinators: Beth Sometimes

 

Beth is a current WTS studio artist, Board member, general arts babe, and recent Masters graduate in Community Cultural Development from VCA.

So what's her practice? 

"Well I like to have a go at nearly every medium sooner or later. I guess I’m driven by ideas rather than materials but I also love materials and form and I specially love working with colours. I also mostly am interested in working socially – with people, both other artists and ppl from other fields and experiences. This seems to me to be the most effective way to work with what we learn as artists about seeing the world in order to ‘rearrange desire’ (as Gayatri Spivak puts it)."

 

Period as WTS Coordinator: 2011

 

beth-vidstill.jpg

 

Why did you apply for the Coordinator position originally? Was it what you expected? 

At the time I had just kind of broken as a result of caring too much about a project with Pitjantjatjara people that didn’t work out. I realised that I cared more than my collaborators did about that particular thing which was trying to bring the first female fronted band to bush bands bash which had always been male dominated. It wasn’t a big thing itself but was the final straw after a long period of being very invested and maybe not having adequate frameworks in place to think through our place here. And so when I broke I realised I needed a break from working so intensely inter-culturally. But I didn’t want to leave Alice and art was all I really knew about. I remember I was crying on my bed and I saw on facebook that the job was being advertised and it felt like fate was calling.

 

How did you find working at WTS? Was it different from arts organisations you had/have since worked for? 

Working at WTS was pretty lonely back then. I felt like I spent all year trying to create alluring things that would bring more people to events and exhibitions and into collaboration and it sometimes worked but then the inbetween times were very isolating. Although Dan and Lucy and Kevin and some other people were great support as much as they could be then. WTS is much smaller than other orgs I’ve worked for but this offers a kind of freedom and dexterity which is exciting.

 

What were some of your fondest memories at WTS? 

Well my memories of the space stretch well beyond just when I worked there. So many parties and shows and encounters from before that time and since. Getting people to hump some soft sculptures I made in a tent as part of Free BBQ cash giveaway springs to mind. It was really special getting to work with Pam Lofts on her last show there when I worked there in 2011. Making one of those science experiment baking soda cakes with Jennifer Mills on the floor in maybe 2008 but I can’t remember why? Hoaxing ppl with my ‘Sorry Souvenir Phenomenon’ work. Sorry not sorry. Ummmm soo many peoples creative work over the years. Zine fairs. 

 

Tell us about your greatest achievements during your time as the Coordinator.  

Hmmm it definitely wasn’t reconciling MYOB accounts. I’m thinking about the sock puppet night and blindfolded dinner, and the Souvenir group show I co-curated with Franca and also Font Love with Jeff, and maybe planting the seeds for Artist Wants a Life which was difficult in some ways as it turned out but still fostered lots of collaborations and relationships which are enduring. Most things that bring artists together are usually rich in this way, the way that we are in places together consciously. I think I coordinated the biggest visual art program that Wide Open Space has ever had that year – might be wrong about that but we had more funding than usual from elsewhere that we decided to channel that way. 

 

In your eyes, what makes WTS an important organisation? 

Well, every year I renew my vows to art as the greatest way of knowing that we have within modernity, although like any great love it’s not without its flaws. So Watch This Space given its smaller scale/DIY approach to facilitating and producing aesthetic experiences and collaborations allows much more experimentation, discussion of failure, gentle moments of beauty, humble approaches to being together in art. WTS is a critical constituent in people’s introduction to Central Australia, hosting what they might find. We should remember that more.

 

Where are you now: geographically, work-wise, life-wise? 

Full-on question. Well I’m back here in Mparntwe Alice Springs still stitched into the textile of the place maybe permanently on some level, as much as we can b. Still making art and supporting exchanges, still feeling like maybe it doesn’t suit me and I should pursue something with more inherent stability but aware of the illusion of that. On track to crazy aunty status but got no nephs or nieces so kind of still get to sit at the kids table. At the moment I’m trying to work out somewhere in the world to go to get a little perspective and thinking about the wild possibility of this mobility and how to construct meaning in modernity.

 

Has WTS contributed to where you are now? 

Let me count the ways. One Two Seventy Five measureless. There are many artist run spaces around in different places. This one responds to being in this place and all the layered complexity of that which unfolds over time. As it unfolds over me in time, Watch This Space remains a venue for people to intersect and make exchanges around that. Art is the body or focus point around which those exchanges are constructed.

 

Watch This Space as an acrostic poem...

Why

Are

There

C**ts

Hoo

Think

Hell

Is

Somewhere

Shouldn’t

Party

At?

Crazy

Eh?

 

 

This interview is part of WTS's 2018 program Still Alive After 25 celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Read more interviews with past and current WTS coordinators here

Q&A with WTS Coordinators: Kieren Sanderson

 

Kieren works across a broad spectrum of roles and capacities including creative producer, community cultural practitioner, strategist and curator to create interdisciplinary projects inspired by history, language, human ecology, storytelling and cultural knowledges.  

When asked to tell us about her practice, Kieren responded: "Oh gosh, I’m at my most inspired when I can work in response to a place, site, context and community." She loves working with diverse communities and perspectives to create projects and programs that explore human connection, identity, storytelling and place. Kieren often finds herself contemplating the beauty of the project and whether the call to care or be inspired is "enough to move people to ‘act’."

 

Period as WTS Coordinator: 2004 - 2007

 

Kieren Sanderson image.jpg

 

4.     Why did you apply for the Coordinator position originally? Was it what you expected? 

I don’t think I actually applied. I moved to Alice to help Ochre Lawson who is a Sydney based painter, to install an exhibition and after 2 weeks, I decided to stay. I got a job at the Alice Springs Correctional Centre and I went onto the WTS Committee. From there I somehow made it to being the Coordinator and I loved it.

 

5.     How did you find working at WTS? Was it different from arts organisations you had/have since worked for? 

I loved working at WTS. It shaped me in ways that will forever make me a better person!! WTS was for me like discovering I had a family who loved and thought and worked and made art and everything in my life roll in ways I cannot describe. I felt supported to discover at WTS that I never felt in any other organisation.

 

6.     What were some of your fondest memories at WTS? 

Some of my fondest memories – wow, where do I start!

  • Sharing space with Sue Mcleod who was painting in the studio every day and the flow on from that – meeting and knowing Sue’s incredible family.

  • Sitting out the back under the grapevine and hatching ideas with a brew (or two!)

  • Seeing Dan’s car pull up outside and thinking – “Cool, I need to ask him….or “I wonder if he can help me move…”

  • Listening and learning from Dan Murphy.

  • Probably one of the funniest memories was when we (the committee) decided to render the inside and outside of the building. Two days of being covered in concrete dust, lime and dirt later, my feet, my eyelids, my hands and even my ears peeled!!

  • Painting the shed RED!!

  • Hosting an exhibition from Elliat Rich which was my introduction to Elliat’s work. I was instantly in love with her brain.

  • Discovering and sharing an office space with the infamous Alex Kelly strategist and change agent who made me realise that I had skills!

  • Seeing Jbirds’ writing on the wall out the back each day, reminded me every day about who had come before and who I was working for…

 

7.     Tell us about your greatest achievements during your time as the Coordinator. 

I was super proud of taking WTS from $25k pa to $50k pa and then we received Strategic Funding for Shifting Ground and none of us had even heard of that funding.. I am most proud of the Incubator and Shifting Ground projects. Both projects were in 2007.

For those unfamiliar with these projects:

The Ideas Incubator launched an ideas space and network where professionals from a range of disciplines could collaboratively investigate how the arts can be used to re-imagine people’s lived relationships with ‘place’, ‘community’ ‘culture’ and ‘the environment’.

Participants had the opportunity to imagine, design and plan projects that gave expression to multiple local knowledge and new energy to the way public space was thought about, used and developed in Alice Springs.

Shifting Ground – 21 days of Art and Performance across Alice Springs was a large-scale arts program that presented 58 local, interstate and international artists in Alice Springs. The program included visual arts, public art interventions, design, sound installations, music, spoken word, literature, performance and dance. All artworks were ‘embedded’ in and around Alice Springs across 13 venues, including empty shops, an abandoned quarry site, claypans, the Olive Pink Botanical Gardens, the Alice Springs Library book shelves, suburban laneways and the Airport baggage claim. A public program which ran concurrently that included 9 workshops and artist talks and 5 performance events, as well as 4 exhibitions in offsite spaces. Artist Talks and workshops facilitated discussions where audiences were able to engage critically with artists from varied disciplines. Their common aim was to link people to art, land and culture, responding to the arid lands on a physical, social and cultural level, telling stories of people and place and exploring sustainability and ecology.

 

8.     In your eyes, what makes WTS an important organisation?

The people in it. WTS supports artists to explore and experiment whilst holding space for them. WTS provides a supportive environment so that artists can expose themselves and be vulnerable. This is increasingly important.

 

9.     Where are you now: geographically, work-wise, life-wise? 

I am still in the NT and somehow I ended up in Darwin. I went back to Alice a few years to do the Arts and Cultural Policy for the Alice Springs Town Council. Alice is a place that I am forever committed too so I think I will forever try to get back every now and again.

 

10.  Has WTS contributed to where you are now? 

There is no doubt!

 

11.  An acrostic poem out of Watch This Space...

We

Are

Together

Conveying

Heart

Towards

Hot

Ideals

Slow

Supine

Places

Across

Central

Enclaves

 

 

This interview is part of WTS's 2018 program Still Alive After 25 celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Read more interviews with past and current WTS coordinators here