Issue 23:2 | June 2003 | Critical Mass: The New Brisbane
Critical Mass: The New Brisbane
Issue 23:2 | June 2003
Issue 19:3 | September 1999 | Disintegration
Issue 19:3 | September 1999


The New Brisbane
Brisbane's coming of age has been announced a number of times, most recently with millennial-expansiveness, in its claim to be the Creative City leading the Smart State. Over the past 15 years the city has spawned new enterprises, a new generation of artists, new cultural policies, new public buildings, and a new sense of grace. With an ugly past left largely unexplained, the focus is on the present and the ambitions for the city. While government and the mainstream media look to the future of the New Brisbane, it has been the role of writers, artists and a few historians to examine the past as part of the task of fully inhabiting the city. This article provides a discourse with Ross Fitzgerald about some of the above mentioned issues.
A History of Forgetting
Anderson looks at one of Brisbanes formative cultural events, The Demolition Show, an exhibition curated by John Stafford in 1986 to mark to demise of the relatively short lived Observatory artist run space and in the fact the whole city block that surrounded it. This notion of demolition is raised in this article not only in the context of this particular event but also as a way of exploring a past which has for the most part fallen through the cracks. As Anderson states: Long after the dust has settled, the perception that Brisbane has no past in visual art, no critical mass, still lingers. Yet it is far from a new issue.
Always Remember: there is no past
This article examines Brisbanes steeped conservative polical history and looks at the radical changes which occured as a result of the early 1990s shift to a Labour goverment. As an aftermath to the anti-climax that was the 1988 World Expo, the 90s was a decade which saw the Queensland Art Gallery embark on new avenues of experimentation and a new confidence was in the air. Furthermore Hoffie addresses the ongoing lack of substantial criticism in relation to arts and cultural development as many saw this as the single most pressing problem dogging the local scene.
Great White Sharks
Holubizkys article deals with the ever present attitude that Brisbane is a city 20 years behind the times in the cultural sector and poses the question as to what this really means? Culture has become a business only within the relative scheme of things, and ahead may only be the false competitive edge and gamesmanship of regional-urban cultural ambition. Comparisons, therefore, should not be made lightly, nor benchmarks for the vitality of a cultural milieu. Discusses the works of Craig Walsh, Eugene Carchesio, Caitlin Reid and Vernon Ah Kee.
Parallel Precincts
Once depressed inner-city suburbs that were havens for students, migrants, artists and fringe communities, the high profile precincts of South Brisbane/West End and Fortitude Valley/New Farm have developed into fast-growing centres of urban residential and cultural development. The Millennium Arts Program now underway will see the expenditure of over $100 million on the development of a new Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) through the Queensland Art Gallery's Two Sites-One Visionstrategy. Heather locates the diversity of Brisbane's arts and culture scene through such new and existing precincts, establishments which mark an exciting transformation in the future of the cities art scene.
Is Art Built-in Built-out? debating public art
In 1999 Art Built-in was declared public policy by the Queensland Government, mandating that two percent of all construction budgets over $250,000 across governments be allocated to the artworks equating to some $15m worth of arts projects annually. Recently the first in a series of formal debates took place to canvas opinion on results so far. The topic was that the role of the curator is essential to create great public art. Looks at the role of local artists such as Jay Younger and her collaborative partner, architect Michael Rayner as well as Wendy Mills and Jill Kinnear.
Next Wave Coming
A conversation between Jennifer Herd, artist, curator and convenor of the BOVACAIA program at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Richard Bell, artist and activist, Gloria Beckett, an artist who is currently completing her Masters candidature at the QCA, GU, and well known artist and lecturer, Pat Hoffie. Together they discuss some of the personal and artistic struggles of the Aboriginal Murri community and the role of performative and visual arts in recognising a history largely understood.
The Campfire Group
The Campfire Group is an independent cultural enterprise where Indigenous and cross-cultural perspectives provide the organising principles. This article talks briefly of Balance 1990, the first exhibition held by The Campfire Group, open to Murris and whitefellas alike with curatorial efforst by Michael Eather, Marlene Hall and Marshall Bell. The diversity of Campfire Group's projects over the past few years is testimony to its members ability to transform and reinvent artistic practices and introduce those practices to new audiences. Carrolli looks at the various projects, both local and international, which have contributed to the success of the transitional authorial figure that the Campfire Group has come to be.
Hybrid Arts, Cultural Policy and Chinese Whispers
Recently some of the individual, performance and new media artists who have been collaborating across borders in Brisbane and Queensland have networked their way out of the city and into Europe and Asia. With cross commissions and research and development for contemporary performance work there is a new and vibrant creative export. This article explores some of these artists and their international work and looks at how such collaborated efforts are contributing to a new examination of what culture actually is for a country steeped in its European heritage. Follows the practice of local performance artist Lisa ONeil and her collaborations with Keith Armstrong as well as examining The Bonemap Project initiated by artists Russell Milledge and Rebecca Youdell.
The Artists
Notable for their ability to conduct practices from Brisbane over recent years are Luke Roberts, Scott Redford, Eugene Carchesio, Leonard Brown, Sebastian de Mauro, Gordon Bennett, Joe Furlonger, and Jay Younger, who have all emerged since 1980 into the national (and several into the international) marketplace. These practice are here explored in all their diversity. Martin-Chew looks at the increase in available resources and some of the opportunities that Brisbane has to offer for young and emerging artists wanting to break into the local and international art scene. Other artists discussed include Jemima Wyman, Lisa Adams, Rod Bunter, Vernon Ah Kee, Sandra Selig, Andrea Higgins and Michael Zavros.
New Media Art in Brisbane
The investigation of New Media Art is especially relevant in a city that is hyped with the rhetoric about critical mass in the New Media and Creative Industries. Machan here attempts to redraw some lines of definition in what the term New Media Art actually means, as it is often seen as a doomed and short-lived handle. She does this through examining some of the key New Media artists (including Craig Walsh, Keith Armstrong, Tim Plaisted, Bonemap, Trish Adams, Di Ball, Grant Stevens, Jenny Fraser, Simone Hine, Alex Gillespie, Jay Younger, Adam Donovan, Andrew Kettle and Molly Hankwitz) and the difference between New Media and other visual arts as well as looking at government support and initiatives in the line of New Media Arts.
Fuelling Innovation: Starting Young
Over the last two decades, Queensland has generated an arts and innovation culture for children and youth. Brisbanes distinguished reputation in the arts for young audiences rests on several solid foundations, most developed with support from major civic organisations, cultural institutions and successive governments. To understand how critic mass for childrens participation in the arts has been achieved, this article looks at a few of the formative events such as Play and Prime held at the Queensland Art Gallery and the popularity of artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Cai Guo Qiang amongst young audiences.
Prime Two
With the redevelopment of many inner-city dwellings which in the past were alternative hot spots for the local youth, Brisbane was left with very few arts venues catering for youth-specific programs, and limited opportunities for young artists to present their work. In 2001 the Queensland Art Gallery appointed an Access and Youth Program Officer and 2003 saw Prime Two, a six-hour long celebration of youth culture for National Youth Week. The intensity of Prime Two transformed the gallery into a festive and lively venue and created an experience that was reminiscent of an adventure rather than a visit to a state institution. Featured artists include Jemima Wyman, Arryn Snowball, Anne Wallace, Brett Whiteley and James Gleeson.
Moving Beyond Pragmatism: filmmaking in Queensland
The local film production community in South-East Queensland has come a long way, and over the past decade it has been important for local filmmakers to lay claim to an authentic local production that has achieved commercial if not critical success in the box office. Ward looks at those feature films and documentaries (Blurred, Under The Radar, Getting Square and Feeling Sexy) which have contributed to the emerging critical mass of the local film industry and the current debate surrounding creative pragmatism within this fledgling sector.
'Glocal' Government: Cross Cultural Understanding

David Hinchliffe has been a Councillor with Brisbane City for 15 years. He is also a photographer and exhibiting artist with 16 exhibitions to date. His background makes him a powerful supporter of Brisbanes art scene. Artlink asked him to tap into his experience and tell us how the new Brisbane came into being and where it is headed next.

The Gay Museum – a history of lesbian and gay presence in Western Australia
A history of lesbian and gay presence in Western Australia 22 January - 31 May 2003
Age and Consent: Ella Dreyfus
Howard Arkley
Obituary for the artist Howard Arkley who died in Melbourne on July 22 1999. Outlines his career in terms of the artistic highlights and short personal biography.
Decrepitude in Venice
Report about the 48th Venice Biennale 1999. Discusses works by various artists as the Millennium approaches: Sergei Bugarev, Thomas Hirschorn, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Federica Thiene, Stephanie Mantovani, Dieter Roth and Louise Bourgeois. Focus on disintegration in the city of Venice.
The Future Breed: Creatures and Mad Science
Explores the links between film and computer generated games which emulate life. With the creation of artificial intelligence on the computer, complex questions of the nature of human behaviour are raised. Science fiction confronts issues of intelligence and sentience.
Who's Afraid of the Prosthetic?
Explores relationships between human participants and the machine. Describes two projects Fuzzylove Dating Data Base and The Brain Project which use their location in a technological matrix as a means of exploring inter-relationships between the user and the their sources of energy and fear, Discusses formulation of information --the computer and related technologies -- as an industry.
Things Falling Apart: The Work of Ian Howard
Discusses Professor Ian Howard's visit to Beijing - his earlier frottage works from the days of the Vietnam war and the Berlin Wall as well as the large computer painted image making. Howard's work represents direct encounters with the real world combining personal and esoteric images with public and popular ones.
A Contradiction in Time: Bleak Days After Meltdown
Independent film making is experiencing an exciting resurgence in the wake of great social and cultural change. Looks specifically at films and videos from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Thailand screened at the 23rd Hong Kong International Film Festival.
Sorties into the City: The art of Elmer Borlongan and Emmanuel Garibay
Explores the works of two contemporary artists of the Philipines who paint the city -- Manila -- in expressionist style, depicting narratives of survival amid inhuman conditions. Borlongan as a resident and Garibay as a commuter express their views of the city in different ways.
Fashion for Civil Disturbance Bandung-Style
An interview by Damon Moon with Rifky Effendy, a curator and artist based in Bandung Indonesia. Effendy's curatorial project Wearable has been exhibited in Indonesia. The project explores some of the living conditions in Indonesia in the times leading up to the resignation of Suharto. The idea of clothing is used as a metaphor for identity --camouflage or exposure vulnerability or protection.
Bored with Polite Language: Dissidents and Reformasi
Currently in Indonesia there is a remarkable tendency to speak, write and create art works using critical, open, and sometimes vulgar language. The contemporary art scene is full of social and political intent. Describes works by Juni Wulandari, Iwan P Wijono, Toni Volunteero and Mella Jaarsma.
Marginalia: Photography of the Here, Now
Examination of the issues raised when documentary photographers represent the alienated margins of our society despite an openly dismissive and hostile critical environment. Examines the works of photographers working in Australia who use various strategies and methodologies to document the margins. Explores the difference between photojournalism and documentary.
Life and Death on Aboriginal Land with Anne Mosey
Exploration of the work of Anne Mosey who attempts with her installations and collaborations with indigenous artists to represent the tumultuous and often tragic events of life in Aboriginal communities, in particular Yuendumu, where death and grieving are ever present elements. Discusses collaboration with Dolly Nampijinpa Daniels which explore familial and cultural histories from a dual perspective.
Naming and Reclaiming: The Searching Eye of Pam Lofts
Central Australia remains at the post-colonial interface where issues such as reconciliation, cultural dislocation and otherness are daily issues. Examines the work of Pam Lofts and her relationship as a white artist working in such an environment. Explores the distinctions between the European concept of landscape and the indigenous focus on country.
Taking Control of the Grog: Yuendumu
Mosey who acted as consultant for a video project by Pat Fiske, Valerie Napaljarri Martin and Tom Kantor which documented the damaging impact of alcohol on indigenous communities tells of the making of this video. It documents the history of the Yuendumu Women's Night Patrol from 1991.
Traumatising States: Film Reflects Dysfunction
How dysfunction, abuse, drugs, gambling, war, suicide etc are depicted through the moving image. Argues that artists are able to tease out psychic and emotional states and present them in ways which are not spectacularised as entertainment for a consumerist culture. Examines particular examples to support his argument. Refer to artists list.
The Story of Wrap me up in Paperbark
The author ( co-writer, editor and associate producer) discusses with Des Kootji Raymond (director) the production of a controversial television documentary ÒWrap me up in PaperbarkÓ. The documentary is about indigenous peoples right to reclaim the remains of their elders who were forcibly removed from their homelands as children. Discusses the repatriation of remains of Aboriginal people from museums.
TV Docos and Realpolitik
The author Des Kootji Raymond as the director discusses with Jeffrey Bruer, co-writer, editor and associate producer, the production of a controversial television documentary ÒWrap me up in PaperbarkÓ. The documentary is about indigenous peoples right to reclaim the remains of their elders who were forcibly removed from their homelands as children. Discusses the repatriation of remains of Aboriginal people from museums.
Living out the Abject/Subject
Larry Clark is a well known American photographer and film maker. The Experimental Art Foundation mounted an exhibiton of photographs from the 1960s through to the 1980s as well as a series from the film Kids. Clark's trademark is gritty realism and under age sexuality. Discussion of the boundaries of eroticism and pornography.
Laughing and Killing: The Guilty Pleasures of Anime
Anime (Japanese animation) is increasingly violent and yet the Japanese level of violence is much lower than in America. Viewed as an escapist form of entertainment with female characters idealised and existing in a male fantasy land runs counter to the Wests view of feminism. This form of popular culture is a useful vehicle to examine the country's psyche.
Reconstructing Identity in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Visual arts in South Africa since the 1970s have played an important role in the struggle for freedom. They have chronicled the country's history of political oppression, chaos and transformation. Artworks today investigate a highly individuated sense of the political self.
Disqualified Knowledges: Insight into Disturbance at Splash
Explores the positioning of artworks made by people with a mental disability looking specifically at the arts access program --Splash Art Studio. The studio encourages the voice of the participants each attempting to articulate their own knowledge. The studio operates between the dominant voices of the psychiatric and art institutions making possible a space for people to develop their own ways of working.
Empire: Michael Riley and Dreams of Return: Michael Buckley
Empire by Michael Riley produced by ABC Indigenous Unit video 30 mins Dreams of Return director Michael Buckley producer Julie Shiels CD-Rom Mac/PC
The Silence: Gilles Peres and Roaring Days: Matthew Sleeth
The Silence by Gilles Peress Scalo Publishers, 1995 RRP$54 Roaring Days by Matthew Sleeth introduction by Michael Thomas Published by M33, 1998
Photo Files ed Blair French
edited by Blair French Sydney: Power Publications and Australian Centre for Photography, 1999 paperback, 315pp b&w illustrations
Signs of Life
Melbourne International Biennial 1999 Telecom Building Russell St and other venues in Melbourne 11 May - 27 June
James Gleeson
A selection of work from 1978-1998 Pinacotheca, Melbourne 2 - 26 June 1999
Red Contemporary Art Events
National Gallery of Victoria 28 May - 30 June 1999
Richard Larter
An exhibition to celebrate his 70th birthday Watters Gallery and Legge Gallery May 1999
Transit Lounge
Keith Armstrong Metro Arts, Brisbane 26 May - 19 June 1999
Respirare: Sebastion Di Mauro
Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane June 3 - 26
1 July - 8 August 1999 Nexus Gallery, Adelaide curated by Elizabeth Fotiadis
Ian Chandler
Greenaway Gallery 28 April - 23 May 1999
Jam Factory Biennial 1999
JamFactory, Adelaide 17 July - 29 August 1999
Cache: An Exhibition of Work by Artists from the Letitia Street Studios
11 June - 4 July 1999 CAST Gallery 27 Tasma Street, North Hobart
50 Reasons: Rox De Luca and Jo Darbyshire
Fremantle Arts Centre 28 May to 20 June 1999
Angela Stewart: Three Women
Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery 28 May - 27 June 1999
Ten Days on the Island
Tasmania Artistic Adviser Robyn Archer 28 March - 6 April 2003
Deficiency - Installation and paintings
Christian Flynn Soapbox Gallery, Brisbane 21 March - 4 April 2003
Ruth Waller
Watters Gallery, Sydney 25 March - 26 April 2003
Light Black: Catherine Truman, Robin Best, Sue Lorraine
JamFactory, Adelaide 1 March - 4 May 2003 Asialink tour to National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
Madonna Staunton
Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane 13 March - 18 April 2003
Drought and Fire
Paintings, drawings and installation, Wendy Teakel Stella downer Fine Art, Sydney 18 March - 17 April 2003
Painting Tasmanian Landscape
Plimsoll Gallery, Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania 14 March - 6 April 2003
Emily Floyd, Andrew McQualter, Christine Morrow, David Rosetzky, Daniel von Sturmer, Louse Weaver Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne
Fifth Showing
Chris Mulhearn Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide 5 - 30 March 2003
Vacant Space
Anthony Johnson Inflight, North Hobart 8 - 28 March 2003
A Fusion Event Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra 27 March - 27 April 2003
Mightier than the Sword: Arabic Script, Beauty and Meaning
Arabic Script, Beauty and Meaning Ian Potter Museum of Art University of Melbourne 22 March - 23 May 2003 A touring exhibition from the British Museum in association with the Aitajir World of Islam Trust Guest Curator, Venetia Porter