Week 5 – August 20th

Navigating the Visual World Week 5 – Lecture notes

The aim (in lectures) is to fast track the course content to give more time for the final exhibition (the major project – worth 50%).

Rationale of Exhibition rather than individual work

Allows students to work collaboratively, and gives students experience in curating and presenting work for exhibition.

First four weeks –

  • Different cultural and historical contexts
  • We interpret art based on our own culture, experience
  • Art is (and always has been) evolving – it some cultures there is no word for ‘art’ as art is so embedded in the culture it is integral and not separable.
  • Looking at Berger’s view on Western art – in the light of his cultural background – Freud & Marx, post-colonialism including feminism
  • The female nude – in Western society – to make the female a passive object for the active male.

If students participate in the exhibition this takes the place of the major work as outlined in the unit guide.

  • There will not be a need for individual specific individual works
  • Collaborative – while there may be some individual work, there will also be the hope of an integrated whole.

MK (Aside about a project happening for her in Melbourne in the next months)

Video – The Art of Persuasion (You Tube)

  • How people are utilising power to serve their own ends (e.g. George Brandis appropriating part of the Australia Council budget for his department to allocate – politicising the funding)
  • Any society where the arts are suppressed is a sign of a dangerous, utilitarian society.

How art made the World Part 3.

Watch in own time

The New Wilderness Project (2 sheets of handout)

  • Exploring notions of identity and change in the local community and beyond.

Identity of the Geelong society is changing – has been based on manufacturing and production, with the port as a major feature – this is evolving. With the demise of major industries over the 20th and 21st century, and no new major heavy industries of any size, the economy is moving to post-industrialism. Identity is also changing. We need to see ourselves as part of a wider society – family, city, state, national, global identity.

  • Community
  • Nation
  • Global identity – the society and individual’s place in the world
  • Using the social science to show the impact of de-industrialisation of our cities (especially Geelong).
  • (We want cheap commodities, but we also need high wages) – jobs have been sent off shore, and we have sold our companies to multi-national conglomerates.

A move to a more high tech, social service, education-based economy, – e.g. Geelong’s biggest employer is Barwon Health, and we have a large number of education institutions.

Aside (MK) – (The zombification of our education system – a death of debate in the quest for a degree – high wage is the aim) – difficult for academics to get tenure in universities (more and more casual staff). Learning as a commodity.

Pertinence of this to The New Wilderness Project –

  • Artists try to be autonomous but can also work collectively to make things happen
  • Strength in numbers – the more people working together – an exponential growth in impact.
  • Use of digital media – e.g. propaganda of ISIS for gaining adherants.
  • The internet is a ‘new geography’ – now global contact – we are not contained by borders. Connection may be ‘swarming’ in particular areas – based on people’s interests, effective propaganda – e.g. The Occupy movement – a whole global uprising by “the 99%” against the 1% who have the vast majority (50%) of the world’s wealth. E.g. Occupy Wall Street –
  • The tent became a symbol – BYOT – BYO Tent –
  • The numbers grew exponentially – and the movement became an international reality
  • We could have an arts revolution – how can artists create a new place in society where they can work and – could Geelong be the new art’s focus for the state, country and the world.
    • g. giant chalks (South America) – as the chalk degraded, the public wrote messages to the government about what they thought and wanted, reflecting on what was important to their society. (The responses of the people became the art work.)
  • The growth of the social sciences – exploration of the mind – we have explored our outside environment, now explore the inner world – e.g. surrealism.
  • Post-modernism – it’s all been done – there’s nothing new – all our work is a cliché led to the socially active art movements of Contemporary Art.

New Wilderness Project Proposed Outline – handout

Next two weeks – provocation workshops (Mk and CB ) – provoking the students with ideas – objects, ideas, questions, take this for exploration of the concept, self – lateral thinking, networking – making the new from the old – construction of new knowledge individually and together and sharing of knowledge.

The Exhibition space – The Project Space

Thursday 24th September – installation of the project

Friday 25th September – occupation of the space. – as much time as students can give – with big opening in the evening.

Website platform for the exhibition – consolidation onto social media – two weeks before the show to promote the show. Spread the word.

May lead to another project –

Assessment rubric – for those involved in this as their major project –


  • Level of engagement
  • Participation
  • Reflection on how people use the space.

We don’t need to have commodified art – it’s not always for sale – may be art when it’s a performance, installation etc. Without being a lucrative occupation (but how, then does one eat?).

We can construct and constantly reconstruct the space.

Marxist lens

  • Less commodifiction of art
  • Art as a symbol of wealth and power – how to polarise to the opposite
  • What is real worth? Do we have to put a price on everything? – an arm or a leg (insurance e.g.)
  • Art isn’t always just about pretty pictures.

There is a need for socially active artists in our society today.

Step outside and look from outside the society, art work. Etc.

Ideas and Provocations

  • Cultural identity
  • Individual identity
  • Temporal identity – would we have made this work in an earlier age?
  • Gender identity – how is our identity wrapped up in our gender (our group is all female)


  • The tent – a recurring form in the New Wilderness project. – but we now only have 3 tents – (the others have disappeared into the Deakin ether). (Tents are available for $20.)
    • Squatting
    • Change
    • Mobility
    • Communing with nature
    • Homelessness
    • Militarism – the military occupation presence.
    • Shelter
    • The Tent Embassy – outside parliament
    • Refugee camps – many are tents. Uniformity and a recurring theme – swarming of refugees.
    • Prison camps
    • Questions of ownership of the land – where can I put my tent?
  • The significance of place and space
  • We are the 99%
  • The 1% threatened – demanding police intervention
  • The protest camp – inspired by the depression tent cities in the USA – when people lost their houses. (In Australia, the swag might be a symbol) –

Research the Occupy movement on the internet etc. E.g. the girl who used the tent as clothing – and had it ripped from her body.

  • Hippy communes of the 1970s, the huge music festivals, Woodstock
  • Burning Man e.g. (research)
  • Berkley – university – native Americans had tents which were demolished – reaction was to turn books up into tent shapes – Helium balloons tied to the tents –
  • The individualised tent – A tent which references visual culture –

Generate ideas – New Wilderness works because the motif is retained but the boundaries are expanded with each new iteration.

Idea (catalyst – the light sound sculpture) – a tent which vibrates with sound – pulsing – to the heart beat

Words to generate thought:

  • Foucault – one of the main philosophers who has influenced critical theory – art shouldn’t be a specialised place for specialist artists – all can be art ‘My life as a work of art’
  • The democratising effect of the internet – Has this debased the institution – also artists can learn online – and produce work online – and can sell over the internet. Back to the commodification of art – the make movement – blurring of lines between art and design, illustration.
  • The overnight sensation – a one trick wonder – waves of fame – once again the swarming effect
  • The genius is being questioned – ‘The death of the author’ – with the meaning that practice may become less individualised – more collaborative
  • More art spaces – galleries (public and commercial), art spaces, artist run spaces, participatory spaces. E.g. The Love Trolley – speed dating at art exhibition openings.
  • Can have sound, happenings, light other dimensions.
  • Tie into the themes of the Cloud – propaganda – nudity – identity – the body in art – technology etc.

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