There’s a perception here that certain things need to happen in certain ways: like predetermined curatorial proposals for artwork in galleries or venues, that emerging curators curate twenty-something artists exclusively, that public art is supposed to look a certain way and public programs be safe… It’s formulaic and bureaucratic, disallowing much deviation or immediacy.
This approach may be driven by organisations, but the real shame is that it’s supported by artists. I remember reading something about the level of bureaucracy and the paper work mania in Australian culture. In retrospect, it reeks of desperation to be perceived as uber-astute-professionals. Likewise, the arts industry and artists in particular seem to have become partial to these structures rather than just developing a sound argument.
I’ve noticed that many artists working internationally will say yes to virtually any exhibition. The idea being that each exhibition is foremost an opportunity. Whereas here, artists often seem fixated on the paperwork rather than the essential concept more-or-less summarised within a sentence. I previously would have agreed with this kind of approach, which seems responsible but it excludes so many opportunities and professional relationships.
So, perhaps it’s time to re-act differently, not just in terms of being responsive, but strategic. I think its worthwhile questioning why, not always finding the answer and consistently re-acting. Unfortunately, the inherent difficulties of working in a country isolated from international dialogue often means that it’s easier to re-act or implement a project somewhere else, or with artists from somewhere else.