Cultural Advice: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that the ARI Remix Project contains images, voices or names of deceased persons in websites, photographs, film, audio recordings or printed materials.

Postcard from Prato – Art as Archive: Archive as Art & The Imagined Archive – CIRN Community, Development and Community Archives Prato Conference 2017, 25-27 October, 2017 @ Monash University Centre, Prato, Italy

By Paul Andrew

I am writing this postcard from Prato in Italy where I am attending at the Art as Archive: Archive as Art & The Imagined Archive – CIRN Community, Development and Community Archives Prato Conference 2017, 25-27 October, 2017 @ Monash University Centre.


This is a photo of keynote speaker Kathy Michelle Carbone, UCLA/CalArts while delivering her paper Art as Archive/Archive as Art: Practices, Interventions, Productions,Potentialities, the inspiring conference keynote paper presentation.


I have been invited to speak about the ARI Remix Living Archives Project we are building and growing now, a digital artist archive grounded in the shared experiences of artists involved in operating artist-run initiatives (ARIs) in Brisbane and in regional Queensland since the 1970s.


My artist practitioners report is in the throes of being rewritten while I have a series of strong cafe lattes just near the Monash Centre in a picturesque laneway. My report will feature the social media design of the project and highlight several features of the archives and approaches to participatory action research (PAR).


Risky Business – Participatory Culture and The Artist-Run Archive – Queensland 1980-1990 – An Account of Australian ARIs Heritage Recovery –


Abstract: This artist practitioner report considers the subject of imagining an archive in relation to my current journey with one Australian artist-run community, the activist artist-run scene that proliferated in Brisbane and regional Queensland throughout the 1980s and 1990s.


This was an experimental art scene that built on and expanded contemporary art practices of the 1970s and a scene that overlapped and intersected with the experimental performing arts scenes, with the indie punk and post punk music scenes, with the emergence of clubs, cafes, design studios, fashion houses, self-publishing and trends in popular culture emerging in Brisbane and internationally at the time.


The ARI Remix Living Archives Project is designed as a participatory action research project and hosted across of range of social media platforms and includes a bazaar style WordPress participatory database as a key repository for digital artist-run heritage including artist ephemera, photo documentation, art works, publications and resources. This repository is a relational database and is designed as an internet artwork collaboration.


It’s a co-creative guided by two overarching principles: 1) retrieving, recovering, valuing, acknowledging and reflecting on the untold and invisible alternative histories and experiences of a visual artist based artist-run scene; one comprising artist collectives, artist groups, spaces, publications events and DIY activities and 2) co- creating by remembering together and enabling added recognition, value and acknowledgement of artist-led culture in Australia, heritage in its tangible and intangible forms, heritage concerns that until recently have remained largely unmapped, unvalued or undervalued in the Australian arts canon and in arts industry policies.


In my role as the ARI Remix Living Archives project coordinator I, like many of my peers, am reflecting on my early career as one of many artists who were actively involved in instituting and operating and participating several Brisbane based artist-run projects during the 1984 -1989 years. In 2012, together with a coalition of the willing, artist peers from this era, we instigated a social media page to assist with two key motivations – 1) for locating an expanded network of peers for inclusion and participation in a potential online feature documentary and digital archive mapping the Queensland ARIs scene and 2) actively collaborating with activist curator Peter Anderson with the long-lead development of a discrete independent but interrelated survey exhibition acknowledging this scene in an academic context – Ephemera Traces; Brisbane Artist-Runs in the 1980s 2 April – 26 June 2016 at the University of Queensland Art Museum, St Lucia, Brisbane.


In July 2017 Stage One of the ARI Remix Living Archives -The Queensland Remix 1980-1990 period was completed. We are currently working on an expanded view of artist- run heritage in Queensland. Stage Two – The Queensland Remix 1980 to Now is designed to begin to profile Brisbane artist-runs on the ground and operating in Brisbane today and to include added 1980s, 1990s and 2000s artist, artist-run profiles, artist interviews as a way to facilitate and instigate new artist-run related events and the potential for a digital toolkit framework for ARIs operating today in the digital ecology.


Living Archives – Queensland Artist-Run Heritage 1980 to NOW


ARI Remix Project – Living Archives, Artist-Runs – Past Present Future


Keywords: artist-run initiatives (ARIs), access, acknowledgement, participatory culture, digital archives, decentralization


​My attendance at this 2017 conference has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.


PHOTOS: Paul Andrew