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ROUNDTABLE SYMPOSIUM – Artist Run Initiatives, writers, academics and artists, in Australia and the Asia-Pacific

At Testing Grounds



This symposium has two parallel impulses around place, one more philosophical, the other more art-political. The first impulse comes from contemporary philosophical thinking about place and its significance for artist-run spaces and how we imagine artist-run spaces and the work they do. The second is Chris Kraus’s provocative essay “Kelly Lake Store and other Stories” where she reflects upon the global forces pushing us all, which leads her to unfurl the notion of “radical localism”. Radical localism expresses the importance of the local places of art-making, compared to global-centrism and importantly, as Kraus notes, their existence is “an opportunity to remain in one’s own community and assert an alternative ethos.”



Place as a philosophical concept speaks to our relationship to the world. It has a long and troubled history within Western philosophical thinking, Aristotle proclaimed place as “prior to all things.” Yet for three centuries – the period of ‘modernity’ – place has been “actively suppressed” with Time and Space dominant. However, in recent decades there has been a profound shift in our understanding of place. For contemporary Australian philosopher Jeff Malpas place is what grounds experience. That is, it’s not so much about how we experience a place but that experience itself is grounded in place. This shift in understanding begins to move closer to Indigenous peoples’ understandings of place, where connection to country is so profound and important – and is expressed through the Aboriginal English word ‘country’. If place is what grounds experience, what does this mean for ARIs and artists? Does this change how we think about ARIs and the work they do? How does place as the ground of experience impact on art practices of ‘place-making’ and ‘a sense of place?” The symposium aims to provoke a conversation about and between artists on ARIs and place and ARIs and radical localism.



Invited artists and speakers will open discussion on the themes:: rethinking artist-run initiatives through place, relationships between art, art practice and geography, Chris Kraus’s radical localism in the Asia Pacific Region, relationships between Australian ARIs and the Asia Pacific region, local art and global forces, Indigenous understandings of place and its impact on Australian ARIs and ARI artists and relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in Australian ARIs and Art Centres.




Maria Miranda (DECRA Research Fellow, VCA, University of Melbourne) – Introduction

Ama Bahas (Artist, Member, Ruang MES 56, Yogyakarta)

Channon Goodwin (Artist, Director, BUS Project)

Eugenia Lim (Artist)

Kade McDonald (Hanging Valley, Independent art and cultural management consultant)

Dominic Redfern (Artist, Associate Professor, RMIT University)

Shih-Tung Lo (Artist, Member, Open-Contemporary Art Centre, Taipei)

Frances Tapueluelu (Artist, Blak Dot Gallery)

Gabrielle de Vietri (Artist, A Centre for Everything)

Martina Copley (Artist, Gallery Coordinator BLINDSIDE)

Anabelle Lacroix (Curator)


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