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IETM Asian Satellite meeting: Part Three

Jun 13, 2014

Image: IETM Asian Satellite meeting, day two. Credit: Will Taylor.

This is the third and final of a three part series, to start reading from the beginning check out IETM Asian Satellite meeting: Part One.

IETM Satellite meetings move from city to city and accompanying any meeting is a program of works by local artists as part of a festival or program presented specifically for IETM.  Next Wave offered an opportunity for IETM delegates to participate in New Grand Narrative: Next Wave 2014. The IETM Satellite meeting took place in and around the Arts Centre Melbourne with a bus trip to Footscray Community Arts Centre and/or a series of walking trips to Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall for The IETM Satellite Ball. Many of the IETM sessions and working groups were run concurrently and included an opening keynote by Australian artist William Yang, working groups and info cells on Residencies, Creative Europe, Green International Exchange, separate sessions on ‘A Window on the Performing Arts in Europe, Asia and Australia’ Supporting Practice, Traditional and Contemporary Creation, and a final plenary hosted by Robyn Archer.

Independent Greek artist and IETM delegate Eugenia Tzirtzilaki reflected on her experience at the meeting and the vital importance of personal contacts and peer to peer discussions ‘… a connection that was discovered, a path of communication opened up…And that’s what’s so amazing: our meeting in a space between cultures, and geographies, outside the specificity of our certain contexts, allowed us to take a peek at each other’s realities and often times unearthed links and affinities between us that we did not make or invent: they were there but we would have never known about them if we hadn’t met.’

At Footscray Community Arts Centre Jade Lillie moderated a session on political and social constraints, asking questions of the artist as activist, promoting freedom of speech, democracy and diversity.  Yudi Tajudin (Teater Garasi, Indonesia) spoke about the work of the company and how the company had to deal with the fall of the regime and a search for purpose and meaning about the role of making work. Yudi raised questions that resonated with threads of conversation throughout IETM Satellite ‘If there is no clear status quo, is it possible to be radical or even dramatic? Artists have to have a dialogue with peers, and this is happening in a rush. We have to depart from those questions, not the answers, to understand the ever-changing realities of sustainability, religious activism and corporatisation.  What is our role when the space that we are assuming to open is closing again?’

The IETM Satellite meeting felt like a very different artistic and political space, a shift away from a Eurocentric paradigm. It was an inspiring collective space that was not made through consensus of thought and opinion, but through conversation, and the resilience of artistic ideas.  Art making sits within a complex set of truths, an unstable synthesis of exciting and uneasy friction points. To make work and to venture onto the thin black ice of new ideas, we can sometimes despair about the practicalities of how hard it can be to create work.

This meeting offered a deeper provocation.  It changed the frame, collapsed paradigms and offered glimpses of art making that step beyond ‘what I think I know…’ It was exhilarating and sobering.  Like so many of the wicked problems we are currently facing, there was no cohesive solution or model offered as a way of navigating ideas, and practice, but the creation of a space in between for unstable and unpredictable acts of conversation and listening.

At Next Wave’s Blak Wave Breakfast Club Rachel Maza’s questions were echoed by provocateur Emily McDaniel, Assistant Curator Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, The Art Gallery of NSW ‘You are meant to be confused as you are at the limits of your knowledge. Leave what you think you know. Embrace the uncomfortable.’

Read more about IETM.