Paper Presentations # 3 – Session 3B

NZ – 2pm | VIC/NSW/TAS – 12pm | SA – 11.30am | QLD – 11am | NT – 10.30am | WA – 9am

Chaired by Ashlee Barton

Links to join all conference sessions can be accessed via the program page of the ADSA conference website

Katie Lee – Unruly Guests: Inside (Out) the Institution

The conditions of professional exhibition and performance contexts need to be constantly agitated. White boxes, black cubes, public spaces and educational institutions- have all been colonised and encoded with layers of historical and contemporary behavioural and social norms. These in turn have been upended and disrupted by artists time and time again (as chronicled by O’Doherty (1968), Krasny (2019) Harvey & Russel-Mundine (2019)). Nevertheless artists, performers, and the institutions that house them, seem to constantly drift back into opposition; artists disrupt, and the institutions they topple, reassemble and fortify.

In this paper I will explore ongoing methods of rupture employed by artists who work within (and around) these institutional contexts. Using a selection of Australian and New Zealand based artists and performers (such as Megan Cope, Katie Lee, Lauren Gower, Kate Newby and Moorina Bonnini), I will show how methodologies employed by these artists expose the structures we work within. That is, by incorporating the conditions of institutional space into their material and embodied practice, these artists reveal institutional frameworks in operation. However, I will also show that by doing this, these artists share alternative ecologies and communities of practice, ways of seeing, doing and knowing. And that by coming inside the institution, they aren’t necessarily claiming an alliance, but instead continuing to gently to push back— as unruly guests.

Katie Lee is a cross-disciplinary artist whose creative practice includes sculpture, installation, performance, video, sound and drawing. Common to her work is a preoccupation with how our perception of the world around us can shift and flip: from stable to contingent. Her work attempts to reveal and dissect these un/stable relations, along with the various ways in which these perceptions are held in architecture, bodies and form. Current research projects include making virtual-reality performance environments, live-streaming sculptural installation events and doing video field-recordings at the Fawkner Cemetery. Katie Lee is based in Naarm (Melbourne) Australia where she completed a PhD at the VCA, University of Melbourne (2019). She has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 2005, and is a lecturer in Creative Arts and Expanded Performance at Deakin University.

Elizabeth Old – Programming value for Australia contemporary dance

A significant proportion of performing arts centre programming decision making in Australia is financially based and therefore potentially disastrous for contemporary dance when it draws small audiences and is expensive to program. This research investigated how presenters make decisions when programming contemporary dance in Australian performing arts centres so as to facilitate greater transparency in the decision-making process and to analyse the presenter’s agency within the performing arts environment. A representative sample of presenters were interviewed for this study which also included a snapshot survey of programming patterns in 2021 across thirty performing arts centres. This research revealed that producer and presenter priorities are not always complementary, and that presenters are often adversely affected by their programming environment. The interview data revealed the significance of using a framework to guide programming decisions, and the criticality of supporting presenters in selecting a more diverse and cutting-edge range of contemporary dance.

Elizabeth Old has had an outstanding career as a dancer, dance mentor and artistic leader. She began as a dancer at Australian Dance Theatre and then joined Rambert in London where she danced until 2001 with Britain’s leading contemporary dance company. As Associate Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre for a decade she significantly expanded the company’s sphere of activities. She founded The ADT Youth Ensemble and established an extensive audience development and education program. Taking an active role in the creation of all mainstage work Elizabeth was instrumental in ADT’s programming, touring strategy and in curating platforms for new choreographic work. Elizabeth is currently a PhD candidate at Deakin University and joined the faculty of the school of creative industries at Queensland University of Technology in March 2018.