editorial rt80

Melissa Hirsch, de natured

Melissa Hirsch, de natured

Melissa Hirsch, de natured

Election-propelled politicians play at being visionaries of the environment, Aboriginal well-being, water management and housing shortages. But, as we’ve come to expect of recent elections [and Opposition leader Kevin Rudd’s strategy of not messing with established perceptions], no one will lead on the arts [‘elitist’ and ‘adequately funded’]. In the universities, tensions between art and institution are reaching critical mass [see our annual arts education feature, p13-28]. The absorption of arts training schools into the constantly restructured and managerialist university sector, proposed ‘generalist’ undergraduate degrees and the diminution of the humanities deal heavy blows to the arts—like being hit by an immoveable force. In the world outside the academy, federal politics has likewise belted into the arts—not least with the velvet glove of indifference. Kel Glaister’s Immovable Object [exhibited at Bus Gallery as part of the Making Space celebration of Melbourne artist-run-initiatives, p53] seemed an apt cover image for this edition, not least because its ‘icy’ coating is melting and the object, once a violent force, seems not quite so immovable despite the damage done. Can the arts resist the forces arrayed against them and repair the damage done? Do we have the tools? Fibre artist Melissa Hirsch’s “climate neutral status” de natured at Darwin’s 24HR art [image on this page and see p39] evokes in its flax-woven tools not only technological transience but also the creative capacities for renewal.

RealTime issue #80 Aug-Sept 2007 pg. 1

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 August 2007