“The political context has deep implications for the health of a democracy of which the agency of the artist is a key indicator. Artists are the canaries in the coalmine of democracy – if there is not enough oxygen they die. Strange Attractor, and platforms like it, ensure artists have the opportunity to breathe. This trajectory from artistic practice to democracy means that to be an artist in the 21st C, we need to be active citizens. Strange Attractor helps us become better at both.”
David Pledger, The Facilitator 2016
Strange Attractor is a platform and lab for artists to deepen artistic methodologies and strengthen critical discourse in experimental and emerging practices. It operates as an interface between the artists as collaborative peers and their audiences/publics to develop new languages for artistic practice and insight to artistic research.
SA offer artists the opportunity to assert leadership potential whilst exploring new possibilities for creative exchange. SA want to strengthen the muscle of artist led practice with artists in how and why we make work in a trans-disciplinary manner. We want to carve out space for an artist led interdisciplinary enquiry into where the arts are now and where we can take it into the future.
Between 2014 - 2016 Strange Attractor was resident at the Ainslie+Gorman Arts Centre Precinct in Canberra. The lab provided a platform for 21 professional artists across Australia (ACT, NSW, SA, VIC and WA) and award-winning artists/facilitators and hosted public events such as 'David Pledger is Running for Office' by Not Yet It's Difficult, artist talk with lighting designer/video artist Margie Medlin and the public showings of SA.
Here SA also opened up collaborations with Canberra's resident intellectuals from CSIRO, National Portrait Gallery and Australian National University to present their work and stimulate the artists to consider their practice in new ways and in broader contexts. CSIRO scientist Brian Walker and landscape architect Dr Susan Boden (ANU) spoke of resilience & stability and narrative film and architecture and Curator at NPG Dr Christopher Chapman spoke of his exhibition 'Inner Worlds'.
A Writer in Residence (WIR) to document and produce articles about the SA over the years have been featured in ReelTime Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times.
Since 2017 Strange Attractor has extended their partnership to Critical Path Choreographic Centre for Research, Museum for Applied Arts and Sciences and co-presented with Sydney Festival as part of the Talking Dance series.
Image credit: Matthew Syres
STRANGE ATTRACTOR HACK-LAB
20-27 / 1 / 2019
Facilitator: Bek Conroy
Producer: Strange Attractor
Partner: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) and Critical Path Choreographic Centre
Co-presented with Sydney Festival
Strange Attractor and Critical Path in partnership with Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum) present CHOREOGRAPHIC HACK LAB, a one-week laboratory that brings together city-based practitioners to look at and be informed by new synthesis between the disciplines.
We invite 5 artists with a choreographic practice to creatively improvise with 5 practitioners from other disciplines engaging with the Anthropocene. This experimental space provides the opportunity for finding creative solutions and new ways of working across practice boundaries.
Alongside the lab there will be a series of public activities – talks, presentations and an accessible publication to open up the process and content of the laboratory to the public and extend the reach of the public program activities.
Facilitated by Bek Conroy with participants Ivey Wawn & Riki Scanlan, Dean Walsh & Dr Glenn Albrecht, Jodie McNeilly-Renaudie & Clare Cooper, Henrietta Baird & Vicki Van Hout, Clarence Slockee, Bruce Pascoe, Jody Orcher and Auntie Francis Bodkin, Sarah Pini & Jestin George.
Public Talk 'Hacking the Anthropocene' with Dr Astrida Neimanis (Dept Gender and Cultural Studies, Uni Syd) and Kenneth McLeod (Research associate, UTS Business School) held at MAAS (Powerhouse Museum) 3pm on 20th Jan.
A Public Sharing of ideas and explorations from the lab participants will be held at 3pm 28 January 2019 at MAAS (Powerhouse Museum) .
Publication of the lab can be found in Critical Path's quarterly e-journal Critical Dialogues Issue nr 11 - Choreographic Hack Lab.
Supported by Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), City of Sydney, Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW supported by Woollahra Council.
Image credit: Matthew Syres
STRANGE ATTRACTOR META LAB
17 / 11 / 2018
Facilitator: Bek Conroy & Adelina Larsson
Residency: Critical Path Choreographic Centre for Research, Sydney & UNSW
Strange Attractor Meta-Lab foregrounds the following questions:
1) How does the experimental create trans-disciplinary and non binary practices and spaces to build audiences and new ideas - i.e how can we lead the arts sector into bolder territory and shape its position within the broader Australian public?
2) How can we integrate the artistic research that is practice-led into the sector in a more significant and amplified way? i.e How can we draw on the strength of artists working in academia as part of their practice?
3) How can we build discursive infrastructures with our audiences - i.e how can we bring our audiences along for the ride?
Whilst previous iterations of Strange Attractor (2015 - 2017) have involved selected artists coming together in receipt of expertise, this Meta-Lab will place more focus on artists-as-peers and artists-as-leaders who come together at an earlier stage to consult on and contribute to the initial groundwork for the lab. For this we have nominated a small group of artists to come together in what we are designating a ‘Council-Counsel’. We have conceived this initial group as both pragmatic advisor and nurturing confidant. This approach is anchored in the idea that an artist-led environment will foster a more critical approach grounded in a more collegial atmosphere for exploration. Devising a more distributed leadership model through a council-counsel encourages responsibility tethered to rights and responsibilities, and places this in the service of the mission and the outcomes of the 2 weeks.
This gathering will focus on Trans-disciplinary practices and non-binary forms to help shape our articulation of how experimental practice behaves, how it moves and thinks through embodied research, and how the subject is always in a state of becoming. During this 2 week period we will be extending vocabulary and methodologies – to build systems and structures that enhance two core missions:
1) To support the emerging and experimental artist by providing time and space for their practice to experiment, reflect, develop, research, document, share, present, refine in a collaborative and structured environment.
2) To cultivate a strong culture in critical discourse, and by extension a politicised body or network of peers who can develop leadership in the sector.
We will take residency at Critical Path Choreographic Centre for Research and at UNSW in November 2018.
REBECCA CONROY is an interdisciplinary artist who works across site, community engagement, and performative interventions through artist led activity. Her work is bound up in mimetic strategies and the playful occupation of non-art fields such as urban planning, economics, and housing, particularly where it concerns the behaviour of cities and the rise of the creative entrepreneur within finance capitalism. She has previously worked in the role of Festival Director (Gang Festival), Associate Director (Performance Space); Provocateur (Splendid Arts Lab & Artist Wants a Life).