Julie Louise Bacon | Performing Democracies

Performing Democracies

  • 21 Jul

  • jbacon

I began this ongoing series in late 2015. It aims to create a forum for experimental performance and pedagogical practices, generating conversations and curatorial propositions around the use of public space and collective forms of action in contemporary contexts.

The series grew from a curatorial Master’s studio that deals with Site and Situation, which I teach at UNSW Art & Design in Sydney. I wanted to open the ideas and practices of the course out to a broader engagement with the campus and arts community. To do this, I programmed workshops, talks and events in the former Ivan Dougherty Gallery at the University, exploring the space ‘between the poetic and political, the artistic and philosophical, the playful and engaged. The programme featured presentations from the Public Art Program Manager at City of Sydney, Eva Rodriguez Riestra; an Alternative Futures workshop with artist Kelly Doley; a cross-programme workshop with students from UNSW Art & Design based on a collectively devised performance score; a screening event featuring a selection of works by postgraduate students.

The title of the series points to an inherent instability in the concept of democracy, suggesting it has the characteristics of motion rather than the conditions of any state. Rather than a system of governance or political ideal, the usefulness, and limits, of democracy are here explored in terms of the ongoing ways in which our actions enact values, our imagination and social structures shape one another, aesthetics and politics intertwine.