Friday, July 08, 2005

Exposing Myself

We pre recorded the show this week so I had to pinch myself to remember that I am meant to announce a "project" that I'm a part of. Even then i got it wrong. Hell, I'll never make it in PR. Unless I work for a government organisation.

As I sat blabbing to Lucy, I held a fold-out flyer in my hands. The cover features a beige photo of a studio, with hot pink words saying MOST. There is some other text but I have to squint to read it. The inside has a map, and a list of studios including where I pursue the oevre. the back has more blurbs, and icons of the funding partners; The australian government, Marrickville council, Newtown Entertainment Precinct etc. Nowhere on the flyer is it mentioned any names of the artists who have each contributed $10 for the privelege of producing a promotional flyer for a government project. In adddition to forking out cash, artists have attended about 8 hours worth of meetings, and have done or will do uncounted hours in promotion, cleaning, organising, and public education.

I'm trying to work out just why I agreed to be a part of this. I've got another show to organise - adn need my studio as a work space rather than an exhibition space. Getting a verified statement of public liability coverage from our insurers has been a nightmare,and neighbours keep dumping stuff in our studio area. furthermore, I feel like myself, and the other artists inolved have let ourselves be conned again. I guess I haven't been as ripped off as the guy who designed the flyer for free - only to have the design stolen and modifed (- and his name not mentioned anywhere). the flyer is the one official sign that the event has been organised. I recieved an email today with a Press Release - but it wasn't addressed to 2SER. Somewhere someone has used the unpaid labour and goodwill of artists to build themselves a nice little career. How can someone expect that I and other won't actuallly resent them for it? This project has cost me, and other artists time and money that we'd prefer to spend on our work. I don't need any skills in sitting in boring community consultations, filling in aquittal forms or preparing floor sheets. I don't need skills in delegating tasks to lazy and inefficient council employees, or in stating too late - that a flyer whch I an others have paid for - should at least be subject to our apporval before it goes to print.

This experience reminds me of so many other community art projects, especially in the innter city. For some reason local government funding bodies seem to think they are doing us a favour by NOT publicising artists names. I call it plagiarism. There has been a big arts project along King Street Newtown for the past month. Not one shred of publicity has metined the name sof any of the exhibiting artists. These people have not only prepared work, but many of them have supplied the hanging materials to the shops, and undertaken volunteer work to attend more meetings or distribute publicity for the event. The flyers for the event name all of the offoical govenrmental funding bodies. These posters have been in all the shop windows - and make it hard to see the smaller sings (where they exist) which acutally give details about the artists. Well I'm not buying it - and I refuse to publicise anything which is based on exploiting artists.

I've decided that ANY exhibition which does not produce materials naming the artists, or don't pay them an artists fee, is is a dodgy bureaucratic charity project, not a cultural event. Most community cultural workers earn salaries far higher than the average earnings of 85% of artists, and its about time they started behaving in an accountable manner to those "stakeholders" on whom their position depends.

The fact is, that if every single arts advocacy organsiation lost its funding tomorrow, there would be very few artists who would suffer very much. There are some exceptions - and the easiest way to find this out - is to look at the budgets for any projects or organisations and see how much of it is spent on actual "project" activity, and how much is spend on employing admin staff - who spend most of their time - writing funding applications. I hate to sound like a right wing old troll, but the people these organsiations are helping are not artists, but other bureaucrats.

I'm not sure if MOST have any sort of Web Archive - but you can not in your diary that the launch is friday 15th July from 6pm at Addison Road Gallery (142 Addison road Marrickville) and maps will be available there. Studios will be open from 10am to 4pm on saturday and sunday. There is also a performance night and party at ALpha House Artists Cooperative gallery on Saturday 16th July. Level 1, 226 Union Street South Newtown.

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