CityCat Project 2006–2016 is the record of an extraordinary collaboration between American artist Dave Hullfish Bailey and senior Aboriginal writer and activist Sam Watson. The collaboration is structured around Maiwar Performance, in which the CityCat ferries that ply the Brisbane River (Maiwar) execute unannounced maneuvers near a site of significance to the Aboriginal people who lived on the lands around Brisbane before British colonization in the early nineteenth century.
After its first iteration in 2006, Watson designated the event a “Dreaming,” which meant that it should be periodically repeated. The performance has since been restaged in 2009, 2012, and 2016, with Watson seeing it as an important act of Indigenous empowerment: a way of restoring agency to the local Aboriginal people in bringing their past alive and allowing them to think that the future has not been definitively determined.
Parallel to this recurring event is an evolving body of works in diverse media. At its core is Bailey’s lateral research-based process, which combines a highly reflexive approach to language with granular descriptions of material and cultural systems. The call-and-response collaboration between Watson and Bailey and the many irreducibilities within it, generates an articulation of place that is playfully extrapolative, yet politically and intellectually resistant.
This publication includes an introduction by its editor, Rex Butler, and an essay and detailed timeline by CityCat Project curator, David Pestorius, which covers the activities of Bailey and Watson both before and throughout their work together. In addition, art historian Sally Butler reflects upon Watson’s literary production, while curator Michele Helmrich sheds light on the local historical context that significantly informs the collaboration.
Copublished with Australian Fine Arts/David Pestorius, Brisbane
Graphic concept by Heimo Zobernig
Design by Michael Phillips
- Dave Hullfish Bailey + Sam Watson - CityCat Project 2006–2016
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The Phantom of Liberty
Contemporary Art and the Pedagogical Paradox
Tone Hansen, Lars Bang Larsen (Eds.)
Contributions by Emanuel Almborg, Nils Christie, Carl Hegemann, Ane Hjort Guttu, Dave Hullfish Bailey, Adelita Husni-Bey, Carsten Rene Jørgensen, Lars Bang Larsen, Sharon Lockhart, Magnus Marsdal, Marit Paasche, Allan Sekula
One of the few things we have in common in contemporary society is the future of our children. But it seems that even the “we” of childhood, of learning and free play, has turned into a common ground for instrumentalization and competition. Today, the pedagogical paradox—Kant’s meditation on the paradox that the subject’s predisposition for freedom must be learned—is increasingly lost in governmental obsession about the efficiency of education and schooling. From another perspective, artists are addressing questions of childhood, play, and pedagogy.
What ideological and moral transformations is the school system currently undergoing? What do the psychiatric diagnoses and treatments mean that are increasingly applied to children and youth? What happened to the reform pedagogy of the twentieth century? What is the status of childhood in the era of the consuming child and the playing adult? These are some of the questions addressed by The Phantom of Liberty, which sets out to reestablish a social and aesthetic dialogue between visual art and psychology, philosophy, pedagogy, and critical journalism.
The Phantom of Liberty: Contemporary Art and the Pedagogical Paradox is published following the exhibition “Learning for Life” curated by Tone Hansen and Ane Hjort Guttu, November 11, 2012–February 24, 2013, at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK).
Copublished with Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
Design by Eriksen/Brown
- The Phantom of Liberty - Contemporary Art and the Pedagogical Paradox
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