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Editorial RT 57: SCAN 2003

New artists, new work


Every year at this time we survey new work. Since 1999 our focus has been on new media arts both onscreen and performative. For 2003 we’ve taken a bigger, bolder step, selecting over 100 artists from all fields, mostly in their 20s, the majority working in the small to medium arts sector, their work exciting us, our contributing editors and writers. What is striking about these artists is their often direct, sometime provocative engagement with the world, the ease of their deployment of new media and the capacity to generate hybrid practices, and not a few adopt intriguing personae.

Any selection on this scale and across huge distances is necessarily impressionistic, and print space limits the number of new artists, companies, venues and events we can cover. However, beyond the artist/company profiles (a mix of critical appreciations, self-penned biographies and brief reviews) you’ll find more key names in reports on new filmmakers (p15,16), emerging film producers, the Time_Place_Space hybrid performance workshops (p28), and the recently opened Primavera at Sydney’s MCA (p21). Some of the new companies are ventures established by experienced art workers (Windmill, p29), some new works represent a mature artist (like Greg Leong, p29) moving in a new direction. Some regionally-based artists have been included but we’ll survey more in a forthcoming edition.

Although we’re surveying the work of young artists (a remarkably flexible category that has run up to 35 years of age for novelists since the advent of the Vogel Australian Literary Award decades ago) we don’t analyse the impact of youth arts policies as developed by the Australia Council and some state governments. We’ll do that at another time. However, even a casual reading of the artist profiles will tell you that there has been growing support for young artists, not big money but siginificant incentives, like the Australia Council schemes, Write in your face, Start you up, 2 EXCITE-U and Run_way (p24), along with various state government programs, Asialink grants and the many opportunities in film provided by the Australian Film Commission and state-based programs, like the NSW FTO Young Filmmakers Fund. Larger scale opportunities come via the likes of Samstag fellowships (Astra Howard, p14) and the Helen Lempriere Traveling Arts Scholarship (Paul Cordeiro & Clare Healy, p8) which have contributed enormously to the development of young artists. Often young artists gain most support from working with established practitioners in formal or informal mentoring relationships, or by being offered opportunities within companies, for example choreographing for the likes of ADT’s annual Ignition season or as part of the Australian Choreographic Centre program, or through the support of an artists’ collective (Christian Bumbarra Thompson and Boomalli, p40).

Putting SCAN 2003 together has been a challenging and exhilarating task. Thanks to our editors and writers and all the artists who responded to this opportunity to register the breadth and complexity of new Australian art. RT

RealTime issue #57 Oct-Nov 2003 pg. 3

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

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