Sometimes when people ask “So, what kind of art do you do?”, I answer “Oh, mainly I make Google Docs”.
This is a joke of course, but it’s not entirely untrue. Alongside making things out of wood, printmaking, growing crops as artworks, and producing videos and songs, Kim and I do seem to create a plethora of Google Docs. Our projects have many moving parts, and we collaborate with heaps of people. Google Docs might not look very “arty”, but they can help guide a discussion, especially when you’re meeting with Important People with Limited Time.
Case in point – the time had come to meet the Biennale of Sydney’s Board of Directors. After hanging out with the staff semi-regularly for several months, we were ready to get some top-down support. So Belle, our main Biennale contact person, did her magic and booked us a spot at the January Board meeting.
In the last blog post I talked about how we have been working with kids to make a song which swims around in the mess of plastic in our everyday lives. While we’re working on all that fun stuff, and preparing for the exhibition at Cockatoo Island, we’re also working behind the scenes with the Biennale of Sydney staff, in activities which look more grown up.
The Biennale, via the Artistic Director Brook Andrew (himself an artist) has commissioned us to work on this project about plastics, in the hope of transforming some of the Biennale’s own processes. So we’re hybrids. We are making “artwork” for the exhibition, and at the same time we’re play-acting at being “organisational consultants” (if you can come up with a better name for this, let us know!).
Plastic-free Biennale has a whole bunch of moving puzzle pieces. Some of them are very “grown-up” looking, like meeting with the Board of Directors of the Biennale of Sydney (to urge them to update their environmental policy) or researching the science and history of plastic.
But other aspects of the project are pure fun, and allow an alternative way for our audience to engage with the complex world of plastics. For example, Kim Williams wrote a brilliant and ridiculously catchy song called “Plastic in the House” which we recorded with some local Wollongong kids.
Following the launch of NIRIN at Little Bay, Sydney Morning Herald journalist Linda Morris wrote this article, which includes a brief discussion of Plastic-free Biennale, as well as works by colleagues Andrew Rewald and Jota Mombaça.