Cover image of the review

Aesthetics, Politics and Histories: The Social Context of Art

8 Dec 2018
5 Dec - 6 Dec 2018

Over the last three days, RMIT University School of Art played host to the 2018 Art Association of Australia and New Zealand conference which was intriguingly titled Aesthetics, Politics and Histories: The Social Context of Art. Bringing together art historians, theorists, curators, critics and artists from across the region and internationally, the artworld extravaganza was centred on the premise that 'art offers a site for modelling political alternatives, questioning dominant discourses, and producing new historical narratives' through the exploration of the relationship of the arts to social life throughout history. French philosopher Jacques Rancière was referenced in 99% of the sessions I attended.

Keynote 2: Gabi Ngcobo, Addressing History to the Present.

I am somewhat of a 'conference outsider' in the sense that I am not institutionally affiliated: neither with the Academy as student, researcher or lecturer; nor with museum and exhibition institutions as curator; nor even as an artist. My case is somewhat unusual. My boss and ever my supporter, Angela Conquet (Artistic Director of Dancehouse), funded my attendance in her stead via a 'development' clause in the budget, without which I would be unable to attend. Considered an essential part of academic life, but rarely considered as such in the labour force outside of academia, attending conferences is a rather inaccessible privilege—an insider affair.

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