The (Neo) Avant-Garde and (Their) Kitchen(s): Potluck and Participation

By Fiona Lee and Maria Kunda.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

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“Our Day Will Come” (ODWC) was a month-long alternative art school, or ‘free school’, staged in Tasmania during the spring of 2011 by curatorial-artist Paul O’Neill, in the context of a wider programme of art events entitled “Iteration:Again”. Sited in the forecourt of the Tasmanian School of Art at the University of Tasmania, ODWC was a pedagogical experiment that offered a range of alternative educational experiences to self-selected participants or collaborators. It drew on, and engendered, acts of hospitality. Contributing to the project were nine invited artists from the UK, the US and Ireland, one of whom was Mick Wilson. Mick Wilson’s involvement in the project is the main focus of this paper. Wilson’s primary contributions to the project were his hosting of a series of four potluck meals and facilitating numerous conversations, including those conducted around a purpose-built conversation table designed by US artist Gareth Long. To frame and critique the convivial and dialogical aspects of ODWC, this paper briefly contextualises ODWC against vintage avant-garde experiments with food in art, and draws on Hans-Georg Gadamer’s writings on the hermeneutic requirements of considering the ‘other’ in conversation.

Keywords: Free School, Dialogical Art, Collaboration, Participatory Art, Food and Art, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Art and Hospitality

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.33-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 757.263KB).

Fiona Lee

Research Candidate, School of Art, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Fiona Lee’s research-lead practice is situated around discursive and pedagogical forms of art production, with a specific interest in conversation as a methodology for learning. With works in state, private and corporate collections, Lee has been actively engaged in curatorial and administrative projects and programs, including working for the Australia Council at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, initiated Contemporary Art Spaces Tasmania’s, International Art Program, through which she curated Our Day Will Come, an alternative art school project by Paul O'Neill. Lee has received an Australia Council grant for a residency in Britain and Scotland during 2010 and is developing a publication in collaboration with Scottish poet Liz Niven, due for release in Scotland 2012. She has a Master of Fine Art from the University of Tasmania and is currently undertaking PhD research for which she was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award.

Dr. Maria Kunda

Associate Lecturer, Art and Design Theory, School of Art, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Dr. Maria Kunda lecturers in art and design history and theory at the Tasmanian School of Art at the University of Tasmania. Her work spans curatorial and writing practices. She has participated on several gallery programming committees, was Chair of Contemporary Art Services Tasmania, and has contributed to numerous publications and curated exhibitions. Her doctoral thesis (2010) examined Surrealism and its politics of anti-colonialism.