UPDATED | Call for Papers | AAANZ 2013 ‘Inter-discipline’ (Melbourne, Dec 7-9)

The call for papers for the 2013 AAANZ conference is now open – closes 30th August 2013

The 2013 conference will be held in Melbourne, December 7-9. Keynote speakers are Professor Irit Rogoff (Goldsmiths) and Professor David Joselit (Yale University). The conference will be held across venues at the VCA Southbank, University of Melbourne Parkville, Ian Potter Museum of Art, and the NGV.

Sessions are scheduled for two and a half hours. Conveners develop sessions in a manner that is appropriate to the topics and participants of their sessions. A characteris­tic, though certainly not standard, format includes four presentations of twenty minutes each, amplified by 10 minutes of questions, audience participation, or by a discussant’s commentary. Other forms of presentation are encouraged. Between four to eight presentations are permitted per session.

Call for Papers on the AAANZ website here

You can download the Call for Papers and session details as a pdf here.

Visit the conference website here

Instructions for submitting a proposal

Session Participation Proposal Form

Proposals for participation in sessions should be sent directly to the appropriate session convener(s). If a session is co-convened, a copy should be sent to each convener. Every proposal should include the following five items:

1. Completed session participation proposal form or an email with the requested information.

2. Abstract of one to two double-spaced, typed pages.

3. Letter explaining speaker’s interest, expertise in the topic, and AAANZ membership status.

4. CV with home and office mailing addresses, email address, and phone and fax numbers. Include summer address and telephone number, if applicable.

5. Documentation of work when appropriate, especially for sessions in which artists might discuss their own work.


30th August – Deadline for proposals.

13th September – Deadline for convenors to respond to all applicants for their sessions.

20th September – Selected speakers to return their complete speaker agreement form to convenors, this must include an indication of whether or not speakers wish to have their papers peer reviewed.

1st October – Early bird conference rate expires, see Registration page for full details.

For deadline reminders and updates you can join the conference facebook page here.


Repair and the Reparative in Modern and Contemporary Art

Susan Best | University of New South Wales | s.best@unsw.edu.au

Ann Stephen | University of Sydney | ann.stephen@sydney.edu.au

The belief that art, design and architecture could have socially reparative properties is a longstanding modernist idea. It appears in the utopian aspirations of the historical avant-garde in the work of artists as diverse as Kandinsky, Mondrian, and the Russian Constructivists. More recently, claims have been made for relational art that it seeks to repair rents in the social fabric. Similarly, exhibitions, such as Nato Thompson’s ‘Interventionists’ and ‘Living as Form’ assume artists can produce ameliorative real world effects. How can such claims be evaluated? What is the nature of reparation? Two key theorists of reparation might be useful starting points for thinking about repair in modern and contemporary art. In the psychoanalytic theory of Melanie Klein, the idea of the reparative mode features prominently. It describes the capacity to tolerate and bring together the negative and positive features of an object. For Klein, the need for reparation is a key driver of creativity. The second theorist is Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. She has championed a reparative approach to culture in opposition to the more typical paranoid approach, which is characterised by suspicion and avoidance of surprise. Much contemporary critical art follows the paranoid approach. This session aims to consider the interplay between art, architecture and design practice and ideas of repair drawn from psychoanalysis, social and political theory and aesthetics.

The “New Materialism” in and through Sculpture and Spatial Practice

Barbara Bolt | University of Melbourne | bbolt@unimelb.edu.au

In New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies (2012), Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin propose that where artworks are concerned, a ‘new materialist perspective’ engages the entanglement between the form of content (the material condition of the artwork) and the form of expression (the sensations as they come about) (Dolphijn and van der Tuin 2012: 90).  With its intimate engagement with objects, materiality and spatial and social relations, Sculpture and Spatial practice provide the exemplary conditions of possibility for examining the ethical, aesthetic, epistemological and ontological claims of the new materialism through the arts. This panel calls on rhythm’s expressive territories in Bianca Hester’s sculptural fashionings, the bothersome matter and the humorous life of Sarah Crowest’s mounds, the action improvisations of Benjamin Woods and the introverted kinetic sculptures of Laura Woodward in order to take stock of the opportunities and limits offered by a new materialist perspective.

Performing Disciplines: The Art and Performativity Research Group

Chris Braddock | Auckland University of Technology | chris.braddock@aut.ac.nz

The new Art and Performativity Research Group (est 2012) incorporates staff and PhD candidates from the School of Art & Design at AUT University, Auckland. This group of artists/academics perform across disciplines in multi-modal art practices and theoretical contextualization. John L. Austin’s (1911–60) notion of performative speech acts paved the way for an expansive blossoming of visual arts and performance practices that privilege notions of art as process and as operating within temporalities of unwitting participation and so on. This paradigm shift is arguably driving much pedagogical and research thinking in art schools and art history departments around the world. Jon McKenzie describes in Perform or Else ‘the theory explosion’ from the mid 1970s that opens up ways of negotiating the notion of disciplinarity that is itself performative—a shift from disciplinarity to performativity. Hubert Klocker (quoting Vilém Flusser) refers to a “…theory of gestures as the ‘discipline of an emerging post-historical future.’ It is, in both theoretical as well as practical terms, a possible ‘discipline’ of the so-called ‘new human being’” (1998, p. 160). While Flusser employs the term ‘discipline’, his inference is similar to that of McKenzie where ‘post-historical’ describes a threshold moment in the face of an enlarged sense of performativity. Accordingly, the Performing Disciplines Panel calls for papers that address notions of performance and the operations of performativity in relation to those of disciplinarity.

On Curating

Rebecca Coates | University of Melbourne | coatesr@unimelb.edu.au

Over the last twenty years, the role of the curator has undergone unprecedented change.  The contemporary curator now works in an ever-expanding field.  Shifts in this field include the rise of the nomadic or über curator of biennale and international temporary exhibitions; conceptualisations of curation as practice; new approaches to modes of display; research into exhibition histories; the role of artist as curator; and the educational turn.  Expanding audiences, the proliferation of graduate curatorial courses, and the professionalization of the role of the curator have also played important roles in these shifts, both within and beyond the institution.  This panel invites papers from curators, art historians, artists and those with an interest in reflecting on the diversity and development of curatorial roles, the practice of other curators, their predecessors and peers, exhibition and curatorial histories, or on other areas related to the curatorial field. 


Edward Colless | University of Melbourne | ecolless@unimelb.edu.au

Leon Marvell | Deakin University | leon.marvell@deakin.edu.au

An encyclopaedia is an archive, index and productive instrument of knowledge associated with the compilation and definition of disciplinary domains. Encyclopaedic knowledge also provides the measure for interdisciplinary study, demonstrated in those compendia of natural philosophy and cultural history inspired by antique classical example during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Indeed, the prospect of encyclopaedic knowledge is an imperative for enlightened society: current knowledge compiled with clarity, authority, organization; fashioned with academic civility, courtesy and good breeding; and accessible to all who seek it regardless of their occupational discipline. It may sound perverse or aberrant, but it is the very negation of this type of enlightening erudition that we propose as model for the “interdisciplinary” field. Taking a cue from Reza Negarestani’s exhilarating book Cyclonopedia (re.press: Melbourne , 2008)—notorious for its epileptic-like geophilosophy and apocalyptic crypto-archaeology—we welcome the dark datastorm of “cyclonopedism” as a topological turmoil and convulsion of arcana forging a new interdisciplinary practice. The darkness of this storm provokes chaotic hydraheads, obscure demonologies, speculative horrors and macabre, hermetic heresies in the study of art…and drives art toward its darkest aspirations. Cyclonopedism foreshadows the prospect of a black, cyclonic knowledge: unearthly and unearthed, it announces the interdisciplinary field no longer of “cultural studies” but “occultural studies”. Papers inspired by the familiar, dark precursors of the cyclonopedic storm will, of course, be countenanced— Gilles de Rais, Erzsébet Báthory, Sade, Ecce Homo-era Nietzsche, Huysmans, Bataille, Klossowski, Lovecraft, et al—but we seek, too, presentations invoking the esoteric and arcane, embracing the heretical, and gesturing towards aesthetic monsters from beyond the pale. 

UnDesign: Critical practices at the intersection of Art and Design

Gretchen Coombs | Queensland University of Technology | gretchen.coombs@qut.edu.au

Traditionally, design has been placed in a framework that emphasizes its utility over aesthetic or other non-functional considerations. UnDesign seeks to document new developments in design that connect with science, engineering, biotechnology and hactivism, and which operate at the intersection of art and design.  Often confounding and speculative, these practices exist outside mainstream commercial design and share many traits with contemporary art. “Undesigning” practices aim to undo the complex designed world by revealing how human designing implicitly structures our world. UnDesign will examine the ideas, speculations and practices that constitute this burgeoning new field of practice that unravels design’s traditional definitions and assumptions in order to develop a very different concept of design practice in the 21st century.  It will focus on theories that respond to and practices that engage with the following:

  • occur at the intersection of art and design;
  • engage with “our” contemporary real/digital “life world” in a critical manner;
  • operate as provocative interventions within design thinking and the design environment;
  • combine practice and research as well as text, action and object;
  • have redirective design intentions.

The interdisciplinary nature of online creation

Travis Cox | University of Melbourne |  tncox@student.unimelb.edu.au

Tara Cook | University of Melbourne

The World Wide Web as a medium for artistic creation has existed for approximately 20 years. From the original net.artists such as jodi.org and Olia Lialina who worked with basic web-browsers we have moved to a more complicated and some would suggest, inter-disciplinary Web practice. The Internet forms part of first-world culture’s existence and artists may now work exclusively online, or cross the liminal space between the on and offline worlds. Either way, these practitioners bring together technologic and artistic mediums through the very nature of their practices, embedded as it is within a consideration of code and data. But does this bringing together of computer sciences and artistic practice then signify an interdisciplinary practice? This panel aims to question the nature of (supposed) interdisciplinary practices online, highlighting the coming together of what are often considered disparate disciplines, such as computer sciences and visual art, and posing questions such as:

  • What is the nature of an online art practice?
  • Is working online or with technology always interdisciplinary?
  • If working online is inherently interdisciplinary, does it represent a threat to established systems of research and creation?
  • How does the computer modify or affect an art practice?

Recomplicating cross-cultural dialogues: Art, politics & the advancement of Australia’s interests in the 21st century

Laura Fisher | The University of New South Wales | l.fisher@unsw.edu.au

Gay McDonald | The University of New South Wales | gay.macdonald@unsw.edu.au

One of the key objectives of the recently launched Creative Australia policy is ‘ensuring that arts and cultural engagement drives stronger, deeper and broader international engagement, particularly with Asian nations’. This priority is indicative of a broad trend amongst governments around the world who imagine the arts in increasingly instrumentalist terms. This session invites papers that explore the political dimensions of artistic and cultural transfers between nations. It seeks to take discussions about cross-cultural export and dialogue beyond the space of artistic practice and curatorial rationales, to address the role played by art in the theatre of international relations. The session addresses the theme of “inter-discipline” by posing the following question: how can art historical, museological and/or critical discourses account for the intricate ways in which art is mobilised to serve foreign affairs agendas? What kinds of “inter-pretations” of nations and peoples do those actors within governments and in turn art museums hope are fostered when particular exhibitions are funded to tour overseas? How are such cultural transfers interpreted at the host site?  Foreign affairs agendas worthy of consideration might relate to international trade relations, wartime alliances, or efforts to facilitate the growth of civil society in developing countries. Beyond international touring exhibitions, forms of cross-cultural export might include government-sponsored international artist-in-residencies, international partnerships between art museums and other cultural institutions, and major programmes such as ‘Imagine Australia: the year of Australian Culture in China’, which marked 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Things change: material culture, transformation, and memory

Barbara Garrie | University of Canterbury | barbara.garrie@canterbury.ac.nz

Rosie Ibbotson | University of Canterbury | rosie.ibbotson@canterbury.ac.nz

The changes wrought on Christchurch’s urban environment by the recent earthquakes have had a direct impact on the way in which art in the city has been produced, displayed, and encountered by audiences. With limited studio and gallery space and a radically transformed city centre, art projects have occupied all manner of spaces and in many ways have become enmeshed with the experiences of everyday urban living. These interactions reflect the increasing convergence of the disciplines of art history and material culture studies, where the study of art, architecture, landscape, social relations and everyday objects intersect. Such convergences seek to connect art and objects through a diverse range of theoretical approaches in order to open up new modes of interpretation. This session invites contributions that take the conversations between art and material culture as their starting point. In particular, papers are sought which consider (art) objects in altered – and altering – contexts, such as those wrought by time, disaster, politics, shifts between public and private, and by the environment.

Interdisciplinary approaches to the art, architecture and landscape of Early Modern Italy

Katrina Grant | Independent Scholar | kat.grant@gmail.com

Scholars of Early Modern Italy have often crossed disciplinary boundaries, whether looking at the political motivations behind the patronage of art and architecture, the ways in which changing social climates affected the status of artists, or studying sources such as letters, diaries and newspapers to discover how art was received by viewers. In recent years, the emergence of digital humanities has broadened the field again: for example, it is now much easier to access a broad range of archival and primary sources. The aim of this session is to bring together scholars working on Early Modern Italy, who work across the disciplines of art, architecture, landscape history, music, social and political history, science, and religion. This session welcomes papers from researchers working on any aspect of Early Modern Italy (1200-1800). Topics may include:

  • the use of new technologies to carry out art historical research
  • case-studies on specific works of art, buildings, urban centres, or gardens changing approaches to the study of art, architectural and landscape history
  • discussions of patronage by individuals or organisations
  • the technical study of art objects
  • research on artists, architects or designers that is informed by an interdisciplinary approach
  • reception studies

The History and Future of Writing about Art

Helen Hughes | University of Melbourne | helenrhughes@gmail.com

Katrina Grant | Independent Scholar | kat.grant@gmail.com

This session welcomes papers that address the future of writing about art as a discipline. Possible topics include:

  • Art history writing now. Are new paradigms emerging? What is the impact of digital humanities? How might new formats for publishing and sharing art history (such as online publishing, blogs) affect how art history is written?
  • Art criticism. Are new audiences and writers emerging? What are some of the problems pertaining to judgment in contemporary art criticism? What is the role of the artist in the theorisation of theirown work (concomitant with the rise in MFAs and PhDs by practice at art schools around the world)?
  • Writing about contemporary art. Is it possible to write historically about contemporary art? Can we apply the rigours of art historical methodologies to art being produced right now? Is it possible to speak about contemporary art as a specific entity, rather than reverting to the term ‘pluralism’ to describe and interpret the multeity of contemporary art practices around the world today?

Co-sponsored by EMAJ and Discipline Contemporary Art Magazine

Consumption & Interdiction 

Georgina Macneil | University of Sydney | gmac2209@uni.sydney.edu.au Kate Robertson | University of Sydney | kate.robertson@sydney.edu.au

Art and visual culture are replete with representations of consumption, and representations that invite consumption by the viewer. To view a work is to consume it; to create and display a work is to invite the viewer to ingest the work. Yet, sometimes art is not made to be consumed, but to be devoured with literal feasts such as Rubens’ Bacchanal, and corporeal feasts such as Ingres’ Odalisques. Such consummation in a physical sense reeks of lust and gluttony, but the delectation of aesthetically pleasing imagery has always been a loophole into a forbidden realm of earthly delights. But what are the implications of the act of consumption – what of the fates of eater and of the eaten? Can this change the consumer irrevocably, especially when they venture beyond the boundaries of the known so as to immerse themselves in and assimilate the forbidden? And what of the dangerous penumbra between detachment and submersion? The panel emphasises intersections between the unknown, the forbidden and material and metaphorical consumption in art and visual culture. Consumption can be approached in multiple ways including the literal act of eating; the imaginative consumption of images and the theoretical subject addressed by scholars such as Veblen, Baudrillard and film studies and gender studies are encouraged to address visual manifestations of consumption and of what emerges in the interstices between the illicit or taboo, the concealed and the uncanny.

Relational Aesthetics and Socially Engaged Art: A Neo-Liberal Sociology or a Radical Practice?

Anne Marsh | Monash University | anne.marsh@monash.edu.au

This panel considers the recent trend of relational aesthetics and dialogical art. The panel addresses the ways in which neo-liberal and would-be cosmopolitan positions seek to harness art to sociological and therapeutic ends and question how the role of the artist, the gallery/museum and the historian may be compromised by such incorporation. The presenters will be asked to present short “provocations” that open up a space for discussion in the session.

Art, Environment, Interdisciplinarity: New Perspectives in Australian Art Practice

Chris McAuliffe | University of Melbourne | christopher.mcauliffe@unimelb.edu.au

Jolanta Nowak | jnowak@unimelb.edu.au

How has environmental consciousness informed the analysis and production of art in Australia?

This session considers shifts in interpretations of art and changes in the way artists have made and presented work in Australia as a result of concerns about the environment. Of particular interest is the way these shifts have resulted in significant modifications in understandings of the environment, of art itself or of the human. The purpose of this session is to consider the ways in which various perspectives on the environment expose changing understandings of art and of interdisciplinary approaches to art making and art criticism.

Possible topics may include

  • Reconsiderations of colonial artists’ engagement with the landscape
  • Issues arising from contemporary art practice and environmental concerns
  • Environmental issues and museum practices
  • The role of photography in environmental politics
  • The ethics of reconsiderations of the human in light of art which takes the environment as its primary focus

Inheritance of the readymade

Tara McDowell | Monash University | tara.cooke.mcdowell@gmail.com

Monash University Museum of Art’s exhibition Reinventing the Wheel: The Readymade Century (3 October – 14 December 2013) is timed to coincide with the centenary of Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle wheel 1913, and will explore the history and legacy of the readymade, arguably the most influential development in art of the twentieth- century. Reinventing the Wheel will explore the many trajectories of the readymade over the past century, and the subsequent elaboration of neo-dada practices, with a particular focus upon everyday and vernacular contexts; the mysterious and libidinous potential of sculptural objects; institutional critique and nominal modes of artistic value; pop, minimalism and industrial manufacture. In this session the panel will discuss the inheritance of the readymade with a focus on more recent tendencies related to unmonumental and social sculpture, post-fordism and other concerns, particularly among contemporary Australian artists.

Print culture and the decorative arts, 1500-1800: towards an expanded field 

Peter McNeil | University of Technology Sydney | peter.mcneil@uts.edu.au

Matthew Martin | National Gallery of Victoria | matthew.martin@ngv.vic.gov.au

Print and the decorative arts are often treated as separate entities, by virtue of media, function, collecting traditions and context. European decorative arts in the period 1500-1800 were beholden to print, but not passive concerning it. This session calls for a reconsideration of the decorative arts in terms of networks of creation, innovation and exchange, providing new understandings of the meanings of this dynamic inter-relationship. Print in this theme is not confined to printed books, engravings and the like, but an ‘expanded field’ of print, including eighteenth-century printed textiles, printed or painted ceramics, glass painted and etched after prints, and even inlaid furniture. Print was never passive, but was transformed in creative acts of collecting, recombination, being coloured, and translated into new formats such as ‘dressed prints’ with the addition of textiles, sand and other media. The translation across media permitted a very wide circulation of meanings, including possible distortions and creative re-combinations. How was print culture related to the decorative arts generally and in specific cases? How were new ideas and innovations transmitted across linguistic, social and geographic borders? We welcome speakers from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds including art, architectural, economic and design history, textile history, conservation and museology.

Re-examinations of curated exhibitions of Australian art

Joanna Mendelssohn | The University of New South Wales | j.mendelssohn@unsw.edu.au.au
Catherine De Lorenzo | Monash University
Alison Inglis | The University of Melbourne | asi@unimelb.edu.au
Catherine Speck | University of Adelaide | catherine.speck@adelaide.edu.au 

The convenors invite papers that investigate selected curated exhibitions of Australian art and how/whether they have impacted on subsequent histories of Australian art and culture. This session is concerned with not only the content of exhibitions that may have changed Australia’s national narratives but also in how they were presented and received at the time. Issues that might be discussed include: the exhibitionary complex, the changing nature of exhibition catalogues, the nature of the critical response (or lack thereof) in the media, the importance of different funding bodies in shaping which art is presented in what way to a wider audience, the extent to which exhibitions opened up new collaborations between art museums, the academy and publishing, and an examination of factors that have hindered / enabled new research around exhibitions to come before a wider public.

Looking at the Overlooked in Early Modern Europe

Jennifer Milam | University of Sydney | jennifer.milam@sydney.edu.au
Louise Marshall | University of Sydney | louise.marshall@sydney.edu.au
Patricia Simons | University of Michigan | patsimon@umich.edu

This session takes as its theme the variety of perspectives offered by close looking at previously marginal or neglected works of art, objects or/and sites. Traversing a variety of media, locales, time frames and interpretative approaches, the session foregrounds the inter- and cross-disciplinarity characteristic of the field today, and the benefits of close engagement with the object of study engineered by way of an interdisciplinary focus. In some ways, the very marginalization of the past now enables a fresher, less encumbered, more densely interconnected examination of certain objects and practices that challenge notions of artistic quality, iconographic continuity, hierarchical value and ephemeral presence. Whether the earlier scholarly neglect arises from institutional or aesthetic assumptions, the delimitation of disciplinary boundaries has been crucial, relegating certain media and functions to the “minor” or “decorative” arts, for instance, and causing us to overlook objects without easy attribution, categorized as “popular,” consigned to museum storerooms, or disconnected from contextual ideas as remnants of interior or garden spaces. This session instead seeks to demonstrate the significance and insight of scholarship that moves across and between institutional and conventional fields to explore the margins of art history.

Dancing to new tunes
Anny Mokotow | The University of Melbourne | amokotow@unimelb.edu.au

This panel engages with the different kinds of interdisciplinary work in performance practice: theatre, live art, performance art and multi media. Live art and performance art can be identified as hybrid disciplines, but as an arts practice, dance in particular has been instrumental in initiating interdisciplinary works in various forms. Questions are raised in discourses in the field of dance practice that addresses: the nature of autonomy within a performance, and the position of power between disciplines in terms of cultural value and the disappearance of disciplines in the wake of hybrid performance models. The panel convener’s research findings are used as a starting point to provoke discussions, arguing that dance will in the short term, retain its disciplinarity, however, retention will be problematic and less progressive if innovations for the body are developed within the perspective of interdisciplinary practice.

These concerns point to larger questions on whether notions of disciplinarity are still relevant. The panel invites practitioners from the broader performance field to deliberate the potential, possibility or the necessity for retaining autonomy within interdisciplinarity and discussing some of the various outcomes of interdisciplinary production within their fields.

Art and Advertising: A Case of Sibling Rivalry or Symbiotic Exchange

Eve-Anne O-Regan | University of Western Australia | eve-anne.oregan@uwa.edu.au

Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery | University of Western Australia

Interdisciplinary mutualisms between art and advertising have historically been glanced over, receiving less scholarly attention than the brand names and personalities resultant of the exchange of these seemingly exclusive and incompatible disciplines. Furthermore, the transversality of art and advertising is not random, nor one-directional, but rather intimately interlinked through shared forms of symbiotic exchange from the earliest times, well before the critiques of modernity and postmodernism, and cultural theorists, stamped their unique mark on the history of art and visual culture.

This panel invites papers that explore the manner in which the complex interface of art and advertising has manifested in art practice in the capitalist era. By approaching advertising in the broadest terms of reference, including its role a communicative medium, as a discourse for commercial agency, and its multifarious forms as the inspirational source for new art, this session aims to articulate the formulative intersections of the art advertising interrelationship affecting artistic process. Papers could explore any dimension of exchange in any period of art history, including but not limited to: cultural construction and patterns of representation, aesthetic and social theory, occupational practice, professional competition and critical recognition, increasing currents of commercialisation and globalisation of the art world, the motivation of collectors and museums. This session welcomes papers from a broad range of pedagogical, artistic, theoretical, curatorial, and marketing perspectives. It encourages proposals from practitioners in diverse fields, including art and advertising, as well as design, and sociology and communications.

Rates of Exchange

Stephen Palmer|Monash University | stephen.palmer@monash.edu

Tasmin Green| Monash University|tasmingreen@gmail.com

David Wlazlo|Monash University| dwlazlo@gmail.com

Does ‘interdisciplinarity’ essentialise or assign a specific function to the domain of art practice? In this session we are interested in facilitating a response to the overarching theme of this year’s AAANZ conference. This session will invite critical discussion of the logic of the ‘inter-‘, and the
presuppositions at stake in the discourse of interdisciplinarity. The desire for interdisciplinary exchange posits that methodologies and concerns can be transported between various knowledge practices. Counter to that position we are proposing that the field of artistic production necessarily inhabits various methodological frameworks. The ‘moment’ of interdisciplinary perhaps activates a strategic position that cannot be reduced to a general methodology, and may even disrupt the boundaries between discrete disciplines. The general validation of interdisciplinarity, however, could be seen to propose a particular role for creative practice within this schema. We are interested in exploring and critiquing the sense in which interdisciplinarity as a framework potentially reinstates art as an autonomous field, with a particular teleological or instrumental function. This gesture perhaps even infantilises art as a carrier or distributer of knowledge between specialised fields and a general audience. In this session we welcome critical discussions of the position of the arts within interdisciplinary projects, as well as the relationship of these projects to institutional bodies, and commercial or government funding opportunities. Additionally we are interested in papers that explore methodological models either within or between disciplines, and how these models support or contest a generalised perspective of interdisciplinarity.

3d-2d fashion/gender/performance image to art

Juliette Peers | RMIT | juliette.peers@rmit.edu.au

The current major exhibition, Impressionism Fashion and Modernity curated by Gloria Groom out of the Art Institute of Chicago (touring 2012-2013) has proposed a much closer interchange between fashion and art history and a more detailed reading of fashion images within paintings from1860s-1880s. They suggest that the current cultural acknowledgement of fashion and visible expressions of gender has a longer backstory. Whilst there has been a classical empirical dress history literature examining fashion in paintings, visible in the writings of Aileen Ribeiro and Marie Simon and others since the 1990s, pre-1945 fashion has often been seen as standing apart from the conceptual art/fashion overlap. That is, until the AIC exhibition proposed that in the period 1860-1914 fashion attained a conceptual centrality in constructs of the avant-garde and in terms of driving signs of the modern in the visual arts that it has never attained since.

Art, science and German travellers: inter-disciplinary and transnational exchanges in nineteenth-century Australia and New Zealand

Dr Kathleen Davidson  | University of Sydney | k.davidson@ozemail.com.au

Dr Ruth Pullin |Fellow, State Library of Victoria 2013 |    ruth.pullin@gmail.com

German-speaking émigrés and visitors were a significant presence in Australian and New Zealand arts and sciences throughout the nineteenth century. From the embrace of Romanticism to their favorable reception of Darwin’s theory of evolution, German travellers arrived in the Antipodes with a sophisticated understanding of the arts and sciences and their interconnections. The mid-century journeys of many German-speaking scientists and artists were inspired by the great naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. He argued that art and science were complementary disciplines which together could bring new insights to the objects of study. The prominence of scientific and technical education in German universities produced talented, highly skilled and multi-disciplinary professionals drawn to the ‘new terrain’ of Australia and New Zealand by the possibilities presented for pioneering work in various disciplines. Artists and scientists worked alongside each other and the Germanic-European expatriate network also provided opportunities for those who were ambitious, but less qualified, to gain expertise and to participate on scientific and exploratory expeditions and to work in the new colonial museums and art galleries.

This session will consider some of the inter-disciplinary and transnational exchanges that distinguished Australian and New Zealand nineteenth-century art, culture and intellectual life. As the focus for this exploration, we invite papers that comprise new research on the practices and influence of German and other central-European individuals and groups working in the intersections of disciplines. Papers addressing the art-science nexus in this context are especially welcome.

Assessing Integrative Learning in Creative Interdisciplinary Teaching Environments

Sarah Rainbird | OLT Project Manager, Monash University| sarah_rainbird@yahoo.com

Melissa Miles | Monash University | melissa.miles@monash.edu

An increasing focus on interdisciplinary conversations in the creative arts, where the boundaries between literature, philosophy, history, science, politics, technology, environmental studies and creative practice merge, demands new methodologies and practices for models of assessment for and as learning in the higher education sector. This panel focuses on collaborative event-based assessment practices in interdisciplinary and creative teaching environments. In 2012 the conveners of this panel were awarded funding by the Federal Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching to evaluate these assessment practices in the undergraduate elective unit Art and Social Change. Interdisciplinary by nature, Art and Social Change addresses the political potential of contemporary art and design, its role in establishing different paradigms for public discourse and its possibility to function as a pivot of critical social thinking. Students formed small groups to produce and present a project (artworks, a documentary, a video of an artist interview, an interactive PDF, blogs and zines) at a student-led symposium at the completion the unit. Using the key findings of this research, the panel will bring together experts to discuss, explore and critique the ways in which alternative assessment techniques can enhance and improve students’ learning achievements, knowledge development, professional competencies, and the quality of their educational experiences, and establish new connections

Topologies of Practice

Charles Robb | Queensland University of Technology | c.robb@rut.edu.au

Since the 1960s a significant shift in attitude can be observed in relation the role of medium in the art studio. For many artists, the examination of medium has yielded to a more fluid methodology of practice characterised by self-reflexive and highly process-oriented approaches. Discussions of this situation have included descriptions such as Post-medium, or the earlier term, Post-studio. As can be observed in the work of a range of practitioners from Bruce Nauman to Rachel Harrison, contemporary practice often achieves continuity through a complex network of referents, materials and processes that comprise their own extra-medial ‘logic’.  Under these generative conditions, practice can be considered as a topology – the study of the properties of a spatial field that remain continuous even when subject to distortion. A topological model of practice emphasises the inherent structural dimensions that occur in practice despite often fluid, provisional and contingent qualities. This session invites papers from both practitioners and historian/theorists that examine the contexts and practice of topological models and the issues raised by this tendency in contemporary art. These may include studies of practice-led methodologies and generative approaches to art.

The Collaborative Performance Paradigm: where is the Artist?

Sarah Rodigari | Sydney-based Artist | rodigari@gmail.com

This panel addresses the rise of performance in contemporary art and the collaborative nature of this work. Since the advent of the solo performance artist in the 1970s the notion of performance has continued to evolve beyond the use of the artists own body as the sole medium. A recent example is the exhibition 13 Rooms in which twelve of the thirteen artists outsourced the labour of their performances. When an artist is no longer the central agent of their own work, but operates through a range of individuals, communities and surrogatese, questions of authorship, ethics, labour and representation come to the fore. This panel invites speakers to address the complexities of collaborative performance in the expanded field of contemporary art practice form different perspectives, including art history, performance studies, museum curatorship and activism.

Inter-disciplinarity in Art Museums

Purnima Ruanglertbutr | The University of Melbourne | purnima.r@unimelb.edu.au

Heather Gaunt | The Ian Potter Museum of Art | heather.gaunt@unimelb.edu.au

This session considers inter-disciplinary thinking in the art museum context. It critically examines ways in which museums offer a stimulating environment in which both discipline-specific and creative interdisciplinary thinking are taught, explored or utilised to reach specific goals. Case-studies are examined and invited that investigate the many creative approaches that museums execute to reinforce expertise in specific disciplinary ways of thinking, and how museums ‘break through’ encultured and taught ‘ways of thinking and of seeing’ to develop new knowledge and skills. This session invites case studies from art museum professionals across diverse departments, including strategic development, education and public programs, curatorial, conservation, exhibition design and others. Key examples from the museum field are drawn upon as starting points to consider these intersections, such as Education Programs and Academic and Public Programs at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, which take advantage of the diversity of tertiary disciplines that are engaged in teaching and learning activities on site.

Portraiture and Identity

Mark Shepheard | University of Melbourne | shepm@unimelb.edu.au

The study of portraiture has always crossed inter-disciplinary boundaries, involving scholars from diverse fields such as art history, political history, social history, musicology, and psychology, to name just a few. One of the common areas of interest is the way in which portraiture has been used to define and represent identity, either personal or collective. This session welcomes papers that explore the way we study the concept of identity through portraiture and particularly papers that address the interdisciplinary nature of such studies. The following is a list of suggested themes:

  • Portraiture and professional identity.
  • Portraiture and cultural identity.
  • Portraits as images of power and status.
  • Personal identity and the concept of the psychological portrait.
  • The collection and display of portraits.
  • Portraiture and collective identity.
  • Case studies on specific portraits.
  • New methodologies in the study of portraiture.

Oceania and the cultures of surrealism

Raymond Spiteri | Victoria University of Wellington | raymond.spiteri@vuw.ac.nz

Oceania figured large in the imaginary of surrealism, enlisted to contest the disciplinary boundaries of Occidental culture. Although there has been a limited amount of scholarship on this topic, it is principally focused on either the influence of surrealism on artists working in the Oceanic region, or considers the surrealist interest in Oceania as part of a wider phenomenon of Primitivism in Western art. This session focuses on the role of the Oceania in the world-view of the surrealists, seeking to unearth the vectors of contact between the European avant-gardes, surrealism and the arts and cultures of the Oceanic region. Possible topics for discussion include encounter with Oceania, collecting and exhibiting Oceanic art, and legacies of contact between surrealism and Oceanic cultures.

CANCELLED | Art’s Histories as Interdisciplinary Practice

Peter Stupples | Otago Polytechnic | pams@actrix.co.nz

This panel will discuss possible paradigms for a ‘New Interdisciplinary New Art History’. It will reflect critically upon the practice of currently used paradigms and make suggestions about a reconstructed study of the discipline. Current practice is based upon the history of the discipline in European scholarship of the late nineteenth century. It is Euro-American based and ignores the history of art in other world cultures as well as excluding integrated study of the visual outside of the Fine Arts tradition, undervaluing, for example the crafts and decorative arts, as well as architecture. Whereas the art of cultures other than those in the Euro-American tradition are studied in their separate fields they are not integrated into a single disciplinary paradigm for study and critical research. Any new paradigm would also have to consider the interdisciplinary nature of art’s histories – that it involves art history, history, art practice – including the languages of the crafts (including painting as a ‘craft’) that make up the art world, philosophy, art theory, aesthetics, including comparative aesthetics, critical studies, anthropology/sociology, cultural studies and so on. Without this interdisciplinary context art histories are in danger of being the special field of narrow interests all with their own agendas and prejudices.

Drawing Jam: Visual Interface with Sound

Jon Tarry | University of Western Australia | jon.tarry@uwa.edu.au

Eve-Anne O-Regan | University of Western Australia | eve-anne.oregan@uwa.edu.au 

While the history of sound integrated with the visual image stretches back to antiquity, more recently there have been numerous hybrid expressions. Some artists are reliant on the use of computers, complicated programs and carefully orchestrated, remote presentations, while others bear a more human process. Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky were early moderns to explore the integration of sound and image. John Cage recorded the sound of a pen. And in recent times Brian Eno’s 14 video paintings and soundscapes brought together sound and image structure. Then, early models of Performance were modified and re-­‐branded by conceptual artists like Gilbert & George, in what Charles Green called their “artistic self-­‐ representations”. Stemming from Jon Tarry’s recent performances Continuous Loop and Swarm, commissioned by the Perth International Arts Festival, and performed at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, this session seeks to examine contemporary art that brings together sound and live visual performance. Tarry’s painting and drawing was not automatically generated animations, rather human response to live musicians’ sound patterns—raw and immediate improvisation. The experience was shared by the artist, the musicians, and by extension, the audience in their part as participatory spectator. As Diderot argued on the role of a painting’s spectator being active engagement, rather than passive consumption, Tarry’s transdisciplinarity saw the sound and visual interface with the spectator-­‐performer, extending the drawing jam into a continuous loop. This panel invites presentations and performances for a group of 10-­‐15 participants engaged in exploration of the interdisciplinary intersection of visual, sound, and performance art. Swarm can be viewed at www.jontarry.com

Disciplines: the trans, ill and un

Paul Thomas | University of New South Wales | p.thomas@unsw.edu.au

This panel session will explore trans/ill/un disciplined concepts and behaviours as means of studying modes of practice and objects that are at the margins of existing disciplines and that are themselves already complex and multi-faceted. The objects, behaviours, concepts and modalities we are interested in deliberately avoid a disciplinary base and actually don’t quite speak the language of formal disciplines – they suggest transient rules and constant transition from one frame to another. The panel seeks histories that explore the potential of transdisciplinary approaches and undisciplined theoretical practice that might form a nomadic discourse in relation to the broader contemporary art research culture. The trans/ill/un disciplined speak of a meta-language and meta system, that also has the possibility to operate in minor voices and locations. The panel will explore particularly the possibility and implications of trans being “beyond” states leading towards the illdiscipline or undiscipline as a new subversive modality.

Open Session

Toby Juliff | University of Melbourne | toby.juliff@unimelb.edu.au 

This panel will accepts papers that address the theme of the conference, Inter-discipline, and that may not fit within the above sessions.

Papers contributed to this session may address:

      • The history of Art History as an interdisciplinary practice
      • The practice of Art – what does it mean to work between, under, through, without ‘discipline’
      • The future of discipline
      • Research and discipline
      • “inter-“; subjectivity, -pretation, -lace, -face, -sect, -grate
      • Threats and promises.

The sessions invites proposals from practitioners in Art, Design and Architectural History, Art Practice, independent scholars, interdisciplinary artists and scholars, curators, museum scholars and educators to engage with and challenge the term ‘inter-discipline’.