Lecture Series | Uncommon Knowledge at ACCA

Eugenia Lim, The Australian Ugliness 2018. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Tom Ross

Uncommon Knowledge | ACCA’s  annual lecture series this year focuses on artists and the special interests that inspire and inform their art practice.

Leading Australian artists such as Bill Henson, Fiona Hall and Ronnie van Hout will discuss the subjects and pastimes that occupy them – from eavesdropping, UFOs, to the body and Brexit, the stolen Picasso and art activism, architecture, social media and The Australian Ugliness. Presented on Monday evenings at 6pm from April through November, the series offers a trans-generational insight into the inner lives and thinking of artists.

Tickets are $35 per lecture or $200 for a Season Pass to all eight lectures (includes drink).

The program includes:

30 April, Bill Henson: The wilderness within: The body as the last frontier  

Internationally renowned photographer Bill Henson will explore his lifelong fascination with the human figure.  Henson, who represented Australia in 1995 at the Venice Biennale, and has works in every major public collection in Australia and has exhibited widely internationally. The tension between representation, voyeurism, the gaze and the body will be further explored.

21 May, Ronnie van Hout on UFOs and amateurism

Master of slapstick and existentialism, Ronnie van Hout’s large scale sculptures, installations and photographs tread the line between humour and the macabre. Van Hout has a lifelong interest in UFOs. For his lecture he will explore the truth behind flying saucers, alien abductions, and the future of planet earth in relation to art and feeling special.

18 June, Fiona Hall : All along the watchtowers  

One of Australia’s best known contemporary artists, Fiona Hall represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 2015 with the exhibition Wrong Way Time.  At the heart of this revered work was the tension between global politics, world finances and the environment. Hall’s lecture will draw on the artist’s research for a new work exploring the climate of disunity and conflicts within the European Union, Brexit and conflicting ideas for society.

16 July – Peter Waples-Crowe on queer sexuality and community health

Peter Waples-Crowe is a Ngarigo man, and a visual and performing artist nominated on multiple occasions for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Art Wards, the Victorian Indigenous Art award, and the recipient of the Koori Heritage Trust Acquisition Award. His intersecting experiences as an Aboriginal queer man and his work with community health and arts organisations such as The Torch and VACCHO has given him a unique perspective as an artist and community worker.  Here, he will discuss how Aboriginal community health work has influenced his art practice and sense of identity.

13 August – Joel Stern on Eavesdropping

Co-Artistic Director of Liquid Architecture, Joel Stern is a curator, musician and artist who has also facilitated festivals, publications, exhibitions, screenings and concerts in Australia and internationally.  Stern will be thinking through the contemporary resonances of ‘eavesdropping’, under conditions, post-Snowden, of the modern surveillance state, the incredible proliferation of listening devices (smart phones etc.), and the increasingly prevalent algorithmic forms of regulation and governance.

10 September – Gabrielle de Vietri on the stolen Picasso and activism in art

Gabrielle de Vietri has a concept-driven, socially-engaged collaborative art practice focused on community events and public performances. She has created significant commissions for CLIMARTE, Public Art Melbourne and ACCA, and her work is held in various collections.

De Vietri’s lecture will focus on disobedience can be a creative act, and the many embodied and collective forms that this can take – from 1986 when a group calling itself the Australian Cultural Terrorists stole Picasso’s famous Weeping Woman from the National Gallery of Victoria, demanding better state funding for the arts to today’s responses of the Artist Committee.

15 October – Eugenia Lim on the Australian Ugliness

An Australian artist of Chinese-Singaporean descent, Eugenia Lim works across video, performance and installation, transforming herself into invented fictional personas who traverse time and cultures to explore the way national identities and stereotypes cut, divide and bond our globalised world. In this lecture, Lim will discuss her ongoing interest in the role of architecture in marking a society and shaping national identity.

19 November – Larissa Hjorth on the lives, deaths and afterlives in and of social media

An artist, professor, digital ethnographer and currently the Design & Creative Practice ECP Platform director at RMIT University, Larissa Hjorth has two decades experience working in cross-cultural, interdisciplinary and collaborative creative practice. Since 2000, Hjorth has been researching the socio-cultural dimensions of mobile media and gaming cultures in the Asia-Pacific and in this talk she will draw from her recent book Haunting Hands (with Katie Cumiskey), which looks at practices of loss and trauma in, and around, mobile media.


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