It was a celebration of the printed book, of the delicious page of a large hard cover from the 700s section of the library, and the sturdy library trolley wheeling in returns. It was quirky, combined art and performance, and above all, it was engaging and much fun – welcome to Mick Douglas’ Library Returns.
The pop up performance at the launch of the 700s Arts Festival on 13 August at the RMIT Swanston Street Library was a taster of things to come – in RMIT Gallery’s brief hiatus while our gallery undergoes soon to be completed building works, we were keen for RMIT staff to know that a new exhibition opening was just around the corner.
That exhibition will be Performing Mobilities, curated by RMIT senior lecturer Mick Douglas, which will open on 25 September at RMIT Gallery. And in the meantime, audiences can view Against The Grain, a pop up exhibition of works from the RMIT Art Collection at the Swanston Street library, launched at the 700s Arts festival with a keynote speech from Professor Paul Gough on “The Art of Browsing (and the Browsing of Art)” as well as performances from Mick Douglas and Baron Von Choice.
Until 25 September, RMIT’s Swanston Library will host exhibitions, talks and a series of workshops to celebrate the university’s arts book, journal and DVD collection as part of the 700s Arts Festival. The Library is seizing the opportunity to present pop up exhibitions celebrating the arts at RMIT made available through preparations for the Swanston Library Transformation, including Against The Grain, a pop up collection from the RMIT Art Collection, curated by RMIT Collections coordinator Jon Buckingham.
For the pop up, a section of space in the RMIT Swanston Street library’s former shelving area has been transformed by RMIT Gallery into an exhibition and reading space, allowing students to enjoy works from the extensive RMIT University Art Collection by artists including John Brack, Noel Counihan, Jazmina Cininas, Juan Ford, Maria Kozic, Trevor Nickolls, Polixeni Papapetrou and Antoni Tápies.
As part of the Festival, books from the 700s section that relate to the artists and works will be available to browse through, illustrating the abiding connection between the Library and Gallery collections. Many of the works on display are by RMIT staff and alumni, and the University’s ongoing commitment to Australia’s cultural history.
This collection is classified within the 700s of the Dewey Decimal System. Swanston Library’s “700s” are recognised for their strength, diversity and as an inspirational browsing collection. They are now the largest collection held on-site at Swanston Library.
Audiences at the launch certainly engaged with Mick Douglas’ Library Returns, which bodes well for the interactive aspect of his upcoming exhibition. Performing Mobilities seeks to creatively and critically explore forms, forces, dynamics, meanings and consequences of performing mobility through a program of new experimental work. This dynamic show will include mobile performances that depart from and return to RMIT Gallery.
P-E-R-F-O-R-M-I-N-G M-O-B-I-L-I-T-I-E-S is the Australian regional cluster contribution to Fluid States(www.fluidstates.org), a networked, year-long program initiated by Performance Studies international (PSi). Over 2015, fourteen regional performance gatherings will be staged in diverse global locations in order to rethink performance ideas and practices in terms of shifting geopolitical and socio-political realities.
exposition of movement projects
25 September – 24 October, RMIT Gallery
8 October – 7 November, Margaret Lawrence VCA Gallery
mobile performance program
3 October to 9 October
departing RMIT Gallery + Margaret Lawrence VCA Gallery
symposium presentations, performances, events and discussions
8 to 11 October
RMIT University + University of Melbourne Victorian College of the Arts
In the meantime, the launch of the 700s Arts Festival gave audiences a chance to see the library in a temporary new light, with pop up exhibitions which can be enjoyed until 25 September:
- Referencing Artists
Works from RMIT alumni, staff and past staff
Curated by Susan Wyers
- Art Against the Grain
Presented by RMIT Gallery
Curated by Jon Buckingham
- Grazing the 700s
Works from students and staff from RMIT School of Art
Curated by Phil Edwards
- Screen art programs
A variety of screen art programs from RMIT staff, students and alumni
Coordinated by Kim Munro
- Sound programs
Sound installations and programs
Supported by Audio Kinetic Experiment (AkE) Lab and Design Futures Lab.