Quirky preview: RMIT Gallery pop up performance for launch of RMIT 700s Arts Festival

Mick Douglas performing Library returns at the launch of the 700s Arts festival, Swanston Street library, RMIT.
Mick Douglas performing Library Returns at the launch of the 700s Arts Festival, Swanston Street library, RMIT. 

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.

IMG_0310

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.

Against The Grain, RMIT Gallery pop up exhibition. Photo: Margund Sallowsky, 2015.
Against The Grain, RMIT Gallery pop up exhibition. Photo: Margund Sallowsky, 2015.

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.

Against The Grain, Art from the RMIT Collection., with books from RMIT library. Photo. Margund Sallowsky, 2015.
Against The Grain, Art from the RMIT Collection, with books from RMIT library. Photo. Margund Sallowsky, 2015.

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.

Audience participation required: the launch of the 700s Arts festival saw crowds gather at Mick Douglas' pop up performance
Audience participation required: the launch of the 700s Arts festival saw crowds gather at Mick Douglas’ pop up performance “Library Returns”.

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.  

These include:

TRACES
exposition of movement projects
25 September – 24 October, RMIT Gallery
8 October – 7 November, Margaret Lawrence VCA Gallery

PASSAGES
mobile performance program
3 October to 9 October
departing RMIT Gallery + Margaret Lawrence VCA Gallery

ASSEMBLY
symposium presentations, performances, events and discussions
8 to 11 October
RMIT University + University of Melbourne Victorian College of the Arts

Launch night: Susan Wyers, who curated Referencing Artists (Works from RMIT alumni, staff and past staff) and Jon Buckingham, who curated Against The Grain (works from the RMIT Collection) Curated by Susan Wyers.
Launch night: Susan Wyers, who curated Referencing Artists (Works from RMIT alumni, staff and past staff) and Jon Buckingham, who curated Against The Grain (works from the RMIT Collection)
Curated by Susan Wyers.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s