RMIT Gallery is open on Grand Final day – come on in!

Power to the People! Collect free color posters of Julio Falagán’s artwork. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography

Power to the People! Collect free color posters of Julio Falagán’s artwork. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography

Yes, it’s a long weekend coming up. Melbourne is a sporting city, and this Friday October 2 has been declared a public holiday, in honour of the AFL grand final. But wait – according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, going to cultural venues and attending sporting events as a spectator are all popular pastimes for many Australians.

So why not do both on the newly minted Grand Final eve public holiday.  RMIT Gallery will be open as usual from 11 am to 5 pm. And also from 12 noon to 5 pm on Saturday 3 October.

The AFL Grand Final Parade will take place from 12pm AEST. Marching bands and roving entertainment will join in from the Old Treasury Building to Yarra Park at the MCG.

The participation and attendance surveys conducted by the ABS indicate that people who participated in sport and physical recreation went to both cultural and sporting events, more so than non-participants. So, if you are in the city for the Grand Final eve festivities, come along to RMIT Gallery as well.

You can collect your free artwork at Spanish artist Julio Falagán’s exhibition Power to the People! The artist invites audiences to become art collectors by taking home posters of the five original works made through the manipulation of popular prints bought in flea markets.

Meanwhile, in Performing Mobilities, the majority of the new and experimental works invite you to engage in your own forms of performing mobility. A number of projects even invite you to leave the Gallery with a particular aspect of an artwork as part of participating in mobile performances.

Take a line for a walk! And then take a selfie. This work by David Thomas and laurene Vaughan makes visible the trajectories and duration of transition within and across place.

Take a line for a walk! And then take a selfie. This work by David Thomas and Laurene Vaughan makes visible the trajectories and duration of transition within and across place.

According to exhibition curator Mick Douglas, “Performing Mobilities invites us to challenge ourselves about the way in which we think about and experience mobility.”

“A number of the different artworks invite you to playfully engage with them, even to take the artworks out of the Gallery and interact with them in the city.”

Victorian Seniors Festival: RMIT Gallery morning tea and art tours

Get your free artwork at Power to the People! - RMIT Gallery is giving away large color posters of Spanish artist Julio Falagán's work (pictured, left). Photo: Vicki Jones Photography

Get your free artwork at Power to the People! RMIT Gallery is giving away large color posters of Spanish artist (pictured, left) Julio Falagán’s work. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography

During the first week of the 33rd Victorian Seniors Festival, RMIT Gallery is hosting a special morning tea for seniors on Thursday 8 October from 11 am-12 noon.

Free public transport is available to Victorian Seniors Card holders during this week, with free travel on trams, trains and buses including free travel on V/Line economy class rail and coach.

So, take advantage of this opportunity and come into the Melbourne CBD and enjoy a special cultural activity at RMIT Gallery, with morning tea, as you explore the exhibitions Power to the People! and Performing Mobilities.

Our experienced guide will provide an insight into the new Performing Mobilities exhibition which presents new, experimental work that explores the mobility of people, migration, and worlds in motion.

Kick your shoes off and walk on a large expanse of pink salt from the Murray Darling region – or even lie down and make ‘salt angels’ if you feel so inclined (the artist Mick Douglas says both use and interpretation of the work is up to you – the audience!) Other intriguing works include taking a colored stick for a short stroll around the gallery – or event up Swanston Street; throwing a Frisbee around; or (for the energetic) jumping on arrows placed on the gallery floor. It’s all part of the physical engagement with an exhibition that even reveals a pigeon’s view of the journey home.

Walk in Mick Douglas’ work ‘Sal De Sal’ at Performing Mobilities. The installation presents a body of salt recently collected from the Murray-Darling Basin, an area of increasing salinity. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography.

Walk in Mick Douglas’ work ‘Sal De Sal’ at Performing Mobilities. The installation presents a body of salt recently collected from the Murray-Darling Basin, an area of increasing salinity. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography.

Don’t go home without taking your enormous, gorgeous high quality free color poster of artwork by Spanish artist Julio Falagán, who delighted audiences with his witty take on breaking into the competitive art market during his recent visit to Melbourne.

Julio’s exhibition ‘Power to the People!’ also invites audiences to become art collectors by taking his original work off the wall and for a small coin donation, photocopying your favourite. All money donated goes directly to the RMIT Scholarship Philanthropy Fund for disadvantaged undergraduate students.

We look forward to seeing you at the RMIT Gallery Seniors Morning Tea and Tour. Please note, if you are accompanying a Senior who requires assistance, we also welcome you to join in all the activities, give-aways and morning tea.

What: RMIT Gallery Seniors Morning Tea and Tour.

When: Thursday 8 October from 11 am-12 noon.

Cost: Free for Seniors and their carers.

Where: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street Melbourne (diagonally opposite Melbourne Central station, or take the tram along Swanston Street to Melbourne Central stop).

Bookings: appreciated, for catering: (03) 9925 1717.

Highlights of previous Seniors Festival activities at RMIT Gallery

2014: Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo – curator talk with Dr Jacky Healy

2014: Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo – curator talk with Dr Jacky Healy

2011: Space Invaders – print workshop with street artist Twone

2011: Space Invaders – print workshop with street artist Twone

2010: Somewhat Different: German design exhibition

2010: Somewhat Different: German design exhibition

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Exploring movement: Performing Mobilities opens at RMIT Gallery

Sam Trubridge performs Night Walk outside RMIT Gallery for the opening night of Performing Mobilities. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography, 2015.

Sam Trubridge performs Night Walk outside RMIT Gallery for the opening night of Performing Mobilities. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography, 2015.

At the opening night of Performing Mobilities at RMIT Gallery on 24 September, audiences explored a series of projects that captured the traces of journey based projects over the last year. These form part of the exhibition, together with a series of mobile performances taking place in the Gallery and around the Gallery environment. So it was fitting that Sam Trubridge’s Night Walk launched the event.

The ominous black plastic bubble moved up and down Swanston Street before oozing up the RMIT Gallery steps.

Trubridge, a New Zealand artist, said that the bubble – a two and a half metre diameter sphere made from black plastic bags – is very fragile. However, visibility inside the inflated shape is actually rather good – about the same as if he was wearing sunglasses. Good to know when navigating traffic in the city streets!

“I walk it through various passages in the city. And the idea is the fragility of this object kind of allows it to be marked by its passage and by the features of the landscape that passes through, creating a trace or a map of that journey. And it slowly disintegrates as it goes until it becomes more slick and oil like or liquid movement sort of type spherical piece of architecture to something disintegrated or more threatening or more ghostly,” Trubridge said.

Sam Trubridge performs Night Walk at the opening of Performing Mobilities at RMIT Gallery. Photo Vicki Jones Photography, 2015.

Sam Trubridge performs Night Walk at the opening of Performing Mobilities at RMIT Gallery. Photo Vicki Jones Photography, 2015.

Exhibition curator Dr Mick Douglas, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Architecture & Design at RMIT, said Performing Mobilities (25 September – 24 October) explores the tensions between increasing mobilities in a global sense and ways of performative creative arts practice, trying to directly engage with these problematics of mobility and immobility, of the uneven distribution of mobility.

“The exhibition presents new, experimental work that explores the mobility of people, migration, the mobility of matter, and the mobility of non human species,” he said.

“The curation of the program brings these different projects into a relationship with each other so that the different art of these mobilities brush up against each other to reveal something new to us about worlds in motion.”

Getting to grips with Kaya Barry's Pan which activates an accumulating collection of moving panoramic images. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography, 2015.

Getting to grips with Kaya Barry’s Pan which activates an accumulating collection of moving panoramic images. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography, 2015.

Performing Mobilities invites us to challenge ourselves about the way in which we think about and experience mobility. The exhibition was opened by Professor Maaike Bleeker, President of Performance Studies international (Psi), and Chair of Theatre Studies, Utrecht University.

The series of projects in different ways challenge us to re-engage in a way in which mobility affects us in our everyday lives, challenges us to think about our relationships to territory, to land, to the relationship with borders and how borders are monitored.

Playing around with David Thomas & Laurene Vaughan's participatory performance work

Playing around with David Thomas & Laurene Vaughan’s participatory performance work “Taking a Line for a Walk’. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography, 2015.

A number of projects invite you to leave the Gallery with a particular aspect of an artwork, some of the mobile performances invite you to walk with the artist encountering the city through the lens of the artist. Douglas explains “It starts to have us rethink and reimagine these relationships between our embodied experience and mobility and its significance in the world today.”

Douglas said some projects such as ‘A few Steps Not Here Not There’ by Mammad Aidani, Omid Movafgh, Mike Fard, Moshen Panahi and Hada Kazemitame is an installation exploring asylum seekers’ experiences of displacement. Dr Mammad Aidani has a PhD in hermeneutics and phenomenological psychology, and an MA in sociolinguistics and identity. His current research project focuses on perceptions, interpretations and ways of trauma and suffering amongst Iranian diaspora men.

“The project undertaken by Iranian asylum seekers, over two generations opens up to us ways of thinking about experience of asylum seeking,” Douglas said.

“What it is trying to do is help refugees come to terms to living in a new city, to explore the tensions between one place of origin and a place of current inhabitation.”

“A few Steps Not Here Not There’ creates an intimate setting for experiencing the looping film and encountering the original text of this installation exploring asylum seekers’ experience of displacement. Photo: Vicki Jones Photography, 2015.

The works in the program are all experimental and new works from the Australasian region. They particularly try and explore the local relevance but also the global relevance in mobilities.

Douglas said that Graham Miller’s work is the only internationally invited work and it plays a really pivotal role in helping us negotiate this tension between locality and globality.

“His project Beheld has been documenting where stowaways have fallen to ground from planes. It’s a really haunting project that reveals to us an Australian incident of this tragic circumstance of desperate forms of migration,” Douglas said.

Graeme Miller (left) and Mammad Aidani contemplate the latest Australian based addition of Miller's installation Beheld, which documents sites where stowaways have tragically fallen from planes. This was taken at Sydney airport, which was the site of such an accident in 1970. Photo; Vicki Jones Photography, 2015.

Graeme Miller (left) and Mammad Aidani contemplate the latest Australian based addition of Miller’s installation Beheld, which documents sites where stowaways have tragically fallen from planes. This was taken at Sydney airport, which was the site of such an accident in 1970. Photo; Vicki Jones Photography, 2015.

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Invitation to RMIT Gallery’s new exhibition openings on 24 September

JulioFalagán_evite_webresPower to the People! (exhibition 25 September – 24 October)

You are invited to become part of the process of this new Spanish exhibition featuring artist Julio Falagán, photocopying and stamping the artist’s work in the gallery and taking home posters to start your own art collection with a coin donation. All funds go to the RMIT Scholarship Philanthropy Fund to support disadvantaged undergraduate students.  Be the first to print your very own artwork and chat to the artist over churros and Spanish wine on his Melbourne visit, at a pre-opening talk and preview from 4.30 pm on 24 September.

What: Power to the People! Exhibition opening

When: Thursday 24 September

Public forum: 4.30-5.30 pm: public forum with Julio Falagán, Dr Antonio Castillo, Ciro Márquez, followed by poster printing and churros and wine; then official opening 6-8 pm.

Offical opening address 6-8 pm: by Deputy head of mission at the Spanish Embassy Cesar Espada, who is in charge of cultural affairs at the embassy. Mr Espada is also a film director as well as a diplomat and his short film “Spot” premiered in April at the 2015 Spanish Film Festival at the Palace Electric in April.

Where: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street.

FREE – but bookings essential (maximum 40) Call RMIT Gallery on (03) 9925 1717.

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Performing Mobilities (exhibition 25 September – 24 October)

Curated by senior RMIT lecturer Mick Douglas, who performed Library Returns at the launch of the RMIT 700s Arts festival, this exhibition seeks to creatively and critically explore forms, forces, dynamics, meanings and consequences of performing mobility through a program of new experimental work.

The offical opening address will be presented by Maaike Bleeker, Professor and the Chair of Theatre Studies at the University of Utrecht The Netherlands.

Maaike Bleeker is President of Performance Studies international, Member of the International Advisory Board of Maska (Ljubljana) and of Inflexions: A Journal of Research-Creation (Montreal), and Member of the Editorial Board (Humanities) of the Amsterdam University Press. Author of Visuality in the Theatre, (Palgrave, 2008), her recent research argues for the potential of theatre and theatricality as a ‘critical vision machine’ providing us with critical tools for analysis of media culture, politics, spectatorship, censorship and the arts.

What: Performing Mobilities exhibition opening

When: Thursday 24 September

Time: Official opening 6-8 pm.

Where: RMIT Gallery 344 Swanston Street.

RMIT Gallery is getting ready to open its doors again!

One of the geometric windows designed by Ashton Raggatt McDougall - usually covered up to create a functional exhibition space.

One of the geometric windows designed by Ashton Raggatt McDougall – usually covered up to create a functional exhibition space.

What’s behind the green door? RMIT Gallery is ready to fling open the heavy wooden portal on Swanston Street that has been closed since our previous exhibitions ended on 30 May.

RMIT Gallery will reopen to audiences on 25 September after an upgrade to its climate control systems. The gallery will feature two exhibitions: “Power to the People!” with work by Spanish artist Julio Falagán and “Performing Mobilities”, curated by Dr Mick Douglas, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Architecture & Design at RMIT.

Soon to open again - the front of RMIT Gallery on 344 Swanston Street.

Soon to open again – the front of RMIT Gallery on 344 Swanston Street.

We are delighted to announce that right on schedule, the RMIT Gallery building works have been completed and the final stages are being undertaken under the watchful eye of RMIT Gallery’s Registrar Peter Wilson.

While the much needed refurbishment to get the air quality consistent and to museum standard is of course invisible, visitors will note new glass doors in two of the gallery spaces. These will ensure that the temperature stays consistent within and we get the best quality environment for the artworks.

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All staff will move back in to RMIT Gallery at 344 Swanston Street on Monday 7 September as we install the upcoming exhibitions, under the guidance of Director and Chief Curator Suzanne Davies and with support of Exhibition Coordinator Helen Rayment .

Exhibition Coordinator Helen Rayment and Registrar Peter Wilson

Exhibition Coordinator Helen Rayment and Registrar Peter Wilson discuss installation of the next exhibitions.

Meanwhile, it has been intriguing seeing exhibition spaces ‘uncovered’, revealing a palimpsest of architectural and heritage overlays from the magnificent building’s long history. These walls will be again covered to provide hanging space for artworks and a versatile exhibition space.

RMIT Gallery's main exhibition space, with arched windows revealed during building works.

RMIT Gallery’s main exhibition space, with arched windows revealed during building works.

While the remodelling of the Storey Hall building on 344 Swanston Street preserved the original, heritage-protected building, the architectural design of the refurbished section of the building features geometric Penrose tiles, which are arranged to form pentagons.

Usually a view to nowhere - the temporarily uncovered window into RMIT Gallery from Rodda Lane.

Usually a view to nowhere – the temporarily uncovered window into RMIT Gallery from Rodda Lane.

The work was completed in 1995 to the design of Ashton Raggatt McDougall. The refurbished section is also externally adorned with Penrose tiles and is also styled with ruffles, keys and suspender belts to represent the Suffragettes, who used the building as a meeting hall.

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.

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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.

Moving & Storing the RMIT Art Collection

packed art works
RMIT Gallery is in transition! Building work commences next week as we begin essential work, including restoration of the airconditioner, and so staff have had to pack up and relocate to another RMIT University building until September 2015.
painting on trolley
That leaves works from the RMIT Art Collection not currently displayed around the campuses. These need to be carefully packed up and moved, itemised, logged and accounted for. It’s a far bigger job than staff wrapping their keyboards in plastic and ensuring their paperwork is placed in moving boxes.
empty storage
As well as its regular programming of exhibitions and events, RMIT Gallery also has responsibility for the RMIT Art Collection, which includes storage. RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies is chair of the RMIT Art Committee, and RMIT Collections Coordinator Jon Buckingham and RMIT Gallery Registrar Peter Wilson have the day to day responsibility for looking after the collection. Mr Buckingham also oversees the digitisation of the entire collection as part of the large scale RMIT Art Collection Online project. 
enhanced Jon and Sir Storey
Here Mr Buckingham carefully wraps up William Dargie’s ‘Portrait of Sir John Storey’ (1952, oil on canvas) as it prepares for a ‘holiday’ in safe storage. See you in September, Sir Storey.
gallery 6 packed
A large part of the Art Collection is being stored at the RMIT Bundoora campus, but more space is needed, and as a city based university, space is at a premium. This is the exhibition space known as Gallery 6, which looks a little different from its recent incarnation when it held Terry Burrows exhibition Backs of Banaras. Here is Terry giving an artist talk (below) – an interesting contrast to the photo (above) where paintings are being wrapped for storage.
backs of banaras talk
With space is issue around the university, and works needing secure and climate controlled storage – the solution is to store extra artworks in external purpose built facilities.
IAS carrying work
The last two days of our move from RMIT Gallery’s premises at Storey Hall, 344 Swanston Street was overseen by International Art Services.
maria IAS
IAS Storage Registrar Maria-Luisa said the artworks would be going to an IAS climate controlled storeroom.  “We’ve been listing, coding and packing around 150 two dimensional works,” she said. “The artwork will be stored on purpose built, elevated 2D racks in humidity and climate controlled rooms which are all dust proof.”
The move back will be equally time intensive, all the more so because it will come at a time when RMIT Gallery prepares to install its next exhibitions to celebrate the reopening of the building in September. Stay tuned!
Next exhibitions – September – October 2015

Power to the People!  18 September – 10 October

Spanish artist Julio Falagán’s work questions power and the established status quo through humour and irony, inviting audiences to become art collectors by taking home posters of the five original works made through the manipulation of popular prints bought in flea markets.

Artist statement:

“My work deals with the questioning of power and the established status quo through humour and irony. With a justified lack of respect for what or who doesnʼt deserve it, dignifying the trivial and obsolete as a starting point to reflect on social fracture, calling into question any dogmas.
 
A plea in favour of the small, the overlooked, the discarded, calling out the grandiloquences and the absolute truths.”

Performing Mobilities18 September – 24 October

Lucy Bleach, video still from 46a Middle Rd, part of the “Remote Viewing” project, shot by pigeon-mounted micro-camera, HD video, 2012-2015.

Lucy Bleach, video still from 46a Middle Rd, part of the “Remote Viewing” project, shot by pigeon-mounted micro-camera, HD video, 2012-2015.

Traces of creative journeys form expositions that explore and reimagine movement, place and event with local relevance and global resonance. explores how contemporary life in Australia, the world’s largest island continent, is framed by borders whilst constantly being reconstructed through dynamic processes of mobility.

This exhibition of new work curated by Mick Douglas 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.