In the lead up to TiNA I’ve been thinking a lot about what this festival means to us all, and how it operates within the national mechanics of our creative communities. I think our festival name says it all:
This is Not Art
If TiNA’s not art, then indeed, what is it? An arts festival? A weekend celebrating art? A gathering where artists talk shit about art, or rather, what isn’t art, or an arts festival, or even what isn’t a weekend celebrating art? TiNA is certainly something, and indeed, that something, hate to break it to you, is art.
In thinking these thoughts I invariably fall back to philosophical mastery of my buddy Gilles Deleuze. He’d have dug TiNA, especially Critical Animals. Deleuze dedicates much of his writing to artistic and experimental practice, and the cultural imperative of threads of innovation that compromise the tapestry that envelops our society. Deleuze’s artist experiments with form, with the very structures that inform our form, and in doing so, expands the contours to which the assemblage of convention holds assembly. To be an innovative writer, Deleuze contends, one must become something “other than a writer”; to become what is not a writer. An artist, likewise, to keep up the pace, must become something other than an artist, to produce something which is not art. …see where I’m going? Or shall I continue?
We’ve spoken about writing, albeit briefly. National Young Writers Festival provides the instrumental tools for the youth of literacy to mature and develop their skills, and discover their own written style and prose. It’s also a great piss up, and a chance to meet lit babes. Crack Theatre, in line, is a stimulating showcase of experimental performance, an elating engagement with expression and entertainment. Crack creates a Newcastle-wide stage for recitals that punctuate the crevice between dramatised delivery and fringe experimentation, whether through dance, improvisation, or other challenging gestures.
Critical Animals, the sub-festival to which I’m dedicated, unleashes a collective orchestra of creative and clever critters whose critical chorus seems to facilitate and explicate the afore mentioned sub-festivals. Scurrying between plinths of research and theory, as well as vivid vocations of practical application, the speakers at Critical Animals consider exactly how artistic agency enters the equation, when it does so, and why it does so. They’re critical of their answers, too.
Let’s think about this once more. To create is to bring something new into the world. Innovation is an implicit introduction to this something. Creation, in its broadest sense, is the opportunity to meet and encounter something new, to see, hear and feel things differently, and moreover, to think differently – whether it’s inspired by a painting, a video, an idea, a song, a zine or even just a striking conversation. This something, let me say again, is art, the invitation to an artistic vision outside of the invitee’s current field of sight.
For fun, let’s get all poststructural about this: This is Not Art is ART. ok?
Hopefully next weekend will make things clearer. As a Melbournite, I understand the difficulties inherent in traveling the distance north, in prepping the carpool, in taking time off work. But I urge you, if you can, let the benefits outweigh the hesitations. This time next week make sure you are not where this is not art is not happening…or like, just come, deal?
Show your support through http://thisisnotart.floktu.com/, spread the word and bring your friends, and looking forward to seeing you all there!
Critical Animals Program Coordinator
Ceci n’est pas une pipe by René Magritte