Conflux is an art project with a mechanism facilitating exchange between contemporary artists in Singapore and tropical Australia. Cultural representation enmeshed by the confluence of artistic sensibilities in the Asia Pacific region has relevance to northern Australian artists. The project questions social, historical and environmental concerns as motivations and impacts on cultural identity. Commissioned for the 'Fed on Arts' Centenary of Federation festival, the project involves performances, art installations and multimedia outcomes.
Contemporary relevance is critical to reimagining the dominant colonial narratives of Singapore and Australia. Artists on both shores embrace the blur of tradition, change and urbanisation implicit in the globalised identity of contemporary life. The sentimentality of European cultural history and its colonial influence becomes a catalyst and departure point for the ideas shared in the project. Somehow, the expatriate attitude conjures a vision of imaginary human geography indifferent to racial markers. Furthermore, perceptions of antipodean identity challenge ethnological isolationism, transience, postmodernism and the postcolonial city-state. The diversity of human identity configured as multicultural populations assumes the universal and the global. But What is the common popular language that blends and homogenise difference? And what are the creative alternatives to represent sameness and difference? What are the artistic meeting points?
By revealing sites in flux, the project grows an understanding of intercultural process and inclusion, raising awareness of the environment, culture, and the in-between that binds them. Conflux presents its premise through the tactical and performative media of contemporary art expression. It attaches an identity to the perception of a utopian present where the individual is an organism of its race within a blended construct. The artists in dialogue encounter dances. Their bodies are within evocative 'other' spaces—the process of constructing heterotopia—a hybrid site for international exchange.
Bonemap: Rebecca Youdell and Russell Milledge
sound: Jim Denley (Australia | Brussels)
international visiting artist: George Chua Khim Ser (Singapore)
venues: dates 2001
Cairns Esplanade: promenade
residency: Tanks Arts Centre
fieldwork: Undara lava tubes | Emerald End artcamp | Fitzroy Island
The Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Queensland
Video documentation to come: