Cruisings of the recent TarraWarra Biennial

Already by the time this text is published and in circulation, there will be numerous conversations and interventions coursing around the current TarraWarra Biennial: Endless Circulation. Multiple readings will have permeated across the formal and the vernacular—from published reviews to lectures on gossip and the way the body traces the consumption of bathroom perishables. Such a plurality of reading and knowledge production is enabled by the expansive curatorial premise of this iteration of the Biennial.

Abbra Kotlarczyk is a visual artist and writer based in Melbourne. Her practice is hinged on visual and linguistic articulations of subjectivity, trans-historicism and expanded notions of publication. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions at North Projects (NZ), Bus Projects, c3 Artspace, TCB, Lindberg Galleries (Australia) and AIRY Gallery (Japan). Her essays and reviews have been published by Transgender Studies Quarterly (Duke University Press), Decoy Magazine (Canada), un Magazine and Das Platforms (Australia).

Dr Sam Bowker is a Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture for Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, NSW, where he teaches Australian, Renaissance and Islamic Art and Design. He is the curator of exhibitions including Khayamiya: The Tentmakers of Cairo for the Islamic Art Museum Malaysia, and previously worked in Education for the National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Australia and National Library of Australia.  

Review: ‘Ilm: Art and Knowledge in Islam

Within Arabic, ‘Ilm is usually translated as ‘knowledge’. It also encompasses a wider set of ideas, such as the development of understanding, the application of wisdom and critical assessment of knowledge. ‘Ilm is also a word for ‘science’, so an understanding of ‘ilm is essential to the history of science, religion and philosophy for Arabic speaking cultures, and benefits Islamic studies as a whole. According to a hadith, or statement attributed to the Prophet Muhammad by Al-Tirmidhi, ‘the seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim’.

Audrey Schmidt is a writer, Co-Editor of Dissect Journal and curator of the recent affiliated exhibition Tell Me What You Have and I Will Know What You Are (2016). In 2015, Schmidt was invited to write for the Gertrude Contemporary Emerging Writers program and presented a paper at the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, Image Space Body. She has spoken on panels at the Victorian College of the Arts (2016), the National Gallery of Victoria (2014) and currently works for Australia’s centre for independent dance, Dancehouse. Her continuing research focuses on contemporary art, gender, biopolitics and identity in late capitalism with a particular interest in institutional infrastructures and alternative exhibition models.

Banquet at the Biennial

The 5th TarraWarra Biennial Endless Circulation, jointly curated by TarraWarra director, Victoria Lynn, and co-founder of Discipline Journal, Helen Hughes, set out to consider the structural principles of edition, circulation, dispersion and continuity. As such, the curatorial focus was on projects and practices that are predicated on modes of production and distribution that operate centrifugally, or outside the parameters of traditional art spaces.

A Persian Letter

The poster is divided in half by a long blue Facebook ‘f’. On the right lower edge, the letter has been serrated, making it resemble a saw. The results of its actions can be seen in the house that has been cut in two, with husband and wife walking off in different directions. 

This is a series of posters I found in the endless Mashhad bazaar, hanging over the shops selling turquoise and saffron, the staple of the region since the Silk Road. Other posters featured satellite dishes on top of tanks festooned with US and Israeli flags.

Dr Kevin Murray is an independent writer and curator, Adjunct Professor at RMIT University and Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He is the managing editor for Garland Magazine. From 2000-2007 he was Director of Craft Victoria where he developed the South Project, a four-year program of exchange involving Melbourne, Wellington, Santiago and Johannesburg. He has curated many exhibitions and published extensively. His books include Judgement of Paris: Recent French Thought in an Australian Context (1991), Craft Unbound: Make the Common Precious (2005), Neverland: The Lost Continent of Australia (2013),  and with Damian Skinner, Place and Adornment: A History of Contemporary Jewellery in Australia and New Zealand (2014).

Bemis Science Fiction Residency

Jess Johnson is a New Zealand artist currently based in New York after ten years of living and working in Melbourne. Her drawing and installation practice is influenced by the speculative intersections between language, science fiction, culture and technology. Her recent video collaborations with Simon Ward have involved translating her drawings into animated video and virtual reality. Jess’s work has been exhibited throughout Australia, New Zealand and internationally, including Jack Hanley Gallery, New York; Art Basel, Hong Kong; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh; National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia; and Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand. Jess is represented by Jack Hanley Gallery, New York; Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney, Australia; and Ivan Anthony, Auckland, New Zealand. You can see more of her work at: