As part of the Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab, The Mechanics Institute have developed Trade School, a series of workshops that allow participants to examine the values placed not only on market trade but on the trade of knowledge.
As a parody of the global marketplace, Trade School is a tongue-in-cheek enquiry into the complex ecologies of the art market: notions of value, production, authorship and ownership.
Different speakers, artists and academics will inhabit their school, trading knowledge on each of the days that the market is open. Two workshops run each market day - 10am-12pm, and 1pm-3pm. Book yourself into one of the following. The workshops are FREE, but bookings are essential as spaces are limited.(Note: Participants booked into the creative workshops on offer are to meet at the Biennial Lab Hub, 145 Victoria St, Melbourne and are then taken to the workshop location.)
TUESDAY 18 OCTOBER
10am-12pmAnastasia Klose, While walking down the street, I was thinking… The Artist’s ManifestoThis workshop will invite artists to really distill their ambitions for art. To take a stand on ideas at this point is historically significant. Through conversation, drawings and writings, participants will be invited articulate what they really love & believe and really discuss it.
1pm-3pmBurke & Lavarack, Loose ChangeHave you ever found money in the street?What did you do with it?Take a risk. Question your assumptions about art.Join us in a social experiment designed to morph your understanding of money and its real value in the world.
THURSDAY 20 OCTOBER10am-12pm Make or Break, Radicalising the artist biographyEver struggled to put together a ‘brief artist bio’, or wondered why these texts are so formulaic and uninspiring? Work with artists Connie Anthes and Rebecca Gallo to re-imagine these small but important declarations. By rewriting (or drawing, or filming…) ourselves, we will reshape what we do and how we value it – on our own terms, not according to the value systems of institutional and funding bodies.
Book now1pm-3pm Frank Giorlando & Lauren Ferris, The Non-Profit Double Bind: Do the work of running a business with none of the profits?Through this workshop we will focus on challenges that arise from keeping a community not-for-profit in business, in particular when running activities that require financial diligence and proficience, yet are not directed at profit. Lauren and Frank are board members for an organisation called The Yarra Link Project, a unique startup focused on building a creative, indigenous urban garden along the Yarra River.
FRIDAY 21 OCTOBER
10am-12pmTao Wells, Unemployed New Zealander on Welfare in Melbourne, with $500 Arts Grant This workshop is an attempt to discover how to compete and beat art that perpetuates capitalism. It’ll offer a sales pitch at artists who work for Universities to visibly tag themselves with their public sponsorship and accept this role, protected by law, so we can see evidence of a level playing field. In this workshop, participants will collaborate on, buy or make for themselves, works, whose economics are visible.
1pm-3pmNatalie Thomas aka nattysolo.com, Artworld SurvivorArtworld Survivor is an artist lead workshop that addresses the cultural sector as a field of exploitation. How can artists best Survive and achieve sustainability of career when the systems set up to offer support, are just as likely to exploit us? We will analyse how artists’ dreams of fame and fortune are used to take advantage of our labour and undermine our artistic power and value bases. Together, participants will identify common problems confronting artists, and workshop strategies for us to best get what they want without having a nervous breakdown.
SATURDAY 22 OCTOBER10am-12pmOliver Watts, Watercolour Watermelon The watercolour medium is the traditional medium of sailors, naturalists, aristocrats, ladies and other amateurs. In this watercolour painting workshop we learn to un-self ourselves in the presence of a watermelon. How does the watermelon want to be seen? How can we let the watermelon speak? The class wants to tap into the humility of careful observation and real amateurism, the idea of loving a thing, without the pressures of professional value. A collaborative painting will be the outcome of the workshop.
Book now1pm-3pmBetra Fraval with Dr Joeri Mol, Dr Antonia Pont, Professor Graham Sewell, AKA ‘DJ Buddy Love’ (PBS Radio), Dr Miya Tokumitsu, Dr Gerhard, Beyond the Market: Alternate Possibilities for Valuing ArtIn our creative workshop we would like to recreate the three 'types' of society by asking our audience to enact a society in which one particular mode of evaluation is dominant and subsequently enact another society based on another mode of evaluation. Participants will experience how different types of evaluation affect how we assemble ourselves as a society. We will make use of artworks that are representative of the three different eras as sense-making devices of how societies have been ordered through different modes of evaluation. This will be accompanied by music stemming from each era that will be indicative of each mode of evaluation and this music will be played by DJ Buddy Love (PBS Radio).
SUNDAY 23 OCTOBER10am-12pm Kym Maxwell, Cultural Capital and the contactTaking Alan Kaprow’s ‘Yard’ (1961) as inspiration, this workshop invites participants to play with selected ‘building’ materials in the small space of Trade School. The workshop questions the ‘role’ of participation or - and the photographic afterlife - of socially engaged projects, and questions how ‘value’ can be inscribed into an essentially immaterial practice. With imagery from projects throughout the ages from Kaprow, Nielsen, and Shaw in the ‘60s and more recently, Hirshhorn — utilising charcoal dust and ink, together we will collabroatively map out a response.
1pm-3pmKhairuddin Hori, The lab incubatorKhairuddin Hori (artist and former Deputy Director of Artistic Programming, Palais de Tokyo, Paris). Khairuddin is also part of DXXXXD. Khai’s workshop will address creative questions including: how can a lab incubator generate new experimental modes of working in the public realm; how we can use local space as a site for interrogation; and what the Biennial Lab means for Melbourne?
The Mechanics InstituteSanné Mestrom & Jamie Hall
The Mechanics Institute brings together the core elements of our individual practices by addressing three key themes:
1. An interrogation into the process of art making, 2. Questioning notions of authorship, 3. Testing notions of value.
TMI’s collaborations – which to date have included artists, peers and interdisciplinary academics across Melbourne’s RMIT, Monash and VCA universities - take the form of creative projects, reading groups, workshops, conversations, writings & diagrams, in-situ studio & gallery critiques and regional & inter-state ‘art camps’.