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03 September 2020

Dale and Beatrice: An Exchange (Part I)

 

Dale Collier, 'The Cost of Hot Air' (2020). Courtesy the artist.

In response to the impacts of the current COVID-19 crisis on our community, KINGS Artist-Run and un Projects are collaborating with Bus Projects, TCB Art Inc. and SEVENTH to profile a range of artistic projects that have been impacted by the temporary closure of their physical spaces. By collaborating with these organisations to publish interviews, artist previews and texts, we seek to maintain the important dialogue generated by their rich programs and projects. Now as much as ever, artistic and cultural discourse is vital in keeping us connected and engaged.


This letter between artist Dale Collier and curator Beatrice Rubio-Gabriel is the first in a four-part series that will be published across the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Dear Dale,
I would like to say I hope this letter finds you well, but I understand these are not well times. I hope you are okay, anyway.

I have been thinking for a while on how to conduct this interview – and I must admit I have never really done anything like this before, but I would like to give it a try. I am wondering if you would be open to sending letters across the Google doc. like this and, within each letter I write to you, will be an interview question. During this pandemic, notions of intimacy and connection have been coming up a lot. There is a much deeper focus on it and I can see all around me that people are trying harder to connect with either themselves or those in their community (but often both), and so I thought it might be a nicer way to correspond, one that relates to our current moment. But do let me know if you don’t think we should send letters. (I think it might also be funny – what if one day I log into the doc. to find you currently writing back to me! I’m imagining how surreal it would be to watch a letter meant for you unfold in real time.)

Anyway, this marks the first. I am very interested to hear about the show you were supposed to have at SEVENTH, which I hear has been postponed, and I’m wondering if you could tell me a little more about that exhibition.

Sending my best and looking forward to hearing from you,

B

**

Dear Beatrice,
Thank you for the letter. I like that you’ve considered this format – it feels a little more connected, more personal, than the typical question and answer formalities involved with other interviews.

I’m doing okay, I think ... I’m not sure though ... Seems a bit tricky to gauge these days. Y’know, with the whole notion of intimacy and physical connection getting strung out and digitally stretched by our new shared reality of distance. But you’re right, people are definitely trying harder to make sense of these dynamics with whatever means are available. I’ve been trying to think of distance as a virtue, which more than likely is just another indicator of my antisocial tendencies at this point in space n time. So I don’t know if, or how, that idea might work; maybe there’s just a nice ring to it. Maybe one that doesn’t ring true at all though.

It’s a touch unsettling to think that at any minute my edits and self-censorship here could be observed in real time. Revealed. I wonder how it might change the course of correspondence if, say, you logged in and watched me redact something, but then made it explicit by asking why ...

Thanks for your interest in the postponed exhibition at SEVENTH. Feels odd to think of it now, given the pitch was formulated in relation to a context that kinda doesn’t exist anymore. Actually, the baseline idea for the show was to divert white-walled attention (attentiveness?) toward the urgent reality of bio-spherical issues, politics of climate crisis and the aesthetics of global conditioning that exist beyond our galleries, museums and institutionalised modes of practice. (Totally just cut and pasted that chunk from the proposal sent to Diego in December last year. Do you have a copy of that from the crew at SEVENTH?) I’m unsure whether or not terms like site-specificity (I stutter at every attempt to pronounce this word) and institutional critique mean anything similar to what they might’ve used to. What do you think?

Can’t find any stamps, I’m just gonna leave this here and hope it finds you. Looking forward to hearing back soon.

Warmest,

Dale.

**

Dale Collier is an experimental new media artist whose practice interrogates identity, the aesthetics of soft power, hyper-objectivities and contemporary falsehoods in order to highlight the processes of global conditioning and ecological security. Collier's work has been exhibited within the Art Gallery Of South Australia’s Ramsay Art Prize (2019) and the Parliament Of New South Wales’ King & Wood Malleson Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (2018).

Beatrice Rubio-Gabriel is an independent curator, writer and performance artist based in Naarm/Melbourne. Centring around a collaborative and experimental practice, she has curated projects that aim to challenge current curatorial and euro-centric modes of exhibiting, and experiments with writing as artform.