The Centres Project is a practice-based research exhibition and publication project exploring the Urban Centre, bringing together two centres of Fine Art research: one in central London, UK and the other in central Melbourne, Australia. Situated within the complex flow of forces of an urban hub, each institution simultaneously responds and contributes to their cities’ stimuli. To date two exhibitions have been held: Rolled Up/RolledOut
at RMIT University Melbourne and TRANSCENTRIC
at Central Saint Martins College of Art London.
The Centres Project is concerned with a set of overlapping themes arising from the social, geo-political and other forces and phenomena common to urban centres like London and Melbourne, both in spite and as a result of their geographical distance. Proposed themes include: Daytime Nightlight/Night-time Daylight – diurnal/nocturnal timeframes from the Northern to Southern Hemisphere and back; Urban Incursions - the mutability of the cityscape; Difference of Dialogues - intersection and sites of faith; Sick City - urbanity and health; Legal Systems and Organizational Structures (sustainability); Migration and cultural diversity - impact of cultures on the existing population; Cross Town - mobility, connectivity and environment within the urban central; Trans-central – communications, interactive simultaneous projections between the two centres.
The project aims to identify and elaborate upon intersections, unions and complementarities found within and across the urban domain; to explore the complexities of the relationship between the urban centre and the global.
Irene Barberis (RMIT) and Steven Ball (CSM/UAL) are the project curators and they will work closely with Claire MacDonald (Director of ICFAR) in its development.
Research and Exhibition
It is intended that the curators, artists and writers will collaborate to identify and develop the themes of the project and work closely in the development of work for the exhibited and published outcomes. The methodology will encourage a close relationship between practice and research and will involve the exhibition of both extant and commissioned works developed specifically for the project.
The first manifestation of The Centres Project was Rolled Up/Rolled Out
in April 2008, which Irene Barberis curated for exhibition in the School of Art Gallery at RMIT in Melbourne. For Rolled Up/Rolled Out Barberis was concerned with how the production of art in global cities is responds and contributes to the intensification and expansion of cultural flows in globalization, providing a snapshot of the diverse practices that emerge through the common experience of contemporary urban space. Collecting work for the show while in the UK during March 2008, the exhibition designed to establish The Centres Project during the public launch of Art and Urbanism at RMIT Melbourne. The exhibition was accompanied by an essay by Professor Elizabeth Grierson, Head of the School of Art, RMIT University.
TRANSCENTRIC is a collection of works across a range of media by artists associated with RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia and the University of the Arts London. The works in the exhibition move across, beyond, between, and within city centres. As such they are concerned with phenomena that we might think of as 'urban', however this is interpreted not only in terms of spatial relationship, but also considers how the urban centre resonates with overlapping themes arising from social, environmental, geographical, political and other forces. Many of the works are concerned with the particularities of the aesthetics of writing and re-writing urban space, while others reflect on associations emanating from and within the centre such as the symbolism of architecture, the structures of belief systems, mortality in the modern world, the relationship of the centre to the periphery, the spaces in-between, and the weather.