Shotgun 2014 marked five years of the project. It was a timely point to reflect on the evolution of the program. It was also the first time that six artists were invited to participate in the one edition: Ross Byers, Dean Chatwin, David Hawley, Jason James, Tom O’Hern and Nicola Smith. In 2014 there was no exhibition associated with Shotgun and resources were directed towards a ‘stepped-up’ industry access program, out of which the thought-provoking texts by Jasmin Stephens, Hannah Mathews and Quentin Sprague were generated.
Review Process | Process Review
Shotgun - with its connotations of assuming a stance, taking aim and hitting a target – now has a five-year history. As this year’s participating artists and mentors have met, a process of reckoning has begun that could ideally continue for years to come. The cumulative workings of its mix of introductions, broader discussions and exhibition activities has been the subject of many conversations.
I was keen to be involved because I felt that aspects of my experience in Western Australia and Southeast Asia might be pertinent to the Tasmanian scene. Tasmania, which is shaped by the intensity of its island and colonial character, is unlike the Indian Rim, yet artists situated in all these places are working in contexts that are less visible to the art world’s institutions and markets. In such situations, greater weight is given to notions of geography and locality when accounting for artists’ practices. This tendency is often capitalised on in order to marshall arguments for the arts but should also be strenuously interrogated. With less infrastructure, there is added incentive for artists to create their own Shotgun program.
Jasmin Stephens – excerpt
In for the long haul: the necessity for community amongst artists
There is a lot of expectation these days. In the arts it seems to be growing. There is an expectation that one will study, exhibit, get a grant, undertake a residency, be written about, one will sell. These are all points of achievement facilitated/structured by the dollar – mostly by government, sometimes patrons, often by the individual artist themselves. The quality of practice counts too, but too often it relies on how it is couched in an application, artist statement or press release.
The expectation of a career trajectory that encompasses these milestones seems to have become the norm, especially for younger artists. Once these achievements could be seen documented over a life-long practice, today they seem to be achieved at an accelerated rate that leaves me wondering what happens next. With so much emphasise placed on the ‘new’ and ‘emerging’ what are the realistic expectations for artists between this developmental period and the long stretch to ‘established’?
Hannah Mathews – excerpt
How to be current
I recently read that we have reached ‘peak Twitter’. This happened quietly one day; whomever or whatever is tasked with tracking these kinds of things noticed that what had until that moment been generally on the rise was now generally on the downturn. Regardless of the fact that the social publishing platform had collectively brought us closer to our celebrities and politicians, provided a means for the mundane to be shared and carried the urgency of events like the Arab Spring into the international consciousness, the number of tweets tipped, for the first time, back towards earth and began a slow downwards arc. As the article put it, ‘Twitter is entering its twilight.’ Perhaps in half a decade, likely sooner, the platform will be a thing of the past. (1)
This shouldn’t be surprising. After all, the primacy of one thing will always eventually give over to the primacy of another. But it does seem that the pattern that the interplay between currency and obsolescence sketches has become ever tighter and more intricate as things rise and fall in faster succession. Admittedly this patterning grants the surface of our world a more interesting texture, but it also makes it harder to access what lies beneath.
Quentin Sprague – excerpt
(1) Admittedly the numbers still astound. At the time of writing 466,594,678 tweets had been sent in the last 24 hours, increasing at a rate of roughly 7,000 per second.
IMAGES: Ross Byers, Mnemonics, 2014. Cardboard. Photo Dierdre Pearce | Dean Chatwin, Building Relations (series), 2014. Video production still. Photo courtesy of the artist | David Hawley, Turn, 2013. Vinyl on clear PVC. Photo John Bodin | Jason James, Galla Placidia, 2013. Light. Photo freandhannah.com | Tom O’Hern, The grrreat disappointment (detail), 2014. Acrylic on canvas. Photo courtesy of the artist | Nicola Smith. Antoine Bertrand as Rodger II, 2013. Watercolour on paper. Photo Jack Bett | Shotgun 2014 publication launch, silhouettes of Shotgun artists, CAT Gallery. Photos Pip Stafford.