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An Introduction to Interiors

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As we step further into this new existence, artists are reimagining their work for an adjusted world whilst searching for temporary ‘homes’ in an array of digital spaces. Collectively, artists are revisiting fundamental questions of truth and value within new economic, artistic and cultural paradigms. The very worth of art is now a topic of discussion not only for those positioned outside of the industry but for those who participate within it.

What is the value of art when it is distanced from a community who ultimately decide its worth?

As we now work seemingly autonomously and untethered from galleries, alternative and even public spaces we are witnessing the confines of our private homes and studios as the backdrop for artistic investigations.  History has preconditioned us to believe artists are ‘those who seek truth’; toiling away in solitary spaces in search of meaning, however, the work of an artist is deeply woven into communities and foreign environments.

So what becomes of artistic practice when distanced from external forms of inspiration? How do we measure productivity when practice is becoming embedded in our everyday actions?

Since the early twentieth century artists and intellectuals began to be analysed as ‘cultural workers’ and their productivity was measurable not only through art but through documentation, research, presentation and more. We are still grappling with new language around artistic production and terms such as ‘cultural producer’, which intentionally blur between practitioners within the industry (think of artists, curators, historians, administrators, researchers, editors) to assume that we are all working together to produce meaning and, in turn, culture. As a vast and multifaceted industry, today, contemporary art is focused on seeking out multiple truths, expansive forms of story-telling, languages and principles whilst demonstrating the possibilities and limitations of an individual’s actions in the world.

As we come to terms with this unprecedented shift in values around artistic practice perhaps we are witnessing the shedding of one layer of history to reveal a new skin and the chance to better understand and centralise thinking around productivity.

INTERIORS is a specially commissioned edition of fine print magazine focused on short-form film and sonic works that unpack some of these prescient concerns. Through visual and aural language, INTERIORS is a collective response comprised of a vast array of individual approaches to art making whilst in isolation.

Throughout various online discussions an overarching consensus towards practice and productivity has been of arts enduring nature—a known fact being tested dramatically with each passing decade. However, further to this, an alarming and vital warning is being brought to the surface—our future actions, as artists, collectives, ARIs and institutions cannot be undone, nor should we attempt to return to ‘business as usual’. We have the opportunity to see art fairly integrated and perhaps more thoroughly a part of our every day. Modernists believed that a new way of life would result in the production of groundbreaking art, but also valued the reversal: that the production of new forms of art would in turn create a new way of life. Perhaps we can challenge ourselves to believe this ideology once again.

INTERIORS features contributions by Roy Ananda (SA), Virginia Barratt (SA), Alycia Bennett & Florian Cinco (AUS/PHL), Alison Currie (SA), Brian Fuata (NSW), Dominic Guerrera (SA), Ray Harris (SA), Cynthia Schwertsik (SA), Kate Power (SA), and Inneke Taalman (SA).

— Rayleen Forester for fine print