GOOLWA GATHERING #1:

Introduction

At last, March arrived and we had our first gathering all together.

Ten artists (Jude, Steve, Krista, Jess, Paul, Katerina, Susie, France, Tam and Ben) from all over Australia, gathered together in Goolwa, South Australia to discuss, explore and engage with all things civic and live art.

Follow The Cultural Leader: Conversation Cafe
On our first night in Goolwa, we were welcomed by a room full of Goolwinians who attended a ‘Follow the Cultural Leader’ forum that was held as part of the Conversation Cafe series that is being run in Goolwa this year. This series is part of Just Add Water which is a year long artistic program celebrating Goolwa as South Australia's Regional Centre of Culture.

The theme of this particular Conversation Cafe was instigated by Steve who, as well as being the Create Producer of The Coriolis Effect, is the Artistic Director of the upcoming Regional Arts Australia Conference to be held in Goolwa in October. Steve approached the organisers to theme this conversation and invite Coriolis Effect artists to deliver presentations alongside local cultural leaders.

Link to pdf: FOLLOW THE CULTURAL LEADER

What Does Goolwa look like if it was a cultural leader? (findings from Conversation Café)
• Street stalls.
• Night food markets – like in India or Indonesia.
• Refugees in the beach shacks that almost never get used.
• Proper recycling and waste management at events.
• Artists employed to facilitate, create artwork, creative processes employ outside of the box ways of thinking. Consulted as a matter of course in regards to projects (buildings and spaces).
• All the little groups would be connected to and known by each other and working together more.
• More shared studios.
• Use the outdoor environment more.
• Different Collectives.
• Radical Waste Management.
• World Music Festival.
• Multiculturalism.
• Restaurants.
• People on the streets sewing.
• Slow cooking on the street.
• Carp Restaurant.
• Festivals and Events.
• Lotsa Kids.
• Young Aboriginals and Families.
• Aboriginal Cultural Centre on the wharf – workshops, music, sharing, storytelling (Aboriginal and non Aboriginal folk mixing it up).
• High Density Living.
• Bohemian.
• Historical buildings become used again as old usage or new function.
• Cultural assets showcased as active spaces.
• Dual Naming (Local Aboriginal language and English).
• History Museum not displaying static exhibition.
• The façade wouldn’t change much – but the activities within the town would change.
• Goolwa as a meeting of ideas.
• Vibrant community centre.

What Does A Cultural Leader look like? (findings from Conversation Café)
• Someone who provides triggers, starting points, asks the question ‘what if?”.
• Someone willing to take a risk.
• All of us.
• A community of artists.
• Everything a cultural follower is not.
• Aboriginals.
• Someone who has a lot of passion.
• Some who sees opportunity and brings things together.

What is Civic Engagement? (a conversation summary)

SUSIE
I guess stimulating audience not just people that are directing involved in the project. People affecting people in the community in their daily life without them realizing that they are stepping into some sort of ... happening. To give them the opportunity to engage or not to engage, to be self determined towards something that is put if front of them. Provoking the choice of engagement that is fundamental to civic engagement.

JESS
My understanding of civic engagement is that of ‘civic’, meaning ‘being around the city’ the public spaces, the mechanism by which that city is managed, the way that democracy operates around the city, the people that reside there - anything around that. It is engaging with those ideas that then becomes central to your practice. Discussion
“Re framing spaces and re moving spaces and engaging with those people that are occupying those spaces.
“Creating passages for encounters and collision that mean that there is a greater sense of engagement with people who act upon decisions they make.”

KRISTA
To me it’s about the questioning so it is about how the public or how the community is questioning their relationship to a city, their relationship to the government even to the physical structure in a place.
It seems to me as well that civic engagement tends to often revolve around change because a lot of the way in which people do reflect on or examine relationship they think about is about how it can be change and how change has an impact on it.

PAUL
Actions/Events/Activities that Discuss/Allude to and Challenge the relationship between/of People & Place
A political act by its very nature in exposing mechanisms - Historical, Emotional, True/False & Governmental etc that Direct/Guide and Shape Communities
Cultural Engagement - an open non-discriminatory invitation to participate in this discussion across and within the community
It invites the question "what would make sense to do here?"

KATERINA
My first definition about civic engagement and probably about live art is: ‘it’s not about me’ - so it’s very audience or engagement focused.
And a big element of it for me has also to do with the notion of hijacking space or a structure that is already available and I like to sort of slide into them, do something with them, mess with processes that are already in motion in them in order to bring about some kind of shift, sharing, awareness usually of how things could be if we put our mind to it rather then just continue to sleep inside current structure.
I have a utopian barrel that I keep pushing. It is very small but it is this idea of how we could live in this world in a more human and more open and more accepting of different way. It’s ‘civility’. Civility is central to the idea of Civic Engagement.

FRANCA
I do not know about an official definition but for me civic engagement is all about finding this magic wonder extraordinary in the ordinary. That is how I approach it but that is just personal so is that what are we talking about?
A personal way of doing it? This is what I am always looking for. Anything that is about shared experience in a shared space finding those situation, creating situation where experiences can happen, really unusual and interesting things could happen that do not necessarily normally happen but there is always the potential for it.
Locating potential where that potential hasn’t being sized upon and creating a situation that would ask people to be part of that potential so then they can decide.
Open those invisible doors by creating time. Creating new spaces in our society and see something that normally you would not be able to see. Creating magic in life.

BEN
I see Civic engagement: Making, breaking, shaping and holding time and spaces in the multiverse of human interaction.

TAM
In my little universe civic engagement is an opportunity for play, for new ways for your body to behave, for new ways for learning to come into your body, new ways for your body to act but also having opportunity for what your body contained to present and that could be age, sex, heritage related things as well and creating opportunity for that to arise, to lead and to decide rather than ...you know - a white man in a suit.

Investigation Entry Points
(A list of conversation titles and conversation starters for civic engagement.)

Place and Space explorations
MEET THE MOVERS - Who makes things happen in the town?
MEET THE MAKERS - who are the makers in the town?
WHAT’S THE WEATHER DOING? - Local perceptions and practices around weather events
HOT SPOTS & FLASH POINTS - What towns deny. The wrong side of the tracks.What happens in the darkside?
PAINT THE TOWN / LOVE THE TOWN - I heart … where do people find a party - what do they celebrate?
IF I WERE YOU - the subjects and actions that come highly unrecommended
I’M HUNGRY & I’M BORED - Where do you eat out, find food, gather food? Go /do when bored?
TALL TALES BUT TRUE FROM THE LEGENDARY PAST - Myths of the town and country and how they are cultivated
PASSAGES OF ENCOUNTER & COLLISION - Reccy - where we make new encounters
MY BEAUTIFUL TREEHOUSE - The most must do and see thing I did and found this weekend
WINDS OF CHANGE - Getting locals to identify where they feel change
OCCUPY THE ECONOMY - Tasks to find out about the town’s economy

Bigger picture place and space explorations
IMAGINE - Civic imagination..ideals...and ultra ideals...and mega bummer oh las
TALL TALES BUT TRUE FROM THE LEGENDARY PAST - Myths and how they are cultivated
TOURIST PARKS - Culture & planning, the culture-fication of culture - the 4th Pillar

Movers and Makers - Arts Practice explorations
TROUBLE SPOTS - What are the trouble spots and how do we creatively incorporate them into practice?
BABBLING BROOK - A chance to babble, riff, what’s on your mind now?
MAKE ME LAUGH - to identify playful possibilities and ‘the game’ within our work
YOU GOTTA LAUGH - Stories of resilience, failure and boot straps (picking up the pieces, bouncing back and moving forward)
NAME YOUR NICHE - analysis, balcony standing and some distance from your practice
WHAT’S THE CAPACITY KENNETH? - what approaches do you take to measure a town’s capacity?
THE EXPERTS - extra curricula expertise of artists
MY 3 FAVOURITE TOOLS - process defaults when encountering problems with practice
THEORIES OF CHAOS - triggers of chaos in town and country practice and what is it mate?
BLOGS / ON LINE PRESENCE - Who’s doing it?

Activation #1
#1 ACTIVATION is a proposition to kick off our exploration of civitas and live arts for the Coriolis Effect.

This first proposition is an invitation to ‘play’. It’s an invitation to imagined play using a set of questions that will provide a basis for action. The results from this proposition can be a catalyst for a collection of live art works that we can trial in our own town/region.

Because we’re all passionate and very busy this #1 Activation will enable us to share our concepts and trial them as actions in our town/region when and where possible and then share results and experiences.

We might think each of our own responses is great – until we read another’s to then decide that actually we’d prefer to trial someone else’s wonderful idea to create and trial a live art work. And this is a very good thing.

It’s this generosity that is at the heart of The Coriolis Effect that will influence each and everyone’s practice. In the Coriolis Effect we say “YES” to sharing ideas and our collective experience and knowledge as this builds a strong body of research and works.

The questions below have been put together following my research into some of those areas informing civitas - civic imagination and engagement. These questions enable a balcony view of a town or region’s social identity. They’re currently in the form of what I’d call ‘dry questions’ – not yet transposed through poetic enquiry.

# 1 ACTIVATION - An Archaeology of the Local
A 4 step process of shared imaginative play

1. Let’s turn the dry into fun and reshape the questions below into playful and/or beautiful questions. We’ll create a collective list of wonderful questions.
2. THEN let’s imagine a participatory situation in our town/region where our beautiful questions are posed and a clutch of responses are gathered. We’ll create a collective list of live art concepts that can be applied to our town or region.
3. THEN let’s imagine what we might each create with the accumulated information and how it’s shared within the town/region and beyond. We’ll create a collective list of live art works that can be applied and which provide the town/region and its people and visitors with a well of extraordinary information.
4. THEN let’s trial our own or another’s #1 ACTIVATION proposition to know what worked and where it can work better. We create a collection of trialled works that are useful as ‘try this’ propositions for other artists.

The Questions
• What shapes the social matrix of your regional area or town?
• Is there a long lived socially constructed identity?
• If so what are the various factors that shape it?
• What are the civic particularities of the community?
• What local struggles and victories have informed the social identity?
• Is there a notion of class and location?
• What are the prevailing social norms and what has informed them?
• Are there any enduring social ‘fissures’ and archetypes?

Initial Project Summaries
JUDE
• the hub bike project
• a way to experience the adventure;
• a garden of bikes with which to discover Goolwa;
• jail is holder of bikes;
• collect bikes via tip shop fix them & offer them to the festival;
• story as the currency for the bike hire;
• a paddock full of bikes
• bikes make sounds
• road closures during conference/festival?
• bike as self-determinancy where do I go??
A Live Art trajectory – the moving, the moved and the mover all together

PAUL
• work done in paul’s absence
• what makes sense to do here?
• Is it a mcdonald’s sign?
• Environment?
• Whose voice?
Evocation & provocation;

BEN
• Two works
1. Armada & space to re-imagine conferencing
2. aim work at people already into civic engagement
• working to set them up for success
• curation of this group
• how to do this
• event to frame this
• a meal?
• Anti-conference dinner or breakfast
• Document produced as legacy for these leaders
Private space where Ben facilitates space for conversation for cultural leaders & for tasks are undertaken that proves their status + public space = conversation between local & national cultural leaders; aesthetic of event …

TAMARA
• Play & people playing together
• Collaboration
• String maker
• Private string making & then a public outcome?
• Rules of play – string as central event & metaphor for something?
• Kit – string & instructions (retirement village & kids playground)
• Civic engagement – body to enact
Play as artform + string as sailing element – cordage + knots etc
Associations, social engagement & rules & do’s & don’ts rule book of goolwa etc;

KATERINA
1. Paddle-steamer – meet crew not view Volunteers, passion Polo shirt/Napoleon jacket, Becoming the crew
2. Hijack concept – community groups/ taboo, passion & free will, volunteering as a civic project – engaged, where might this occur? Paddlesteamer or shop …
Malcolm & passionate volunteers – conference has prizes for volunteers …
Perplexing situation/ trivializes
Volunteering as free will – arts as generosity & exchange
Manifesting passionate free will in civic life

FRANCA
• Franca led us everywhere
• Youth/heritage/void/mouth of river/energy of land/what is the truth/ etc
• Void as nothingness …
• Mouth of river
• Connected & not connected
• Nature/comforting warmth of land/palace of nothing = the milk shed
The centre of nothing & the palace of nothing
What is in the town? What is in the centre of nothing?
There is nothing here.
Nothing is very full of a lot;

SUSIE
• Exploring the true/real connectivity of people to nature
• And why it’s unethical to overlook this connection in the progress race
• Jamie – surfie, pianist, writer, cultural leader
• Creating time corridors for delegates
• Butoh massage - waters
• Falling into common practice – performance & theatre
• Sound &/or music as corridor
• Framing the hidden
• Bird hide
• Windows of boat
• How to get delegates to see the importance of Goolwa
• Embracing a new practice
• Sound as centre
• John Cage, music concrete etc
Invitation that Susie is proposing is creating an opening/corridor for others to look at Goolwa as an important place – unrecognized; Spaciousness linked to landscape; contemplative celebration/hidden treasure.

Katerina and Nadia’s notes from Goolwa #1
who are we?
what are we doing here?
sweepers
runners
windows
framings
tourists
terrorising Goolwa?
here we are
the time we had
artistic action
place + time + intervention
attributes of live art
civic engagement
what is it?
what have we found
go to meetings
considerations
fecund questions
i don't even know what art in goolwa is?
ccd/theatre/live art/performance/interventions

how about inviting myself into people's homes?

the bike hub - as central project with spokes leading to others?

goolwa next time - what's next?

making the invisible visible ...
civic engagement is what?
touristic position/how & when do I belong?
when do I become a local?
tendency to synch to place you are in
tuning into rhythm
listening
nothing & something
nowhere to be
something to do
nature/people/needs/desires/roots
trust - not just passing by

what is it that I can see?
what is it that I'm looking for?

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