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May '06

Club Raw Review

Crossing all kinds of boundaries
Club Raw
Guillermo Gomex-Pena / Centre for Performance Research
The Castle Theatre, Aberystwyth
July 26, 2003
Throughout his career in performance art, Mexican-American theatre artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena has explored the experience of border-crossing, the cultural and symbolic space of the border zone. In his recent sojourn in Aberystwyth, sponsored by the Centre for Performance Research, he continued this thematic restless journey, taking CPR workshop participants and some lucky Aberystwyth theatregoers along for the ride. The project’s sadly under-advertised one-off culminating performance, titled Club Raw, was nothing short of amazing, in every connotation of that word.

The objective of Gomez-Pena’s workshop, in which this piece was created, was “to develop new models of relationship between artist and community; mentor and apprentice, which are neither colonial nor condescending, establish a temporary utopian space for aesthetic freedom and cross-cultural dialogue and to seek a new aesthetic that truly reflects the spirit and tribulations of our times.” The final product demonstrates a triumph in these aims.

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May '06

Navel gazing ruled out as Indonesians button up

By Mark Forbes Herald Correspondent in Jakarta
February 25, 2006

ROCKING in a pink swing fashioned from the cab of a pedal-driven rickshaw, Agus Suwage felt at peace. He had just installed his Pinkswing Park exhibit at Jakarta’s international biennale and was surrounded by massive panels with multiple pictures of a near-naked man and woman frolicking in a utopian park – a world away from thoughts of religious furore, public condemnation and possible imprisonment.
The softly spoken, bespectacled 47-year-old seems an unlikely martyr, his only concession to the battle now enveloping his life is a peaked camouflage hat with a skull and crossbones button pinned to its front.

Within days of November’s exhibition launch, Islamic fundamentalists had shoved Suwage to the forefront of their struggle to redefine Indonesia by descending on the biennale, forcing its closure and demanding prosecutions. At first police claimed his work blasphemed the story of Adam and Eve, then last week they told Suwage he faced five years in jail for producing pornography.

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Oct '05

“Building Primal Bonds,” By David Chew

IF ARTIST Michael Lee told you that we love buildings because they remind us of our mother’s womb, would you think he was crazy? Lee’s latest work, NOTES TOWARDS A CORPOREAL CITY, aims to show precisely that.

It is part of ASIAN TRAFFIC, a touring exhibition that will showcase 10 of the most significant Asian and Asian-Australian artists practising contemporary art today. Curated by Binghui Huangfu, director of the Asia-Australia Arts Centre, the show premieres tomorrow at the Esplanade’s Jendela Gallery.

Buildings are more than functional. Lee’s argument is a culmination of ideas gleaned from historians who trace the evolution of buildings to psychological approaches. “People use buildings functionally– office space to work, the bedroom to sleep. But that may not be the most instinctual way that we respond to a building,” noted Lee, who also teaches art history, theory, studio and professional space at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

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