The Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane
September 22 to December 22 2018
Commuting between centres and edges, between cities and countrysides, and between worlds is increasingly normal, necessary even. A commute or regular journey of some distance to and from one's workplace is something many of us engage in on a daily basis. A commute as a multidirectional trip not only takes one to work but also leads one home and to places of learning and social/political connection. If we take this as fact, then we understand commuting as comprising of two key factors, place and travel.
Through networks of migration, trade, and exchange engendered in both deep time and every day, place and travel become integral to contemporary Indigenous experience. Perhaps we can understand migration, trade, and exchange as forms of commuting, and understand ourselves as commuting cultures. Furthermore, if we are to understand ourselves as commuting cultures then, commuting also requires vigilance of the forces driving our understanding of place and movement such as displacement, diaspora and ecological devastation across various territories.
Drawing from the experiences of commuting cultures, the Visiting Curators present The Commute. The Commute encompasses a series of commissioned projects by artists located around the Great Ocean, also known as the Pacific Rim, that assert complex, wide-ranging, contemporary Indigenous experiences inclusive of both ancestral knowledges and global connections.
The Commute is a collaborative project led by Indigenous curators Sarah Biscarra Dilley (yak tityu tityu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash, Chicana), Freja Carmichael (Quandamooka), Léuli Eshraghi (Sāmoa, Irānzamin, Guangdong), Tarah Hogue (Métis, Dutch Canadian) and Lana Lopesi (Sāmoa), invited as Visiting Curators during 2018 at the Institute of Modern Art (IMA) in Brisbane. The Visiting Curators are working closely with eight Indigenous artists, Chantal Fraser (Sāmoa), Carol McGregor (Wathaurung, Scottish), Lisa Hilli (Gunantuna), Hannah Brontë (Yaegel), T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Stó:lō, Irish, Métis, Kanaka Maoli, Swiss), Bracken Hanuse Corlett (Wuikinuxv, Klahoose), Natalie M Ball (Modoc, Klamath), and Ahilapalapa Rands (Kanaka Maoli, iTaukei Viti, Pākehā).
On a basic level commuting describes the way in which the mostly international group of Indigenous Visiting Curators are working with the IMA, the exhibiting artists and pockets of the local community. But in a greater sense it also encapsulates the mobile yet located nature of being Indigenous today. Rather than attempting to package such diverse experiences neatly within a conceptual framework, The Commute explores the mess, the entanglements and the disparities of contemporary Indigenous experiences.
The Commute has received financial assistance from Australia Council for the Arts, Queensland Government through Arts Queensland in partnership with Brisbane City Council, Creative New Zealand and Canada Council for the Arts