Artists and Automated Decision Making: A lutruwita (Tasmanian) Point of View

March 1st, 2020

This Opinon Piece appeared in an edited from in The Mercury, p.23

In 2008 I returned home after 2 decades of treading the (key)boards (on stage and on computers, often, combining the two). Working internationally as an artist presented me many transdisciplinary opportunities, the creative knowhow this approach affords, carries within it an openness to eclectic solutions that honour veracity and awareness (over identity).

It’s my belief that I live in the womb of the world timtumili minanya/River Derwent is a whaling birthing suite no less. Our island has made countless offerings to the planet. Such as: Permaculture, the first Green political party and the Alexander technique (a somatic exercise developed by a performing artist for people who are hindered by postural concerns). These transdisciplinary practices foster a self-sufficient approach to habits of consumption and production. These practices are able to positively augment broader understandings of what affects our collective health, our politics and our culture.

Recently while we witnessed our country go up in flames, we heard many varied viewpoints in regard to climate change, politics and identity. Particularly on social media platforms we saw a prevalence of ‘blaming the other.’ It is easy to forget that beyond these quarrels lay a set of goals we can all agree upon: adequate housing, knowing the source of our food or water is not contaminated, breathing clean air, supporting innovation (not to be mistaken for commercial expedience). Striving for socio-cultural solutions to the problems many of us face, that don’t cause harm to the diverse inhabitants of our human and nonhuman ecologies.

It is in this milieu that a transdisciplinary approach assists in a radical coming together of diverse viewpoints that advances robust discussion embracing real world problems many of us share. Not only do I stress the need to push for such happenings in public forums, here in Tasmania and beyond, I am calling for us to create those very platforms ourselves.

This may seem alarmist but recently the ‘arts’ was removed from the title of the relevant Federal government department (December 2019) partly on the grounds for need to “improve decision making”. There is an irony, then, artists skill sets entails high-level, subtle decision making processes, that are less yielding to mechanical substitution, embodied and ingenious.

Instead of highlighting the capacity for efficiency, many artists are able to contribute to compelling innovations and promote nuanced understandings, through mediating, interpreting and questioning current affairs new knowledges flourish. Although the arts sector continues to represent 6.4% of Australia’s GDP, with the sector employing 5.5% of the total workforce; at the same time the income of Australian contemporary creative artists has spiralled downward. Against the sizzling backdrop of a growth economy whose credentials to maintain a habitable planet have unarguably failed, a discussion of alternatives is critical.

To deliberate these issues and consider the thorny question of artists and economy anew, a local transdisciplinary event The Thorny Question of Art and Economy: A Conversation Piece Thursday, 20 February 2020 –  7PM-10PM  MONA, Eros & Thanatos. Sponsored by means of the kind provision of space by 24 Carrot Gardens. Presented by: Feral MBA, Despoinas Media Coven and Favour Economy.



Our Future, Gina Reinhart’s poetry on a gold plaque.


Publishing this image is not an endorsement of Gina: More info:

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