Not quite fringe

Thought I might post one for the arty fans.

The ABC is screening a 3 part series, Not Quite Art that believes there is life outside mainstream art galleries.

Host Marcus Westbury, founder of the This is Not Art Festival in Newcastle and the former director of Next Wave Festival in Melbourne, investigates various artistic expressions- posing the question of whether these new forms of ‘art’ can legitimately be called art.

Delve into the unfunded DIY cultural environment of media artists, niche publishers, video art bar owners, cultural criminals, street artists.

Why do we spend far more money building sterile palaces to dead artists and their artefacts than supporting living ones?

Presenter Marcus Westbury travels to his home town of Newcastle, Australia where the cultural vision is largely a real estate development. Marcus contrasts this with the Scottish city of Glasgow, where DIY culture has transformed an industrial age casualty to the hub of happening culture in Europe.

Marcus puts forward the question of whether you can buy culture by building an iconic building or even franchising a McLouvre or McGuggenheim? Or is culture a messy, dirty thing that comes from the bottom up, refuses to behave, is borderline illegal and breaks a lot of occupational health and safety rules?

This episode features a guest appearance by the Pasha Bulker.

Ep. 2 THE NEW FOLK ART Tue Oct 23
Is culture a set of elaborate and elaborately funded life support systems, or an infection that’s trying to attack us? What’s the difference between a Symphony Orchestra and a covers band (apart from about $40million dollars a year) and why does the Australia Council spend more money on A SINGLE opera company than all the visual artists and musicians (not including symphony orchestras) in the country combined?

This week presenter Marcus Westbury meets the artists that have turned Hosier Lane in Melbourne into one of Australia’s prime tourist attractions, hangs out with multi media musicians The Herd and wonders why the games industry has so much money but so little content. Creator of the Australian game, Escape from Woomera, Katharine Neil has some ideas why, which she shares with Marcus.

We also find out what uncollectable art is.

Where does art stop and business begin? Is the difference between art and commerce whether you make money out of it or whether you are making it to make money? How come poker machines are responsible for turning huge chunks of NSW into a cultural wasteland? And are artists just the underpaid R&D guys for big fashion, design, music and business?

Marcus Westbury ventures into a video art bar, meets an artist who sells ideas, reveals the angst of being a sneaker designer and comes across a magazine that you can only read on a wall.
With sneakers on show at the National Gallery of Victoria and every new art movement the basis of an advertising campaign, as a society, are we just the best consumers ever known?

Marcus Westbury- Biography
Marcus Westbury has founded and directed some of Australia’s more innovative, unconventional and successful cultural events. In Not Quite Art Marcus takes us on a journey through the unfunded DIY cultural environment of media artists, niche publishers, video art bar owners, cultural criminals, street artists. He asks a provocative question about where culture really comes from and what cultures we value and why.

Marcus’s career has taken him from DIY projects in empty shops in Newcastle to directing Australia’s largest festivals for new and emerging artists. Along the way he has sat on committees, written books, and managed major projects for the likes of the Australia Council, The Australian Film Commission and state government agencies in NSW and Victoria and worked with some of Australia’s major cultural institutions.

Described by The Chaser’s Charles Firth as “the indie Leo Schofield” (which was probably an insult) in 2004 he was voted the 4th most influential person in the Melbourne art world (in a dubiously constructed online poll in which very few people voted). Marcus was named as one of Australian Vogue magazine’s predictions as a “Star of the New Millennium” in 2000 (alongside Cate Blanchett, Leyton Hewitt and Prince William’s future wife!), was named as one of The Age / Sydney Morning Herald’s leading “rising stars” in 2001 – a prediction he has largely failed to live up to until now.

Marcus Westbury’s career highlights include;
• Studied Communication Studies at Newcastle University and co-edited the student newspaper at the same time that the Chaser team were editing the student newspaper at the much more prestigious Sydney University
• Long term unemployment that led to co-founding the Newcastle arts and media collective Octapod and the largely failed Newcastle Fringe Festival.
• Worked in Sydney as the Online Manager of the Australia Council’s media arts festival LOUD and as the first Creative Director of the youth media festival Noise.
• Founded and managed the This Is Not Art festival in Newcastle – an event that incorporates the National Young Writers Festival, Sound Summit, Electrofringe and the annual National Student Media Conference. This Is Not Art is now Newcastle’s largest annual tourism event.
• Artistic Director of Melbourne’s Next Wave Festival and one of three Directors of Festival Melbourne 2006 – the Cultural Program of the Commonwealth Games.
• Founded and directed Free Play – Australia’s independent computer game developers conference in Melbourne.
• Freelanced for the likes of Crikey, co-wrote a guidebook for DIY arts projects and an unconventional tourist guide to Newcastle, appeared occasionally on programs such as Recovery, Critical Mass and Vulture,
• Whilst filming Not Quite Art, Marcus was trialing AFL games with fans of all 16 teams for ABC 774 in Melbourne to choose which one to follow for life.

Not Quite Art premieres 10pm Tuesday Oct 16 on ABC.

One Comment:

  1. Luke (sexyer1)

    I thought I’d maybe venture into the city to see some of the graffiti mentioned on the recent episode, I’ve always wondered where to go, I figured somebody would likely tag over everything featured on that show after they gave away some of the locations, before planning the trip I looked at Google’s YouTube searching “Melbourne Graffiti” and found the same laneway covered in tags already, but the videos were posted to YouTube 8 – 11 months ago, so this series must have been gathering dust for some time… oh well..

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