Thursday, July 30, 2015

On your marks....get set.....

A big change for New Zealand’s representation at the next Venice Biennale. Creative NZ has released the rules around who can submit a proposal and how the process works. There's also a much clearer statement about the Venice context, expectations of the event and why NZ should participate. Many of the Proposal Guidelines have been cut and pasted from earlier documents but their clarity and detail is a huge improvement on previous years. The biggest shift?

International curators can now be part of the team
The biggest difference is eligibility. The set of eligibility clauses outlined in the 2015 Venice document have been dropped completely. This time round international curators will be considered along with curators who are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand.

Foreign artists a possibility?
Curiously, it also appears that with the eligibility requirements gone there is no longer any stated conditions that require the artist to be a New Zealander. Creative NZ has assured us this is not the case but, just for fun
look at these two confusing 'and/or' phrases that appear to allow foreign artists in. Test your logic – if you can stop your head from spinning.

The panel will individually asses the proposals against the following criteria:
1   The artist(s) and curator have significant exhibition records in New Zealand and/or internationally and they are considered by the sector to be at the ‘top of their game’. 

2  The artist(s) and/or curator have established profiles within the New Zealand contemporary arts sector and internationally. 


A non-NZ artist would be very contentious, of course, and seriously, where would you find a panel with the nerve to try it on?

The Commissioner rules
Yes, the Commissioner has been elevated and centralised. The word 'lead' is sprinkled about especially in the assertion that the Commissioner 'will have a leading role' in the selection process.

Invitation process formalised
The Wild West we’ll-just-pick-whoever-we-damn-well-feel-like approach that was used for Upritchard and Parekowhai has been ruled out. Now if the proposals submitted are not considered up to scratch, Creative NZ, on the advice of the Commissioner and the panel of course, can issue a specific invitation.

And one other new change:

One step processThe requirement for artist/ curator teams to submit an expression of interest first has been dropped. Projects that don't fit the criteria or are not suitable will be eliminated based on a short discussion with CNZ before the proposal stage saving artists and curators a lot of wasted time and energy. Once that is done a proposal form will be sent out.

(sound of starting pistol)