Friday, June 20, 2008

But wait…there’s more

Our announcement the other day that Judy Millar was off to Venice prompted a flurry of emails. How many people knew all this stuff? We did a rough count and figure at least 100 people were in the know including CNZ staff and councils, the losers of the proposal competition, dealers, the selection panel and we threw in a couple of others who might have been listening at the door (to be realistic we have only added one family member and one best friend who has been sworn to secrecy per person). The things is, times have changed and organisations like CNZ are not changing with them. The idea that this sort of information can be restricted to a small group of institutional people for weeks on end is not a happening thing in our world of email, blogging and mobile communications. If we can hear about the Venice result in Berlin, it’s not a big secret.

The solution for CNZ is to open up its processes, stop using the Official Information Act like a blunt instrument, and think of themselves as partners in the culture rather than parents. For example, is there any reason why the meeting of the panel to decide on the artist for Venice couldn’t be open to the public? It sounds outrageous in today’s climate, but why? Knowing how the people who represent us think is important to us all, and we do pay most of their salaries.

In the meantime, we understand that CNZ is trying to get funds to send a second artist to Venice. Why this is a problem is anybody’s guess, as most of the Venice funding goes on the venue and its staffing, not the artists. So fingers crossed for Francis and good on you Judy.
Image: a set of Ginzu steak knives