Los Angeles artist Dave Hullfish Bailey will present on the subject of his collaborative CityCat Project, an over a decade long co-operation with senior Aboriginal writer and activist Sam Watson.
The enterprise is structured around Maiwar Performance, in which the CityCat ferries that ply the Brisbane River (Maiwar) execute unannounced manoeuvres near a site of significance to the Aboriginal people who lived in the lands around Brisbane before British colonisation in the early 19th century.
After its first iteration in 2006, Watson designated the event a Dreaming, which meant that it should be periodically repeated. The performance has since been restaged in 2009, 2012 and 2016, with Watson seeing it as an important act of Indigenous empowerment: a way of restoring agency to the local Aboriginal people in bringing their past alive for them and allowing them to think that the future has not been definitively determined.
Parallel to this recurring event is an evolving body of works in diverse media. At its core is Bailey's lateral research-based process, which combines a highly reflexive approach to language with granular descriptions of material and cultural systems. The call-and-response collaboration between Watson and Bailey, and the many irreducibilities within it, generates an articulation of place that is at once playfully extrapolative, yet politically and intellectually resistant.
Bailey's lecture coincides with the release and launch of Dave Hullfish Bailey + Sam Watson: CityCat Project 2006–2016, a monograph edited by Rex Butler and published by the Sternberg Press, Berlin, and an exhibition of recent works from the CityCat Project, presented by Australian Fine Arts/David Pestorius at Melbourne's Neon Parc Gallery.
Dave Hullfish Bailey (*1963) is an artist based in Los Angeles. His qualifications include a Master of Theological Studies from the Harvard Divinity School and MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. Bailey's research-based projects have been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Secession, Vienna (2006), CASCO, Utrecht (2008), Raven Row, London (2009), Malmö Konsthall (2013) and Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2014-2015), while his over a decade long collaboration with senior Aboriginal activist and writer Sam Watson is the subject of CityCat Project 2006–2016, a monograph edited by Rex Butler and published by the Sternberg Press, Berlin.
The CityCat Project monograph will be launched at ACCA on Saturday, 25 March.
Dave Hullfish Bailey has been invited to RMIT by the Centre for Art, Society and Transformation (CAST) and the Master of Arts (Art in Public Space) program. His visit to Melbourne is organised by Australian Fine Arts/David Pestorius.