This paper discusses the processes in setting up an artist in residence between the State Parliament of Western Australia and the School of Arts and Humanities at Edith Cowan University, providing the artist access to all areas of the Parliament. All artists have been chosen for their political and socially charged work. This paper discusses the inaugural artist residency and installation Interlace by long-term collaborators Nicola Kaye and Stephen Terry.
Interlace focused on power relations embedded within parliamentary protocols. This was significant for the artists, as they had to adhere to the strictures of this political space in an ethical manner, concomitantly building trust in a highly charged environment. Their residency researched the field of digital and interactive art and the performative body where parliamentarians and general staff were invited to become ‘actors’ within their artwork. This process sought to extend a form of engagement with parliamentary staff that was symbolic, dynamic and inclusive, regardless of position. Interlace was site-specific within the Parliament building, where films were projected within a working Parliament whilst the House was in session; offering an alternative experience for the Parliament staff of their ‘closed space’. The work was adapted and shown within the University gallery to a different audience, revealing interior spaces not afforded to the general public.
This paper illuminates the importance of creative engagement within diverse institutions in meaning-making, inclusivity and representation, and how creative research impact can build agency through a site-specific context outside of the traditional gallery environment.