Self Aesthetic: Towards an audience of one

Tony Curran
2013 Conference

This paper traces a recent participatory studio residency up to its development as a finished place-based portrait. Through this case study, the role of the studio is considered, as a site of making and experimentation, both throughout the residency and in post-production. In 2012 I was artist-in-residence at the Museum of the Riverina in a project titled Identify, Identity, Identikit, which used the forensic form of police identikit as the basis for producing an interactive group portrait of the region. Community members were invited to sit for the project and have their eyebrows, eyes, lips or noses drawn and archived for the production of an identikit. In this process audience and subject were collapsed as the intimate process of the work overshadowed the forensic design of the portrait project. A physical and a virtual identikit were produced and donated to the museum’s permanent collection and these identikits were subsequently reworked into an app for Smartphone and tablet to increase the project’s accessibility and engagement. Rather than loading the application onto devices in an exhibition installation the app was released for general distribution onto the user/viewer’s most private form of display, their phone. While museums and galleries are under pressure to increase audience participation and public engagement the public programs that end up produced by institutions tend to have a focus on groups and masses. My intentions, however, are to use these participatory forms to engage individuals.

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About the author

Tony Curran lectures in Art History and Media Arts at Charles Sturt University. He has completed a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) at Macquarie University, and a Masters of Art at COFA, University of New South Wales. In addition he has completed an Honours degree at Charles Sturt University in Fine Art and is currently undertaking a PhD at CSU. He has exhibited nationally and internationally in drawing, painting, installation and sound art. Through studio practice and written thesis, his research is an investigation into the body, the self and identity in art.