Wax on, Wax off: Exercises in thinking and action

Johnnie Dady, Roy Ananda
2015 Conference

This paper details a collaborative teaching model used to deliver the Site-Specific Sculpture elective unit offered within Adelaide Central School of Art’s BVA program. Over the course of a five-day intensive component overseen by two lecturers, students undertake work in the field, using only materials sourced from the site. The collaborative aspect of the unit manifests not only in the ‘team teaching’ model but also in the projects themselves, many of which are designed for groups of two or more students. The purpose of the field trip is to develop agility in the act of thinking and action. The structure of the week is built around three-hour blocks, the project brief being delivered in the first fifteen minutes of each block. With no prior planning, works have to be conceived and carried out in the given time-frame. This strategy deliberately collides thinking more overtly with material investigation, as an alternative to making work that is planned prior to its physical realisation. Thus, new ideas and approaches might be generated through interaction with a material, thing or place. In keeping with this sensibility, we design a series of open-ended projects that guide the structure of the field trip, however final decisions about the specific conditions for projects are made on-site. As lecturers we are only one step ahead of any particular event, allowing us to be more responsive to circumstances as they unfold and to some degree putting us on an equal footing of ‘risk’ with the students.

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About the author

Johnnie Dady trained in both the United Kingdom and Australia, primarily in sculpture. His work is concerned with the three-dimensional and time-based possibilities of drawing. He lectures in both sculpture and drawing at Adelaide Central School of Art and has conducted projects in both visual art and design at various institutions. Since 1990 Dady has exhibited extensively as well as developing performance, site-specific projects and collaborative works. He has undertaken public sculpture, design commissions and film design. He was awarded a Mid-Career Fellowship by Arts SA and was granted the Australia Council studios in London and Rome.

Roy Ananda is a South Australian artist, writer and educator. He has been actively exhibiting since 2001, creating objects, drawings, installations and videos that variously celebrate pop-culture fandom, play, process and the very act of making. He has lectured at Adelaide Central School of Art for over ten years and is currently undertaking postgraduate research at the University of South Australia’s School of Art, Architecture and Design with a particular focus on the intersection of speculative fiction, fandom and contemporary art practice.