THE OFFICIAL Volume 6, 2022

Andrew Lavery: The Historical Materialism of Urban Ruin in A Village Called Arncliffe 

Keywords: Urban ruin, contemporary art, historical materialism, modernity, gentrification

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This article explores the critical underpinnings of Australian artist Andrew Lavery’s artwork titled A Village Called Arncliffe (Lavery 2021). The text considers an artistic methodology that applies historical materialism's revelatory and emancipatory intent to an artwork exploring a Sydney suburb’s evolution and decay. Particular focus is given to ways in which the temporal dimensions of historical materialism are realised through walking tours, sculptural objects, photomontage and mirror. By discussing artistic methods aimed at revealing the distorted reality of capitalist modernity through a historical materialist lens, this article extends ways of thinking and working with urban ruin in contemporary art.


Malcom Bywaters: The Problem with Purpose: the Contemporary Monument 

Keywords: Monument, acknowledgement, memorial, memory, sculpture

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This article will argue that regardless of what physical form a community chooses to select, the contemporary monument must be a process of public discussion, perseverance, and tolerance. The paper explores the reappraisal of history associated with the commemorative monument now underway, and how this is challenged by a new generational change. With memorialisation we must ask the question of whom we are acknowledging, the victim, those remaining or perpetrator. The Sandy Hook massacre and Tuam Scandal are used as examples to explain a new type of media memorialisation. One now grounded within monetary return, community acknowledgement and global media interest


Sue Beyer: Digital Combines: A Metamodern Oscillation of Oppositional Objects and Concepts in Contemporary Interdisciplinary Art Practice

Keywords: Digital combine, metamodernism, interdisciplinary contemporary art, installation, new aesthetic

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This article examines the proposed genre of Digital Combines, first coined by interdisciplinary artist and educator Claudia Hart in 2021, and how it aligns with ideas that can be found in the currently evolving term known as Metamodernism. While contemporary visual artists have long used unusual juxtapositions in their art making and presentation of work to tell a story or examine a concept Digital Combines take this further by situating the physical, digital and the virtual in space using a combination of traditional, new media and blockchain smart contracts. In the recent exhibition We Are Data held at Box Gallery in Melbourne during August 2022, an exploration of this new genre was investigated through the use of a combination of traditional and new media. The outcome was an installation using a metamodern framework that contributed to a greater understanding of the present moment in contemporary culture. 


Shaun Wilson: Plague, Allegory, and Metamodernism as contemporary studio practice in Placing the Decameron

Keywords: Pandemic, Bocaccio, The Decameron, plague, COVID-19, contemporary art, painting, place

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As the first of two articles exploring how plague can be represented through allegorical art making, this article will seek to examine the logic of the metamodern to attest to ways of developing painting through a metamodernity from a topographical analysis of Boccaccio’s The Decameron. As defined as a structure of feeling, metamodernism has yielded a coming to terms with the current state of anxiousness and uncertainty to be congealed in an amalgam of what we now understand as a new sincerity. Representing this contextualisation will be a test case from artist Shaun Wilson’s ‘Placing the Decameron’ artist in residency online at the Fremantle Arts Centre between 2021 and 2022, and concluding in 2023. The artefacts produced within this body of knowledge developed a new way to approach metamodernist painting, and by this, contribute to a new way of understanding how artists can use allegory to situate new ways of representing the global health crisis in contemporary art.