The Bureau of Writing

Artists. Andrew Brooks, Astrid Lorange, Benjamin Forster, Beth Caird and Aodhan Madden, Kelly Fliedner, Sarah Rodigari

Organisations. Artspace, The Biennale of Sydney

Year: 2016

The Bureau of Writing was a collaborative writing program for artists presented alongside the 20th Biennale of Sydney in association with Artspace, Sydney.

The program aimed to highlight emerging or underrepresented practices in art and writing, inspired by ideas such as ‘in-betweeness’, the blurring of traditional boundaries between art forms, key concepts of the 20th Biennale of Sydney theme The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.

Increasingly, visual artists are working collaboratively and on the fringes of other disciplines with contemporary writing practices merging genres and engaging with virtual and physical spaces. The Bureau of Writing hoped to encourage these conversations and explore the ways that different disciplines fold into contemporary writing. The program had an open-ended outcome with the intention for new work to be presented and published as part of the official program of the 20th Biennale of Sydney.

A major component of the program was Flexing Muscle: Gerry Bibby and The Bureau of Writing. This series of workshops took encounter as its point of entry/exit and was housed in a specially built structure in the Ideas Platform at Artspace. These workshops posed questions such as how might writing constitute performance? How has our understanding of text been changed through experimental, performative, feminist, queer and ficto-critical writing practices? What online spaces and methods are being used for writing today?

The Bureau of Writing participants were: Andrew Brooks, Beth Caird and Aodhan Madden, Kelly Fliedner, Benjamin Forster, Astrid Lorange, and Sarah Rodigari.

Eileen Myles gave a poetry reading on 25 May 2016 at Artspace. Eileen Myles is an acclaimed poet, writer, performer and commentator. In 1992 she ran a write-in campaign for President of the United States. She is the author of nineteen books, with her novel Chelsea Girls gaining mainstream success in recent years.

The program also included a screening of Writing Not Yet Thought: Hélène Cixous with Adrian Heathfield introduced by 20th Biennale of Sydney Creative Director Stephanie Rosenthal and Adrian Heathfield. Herman Chong presented a workshop, Anna Gibbs gave a talk about Performative Writing and Adrian Heathfield facilitated an online forum.

The publication with a body always but but still drying was created and a small run printed, it is also available in pdf form to download.

The Keir Foundation is delighted to have supported this dynamic project.