by Lucas Ihlein
Lucas Ihlein is an artist and member of Big Fag Press and Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation.
It’s now been five weeks since EXTRA!EXTRA! was born. Throughout the entire lifespan of the newspaper, Sydney has been enveloped in a pall of bushfire smoke, the intensity of which has never been seen before in this city. The location of our pressroom within the bowels of the Art Gallery of NSW in the heart of Sydney means our focus has spiraled out from the Making Art Public exhibition to encompass pressing issues in the wider world, including climate change, land rights and social justice. This week in the paper, Wendy Bacon covers the important and problematic dismissal of Aboriginal academic Tess Allas from University of NSW Art and Design. As Bacon demonstrates, as well as being an accomplished curator, Allas has made a crucial contribution to the pastoral care and education of Indigenous and minority students over many years, and serious questions are raised about the process of this dismissal.
In Edition 5 we continue our investigation of the relationship between art and journalism with a story on award-winning photojournalist Lorrie Graham, whose work is featured on the cover of the paper. Lorrie’s moving photos of the community’s battle to block the West-Connex roadway in Sydney will be shown in our pressroom until the end of our residency at the AGNSW. Her documentation of the activists’ wrapping of condemned trees is eerily reminiscent of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Two Wrapped Trees from 1969.
Finally, this week we were joined in the EXTRA!EXTRA! newsroom by visiting Canberra artists Caren Florence and Shags. Both are accomplished printmakers, and relished the opportunity to be artists-in-residence within the Making Art Public exhibition. Their graphic pieces created in response to the exhibition are offered as a bonus liftout in this edition of the paper.
We’ve loved working on EXTRA!EXTRA! and now that our tenure in the Kaldor Studio is coming to a close, we’d like to thank Kaldor Public Art Projects and the Art Gallery of NSW for accommodating our rambunctious and energetic team of artists, designers and journalists. As I mentioned in my Editorial in week 1, none of us have ever done anything quite like this before. Now that we’re at the end of the process, having accomplished our goal of creating a weekly newspaper as a work of live art, we can see enormous potential for this model. Long-live journalism as an ever-evolving, context-specific artform!