Thursday, 22 July 2010

A Two Month Artistic Blind Date

Renee Liang is a woman who hunts for hidden stories. In her work as a paediatrician she looks for the story underlying why a patient has come to see her; as a playwright and poet she looks for stories running underneath our everyday lives. Renee is also a matchmaker for creative practitioners, and together with her colleagues Christian Jensen, Rosetta Allan, James Allan and Meng Koach she is part of the crew who are organising Metonomy. Friends Hannah May Thompson and Makyla Curtis were part of the original group who dreamed up Metonymy after seeing how such a project could spark up their community.

Metonomy matches visual artists and literary artists to collaborate on a project combining both their talents. The vision is to connect people together across genres, and expose creative practitioners to new ideas and practices. All of this is within a context that is fun, informal and as much about building long term relationships as it is about ‘producing’ quality output. There are some added incentives to commiting to the project, however: a chance to get selected for the 6 -week long visual arts exhbition at Corbans Estate Arts Centre, and to perform works at a number of events within that time period. All these events are recognised as part of Going West Festival.

Metonomy evolved out of a conversation between friends over a coffee, and now, with small amounts of funding and sponsorship, it is in its 3rd successful year. There are currently 56 ‘couples’ working together on interdisciplinary projects. According to Renee, about 90% of these couples will complete the two month working period and go on to display work, publish or perform. The idea is that at the end they will have created a work of exhibition quality, but, perhaps more importantly, they will have learnt from each other and formed partnerships that last well beyond the exhibition process.

And what makes a successful collaboration? According to Renee it is a combination of generosity and open-mindedness. You need to be open to new ideas and to trying something outside your field of expertise. You must also be willing to share – which in today’s paranoid and scarcity based environment takes a great deal of courage. The most successful partnerships involve each person in the partnership stepping outside of their traditional professions and playing in the space between their respective worlds.

Metonomy has evolved into a well regarded, innovative, inclusive and generative project. Support their vision and see the exhibition at Corban Estate Art Centre (Auckland, NZ) 2 September to 16th October, 2010.

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