Saturday 29 July 2006 at 4pm

Curator Jo Holder talks to the artists about their work in Utopia Limited and how it relates to the themes of the Biennale of Sydney.

Utopia Limited adapts the 'Zones of Contact' theme of the Biennale of Sydney to question its host city, a place where lifestyle is pathological and the charm of the surface rests on uneasy exclusions. These artists engage with the notion of urban landscape as historic archive. A politics of landscape based on entry or exclusion is brought home.

Fiona MacDonald looks at hybrid forms, seeing a Wandjina spirit in an exclusive enclave. Sue Pedley creates an ambiguous photographic portrait gallery of her neighbours. Phaptawan Suwannakudt uses Thai high religious painting to contemplate everyday notions of public and private space. Deborah Vaughan shows how education and  military institutions mutate. Quick as a wink, post-war welcome becomes Cold War detention.

For Zones of Contact: 2006 Biennale of Sydney artistic director Charles Merewether brings together artists with an emphasis on the specific operational zones (East Europe, Middle East and the Balkans). The artists draw from and describe a central character, a dissonant and fractured subject who inhabits these volatile zones of contact. Oscillation between the general and the specific, global and vernacular cultures, North and South economies is this Biennales modus operandi. The aim is to prompt a consideration of where we stand, and simultaneously help us to understand unequal contests over specific localities and peoples elsewhere.

Notwithstanding, it can be difficult to anchor international artists' work to the local context. Local artists and curators have argued that specialist audiences and communities can help anchor and mediate these complex arguments, bringing them home so to speak. The speakers will consider questions of location, community and audience.

More Information

Biennale of Sydney information at
August Biennale Symposium Friday 11 and Saturday 12 with Arabic Perspectives on Sunday 13 August.

Fiona MacDonald
Dream Home, Fiona MacDonald and Susan Norrie curated by Ricky Subritzky at Gfineart, Washington DC.
Catalogue at

Review in Washington Post by Jessica Dawson, 'Painting a New Visual Vocabulary', go to

Sue Pedley
Eichigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2006:

Phaptawan Suwannakudt

Deborah Vaughan

Related Talks

Sydney Futures Twilight Symposia, June 2006 to March 2007. The University of Technology Sydney sponsors six twilight symposia focusing on critical issues in the city's future. The symposia are held every six weeks or so, with the final event a free public forum 2 weeks out from the March 2007 state election. ‘Keeping the local in the global city’, 6 July 2006. Chair: Glen Searle (UTS) with Genia McCaffrey (mayor, North Sydney Council); Stephen McMahon (Inspire Planning); Michael Neustein (Neustein Urban).
Venue: UTS, City - Broadway. T: 9514 9933.