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Meet Your Maker: Alycia Bennett and Negative Space

Meet Your Maker: Alycia Bennett and Negative Space

One of the things that artists most require is the space to experiment, think and collaborate. The Minor Works Building nestled between Sturt St and Wright St offers just that.

Owned by City of Adelaide, it is a two-storey warehouse built for the City Engineer’s Department in 1939.

Totally renovated in 2015, Minor Works is now a multi-purpose building for use by artists, local communities and residents of the adjacent Ergo apartments. It is a versatile space and ideal for the 2019 SALA collaborative artist residency ‘Negative Space’.

A member of the collaborative group, Adelaide-based Alycia Bennett, has visited the Philippines several times and is inspired by the DIY arts and community hubs known as Info-Shops. These spaces are where artists, activists, musicians and locals meet to share skills, resources, ideas and food.

Screen Printing workshop, Negative Space, Guildhouse Artworks Residency, Minor works building, Adelaide, July 2019.
Guildhouse Artworks Residency at Minor Works building, Adelaide, June 2019

Bennett says, “The culture of sharing is quite different, it’s not about the individual. Many artspaces in the Philippines are centred around social engagement, uniting community through collective action.”

Together with guest artists from Australia, the Philippines and South- East Asia, Bennett is recreating an Info-Shop in the Minor Works Building. ‘Negative Space’ is focused on process, conversations, making work and bringing people together. Local residents are invited to take part in sewing and print-making workshops, to cook and eat together and to get to know each other.

There is also a focus on sharing goods; the ‘really, really, free market’ is where visitors can contribute and take something for free. The collaborators are keen to give back to the community and Filipino artist Orlando Castillo Jr facilitated a free street self-defence movement class in Whitmore Square.

Infoshop, Negative Space, Guildhouse Artworks Residency, Minor works building, Adelaide, June-Sept 2019
Infoshop, Negative Space, Guildhouse Artworks Residency, Minor Works building, Adelaide, June-Sept 2019

Bennett does not want to categorise her practice, as she works across mediums including installation, sculpture, video, liveness, social practice and sound. She says, “I like not being trapped to one medium. I have a lot of ideas and it’s exciting to let chance happen.”

The aim of ‘Negative Space’ is to establish an Info-Shop in Adelaide, with this first ‘test-run’ supported by the ART WORKS residency program run by Guildhouse and City of Adelaide.

“Our project was accepted because of its public engagement and contribution to the area,” Bennett says. “It’s not my project, it’s a collaboration between artists and community everywhere, Adelaide, the Philippines and beyond.”

Guildhouse is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting South Australia visual artist, craftspeople and designers to develop and maintain sustainable careers.

The Adelaide Review is a media partner of Guildhouse.

guildhouse.org.au

Header image:
Crafternoon, Negative Space, Guildhouse Artworks Residency, Minor works building, Adelaide, July 2019

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