How does one look at an artwork efficiently? How does one make work efficiently, transmit ideas with the minimum amount of noise, or read a poem in a labour-saving or cost-effective way? More imperatively—why would anybody mistake this for a good idea?
Earlier this year, emerging artist and writer Matilda Fraser, recipient of the Blue Oyster Art Project Space Summer Writing Residency, spent six weeks in Dunedin developing a long form text responding to the question “is criticism still relevant?”
Against Efficiency and other texts expands, rethinks, and inverts this question, examining the value-exchange systems surrounding present modes of critique, while posing new questions around how we address art, even if it doesn’t always address us.
This suite of texts is the first long-form essay to be published in bespoke web format by The Lumière Reader, which as a Residency partner provided publishing support along with mentorship from editor Tim Wong in tandem with Blue Oyster director Chloe Geoghegan.
It is also the first of more long-form and experimental collaborative projects planned for this website; among them, a web series of original essay films and digital documentaries set for release in June 2015, made with funding from NZ On Air.
For the Blue Oyster, it is the inaugural special edition of a new biannual Online Publications initiative thanks to the renewed support of the programme from Creative New Zealand.
Both organisations recognised a shared opportunity to foster creative and critically engaged writing practices around contemporary art by offering this Residency in collaboration. Thanks to those who supported this initiative, in particular to Steve and Morag at Aquinas College for their interest and investment in the Residency; the other high quality applicants; and our selection panel, which consisted of the Blue Oyster Arts Trustees as well as Thomasin Sleigh and Lynley Edmeades.