Critical Mobility

T-SAC for the BUS Projects pop-up performance Critical Mobility at Footscray train station in Melbourne...

T-SAC in Beijing

T-SAC in Beijing as a part of the Red Gate Gallery artist residency program...

T-SAC In Review

Trans-Siberian Arts Centre
In Review

We started the Trans-Siberian Arts Centre (T-SAC) as an idea that didn’t have much more genesis than a “Why not?” being laid on the pub table one night. (Pubs are important.) It developed as an opportunity for emerging artists of any background to get some airplay, for us to learn some skills in directing an arts organization and to add some interest and most importantly, fun, to the slow pace of life that ensues on Trans-Siberian train No.4 from Moscow to Beijing.

With a captive travelling audience aboard the train, T-SAC aimed to bring together a series of 3 exhibition projects for this audience to encounter from the 26th April- 2nd May 2011; an international open call postcard exhibition, a film and video exhibition by UK and Australian artists, and a series of performances by Australian artists that would be shown on the platforms the train stopped at en-route.

Presenting artworks from tangible postcard format to video to performances of mundane or everyday actions on railway platforms, we aimed to take a “something for everyone” approach to the arts centre. A question we have continually asked during this project has been “What is an arts centre?”. We wanted to test the boundaries of presenting a variety of art genres to a culturally diverse audience and see how enthusiastically this audience could respond to our project; engaging with art in an unexpected environment.

The Open Call postcard exhibition of works by 150+ artists made an impressive contribution to the project, covering the T-SAC cabin walls from floor to ceiling. In many ways, this particular exhibition was the easiest to access for audience members, whether they were enthusiastic and shot in to chat to us, shy and passing by to have a sneak peak, or a customs officer checking our passports at a border and being completely distracted by the works plastering the walls. Everyone can relate to a postcard. And the audience for this exhibition was as diverse as the postcards being exhibited.

The New Works: Australian and UK video Artists exhibition found a way to relate back to the passengers pacing up the train corridors and landscapes flashing past the cabin windows. Works such as “5…4…3…2…1” by Aaron Head encapsulated the ridiculous nature of time wasting and waiting for ‘something’ to happen. While Sarah Carne’s work “I Love My Yugo” took audience members into her beat up Yugo 45  (now an endangered species in the UK) to travel all the way from Britain to the Yugo manufacturing HQ, Serbia, to meet fellow Yugos.

All in all it’s fair to say that we were incredibly surprised by the relaxed nature of our Cabin attendants. (These are usually the people that stop you from doing things you’re not supposed to in and around the train. These are also the people that provide you with toilet paper in dire situations. So it’s best to keep them onside.) When it came to running an arts centre onboard the train without prior permission, we half expected that at some point we would be pulled up by an authoritative figure to halt certain parts of the project. In particular, we thought that this moment, if it were to arise, would almost certainly come during the filming of one of the Platform Performance works.

The Platform Performance series brought together a collection of works by Australian emerging artists which each involved simple or everyday actions. These were re-created by britt+jon, following the instructions of each artist at certain platforms and passengers were encouraged to interact and participate.

In true DIY arts centre form, some performances proved more difficult to execute than others within this particular public environment. Jesse Bullivant’s work “Cut Piece” was unable to be performed due to a cardboard box shortage along the train route (we weren’t about to nick the box an old lady was using as a table at one of the platform market stalls). “Cut Piece” is due to be performed this month in China at a venue TBA. Anastasia Klose’s work “Slapping” also brought challenges for both audience and performer. “Slapping” sees britt+jon stand face to face, one performer slaps the other as hard as possible until the other concedes by saying “stop”. The roles reverse, and the performance continues for as long as the two participants are able. After much consideration of the potential for this performance to cause cultural or social insult to a public audience in Russia, Mongolia or China, “Slapping” was performed and filmed within the T-SAC cabin. A test of each participant’s ability to bear physical and mental humiliation, this performance found the limits and relativity between two people.

Back out on the platforms, Danae Valenza’s “Handshake” created action the audience really responded to. From railway workers to cabin attendants and passengers, the simplicity of two people standing on a platform relentlessly shaking hands induced laughter and conversation between strangers watching on. Before long, passengers themselves began to get involved and shake hands next to us during performances.

Continuing on with these simple action performances, britt+jon created a series of separate works including “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and “Work No. 850 (Re-worked)”. The former saw a never-ending game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ played out on a Mongolian platform. With two players and no winner, the game was defunct as a competition and left only absurd signals interacting with each other in a similar nature to Valenza’s “Handshake”. “Work No. 850 (Re-worked)” saw Martin Creed’s “Work No.850” (where Creed employs runners to sprint through the Tate Britain galleries) reinterpreted for a platform environment. At intermittent points, britt+jon sprint across the length of the platform through the meandering public, tin soldier guards and market stalls in an action that is as out of place as a sprinter in a prestigious public gallery.

T-SAC aimed to brake down the seriousness of an "international exhibition" and the promotion of artists by bringing emerging art to an unsuspecting international audience in a down to earth and fun-filled manner.The variety and accessibility of works that were included in the T-SAC project meant that many of our audience members found something to enjoy. Even those for whom art was of no interest what so ever, at the very least came to have a chat. After all, a good chat can sometimes be just as influential as a cracking work of art.

 -Britt Salt, 2011

“its better to be honest about the fact that we don’t know exactly what we are doing, but we’re giving ourselves, our ideas and the work of as many artists as possible a chance to get a run and experiment, make some mistakes and hopefully end up knowing more than we did before about the possibilities that art has to integrate into different environments in unexpected ways.” (britt)

“what’s happened? i think we’ve created some questions. i reckon its worked. i reckon its failed. i’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. we didn’t know what we were doing, we still don’t, but f*** its worth a try!” (jon)

Many thanks to all the fantastic artists involved in the T-SAC project, in particular Danae Valenza for being our trusty Australian Curatorial Correspondent for the Platform Performance Series
We'd also like to thank Kath n Dave and Sue n Mark who never know quite what we're up to but are always up for getting involved.

Check out the T-SAC Footage page for more photos and ramblings from the project!


T-SAC in Action!

 T-SAC has arrived in Beijing and is finally able to access the blog. So over the next week we'll be bringing you the full low down on what happened at t-sac, including photos and films of  the exhibitions, performances and extracts from britt and jon's ramblings during the process. 


It's on!

T-SAC is about to launch onto the Trans-Siberian railway with their bag of treats as they unleash works by over 150 emerging artists. Check out our Program of Events to see what's going down!

With no wifi on board the train, T-SAC will be a little quieter than usual over the next two weeks. But never fear, we'll be bringing you all the action post-journey throughout May from Red Gate Gallery in Beijing.

Exciting times!

Above: Reverse of "Scripted Streets: Chapter 1, Bradford St. " postcard by Emily Warner and Harmeet Chagger-Khan.

Trans-Siberian Arts Centre
Feature Five  
Week Seven

White Walls between Silence Series

Chloe Lelliott (UK)

Based in Brighton UK, the deserted architectural spaces that Lelliott captures are strangely performative. 
 Laying silent, devoid of the events and inhabitants' actions that realise their functionality, these 
spaces are subverted, their true identities unknown.

Live TV

Angel Miov (MK)

Miov's practice mixes video, installation, performance and photography to explore ideas such as 
"the identity of the artist versus the identity of the artwork." How do the expressions of artist and 
artwork influence the identity of each? Based in Skopje, Miov's work was shown at the National 
Gallery of Macedonia as a part of the XIV Biennial of Young Artists from Europe 
and the Mediterranean (BJCEM).

More Info
Volumptuous Exterior

Ellyn Rose (AUS)

Currently based in Australia, Rose creates sculptural works that explore the stigma of illness and its ability to create a disjointed sense of self in the sufferer. From this state of being Rose's works begin to challenge the distinction between the beautiful and grotesque, believing that "man does not have a body, man is a body". 
Rose navigates these boundaries with humour and experimental media as her practice 
becomes increasingly concept driven.


Clean Crystal Clear

Maja Kirovska (MK)

Kirovska is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice is based in an exploration of the elements,
forces and equilibrium that construct the world and their nature of these structures to flip 
between stability and flux.

Untitled (Circle)

Adam Fearon (UK)

Based between Geneva and London, Fearon often uses himself as an active apparatus to create 
works which revolve around a preoccupation with repetition, participation and apparition.

Trans-Siberian Arts Centre
Feature Five  
Week Six

Grid No. 3

Marina Visic (CRO)

Based in Netherlands, Visic works within an ambivalence between the sensate world and 
formal minimalism. With an obsession for geometric pattern and modern architecture, her 
painted, drawn and photographic works evoke an undulating relativity between what is felt 
and measured in the world.

Untitled (Forest)

Mark McCullough (UK)

Based in London, McCullough's practice revolves around the exploitative possibilities 
of photographic processes. Using sculpture in conjunction with his pursuit to "exaggerate 
the flattening qualities inherent in photography", McCullough looks to bring the notion 
of the 'photograhic object' into question.
Amanda Brown (AUS)

Based in Western Australia, Brown uses a variety of photographic media to explore the identities 
of the environments she encounters by travelling to remote communities such as 'Pukatja' which 
borders South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Green Grass

Kate Hill (AUS)

Currently based in Melbourne, Hill's works are a fresh take on traditional print processes. 
She was recently awarded a Highly Commended prize at the Port Jackson Australia 
Graduate Print Award 2011. 


Benjamin Fox (UK)

 Working across sculpture, video, photography and animation, Fox's practice has a distinctly 
theatrical sensibility. Based in London, Fox uses this collage of elements to explore the 
adaptation of humans in urban environments

Kuna Yala Climate Change Refugees (Panama 2010)

Francesco Vicenzi (ITA)

Currently based in Melbourne, Vicenzi's works are as far reaching as the travel he undertakes 
to capture his subjects. With a strong sensibility for the ever-changing world, it is Vicenzi's political 
and cultural snapshots that seize a particularly arresting candor in his subjects.

Trans-Siberian Arts Centre
Feature Five  
Week Five

I Just Like It Here

Todd Anderson-Kunert (AUS)

Based in Melbourne, Anderson-Kunert employs photography and sound as he explores 
the dynamics of human interaction, states of mind and how this manifests psychologically 
within intimate relationships.

Lacuna Series 3

Wendy Tuxill (UK)

Tuxill's practice stems from her fluid investigation into the material possibilities of porcelain 
through process led sculptural drawings. With expressive, ordered and chaotic linear qualities, 
Tuxill's works emphasise the inherent ephemeral nature of liquid porcelain.

More Info
Untitled (Fruit)

Gemma Pardo (ESP)

Pardo uses video and photography to explore locations where human intervention and natural 
cycles coincide, transforming and revealing their intricacies over time.  Based in London, Pardo's 
captivating work has been emerging internationally following her selection for the 

Captive, Impossible

Adam Kite (UK)

 Drawing on elements of euclidean space and geometry, Kite's work investigates the ways that sight
as a projected phenomenon can influence the viewers perception. Using projection and photography, 
Kite's works create an illusive blur between perceived space and tactile object, encouraging 
the viewer to construct the spaces they encounter.


Isabel Infantes (ESP)

Based in London with a professional background in photography, Infantes searches everyday 
scenes for the figures and moments that go undetected in chaotic urban environments.

Trans-Siberian Arts Centre
Feature Five 
Week Four

" L"

Claire Barrett (UK)

With a recurring curiosity in how the natural world is structured by elements of limitation and the sublime, 
 Barrett creates landscapes that offer alternative spatial encounters.

borderland ii

Clyde McGill (AUS)

McGill is an interdisciplinary artist whose art comprises performance, video, drawing, 
photography, print, installation and artist books. His current interests include borders, 
politics, film, loss, writing, inside/outside, self portraiture, 
conversation, and language.

More Info
Ink and Paper 1, 2, 3

Heidi Kozar (AUS)

A recent graduate from the Victorian College of Arts in Melbourne, Kozar's practice 
is a subtle assertion of aquatint and woodblock print processes.

Forms to Freedom

Craig Burgess (AUS)

 Burgess works across disciplines such as photography, drawing and painting to 
investigate "dualism, division and frontiers." Based in Melbourne, his practice develops 
from an interest in exploring ideas that transcend form.

Untitled 01

Sam Still (USA)

Oscillating between dark/light, figure/ground, and negative/positive space, 
Still's large scale works invite viewers to linger. "Are these empty vessels, 
or spatial voids that contain one strange object?"- Sam Still