Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab
In 2016, the inaugural Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab provided time, space and interaction with leaders in the public art field, as well as financial assistance for artists to explore, investigate and create new ideas for temporary public art in Melbourne. The Biennial Lab offered dedicated creative development for eight early mid-career artists and groups across all art forms to create place responsive works that responded to a significant city site. While anchoring the curatorial framework, the proposition What happens now? offered an open-ended inquiry and the prospect of imagining new possibilities. By asking about ‘now’, artists interrogated the multi-layered and contested history of the Biennial Lab site: Queen Victoria Market. Established in 1878 as part of the Council’s mandate to manage Melbourne’s consortium of markets, the Market also resides on one of Melbourne’s earliest cemeteries. Queen Victoria Market provided a place to imagine the traces of Indigenous, mercantile, migratory and colonial histories that are embedded in the site.
From elaborate and evocative installations to intimate moments of human connection, a suite of eight temporary new works shared some of the market’s secrets and stories over a calendar week, complemented by artist’s talks, performances, happenings and song.