Tag Archives: Adelaide Festival 2002

Public Art Action Coalition: Tarndanyungga Action

Public Art Action Coalition
Press Announcement
10 March 2002

On Saturday night, 9 March 2002, the Public Art Action Coalition removed 10 of the Victoria Square street signs in the heart of Adelaide and replaced them with signs reading Tarndanyungga.

The Public Art Action Coalition, a group of Adelaide and South Australian artists from diverse cultural backgrounds supported by national and international artists, is dedicated to new visions and possibilities for representation within the public sphere. This art action was inspired by the use of the name Tarndanyungga to describe this place during the Adelaide Festival 2002.

50% of the signs reading Victoria Square were replaced. Appropriate consultation was undertaken in regard to the use of the name Tarndanyungga. None of the signs replaced has been damaged in any way and they are being returned to the Adelaide City Council.




During the Adelaide Festival 2002, the centre of the Adelaide, known as Victoria Square, was called Tarndanyungga, by the organisers of the Festival for the duration of the event. This was in acknowledgment of the traditional Kaurna owners of this place, now known as the Adelaide plains.

Tarndanyungga was used as one of the key venues for the Adelaide Festival 2002.

The program began with the opening night event, Kaurna Palti Meyunna.

During the final concert in Tarndanyungga on March 9, 2002, Public Art Action Coalition undertook the action to replace 50% of the Victoria Square signs with signs reading Tarndanyungga.

Unfortunately, the Tarndanyungga signs were removed only days after they appeared and have never been reinstalled. The signs reading Victoria Square, which were anonymously returned to the Adelaide City Council, were reinstalled several weeks later The signposts remained blank for those weeks. (Presumably the Tarndanyungga signs are in a storeroom somewhere in the Adelaide City Council.)

On 27 May 2002, the Adelaide City Council passed a formal resolution to recognise both Tarndanungga and Victoria Square as names for the heart of the city of Adelaide. (see press release from 27 May 2002 “Council shows leadership in Aboriginal Reconciliation”)

At that stage no signage acknowledges this resolution.

It should be noted, however, that part of the history to these decisions was that the Adelaide City Council had established a Reconciliation Committee on 29 October 2001 (Agenda here) and have implemented a Reconciliation vision.

In 2001, the Adelaide City Council had announced Kaurna names for a number of unnamed parks surrounding the city. Unfortunately at that time, no places in the centre of the city were acknowledged as also having Kaurna names only parks on the periphery of the city.

(see press release from 14 November 2001 “Council shows leadership in Aboriginal Reconciliation”)

Photograph of Street Signage in the same location, 2011

Photograph of Street Signage in the same location, 2011

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Adelaide Festival 2002

Adelaide Festival 2002

Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 3.09.54 PMI was a member of the creative team (artistic directorate) responsible for developing program for the Adelaide Festival 2002.

Peter Sellars was the Artistic Director for the Festival. Associate Directors were: Angharad Wynne-Jones, Jonathan Parsons, Amanda McDonald Crowley, Lynette Wallworth, Waiata Telfer, Catherine Woolcock, Karl Telfer, Gay Bilson, Bridget Ikin.

The Festival was collaboratively programmed around the themes of Environmental Sustainability, the Right to Cultural Diversity, and Truth & Reconciliation.

Our intention was that the Festival be: “an opportunity to return to a primary experience of the function of art and culture. Putting the art back into culture, when culture functions as the imaginative space of society that actively engages in the issues and concerns of the day, celebrating the intangible, spiritual, epic nature of life. Fundamental to this function is process — in which artists and audiences contribute and participate — so that a point of performance or exhibition is experienced as one of many interfaces along a cultural journey.  Debate is an essential component of this process because the discussion of ideas, the exchange of information and expertise, creates imaginative space for art, culture and society to combine meaningfully, and makes work that is in constant dialogue with its audiences.”

The Adelaide Festival of Arts, established in 1960 is acknowledged as one of the world’s great arts festivals. 40 years on, our culture and our community are vastly more diverse, and new technologies and new demographics open fantastic new possibilities for wider and deeper levels of participation. “Dynamic and different, Adelaide Festival 2002 was about more than simply buying a ticket, taking your seat and waiting to be entertained. It was about embarking on someone else’s journey only to realise that it is your journey too, about being moved to act and respond.”

In truth while the Festival was wonderful and exhilarating, the journey was not an easy one. Peter Sellars was obliged to resign from the position of artistic director only four months before the Festival opened, and the decision of the associate directors to continue to realise the program was not straight forward. Already in an interview in the local newspaper, the Adelaide Advertiser in May 2001, Peter was quoted as saying “One of the things I’m sticking by is that this will be a festival of seeds and not trees . . . you will see the trees in 2010.” There were, in fact a number of outstanding programs. And there are a number of key legacies that the Festival arguably influenced, including: the establishment of a significant Film Festival in Adelaide; Indigenous welcomes are now standard at cultural events in Adelaide; the central square in Adelaide now has dual naming… Many of these things may have happened with time. I feel certain, however, that we also sowed some seeds for change.

Information is available for conVerge: where art and science meet, a program I co-curated for the Festival. I also have documentation of renaming project, Tarndanyungga, undertaken by a group of artists on the last night of the Festival. Little remains of the online presence for the Adelaide Festival 2002.

You can view the Festival Program from the image below:

You can view the Festival Program as a PDF here.
Or on issuu here.

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conVerge: where art + science meet

conVerge: where art + science meet

ConVerge was a project developed by the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Adelaide Festival 2002 that explored the nexus between art, science and technology and its creative expression and asks “what happens at these points of intersection?”

The project comprised:

2002 Adelaide Biennial of Australian ArtconVerge: where art and science meet, an exhibition which profiled a selection of work from Australian artists working with these themes in an exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

conVerge symposium: an opportunity to share ideas (at the Adelaide Festival 2002 and online) where opinions were expressedon: Image and Meaning, Knowledge Systems, Ecology, Genomics, Bioeconomics and Partnerships.

conVerge archive: a space for documenting projects, stimulating discussion and archiving conversations, email dialogues, hypotheticals, unrealisable projects, online discussions and forums.

Exhibiting artists: Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, Justine Cooper, Rebecca Cummins, Adam Donovan, Fiona Hall, Jason Hampton, Nigel Helyer, Joyce Hinterding, Jon McCormack, Mangkaja artists, Patricia Piccinini, Lynne Sanderson, Mari Velonaki, Martin Walch.

conVerge curatorial working group comprised: Linda Cooper and Amanda McDonald Crowley, co-chairs. Jenny Fraser, Victoria Lynn, Karl Telfer, Sarah Thomas, Lynette Wallworth, Angharad Wynne-Jones.

Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr, Pig Wings, 2002

Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr, Pig Wings, 2002

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