Plateau_589 was a collaborative, socially engaged art project occupying a disused shopfront on a faded high street in Melbourne Australia in 2007-8. It began by placing a call for expressions of interest through MySapce and local media outlets for artists, performers, thinkers to come and interact with the site, the street, the local neighborhood. We intended the space to be one of intervention, a space for punks. Nothing to buy, nothing to sell, no opening times, no advertising, undefined.

As artists, many of us were exploring possibilities for developing creative practice where the medium was social interaction and information flows as an inquiry into publicly constructed differences. We used the social as ‘form’ to appropriate and shift specific social structures. We were trying to reclaim space for ideas and people who may have been excluded from the norms of the local art and performance scene at the time. We sought to critique boundaries between public and private space, with boundaries becoming more porous and leaky.

“Throughout Plateau_589 we have dealt with art and culture not as a specialisation but as a social structure, with artists not as specialists, but as people who have positioned themselves within these structures in autonomous realms through which they have been granted and accept the permission to think because they identify themselves as artists. It was neither about amateur art, popular culture or community art in its guise as public art. It was not interested in either binary of the institutionalised value system of object based art. We aimed from the outset to deal with the attitude of the artist within the grammar of the multitude, or within a field of publicness.”

Participating artists include Jade Walsh, Jaguar Lacroix, Richard Higgins, Bonnie Lane, Christina Tester and Ennoia Neoptolemus.