Tao Wells

L'Institution Diabolique (2011)

5 minutes, 59 secondsSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

A video shot at the symposium Where Art Belongs/Exhibitions As Mediums (Massey University School of Fine Arts, Wellington, 2011). Primarily the video shows Tao Wells speaking, sometimes in response to the moderator Heather Galbraith and members of the audience. Other panellists seen include Martin Patrick, Bryce Galloway, Chris Krauss, Caterina Riva, Stuart Shepherd.

The video begins with an onscreen text quote attributed to Tao Wells—“The privillege and responsibility of the middle-class is to be avant-garde”.

The camera cuts to inside a lecture hall where we hear a speaker (later seen to be Heather Galbraith) introducing a panel while someone near the camera coughs. An onscreen title reads—“L’Institution Diabolique For The Lulz”.

Cut to a seated panel in a lecture theatre. Stuart Shepard introduces the topic of ‘Citizenship and Participation’ and the question of “having a platform to respond, and having the confidence”.

Cut to Wells who discusses the relationship between Universities, the Art World and democracy. “Our leading artists who are professors are going to Venice and are only known as artists… these people are paid state intellectuals and they’re not known publicly as that… which means there’s no representation at the front lines of people trying to defend democracy”.

Heather Galbraith cites the artwork of Michael Parekowhai. Wells answers that he is not questioning the art, only the fullness of artists role in public life—”Do the public know that this person is state-paid intellectual? No they don’t.”

At 4 minutes an onscreen title says END OF TAPE 1. Discussion continues about Parekowhai. Wells says “To be at University you need to be a critic or conscience of society”.

Last onscreen title reads ‘D & T Wells Group 2011’.

Other works by Tao Wells

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