ART-traction: The Art of Capturing the Ephemeral

This week marks the last week of PUBLIC OFFER- Ways to share design. In short, the exhibition at RMIT’s Design Hub Project Rooms is a marvel.

Divided into two wings, the exhibition features an extensive collection of print archives that chart 60 years of design publishing in Melbourne. Descending the Victoria Street fronted slope into the underbelly of the Design Hub, Project Room 1 presents

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itself as a triumph of publishing.

The space is defined my gymnasium apparatus. A basketball hoop overlooks the concourse while Olympic rings string line the parameters of the display. This columnist interpreted the effect to represent the plain exertion involved in launching a publication. The multiple titles on show are tomes of passion, the tangible product of many late nights by their editorial and design teams whether supported by a budget, or struggling off a shoe string.

It’s a medium absolutely deserving of an exhibition as art.

The PUBLIC OFFER catalogue elegantly charts the importance of the magazines and the critical role they play as a public forum. These titles established themselves to communicate a voice unrepresented, in some cases they defined a group and shaped a movement.

Project Room 2 invites the viewer to enter a passage way of dialogue. Different voices are featured along a line of projected interviews. Conversations complimenting the parallel exhibition are audible via attached headphones. It’s a quiet space of reflection where the meditations of tactile sharing of design is highlighted by more elusive mediums of speech and concept.

There is a

vast variety on show with titles differing in format, frequency, language and longevity.

The last point is of particular note.

Whether the publications thrived or dissolved Edition One is a precious example of the desire to communicate something unique.

“Just read the editorials of issue number one or the initial postings of each publication, regardless of the discipline, and you will discover that the public offer is made in clear terms: the thirst to engage.” Timothy Moore and Kate Rhodes, PUBLIC OFFER Catalogue, 2013.

While PUBLIC OFFER closes this Wednesday March 27, the launch of a new independent design title, Mr. Wolf magazine will be celebrated the next day on March 28. It will be interesting to see if the emotional investment in print will prove as compelling in the current landscape, pessimistic to the values of paper mediums as it has over the life time of PUBLIC OFFER’s publications.

Fantastic new space. Fantastic exhibition. Go.

PUBLIC OFFER runs until March 27, RMIT Building 100, Corner Victoria and Swanston Streets, Carlton. Entry is free.

Mr. Wolf Magazine launches March 28, Strange Wolf Bar, Strachan Lane, Melbourne at 7pm. Tickets are $10 on the door.

Laura Phillips


Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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