Review of Impact 8 Conference


The University of Dundee, Scotland, played host in late August to this year’s global printmaking conference, IMPACT8.  The east coast of Scotland at the end of Summer provided beautiful weather for delegates including a large contingent of Australians who presented papers, exhibitions or folios or just enjoyed all of the above, possibly because IMPACT7 was hosted by Monash University in Melbourne and many of us who were there wanted more.

Although the conference title ‘Borders and Crossings: the artist as explorer’  promised to explore the many aspects of print practice, for this delegate, two main themes dominated the series of parallel sessions, new technologies in the form of 3D Printing, and Appropriation particularly through the by now naturalised practice of ‘cut and paste’.  The latter culminated in an hilarious mock-forum cum performance “Appropriate appropriations” by panelists dressed as Albrecht Durer, Berthe Morisot, Andy Wahol and Jeff Koon. You can read more on the themes on the IMPACT8 homepage.

Diversity was to be found in the keynote addresses each day, from the generational Publishing family of DC Thompson, to International artist Suzanne Anker whose work crosses the boundaries of science and art, and Richard DeMarco’s account of his association with Joseph Beuys. Of the many exhibitions and exhibitors, exceptional were the linocuts of Sean Caulfield, Centennial Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta.

The conference wrapped up with a céilidh (pronounced kay-lee) a traditional Gaelic celebration of food and dance. Whilst the food was under-catered and uninspiring, the Scottish Whiskey welcome and old-time highland dance band had the crowd flinging arms and flying feet with the kilted local males and stylish young females, a fitting closure that left one quite appreciative of Scottish culture and a thirst to explore more.

Written by Donna Foley