About



Make or Break devise and experiment with process-based projects that are co-authored with communities we are invited into. These have included creating experimental economies and temporary currencies; caring for civic spaces and the ‘non-human’; celebrating the labour of strangers; prototyping for future worlds; writing speculative fiction and facilitating conversations as collective research. 

You can expect us to make...

sprawling projects // open-ended conversation // cups of tea // slow decisions // impassioned critique // institutions uncomfortable // matching onesies // books // snacks // curiosity seem like a job.

Make or Break is Rebecca Gallo and Connie Anthes, who work and live on the stolen lands of the Gadigal, Bidjigal and Burramattagal people in Sydney, Australia. We acknowledge First Nations sovereignty and their continuing care for Country, Sky, and Water. We are committed to paying the rent as a form of reparations on all our Australian projects.





CONTACT
︎ makeorbreakart [at] gmail.com
︎ ︎


︎ Terms of Engagement 

This is a new document we are experimenting with to build more equitable and respectful working relationships with commissioning organisations and people. It outlines how we like to work, and what we expect in return.  


︎ In the Media
PROJECTS by MAKE OR BREAK





Image: Make or Break, The Department of Non-Human Resources: River Procession, 2021, photo by Lucy Parakhina.
DEPARTMENT OF NON-HUMAN RESOURCES (DONHR)

DONHR subjects the gallery space to a collective rethinking, examining its relationship to consumption, waste, knowledge production, cycles of nature and community needs. This participatory project invites speculation and observation from non-human perspectives — such as a river, soil, plant or insect — in order to learn from systems and materials and establish new ways of thinking and being together. We ask (and attempt to answer) questions of sustainability and sustainment for uncertain futures.

In its first iteration, Make or Break worked on Bundjalung Country in Lismore with local communities, creating collective moments of future speculation, manifested through writing, planting, prototyping, reading together, walking and storytelling.

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Started: 2021

Time/Labour: ︎︎︎︎︎


Thanks to: Gabrielle Chantiri, Sigrid Macdonald, Mark Dunphy, Kylie Caldwell, Holly Ahern, Max Nimmo, Asphyxia, Dr Hanabeth Luke, Sara Schmude


environment // waste // critique // community // non-human // observation // systems // futures



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Image: Make or Break, Ghost Notes, 2021, installation with text, algorithms, LED tickers, controller boards, and unidentified wrapped archival objects from the Fairfield City Heritage Collection. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy of Document Photography.
GHOST NOTES

When an object or record enters a collection, it is catalogued, and removed from context and use. We are left with a series of textual stand-ins: lists of numbers and words that are supposed to correspond to or encapsulate the category, location, content and cultural value of an archive or object.

In musical notation, a ghost note occupies space within a score, but its details are stripped away to the point of near silence. Ghost Notes responds to museum and other institutional digital archives. Mimicking the action of time on this particular museum collection, and exposing the role of language in erasing the objects they seek to preserve.

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Started: 2021 

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Thanks to: Julian Berengut (programming), Wilson Wu (LED tech)


time // text // collection // critique // memory // erasure


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Image: Nicole Monks and Make or Break, nganggurnmanha : sound dust, 2020, performance image featuring Ivey Wawn, photo by Jacquie Manning.
nganggurnmanha : sound dust (IN COLLABORATION WITH NICOLE MONKS)

nganggurnmanha : sound dust
challenges audiences to listen deeply to the natural world and find ways to inhabit time differently. Responding to First Nations and Western concepts of time, nganggurnmanha : sound dust is an exploration of how time intertwines with nature, the body and seasonal shifts; and how our time is valued. nganggurnmanha : sound dust activates ‘deep time’ and reawakens body memories carried across generations, like tree roots pushing and stretching through strata, or rocks compressing over millennia.

The artists collected ‘sound dust’ fragments: field recordings contributed by local audiences in response to instructions for a ritual of listening, forming an alternate archive of now.  

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Started: 2020

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Collaborators: Nicole Monks (co-lead), Gwen Taualai (sound technologist), Ndidi Alaneme (programming), Yolanda Lowatta & Ivey Wawn (performers), James King (costumes)


sound // listening // time // archive // instruction // moment // performance // instrument // body // space


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Image: Make or Break, Care for Bridges, 2020, image courtesy of Make or Break.
CARE FOR BRIDGES

Care for Bridges proposes acts of care for infrastructure in shared, civic space. The public is invited to gather in small groups on public bridges, where bodies and vehicles pass over roads, valleys or bodies of water, and closely observe what kinds of care, maintenance or attention these structures might need. Through undertaking acts of care, we reshape — gradually and incrementally — the relations of bodies and worlds, and the water that passes between, beneath and through.

Writers are commissioned to produce short speculative fictions that act as portals through which the work can be entered. Each story becomes a lens to see a place in a new way; a gentle prompt; a mental warm up for an action audiences are asked to perform. 

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Started: 2020

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Writers and translators: Sarah Rodigari, Sarah Goffman, Sophea Lerner, Tom Gill, ArtLabOva, Make or Break, Masayuki Kawai, Sumi Hayashi, with special thanks to Aki Hoashi.


bridge // care // time // archive // water // salt // labour // instruction // digital // sculpture // infrastructure


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Image: Make or Break, Every Thing You Think You Know, 2020, billboard erasure project, photo by Ella Sowinska.
EVERY THING YOU THINK YOU KNOW

Every Thing You Think You Know is a public billboard erasure project. An unbranded billboard message is slowly redacted, with a letter removed daily over a period of weeks, creating a range of readings and meanings. This unidentified message was designed to be experienced incidentally, to create a moment of confusion or curiosity; a small intensity.

This project first unfolded in Naarm/Melbourne in May 2020 as part of Next Wave Festival's Assemble! Program. During Covid-19 lockdowns, Make or Break commissioned local artist, DJ and performer Niveen Abdelatty to visit the billboard daily and paste over its message one letter at a time.

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Started: 2020

Time/Labour: ︎ 


Thanks to: Niveen Abdelatty


billboard // erasure // text // knowledge // instruction


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Image: Screenshot of Make or Break’s contribution to Rituals for Renewal.
RITUALS FOR RENEWAL

An online project curated by Tian Zhang, Rituals for Renewal asks artists to create responses to a period of isolation, and the introspection and reflection that this may bring. As the world begins to re-open (and re-close and re-open), and the old ways are called into question, how might rituals help us to re-imagine ourselves, our communities and our world, and ground these imaginings into practice?

Make or Break shared a collection of textual and video reflections on the idea of bridges. 

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Started: 2020

Time/Labour:︎


time // slow // observation // video // text // portal


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Image: Screenshot of the Next Wave Festival 2020 launch, with Make or Break’s Hyperlocal Headlines ticker, picturing speaker Libby Harward.
HYPERLOCAL HEADLINES

Hyperlocal Headlines are sourced from the personal and daily domestic observations and revelations of the general public, and uploaded to a series of digital news tickers or billboards in prominent public spaces. Contributors are invited via a targeted invitation or standalone website to submit observations from their front windows, bedroom, backyard or local street in the form of news-style headlines, that when combination build a delightfully detailed and offbeat picture of the hyperlocal.

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Started: 2020 

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time // text // crowdsource // observation // media // local // citizen // journalism


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Image: courtesy of Make or Break and Despoinas Coven.
WRITING THE FEMINIST INTERNET (IN COLLABORATION WITH DESPOINAS COVEN)

Writing the Feminist Internet is a collaborative, generative, online ‘writing with’ session, where contributors respond — collaboratively and in real-time — to a text drafted by artist and academic Nancy Mauro-Flude in 2018. This text suggests a series of principles and lores for a Feminist Internet within ten working points. Participants meet online to write their own version of this manifesto, riffing off, reimagining, rejecting or rephrasing the original text live in a single open document.

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Started: 2020

Time/Labour: ︎


Collaborators: Despoinas Coven (Nancy Mauro-Flude, Nicole Brimmer)


feminist // text // digital // open // source // internet // manifesto


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Image: Courtesy of Make or Break.
LOVE LETTERS

Make or Break often writes with, to and about its projects. Mostly this is for their own process and thinking-through. In May 2020, a series of speculative letters to a project were published on Witness, a forum for independent critique and debate about the Australian performing arts that operated from 2017 - June 2021.

Make or Break had planned to debut an ambitious project as part of Naarm/Melbourne’s Next Wave Festival 2020. When the project was cancelled due to Covid-19, the artists began writing speculative letters between themselves and the project as a kind of grief therapy for an unrealised and unrealisable project.

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Started: 2020 

Time/Labour:︎


writing // thinking // grief // love // letter


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Image: Make or Break, Influence Operation, 2019, installation view at Campbelltown Art Centre, photo by Document Photography.
INFLUENCE OPERATION

Information operations and warfare, also known as 'influence operations', describes the collection of tactical information about an adversary as well as the dissemination of propaganda in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent. It is now broadly associated with the use of (mis)information to achieve strategic, financial, cultural or political influence and, in some cases, change the outcomes of elections, policy and public perceptions.

How might artists and citizens participate in and ‘hack’ how information is gathered and broadcast, in the same ways that corporations and governments are already (legally) doing?

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Started: 2019

Time/Labour:︎︎︎︎


Thanks to: Benjamin Foster, Chris Nash, Gwen Taualai, Ian Milliss, Ben Barnes, Luke Bacon


influence // operation // media // news // cycle // citizen // journalism // subversive // power // technology


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Image: Make or Break, Institutional Waste #1, 2020, installation view at Artspace, photo by Zan Wimberley.
INSTITUTIONAL WASTE

Institutional Waste is an ongoing investigation into waste processes in cultural institutions, and how this intersects with their complicated relationship with waged labour. The arts sector is often described as an ecosystem, suggesting that there are material and immaterial flows between institutions. Waste management is one way that these flows — or lack thereof — can be considered and critiqued. 

Rehoming exhibition waste with smaller institutions or artist-run initiatives is one way to ‘reorganise the spreadsheet’ and support the rest of the sector, free up funds to pay artists a living wage and reduce landfill at a time of intensifying climate crisis. 

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Started: 2019

Time/Labour: ︎︎︎


Thanks to: Luke Bacon, Miška Mandić, Del Lumanta


environment // waste // redistribution // reuse // activism // institutional // critique // letters // installation // video


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Image courtesy of Make or Break and Ruin Press.
TO ALL THE WOMEN OF KYNETON [BOOK]

This book brings together more than 60 community responses to Make or Break’s monuments survey as part of Unveilings for the inaugural Kyneton Contemporary Art Triennial.

For ten days in 2018, Make or Break asked female-identifying people in the Victorian town of Kyneton to propose a public artwork, monument or memorial for the town via an anonymous paper survey. The surveys were collected and displayed in a main street shop window, together with a series of live ‘unveiling' performances at secret locations around the town.

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Published 2019
Printed in Australia.
ISBN
978-0-6485808-0-5

First edition limited to 150 copies. 88 pages perfect bound.

Order online at Ruin Press $25.00 + shipping


Thanks to: Angela Garrick (Ruin Press), Katy B. Plummer and Sarah Rodigari (for their beautiful performances at the Sydney book launch), and everyone who filled out a survey.


book // publish // survey


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Image: Make or Break, Unveilings, 2018, performance still at Kyneton Contemporary Art Triennial, photo by Susan Gould.

UNVEILINGS

In Australia, there are more statues of animals and oversized fruit than there are memorials to (or about) women, and only a tiny fraction of public statues in Australia honour non-fictional, non-royal women: the vast majority honour dead, white men. Unveilings attempts to reverse this imbalance.

First commissioned in the rural town of Kyneton, Victoria, Make or Break survey female-identifying people to propose a public artwork, monument or memorial for their town. Anonymous paper surveys are collected and displayed in a main street shop window, and several are selected for further research by the artists, culminating in a series of walks and live performances at nearby sites of importance.

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Started: 2018

Time/Labour: ︎︎︎︎


Thanks to: Michael Needham & Jud Wimhurst (roadies), Damien Butler (fabrication), Clare Heuston, Laurence Rosier Staines & Roslyn Helper (dramaturgy), Flophouse Kyneton and Dad & Dave (accommodation), Jason Waterhouse (The Caddy), and the whole KCAT team.


residency // monument // women // memory // civic // unveiling // survey // stories


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Image: Make or Break, Labour Talks, 2019, archive image courtesy of Make or Break.
LABOUR TALKS

Labour Talks asks the public to reflect on the ways that their labour is valued. Make or Break conducts a series of one-on-two interviews, where people are asked to share their views concerning labour and value creation. Each interview is documented with a handwritten set of short notes, first name, age, occupation and a photograph of the person’s hands (labour symbols), slowly building an archive of labour relations.


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Started: 2019

Time/Labour:︎


labour // love // money // value // interview // archive


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Image: Make or Break at Verge Gallery for The Failure Debate, 2018, image courtesy of Make or Break.
MILLSTONE MEDALLIONS

Make or Break performs an “award service” live, engraving personalised medallions and trophies made from rescued materials to celebrate minor moments of invisible labour, underpaid work and other inconsequential moments.

The Failure Debate at Verge Gallery, University of Sydney was part of the group exhibition Personal Best. Two teams of professionals from various fields explored the value of hard work and the joys of losing, to answer the question: “is it good to fail?”. Make or Break selected zingers and non-sequiturs from each speaker as they competed, and engraved live on personalised millstone medallions, presented to each speaker at the conclusion of the debate.

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Started: 2018 

Time/Labour:︎


Thanks to: Marcus White (Craft Metalwork)


labour // care // failure // debate // award // medal


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Image: Make or Break, ASMR Recovery Room, 2018, video still, image courtesy of Make or Break.
ASMR RECOVERY ROOM

ASMR Recovery Room is a one-person immersive experience of darkness, moving image, sound, smell and texture. It is an invitation to step into a different experience of time and space, and reconnect with the natural world through slow, sensory stimulus. This work was first presented in a transformed soccer-mom car for one night only, in an underground carpark as part of an artist-run carboot sale.

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Started: 2018

Time/Labour:︎


immersive // experience // video // audio // sound // scent // nature // ASMR


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Image: Make or Break, Invisible Labours of Love, 2017, process image at Freda’s for after pARTY, photo by Tim da-Rin.
INVISIBLE LABOURS OF LOVE

Make or Break performs an “award service” live, engraving personalised medallions and trophies made from rescued materials to celebrate minor moments of invisible labour, underpaid work and other inconsequential moments.

The first iteration of this project was for after pARTY, a themed club night at Freda’s curated by Anna May Kirk and Nerida Ross. Make or Break circulated forms for people to nominate loved ones’ invisible labours of love. Trophies were custom engraved live on stage, and presented during a continuous joyous ceremony on the night.

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Started: 2017 

Time/Labour:︎


labour // care // celebration // awards // engraving


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Image: Make or Break, Merch Stand, 2017, image of bicycle cart during Underbelly Arts Festival, photo by Tim da-Rin.
MERCH STAND

Merch Stand creates a speculative economy and collective income stream within an experimental arts festival. It is a framework for providing direct financial support to artists, while critiquing the arts festival model and its underpaying of artists working in performance, experiential and ephemeral practices. It is also a platform for hosting difficult conversations around value, labour and privilege.

Merch Stand was first commissioned for Underbelly Arts Lab & Festival in 2017. Make or Break collaborated with each of the 21 Festival artists and collectives to produce custom merchandise. The merch was produced and packaged in an on-site “factory” staffed by the artists and volunteers, and sold live at the festival via a bicycle-powered cart, and online via a hacked Shopify platform.

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Started: 2017

Time/Labour:︎︎︎︎︎


Thanks to: Andrew Christie (casting, 3D printing/scanning), Josh Gilchrist (screenprinting), Kirtika Kain (factory), Love Police (merch supplies), Benjamin Forster (hacked Shopify platform), Jane Wolfers (sewing), Underbelly artists + everyone who bought merch


economy // merchandise // patronage // privilege // support // labour // conversations // online

 

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Image: Make or Break, Valuation 2, 2018, performed by Beth Dillon at Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, photo by Rebecca Gallo.
VALUATION

Valuation is an iterative series of online and physical works. It is a process through which Make or Break attempts to understand the way that art market value — of both artworks and art work — is determined and upheld, especially for works that have little or no physical trace. This series critiques the subjectivity of value generation and the fragility of currencies, and exposes the complex combination of labour, care and power that exists in relationships between artists and curators.

In September 2016, Make or Break first commissioned an accredited valuer under the Australian Cultural Gifts Program to place a dollar value on Make or Break Studio, the collective’s first work, to be accompanied by a written report.

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Started: 2016

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Collaborators: Noica Omero (costume), Rhiannon Newton (choreographer/performer), Beth Dillon (choreographer/performer), Lisa Corsi (valuer), Anna Waldmann (valuer)


value // labour // valuation // report // performance // video // instruction // wallpaper // currency


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Image: Make or Break, One Day Currency, 2016, promotional image courtesy of Make or Break.
ONE DAY CURRENCY

This project asks: what unexpected modes of exchange can emerge in the space of a single day? Are there different ways to do economy? What privileges or systemic inequalities are exposed through the circulation (or not) of currency?

This live project circulates temporary 'currencies’ at art events, giving access to exclusive experiences and consumables. People might choose to retain their currency, give it away or trade it. It is these decisions — the way that a currency is shared, circulated or hoarded — that provoke uncomfortable questions, provide insights into the links between economic systems, personal relationships and privilege, and give this project its meaning.

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Started: 2016

Time/Labour:︎︎


economy // experiment // currency // exchange // wearable


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Image: Make or Break, Radicalising the Artist’s Biography, 2016, workshop session at the Queen Victoria Market, photo courtesy of Sanné Mestrom and Jamie Hall.
RADICALISING THE ARTIST’S BIOGRAPHY

In this practical, collaborative workshop, we re-think how to write (or draw, diagram, film, talk) about ourselves as artists. Who benefits from the formulas and hierarchies artists use to represent artists and art work? Can the artist bio become a starting point for reframing how artists' labour is valued and understood?

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Started: 2016

Time/Labour:︎


biography // experiment // culture // capital // language 


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Image: Courtesy of Make or Break.
LIFE ADMIN

In return for an artist fee, Make or Break shares their life admin process for a predetermined period of time. Dressed in gold lamé onesies, the artists stand at their laptops at a gold table, with both of their screens live-projected onto the wall behind them. They do not communicate, other than through their computers.

This work makes visible the unpaid labour of artists, and exposes conversations, disagreements, banalities and other activities in the life of an artist. Audiences witness the reading and sending of private emails, applying for grants, paying utility bills and studio rent, and whatever arrives in the artists’ inboxes at that particular time.

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Started: 2016

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Thanks to: Noica Omero (costumes)


economy // currency // labour // privacy // gold


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Image: Make or Break, Biography, 2016, 2 x risograph prints in blue ink on pink 90gsm copy paper, A4 size (21 x 29.7 cm x 2 prints), edition of 25 + 2AP, install image courtesy of Make or Break.
BIOGRAPHY

Biography is a visual accumulation of artist labour, and the often-inadequate methods we use to qualify and quantify it. These limited edition risograph prints contain all of Make or Break, Rebecca Gallo and Connie Anthes’ published artist biographies to date, printed one on top of the other, from oldest to most recent.

This work was first made in 2016. Print pairs (Rebecca Gallo and Connie Anthes / ed. 25 + 2AP) or singles (Make or Break / ed. unlimited) can be purchased for $300 (unframed) or $500 (framed), contact makeorbreakart [at] gmail [dot] com

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Started: 2016

Time/Labour:︎


labour // overwriting // biography // time


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Image: Make or Break book, by Connie Anthes & Rebecca Gallo, pub. 2016, image courtesy of Make or Break.
MAKE OR BREAK [BOOK]

This book is both a reflection and extension of Make or Break’s first project, Make or Break Studio. It features critical essays by David Eastwood, Bek Conroy, Connie Anthes and Rebecca Gallo, exploring the value of artist labour, collaboration and the histories and politics of the artist studio. The first edition was vacuum-sealed in plastic, along with a sprinkling of artist studio rubble.

Make or Break book was self-published following the first iteration of Make or Break Studio, which took place in December 2015 at Firstdraft Gallery in Sydney.

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Published 2016

ISBN 9781367657243


270 pages, soft cover, perfect bound.

Order Make or Break book


writing // thinking // labour // studio // artist // audience


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Image: Make or Break Studio, 2015, documentation at Firstdraft, NSW, photo by Document Photography.
MAKE OR BREAK STUDIO

Make or Break Studio is an open examination of art-making as a kind of performance, and an opportunity to challenge the value of art objects and artist labour. It is a repurposing of valuable inner city real estate (a gallery) as a space for experimenting, thinking and doing (a studio). It acknowledges and makes visible the flows of influence, ideas and materials between artists, audiences and other stakeholders.

Starting on opening night and continuing for the duration of the exhibition, two artists engage in a daily art-making relay, continuing or destroying the work that the other had made during their previous session, as if it were their own. 

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Started: 2015 

Time/Labour:︎︎︎︎


Thanks to: Third Chair contributors Clare Cooper, Bek Conroy, David Eastwood, David Greenhalgh, Ele Jansen, Ian Milliss, and everyone who visited and donated materials to Make or Break Studio


labour // value // studio // collaboration // build // repurpose // time // space // library // conversation


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