It matters who pays your bills because amongst other reasons, when you do a job for some one they want to see that it's done. Why should Academic Artists have a choice around how they promote the fact that they are paid employees? Who else gets that option?
Academic Artists are paid by tax payers to do a very difficult job: To "accept a role as critic and conscience of society" * on behalf of the rest of us. And to do that job, it is my opinion that the public have a right to be informed of an Academic Artist's role in all public introductions that the University gains financial and institutional credit for. Not buried in the biography detail.
The jobs importance surly requires that Academics Artists are easily distinguished from other types of artists, simply because they have a particular job to do. To be a university, paid by the state to do a job for the general public, "the Minister shall take into account (a) that universities have all the following characteristics, (v) they accept a role as critic and conscience of society". The role of critic and conscience of society is a public role, a position that we as a society need to recognize so that it is able to be said that such a position exists.. And that those not acquainted with the scene can have that impression made at a glance, quickly.
Does anyone else get to avoid doing what a job requires by law and yet accept the privilege and power of doing that job? Can a Cop exercise any power charged in them by the state, with out identifying that they are a cop? We have police supposedly to protect us from crime. Are not our academics suppose to protect us from fraud?
Combining transparency about an Academic Artists economic base and the content of their work is the public risk that is taken when one is doing the job of being a critic and conscience of society, it is how authority exists on a basis of trust in honesty. And in my experience with "The Beneficiary's Office" one that the public have a great interest in. This necessary risk is for various reasons not being taken and this is damaging the integrity of our institutions and the infrastructure of our democracy. Let's examine now, what those reasons are, and help Academic Artists to do their job. - Tao Wells
* New Zealand Legislation, Education Act 1989 No 80 (as at 01 January 2012), Public Act, Part 14 Establishment and disestablishment of tertiary institutions, 162,(4)a(5)
Talking about the mechanical (and now the digital) canary in the gold mine (mind).
A response to Mark Harveys' art work called Productive Bodies, part of the Letting Space series of Public Art Works, funded by Creative New Zealand. Of which $300 was given to Laura and Tao towards travel costs from Nelson to Wellington and back.
Video is a collaboration between Laura Shepard (Archivist, Cinematographer, Editor and Camera Operator) and Tao Wells (Oration, Choreography, Costume, Hair and Make Up).
New Zealand, March 2012