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Ian Milliss interviewed by Hazel De Berg

Comments by Ian Milliss
February 2006


Hazel De Berg was an oral historian who worked for the National Library. In the early 1970s she interviewed a number of young artists including me. 

I find this interview very strange reading because the questions were all removed when it was transcribed giving the impression that it is simply a monologue. If it had been a real monologue I would have spoken about different things.

On the other hand the interview took place at the time that I was moving away from conventional conceptual art and it is like listening to me thinking aloud.  Up to this point I had been part of a general movement that was occuring world wide but as my thinking moved more towards activism and the idea that I could use the infrastructure of the art world as my medium I found myself increasingly isolated and reliant on my own resources. 

The few international artists that I had felt related to such as Art & Language and the Guerrilla Art Action Group remained committed to producing "art" whereas I had come to the conclusion that "art" was just intellectualised interior decoration and increasingly irrelevant to my long term project. I was searching for ways to use my art skills in activist situations that would be culturally effective in the broadest sense. This was reflected in my  inclusion of  material about green bans and unions in the CAS broadsheet.

The interview contains some of my ideas that were repeated fairly clumsily a year later in the Object and Idea New Artist? essay and finally reappear more fully developed ten years later in the Art and Working Life essay.