I participated in an interdisciplinary art laboratory called Time_Place_Space 5 (from 24 June- 9 July 2006 at Queensland University of Technology, Creative Industries Precinct, Brisbane). During those two weeks, participants had been thinking of the ways to collaborate and share their skills with other artists who work in different disciplines. As I was one of the international facilitators, it was a great opportunity to find out about the artist's attitudes to the multicultural situation in Australia. During this period, I gave them one subject with a long title: Proposition of ideal stereotypes instead of an unbearable stereotype of your cultural background. Or, how do you see the whole image of a huge iceberg.
Participants were divided into five groups of four, and they spent four days preparing a presentation about the subject. During which this time, I found two interesting vector in the participant's attitudes. If the participants already had some feelings of cultural minority within about themselves, they always have had to face stereotypes in everyday life. Therefore, they could internalise the subject matter and express themselves accordingly. On the other hand, participants who have thought that they belonged to the mainstream were not able to express themselves through stereotypes, and as a result, they attempted to search for a social presence of their beings to the outside world.
I was personally impressed by two final presentations on the subject. One group attempted to express by switching their personalities, using video images of performance and live narration. In their video, they interchanged their costumes and monologues. It successfully indicated the basic structure of the concept of stereotypes, which is not only based on cultural backgrounds, but also consists of more latent factors such as appearance and gender, etc. Another group went out and intervened on the street. They asked the public to give their intuitive impressions about each member in the group, using ten specific questions (eg. grade of income, political and sexual attitude etc). It was an exciting aspect of this work: that passers-by tried to judge a total stranger by their biased viewpoint, giving a visual indication of the process of making a single identity, which was divided by the plural. I have learned a lot about the multicultural situation in my country Japan, from working with Australian artists.