Art Nation: late, lamentable...
Last rites... (Photograph: Serafini)
Art Nation’s not a show I’ve watched religiously. Or even desultorily. Sunday’s farewell ep was a reminder why I didn’t bother with it. It reminded me of the lazy Sunday evening news bulletins of ABC TV circa James Dibble... that’s Lazy Sundays rather than lazy news bulletins I hasten to add! Anyone remember Weekend Magazine?
“the people making these stories don’t actually know what’s interesting about them...”The best one could say about the final line-up for Art Nation is that a couple of the segments might make the Stateline cut. Maybe. Segment after segment I thought: the people making these stories don’t actually know what’s interesting about them. About their subject.
Now, I don’t doubt that the team was overworked and under-resourced and working to impossible deadlines. But everything seemed so half-arsed. The segment on Tim Storrier was the pick of the bunch. I’ve known the man’s work for decades, and was fascinated to see and hear him for the first time. But when it ended, I imagined I had seen a video audition by the producer for a job on Australian Stories. With half an hour available, even the most meandering of stories can reach a kind of critical mass. But five minutes, it was hardly even scattergun.
But the clincher for me -- the moment when sadness at the loss of an arts show turned to “let’s scuttle this wreck” scorn -- was the finale. Had the team played more than the final minute of Vissi d’arte, Fenella Kernebone might’ve worked out how to pronounce the fucker -- it’s not Fizzy D. Art like some comic book rapper -- and we could’ve actually heard the bit where Floria tells us she has lived for art... which, surely, was the point of playing it. On top of all that, it was an inexcusably harsh and ugly recording.
Kernebone piss-pronounciation reminded me of a Radio National presenter renowned for his Molly Meldrum-like approach to the language. Anyone remember Wagner’s “chronic” (instead of chromatic) harmony? Pisser!