Michael Stevenson, 'Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510/CS183, 2017 (detail)

Taking in the work of Michael Stevenson- one of New Zealand's most acclaimed artists, is Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510 & CS183, an exhibition commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, and with commissioning partners, the Biennale of Sydney 2018 and Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA).

A solo exhibition, Serene Velocity in Practice is one of his most significant large-scale installations and opens at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) on Wednesday 22 May to Saturday 6 July 2019.

Michael Stevenson is known for his rigorous and forensic approach to art making. His ambitious sculptural practice has, over many years, mapped historical narratives from certainty to ruin, mathematics to miracles, and secrets and exchange.

Transforming the galleries of MUMA, this major installation is based on two seemingly unrelated academic courses, MC510 and CS183, which were modules taught for a short time in Californian higher-learning institutions. ‘This is the perfect project to present in our university context as it tests many of our assumptions around pedagogy, and the world views that inform what and how we teach’ says Charlotte Day, Director, MUMA.

Michael Stevenson, 'Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510/CS183, 2017 (detail)

Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510 & CS183 takes the form of an imagined tertiary institution of two classrooms, each of which represents one of these courses.

Both academic courses referenced in the exhibition were transformative in their respective fields, and each developed a mass following globally, resulting in best-selling books and a multitude of spin-off courses.

Mission Class 510 or MC510 was the code used by the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena for a course taught for four years from 1982. John Wimber, then leader of the Vineyard Ministries, an evangelical Christian movement, became synonymous with this program, using it as a testing ground for his radical ideas in the experiential realm of miraculous healing and exorcism.

CS183 was the course code for ‘Startup’ at Stanford University’s Computer Science faculty, which Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel taught in 2012. CS183 provided a platform for Thiel’s new intellectual framework in which he analysed case studies of failure in the tech industry and modelled a future of exponential progress where technological miracles take place.

While previously unrelated, Stevenson brings these two courses together in Serene Velocity in Practice as an installation of two conjoined structures.

Commissioning Curator Natasha Conland explains, ‘since much of the content is inscribed and embedded, the material itself becomes the host or narrator, and as such asks to be experienced directly: ‘One is constructed from airline blankets and elevated on large aircraft tyres; the other is built from radiating black anodised aluminium heat sink. A walkway based on the passageways of post-war educational institutions unites the two rooms and simultaneously disorientates the viewer.

‘For Wimber and Thiel, the teachers, in order to be open to future possibilities and real change – or what Thiel calls “vertical progress” and Wimber terms “paradigmatic shifts” – old ways of thinking had to be left behind and new ways of thinking adopted and practiced. Both MC510 and CS183 taught the abandonment of past (failed) models and old foundations of knowledge in favour of full participation in the mission for a radical future.

See artwork that investigates the true meaning behind art with Serene Velocity in Practice: MC510 & CS183!


Dates: 22 May - 6 July 2019

Location: Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) Ground Floor, Building F, Monash University, Caulfield Campus (900 Dandenong Road, Caulfield East)

Exhibition hours: Tuesday - Friday, 10am – 5pm; Saturday 12-5pm

Cost: Free entry

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