15 August 2012

Review for ArtAsiaPacific.com not by me / Contemporary Australia: Women

EDIT (18.08.12): After being told by the editor that I could 'further edit' the version that had already been published, I told her/him I did not have any more time to devote to this and that an easy solution for both of us would be for my name to be simply removed from the version of the review published on ArtAsiaPacific.com.

The editor expressed disappointment that we could not have amended the text so that I would feel it reflected 'what [I] wrote' and so that it would of course still meet AAP's 'standards'. Because s/he believed the text was still 'my work' and did not want to put any other name on it, the decision was made to remove the review entirely, 'so as not to misrepresent yourself or AAP'.

I respect this decision and am sorry that it had to get to this point of misunderstanding. Perhaps this is to be suspected given my naïveté regarding what it means to write a review for this kind of publication.

Please download my original review of Contemporary Australia: Women at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, here. Thank you.

---------below this line is 15.08.12---------

I want to 'publicly' announce that the review currently bearing my name on ArtAsiaPacific magazine's website is a highly edited version of a review I have written of Contemporary Australia: Women, an exhibition held at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, from 21 April to 22 July 2012.

My original review was too long in length (curious seeing we are talking about a website not hard-copy, but not unusual) so it had to be cut, this edit was sent to me to try and cut more from, which I did and sent back again, expecting a final edit would be sent back to me for confirmation before publishing. The next thing I see three or four days later is a Facebook feed telling me the review is live. The next thing I read is - sadly - not my review at all. At least not what I wanted to get across and not in my words, though oddly enough bearing my name.

This text was posted on the AAP website without the editor having confirmed with me whether or not it was okay this 'version' be published. It turns out it isn't okay. Apologies in advance if this sounds like a tantrum but I think there comes a point when the facts of the matter have to be said, even if it does sound pedantic or whatever. Also, I have an inkling that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and in fact this sort of stuff happens all the time, everywhere... Well, at some point I think it's worth to say that it is not okay.

Because I wonder what it is that I am (we are) supposed to be getting out of these kind of deals? A text with my name on it not written by me? A $50 fee from a seemingly well-endowed magazine for hours of work? The 'recognition' of a supposedly well-esteemed publication? God knows, but in any case none of it is enough if there is no respect.

Anyway, if I had been consulted before this version went live, I may have had a chance to change it. Unfortunately, for reasons I do not know, I have not had the opportunity to express - i.e. before those sentences were made public in my name - that the version eventually published does not adequately represent the points I was trying to make in writing this review. So I need to set the record straight now.

Although AAP's very efficiently edited rendition does loosely resemble my original text and the themes it was trying to treat, the published version has, I feel, altered the meaning to the extent that some expressions no longer cohere with my sentiments about the show, nor the issues I was trying to get across.

Hence, I hereby renounce all authorship of the version of the Contemporary Australia: Women review on ArtAsiaPacific's website. In the case of that text, the name 'Eleanor Ivory Weber' designates someone (or something) else.

This is the letter I wrote to the editor:

Dear ______,

I just saw via Facebook that "my" review has been made live on your website, however, unfortunately, this does not read like a text written by me. There are many reconstructions of sentences into ones that I simply would not write and which are furthermore not entirely in keeping with my sentiments around this show.

I was expecting that you would send me the final edit before publishing this and am not happy that my name be affixed to this text as author without my having consented that occur. I feel the way it has been edited, though surely efficient, expresses ideas about the show that are not wholly mine. You may not be aware, but I have chosen my words and constructed the phrases very carefully in regard to writing about this exhibition as it is a very sensitive topic for some people.

I don't appreciate this time and effort on my part being rendered redundant for the sake of word-length. And I am disappointed that after such a prolonged process, to which I have devoted hours, and for a barely tokenistic fee, you would have so little respect for my work. I am very sorry if I have not done what you expected of me regarding this review, clearly I was not aware you would want to change the text to this extent and publish it without getting my OK on the final edit. I wish this had been clearer to me earlier on and I would not have wasted your time, for this I am also sorry.

Sincerely yours,

Eleanor Ivory Weber

To read a version of the text, which I would say is written by the author of raddest right now, please click the link below:


N.B. This link above is the first - too long - version of the text. There was a second, shorter version after this, which I consented to, but which apparently still needed to be altered into what is presently online (sans consent). Personally, I still like the original, long one better - even if it does just prove I am hopelessly verbose.


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