Friday, January 30, 2009

Can't sleep, my mind's a circus

Things are happening, stuff is being done, yes yes.

in my life things tend to all fall apart at once or all come together at once. it's like an ebb and flow. up and down, i'm erratic, my life is erratic, sometimes it's exhausting, but mostly i think i like it that way. i find it odd to know that lots of people find me to be quite calm, and think of me as a calm person. i guess i can be, but certainly not all the time.

anyway, enough of this indulgent talk about myself. right now i'm on high tide, won't stop until i crash.. here we go!

Found heaps of cool stuff on the internet today:

good installation art gives me the greatest sense of originality, integrity and ingenuity in a piece it is hard for me to go past it. even if it's just for its visual quality, or physical impact, or you know, the simplest thing, i am still drawn to it over and above other mediums.

check these out, for example:

Kurt Hentschlager... more of an immersive environment than an 'installation' per se, artificial fog and strobe lighting, complete with an entire soundscape. fucking cool! like being inside a Turner painting... i imagine

Tara Donovan... i am so impressed by everything i've seen of hers. if for nothing else but the sheer amount of work that goes into these things, and their crazy crazy scale. this one is called Untitled (Paper Plates and Glue). check out ALL her pics! even her 2D stuff is cool! i dunno, has anyone seen these artists before?! have i been completely oblivious in the last couple of years?! fragmentation and the breaking down or building up of units so they are transformed into something new is something i am constantly drawn to. i like this for its ideas of mass-production, the way she uses really standard manufactured products to create something with a real organic biological quality.

Samuel Roy-Bois... i like this because you actually get to sleep in it if you want! it is an inside place that is still outside, still exposed; it highlights awareness of the space you inhabit.

I also still like two-dimensional art. I really like Gregory Euclide's paintings. Although I suppose I esteem him as a 2dimensional artist because he has the capacity to turn it into more sculptural forms also. I remember looking briefly at his work a while ago, but today I properly looked at his website, his stuff is really cool. He exhibits all these tiny paintings behind little hand-built clear resin domes, and the paintings spread out across the wall and eventually out to the floor. and all these paintings on scrunched and folded paper. really beautiful stuff!...

More later, fantastic conversations to come, sleep now!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"when i am pregnant", and other stuff too.

sometimes you need reminding of some things, even if you've seen them before. today i need reminding of Anish Kapoor...

also this:
REPORTER: I'd like to know the meaning of the cover photo on your album, 'Highway 61 Revisited'?
BOB DYLAN: What would you like to know about it?
R: It seems to have some philosophy in it. I'd like to know what it represents to you - you're a part of it...
BD: I haven't really looked at it that much
R: I've thought about it a great deal
BD: It was just taken one day when i was sittin' on the steps y'know - I don't really remember too much about it.

R: I thought the motorcycle was an image in your song-writing. You seem to like that.
BD: Oh, we all like motorcycles to some degree.

p.s. i'm not pregnant, just in case.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

my thoughts on uniforms

This is going to be an open, unashamed rant:

When an organisation you really thought you liked turns out to be quite the opposite, it's really quite depressing and confusing and it's hard to know what to do, particularly when this organisation is your employer and is maintaining your rent etc.

Among various other incidents and ongoing problems, which i don't reeeeally want to rat out about, one thing i am willing to talk openly about is the issue of a UNIFORM. I'm not really that down with uniforms in general, but I'm willing to concede that in certain situations (such as large, public organisations, or sporting teams, where people need to be identifiable as 'belonging') they do serve a purpose. I also understand, though i feel a little queasy about it, that for 'branding' purposes and advertising, some (again, larger) organisations feel the need to put all their little people in uniforms and stamp them with all their propaganda.

However, in small organisations, particularly those recognised as promoters of individual creativity and unique expression, i strongly feel this is completely unnecessary and just stamps out what little joy of personal expression is left in the capitalistic world we now live in. The small satisfaction i got out of dressing myself as i liked before i went off to work for the day and sold my soul trying to make people part with their money for what could be considered overpriced luxury items was enough to keep me in my job, because at least, at least, i was able to maintain some element of my individuality in all of that.

but as of yesterday, when a black and white 'corporate' (David Jones-looking) colour scheme was imposed on my wardrobe, I am officially looking for another job, people. Any help or pointers would be warmly received :)

... ok rant over.

so yes, i'm looking for another job. probably a total change, i don't think i've got much retail vitality left in me. Upon a certain person's suggestion, i might even consider looking for small writing jobs if i can find something.

in other news, when i'm not being distracted by my crappy job, i am being rather productive. i am currently in the process of making new work for the Vice Chancellors' upcoming EP which will be released in February, and will involve lots of cool art stuff from a few different artists, so stay tuned. Also I'm still writing this proposal with the Inter Collective for a laneway project we're hoping will happen in March, but it's getting more exciting the more we talk about it, ideas are getting closer to being realities... it's cool.

also, please take a moment to enjoy the new layout a very wonderful and clever person helped me with for this blog. hope it makes your time here more enjoyable and easier to use :)

and here is something my friend Emlyn reminded me i liked a lot, and makes me forget about uniforms and other silly stuff:

pigs are cool. ok?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Yesterday alex and i went to do the rounds of AGWA and PICA on my day off, as we were in the city and i'd been meaning to do it for ages.

one show i want to talk about was Notebook by John Wood and Paul Harrison (from the UK) which is on in the screen space in PICA at the moment. I never feel like i give film works enough of my time and engagement, and even though i watched this particular piece for at least half an hour, because i saw neither the start or the end, just scene after scene without reaching a recognisable end, i felt i had failed it somewhat when i left. if i get a chance i might try go back later and see if i can watch the whole piece.

so anyway, it's just a series of really really simple scenes involving a white table in a grey room with various 'experiments' or simple actions, such as letting a toy car roll accross the table and fall off the other end, letting paint pots drip stripes of paint down a deck chair... etc.

i think what gave it the edge was the way the shots were framed by the camera, and how they used that to their advantage. in most cases, the movement that occured seemed somewhat mechanical, planned and precise, because of the removal of evidential human intervention/action, although it was obviously implied and present. it was maybe this implication which lent the work its rather British humour, like a subtle kind of silly humour.

What i found interesting was the way it played on your perception. as i mentioned before, in the framing and perspective of the scenes (each was framed differently) what is about to happen is slightly abstracted, and so there is this moment of surprise when the action occurs. a kind of tension, as you are given a couple of seconds to take in the scene before something 'happens', and then a kind of comic moment as your perception adjusts and you comprehend how they've done it. it was completely enjoyable, and hilarious and fun and engaging. i found myself quickly trying to guess what was going on before it occured, and then most times being surprised, like a little kid. some scenes were more successful than others, but i guess that had a lot to do with the level of surprise i got from it.

my favourite was probably the pouring of a bottle of milk onto a black rubber door-mat (the type with the rubber prong-like things). it had this kind of pixellation effect, like a really low-res computer screen changing colour from black to white. anyway, go see it before it finishes!

i just found this film on youtube of the same artists, but doing stuff which more openly involved the body. it's different to Notebook, but gives a good sense of the way they work and what they're interested in.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

new things, ideas

i have quite a bit to talk about today:

as i mentioned earlier, i plan to do a lot more than just keep a blog this year. one of those things is to continue the work the collective i am part of (the inter collective) began last year. first and foremost to our installation and performance based practice is having a space to work in/within, one that is not formally a gallery or art space, and to respond to that space and the specific set of conditions it presents us. so far we have done work in a heritage-listed house, a suburban backyard, and the former Arcane bookshop in Northbridge. After a really productive and energising meeting last night, we have decided to try for access to a laneway in the city (there are plenty) for a short period of time where we can perform some kind of visual/physical/spatial intervention which alters one's experience in the laneway. so we're about to embark on the daunting task of writing a killer proposal they just can't say no to ('they' being the smarter party, who knows a winning artist collective when they see one!) without divulging too much information, we are thinking something woven out of thread. and suspended between the ground and universe, inverting the usual frontal tunnel-vision perspective one assumes in a laneway. anyway, just ideas, later in the week we will knuckle down and do some actual work on the proposal, but so envigorating to finally bash some ideas around and get excited about a project again.

i really enjoy being part of a collective while still keeping my own practice going. i feel like i can explore similar concepts through two different avenues, and the collective serves as a great support (i think to all of us) out of which it's easier to experiment with more ambitious projects and more experimental ideas, social experiments, that sort of thing.

speaking of social experiments, i acquired a new canvas bag today, which has printed on it a photograph of a plate with bread, ham, cheese, tomato, mustard and knife. it is made by a group called Art as Art Project which is a pretty switched on little group who kind of re-interpret artworks in 'tribute' to the artists. sounds naff but actually pretty cool.

anyway, this particular bag is in reference to the work of French artist Sophie Calle, who has done all sorts of crazy amazing stuff, and everybody should know about it. In the late 70s she followed people around Paris so that she didn't have to decide what to do for the day, they could decide for her. In the 90s she collaborated with author Paul Auster, who gave her instructions on how to improve life in New York: pick a place and make it beautiful. smile at everyone who walks past it, make conversation with as many people as possible, even if just about the weather, give sandwiches to people who look hungry, and give out packets of cigarettes. She recorded all these interactions, how many smiles given and received, and the amount of cigarettes and sandwiches given away or refused.

i really like this gentle kind of social-intervention-as-art, which requires the participation of others in order for the 'art' to exist, and therefore encourages a different and deeper kind of engagement with it, one that has actual, physical meaning attached to it. Sophie says something like "it may end up as fiction, but it is always life to begin with." Makes for an interesting argument about where, and exactly at what point this crossover occurs, this 'transformation', or is it possible that everything, at any time, at its very inception, can be art, begin as art? Who/what has the authority to decide something is art and something isn't.

These are pretty old questions, ones that people have been playing with for a long time now, so i won't go on, i'm already getting confused, but yeah, anyway, i got a cool new bag that will fit everything in it, and Sophie Calle is pretty great.

long post, i'll end it now! hopefully more pictures to look at in future posts.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


new year, new blog, hooray!

i decided to start this blog having had some slight down-time over the last few months and then a slight up-moment after finding other fantastic blogs. i mostly type in lower-case letters, that is something i like to do, i can't be bothered holding down "shift" too often.

i just finished my fine-arts degree, this is my first year out of education since i was 5 years old, and so i decided a blog might be a good start to keeping me creatively motivated and inspired and give me something to work on, as small as it may be.

i am at a bit of a point where i feel like there are so many things i need to do and want to do and should be doing that it all gets a bit overwhelming and i end up doing nothing, so here i am doing something. ta dum!

i will post about interesting things i have seen or am doing (i do plan to do more this year than just keep a blog!) or want to do, or am thinking about, or have read, or heard or whatever.

in the meantime, read about the Ganzfeld effect (capital letter!) it's pretty central to some of my interests.