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red thread install day 2

there is something very sinister about day 2. day 2 after exercise is always the day that you feel the most pain, day 2 after a big night out always feels like the longest day ever and day 2 after heartbreak is like the third level of hell from dante's inferno.

and so too, today started out a bit hellish with the installation. i had to rearrange my plans a little and started in the afternoon. and when i walked in, all the gaps in the work almost screamed at me. i found it a little hard to get going, and when i did, it was all wrong. after the flow of yesterday's effort, i found it hard to make bold decisions or to take down anything i had put up.

and when i was an art student, this kind of frustration would really get to me - countless times i remember crying in the toilets at art school, convinced i was never going to get it right. thankfully, somehow, i've matured a little bit past that. while i felt the frustration, i just kept moving through it today. i initially disappeared into a corner of the agency and focused on quite an ornate section and focused myself in some detail. interestingly, i have used corners before as a restorative space, and gaston bachelard writes about it in his Poetics of Space.

And speaking of space, today i really used it. thankfully i had the luxury of space, and after the initial focus on detail, i just kept moving from one area of the agency to another. if it wasn't working, i moved onto the next, not focusing too hard on the problems, but just working on continuing to create solutions. like having several projects on at once - no time to get bogged in shit when you're on the go.

and so today i:

made webs

made more balls of wool


threw fanciful streams over walls

made great strides of clear thread

and in separating lines, made an image for the girls

made bold statements, then chopped them up

and in doing so, made a creature

And next week, Spinach have generously decided to have a private view, so that others can come and check out the space. it's on thursday 9th august 5:30 - 7:30 at 144A Liverpool Rd, N1. If you'd like to come, please email martin[at]spinach.co.uk to RSVP or leave me a comment.



red thread install day 1

it's been a while since i've had occasion to 'track' an installation process - the last couple of shows being group shows that pretty much went up in a day. in fact, regular readers will probably remember entropy at platform to be the last time i subjected you all with a blow-by-blow account.

well, i'm at it again.

some of you may already know about red, thread - a site-specific installation in the research agency, spinach. for others, read here, here and here.

usually, installation week is hell. it's a mad rush of hoping that it all comes together as well as planned, pitting yourself against the clock, struggling with wavering confidence as you hope your ideas are, in situation, everything you hoped they were in development and then there's the inevitable sleep deprivation/bad diet combination.

well, i can categorically say that this installation has been so far removed from that, it's almost unbelievable and exactly why i want to continue working with research/planning/advertising agencies from now on. organising the show was as easy as a chinwag with Martin, Spinach's Creativity Director and about 2 hours of well-spent time spent putting ideas to paper (not 15 years of justification and budget development). materials have been really easy to obtain and have served me well and so far, i'm making some great progress and having loads of fun. i actually feel, for the first time, like being an artist is a respectable profession! way-oh!

today i did the essay equivalent of a plan and first draft. i've mapped out an introduction, given myself an idea of what's happening in the body of the work, have a conclusion planned and will head back to tweak and finalise the conclusion.

i did some fun things today like

knitting (i took video footage, but am a bit embarrassed by it, so i'm holding out on it for now),

i made some red bow butterflies.

i've wrapped locker keys in wool,

and started to entwine a partition in the stuff.

i've let things drape

made some nice taut lines

and make some knots and bits and pieces.

i've had loads of fun, enjoyed engaging with the spinach kids and i'm looking forward to day 2, tomorrow.




i read my horoscopes religiously. not fervently, just once a week, usually on a wednesday or thursday when they get published, i go here to get rob's astrological input to my nutty life. and, unlike the tripe in the herald-sun/telegraph or the london paper, i take notice. they seem sincere and more often than not, are bang on target.

so this week, here's what mr brezny has suggested.

Consider writing an entertaining advertisement about yourself in order to attract the resources you'd like to play with. Or think about buying the domain name "showerblessingson[putyournamehere].com," then setting up a website where the world can send you business offers, marriage proposals, free gifts, and invitations to travel. The point is, Aquarius, that the upcoming weeks will be a perfect time to get very aggressive and highly specific about asking for what you need. Rev up the fun-loving parts of your imagination.

this isn't to say that i don't have enough in my life. hell no. there are people way, way worse off than i (see here for making a difference) and it doesn't mean i'm not grateful for what i have (see here for an interesting discussion on need vs want).

but there is just some cool shit in my life that i would like to happen and so, in the interest of making a complete fool of myself, but possibly having some of these things come back to me, i am going to blog a small (but by no means comprehensive) list of things i would really like to have happen soon-ish. that's the thing about having some kind of faith, belief, superstition or wacky mental illness - sometimes it works if you believe in it enough to do something with it:

lauren's current wish list:

• enough money to pay rent, get to work and eat for the next couple of months.

• a replacement black ipod video 80gb

• a successful install/reception for red, thread at spinach.

• the opportunity to do 2 more artist-in-residencies at an advertising/creative/planning agency in england before i go home - one outside of london and one in london.

• the opportunity to do the "toilet" install which didn't make it into the gallery we wanted.

• return airfares and accommodation for paris, venice, munich and athens so i can travel to europe before i go home.

• a bunch of artbooks from the national gallery/tate modern collection plus damien hirst monographs and some of the contemporary theory books from the cornerhouse, in manchester

• a spending spree in a record store - it's been so long since buying cds or records has been a viable option (space, finances, etc) that i've been craving it lately.

• some more really inspiring and authentic experiences to take home so that when i get back there, i'm at once filled and empty, including exhibitions, plays, gigs and all-night dance-a-thons.

so, this post might be a little out of left field, wildly indulgent and bordering on ridiculous, but you should all kind of expect it by now - what with the swearing and the tarts and the posts about nanna. perhaps i'll get back to discussing art on here one of these days. actually, i will be posting another post about empathy soon (just for you sj), but until then, there's this.



ladies of london

last week i hung out with the absolutely gorgeous claire from sit down comedian and we quickly said before we rushed off in different directions that we should have a ladybloggers catch up. i think beeker or angus or someone organised something last time and for some reason i've decided it's time for me to do something about it. and to take a chance on summer by having it soon-ish.

so, london lady bloggers, come along and spread the word. here are the deets:

when: thursday 16th august, 2007
what time: 7pm
where: the perfect lady's parlour, maison bertaux, greek st london W1 (in between soho square and shaftesbury av).

we can't book, but let me know in the comments if you're thinking about coming, so we can perhaps let them know beforehand.

hope to see lots of lovely ladybloggers there!



irreplaceable as the new currency

this post contains offensive language. if you can’t deal with it, that’s OK, we can still be friends, just come back in a couple of days.

so the other night at aha!, the creative get together at the commercial tavern, some cunt stole my ipod, and my mate charles’ bag. cctv didn’t pick up squat and the police, well, I suspect they won’t find anything anywhere.

and while this post could easily be a vent about all of that, it’s actually about sentimentality and preciousness. you see, my ipod was covered in this:

in case you can’t tell, it’s a hand-made felt cover, made by my best friend Sarah, with my name stitched into it! how cute is it! it was a farewell present from her before I came to London and a general ‘I love you’ gift. see how loved it is in that photo? and now, it’s gone. and it hasn’t gone to a good home, either. in fact, said cunt probably just turfed it before she/he hocked the 80GB video pod for about 4 hour’s worth of crack, smack, or fuck.

and, even though public transport is now a bit tougher without my toons, and my travel insurance will eventual replace it, it’s this special cover that I’m devastated about.

my new friend nina was there that night and when I was telling her about the nicked cover, she told me a similarly shit story about her teddy bear. nina has just moved from germany. in fact, her bags are still being shipped and the delivery company rang to tell her two days ago that her backpack had been stolen. which is really fucking annoying, but the only thing in that backpack that nina really cared about, that couldn’t be replaced or covered by insurance, was her teddy bear. she’d had it since she was born and you can’t replace that stuff!

which highlights how important that element of ‘hand-made’ really still is to us. as humans, with the access and capabilities to generate an enormous amount of FMCGs (Fast-Moving-Consumer-Goods), technology, replaceable, recyclable and disposable stuff, it’s the authentic, sentimental, ephemeral and memorable items that we really care about. not just me and nina, but everyone. ask anyone what they’ll grab to save in a housefire and I can assure you (unless you’re Patrick Bateman), it won’t be the Prada bifocals, the Paul Smith suit, Manolo Blahnik strappy stilettos or the Bose 5 Channel Surround Sound Digital Entertainment System. It’s the photo albums, the vinyl records, the teddy bears, the trinket Grandma gave you when you were sick from the chicken pox, you save. the sentimental and irreplaceable.

as an artist, that comforts me a little. knowing that as humans we still care about the time and effort something is put into being. and that the art of making tangible, irreplaceable things, is still a worthwhile pursuit. in fact, i'd go so far as to say that in the years to come, the irreplaceable will be the new currency in the face of a backlash against disposable.

And if you read this and you’ve got my ipod cover (or nina’s teddy bear for that matter), fucking give it back.



to my future employers*


perhaps you've received my CV and you can see that i've had a lot of good quality experience and you're interested in knowing a bit more about me. or perhaps you've already spoken to me and are thinking of calling me in for an interview, maybe even a second interview (or god forbid, a third, ahem).

well, there's something you should know about me.

i have a brain.
i have a sense of humour

i have a lip ring.
i have 'two-toned hair'
i have tattoos.

and they won't change any time soon.

and there's something else you should know.

this does not and will never prevent me from doing my job well or being well-presented. they are not a precursor to me being rude or unhelpful to clients. nor does it mean that i'm not an intelligent, resourceful, efficient and easy-going person who will absolutely kick-arse at my job and still have time for an art career and two blogs as well.

if you're reading this and you're not sure if you can quite handle it. or perhaps your MD is going to suggest to you that i "change my hair and take out the piercing", then don't bother. i'm OK that we won't be a match and i'm sure there's a more mature organisation out there. but please, do me the service of being honest and upfront from the beginning, otherwise you're just fucking both of us around.

kind regards


*applicable to london employers only. employers everywhere else don't seem to have a problem.



what's floating the boat

i don't usually like going on about inspiration too much. mainly because, well, i don't wanna sound like a tripper hippy. but this past couple of weeks has been full of the stuff and i figure that every now and again, it's OK to indulge.

i firmly believe einstein's maxim than creativity is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. and even inspiration you have to cultivate. you can't just sit back and expect it to knock on your door. you have to do, see, watch, engage with inspiring things.

and over the last couple of weeks, i've been mainlining inspiring stuff. and interestingly enough (or not) most of the stuff i've been jumping up and down about has not, actually, been anything i've seen in my gallery per day visits. not that the work i've seen hasn't been fantastic (i'll rave about it in the next couple of days), but it's often that which is outside of the box that gets my gears going. i just wanted to share it with you, because, well, i'm indulging.

being frank
a couple of weeks ago, i went and saw sketches of frank gehry. it was part of a week where i had seen loads of stuff about architecture (global cities and zaha hadid for a start) and it just burst my brain cells. it focused on the creative process and progress of one of the world's most well-known architects with his friend and film maker sydney pollack. gehry's process is deeply ingrained in the art side of creation (as opposed to, say, civic planning). you saw how frank worked, his modelling process, his pen sketches, where he got his inspiration - in fact the scene where he shows you the relationship between a 'mother and child' masterpiece by some italian master and the birds eye view model of an architectural project just made my heart skip a beat and my jaw drop. and the impression that one of his friends, i think it was artist chuck arnoldi, does of frank's design and modelling process is just priceless.

i came away from the movie just going 'why don't i do architecture?' (a reference to a line in the movie). i know what's represented is not architecture at all, but i loved the ethos of it - the importance of looking outside your oevre, the importance of knowing your craft and the idea of continuing to pursue it, relentlessly even, to overcome obstacles - both from within and from others, was, well, delicious.

thanks to some theatre tickets as a farewell from my old work, i got the chance to see maxim gorky's philistines (adapted by andrew upton, who is married to 'our kate') at the national theatre lyttleton. i hadn't been to the theatre in ages and totally loved it. in fact i always love theatre, but never go because, well, to be honest, i'd rather pay £30 to see a kick-arse band, but i'm trying to change that. especially after seeing this play because i came away with the thrill of having thought about and laughed at and being shocked by a thousand different things. i had been transported out of my life in to the lives of the in the time of the russian revolution. i love russian literature and could listen to petronymics and existentialist ravings all night long, but i'm glad it was such a fantastic adaptation. clocking in at 2 hours and 50 minutes, it was exactly long enough. in fact, just as i was thinking 'how much longer?', the final scene finished and the houselights came on.
the story is of a household and family of piotr and their loves, lives, inspiration and depression, the tyrannical nature of his father and the spritely nature of his lover. it's about living a full and prosperous life and the yawning chasm of a generation gap, as well as the divide of the conservatives and the progressives in russia at that particular time. the play was so dry and witty and soulfully dark at the same time, just brilliant. although, as my fellow twits will know, there was a new yorker behind me who, at the interval, loudly exclaimed 'that's just like woody allen'... fuck! talk about philistines...

coming home to our lady
my first major work, my graduating piece, was a series of 3 digitally manipulated photographs of 3 french gothic cathedral naves, made from milk crates (see above - chartres). the works sold out of an edition of 6 and were purchased by a few well-known peeps in sydney. creating the works, i worked from images of the interiors of the churchs and in building them, i got to know and study the cathedrals intimately. i had not been, but in my trip to paris during the week, i made sure that i went to at least one of them: notre-dame. walking into the church was like a home coming for me - i already knew what it was going to look like, i knew how i would feel and it was all of it and more. the majesty of the place is overwhelming and the stunning stained-glass windows were amazing. it's such a pilgrimage for so many people and i even found myself doing the sign of the cross out of habit - in fact i almost genuflected before i remembered that i wasn't in the catholic school system anymore and could just walk on by. i think when you go to notre-dame you probably feel uplifted anyway, whatever your creed or otherwise, but for me, it was a special little nod and a wink to the beginning of my art career and a nice nudge to keep going.



a bit of a lie down

it's that time again where i feel the need to have a bit of a holiday from old qwerty and step away from the laptop.
i'm still checking emails and i'll be twittering no doubt (a gal's gotta have some vices!) but i'll be back in a week or so.

see you on the flipside.

how rock'n'roll saves lives

so, over at rob campbell's blog, there has been some excellent discussion about how to really, truly, properly, deeply make a difference to the lives of the homeless. in smart and creative ways that actually help them. it's important to read and contribute so go there.

but first i want to tell you about how i think rock'n'roll can help them too.

so, the other night i'm at a punk gig for a great band. they're over from the states and they care about shit. they do stuff and say stuff about making a difference to the world and as a result, both gigs were completely sold out, packed to the rafters with people singing along, furiously enjoying themselves to the music and the meaning.

while i was getting myself squished about, i noticed in the back stage area (which is a balcony above the dancefloor) that there was an older bloke who looked like he'd been around the block several times. not rank, but scruffy and shabby enough to probably be living on the streets. he was looking on in wonderment, having a quiet little good time, watching the band, watching the crowd, quietly tapping his feet while keeping his hands in his pockets. and with a smile on his face that was almost ear-to-ear. in fact, even with my rubbish eyesight, i could see the gleam in his eyes as he soaked in the atmosphere and relaxed a little. like when you gatecrash someone's really cool party, thinking that you've gotten away with it but they actually know and like having you around. i could see that he felt a part of a social experience that he didn't have to 'earn' and didn't have to know the code. he could just enjoy it. let go of the weight of the world for a few hours and join the human race again for a bit, no strings attached.

what i imagine happened is that someone from the band (or crew), in their break between soundcheck and their live set, has gone looking for food and seen this guy either begging, or sleeping on the streets. they've gone up to him and said 'hey mate, do you wanna come to a gig tonight, i'll put you on the door and you can watch the bands, hang out with us back stage. even share our rider if you like'. small gesture on the part of the band. big difference in the life of our homeless friend and one which i continue to imagine has stayed with him over the next couple of days. hopefully restoring his faith in himself as 'one of us'. and maybe giving him the strength to start making small steps to overcome it. perhaps go to a shelter, seek help, get throught the night, talk to the police, whatever.

i know that this might not be what happened at all. that guy could have been someone's dad who is chaperoning for the night and i've just publicly said that he looks like he needs a wash.

but say i'm right. say that's what did happen.

imagine if all bands did this. or even half of them. or 10%. or even only punk bands. it wouldn't actually take much effort really and there are loads of big bands that swing through cities each day, with a couple of spots on a door list and a rider that's worth sharing (or not). i know it wouldn't actually get people off the streets for long, but that little act of kindness and inclusion, maybe even getting our mate to help load in some gear if he wanted to feel a bit useful for a while, has the possibility of making an enormous difference if it's done, night after night, city after city, band after band, homeless person after homeless person. a ripple effect.

music has saved my life on countless occasions. i'd love to think that it could also make such a profound change on someone else's in such a simple way.



red writing



giving a friend a hand [Part I]

before i launch into my post about how rad inspiration is and how rock music can save the world, i'm asking you bloggery types to give my friend and great sculptor, kd a hand with research for her psych thesis.

it's about meditation and i know, from going to Interesting 2007, that plenty of you don't meditate, hate meditation and would love to express such an opinion. well kd is looking for such an opinions (and otherwise) for her honours psychology thesis! how's that for luck!

if you could give her a hand by following the link and doing the quick survey, that would be tops!


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wired for sound

heh, clip art

over the last couple of days, i've been having a play with my new techy toy (a cool microphone which attaches to my ipod), and chatting to a couple of emerging curators, capturing it all in digital format.

i've uploaded the resulting discussions (some of which are me going on a bit, sorry about that)to my new section - sound bits, over there, on the side bar, scroll down a bit, yep, there. i've purposedly kept them unedited, unpolished and a bit loose, not just because i'm lazy, but because it's the equivalent of showing your workings in year 9 maths class, you get to see the whole picture.

i'm going to upload more of these chats with all kinds of interesting peeps in the future, so keep an eye out. and if you're an interesting peep, i might just ask you to go on the record, if you're not careful.. ha!

they're in wav format, so everyone, mac and pc kids alike, should be able to hear them, but if you're having troubles, post a comment and i'll do my best to fix it. although i'm not a super-tech person, so it might take a bit of time.



june happysnaps

now that june has whizzed by and it's the end of the financial year (well, at least it is in australia), it's time again for a glimpse at some of this month's happysnaps. i was so erratic this month - my camera ran out of batteries at the beginning of the month and i eventually got my shit together to buy some around the middle of the month. went snap-happy, ran the batteries out again and am back where i started. the annoying thing is that i accidentally left behind a brand new charger with 4 rechargables. grrr.
anyway, enjoy a rather narrow slice of my june views:



i'm sure art is infectious, but what am i spreading?

all the possibilities for innuendo aside, i'm in a bit of a quandry about a little project/programme that i want to get started and i think i need the collective wisdom (or out-and-out sledging) of the blogosphere for guidance. [and who said religion was dead!].

in securing the spinach artist-in-residence-of-sorts, i realised that i am really into the idea of introducing the active process of creating as a stimulant and revitalising agent into the workplace. i know that when i've got artists (writers, actors, musicians, etc) around my productivity goes up. i feel energised, hepped up, inspired to do things, make a difference or get hip with it man. but, i'm an artist. that's the kind of environment i thrive in.

but if i worked in telecommunications, insurance, investment banking, would i feel also feel inspired by an artist? i'm doing some scouting about at the moment, working on ways that i might be able to introduce an aritst-in-residence-of-sorts into other workplaces. ones which aren't as obviously creative (or are perhaps are as dead as doornails) and which would really benefit from having an inspired presence or energy in the place - a sort of vaccination for the organisation's immune system.*

however, i was born creative. i've always inhaled anything that is remotely inspiring and interesting and so i am probably slightly biased in my outlook. is art and the process of creativity actually something worthwhile to have about the place, or do i have my head in the clouds? would it really be inspiring to have an artist at the end of the hall, constantly creating cool pieces that you could have on your desk in your little cubicle, or would it be the equivalent of that toner recycling box or motorised pencil sharpener: something which should probably make a difference, but in reality, is much easier to ignore.

is creative action as infectious as i believe it is?

*thanks to john griffiths for the analogy