Can someone in London please do me a favour and be a proxy me for a couple of hours by doing these three things in my absence? I'd do them myself, but for the slight problem of distance:
.1. go to Lisson Gallery and see the Santiago Sierra show there. He's an amazing artist who does great politically-charged installation work (including in the Korean DMZ and in the UAE). He'll also be doing a sound work on Bell St (right near Edgeware Rd tube station).
.2. buy and read this month's Creative Review. It's a cheap special with an article I'd love to read with Will Gompertz from Tate Galleries on life as a client (mmm..Fallon and Tate, with sexy results).
3. hang out at the Green Man pub on Berwick St, talking shit with Will, Seb and Nina until the owner guy loses it and chucks you out, after which you wander around the streets of Soho, large chai latte in hand, late into the night.
Can someone in London please do me a favour and be a proxy me for a couple of hours by doing these three things in my absence? I'd do them myself, but for the slight problem of distance:
Following on from Interesting South, I've decided to go to more stuff like it more often:
pecha kucha flick thanks to paisdelasmaravillas from flickr
Started by a couple of architects, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, it began as a place to network and also to check out their eventspace. It has since gone on to be a global thang, a place to hear interesting people talk about interesting things.
I almost got to one at the ICA when i was in London, but missed the last one. Bugger. But, filed it under EXCITEMENT PLUS, the last Pecha Kucha Melbourne for the year is on Tuesday night! Yay!
At the Blue Diamond Bar on Queen St from 6-ish, I'm looking forward to checking out a variety of creative/brainy type presenations. 20 slides, then get the fuck off the stage. Love it.
coffee morning flick thanks to russell davies from flickr
Coffee Morning Melbourne
Regular readers will know that when in London, I did as Londoners do and went to Coffee Morning at the Breakfast Club in Soho. I met some amazing people there, including many who I call dear friends now. There are a few Coffee Mornings around the world. Sydney has one, Melbourne tried it a while ago and so I've decided to try and resurrect it. Mainly for the selfish reason of wanting good coffee and conversation.
The only thing is, I don't really know what works for the Melbourne bloggery types out there, so I'm putting forth a bit of an option type thing and if people can put their suggestions in the comments section, that would be ace. [I should probably put up a spiffy poll, but I honestly couldn't be fucked]. And if you know others who might be into it, get them to tell me too.
Now, I've stuck to the CBD, in the interest of being central and I'm sticking to Friday, in the interest of continuity (not to mention it being a lazy-ish kind of day and perfect to have coffee on).
Journal Cafe on Flinders Lane
Section 8 Container Bar/Cafe in Tattersalls Lane
Nick's on Queen St
*Sorry to those for whom that was an interminable bore. Now, back on topic.
dorkbot tee flick thanks to chesh from flickr
I saw Pia, fabulous Dorkbot Overlord speak at Interesting and have decided to go to one of the Melbourne Dork-bot meetings. Now, the last one for the year was last Sunday (while I was wandering lost around Wollongong, great.) but I thought I should just give it a bit of a shout-out anyway. Go to the Melbourne Dork-bot wiki for more info.
* It also reminded me of the fantastic Chris Northcote's Forkbot, reconstructed EggsBaconChipsBeans at Interesting in London.
And what's the point of all that garbage for? Well, the thing is, it's the Real Life 2.0 version of a browsing, or going through your blog reader. Hearing about a range of stuff from strangers is fantastic for expanding your experience of stuff: great for empathy, brilliant for jiggling an idea around and, dare I say it, good for the soul. I like the way I feel when I hear new stuff and I feel like a more informed member of the human race. Surely that's a good thing, right?
And still on this past weekend, while visiting Sydney and Wollongong, I had to do some leaving behind and I’ve been thinking a lot about my memories and how they relate to a feeling of home or displacement. In fact, when writing about my relationship with these places and my memories, I realised that they replicate information architecture and data code.
Sydney is a city I lived in for almost 10 years. I spent a large part of my early adulthood there, I did some growing up there, I made a few friends and I studied there. While it’s not the basic core of my OS, it’s a huge patch on it. But seeing as I pretty much outgrew that place, it’s a seriously old package. I love the people there and I can treat the place as a city to work in, but it became quite obvious that I categorically cannot live there anymore. It has a strangling, cold and merciless feel about it, within which I don’t feel like operating.
And then at the opposite end of the spectrum,Wollongong. I went there on Sunday afternoon and while it felt the most familiar place that I’ve been in the last 8 months (since leaving it), it was like seeing an ex boyfriend and realizing that he is still an arsehole – it’s a place that I know and gave a whole lot of myself to, yet there is nothing for me there anymore.
It wasn’t easy feeling those feelings, having those thoughts about those places. It’s not easy having a changing relationship with a very important part of anyone’s identity: one’s place.
[which has prompted me to amp up my support for indigenous and homeless charities]
After this weekend, I’ve come back to Melbourne with a renewed vigour and appreciation, but it also reminded me that my first 6 weeks here hasn’t been easy, because of that sense of displacement from my memory here. I left Melbourne, troubled, at 17. So, coming back some 13 years later, as a completely different person, my relationship with the place is complex. I’m creating a new interface of my place, re-writing over old data, yet maintaining and building on old data. It’s exciting, but a process for which I have no code and ‘last known good’ is not that helpful.
In fact, the ‘last known good’ is actually 10,000 kms away, across the other side of the world in London. That’s where my most recent character memories are and it’s strange to have them as free-floating agents, not tied to anything tangible or recongisable.
I’ve decided to come at this thing with a new outlook though, actually inspired a lot by what I saw and heard at Interesting South. Interesting times indeed.
Update: my box of bits and pieces arrived from London tonight– perfect timing – full of my journals, books, postcards, art materials and artworks that I shipped back here before I left. Sorting through them has sort of consolidated and defragged a lot of stuff!
Wow! Change of government! I realise that Kevin07’s Federal Government is still pretty conservative, but boy is it nice to have a change already.
I realised that my entire adult life has been governed by conservative Liberal (note the capital, for those who may confuse it with broadmindedness) government and I’m unashamed to say that I’m feeling relief. I realised today that they will be signing the Kyoto agreement, that health will be back on the agenda (including dental!!) and that a formal apology from the colonialists to Indigenous Australia.
I don’t have to cringe for a little while. I’m not expecting great things, but even those three things will be a nice change from the strangling, small-minded, economic rationalist tyranny we’ve been living under for the past 11 years.
It's an interesting time to be an Australian...
On Thursday I spent the day/evening at Interesting South. For more info about exactly what that is, go here. Or here. And to find out more about where it came from, go here.
During the day, I joined the wonderful Emily and her band of troupers to help transform the Bondi Pavillion Theatre into a cosy home away from home for those attending the conference. I was hoping that the set would invoke the sense of watching people chat in their own home. Kind of like a super-sized dinner party. With microphones and powerpoint. It seemed to work well and it did feel nice and homely. I even made tea for all the speakers and that turned out to be really fun and a nice extra element to the whole occasion.
I only got to hear bits and pieces of most of the talks because I was fixing tea (and definitely didn’t have time to draw like I did in London, but I still heard some amazing things and met some really lovely people at the conference afterwards.
Here’s a hodge-podge snapshot of what I got:
Dan Hill and his spectacular system for keeping check on energy output:
“I’m not suggesting we all have huge numbers above our buildings, keeping score. Actually that is what I’m suggesting”
Matt Moore’s poetic guide for making a zombie.
Errol Flanagan's fantastic presentation on perception and understanding
"What's green, sir?"
Dr Adrienne Withall’s great study of Happiness parts I and II, including the fact that 50% of one’s happiness is genetic (oh shit) but that 40% is outlook (woo hoo!).
I loved the Happiness Manifesto and the Make Slough Happy campaign, of which I only remember a couple of points:
•Be grateful for at least 3 things a day
•Smile at a stranger
•Reduce your television contact
•Talk to a good friend for at least an hour a week;
Pia, the Sydney Dork-bot Overlord (how cool is that title!) reminded me that I need to go a Dork-Bot meeting in Melbourne, and see people “doing strange things with electricity”;
Adrienne and Pia sipping tea
The 3 Tims:
Tim Baynes, the scientist from an unnamed scientific organisation, who talked about sustainability in terms of the exponential growth, which was scary and exciting at the same time;
Tim Noonan, who is a fantastic performer and who can read people’s voices as a way of knowing more about them (vocal, instead of body language);
and Tim Longhurst, who was responsible for the fantastic Zero Coke Movement which hit big time earlier this year.
Juan’s Free Hugs/Free Homes campaign;
The evening went so quickly and like someone on the night said, it didn’t feel like 17 speakers, more like about 9. And the conversations in the club afterwards were similarly fantastic, including how much to reveal when blogging, what others would speak about and whether SARS was worth getting excited about.
Congrats to Emily and the Sydney Coffee Morning* crew for a fab time and keep an eye out for Interesting South 2008
Big thanks to Piers and Richard for these pics on the flickr.
*[watch this space Melbourne bloggy kids, I think I’m going to start a Coffee Morning]
This is a reminder specifically for all the Australians in London at the moment to vote on Saturday’s federal election.
It’s easy, head down to Australia House on the Strand (corner of Aldwych) and pop a postal vote in the box.
Considering that 2% of our population live in London, that’s a pretty hefty swing.
As I mentioned previously, I’m going to be speaking at Interesting South next week. I’m doing some designy –type things-ish for the theatre set and I thought I’d show you what I’ve been up to in the last couple of days.
Ben and the other cool kids from The Design Conspiracy were the Official Platinum Design sponsors for the original Interesting in London. Their brief from Russell included these points (as stolen from Ben’s blog – thanks Ben):
•It must be interesting. Obviously. But there is a fine line between interesting and downright messy.
•It must encompass the principles of web 2.0 (by that I mean updateable, participatory, flexible and interactive) whilst being offline quite a lot.
•It must utilise the attendees as collaborators.
•Assume zero budget.
•It must be able to dictate the look of the hall.
•It must be carbon neutral.
•It must be good.
So, in developing some ideas for Emily and the gang, I tried to play along to the same rules (and to play around with that lovely logo). And this is what’s been happening so far:
Lots of enlarging and some photocopying.
[I’m pretty sure that’s not exactly carbon neutral, but the paper is recycled and it’s better than getting vinyl lettering printed]
and then cutting out and up,
generally messing about with the logo. [It feels a little bit wrong somehow, like years of abiding by IP laws are just being frittered away… tee hee, welcome to real life 2.0.]
wondering what it would look like as an upholstery pattern
and of course, the obligatory cat-sitting-on-the-work shot.
it’s getting a bit exciting now. see you next week in sydney!
Unofficially, I've been accepted into a post grad course on public art next year. I'm really excited about it and have already been sucking up some great architecture/planning info and discovering new places to waste my time (here, here, here and here); thinking about structure and 'spatial relationships' and hopping from one foot to the other in anticipation.
As well as all that, I’ve been thinking about environmental and sustainability issues and how important good, or more specifically smart design is to helping combat some of the destructive things we’ve been doing to our planet.
[for an excellent post on the benefit of design in environmental sustainability, read ben terrett’s presentation from applied green..]
I also recently did the fantastic WWF footprint calculation and was appalled to realise that I’m living like we’ve got 3.5 planets to live off. As they gently reminded me, we've only got one so i better do something about it.
While I know that I can do a lot to reduce my impact, most of it had to do with things that are outside my usual pattern of operating (2 x 21 hour plane trips plus a couple of trips within europe will do that) and I wanted to plead: but I’m not usually like that! In actual fact, I'm petrified at what state this planet will be in within the next 20 years, because I know that, for all the talk, there are still only a few people really doing anything about it.
Which brings me to the main point of this post.
Most current sustainable solutions rely on the structure and habit of 'everyday living' to impement: you know, solar panels on your house, kerbside recycling, using public transport instead of taking the car everyday; going organic, using reduced packaging and energy-saver lightbulbs, etc, etc, etc. The good news is that for the most part, they're pretty easy to do for your average Australian, with an average job, average wages and average lifestyle. Which is great!
But what about when you want to step outside the order of that regular life? Like, you're travelling. Or you're renting or renovating. Or you're so poor you can barely afford food and electricity, let alone green power or organic vegetables. Or your workplace is sadly unenlightened and continues to fly the CBD Blaze of Glory flag. Or you're a super-cool rockstar who lives in 5-star hotels. Or you want to actually have a social life that doesn't include staying at home playing scrabbulous.
Trust me, it's really hard to remain carbon-neutral in any of those things. And being a super-cool rockstar who lives in 5-star hotels, I should know.
But seriously, here's a small case in point: the humble water-bottle.
I carry around a bottle of water with me, in order to a) save on packaging while keeping hydrated and b) save money. But when I go to a club, or a restaurant (as someone else blogged about recently) that water bottle gets taken away from me so that i a) maybe don't lob it at the lead singer of a shite band and b) so that i buy the water from the venue.
Now, you might not think that matters all that much, but say each club in a city the size of London takes 10 bottles of water away from customers each night and chucks it in the bin (note: not recycled). Say 10 bottles of water, 30 clubs (being conservative), 3 nights of the week (again, conservative), 52 weeks of the year = 46800 bottles of water being thrown away. It also means that another 46800 extra bottles of water are being purchased, to replace the ones that had to be chucked. And let's say that’s from people who are trying to be thoughtful. I don’t even want to think about the ones who couldn’t give a damn.
And don’t get me started on food wastage per night, per city, per year, per capita, otherwise I think I’ll vomit.
And that’s just a little example, using a bit of a peeve I had going on there. Which brings me back to my point – how can we step up the beat when we’re out of our rhythm? The real answer is easy: don’t eat out, don’t go out, don’t travel, don’t listen to loud music and don’t drive a car. Just don’t.
But we all know what happens when we have to be good all the time – the 1980s.
Is the only way to deal with these kind of ‘out of the ordinary’ environmental expenditure to offset them? Or is, as Sam says, carbon offsetting the morning after pill for environmental sustainability? Can't we just start making less of an impact? Now?
I think now is a really important time for those in service positions: city planners, architects, interior designers, food industry types, educational institutions, governments and scientists to also think about how to create sustainability structures so that when we’re out of our comfort zones, or our regular rhythms, that we’re still working towards reducing our impact, almost without even knowing!
Maybe this includes re-thinking licensing laws, developing intelligent food packaging solutions (even ones that the tight-arse mums and dads running the chippie will want to purchase) or even an incentive to eat in!, MAKING PUBLIC TRANSPORT AVAILABLE AND ATTRACTIVE!!!, using proper signage (no need for useless maps!), having proper sound insulation and equipment so that you don't need to crank the god-damned speakers until they're bursting, etc, etc, etc.
I know that loads of people are suspicious of companies jumping on the 'green' marketing bandwagon, but this is more than about marketing stuff. It's about making things green and coming to expect them to be made that way.
i'm not really one to re-post videos on this blog, but i just had to post this one.
tonight i was idling in abc2 and discovered monkey dust. the cool kids have probably been watching this nutty business for ages, but i'm just a newby! it's fantastic and in the same vein as drawn together and seven periods with mr gormsby series. super dark and super cheeky.
OK, so as part of making Interesting South a lovely, cosy conference to hang out in, we need help from our friendly attendees, speakers, or anyone who wants to help out/participate in some way.
Firstly, we’re asking for donations of furniture, which will then go onto Salvos and Vinnies after the conference. Just think of it like putting in the middle man – a way to help us out and then help them out.
Here’s our wish-list:
1 x 3-seater lounge (2-seater is fine)
1 x lounge chair
1 x kitchen table/desk
1 x kettle
1 x medium-sized rug
1 x bookshelf (not too large)
1 x pair long curtains
1 x standing lamp
1 x table lamp
1 x side table
some small family picture frames
some cushions (no more than 3)
some cups and saucers
some tea spoons
Now, if you’ve got any of these things, which need to be in pretty good condition, we also need you to help us out by taking it to a warehouse in Surry Hills on Tuesday 20th November [we don’t have a whole lot of time/resources on the actual day].
So, if you can help us tick off the things we need AND you can transport it, please email lauren[at]sheseesred[dot]com to organise what you’ve got and where to take it.
All of that stuff takes moving in and out of the theatre and while it’s not huge, we need the help of about 8 toughies to help us move it into and out of the theatre on the day. If you can only help bump in, great! If you can only help bump out, great! Just email lauren[at]sheseesred.com to let me know what you can offer. The times will be 10am – 12pm and then from 10pm (we’re bumping out as quickly as possible, so that we can join everyone at the pub afterwards!)
more Interesting stuff soon...
While i'm in a major limbo, coming back down to earth after my awesome trips, I've been trying to keep a sense of continuity by going to galleries. I'm aiming for the gallery per day thing and hoping to blog regularly about it in the next coming while, and you know, i could just as easily get slack again. But until then, here are some shows I've seen lately..
Hayden Fowler,Call of the Wild
Thanks to the CCP website
CCP [Centre for Contemporary Photography]
It's quite nice to be living in the same town as this gallery now. in past visits, i've always popped in to see what's on here and now i've been to see two shows in the last two weeks! i made it to the last day of the International Arts Festival show, which had photographic works by a range of amazing artists, including Robert Gober and Bruce Nauman. At the same time, the Leica Documentary Photography exhibition was on and while most of didn't float my boat, the portriat series of victims of the war in Rwanda made me feel so ill that i had to vote for it. There was an image of a boy who had a huge chunk of his scalp missing from mortar fire, but it had healed missing, with hair growing around it - it was so disturbing! That work and the series ended up winning the People's Choice award for the artist, Sean Hobbs.
And then last Thursday I managed to get back to CCP for the opening of their new show, featuring which was pretty cool. I totally loved the documentation of the tattoo performance - it was like Miami Ink meets Matthew Barney - my kind of mixture!
Girls Say No To White Gloves
Thanks to the Blindside website
Last Friday I discovered that I had a quick 30 minutes to spare in the city before my train back to the sticks – exactly enough time to pop into Blindside and check out the show. I love Blindside. It’s just the right size for an intimate little show. Nice and cozy without being claustrophobic - a taste test, if you will. And I’ve seen a few pretty tasty shows there.
The show on at the moment, featuring Amy Marjoram, Kate Robertson, Amanda Schembri and Michelle Tran, Girls Say No To White Gloves has amazing promo material and the essay by Claire Richardson is great. The pink little postcards totally caught my eye and I have to say, given that, this show was a little disappointing. The premise is great – bringing the tangible into photographic works, but the show as a whole was, I don’t know, just not quite there yet. The rear-projection work was the beginning of a hot idea – projecting through the back of a framed image - but with the projection being pretty loose green laser works, well, it didn’t quite hit the button.
The book on the ground, of photographic images of ‘grounds’ – tiles, carpet, gravel, etc, was pretty ace, and the fact that you had to get down low and go, go, go was pretty neat. And then that was about it. The video image of a woman sitting at her desk, well, didn’t grab me enough to wait for whatever else was supposed to happen and the images of landscapey type things stuck onto the wall were so retro that they were kind of naff. I’m sorry if you’re reading this and it was your work - maybe I’m a lummox who knows nothing about anything. [Shrug]
Ed Ruscha,Brother, Sister
Thanks to the NGV website
NGV, Postmaster's Gallery, Outre
Monday, the day before Cup Day was at simultaneously the best and worst day to go on a bit of a gallery jaunt with my Mum and her 15-year old god-daughter. Best because we all had a day off work./school/bludging, worst because most of the decent galleries were shut, either because it was a Monday, a Public Holiday, or they were in between shows.
However, we managed to make it to 3 galleries for the day, which was about a third of what we wanted to. Most of the time was spent in the NGV, with a little time at the Postmaster’s Gallery and then Outre: I know, a clunky mix of ouvres, but hey, it’s what ended up happening. I’m going to rave in detail about the NGV in another post, so I’ll save it. However, at the moment, it’s rocking my socks – currently showing works from the UBS Collection, a great range of decorative arts, Joseph Beuys and great photographic works on portraiture! I’ve needed to hold onto a bit of the northern hemisphere connection, and with the works on at the moment, I’ve been able to do that – Damien Hirst, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, Gerhard Richter, Kiki Smith, Lucien Freud, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, Herman Miller, Alessi/o… like old friends I had hung out with on my travels. And then we spent a whole bunch of time in the shop. I can’t say any more than that or I may suffer from a severe attack of possession envy and die.
Tuesday was a public holiday, so no gallery visiting, despite almost making it to McClelland gallery for the second day in a row.
On Wednesday, I managed to get there though. Their Sculpture Survey is being set up at the moment, so there wasn’t a hell of a lot to check out, but we really just went to have a peek at the Contemporary Australian Silver and Metalwork show. I’ve got plans to get some work made in silver (when the Money Will Roll Right In), so I’m fixated with the stuff at the moment. It was quite a strange show, with a very clear line between the wheat and the chaff, my favourite work being the cutlery set by Oliver Watts (?) and the blackened silver circular diorama thingys by people whose names I didn’t write down or manage to remember. There were so beautiful and delicate, yet because they were black, they had a little bit of a Tim Burton-esque sinister feel to them, which I think is just yummy sometimes.
I've also seen shows at West Space, Bus and Linden since then, but I'll post about them another day; tomorrow, or something.
i've been thinking about language lately, and the universal nature of the word 'fuck' - understood in almost any language, especially when followed by the word 'you'. i've also been thinking about how much i swear, kidding myself that i don't swear that much.
well, here it is in millions of colours:
so, i've decided that, in the spirit of ramadan, lent and other ascetic festivals of a religious nature, i'm going to abstain from swearing for one week.