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"One of the fastest-growing gaming markets are senior citizens. In 1999, only 9% of people over 50 played video games, in contrast to 24% in 2007."

image pinched from the kaiser edition, via Activision's COD4

I read this in a post today and it got me asking some questions:

Firstly, since when are over 50s 'senior citizens'?

Secondly, are these stats really surprising? Video games have now been a major element of pop culture since the early 80s. Hell, I used to go down to the fish'n'chip shop to buy my dad's cigarettes (with a note of course), and with the change i was allowed to buy myself a Chock Wedge and a game on the sit-down Space Invaders, but it would always be taken up by the older boys. Those older boys would be at least 45 by now, so it's hardly a stretch to think that there'd be a whole bunch of over 50-55 year olds who would play video games. Hell, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cave, Nick Hornby, Dan Castellenata (aka Homer Simpson), Daniel Day Lewis, Dawn French and Stephen Fry are all 50-51 and I could certainly imagine at least 2 of those hip'n'groovy cultural coolsters playing video games. Steve Jobs is supposedly a 'senior citizen' - surely he's a gamer from way back!

Plus, considering that this age bracket is also from the height of the baby boom, there are probably 24% more 'senior citizens' doing everything at the moment, just because there are 24% more of them!

I find it amazing that statistics like these continue to be used for market and cultural 'sensations'. Like there's a marketing glut in this new-found demographic. In fact, I find it quite weird that we continue to be shocked by the influence of pop culture at all. Surely that's the essence of it - that everyone is into it?

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i hear ya

from ian at hot-cross haiku

post-easter weekend
what time is lunch?



i love this photo

thanks to wooster, via eyeteeth

for you, tom


early designs

early designs is a global 'revelation' kind of project online, whereby a selection of designers, artists and illustrators show a comparison of their 'college' work to their current work. it's set up by designer/blogger andy whitlock.

andy describes it on his blog now in colour:

"Early Designs is an open project where (hopefully) hundreds of designers, artists and illustrators from across the world will - on the same day - upload pieces and sketches from their college years.

On that day, we'll get a glimpse into the past of 'creative types' everywhere and hear the stories, learnings, late nights and bad hair that made them what they are today."

i don't actually know if this will be all that interesting to anyone else, but i kind of like the idea. in fact, one of my lusted-after books is vik muniz' no.1: first works by 362 artists. as a practitioner, i find it consoling to see artists' early works. as an appreciator, i find it somewhere in the realm of horoscope, or nominative determinism. or perhaps looking back at baby photos: the evidence of some kind of fate.

anyway, here it is.

college work

Notre-Dame, 2002,
C-type photograph,
121 x 81cm.

This work is one of a series of 3, all featuring French Gothic Cathedrals - the others being Amiens and Chartres.
I had quite a bit of success with this work - what started out as a one-off, quickly sold out as an edition of 6, with the most exciting purchase by one Brian Kennedy, director of the National Gallery of Australia at the time (for his private collection).

and then it's all down hill from there.. heh.

current work

White, Red, 2007
Dye on hot-pressed watercolour paper
140cm x 140cm

Hello, Daniel, 2007
Motor, MDF, acrylic
40 x 40 x 43cm (approx)

There's some even more current work in the last post, plus i'm in the middle of a project, but the work I chose to compare it with is work I made for a group show last year at Kudos Gallery, curated by Sarah Mosca, called He Said, She Said, about dialogue. I did works that reflected the dialogues between artists: White, Red, being an extrapolation of Rachel Whiteread's 25 Spaces, and Hello, Daniel as a conversation with a work from Daniel von Sturmer's Field Equation.

The difference between the works and how they have been purchased is quite interesting to me, really. I know that I had far more of a focus on selling the recent work (mostly because I was on my way to London and the thought of having to deal with storing that huge work was nauseating), but was far more willing to cultivate a relationship with my audience than when I was younger. White, Red was purchased by an anonymous collector ([hank you, if you happen to read this blog] , which was both exciting and maddening. Maddening because I'm too polite for my own good and wanted to contact them to thank them. Plus, I like to know who my audience is, who likes my work, and perhaps why. Anyway.There's something seductive about the relationship to the anonymous audience, as I guess there is to the anonymous artist too (see under The Banksy Effect).

Anyway, there you have it. College work and recent-ish works. Check out now in colour for other early designers.

UPDATE: Other Early Designers so far:
Alistair from We Made This
Susanna Edwards

UPDATE 2: There's a flickr group: Early Designs - The College Years.

UPDATE 3: for uni, i have to do a quick presentation of 3 slides about my practice, so thanks andy for inviting me to do this, it means i've got two-thirds of that presentation done! ha!

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CERES final works

Yesterday was the final day of the CERES site-specific project and over the week, I’ve managed to produced 3 works. No huge works, but certainly focused works.

I wanted to do a range of smaller pieces, that responded to the site in different ways and expanded my experience of the place and of working in a permissible space.

The first work, the one which I wrote about here, Burn, didn’t have the outcome I expected, which is I guess is an occupational hazard of doing body works, but it was a process that was definitely successful.

On the second day of trying to get the imprint of the Merri Creek in my arm, some interesting aspects of the process happened. In criss-crossing the site with my arm outstretched into the sun, it was like my arm, and the creek were mapping the site, almost in a psychogeographical way. I got some interesting reactions to the sight of an exposed arm, with red texta and sunscreen slathered up it (which looked like a major cut or burn in itself). Some teenage schoolboys just stopped and stared, god bless em; the women from the market gardens asked me what was happening and nodded with interest and/or puzzlement. And Tim from the café, who had been making my coffees thought I had slashed myself. But was interested in the idea after I told him about what was really going on. In fact he called it my creek 'tattoo', which I thought was helpful insight.


Stock was a very quick-response work: stenciled $ symbols on an existing woodpile. This was the more pointed political work (let’s face it, anytime you use a monetary symbol, it’s political, right?): creating a ‘stockpile’, a pile of valuable material – valuable in terms of cut wood, the natural material as a valuable resource and something to think about in terms of burning ‘money’.

Fireflies: Luciferase acts on luciferin

After years of wanting to do a work with LED throwies, I knew that I was going to end up doing a light work here. Being a nature-based urban space, the magnetic aspect of the throwie wasn’t going to happen, but I’ve adapted it to the space and finances that I had access to. Initially set for the new nursery section, I was hoping for a veritable swarm of lights [I bought 100 LEDs!] But I couldn’t find an affordable option for that many 3V batteries, so I ended up having to downscale and re-work slightly.

The work is currently hanging out over the merri creek, near the fence to CERES and resembles a small buzz of fireflies, who are the natural model for efficient lighting. In-situ, at night, the works also seem to plot a space of sorts – like points on a 3 dimensional plan-of-sorts.

Unfortunately, the camera I have just wasn’t able to pick up the subtlety of the image, so all I have is that blackness you can see (which shows up how dirty my screen really is). Hopefully I’ll have some imagery from another student next week. If not, another documentation bites the dust. Dammit.

I’m having a holiday for a few days. Time to sleep, eat, sleep, watch tv, sleep. I’ll be back on board next week sometime.



spring water is shit

thanks to katakanadian from flickr

OK, so over at the kaiser edition is the ultimate beverage bracket: a bit of fun, a bit of rivalry and some general blog/comms geekery; pitching types of beverages against each other - 'my drink is better than your drink' kind of thing. it's the sequel to the very serious and divisive carnivore project [which weirdly, as a herbivore, i participated in the first round red and became part of the 'sausage crew'].

anyway, i've got far too much to do, but seeing as there was no one to argue to the point for spring water (as opposed to innocent smoothies, diet coke or red bull), i thought i would bash my head against a brick wall and post something to vote on.

technically i'm up against mr keil, a lovely fellow who i got to meet in hamburg and who is representing innocent smoothies. i actually think that innocent smoothies are the ultimate beverage [which i will go into later], which makes my job either really difficult. or really easy.

so, back to that heading: spring water is shit..

'spring water' is, in fact, no longer the regenerative, rehydrating liquid which we associate with the freshness and purity it once was. we now buy gallons and gallons of the stuff, house it in disgustingly wasteful bottles which get strewn all over the place, lease out the responsibility for its distribution to multi-national corporations who have a vested interest in actually selling fizzy sugar water and have now begun to 'add' 'nutrients' to make new 'water'. water has become an industry.

in fact, it has become the signifier for western commercialisation in its most obese form: package, distribute and sell a resource that is the essence of our biology and the symbol for a 'civilised' society. water is being 'mined' for the sake of a commodity: Spring Water - capital S, capital W.

tap water, on the other hand, while a scarce commodity and with systemic and power-based problems of its own, has got to be a far better option for the all-important hydro-sustenance. it has a far greater community history: with the well, pumping systems, windmills and running water the centre of a working civilisation. these architectural forms of mass-distribution have been around for fucking ever and they are the result of when humans actually work together for the common good. thanks to a scarcity of it [in this part of the world at least], there is a sense of preciousness about tap water: a focus on its place in the whole of society. we're all trying to make sure that we distribute it efficiently, preserve it, re-use it, recycle it (by watering plants with grey water) and make sure that everybody 'has enough'.

so, don't vote for Spring Water. In fact, stop buying the crap altogether. Drink tap water - carry your own water bottle around with you. And if you want something a little sweeter, with some real nutrients, drink juice.

vote here. for innocent. spring water is shit.

*for those aussies that haven't heard of innocent, think nudie, but first. go here. read their blog here. and even check out the blog by innocent's top creative dan germain. he's the nicest guy on the internet.


CERES environment park

this week we're stationed at CERES environmental park. read about them here.

our involvement is a short-turnaround project, where we can create some site-specific works in a place that focuses on community, sustainability and environmental education.

today, while everyone else was measuring up and doing site analyses, i was starting my first work: burning the track of the merri creek into my arm. i'm not quite sure if it's going to work out how i'd like it to but it has been an interesting foray into body work so far.

loads of artists do work relating to body. [i've been thinking about mike parr and stellarc (the two aussie kings of body work) and a little bit of todd mcmillan and his 24 hour endurance work overlooking the ocean]. i'm definitely not one of those artists, but seeing as the role of the audience and 'people' in public art has been highlighted in the last week (especially in light of no people engaging in artworks at docklands), i thought i would investigate the idea of personal in public.

my plan was to 'burn' the merri creek into my arm, creating the track of its course with sunscreen into the underside of my forearm (isn't there just one word for that in english? i'm sure there would be in german!). having mostly worked with red throughout my practice, it plays on that colour. but more importantly, merri creek is a significant wurundjeri site and turning red/getting burnt also highlights that i'm not native to this site - an invader of sorts: that my physiognomy is not designed to deal with the conditions of the site.

interestingly, despite putting my arm in full-sun for 20 minutes all up, i've not gone the shade of red that I would have liked so far. there was an initial reaction - a slight burning and a bit of colour, but now it's just regular, pasty-ish skin.

which throws up questions of skin sensitivity and whether you burn more when you've never been exposed to the sun (the preconception that i had), or in fact, the more you subject yourself to sun, the worse you burn.

i'll get out there again tomorrow and if it still doesn't go flaming red, then i'll leave it as an interesting process with a not-so-interesting outcome. stay tuned.



art in the public space lectures

today was a full day of good infostuff. the presentation by anthony mcinnerny about public art in the suburbs and its place there was excellent and highlighted the stereotypes of suburbia, looked at the shopping mall as a interesting public/private place and discussed artistic engagement on freeways. all fascinating.

but the highlight of the day was the discussion about art and public transport. talk about a fucking minefield of discussion! and of course, i was quiet and didn't utter a word.

topics covered included:

artists' engagement in developing the system of transport, through design and lateral thinking, as opposed to just adorning or beautifying a failing infrastructure.

stations as community hubs - which seemed pretty obvious to me, especially after time spent in germany and austria, where of course they've embraced their hauptbahnof and you can shop, eat, sleep, drink coffee, surf the web, store your shit, everything there. also discussion about the roles of libraries in stations as a way to implant stations within ordinary social fabric.

• heated discussion about graffiti as art and the money spent removing graffiti. some crazy broad suggested leaving the graffiti on the lines for a year, fostering it and seeing what happens when you allow the graffiti artists' subculture to self-govern, given that writers have an inbuilt learning process and skill-set heirarchy that is rarely tapped into.

• looking at the role of performance and new media works within transport systems. the grand central station (and possibly flinders st station) freeze as an example, as well as the other end of the spectrum, where you fuck people's shit up - make it totally unbearable to watch the flow-on effect from that.

• how a distorted art, in the form of muzak, is being used to punish citizens as a result of drug dealing around Frankston station and the idea of resulting alientation from public 'ownership' of such a space.

• looking at the misconceptions and preconceptions of convenience within a car-centric culture and whether art has a place in re-educating, or whether other aspects of transport need fixing first.

'anti-social' versus 'socially acceptable' imagery (ie, graffiti, vs paid advertising) and how the use of public space and infrastructure is privileged by consumerism and revenue, rather than by public consensus or common good.

plus some other juicy and faskinating points that i can't remember right now. it was a really vital discussion and considering that, in victoria, the transport minister and the arts minister are one and the same, it will (hopefully) be an area in which there is far more discussion and development. god knows that melbourne needs some serious surgery in this area.

for a super-fab article on public transport infrastructure in australia, also check out dan hill's shinkansen piece. brilliant.

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You hear what you need to, when you need to.

"The composer Stravinsky had written a new piece with a difficult violin passage," writes Thomas Powers, quoted in the book Sunbeams. "After it had been in rehearsal for several weeks, the solo violinist came to Stravinsky and said he was sorry, he had tried his best, the passage was too difficult, no violinist could play it. Stravinsky said, 'I understand that. What I am after is the sound of someone trying to play it.'" Keep this story close to your heart in the coming week, Aquarius. It will give you the proper perspective as you, too, go about the work of doing the best you can at a task that is virtually impossible to perfect.

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art in the public space lectures

today was a mega day and i'm pretty close to catatonic, but i thought i would just put up a few little notes:

beatriz maturana - urban designer

started off with an interesting discussion about the urbane, urban design and its theories and contradictions. considering that conversing with urban space and the design of that urbanity is going to be a huge chuck of what it means to be practicing in the public space, this lecture could have been broken up into two separate ones. in fact, i would have been quite taken with a whole dicussion about pavements/footpaths as signifiers - both aesthetically and then in terms of wayfinding. but hey.

other things i got:

elements of the city:

from richard sennett:

design considerations:

robustness (which interestingly she discussed as a further process to flexibility of cities, an idea that mr hill mentioned)
personalisation (appropriation - different to appropriateness)

[and 3 others which i wrote down but left the trusty moleskine at uni]

open space
usually the absense of a building in the shape of a city block or other shape within the system of the city (court or circus), but something like fed square is completely different again. most were in consensus that FedSq could have been bad, but is now actually quite a good example of public open space.

cut short a discussion on what a good urban space is. and of course i had to tell everyone about the group that dan and russell set up: 'best urban spaces' flickr pool.

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when geeks go to a war protest

thanks to swiss miss



art in the public space lectures

after lunch today, andrew reeves, historian and chief of staff to senator kim carr came and spoke to us about the history of public art in melbourne. he has a specific interest in the art associated with the trade union movements, which is interesting seeing as i mentioned the 888 monument here, and that it's labour day on monday. but he spoke to us about a wide range of topics related to public art and history.

other aspects of his discussion:

• 8-hour day march banners - beautifully painted with allegorical history painting of inspiration and virtue on one side, and social realism of the breadth of the union's trade on the other. initially in silk, but the south-easterly up collins street quickly took care of that. painted canvas: painted by union members. up in smoke.

• exhibition buildings as evidence of early public art forms in melbourne - dating from 1889. debate about the worth of the building ensued - more a puffed-out chest showing of intellect from student than relevant discussion [imho].

• liebskind's holocaust museum extension to berlin museum: best use of building as public art ever. leads the visitor from old berlin museum (german mansion) into dark tunnel, up a significant number of steps, to the exhibits. education through an experience relative to those suffered by the jewish in concentration camps. and that's not just because it's a holocaust museum, as there are many holocaust museums around the world and only liebskind's does that.

• other historical public art to check out, following the old march route from trades hall, down swanston, up collins to parliament then spring to exhibition buildings:

newspaper house, collins st - frescoes
mural paintings of geoff hogg on lygon st, north of the cemetary
t&g buliding russell and collins (old foyer)
melbourne club. kind of.
windsor hotel
pediment ofathenaeum theatre
town hall, stained glass: best example of non-religious glass in australia (as well as leonard french's ceiling at the NGV)
drummond st: greek and roman gods, plus the portrait of zeus where you wouldn't expect it.
parliament house
villa alba in kew - being restored in order to re-present private-ish collection to the public. a little like the wallace collection, methinks.

• museums and galleries are the prime institutions to commission and engage public art, but are lost opportunities: case in point, windswept wasteland between melbourne museum and exhibition buildings.

• public art can provide a sense of humanity to large areas dwarved or vacated by buildings "abominations". it's imperative in the age of intervention/extension/cover-up of architectural mistakes.

"public art survives in the most random of ways."

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art in the public space lectures

this week is the first of a three-week intensive for the start of my masters in public art. it's based around a series of presentations/discussions from a variety of speakers from the industry and related fields. i thought i might subject you to some of my notes from the last few days and also keep it up for the next few weeks. especially 'cos some of the speakers we're having are fantastic.

almost the worst photo of CH2 you could possibly hope for.

mick pearce

UK Zimbabwean architect responsible for CH2. how's that - i post about how much i love the place two days ago and i end up chatting with the guy in a back street of carlton.

uses the animal kingdom and insect-based systems as inspiration for heating/cooling architecture, using the natural resources of the earth. also heavily influence by pre-industrial architecture from tribes and early civilisation.

book to check out: architecture without architects.

difference of opinion regarding 'sculptural' architecture a là gehry's bilbao, feels that function is being squeezed out of architecture by the desire for creative expression.

found that building the eastgate development in harare didn't get him invited back. african man wants the building that the white man has. which prompted some discussion after class about the 'karma' that western modern architecture has to play in promoting the idea of status and excess, which is still on the upward rise in developing nations.

floating cities - looking at developing civilisations on the water, like in holland, to respond to rising sea levels and to reduce impact on ever-reducing land. oil tanker to be used for natural pump using tidal rise and fall.

collaborated with artists from the get-go. found it vital for creating aesthetic manifestations of ideas and philosophies. they asked lateral questions 'that engineers wouldn't ask'. not sure if he's all that into it as an idea - especially as i referenced ai weiwei and du meuron and he wasn't so fussed.

drawing is still the first stage of development and was a language that architects and artists could easily communicate across. sees computerised technology as an adjunct to the design and creation process, but not the only stage. certainly not the first instance.

here's a transcript of an interview he did on catalyst
here's the archiplanet wiki entry
other images of the building: flickr
and the wiki on the eastgate development, harare

tomorrow i'll do ian de gruchy, mick douglas and others.

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melbourne and its public bits

phew! that was a pretty heavy wasn't it! well, after that one, and then this one, where i whinged a lot, i thought i would follow charlie g's suggestion and actually post some of the things i'm loving about melbourne at the moment.

and seeing as today was the first day of my post grad study into art in the public space, i thought i would focus that list of cool things on stuff i dig about the city of melbourne. the out and about, the public life type things. for melbournians, and for cynics alike, they're probably the things that are in all the tourist brochures, but seeing as i'm rediscovering the joys of melbourne, i'm a bit like a tourist in my own town too, so you'll have to deal with it. [and feel free to suggest things that aren't so gauche.]

shit i'm digging about melbourne's public bits:

• my favourite building: the consulate of monaco.

the queen vic markets. after torino's porto palazzo, it's hard to find an impressive market, but this is a nice combo of italian mercato and the burrough markets in london.

process at loop - informal discussion and presentations about a range of topics relating to architecture at a pretty kuel little bar in meyers place.

• council house 2. ok, so it's not perfect, but it's pretty cool to have the main local government building in the CBD to be leading by example and living in the first 6-star energy efficient and sustainable building. that photo makes it look like horrendous 70s pebble-crete, but it's really a fantastic spectacle as you walk underneath the cooling chutes.
(i just thought of a new demo poster: cooling chutes not cooling towers - ok, so it needs work)

• buildings like the gin palace in little collins, in the same breath as buildings like st pauls cathedral.

the public purse

trams. oh my god, even when they're behaving badly by being chockers, i'm still loving them. functionally they are fantastic transport links. aesthetically, they make wonderful design grids around the cityscape. (that's a tram stop. and some lines. and the GPO)

carlton baths. not technically in the city of melbourne, but i'm just so into them at the moment.

rouge galette and pellegrinis. so far the only two cafes that i've been able to find for the perfect coffee, within the CBD. journal is good but too short. verve is nice vibe, but shit coffee.
[happy to take suggestions for that one - keeping in mind i'm now strictly a short black kinda girl, so there's no covering up crap sludge with good milk here]

• penthouse mouse. again, not strictly within the city centre, but such a rockin joint - temporary, conceptual fashion installation warehouse type thing that's open for another week or so. such a fantastic use of space, collaboration, exciting stuff. that pic is one of the current installations. i'm not sure who did it, but it's brilliant.

the eureka tower. i'm not an architect, so maybe i've got it wrong, but this building just keeps winning for me. it changes colour so subtly that i just marvel at it. from every angle i've seen it from, it looks completely changed, but so the same - it's got 'flexible consistency' written all over it (for my advertising buddies, that translates to 'on brand').

birrurung marr (below) and the bar riverland strip. when i was growing up, you only walked on one side of the yarra and only past the boatsheds. now it's accessible and the industrial architecture reclaimed in every sense of the word and it's really amazing.

the rooftop cinema. sydney was the instigator of the 'sit-outside-in-the-freezing-cold-and-pretend-we're-enjoying-the-film' genre, but the kids at rooftop really know how to do it. fake grass, deckchairs, blanket hire (all proceeds go to charity) and a kuel bar to hang out in beforehand (unless you're a loser who goes to the movies on her own, like me).

• the streets remind me of hamburg, paris, parts of london and sections of vienna, as well as parts of turin.

the 888 monument. melbourne has a solid and proud history of labour movement and working class reforms. the 8 hour monument is one of the worst aesthetic examples of public monument in history, but the fact that there is a monument to a movement which saw the 8 hour working day (8 hours play, 8 hours sleep), the establishment of holiday pay and weekends for workers is great thing indeed.

the block arcade. i just discovered block projects. plus of course there's the george jensen/costa boda shop, the fabulous skylight/stained glass thing and in terms of wayfaring, it's got just the right amount of direction with a pinch of 'oh shit, where do i go now' discovery about it.

all this, and i'm still discovering way more cool things too.

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25 years on

On the 1st March, 1983, I spent the afternoon of a gloriously sunny, but cold and windy, Autumn day at our neighbour's birthday party across the road.

My younger brother spent it asphyxiating in the boot of our car.

My mother and father spent that evening in Frankston hospital. Dad paced the floor, chainsmoking and Mum sat staring, crying, praying to whatever, begging "pleease, pleease don't take my son from me."

The doctor, whose name will never be remembered, had to pronounce him dead to a woman who had found her 4 year old boy, laying blue in a pile of blood, piss and bile in the family car, after a game of solo 'hide and seek' went wrong. He had to look a man in the eye and tell him that, while he was at work, his son died struggling for breath.

The next day, my family featured on the front page of the Daily Sun with the headline: FATHER WARNS AGAINST DEADLY GAME. It took up the whole of the front page with a huge picture of Baden on Santa's knee and a family portrait, minus one. All of our lives changed forever.

I usually just give a nod and a wink to the day and sing a few bars of Supertramp's It's Raining Again - his favourite song and the one he was buried to - having done much grieving long ago. But today the sun is shining just as brightly, and the chill in the air is just the same as that fucking day 25 years ago.

This one's for you mate.