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i'm tired..

Lauren two.

it's been a crazy couple of weeks here and i need to have a bit of a lie-down.
i'm gonna take a bit of a rest - see ya next week or something.

image: me. from seb's flickr spot.



not now, i'm talking*

iNNIT invite

David Kemmery is an amazing resident of Wollongong - the Director for Short Sited Film Festival for an amazingly long time, fantastic film maker, hard-working member of the Relativity team, great photographer, good friend and the lovely partner of a friend of mine.

He also asked me to participate in his ongoing project, Not Now I'm Talking, which is now part of an exhibition [clap and we'll tell you everything] on at Project at the moment.

The Not Now, I'm Talking project is centered around the idea of places, spaces and how they are significant to people. It features snapshots and text by 15 selected artists about their "significant places". The artists are from a radiating distance, relative to David's place: Wollongong, to the Illawarra, Sydney, Melbourne and then international and the significant "places" that are featured are physical, conceptual, cryptic, direct and diverse. And the only link between the contributors is that they know the curator, David Kemmery, which in turn says some interesting things about connections between people and places, memory and experience, and begs the question 'what is distance?'.

Go and check it out if you're in the area - sounds like a cracking show:

clap and we’ll tell you everything
Project Contemporary Artspace
255 Keira Street, Wollongong
Wednesday 27 August – Sunday 7 September 2008
Opening night: Friday 29 August 2008, 6:30pm

*my really daggy title abbreviation: [i]NNIT!


no scones for simon

i make a pretty hot batch of scones, even if i do say so myself. but, in the spirit of love creative's non-bake off, this weekend i decided to not bake some scones. perfect with a cup of tea. perfect for a rainy saturday afternoon.

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life is like a bicycle

to keep your balance you must keep on moving.
-Albert Einstein [in a letter to his son]

thanks swiss miss

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the art of the toilet

i've been starting to ramp up my research into public toilets lately (have a project in one at the moment). then this turned up on wooster yesterday (thanks to miss emma for the heads up)

and then tonight in readings bookstore i found this book i need: designing public toilets.

everything always comes together when it comes together.


acoustic privacy


last week i was roped into appearing on part of a chit-chat panel, as part of SIAL's drink + think series. the discussion was on architecture, public art + sound and where those three disciplines intersect, what the possibilities are for the future of them and what some of the problems are surrounding them. derek thompson, from arup's sound lab was there, as was barnaby bennett, who apparently also gave a presentation on "the re-emergence of brown" (that's my kind of seminar title), as well as geoff hogg and anthony mcinneny.

and as much as i enjoyed being a part of it, my all-star panel on this topic would include dan hill, lawrence harvey, anton hassell (his tubular bells, mau bells laneway commission is amazing), dylan martorell, michael fowler, marco fusinato and maybe david byrne/ dan liebskind talking about playing buildings:)

one thread of the discussion that i particularly enjoyed hearing about, with regards to architecture, urbanity, sound and public art is the idea of acoustic privacy. i'm reading some very interesting literature at the moment about the history of privacy amongst the bourgeoisie, but it's the new culture of the open-plan office, and the re-emergence of a headphone culture that piques my interest. where the 'cone of silence' has currency as a phrase that is not just a quote from get smart, but an understood space of mental peace and private resonance.

i'd also be interested in looking at the effect of acoustic privacy in terms of emotional response and sleep patterns. when i travelled around europe, in youth hostels all over the place, i regularly had the best sleep, 'cos i carried several pairs of earplugs with me. once i shut out the high pitches of any noise in the immediate vicinity and the midtones of outside traffic, i was in a world of my own - in the sonic version of darkness - and i slept like a log.

[i know it's not solving the problem, but i wonder what a difference ear plugs would make on the lives of those who live on the streets/in shelters.]

and, i guess, given those ubiquitous stats about populations inevitably becoming primarily city-bound, how will we as a species adapt to the noise of urban space? will we physically evolve accordingly, by having a low range of perception? or will we continue to develop devices/tools to cope? and our childrens children, born into higher and higher densities, how will their private space sound?

*image by aaron kraten, from his flickr spot

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a little bit of humour goes a long way #2

i've previously posted about humour in architecture on this blog - now it's all about humour in a help section (like a hero in a half-shell).

i'm trying to work out if you can have a multi-user del.icio.us account - i wanna set one up for our public art course [although i think it'll have to be a full wiki instead, bugger]. while checking out the FAQs, i noticed a nice bit of humour, right at the bottom of the page, after you've had all the frustration of not finding what you're looking for:

cute, huh.

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Striped gouache 1

‘Striped surfaces are rarely found in nature. When man encounters them, he... sometimes fears them (... in the Middle Ages), sometimes admires them (...our contemporary attitude).

‘Everywhere red and white stripes abound, warning of danger, recommending caution, forbidding this of that access. Caution, workers! Slow, detour, stop, obey: in the street and on the road, thse ar the kinds of direct and indirect messages all red and white striped signs send us. The combination of these two colours, that of interdiction and that of tolerance brings out fully here the stripes’ ambivalence: it is guide and obstacle at once, filter and gate.

In certain cases, it is possible to pass, respecting various constraints; in others, it is imperative to stop. That is so at lowered grade crossings, border posts, or when coming upon a police barricade. All are indicated by a profusion of red and white stripes, which not only can be seen from far off- probably, today, what can be seen from the very farthest off – but also provoke a certain agitation, indeed even a real fear. Behind this kind of stripe, danger always lurks. And, along with danger, authority – danger of another sort – embodies by the police, the state patrol, or the customes office. A stripe often leads to a uniform, and the uniform to a penalty.

Thus most of these red and white stripes used on traffice signs function as screens. They are some sort of shorthand image for a doorway or fence that can only be crossed under certain conditions. A imple red adn white striped horizontal line placed across the road (which sometimes embodies a grade crossing) has the same effect as a huge gate, which could be striped with the same colours and located in the same place. Here we can discern an essential feature of how the stripe functions: metonymically.

The stripe is a structure that infinitely repeats. Whether it appears on a tiny surface or one of great dimensions, its properties remain the same. The part is as good as the whole, the structure takes precendence over the form. From which we get the extraordinary plasticity of the uses for the stripe and, over the course of the centureis, its continual employment as mark, sign, insignia, emblem, attribute, whatever the medium, technique, or context.’

from the devil's cloth: michel pastoureau, ©1991
university of columbia press, new york
2001 translation by jody gladding




iain tait, coolest geek ever, has already written about this thing here and here, but i just have to add my two bits' worth to it.

i am a geek - i love books, art, music, talking shit and online thingys. and i love anything that validates my love of those things. i've been twittering for a couple of years now and still love it as much now as i did then (although the hiccup to DM text services is getting me down a bit, that's for sure).

but then, on the horizon, comes this fabulous new thingy to brighten up my mood: blip.fm. twitter for music heads. where twitter answers the question 'what are you doing?' in 140 characters or less, blip.fm asks 'what are you listening to?'. you can search, find and play it. no downloading, just streaming. and you get to listen to what your friends are listening to! which, in the case of some of my friends means a quick flick forward, but for the most part, it's rockin! in fact, it's like the online version of going around to a friend's place and them playing you a whole bunch of new 7" rekkids. oh, yah!

here's my current playlist, full of recent rediscoveries (and a whole lot of slacker nostalgia)



standardisation of measurement in fashion.

American Apparel

this morning at 8am i woke up to a text message:

"lauren, are you an American Apparel M?"

with my fuzzy brain, i was able to realise that my dear friend seb, in germany, was asking me what size clothing i wore, if i had bought it from American Apparel. I've not ever bought anything from American Apparel, so i don't know. I know that i'm a size 10. Ish. Whether that's a UK or US, I've no idea.

which later got me thinking about the standard unit of measurement in fashion. I'm currently measuring up and making patterns for spaces and, as such, very grateful for the invention of the inch (and then of the centimetre) as a standard unit of measurement, and the design of a tape measure.

I know, small things, amuse small minds.

I'm not exactly sure when these came to pass, but in a recent-ish conversation, ex-colleagues of mine and I were surmising that it was probably as the result of the textile trade. not the craft of making clothes, but the concept of trading, customising, selling and economy, using garments/cloth as the primary currency. Presumably, this required people on both sides of the trading table, to understand how long a piece of cloth was going to be. How do you measure that? Well, you have to devise a unit and a tool to measure with.

OK, so as the textile trade booms, , the concept of the prefabricated garment develops, to which you have to develop a sizing system. This seems to work well for a large amount of time. We still haven't worked out exactly what the difference is between a UK 4 and a US 8, but then again, neither have the supermodels, or the haute couture designers, so it ain't all bad.

but nowadays, clothes aren't 'from' the UK or the US. In fact, they're mostly made in china. designed elsewhere, but the industry sizing standard is not strict, rarely adhered to and a little, well, loose. it seems that countries, or whomever runs the fashion industry nowdays, don't care so much. unlike other areas of industry where a unit, is a unit, is a unit. for instance, a megabyte of RAM is 1024KB worldwide. you don't get a 1000KB in india, 958KB in italy on a good day and 1055KB in new zealand because they value a little extra room. this would undermine the concept of having a global standard. and well, big global brands like Dell and Apple couldn't control their market if the unit was a little fuzzy. but no, not for the fashion industry..


American Apparel is...

[Enter globalisation. ]

what better way to 'take over the world' [insert doom and gloom organ dirge], than to create ones own unit of measurement. like American Apparel M (Medium) is now a standard unit of measurement. It doesn't fit into UK, US, EU fashion standards but transcends (or ignores) it. Other 'sizes' I've heard of recently: the GAP 10, the H&M Small and the Converse 5. This supposes that one has worn clothes from all of the above brands. which of course we all have, right?. and belies a level of arrogance and or smarts that i can't quite work out if i despise or admire.

what i find most scary about this whole messy sizing business is that if there is no level playing field within the fashion industry, why are we (mostly women) still playing against the numbers. despite years of feminist mutterings, there is still an aspiration to an 8, 12 or, even worse, small. when small becomes a unit of measurement that we pit ourselves against, things are going to get ugly. more dangerously for some than others.

Felt and Tape measureWeb

and, to add to the sickness of us having to 'measure up' to an ever-shifting standard of measurement, is that there doesn't seem to be the impetus to change that. we may boo and hiss at the big designer labels, looking for them to change their sizing, we may whinge at the mega street labels, bitching at how shit we feel that we're wearing large, when we used to be a 10, but the reality is, that the unit of measurement comes from both sides of the trading table. which means that as consumers of cloth, there has to be the will to know exactly what we're buying. and perhaps, sadly. we don't really want that to change yet.



"in da studio is da place to be"

-beastie boys.


I've been working pretty solidly in the studio lately. these aren't the absolute latest pics, but they're a good place to start.
It has been so good to have a place to do 'stuff'. i have stuff on the walls, i have been able to separate the three aspects of my projects into three separate walls (that's my compartmentalised urban mode of existence, rob and john): toilets, stripes and paste-ups.

it's a bit dangerous having a studio 'cos i get stuck in what i call the Rage syndrome.. "i'll just watch one more film clip" or "i'll just cut one more bit of claridges", but i also do work there, leave it behind and go home to sleep. i'm not always in my room doing work of some kind.

expect some more 'in the studio' updates from now on - i'm feeling self-indulgent :)


it's no big deal, just the future of humanity

i know this has been doing the rounds for a while, but i finally got around to watching it. there was a moment, something about 'if she's given half a chance' that made me almost cry.

[update: i find it interesting that sanitation comes above commerce. nice to know]

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this one's for the media buyers...

i know that this is probably old news now, but tonight i found about about the Seven Network's dumping of the fully-paid GetUp ad for Tibet, intended to have aired during the Opening Ceremony telecast.

Jesus! This throws up so many icky questions about freedom, the role of the media, advertising and the currency of money, as opposed to morals, etc. I know that Seven aren't exactly pillars of moral/ethical standing - hell, they let Naomi Robson work there for far to long, but, given that money seems to be the new democracy, surely a string of paid ads is enough to get a guernsey. Obviously not.

I don't always believe in 'no such things as bad publicity', but i'm quite enjoying the fact that the farse of the Seven booking system/content team/censorship board (whatever they call themselves these days) seems to have thrown the issue open wider than it could ever have, should the ad have run. Well done Seven. Stokesy, I hope you're happy with that one.

(image from the GetUp! site. which you should visit and find out more about the whole campaign)

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reasons i'm obviously not mature.

according to some trashy source that i can't remember - probably CLEO magazine - here are 30 things you're supposed to have done before you're 30.

1.Channel an old school movie and throw a drink in a man's face.
nope - although i have slapped a guy in the face for being a total jerk-off.

2.Delete the words “like, random and totally” from your vocab.
nope, nope and nope. i even still use words like 'wicked, awesome and whatevs'.. luhoo-suher.

3.Break someone’s heart; similarly, have your own broken.
well, ok.

4.Divorce toxic friends.
hmm... divorce toxic job?

5.Drink a champagne cocktail in a Paris bar.
nope. does dancing 'til 3am on the podium of a paris club count? or is that 'things to do before you turn 20'

6.Master the art of choosing the perfect wine.

7.Confess that (present or past) crush on your best male friend.
uh. nope.

8.Drive a wickedly cool car, even if you have to rent it.
uh, nope.

9.Use an alias for a day.
hmm. what about an avatar? does that count? or introducing yourself as 'jane' to random drunkards who ask your name? how about that?

10.Visit a strip club.
visit... strange use of the word.. like move in? or just pop in for a cuppa? how about no.

11.Have a favourite book which isn’t chick-lit.
i don't even fucking read chick-lit.

12.Quit a job, without having another one to go to.
yay!! i did this one!

13.Buy a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black-lace bra.
yes, yes and no. lace is crap.

14.Learn who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
sure, but i've hardly mastered the art.

15.Live by yourself (for at least six months).
yes, ok. six months is my limit.

16.Travel somewhere by yourself – a foreign country, another city or just a road trip to the country.
yup. and blog about it, fool!

17.Forgive someone who wronged you; apologise to someone you've wronged.
of course. i think you should do that from the age of 17, so it's hardly a mark of maturity.

18.Master cooking one impressive three-course meal.

19.Learn to change a tyre.
see #17..

20.Buy an original piece of art.
yup. good idea. and if you haven't already, i suggest you contact me straight away.

21.Volunteer for a charity you care about.
yup. but you should always do this.

22.Break-up with a man who you know is bad for you; similarly, have a fling with a man who you know is bad for you!
yup and yup. although i shudder to think that 30 is the only milestone for this. and maybe the better thing to do is to stop going out with jerk-offs?

23.Dine solo in a restaurant – no phone, book or notebook allowed.
i have, but i wouldn't recommend it. it isn't always nice. and i like my own company!

24.Run a marathon.
uh. no.

25.Pay off your credit card(s)/HECS debt/car loan.
i only just paid off my car loan. but by 30? next they'll be asking me to have saved enough money for a deposit on a house... because that's what all good 30-year old girls do, right? and what about marriage. surely i should be married with children by now?

26.Spend a whole pay packet on a pair of shoes.
uh. no.

27.Have a killer joke you tell perfectly ready to use for those awkward moments.
and if you haven't by the time you're 30, that's it. it's all over.
erm..surely having a sense of humour is a life-long ambition.

28.Try something you always said you’d never do – whether it be sky-driving or eating escargot.
or reading CLEO.

29.Learn how to stand up for yourself, rather than silently seething when you receive poor customer service or someone makes
a snide remark.

see #17

30.Have a one-night stand (or more than one).
yeah. 'cos that's what being a 30-something is all about - having one-night stands, yo.

garbled notes about civil liberties, as inspired by mike parr

080618 CockatooIsland 035

to sew one's lips together - or somebody else's - in a physical matter, wth pain and struggle and nerves and blood and smell physical and sweat - physical rections - is a slow and nerve-wracking process.

one does not take this process of censorship and restraint lightly. we are all shocked and feel the pain. we suck in our breath and close our eyes. we can see it is torturous.

yet we stand by and watch as ones mental, psychological and communications rights are being similarly 'stitched up' [through the legal system or the media] with little feeling or reaction, we change the channel or a blind eye - we do not feel or hold our breath or feel ill or want to turn away but can't. we are asleep and indifferent - it is possible or conceivable.

yet were these restriction transferred into physical acts day after day, time after time, there would be no turning of the page, no ignoring or asleepness - no indifference, ignorance. one would do all in ones power to stop the injustice of freedom's rights.

pic by chris poole from his flickr spot

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public transport rant #4

It's full..., originally uploaded by manganite.

i'm sure i've whinged about public transport before. and maybe i'm just some flaky idealist that believes that the key to a good city is about proximity and access. but holy mother of god, i've had some shit transport experiences lately.

the thing is that i continue to be baffled by the apparent ignorance and/or stupidity of state governments (both victorian and NSW) to bargain away public infrastructure through dodgy deals, leaving them with stalemates in the city, 20 years down the track. i haven't seen what the 2030 plans are for either melbourne or sydney, but i suspect that they're ridiculously lacking in forsight and courage relating to public transport.

i should preface this with a reminder that i ride my bike everywhere now. i need to be in collingwood in 15 minutes? hey, no problem! i gotta go to the supermarket at 11:30pm? no worries! cross town to yarraville for kraft kuties? ok- long haul, but i did it. i became a dreaded cyclist out of convenience, initially. now i do it out of sanity - and my recent brushes with the draconian 'systems' which call themselves public transport - have served as a reminder to continue my wheely ways.


the weekend before last i was in sydney for the biennale and got up close and personal with iemma's dilemmas. i used to live in sydney, remember? i spent almost 10 years there and while about half of it was inner west, i also lived in the 'burbs too. try being a freak in french's forest kids - not easy. and i can say that the PT situation there has deteriorated so quickly, that i can't quite believe that monocle believes it to be the most livable city in australia. i guess it probably is quite 'livable' - in that, when you live there, you catch the same trains/buses to and from work each day, you have a well-worn route, and then on the weekends, you drive if you have to go anywhere outside your suburb, or you walk. but for anyone outside the commuter cycle, it's pretty ghastly.

one obvious craziness that i noticed while there is that it's a 30 minute wait between trains from central to newtown. are you kidding? for those who don't know, newtown is 6 minutes from central. yes kids, 6 minutes away. which means it's easier to catch a cab from the city. sustainable fuel, and all that. in fact, it would have been easier/quicker for me to get to lidcome, 20 minutes from the city and trains every 10 minutes, than it was to get to an inner city suburb. am i not seeing something here, or does that seem like a really bizarre occurence. it's great that you can get to the burbs quickly, but it's not exactly facilitation an increased density/reduced environmental impact kind of lifestyle. add to the fact that, for a tourist, there isn't anything in lidcombe. whereas newtown is billed as one of the top nightspots (ok, so it's fast losing its vigour, but still).

and the usual craziness with the cost of transport still plagues the city. the t-card has obviously failed (private infrastructure again), which means that tickets are not only costly, but inconvenient. hell, i've lived in london, which is fucking expensive, but at least with the oyster card, it's convenient. you chuck a chunk of money on your card and you just swipe away - across most forms of transport. sydney has 3 different tickets for its 3 forms of transport and it's all based on the journey - journey. the word 'holistic' just don't come into it. i know it's never been unified, but at least it used to be regular. now, it's just a mess.

which brings me to the melbourne transport system. which, after the sydney visit is looking a whole lot dandier, but it still needs some major fixing, i can tell you. thankfully, the ticketing system was well-designed from the get-go. you can buy a daily ticket, you can jump on and off trains/trams/etc and within a certain area. it gives you the freedom to move. if you're actually moving. the traithe eddington report is woeful in its lack of provision for public transport infrastructure. or should i clarify, helpful and new infrastructure. and the current system is going to die if as many people are moving to melbourne as i hear there are, especially the cultural/creative types, who are moving here like something out of a steinbeck novel, and the last place we want to be is LA. there are fucked up deals where citylink has a moratorium on new transport infrastructure for 10 years, which bothers me on a conceptual level to no end - private interests can have such a crippling effect on the public good, long after the elected fucktard responsible for the disaster is retired and heading up football clubs and gambling dens.

the reason i bring this up, apart from having a whinge, is that transport is a public issue. it facilitates cultural and metropolitan engagement. it completely influences your experience of a place and the more negative/frustrating the experience, the less room there is for really taking in the magic of a place. if cities like melbourne and sydney. or hell, new south wales and victoria hope to sustain a combination of residents and visitors, there needs to be some serious balls being grown in terms of infrastructural development.

*sorry angus, i know you probably feel like i'm pickin' on your home town, but i promise i'm not.


people in urban spaces

ok, so i've got a post brewing about the importance of public transport and a blurb about civil liberties, but i just had to post about these two cool things first:

little people in the streets of london

slinkachu is an installation artist/photographer who sets up teensy weensy dioramas on the streets of london. you can buy the documentation from cosh (a super-cool gallery in soho), or you can buy his upcoming book, out on the 5th september. if you're in london (or near enough), you should head along to cosh on the 31st august for the installation hunt that he's set up as the launch for the publication. you have to find 4 installations in london and you get a signed copy of the book. how much fun is that gonna be! not as much fun as the innocent fete or the london marathon, but pretty close, right?

people piles in the streets of vienna

then over at swiss miss (where i pinched the pics from), i stumbled upon a cool project by art director willi dorner and photographer lisa rastl have a couple of people projects on the streets of vienna: ‘hängende gärten’ and ‘bodies in urban spaces’. how cool do they look!
the works are looking to discuss and perhaps distort the “relationship between body, space and architecture” and definitely play with the role of human movement/stasis on a city and the urban environment. wish i did that.

oh, and it's all over the bloggersphere at the moment, but the eureka tower car park signage treatment is supremo. check these out: out and up/down

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how to work better

How to Work Better - Fischli/Weiss

A much needed reminder at the moment.

original work by Fischli/Weiss. image from rytc on flickr

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