in terms of all those vital question words, i think 'why?' is the most complex: behind door number 1: it can encourage analysis, critical thought and can elevate you above reacting to life on a day-to-day basis. behind door number 2: it can send you spiralling into a very unhelpful existential crisis, where you begin to doubt the very core of life..
the other day i stumbled into the second door, stupidly asking myself 'why would i get into a relationship?'. and i couldn't come up with a decent answer. i realised that every benefit i get from being in an intimate relationship with someone else is either something i have already in other areas of my life, with other people, or not worth the effort. do i just consider it something i want just because others do it? why do people look for love? is it worthwhile going through all that insecurity. uncomfortability, sacrifice? for something that ultimately has a doubtful outcome?
see? dire train of thoughts..
a while back, i made a comment about design/branding/creative output needing to be flexible and consistent. my friend mr dodds took the piss out of me (and i'll never let him forget it, poor love).
but i found a vid over on andy's now in colour blog which is not only a fucking awesome manifestation of harmony, structure and rhythm, but also illustrates "flexible consistency" to the max.
has me wanting to research sine waves all over again.
now that the allan's walk show is safely crowding up my bedroom again (i'm on the hunt for a studio, don't you know..), there's about a day to rest before some full on touting to be had.
this week i have the task of preparing no less than 6 applications to exhibit in a variety of galleries whose applications close in the next 7 days. add this to starting some new work for uni (which will inform my long-term research) and it's gone back to oh-so-crazy, oh-so-quickly.
even though it is a little crazy, i'm also kind of looking forward to this next little phase and will be fervently applying for exhibitions all over the shop. which is where some of you come in. i've asked certain friends to help me out, but in the interest of universal alignment or whatever, i'm posting it here.
in the next 12 months i'd really like to exhibit some work (small or large) in london and hamburg/vienna (and paris, if possible). i'm not looking for major-ness, just enough to continue exhibiting in these places (in which i've done a few little bits and pieces). i'm hoping to make it topside in jan/feb 09 (i know, freezing!) so would totally love to tie it in with a show.
if the 3 people who read this blog know of any opps in any of these places, feel free to leave something in the comments section, or get in touch: lauren [at] sheseesred.com.
there, that's my prostitution for the day, now for a cup of tea.
Posted by lauren at 13:25
as part of my job, i have the joy of having to deal with unsolicited requests for business from printers and cultural guides/search engines.
once a week i'll end up with a) a big pile of environmentally unfriendly paperwaste on my desk, supposed to be some kind of lure into the obvious temptation of doing business with a company who can't get their head around print sustainability issues
and b) a phone call/voicemail message asking us to pay for advertising in the next guide to victoria or online cultural portal. last week, someone from some new naff aussie search engine company or something called me every day (and didn't want to leave a voicemail message) trying to get us to join this new site. every day. i'm guessing that he grew up with the saying 'the squeakiest wheel gets the most grease' and still believes it to be true. the fact of the matter is, the squeakiest wheel is a pain in the arse and there's no fucking way i'm going to do business with a stalker.
i'm sure my grandfather would have done business with him, for the simple fact of his tenacity, but in this day and age choice is key and businesses have to work differently than they did IN THE 1950s! With the advent of search engines and the reign of google (by slayer?), we know that we can find a printer/designer/supplier at the drop of a hat and if i need one, i'll look for one. i'm not an ignorant user, who needs somebody to sell me their service - i need them to tell me about it, lead by example and if i'm looking for what they have, i'll check it out. the consumer is far better informed nowdays and hassling the fuck out of someone shows an arrogance about the way people operate that is a greater turn-off than stinky pits.
Just a reminder that this Saturday is the last day to see Abracadaver, the joint show with Linda McRae at Allan's Walk in Bendigo. Feel free to pop in and say hello.
And a huge thanks to all the people who helped out with this exhibition: Royce Wells, Ron Wilson, Tony Cavillieri, Matt Moore, Sarah Barber, Ben Barber, Ellie and the crew at Allan's Walk, Rob Campbell, Nella Themelios and Dunja Rmandic, Andrew Jacques, Linda Merson, Jill McIntyre and Esther Anatolitis.
I pilfered this from ampersand duck - I figured that I haven't done enough of this self-obsession caper yet. And god knows, i'm only being hassled by amazon.com once a week. here goes:
Apparently these are the 106 books most often listed as 'unfinished' on LibraryThing. The rules are that you bold the ones you've read all the way to the end, underline the ones you read for "school" [I presume uni is included in this], and asterisk the ones you started but didn't finish.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Pride and Prejudice
The [A] Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha*
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West [but do want to read this ASAP]
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man*
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World (I read 1984 though - does it count?)
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
Inferno (and Purgetory and Paradiso)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse (it's on my bookshelf to read)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values*
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
well, seems i'm not quite as well read as i thought. surprising omissions: 20,000 leagues under the sea, finnegans wake (i've started that thing 3 times already, never finished it) and some of the frenchies: hugo, balzac, zola.
process from spatial vibration, pinched from spatial vibration.
i don't know if this happens to anyone else, but you're going along, brewing on ideas, letting them simmer, then BANG!! you read/see/hear/trip over a whole stack of stuff that's about the same thing - all at the same time!
well, it happens to me. a lot. and this time it's about sound and space. i've been thinking about sound and space for a while now - in fact, since i went to the Silenzio exhibition in Torino. But more recently i did a sound-based site analysis work down at docklands last month and have been thinking about how sound defines, fills and establishes space since then.
then, last week i went to the architecture + philosophy talk at fed square, where dr michael fowler was discussing his teimu project of mapping a space via its sound. and in fact, the influence on soundscapes in japanese landscaping (specific or what!). he had a bunch of info graphics that plotted an area based on the sound of the place and referenced john cage's score work relating to zen gardens.
and then? dude, olafur eliasson has a blog. and on there i read about his new work, spatial vibration. eliasson was a legend before. now, he's wearing underpants on the outside and featuring in the superest. superhero dude. what's mine say? sweet.
sound, as the ultimate structural system (notes, pitch, waves, harmonics and pure mathematics all being very clear architecture), makes an absolutely perfect match for spatial practice. sound will fill a large space far easier than a whole bunch of tactile work will, and can elicit memory and atmosphere far better than a shitty video will. [and i like the visual image of sound filling a space - like some kind of erwin wurm piece, or violet beauregard in charlie and the chocolate factory.] interestingly enough, there's something about private sound that i'm also interested in - the role of headphones and all-encompassing sound that provides a private space and 'your own world', like in the guerilla disco work at linz.
perhaps i shouldn't have dropped out of my science degree after all.
anyway, having said all that, i'm really looking forward to dylan martorell's show at craft victoria on thursday night too - he's made instruments and scores based on plant-growth algorithms. and if that ain't sound-based geek porn, i dunno what is.
on wednesday night i did my presentation as part of my new exercise in underachieving [otherwise known as my Masters of Public Art].
the presentation was on the private act in public, artworks that facilitate them and how this challenges notion of privacy and ownership of public space. largely influenced from my time at ars electronica last year, the works shown look at the privatisation of public space through a behavioural transaction, as opposed to financial.
PS i've not used slideshare before. nor uploaded a presentation, so if it's completely naff, let me know and i'll kill it.
PPS. i've sorted out my defition - definition, and that ugly white background box on the front page is not my fault - slideshare conversion hates a clear background. i can't be arsed changing it anymore - the graphic designers will just have to hate me.
Thanks to my friend Esther, who came up with that great title! Even though it’s a geek’s joke, it did get me thinking about how the hexidecimal system is continuing to change the semantics of colour, which the advent of the Pantone Matching System did up until now.
When asked to describe the colour red, one more often than not has to use a qualifier – red: like something-or-other and the adjectives have been as poetic as the range in tones: alizarin, ruby, crimson, scarlet. The manufacturers of colour and consequently in colour language has traditionally been in the hands of artists’ colours – Windsor & Newton and Old Holland. interior decoration – Dulux, Wattyl, British Paints, and kids’ drawing materials: Derwent and even Crayola have influenced the colour perception of generations. [Check out this ace post about the whole Crayola spectrum!]
And even thought it’s a number-based exclusive system, I know that I have a fondness for the OG Pantone cataloguing system, but i’m a freak from the printing industry. The sentimentality about that standardisation is only just starting to happen now – with the mugs, bags, etc, but it’s still based a
I’ll be interested to see what the vernacular is around colour in the coming generations. Will my children grow up to feel nostalgic about #EB2735? Will they have a physical association of the hexidecimal system colours, in the way that I do about Scarlet Crimson, or Cadmium Red, or even Pantone 201C? especially given that the hexidecimal system is primarily a projection-based, online application?
pinched from hugh's site gapingvoid.com
i'm yet to read all of hugh 'gapingvoid' mcleod's How To Be Creative, but i discovered a great snippet of it on his blog yesterday, which referred to the sex and cash theory:
"The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task in hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended."
or a change in perspective from a bike.
i've been wanting to write a post for ages about how awesome it is to have a bike. and then during the week, i was asked to participate in a project which looks at space and perception. and, because my bicycle is so much fun, a lot of the experience of my environment happens at about 25 clicks.
it's this moving mode of perception that has been slowly infiltrating my thinking at the moment. a while back, when the studio were down at the docklands, we had to do site analysis of the place, which investigated the anomalies of the development, entitled Cracks In The Spectacle [personally i think the whole thing is an anomaly, but hey]. I produced a low-res video work which mapped an area via bike, considering that there is no way to ride around docklands and hardly any bikes (especially compared to the rest of bike city).
I also made a sound work, tracking the soundscape of the landscape, including a guy playing a harmonica.
But back to the bike.
there's something about using a bike to track places, or develop your own personal geography, which traverses the scale between architectural and human, between public and private. when i'm riding through the amazing melbourne streets, i feel a sense of ownership about my neighbourhood. pride even. and definitely joy. and add tunes in the phones to that mix and i regularly get to feel like i'm a movie or film clip, with my own private soundtrack! i never feel like that walking. or driving.
aside from the obvious environmental joys of being a cyclist, i think this phenomenological and psychogeographical aspect of bike transport is rarely discussed and i'd be interested in finding out what the big guns (berger, bachelard, baudrillard) say about movement and perception.
i think i might start making some more bike videos, like a mixture between will self's psychogeography and david byrne's bike ride to manhattan.
some of you may remember me talking about interesting in london last year. some may even remember me going on about interesting south in sydney last year. well, this year, it's on again. This
weekend monday at the Belvoir St Theatre. Yes, interesting south - the conference of interestingness, south.
There are a great list of speakers, it should be an amazing night to hear people speaking broadly from the areas of science and the arts. i'm personally looking forward to hearing about zenzizenzizenzic, which is something to do with the constant and non-constant of change, and michael lister discussing the finer points of bus route design (how mad is that gonna be!).
If you're into it, go to the interesting website, check out what's happening and come along. it's way cheap! cheaper than AG Ideas, that's for sure. I'll be there, blogging, twittering and sketching away. i'm looking forward to meeting some new peeps and catching up with old friends too.
thanks to all who came to the opening night of abracadaver - it was a lovely occasion. small, but nice: fantastic speech, great discussion, some play, almost some damage to work, good food, and some jumpstarting magic.
all in a night's work.
doing a show with linda mcrae is fun. she's full of beans and makes a last-minute dash around town to check in, pick up booze, softdrink and ice a barrel-o-laughs. which is kind of how we started the night. there were a whole bunch of the allans walk committe there, some local artists, musician and writers, plus a couple of people who came up from melbourne (bravo! bravo!)
esther anatolitis, curator of the architecture + philosophy series, gave a fabulous speech. She expanded my discussion about the architecture of death into the architecture of interstitial spaces, the absurd nature of death, the purpose of 'play' in all of these.
I've posted Esther's speech below, 'cos I think it rocks!
we all snacked on some yummy thai entrees from bunja thai (which were great, but we spent more on them than we would have liked, methinks), had some lovely wine, beer, juice and fake wine and then adjourned back to the thai place for coffee and desserts (or dinner, as the more sensible people did). and then, just to top things off with a bit of excitement, linda's car battery died and we had to jumpstart it. i learned tonight that red is positive and must be connected last. i think that's a good rule to live by, really.
here are some preliminary images of the works in the space (plus the fun little work (The Damien Hearse) i've tacked on to satisfy my lame sense of humour). fortunately or unfortunately, you don't get quite as much an idea of how the works actually are in the space. but, inspired by a fantastic promo vid by UVA at AGIdeas during the week, i'm going to do my darndest to create some video documentation to upload to here, flickr and the website.
for those who couldn't make it, and are thinking about popping in - i'm invigilating the space on saturdays and linda will be there on thursdays for the next 4 weeks, so please pop in and say hello. check out the allans walk site for maps, times, etc, etc.
Damien Hearse, 2008.
Two unrelated things have struck me recently and were in my mind as I prepared for this evening. Firstly: recently, I attended the funeral of someone I had never met. And secondly, Lauren remarking that we need town planners for the dead, for the large urban necropolises that sit at the peripheries of our metropolises – that there is an architecture of death and that this is at play in her work.
Both of these things are about the uncomfortable disjunction between intimacy and impersonality, that awkward feeling that you’ve encroached upon something intensely personal, yet somehow still readily abstracted into a ceremony, a cemetery, a ritual, a way of navigating the mourning process and a trajectory to guide you through it. An incense to mask the smell. There is a gap here that needs to be filled – the empty space people speak of when they lose someone close. But this is also the space that is said to be transgressed by the dead: the crossing over into the unknown. Funerals, cemeteries, coffins, urns: these are the spaces, the rituals and the objects of a mysterious in-between that religion has struggled to represent – or rather, has generated intensely powerful artwork and ceremony precisely in not representing death, instead approaching its threshold or seeking to fabricate an intimacy with it. This is what excites me about Lauren’s work here tonight.
Architecturally we’re familiar with quite a range of spaces for the various thresholds of intimacy and impersonality: tram stops, airports, spaces of intense hellos and goodbyes, spaces for just passing through. What happens when architecture tries to accommodate the interstitial, the unresolvable? Quite simply, it fails. No architecture for humans consciously aims at sterility, at a negation of the living and of possibility itself. And yet. The tram stop is a home for the homeless. Hospitals are clinical and fluorescent instead of being healthy and hospitable. Airports are impersonal thoroughfares rather than inviting spaces accommodating personal moments. Cemeteries are spaces for the living to inhabit temporarily as a means of communing with the permanent tenants. Cemeteries are disciplining spaces, quiet, normalising. Landscaped death parks. Ostentatious tombs are the click-and-drag McMansions of suburbia, proportions constrained yet down to a tenth of the size. In vast contrast the pyramids of Egypt not only housed tributes to the pharaohs, but a great many live Egyptians, doomed to die slowly against the backdrop of other decaying bodies – the reality of death which is denied by our silken coffins and carefully crafted urns.
Spaces for death have tended towards an architecture of absolutism rather than radical alterity. How do you design a space for death that does not caricature it? Lauren and Linda say, why try?
Doesn’t it strike us as absurd that the dead need such careful planning? Do we need a map, a space for death, a key to its objects?
Death is absolute and ultimate and terrifying and often sudden and painful and incomprehensible. There is no last word, no magical solution, no going back and fixing things, no amends left to make, nothing left to resolve.
When we’re faced with situations that are impossible to resolve, we do extreme things. The carnivalesque and the absurd take over. And indeed isn’t there something absurd about death? One moment alive, the next moment vanished. A live, present, immediate person with all her words and dreams and hiccups, suddenly become ashes in a small neat box. Abracadaver! As if by magic. Abracadabra! The magic word that invokes the other, that heralds a change in state, a transgression, a surprise. It’s performative – the word IS the magic. The mark of radical change, the transformation of something into something else. It’s the moment, the cleavage, the shock that the architecture of death wants to hide.
Lauren’s work evokes this magical moment itself, the sawing in half, the spring of the jack-in-the-box. The blinding white light that distracts the hypnotic subject – the inability to represent. The exit sign flickers. Now, this is not the “moment” of death. This unresolvable, this interstice is just that: the unresolvable. The interstitial. It’s the altar, the sacrificial table, the accoutrements of death themselves. A coffin is not a final resting space but a container, a form in which to contain decay. A cemetery is a space for the slow and irregular movement of the living, with the dead secreted away.
Architecture’s take on death is architecture at the point of failure.
This exhibition says: don’t represent. Play. Engage the interstices that can’t be dealt with:
– the deep, dark crevice in the dark eye of the skull
– the tentative red zig-zag stitch
– not the ON nor the OFF but the ON-OFF, ON-OFF
– not the coffin nor the pieces but the cleft
– not the close nor the open nor even the ashes but the shock, the anticipation, the unexpected.
I wanted to make a final point on the colour red. Jean-Luc Godard was famously asked why there was so much blood in his films, to which he replied: “That’s not blood, that’s red.” Red is the colour of life, in all its clamouring visceral demands. The stark contrast with death adds another element of play here – and I mean play in all its playfulness, as an endless exchange of signification between the living and the dead. As the unresolvable. As the colour of blood, it can be seen to mark the absence of life, but always a warm absence, a nearness to death, the near-death experience which brings life into sharper focus. It’s my great pleasure to declare Abracadaver open.
ESTHER ANATOLITIS Friday 2 May 2008
Poke is a brilliant agency in london. Iain Tait is a digital mastermind who works for them. He also has a super blog, crackunit. He recently gave a talk at the Under The Influence discussions-slash-pub crawl a few weeks ago and talked about the relationship between technology and magic. It's brilliant and I'm interested in how it relates to some of the stuff I've been thinking about for abracadaver. Thanks Iain. And Charles (pinched from charles frith's blog: punk planning. i'm sure he doesn't mind.)
My Talk At Under the Influence from iaintait on Vimeo.
"may you live in interesting times", as the english bastardisation of the chinese proverb goes.
next weekend i'm off to sydney to help decorate the Belvoir St Theatre for Interesting South 2008. There are some fabulous speakers, it's always a great night and i'm looking forward to tarting the place up.
remember last year, we all hung out in the loungeroom? With cups of tea? Well, this year, we're chillin' outdoors and I need some help from people in Sydney who are coming to the conference: If you have a garden gnome, pot plants (the bigger the better), a hose/watering can or deck chairs that you are willing to lend us for the night, could you bring them along?
Let me know in the comments section if you're able to help out.
At any rate, I'll see you there.