yes, there's a rash of them at this time of year. but if you read this blog, you'll expect one, so kind of deal with it :)
2008 was a hell of a year. so dramatic, really. and if you were watching my life broadcast across finland, i'd like to think it'd be a crazy soap opera that you'd watch and hate yourself for doing so. sometimes even i just wanted to turn it all off with a 'for god's sake!'
the year started off with the most amazing summer holidays, confident in a new and exciting job, as well as new and exciting study [not to mention new cool house]. and as soon as both of them really started to kick off, the madness of 2008 really began. just bear with my while i quickly run though it... you'll see.
3-week full-time study intensive, with me working before uni, after uni, on weekends and trying to squeeze in hours wherever i could.
25-year anniversary of my little brother's death. kind of a big deal.
a great trip to adelaide over easter, only to get sick and just want to read and watch 'me, you and everyone we know' in the dark.
full-on preparations for the upcoming exhibition abracadaver, at allan's walk in may
said exhibition, with linda mcrae, but for the work involved, might as well have been a solo show.
spend every weekend in bendigo. nice place, long trip :)
work ickiness. job becomes a little harder to bear.
to sydney for interesting south ii set design
de-install show. say goodbye to bendigo for a while.
high-level work ickiness
job search #1
end of semester essay/presentations at uni. count 'em: 1, 2, 3
leave job crazines #1.
temp contract peace and aaah.
into job craziness #2.
back to uni full-time. much catching up to do.
sydney for the biennale.
job search #2
move into my first real studio. eep!
back at uni, 2 major projects: laneways and knox.
leave job craziness #2 into job #3 - peace and then aagh.. steep learning curve #1. good, but learning curve.
submit to laneways commissions
apply for funding left, right and centre
relocate - new room
work on architecture paste-ups/paper architecture
send work for not now, i'm talking in wollongong
back to work part-time
bit of a uni break
create work for making sense exhibition to open end october
do first candystripers work at trocadero.
shortlisted for the laneways
work on feasibility study.. steep learning curve #2
back at uni - presentations galore. count 'em: 1, 2, 3, 4
making sense exhibition opens at craft vic
patti smith. patti smith. patti smith.
create work for 15 x 15 to open in november
go to christchurch for the weekend to see scape
give final uni presentation, catatonic.
15 x 15 opens
continue work on laneways feasibility study
show english tourist around
de install 15 x 15
de install making sense
job #3 finishes.
fight with multi-national corporation over art.
laneways study submitted
centrelink merri-go-round and job search dance #3
meetings with city
selected for laneways (pending an injection of external funding)
create work for final show in studio exhibition space.
collapse in a heap.
so, if you thought last year was crazy - this one was manic. i did have some time to have a pretty cool social life most of the time - much dancing, many new friends and reacquainted old ones. fell in love with this city, missed my northern friends like madness (and subsequently booked myself an impulse ticket to london in january. did i mention something about manic?), fell in love with my bike, got married on facebook and managed to keep this ol' blog thang going for another year.
and as much as it was amazing at break-neck speed and i had some really valuable and inspiring experiences, i'm looking forward to saying 'cheerio!' to this year. next year is going to be intense in a different way. it's going to be more focused and this little wannabe is going to be a whole lot more cucumber-esque. perhaps even zen-like (*ahem*)..
thanks to everyone who took the time to read this blog this year.. and, hopefully without sounding twee, without you guys, this blog wouldn't keep going - which is not an invitation to disappear! i loved your comments, your visits, your subscriptions, the emails you sent me, the friends i made throught this blog and places i discovered thanks to your links. thanks for putting up with the miles of self-obsession and insane geekery.
i'm having a few weeks off and taking some time to defrag. but i will be back in the first week of 2009 for the next round - hopefully i'll see you then too. merry christmas and happy new year to you and your families.
i've had an amazing couple of years. artistically, it's zooming (more on that later), being back in melbourne is ace, last year's sabbatical in UK/EU was phenomenal, i love love love my friends and only whinge about being single sometimes (ahem).
but there's one area of my life which, over the last 2 years, has been like something out of a bad midday tv soap opera. yes kids, my work life.
i'm on the hunt for work again at the moment (great timing and all that) and as well as the super-tedious bouts of crippling self-doubt, i mostly have a sense that it will click into place soon, but i'm having to do some figuring out first. which i'm clearly not very good at - preferring to bang my head against the proverbial brick wall, it seems.
but what this period of jobsearching/soul-searching has done has made me incredibly curious about how artists earn their money. up until recently, i used to manage full-time arts admin work and then squeeze art in around the side. now i'm trying to squeeze a job in around the side (which i wrongly assumed would be easier), which is a little, well, interesting. and unfortunately, as much of a coffee fascist as i am. i don't know how to make a cup to save my financial arse. so it has been back to the centrelink merry-go-round for a bit.
funnily enough, i read the "arts minister" peter garrett's interview in art world the other day, dredging up the old art start thing again (pigs, flying i. that's when). which kind of reminded me to post something about this issue. again.
so boys and girls, what do you do to earn your crust in order to make art, while you're hatching plans for world domination?
teaching? cafe/bar work? admin? do you earn enough from your art practice? design work? the dole?
actually, now would be a good time for one of those silly polls:
[it's over in the side bar there -->. for those who are reading this through their RSS reader - you'll have to click through, sorry.]
poll is open until mid-feb, so go on, fill it in. i'd be interested to see how australian artists get by. and you can click more than one (which i'm sure loads of you will).
no rest for the wicked or the cruel, or so they say. i'd add insane to that list.
this post is specifically for all the sydney folk: tonight you have to skip on down to MOP gallery's annual fundraising show. it's only on for tonight, between 6 and 8pm and all works are $50. $50!! that is hella cheap and i can tell you there'll be some awesome artists in the show.
i happen to have a work in the show (I think it arrived on time??!!) kinda like the work above, but you should go, even if i don't - not only is it a great opportunity to pick up some nifty arty bargains, just in time for christmassy givin's, but also an opportunity to support an ace gallery like MOP and the artists they work with.
thursday 18th december, 2008 - one night only
opening night: thursday 18th december 6-8pm
at MOP gallery
2/39 abercrombie st,
all works $50 - cash and carry (which means you don't have to wait 2 weeks to get your goodies! yay!)
*nod and a wink to one of the coolest cafes in newtown: 70 p-lease in my kitchen. RIP
while at wall 280 the other day, miss jones and i came across wallpaper's top 30 dinner party: the peeps which wallpaper readers wanted to have at their all-time, desert island dinner party.
jonesy and i were so inspired and/or dissapointed at some of the choices (so many lords and dames in there!) that we picked our own. mine's a little more reminiscent of the wallpaper one, miss jones' is way cooler than i and has a list so awesome that it makes a girl a little red with envy.
anyway, here's the seating arrangement people - complaints in the comments section please.
[click to enlarge]
ok, so i know i recently did a meme thing. and in it i tagged age. well, instead of doing that meme, he flipped it, made his own thing up and tagged me back. crafty little bastard :)
so, the aim is to track your year, based on what you've been listening to - or at least what new stuff you've added to your itunes in the last 12 months:
New Smart Playlist
Match the following rule
Limit to 30
Selected by most played often
funnily enough, i didn't actually add a whole bunch of new music this year. this year, my music was quite frugal, mostly nostalgic, full of mix-tape goodness and blip.fm love. a bit of an insight into the kinds of comfort i sought this year.
also interesting to note (well, interesting to me) that my music taste was largely rated on what sounds good while riding a bike. i listen to a lot of music while riding, even though i usually only get to hear about 5 songs in a trip. i discovered the joy of ipod's on-the-go playlists in the last month and that, kids, is where your insight is..
anyway, below is a snapshote of how my year looked, itunes-wise. note the top song. heh.
[click to enlarge]
and to add to the mix, here's my blip playlist.
sending it back the other way, i'd love to see the lists of:
miss jones - 'cos that girl is a fiend when it comes to fine taste
stan j - his midday tweets are already on fire, and
marcus - the blip cast he did during the year was amazing and anyway, he just rocks.
* title pinched from paul colman's made-up plannery phrase thing from life in the middle.
it's funny how life, the universe and everything converge sometimes. thanks to a project i'm working on, i've a sudden fascination with car parks - more specifically, car parks as perfect blank canvases for some kick-arse art projects.
a while ago, i posted about the awesome eureka car park Felice Varini-esque wayfinding work by Axel Peemoeller and then this week i read paintergirl's awesome Creepy interview on The Vine, about that fab car park project in perth. it sounds so hot and i wanna go check it myself. in fact, i see it as a mini call-to action for all those other developers and their über-grau blocks of concrete, to brighten the fuck up.
image credit: thevine.com.au
last night, melbourne lost its banksy
image pinched from theage.com.au. left: nu-bansky, right: OG banksy
jealous fuckheads kids tipped chrome paint down the back of the protective perspex, tagging 'banksy woz ere' on top. and as much as i find it ever-so-mildly amusing, i still can't work out which i find sadder - ignorant bureaucrats from the tower of hamlets in london buffing over the helicopter because it's just graffiti to them, or calculated and jealous artists/wannabes making a spectacle of its demise. ignorance or spite? which is most loathsome in a person. which is more dangerous?
as ridiculous as it was that the diver was covered in perspex, i was rather proud of melbournians attempting to preserve its street-art history. no-one tried to rip it off the wall and sell it. it wasn't hawked as a money-maker, but was revered in its own way. perhaps more than it should - especially seeing as other well-regarded street artists get their work buffed all the time. but it says something about melbourne as a city, that a world-famous artwork sits proudly amongst the rats, on a building full of artist studios that has its drainpipes covered in gold-leaf as part of a public art program.
and i feel quite sad that is has gone now.
i hope that the pranksters look back and are proud of what they did. i hope they documented the process, have their own website about it, have put a vid of the event on you tube, have made limited edition reverse prints of the marker text and are working on following banksy around the globe, splashing over his other works as a political statement against the commercialisation of an essentially rebellious art form intended for the ghettos of america, and not the living rooms of the white nouveau-riche.
i want the spectacle of destruction to be a real spectacle. a show-stopper. a life saver, a fuck-off blast off and "holy fireworks batman!". i want them to have done this out of a wider, more noble reason than an insipid combination of puberty, jealousy and some desperate need for 15 megabits of deluded viral fame in which they are a david to banksy's goliath.
somehow, i don't think i'm going to get what i want.
EDIT: banksy, if you did this yourself, i'm still cross. but i'll forgive you eventually. and if you were in town, why didn't you call?
while i was showing will some of my fav. places about melbourne, i mused about the importance of the third place. i know, it's quite an old theory now, and i've gone on about it a bit in the past, but i had a new revelation in its relevance to design, aesthetics and identity.
following on, i guess, from the musing about designing for places to eat, i was wondering why i like my favourite cafes, restaurants and the other social public places i frequent, noticing their decor.
take one of my regulars - kent st, for example - it's a complete mashup of stuff - amazing light fittings, second-hand furniture, sit down arcade game, numbers and signage, photographic mural and pink walls. there's some stuff that i would totally have in my home, and other stuff that i love, but couldn't live with it.
which i think is a vital part of the third place (and an area that i'd be interested in pursuing some more - especially with design/interior stuff in mind.) it is these places in which we get to experience an aesthetic that fulfills us, or challenges us, or resonates with us, but in which we can't participate in our own environments. that we need places to be lavishly decorated, or quirky, or completely sparse, over the top or completely minimal - so that as a society we can take some of that with us, own it without possessing it.
and that communal places - cafes, bars, clubs, restaurants - hell, even swimming pools, gyms, shops - are the places in which we need to invest a level of innovation or courage or outlandishness (in terms of interior design/decoration). that, as well as feeding, entertaining and socialising us - the third place, the social space - teaches us an aesthetic, or perhaps provides us with a range of aesthetics from which we can then discern our own. the third place, it seems, is in the business of taste, on all accounts.
image credit: the fabulous barista miss browne at brother baba budan, taken by janey on flickr
since the gates of deadline city shut on me last monday, i have had some unexpected time to check out exhibitions, catch up with people i had to ignore over the last couple of months, and, in some cases, combine the two. actually, it's been quite delightful to spend so much time in galleries and not feel guilty about all the work i'm not doing. sigh.
here are some recent shows i got to pop my head in and check out.
NGV: rennie ellis
owen and i went to this, at the recommendation of my flatmate who is knee-deep in the photography biz. unfortunately neither owen or i, both photo majors, really liked this show at all. which was kind of a shame.
granted, most of ellis' work was intended for publication and, in print, would have been quite powerful. but as it was, 8 x 10 prints in hardwood frames in a gallery painted in bright, bright colours - lame. i felt like i was seeing the happysnaps of a drunk suburban hippy sleazebag, rather than any kind of insight into australian social history. i think the works would have been much more powerful if they were enlarged and edited. yes, less is more. still. they could have had a slideshow of works running in the gallery, a few really hot shots (like the temper twisters, or whatever they were called - priceless!) and a great catalogue to browse through. maybe the ellis estate demanded that every fucking work he every produced was displayed (which i understand happens sometimes), but after the first room and a bit, we was bored. and left.
which is really saying something 'cos even though i have a harsh opinion about many things, i always see a show 'til the end, just in case there's a point of redemption. the point of redemption for this show? the great title and the ace chandelier in the middle of the 2nd gallery. that was hot.
Gorker Galler: Drewfunk
as the sky was dumping its guts on us on saturday afternoon, i rode past this gallery and doubled back to simultaneously catch the show and hide from the downpour. i was shocked because i had never seen this space before and i ride down kerr st in fitzroy all the time. the gallery is pretty cool - quite simple, open, white rectangle, roller door, modernist white-brick building. clean and lovely. the show inside was well-designed too: featuring loads of bamboo, which actually looked OK rather than dumb and twee. the work - cutified illustrations influenced by his malaysian heritage are on wooden blocks and are pretty solid. solid in terms of weight, but also authentic, well-crafted and a nice tone. their nothing outrageous or death-defying, but soft and shiny, the title of the show, pretty much sums it up.
Seventh Gallery: Hyper-Realities (Alyshia Boddenberg, Beth Conway, Lily Feng, Rebecca Delange), Helen Johnson, Mary-Jane Caswell
and speaking of dumping guts, the first impression you get when you walk into the current show at Seventh is that someone took too much acid, swallowed a 24-pack of crayolas and vomited. everywhere. these works fit right into the nouveau-baroque thang that's going around at the moment: much colour (too much for my liking mostly), much busy-ness, warped and distorted aspects and references, and did i mention colour? the little sea-creature-esque works were OK, as were the series of photos of people looking up, on the roof/high up on the wall - looking up at looking up was neat. the rest of it was a little, well. yeah, ok i guess.
helen johnson's video in the project space er brecht, wir brechen (he breaks, we break) was quite different to anything i've seen of hers previously. hence the project space, freddie. although it didn't stick in my mind as much as mary-jane craswell's vid did.
pinky-red ambiguous liquid seeping out of ambiguous flesh-space, was disturbing in its ambiguity. was it a wound in pain? was it an orifice in ecstasy? neither? i had to keep watching but only because i couldn't look away. it's perfect match would be anything by monika tichacek.
Go Grow Wild
Curated by Dell Stewart and Adam Cruickshank, this show is fantastic. I think any show in which you love 80% of the works gets a high-distinction from me (like Intimacy at ACCA did recently). I love a show that links works to a theme, without shoving it down your throat. Adam's work was probably my favourite - both his wild man reflecting on the future and his house and gardens, motherfucker sculpture had the right amount of humour, balance and aesthetic goodness. Dell's tent was ace to begin with, then after the opening I got to see the animations, which were super-cool and reminded me of logo turtle days. Nathan Gray's drawing machine was simple, if not so clean and a great take on going 'wild', and although the form of his dreamcatcher-windchime shebang didn't really float my boat, the fact that it jangled each time gallery staff went through the rear door tickled my fancy. Cheeky. Natasha Frisch's 'sprouts' along the window sills of the gallery went unnoticed by me, until the second visit. and then i loved them long time. i'm always endeared by subtle interventions into space.
And the catalogue is great too. bring back the $2 catalogue i say. all of us noticed the 'artist funded' logo on the collateral and i have to say, as an artist, i kind of like the idea of bringing to attention the fact that so many artists fund their own exhibitions here. hell, if the government can get kudos for putting money into an exhibition, so can the artist. i like it.
Gertrude: Studio Show (inc. Nick Mangan Studio 12)
I didn't get to see a whole lot of this show 'cos it was heading towards closing time very quickly, but we scooted up to see Nick Mangan's work in Studio 12 - which was a small installation, relating to his fabricated archaelogical digs works, which have recently appeared in Santa Fe.
From the main show, I'll be going back to have a proper look at new work by Kate Just, whose work i've always loved, and spending some more time with Simon Pererich's How to Hack The World You Tube devices - he made 4 objects from instructional videos available on You Tube, and the videos to go with them - including a phone charger from something weird like lemon and lucozade, a device that makes an ATM spit money out at you, a 'coin' that gives you free access to public transport (methinks that works in NYC, not so much in downtown Melbs) and another object I can't remember. As i said, i just rushed in before they shut, so i'll be heading back to give it some more time before it closes on saturday.
rennie ellis, sharpies. image from ngv.vic.gov.au
drew yeoh, soft and shiny. image from gorkergallery,com
mary-jane caswell, bombshell. image from seventhgallery.org
go wild installation shot. image from utopianslumps.org
kate just, garden of interior delights, gertrude studio show.
nick mangan, misplaced/displaced mass-A1 southwest stone, studio 12. images from gertrude.org.au
i love smith st. no, really i do. i love a place where you can get A1 coffee, smack, trams, bikes, hookers, hippies, 4WD mumsies, street art and blue-chip galleries all in the one place.
image thanks to sar at well fed, well read
here's the order: you have to go check out this show.
my fellow candystriper, miss jones has work in it. and she's brilliant, so you'll miss out if you don't go: panic on the streets of london indeed.
besides, how cool is their poster!
following on from the kids and the psychoanalyst, here's a story about love from age and his blog, in my atmosphere. on his blog he discribes himself as " wannabe sneakerfreaker, wannabe music producer, film maker, skater, street wear aficionado, mixtape DJ, screenwriter, baller, blues guitarist with jazz influences, cultural commentator, cultural contributor, but right now, I'm a strategic planner for an ad agency." but he's also a straight-up romantic:
There's a guy I work with, a really nice guy who was originally born in India. Playing on our email work server one day he typed in his surname and hit Ctrl+K. What this does is search our entire global network for matching names. To his surprise, his surname came up with 2 matches... his own, and a girl from our New York office. Working in Account Manglement he was looking to procrastinate a bit so he decided to drop this girl a random hello email from Oz.
Turns out that this girl grew up in the same area of Mumbai as he did (in fact, surnames in India are usually an indicator of where you grew up, not so much which family you belong to). They continued to exchange emails, and a little more, and a little more... A few months ago after planning a trip to India to visit relatives, she decided she too would also take time off work to visit family in India. Of course, they could finally meet face to face! Catching up with him on his return to work a month or so later, he divulged this entire story to me as a well kept secret going on for many months - and of course I kept his word but loved asking him "how's your sister?"
The other day we were in a meeting room discussing a brief. Still, procrastinating, we began discussing the status of his relationship. He told me that he had resigned from the agency and would be leaving in a few weeks. Whoa. I was amazed. I automatically assumed that he would be relocating to New York to hook up with his sister... ok, his girlfriend. His throat got kinda dry as he explained not. See, he had only recently been diagnosed with a serious kidney disease. And the situation was not great. Knowing his condition, his family had requested he fly back to India immediately so they could send him to a renowned Kidney specialist who was also a close family friend. They wanted him close and he needed them close. Love. I was genuinely saddened to hear this news. I asked what that meant for his relationship - because I knew that it was one of the best, and most important things in his life right now. Now his eyes were watery. He told me that he had spoken to her on the phone and explained his condition and his plans to fly home. The next day, she had quit her job at the agency too and booked a ticket to be there when he arrived - for how ever long she needed to be with him she would.
What's love? I don't know but I reckon that's pretty damn fucking close. It's more than the little things... it's when it's everything.
Posted by lauren at 05:25
my friend huw has just recently moved to london on a super-exciting scholarship to kings college. he's brilliant.
in a recent fly-by, post-marriage catch-up, i promised huw that i would write him a list of good, cheap places to eat in london. i didn't eat particularly well in london (when you look up heathrow injection on urban dictionary, there's my picture looking back at you), but in this list, i'm trying to steer huw away from some of the really really bad stuff. i'm sure there's a proper cheap-eats guide, but nothing beats recommendations from someone you at least know... (and if doddsy gets an art guide to NYC, this is nothing)
and huw, next time i'm there, we'll do yum cha. or something.
so, following on from my last post about designing places to eat privately in public, here's my
top 10 cheap-ish eats in central-ish london. ish. (ooh, loose segue)
1. the dumpling/dim sum carts on gerard st - they're ace and hella trad. cheaper than ping pong (even though ping pong is pretty ace)
2. ping pong dim sum. on great marlborough st (parallel to oxford) not quite so cheap, but still good place to get great dim sum and funky interiors.
3. asian grocers. there is an amazing asian grocers, near waxys little sister and they have great stuff you can buy. i recommend doing that - you can boil water and have a steamer in your office and eat at work, even :)
4. tai cafe. greek st, soho. on the shaftesbury side of soho square.£3 for a take-away buffet of vegetarian goodness. it's more if you eat in, but why would you when you can sit in nearby soho square and eat out. ok, so maybe at this time of year, the extra couple of quid is worth the warmth. i think there are a couple more of these venues around soho too (maybe beak st? anyone?), but keep an eye out for them.
5. chinatown. i reckon most of the restaurants in chinatown are ace. we went to a great one that is not far from whitcomb/wardour st on the right hand side of gerard. quite narrow and does a fantastic peking duck - if you're into that kind of thing.
6. vietnamese in soho.. i think it's on d'arblay st? it wasn't the cheapest place i've ever eaten in, but it really was that good that it's worth spending the extra. go with a few people and it will be worthwhile. and maybe it's not there anymore 'cos when i went searching for it, i couldn't see the listing.
7. falafels... everyone goes on about maoz, but we have much better falafel places here. you can get better elsewhere i think... just felafs is great, just for the name. they have great wraps, but, as muas, you've had much better here and it's a bit of a let-down. head to edgeware rd instead (and visit lisson gallery on the way).. they have good mezze there.
8. ecco. if you wanna pizza treat - £4 pizzas on goodge st, near tottenham court road. they have ok coffee too apparently -trad italian.
9. berwick st market. buy food there - fruit and vegies are fresh and there is a great nut stand.. it's perfect for lunch-y type things.
10. 1001, truman brewery. it's pretty basic sandwich/salad type food, but the vibe is halla chilled and the wi-fi is free and the people are all pretty lovely. except on sunday afternoons.. then it's cashed-up bogan city. warning: do not eat the donuts from here. they are the best donuts you will ever taste and you'll get a habit as fast as you can say 'one jam donut, please'.
so, there you go.. a little list of cheap-ish places to eat kinda near kings college...this is what the internet is for, isn't it? if i think of any more, i'll post em. and to all my friends in london, can you add to the list please?