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the cone of silence: first site.

Cone Of Silence First Site

as you all know, this year has been a crazy busy year for me. i think the official twitter hashtag for my 2009 is #norestforthewicked.

so, in 2 weeks' time i have an installation/intervention/something-or-other at First Site gallery in Swanston St, Melbourne. It's one of the RMIT galleries, underneath Storey Hall.

it's a space that is part of my research into headphones and acoustic privacy; a site-specific work that recreates the actions we take when we put our headphones on - we create a little niche for ourselves to be unheard. a choice over our sonic environment.

cone of silence_FS_sketchWeb

inspired, of course, by maxwell smart and the cone of silence from the get smart tv series*, it is a crawl space that has been set into the stairway to heaven at the back of the gallery (for those who know the space).

opening on tuesday 15th september at 5:30pm, the exhibition runs until the 26th, in conjunction with the sculpture exhibition: scale of mark.

*of course there are more serious influences like bachelard, adorno, debord and bull, but there'll be an essay available at the gallery for all you freaks who are interested in cultural theory/aesthetics - this blog is for the lowest common denominator, don't you know.

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apple and peas

i had my first apple store experience the other day. clearly i didn't take advantage...

thanks angus

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listening to the city, part II.


following on from the not-listening project i posted about last week, saturday saw the extended remix of the listening to the city work that i've been undertaking. it's a process work on the act of listening and the role of headphones in urban life, where sound is a public environment.

in the first part, i was a participant. this time, i mostly delegated. i had 9 other fabulous listeners with me to record and absorb the soundscape of the city, making freeform notes along the way.

4 curators
4 artists (1 of whom is also an artist)
a DJ
a stylish go-getter
a writer of sorts
and a slightly extravagant interpreter/member of the polis

each person listened for 1 hour, most in the same spot. each had over-ear headphones as a prop - metaphorically connected to a social code and literally plugged into parts of the city: stairs, handrails, garden beds, public sculptures, bike rails, bus stops, stone columns.

plus, we had the occasional person wondering what we were plugged into, what was going on. as ben said, he could hear 'the sound of people's necks turning to stare and wonder'.

i haven't had a lot of time to distill the experience yet, but in the brief poring over some of the notebooks, it's interesting to see the same sound events happening and the different ways in which people noted it, experienced it, recorded it. some sounds were noticed, others were not.

most of us went to my local, brother, for a much-need coffee and sweet treat afterwards. it was there that a fantastic round-table discussion happened about the nature of listening in public, the effect of the headphones - both aesthetically and accoustically, and the experience of public sound emersion. i recorded a chunk of it with my dodgy phone voice recorder and am hoping that it captured enough of the dialogue to be useful.

interestingly, everyone's experience confirmed and related to the research/theory i've been poring over, and extended the nature of the previous projects. although it wasn't quite as big as i imagined it to be, it was still a success, in terms of what i'm interested in engaging with.

thanks to anthea, ben, dunja, eddy, jaymie, kim, kira, nella, simon and uncle george from greece.

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“I don’t believe in God. I think if he existed he would’ve killed Pamela Anderson by now.”

this and other amazing gems on Things My Date Really Said Last Night.

i'm probably way behind on this one, but on a Saturday morning in my red pyjamas, it totally made my day.



not listening. listening.


last week i did a small performance/occupation/process work at west space gallery, as the first in a series of project about the role of headphones/sound in the public sphere. it was an impromptu work, facilitated by the presentation of the great sound art show magnetic traces, curated by philip samartzis and eric la casa.

my particular work was in response to the piece by jean-luc guionnet, lac. lac was the sound object of a working lake in france, transported to the gallery in melbourne - the rush of water, the sound of boats and littoral public life was amplified into the main space.

i did a feedback loop of sorts - me sitting in the space for the duration of the lac work with headphones on: not listening to the ambient sounds of the public which are transported into the private domain, by listening to the sounds from a private domain, by a member of 'the public'.

being and not-being, whilst being and not-being.

it was quite an enlightening experience and valuable research for my masters, which looks at the reconfiguration of space through headphone use*. i found myself regularly switching between being 'present' in the gallery, and then remembering the last time i heard the particular song, or some other kind of connection. it was interesting to be hangin' out, experientially speaking, in the interstitial space of real time and nostalgia.

and in terms of heaphones as a social 'code', headphones in a gallery say 'participation' in a way that they clearly do not in the public realm. in fact, they're more in line with adorno's sense of 'we-ness' than at any other time. and in the gallery, i confused some poor chap who couldn't hear anything in the peace and assumed it was being transmitted into headphones. he asked phip if he could have a set and she had to explain that some slightly potty artist was doing an artwork and that it wasn't a headphone piece. i'm glad, though, that i found out about this little 'interaction' - it did reveal what i thought to be true anyway about some of the clear 'messages' that headphone-wearing has in the crossover between public and private.

it was also a great chance to respond to another artists work on an authentic level, without paying homage, or critiquing the work, but creating an echo of it from a place of appreciation and connection.

tomorrow some friends and i will be listening to the sounds of the city using/not using headphones. it's the extended remix of the listening to the city work from earlier in the year. expect to see more soon.

*extending from theory about the effect of radio and walkmans on the public by kracauer, bull and adorno.

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just one week a year..

just one week a year?

oops - missed out. looks like i'll have to leave my entrepreneurial skills in a box under my bed until august 2010.



must-NY-see, part II.


i posted one of these for my friend john a while back for his trip from london to new york. well, now my dear friend age is heading over to brooklyn, taking the tankard for a bit of a holiday and i've promised him a list of things to do. i know that he won't get to anything, but what kind of friend would i be, if i didn't provide this kind of support, hey?

age, have a ball. and if you don't come back, i promise to send you most of your shoes and your xbox.

the highline "urban park" on the old rail line
11 spring st. i know it's not a mecca for street-style art anymore, but if you're in the area, spill a drink on the gutter.
scott reeder @ daniel reich gallery
deitch projects
cheim&read gallery
buy some crack from an artist (in a side note: how the hell does that guy get two different-coloured arms!?!)
storefront for art and architecture, designed by vito acconci and steven holl

UPDATE: oh, and you should catch up with tait.

image credit: regine from we-make-money-not-art

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found(ed) object(ion)


i found these posters, plastered up on bus stops in frankston.

i found them so despicable that i tore them down. thankfully, no one seemed to want to stop me doing that.

i found the whole experience completely weird. it's not like frankston isn't without its fair share of violence and rape. not to mention its filthy drug habit and general trashiness. it's just that it's mostly white there.*

i found the whole dialectic aspect of it kind of strange too - some racist wanker puts up these posters in prominent places, trying to sway a particular section of the public, and then i come along and tear it down - my action conveying a specific retort. and that , in a free country as ours purports to be, both actions are as 'valid' as each other. as much as i wanted to vomit all over the creator of said racist propaganda, i value the freedom of a politic which supports this kind of exchange - where he (and i'm being gross in my gender generalisation here) puts up shit i don't agree with and i get to take it down. equal and opposite reaction again.

i found it quite important to be having a 'remote' clash of values, in the public realm. on equal footing almost. rather than it being facilitated through the all-powerful broadcast media, or the insidiousness of behind-closed-doors-deals-and-policy that happens at either end of the big power structures. it was almost mano e mano. one citizen against another in hand-to-hand combat.

i found out what what frankston looked like according to its sound a while back. it might be interesting to see what dandenong sounds like. and compare the two - see what frankston would sound like if it ended up like dandenong.

*disclaimer: for those not from melbourne, frankston is a southern outer-suburb which has had a bad name for years. it's pretty low on the socio-economic scale and has a disproportionate amount of young pregnancy, amphetamine abuse and unemployment. superseded only by toorak (i jest, just). and my generalisation about frankston is just that. of course there are amazing people in frankston, doing some fantastic things. and plenty of ordinary people doing lovely ordinary things. naturally, this post isn't really about them.

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quick! to the gallery!

a visitor to the george paton gallery

holy happenings batman! in my masters-inspired self-absorption, i almost forgot to remind you about a fantastic show by an awesome australian artist, whose work has been more influential on my own than he probably realised.

lucas ihlein, lucazoid to some, has been exhibiting the 'sham piece at george paton gallery and it closes today! it's the work which resulted from his residency back in 2006, in which he didn't leave the boundaries of petersham, in sydney. the suburb in which i last lived in sydney.

anyways, lucas blogged the whole process of really inhabiting his local neighbourhood, highlighting the goings-on of this funny little suburb and focused on the process of action and occupation as an art practice. his blog became one of two that properly elevated blogging as an aspect of practice (that, and the art life back in the day) and he continues to use it as one of the tools for action/process/fluxus works.

today is the last day of his show, so you really should go to the gallery. end of story, really. check out the 'sham blog (in zine format, that you can make yourself) and his totally beautiful prints - done on the big fag press, you know - and feel good about the rest of the day, knowing that you can tell your grandkids that you saw lucas ihlein's the sham when it came to melbourne.

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an equal and opposite reaction

"in the age of the internet, shooting the messenger simply spurs on new messengers."
marcus westbury.

in his fabulous article about the chinese hacktivism of the MIFF site for the screening of 10 conditions of love.

[it was in the age today, but surely it will be on his blog soon]

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some cool stuff i've seen lately.

even though i've been trying to spend less time out, i've seen a stack of top shows lately - it seems to be that time of the year in melbourne - where the galleries of the city are heaving with cool stuff.

anna schwarz - marco fusinato

marco fusinato is one of my favourite artists - he wrangles research into sound and behaviour of sound like it ain't no thang. this work, double infinitives, is more about silence and resistance than any of his other works and while i was hoping for some dirty sound works, these paintings had such an amazing classical presence that i quickly forgot my initial disappointment.

images of rioters around the world - captured in stasis, without the din of civil disobedience as a soundtrack. perhaps it's my über trad art education pushing its way to the surface, but it seemed that the poses fusinato chose for the figures harked back to classical poses of greek and roman statues/paintings - the ultimate stance as a citizen of the politic. there is this amazing one from the athens riots, with a huge brute of a man, shirtless, his face covered in a cloth and his jeans so low that his pubic hair is showing. his shoulders back and legs positioned so that he replicates a centaur-like figure, with denim and jeans instead of trotters and hooves. it was quite an arresting image. so to speak.

mr tulk - pocket guide

part of State of Design, this little show in the cabinet at Mr Tulks is all about the lovely pocket. in all its forms. it's such a beautiful premise that I wish it was enlarged into a more accessible space, more conducive to object exhibition. curated by the marvelous miss muddle from milly sleeping, there were pockets and pouches of all sizes and a cute little add-on to all the other stuff that was going on at the time.

this is not a design market design market

not design desgn

in the new 'oh-my-god-it's-amazing' venue: the factory, in latrobe st, this market was a really great vibe. a good combination of grit and finesse - excellently crafted pieces, eloquent ideas, thoughtful solutions and the occasional random plastic water fountain. just to keep everyone on their toes. although still pretty hip, it didn't seem too full of the nouveau riche and there was still enough sense of wonderment and delight to keep this cynic feeling good about markets :)

sarah scout presents

as i've mentioned previously, i'm quite excited about the opening of this new gallery space in melbourne. it's focused largely on a commercial outlet for works of a primarily conceptual nature and has some great artists involved. it opened on the 20th of july and has work by kate daw featuring at the moment. i'm eagerly awaiting the next run of shows and will be supporting it as best i can. you should get down there and check it out. it's above von haus on crossley lane. opposite pellegrinis.

1000£ Bend - cloud 19

ooh - new space in town. i heard about this through the state of design murmurs that rumbled about in july and was dragged there by my friend linda. such a great space - every slacker's dream place; cafe with cheap simple food in the front (couches, music, blackboards, etc). gallery space from a converted auto workshop out the back. gold star. i especially liked the scandanavian wallpaper and some of the hanging works (name? ermmmm...). anyways, looking forward to seeing more interesting stuff happening there. seems like a great space to have 'happenings' or performances, or something.

counihan gallery - surveying the field.

this is a group show, featuring some awesome contemporary artists from the area. my favourite works are by sam jinks, sam leech and owen leong. ok, so owen is a friend, but his white noise and milk ring videos from 2007 are amazing. i saw them at mori the first time around and was completely taken by them. so sensual, haunting and those alien eyes. oh. lord. and the sound work that accompanies the performances is spot on. glitch technoscape which highlights the lush corporeal. nice.

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