apologies for the lack of posts on this blog of late. i've had a big project hangin' over my head, causing me a whole swag of stress. and as much as i love procrastinating in times of stress, i really haven't been able to justify blogging :)
as i keep alluding to, my masters research this year is focusing on sound in the public space, especially within increased urbanity. i'm specifically investigating the divide between public and private sound - the choice over the kind of 'noise' you hear, through the groovy development of headphones, and what it is in public that we don't hear when we choose to wear them.
the research i've done so far has involved a couple of smaller projects which are starting to flesh out the crux of what i'm looking at. and the main thing i've learned is that, actually, the crux is a whole lot further away than a final year's project. which means two things: that i'm going to be presenting more of a 'study' rather than a final 'masterpiece' and, that both mayhem and lucazoid's evil suggestions that i do a PhD is looking scarily feasible.
mobile privacy units
these are headphone-based objects that play on the social codes and language surrounding the wearing of headphones and their role in creating acoustic privacy in public space.
Headsets have been augmented with art materials also associated with soundproofing/creating quiet: cardboard, felt, cotton wool (in your ears, mate) and take on the oversized form of DJ heasets. And a range of text has been added to state explicitly the kind of language and messages that are often and/or unsconsciously conveyed through the wearing of headphones in public whilst listening to portable music..
Just the image of headphones over ones ears can be enough of a ‘do not disturb’ sign.
These MPUs shout this need for acoustic privacy:‘sssh!’; ‘private’ ; ‘!sssh’ (in arabic); ‘quiet time’; ‘mon moment tranquille’ (‘my quiet moment’ fr. trans); ‘please leave me alone’.
the measure of the public soundtrack
Psychoacoustics, or the perception of sound, has links with psychogeography as one way to map, or
experience the city and die Öffentlichkeit (the public sphere). This project measured public/ambient and
private sound taken into the public space - primarily music through headphones and externalises this
liminal space through drawing.
Images were made by occupying a selection of public spaces and mapping the ambient sound using a variety of capture technology. The primary device was the online Voice Drawing Tool by ze frank, which responds to sound through basic form from a laptop in-built mic: low volume curves counterclockwise, medium volume is straight, high volume curves clockwise. HD Video, Microsoft Word and still images were also used to record sound environment.
The iphone/ipod touch application, Wide Noise was intended to be used, but didn’t function without an external mic on the ipod touch.
This has become a comparitive study of place through its sonic output and the images represent the nature - aural and otherwise - of these places in visual form. The drawings also mapped the conceptual action of being in the public space, listening and measuring sound through drawing and technology.
listening and dancing to the city
This project aims to draw attention to all of sound in the public space, the action of listening and headphones-as-device through the process and/or performance of actively listening to sites and their rhythms in the CBD.
By performing the acts of listening and then dancing to places in the city, over a reasonably prolonged period of time (well, an hour), the artists involved will become attuned to the city and its soundtrack. Passers-by will also notice the sustained process
of engaging with the sound of the city and question their own engagement or response to sound, listening, dance and the ‘soundtrack’ of the urban environment, both public and private.
This project also uses the artists’ occupation of space as a vital basis from which to make observations and to elicit change within the public realm. It places itself within the ‘political’, people-focused, process-based aspect of arts practice.
audio guide (test project)
using the mobile privacy units, i made an 'audio guide' for the underground art space at collingwood housing estate, during their Living Art project. the work, which caricatures gallery audio headsets, encourages the viewer to note what they see in the gallery, and what they hear. and when i say 'note', i mean it - the work comes with little cards with a list of 5 things they've seen and 5 they've heard.
whilst it wasn't an absolute hit in this setting, i think i'm going to push it a little and see where it goes, in terms of gallery settings - maybe even public gallery settings.
the next lot of projects are slated to include:
emergency dance zone: public permission to rock out. for when you've got a killer track in your headphones and you've just gotta dance. kind of like a porta-loo for dancing. changes afoot, dates and locations TBC.
the listening to the city XL. i think i'm going to work this one up into a larger scale - 20 or so artists in a smallish city block.
the cone of silence - a 'silent' space in a public gallery. in september/october in melbourne.
i'd also love to do a workplace-based work, plugging into the whole culture of open-plan offices using headphones as privacy devices. but we'll have to see.
these images and some of the text are from my first publication for uni - a durable visual record - which was made in the vein of a 7" rekkid. with a DVD of 'bonus material', liner notes and a booklet. i've uploaded the main part of it as a PDF here. and as a presentation here. if you feel like it.
i know that there will be 4,398,009 blogs about michael jackson posted today, and although i'm not one of the massive fans, it's a pretty massive thing. so forgive me.
however, what i did notice was the emergence of a new form of memorial. what has gone from bronze, to landscape architecture and now to the ipod. every store, cafe, public place with a PA system had michael jackson songs playing. my boss - a massive fan - had his entire collection on (including the random b-sides from dangerous, or something).
and across the city, homage was being paid in this way. a real-time memorial in sound to a man who meant something to people.
when kurt cobain died, radio did specials on him, there was a rage piece and i distinctly remember standing in the local video store listening to helen razer's spoken work eulogy to him. but those sound pieces were in fits and starts - not a city-wide sensation.
with the spread of the ipod (and other portable music devices), paying tribute through sound has now become a public connection point between people, and a way to address a collective grief.
bronze on pedestal, be gone!
[click image for video link]
with this vid having been pulled by you tube for some cartoon network IP violation, i'm probably contravening some kind of laws here too, but i just had to post a link to this awesome vid. it's got all the cool things: transformers (prior to overpriced blockbuster), a robot changing into a coffin, a good health message and the best insult ever: 'you're such a retardicon'.
just a quick reminder that abracadaver at bus gallery has its last day on friday. if you haven't had a chance to pop down and see it, now's your chance. gallery is open 12 - 6 both thursday and friday.
abracadaver: death and magic
putting the 'fun' back in 'funeral'.
Level 1, 117 Little Lonsdale St
i've had some interesting discussions lately about worth, value and selling in relation to art. and i haven't really come to any conclusions, but i thought i'd subject you all to a sketch of some ideas and stuff about it and see what came of it. it's going to be a bit all over the place, and no clear conclusion. you've been warned, so proceed at your own risk.
So, it all started when i woke up one morning last week with a very clear thought in my head: i want to sell the coffin. (the large piece in the abracadaver show). now, i'm OK about promoting my work - it could be better, but it could be much, much worse. but the whole selling of artwork is a whole other mine field that i don't really know how to traverse. starting with the question of 'do i even want to traverse it?'.
i still haven't worked out exactly where i fit in the whole spectrum of touting my work, but i've certainly been focusing a little more on it than ever before - so that i can find a niche for me and my way of selling work, or finding the kinds of people who may or may not be into buying it.
and it has also been a good opportunity to keep asking myself how important it is to make money from it - to make sure that the integrity of the work is with the work, and not its price tag or who is/isn't buying; continuing to clarify the line between artist and agent.
i've had quite a few conversations about it of late - trying to get to the bottom of my relationship between art and money, and i've come across some important gems of info/insight:
1. Turns out agents are important. whether this is a friend, gallery director, a blog or your mum - having someone detached from the process of the work, to be able to speak about the work as a product of value is a huge help. i guess, given that word-of-mouth and advocates works for all other kinds of selling, little surprise that it applies to art as well.
2. Confidence is key. over the last 2 years, my levels of surety about my work have risen dramatically. don't get me wrong, i still have a whole lot of doubts about its purpose, quality, relation to the rest of the world, etc; but i seem to have more pride in what i do and definitely a sense of clarity about where i see myself with it and its relationship to other art being made. even taking away the bonus of selling the work, being able to communicate about the work with confidence is catching and those who don't automatically 'geddit' are able to. and maybe this extends to having the work accessible - either conceptually, aesthetically or financially. Nothing loses a deal like undermining yourself.
3. Abaf has some helpful information. How's about that! I think this is a pretty recent thing, really, and I'm not sure if i'll be able to use all of it this time around, but it was great to read some useful tips on approaching public collectors, more information about the Australian Cultural Fund and a reminder that selling art isn't selling out (unless of course you're selling out).
4. Making art is the easy bit. Finding money from my art is hard work and takes almost more creative thinking from me than my original ideas. I need to be a bit savvy about the kinds of opportunities I follow, the way i present my work, the words I use and the people I target. And, like making artwork, i need to know when to step away.
5. People who know people know people. This sounds ridiculously obvious, but in the research and probing i've done over the last couple of weeks, the most 'success' i've had has been about following the lead of who and what I already know. Those people may not be interested in buying/funding/collecting, but they know people, who know people. And actually talking to people really helps too. Being quite upfront about it - 'putting it out there' has been a challenge, but has begun to show some interesting responses.
I'll wrap all of that up with reminding myself and others that i'm certainly not writing this with any 'authority' - but hey, this is a blog, right, so you all know that :D. But i figure that i don't get to talk about money and art enough - it's certainly a touchy/taboo subject with many artists, so if any kind of feedback starts to happen here, then, well and good.
UPDATE: Billy Apple broaches this subject perfectly in his exhibition in Rotterdam that i sent NH to. pics here.
Posted by lauren at 12:07
about a month ago i got a loan and paid off my credit cards. primarily because of a dumb decision a while ago to get one of those cheap-for-6-months-and-astronomical-after-that-cards so that i could go overseas. dumb.
anyway, i had much pleasure in paying off that card and closing the account. i hated being part of that particular bank and their claustrophobic fees and charges. in fact, when i went into the branch to close it and the oh-so-funky salesperson feigned dismay in asking me why i was closing it, my reply was "because it's shit". no oh-so-funky response after that.
anyway, since closing it, the true colours of the bank have shown through: numerous calls a week from their sales department trying to sell me stuff; a suggestion at the end of my final statement that, if i changed my mind within 60 days, all would be forgiven and i could have my old $5000 credit back and then, last week, this hilarious piece of direct mail: credit card cover - because you can't always see what's coming.
never a truer word spoken, obviously.
i bet they never saw the line in the database next to my name: account closed. perhaps i should send them a shard from my cut up card?
given the shit that the global economy is in thanks to the dynamic between ignorant consumers and a manipulative banking sector, i should think that banks really do need to be on their best behaviour. in fact, perhaps in line with the alcohol industry, we need to start seeing 'responsible financing' disclaimers appearing on all marketing materials from consumer lenders. maybe i need to get over it.
anyway, at a very basic level, surely it helps if the various arms of an organisation are at least running off the same information so that they don't end up looking like a bag of dicks.
paul from life in the middle has got this world tankard safari thing happening. it's a gnarly old ceramic thing which, on its way to nigeria, has been to england, germany, paris,
brazil(?) spain, china and now downtown melbourne.
i took it to the gallery the other day - i thought it might like to check out my show and see a bit of the arts scene here.
it became an honorary candystriper for a bit.
then i gave it a moment to ponder life, death, magic and everything in between.
afterwards we had some great coffee, took a tram to collingwood, hung out at The Gem (i didn't get pics 'cos, well, my camera's shit at night) and now it's back at home, waiting for its next destination.
i have a feeling it might be here a while (you know what backpacking tankards are like), so i'm thinking i'll take it to the park on the weekend, maybe down to see my folks on the coast. and i think i'll have to introduce it to age too - maybe for pasta in lygon st.
i never posted about it here, but a while back, Christopher Doyle's Identity Guidelines flew around email/interweb circles. i fell in love with them (and a little bit with chris in the mean time) and began to tell all and sundry about them.
it is an awesome document, lovingly taking the piss out of corporate identity guidelines and promoting himself as a freelance creative (clearly with excellent skills-to-pay-the-bills).
my personal favourite was always the bit about language/tone of voice and, being the sweary type, would always quote it:
Cynicism and criticism should follow the I think rule. This rule allows me to take ownership of critical statements, lessening any negative impact.
This rule simply involves beginning statements with ‘I…’ Take for example a common, aggressively delivered statement:
“Nickelback are fucking awful.”
When the I think rule is applied this statement now reads,
“I think Nickelback are fucking awful.”
While coarse language is a common element it should be used appropriately (for example, when discussing Nickelback), and never in the presence of Mum_Full Colour Vertical.
If you've never had to work with these kind of guidelines, or needed to develop a document with this kind of 'code', you probably don't find it as awesome as I do. But there are many that do.
Which is why he won a D&AD Yellow Pencil the other night, amongst a whole swag of brilliant designers and creative types. W00t!!
congratulations mr doyle.
download the guidelines here
image credit: chris at the awards by ben terrett.
christopher doyle™, identity guidelines.
so, as you all probably know, abracadaver and the candystripers project at bus opened on tuesday night and i'm pleased to say that the launch was ripping! there were loads of peeps there to see all 3 exhibitions, a great performance and all having braved the shittest weather here for a while.
my personal highlights included meeting mayhem f2f for the first time (she's also very kindly posted about the show over here); catching up with chrissy and lawella, ex field gallery crew and co-conspirators in the 255 x 255 project vs field switcheroo a while ago; seeing ben and age at my exhibition and the fantastic group of people who helped make these shows happen.
and of course a huge big-ups to my partner-in-crime gemma jones, her awesomeness knows no bounds.
the exhibition runs until friday 26th june, wed - sat, 12-6pm. i'll be there on saturday afternoon and gemma will be hangin' out on wednesday afternoon. come and say hey to us and pick up a catalogue/poster/CD.
here are some pics from the show so far.
Posted by lauren at 03:43
today, eddy and i recorded the sound of the city with our bodies, as part of my ongoing masters research into sound in the city and the role of headphones, acoustic privacy, etc.
it was a small but really intense experience and i'm still so wired from it. i'll write about it soon and will get some of the documentary images back shortly, but in the mean time, check out eddy's record of it on her blog, (text)ure and (me)aning.
Posted by lauren at 13:00
why the hell i decided to divorce photography and take up installation art as a lover, i have no idea.
well, most of the time i do know, but the stress and anxiety of gallery installation time (especially after a year of anticipation) always trips me into at least a couple of hours of 'why the fuck did i want to do this again?'-style self-recrimination.
saturday night, after i had mishaps with both the flexicar booking and a tyre puncture, i was over it. i was peaking and it was all going to be shit: everyone would hate it, i will have wasted all my time and effort and i would end up in a crap bureaucratic job until i retired at 65 with my 55 cats and an AVO for constantly harassing ISPs to get greater net speed.
today, however, has been an ace day, where i had time for sleep, good breakfast and a pretty smooth install - thanks to my fab flatmate/studio assistant, most-excellent cordless drill (xmas present from my best friend) and my awesome install wall-plan (see below).
in fact, i had time to go to a public art panel discussion at fed square, eat properly, sign the limited edition posters and do some other project-based paperwork. i've got a few little bits'n'pieces to tie up tomorrow afternoon, but otherwise, it's all pretty hunky dory.
take that, anxiety!
as we speak, miss jones is plugging away at the candystripers foyer, but it's already lookin' so nice and luscious.... we're even thinking about doing a little performance in the space - an ode to andrea fraser and her work 'little frank and his carp' :)
shows both open on tuesday night 6pm at bus gallery: 117 little lonsdale st, melbourne. we'd love to see you there.
boy i wish i read this before i went. although perhaps i wouldn't have found it quite so hilarious...
[big thanks to the always-hilarious john @ content flavoured trousers.]
1. Become an architect
2. Turn homeless people into art
3. Fall asleep in the theatre/"thee-etta"
4. Surveil a babbling foreigner
5. Smile less
6. Shag a young playwright
7. Check all the trains
8. Hang round Camden long enough to be sick
9. Visit another gallery
10. Take yourself more seriously
Posted by lauren at 04:07
i'm sure there's been loads of stuff written about collaborative art practice as a focus of contemporary art, but i just wanted to write a little about my experience of it as an important aspect of my practice and something i'm really excited about lately.
on monday, i'm going to be doing a sound/public work with 2 other artists, which is going to be a blast. we're going to be listening and dancing to the sounds of the city, as part of my research on sound in the public space. i'm also pretty excited about having the loculocu boys involved in the project too. collaborative team raphael ruz and jolyon james produce amazingly luscious, sensual and expansive works. i know that their practice is just as much about the images as the process of working with each other, which is an aspect of collaboration i find amazing. like something along the lines of best friend and spouse.*
obviously, the candystripers is a big part of what i do, and my feeling about that relationship is on a similar plane. i was telling someone the other day that i couldn't imagine my art practice without gemma. [cue: awww.....]**
and when i look at people whose work i love, there's always a huge chunk of 'teams' there:
gilbert & george
jake & dinos chapman
george & ron adams
christo & jean-claude
for me, collaborating with another person to create work, has enabled me to work in a way that i cannot ordinarily:
when i'm working on my own work, it takes a whole lot more effort to have the balanced perspective and the counterpoint during stress. whereas if either gemma or i are getting caught up in stress, anxiety or outright panic, the other automatically assumes the role of the sensible, reasonable type.
similarly, i'm not as particular or careful as i'd like to be, when it comes to my artwork, but when i'm working on candystripers stuff, i'm able to step up enough so that we're both on that level. and working with someone else, i can work within my limitations and strengths, leaving space for gemma to do what she does best, and vice versa.
financially it's also a whole lot easier collaborating. you get to split the cost of invitations, gallery space, catalogues and materials. given that the financial climate for the arts is always pretty grim here, it's unsurprising that collaborating has become a way to benefit more artists for less. 2-for-1!
and then, on a conceptual level, my collaboration with nella themelios provides an opportunity to work from a much more theoretical base. it's also a chance to challenge the cliche of what the working relationship between a curator and artist is like, and to push that a little. deleuze & guattari, anyone - just for something new?
as an installation artist, from a photographic background who works increasingly in the public sphere, it's just not possible to work solo. it's probably painters and crafties that can most easily do that, and while i love that stuff, i'm just not that kind of girl.
of course, given that i'm sharing the process, producing an array of experiences and not-quite-commodity-pieces, it does mean that i'm kind of subscribing to the school of 'the idea as art', but in light of digital comms throwing the whole territorialism of art and mark-making open, i'm ok with that.
*given the amount of ace collaborative partners in australia who are also romantic partners, this is unsurprising. see under:
dell stewart and adam cruickshank,
claire healy and sean cordeiro,
jaki middleton and david lawrey,
charles green and lyndell brown,
** don't forget - our project at bus gallery opens on tuesday night, 9th june, 6-8pm.
image credit: Ampersand/Needle by edgeplot from flickr
i discovered this over at radical cross stitch and it's unbelievable. it almost made me want to cry, that's how awesome it is.
and here's noelle mason's site.
EDIT: for those who perhaps don't know, it's a cross stitch. that's a form of tapestry. you know, needle pulling thread.
let's face it, in the whole scheme of things, a lot of artists make a lot of useless crap. me included. we take up resources that could, in a more conscientious society, could be used for those less-fortunate, or could be saved in order to take better care of our planet.
sometimes i think that maybe the world would do ok without artists. and i could be forgiven for disappearing down a nihilist path and refusing to come out of a cave until the world was perfect.
but the other day i had two complimentary conversations with friends that made me realise that, apart from other, more obvious reasons, artists are important. and it's not necessarily for what we produce, but the process we go through to get to that outcome. by what we see, hear and then pass onto others. in another forum, i might use the word discourse. or even dialectic. luckily, this isn't one of those forums.
i go to a fair amount of exhibitions. i'm always thinking, looking, reading - keepin' an eye on what's out there - it could be said that i 'consume' art. i certainly mainline it most of the time and i am hardly ever 'not working'. when i go into my day job, or catch up with other friends, i regularly talk about the shows i've seen, articles i've read, cool blogs, podcasts i've heard, stuff i'm working on, ideas i'm thinking about, or other random, quirky bits and pieces related to arts and culture.
i mostly do this because i'm a chatty, caring-sharing, annoying type. but i didn't realise that, in sharing my process in this way, my friends (and family) feel connected to what's going on in the arts, feel that they can discuss aspects of art/culture and that they feel more "cultured" through knowing me. that's a nice compliment istn' it? and it's quite a nice gift to give someone too don't you think? one where they feel that they can get access to areas of society that are attractive, but possibly seem off-limits. it makes art truly political.
granted, what i make may not have people feeling "connected" to art or culture, but it seems the open process i go through in order to make those things is just as valuable to those around me.
i like that idea.