it's amazing how quickly a year passes.
i guess the old peeps knew it to be so by the seasons. we realise it by the time since major events. celebrity deaths, say.
on the weekend it was a year since michael jackson died.
i want you back is my favourite song of all time, but to be honest, i wouldn't have ever called myself a fan. i liked the rest of his songs well enough, but i was pretty shocked when he died. i saw how deeply it affected friends of mine - mostly men - who found in him an identity, a role model other than mucho macho.
i went to see this is it and i was reminded how much his dancing and his attention to musical craft inspired thousands of young men [who weren't white and middle class] to embrace such a sensual and vulnerable vocation.
he was such a complex man. may he rest in peace, finally.
this one's for jol and raphael. thanks to age.
it's amazing how quickly a year passes.
i can't remember who told me about these guys, but they're rad.
i bought the shirt that everyone was posting about, but i don't care. it's red, it's funny, it was pretty cheap and the shirt woot kids are ace.
ps. the packaging has commissioned artwork on it. take that UPS.
i bought new sneakers recently - tigers that i've wanted for a while. i reckon they look pretty awesome, but the thing that i'm most excited about is how quiet they are! i thought the sneaking up the stairs scene in kill bill was just visual metaphor!
they're like 0db trainers - i can't even hear myself walk through the gallery on concrete floor.
it's so much fun pretending to be a ninja, sneaking up on some imagined assailant.
it never occured to me that silence can be so much fun. it also never occurred to me that it would be an anomaly to not hear myself walking. in fact, it has altered my sense of space a little over the last week or two.
i certainly didn't expect that when i bought them.
hey everybody it's database week!
setting up a new filemaker pro database for the gallery and discovering that a) there aren't that many real templates and b) not that many other arts organisations have them to share.
by the end of the day, the bulk of the database will be set up. i still have to fiddle around with how to create a good exhibition history, but otherwise, the basic stuff is covered: artists, board, funding, supporters/subscribers and volunteers.
i'm also talking with the geek peeps to find out the best way to share these templates. surely other ARIs and arts orgs could use filemaker templates set up for those kind of organisations? why waste the time i did figuring out how to customise layouts? heh.
and let's face it, database designing is kinda dull. small victories are key. as is a good soundtrack.
although it was great to concentrate on just one task for the whole week, i spent the week transferring data to the awesomeness of diplo in china. here are some of the nostalgic awesome trashy tracks - a database mix tape if you like. i would have liked to post others, but you know 'embed disabled by request' on a few put the kybosh on that.
pump up the jam
drop it like it's hot
i love rock'n'roll
i like to move it
it's already all over the twitters and the fezbook and the online papers, but i just have to say that i'm pretty flabbergasted by the political coup that happened this morning in australia.
as i was watching the football last night, i noticed a flurry of twitter activity on the #spill hashtag. given the amount of oil leaking into the gulf of mexico, my first thought was that it had something to do with the slick. i wasn't too far off. i guess
kevin rudd has been wildly unpopular lately - even amongst supporters and voters. including members of his own party (and its inherent factions). julia gillard, deputy prime minister launched a challenge on the top gig and massive debates and closed-door discussions ensued. rudd called a caucus vote first thing this morning, but in the end stepped down, with indications that it was going to be a landslide victory to ms gillard.
you could be forgiven for skipping the above detail as 'blah blah blah'.
but the punchline is, we have a new prime minister!
and her name is julia gillard.
she's our very first female prime minister. [she has red hair]
it's kind of a big deal here.
For those of you in the UK, NZ, Pakistan, India, Iceland, Germany, Israel, Chile, Argentina, Malta and the former states of Yugoslavia, you may wonder what the fuss is all about. And what took us so long.
We have a lot to learn in this little country of ours, but it feels like today we made a bit of a leap towards an evolved nation. At least on a public scale, high level responsibility is no longer withheld on the basis of having ovaries and a uterus.
As much as i'm totally a fan of her on a bunch of levels, i'm actually quite suspicious of the new PM at the moment. As the Deputy and Minister for Workplace Relations, she recently has made some dubious calls regarding the taxing of miners and their billions (poor loves) and she has supported harder lines on refugees, which i'm not a fan of.
She's not an outspoken feminist like the icelandic PM (bummer), but i'm looking forward to seeing how much things change now that the glass ceiling on the top tier has been smashed.
And even if she only makes it until the next election in 6 months' time, it's a start.
And when my nephew asks me in 15 years' time where i was when Australia got its first female Prime Minister, I'll proudly say that I was drinking coffee after pulling an all-nighter watching England scrape through to the final 16 and Australia bow out of the 2010 World Cup.
I reckon he'll think that's pretty old fashioned. In a cool kind of way.
this is going to be a good ol' fashioned rant.
sorry to those not interested, or phased by the world cup. i'm even sorry to proper football fans - i'm one of those skeletons that comes out every 4 years for the cup 'cos i love international football. i think that it has a unique role in public life.
anyway, the world cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. yes, kids, bigger than the olympics. FIFA has an economy greater than half the developing world * and it unites and divides countries and fans for 4 weeks every 4 years. every continent is represented and the rich don't always dominate the poor, for once.
it. is. massive.
in the lead up to the australia v germany match, a few of us on twitter had been in contact with federation square, melbourne's stand-out public viewing space, about screening the game/s on the big screen.
they said that the crowd was too big, they couldn't handle it so no broadcast - birrarung marr was the back-up plan.
although why we didn't all go to the a.mazing AAMI park (the caterpillar) i have no idea (public sport fail #1)
i thought it was stupid idea to leave that amazing screen empty for the event, but fine, ok. 11,000 people in fed square is shit anyway. but surely the other games would be on, right? 24 hour viewing space, room to be there, unite and celebrate sport and multi-culturalism, give the range of nationalities in our city a chance to gather, etc, etc. **
so far i have had to search through the streets of carlton for 45 minutes to see netherlands v denmark in a crappy dive pub;
the charles dickens was packed for the serbia v germany, so i trawled the pubs of the CBD, ending up in a tiny room, in a shitty pub blaring terrible music with 6 others. [in a pub that advertised 'televising world cup 2010!!'];
each night i try untold types of p2p streams online - even just for the commentary.
i've now even decided to borrow a tv, so that i don't have to wander the streets anymore like a harlot.
the games could all so easily have been screened at fed square [like the european championship games from 2 years ago].
i could have frequented that space regularly, for long periods of time, probably bought some greasy food, populated the space with my fellow fans, and made an amazing collective experience.
federation square could have been a real public space for a whole month. how's about that!
and the city of melbourne could really have come alive as a city attuned with the rest of the world, all watching as one. **
epic fail. (public sport fail #2)
but, just so you don't think i'm solely hawking on federation square or even the city of melbourne, let me whinge about the FFA and football culture in melbourne generally***.
i had to trawl the city on friday night, trying to find a place to watch the game which decided australia's fate (germany v serbia). but i could watch the essendon/hawthorn afl match 1000 times over. what does this say to me? melbourne (and australia) is still, clearly, too focused on its own codes to give a fuck about truly international football.
and we're supposed to be bidding for WC 2022.
you've got to be joking...
as sportsmen (and yes, it's all men here) we are a self-centered, tunnel-visioned, small-minded bunch of kids. lord knows we need the world cup to actually broaden our minds, but as a race, we are not ready. we have no ability to see past our own noses, or hip-pockets. we would rather whinge and blame others. and that is not the mark of international sports (except maybe italy)
and the FFA have hardly contributed towards really facilitating football engagement in australia during this international football event. ****
i don't have a TV, but these days that should not prohibit me from being able to watch football. i can't find a decent live stream (paid or unpaid), SBS are streaming audio, but no video; the FFA have allowed Optus to monopolise the mobile platform for their customers (apparently it's shit anyway), but there is no possible paying app to stream for the rest of the mobile market (competition law?).
And although i'm an Optus broadband customer, i still can't access the broadcast.
Sport is a massive part of australian public culture. it has the potential to be used for fantastic connections instead of breeding pack-raping, drunk, hooligan fucktard footballers and commentators. But it seems that no-one is really ready to take action to make that happen through the world game. Least of all in melbourne.****
* i made that up. i think.
** i know, it sounds like corny advertising copy, but if you've never hugged a stranger when your team scores a goal, you will never understand.
***andrew demetriou and james merlino, i fart in your general direction.
**** and again.
well, today is the end of the official transition stage. it may explain the weird level of sadness or something i've been feeling. either that, or the lack of exercise, sleep or regular meals.
this week, another short one thank to the
aus v ger game queen's birthday holiday, has been quite frenetic and frustrating. i spent most of the week juggling shitty tech difficulties: on hold with adobe and their appalling tech support, trawling tech forums, drawing wiring diagrams and cloud diagrams to work out the best way to run the network, upgrade the modem and enable remote access. today, thankfully, most of that has been sorted (save the final ethernet cable party later).
the first stages of our new website framework has been developed and we're now setting about uploading easy content, figuring out the best way to arrange dynamic content and generally getting our hands dirty movin' stuff around. it's so exciting to have it all in so early.
and then last night i found myself feeling quite despondent about what i'm doing here, thanks to a line by stan johnson - a blogger and creative heavyweight whose conviction and attitude i admire.
in his blog, he talked about uniqlo as a stellar brand that were really at the forefront of really using intergrated digital content/technology within their identity. the punch-line was "Because I'm sick and tired of so called digital creatives who seem to think that designing a bloody website is a big digital idea.".
most of my time as a geek is helping build the kids here a new website. it's not wildly innovative, in terms of digital output.
it is practical, necessary and long-overdue. but it's not really a big digital idea. and part of me feels guilty about that. especially as artists have a long history of being innovative and at the forefront of digital exploration and excitement.
and yet, what is the point of innovation, if your basic services don't work?
i do think that arts organisations will benefit greatly from access to ebooks - imagine artist catalogues available on ipad/iphone? and the relationship between mobile technology and spatial arts practice is also interesting.
but this current website does not accurately reflect the depth of artistic innovation that happens in this organisation. it doesn't support arts practice by doing what a website should, at its basic level, which is communicate with the audience.
so, the innovation in this program is to get the basic pragmatic stuff done, share it and leave resources and possibilities for other exciting outcomes. teach a man a fish...
a while ago i discovered this beautiful tumblr blog about the marina abramovic show at MoMA. every couple of days, i see these beautiful tear-stained faces staring intently at an absent figure, the amazing performance artist.
for me, her absence becomes immediately present, and i also cry. it's like an echo of what is really happening, which is also an echo of what is really happening.
and most-excellent used of blogs/flickr for performance/contemporary art.
so, next wednesday, 16th june, is the launch of un magazine's latest issue. which includes a piece of mine, so you should all come down to the grace darling and get your hands on a copy. and support the magazine, and watch the bands and have a nice drink or something to eat at the fine establishment it is.
here is the beautiful invitation/poster, designed by melbourne's designer du jour brad haylock.
see you there.
today has been a massive week here. it was a short week, with monday spent in a symposium on critical spatial writing practice (more on that later). but it has been a week chock full of learning, discovering, reflection, collaboration and adaptation.
in fact, that's what i want to write about - adaptation as a particular trait of the artist, in a tech environment.
thursday was the big day: the meeting with the developers. it could either turn our project into a nightmare, or clear the way for the yellow brick road.
i was a bit nervous. my two other experiences of developing websites have been pretty hectic and, well, it's the first time i've written a functional spec document.
i needn't have worried. virginia from inventive labs (responsible for those awesome notepods that i used all last year) and john from golden grouse were totally grouse and they seemed to appreciate the work and research i had done. i think they felt kinda confident that there was a good plan, some clear descriptions and an air of excitement from our end.
we have our work cut out for us now, but it's a clear path and we're working with people who are all about collaboration and using good tech tools to work together - that feels pretty rad. we're on basecamp, as our wiki, and will have a blueprint to start working with early next week. how's that for getting the job rolling?!
based on the feedback, the reason i think we're going so well is because i've been adapting art-making processes to the project.
firstly, i did research.
when i make a new artwork, i dive back into my documents - i research the history of my oevre, or material, or process. i look at the ways in which others are doing it, the ways in which it connects to previous iterations, the ways it connects to the space/site/organisation/publication and
then we focused on the structure - not the pantone.
if you've got a decent drawing, marquette, plan, etc - the rest is easy. i don't know many artists who make a major work from a standing start - there's always an underlying basis. and, from what i know from the ben terretts in the world, designers hate the squish-the-design-to-the-fixed-aesthetic brief
and finally, the collaboration.
it was valuable to learn from how the developers work, their processes and their language and to see how to adapt it back to artistic outcomes - choosing a single design and working through it, rather than the multiple presentation mode (and, importantly, if it's not working, scrap it), the importance of the plan/structure and being able to get a test site to work with early - taking it from there.
from a business point of view, i also noticed the benefit in valuing your own processes - their notepods (in excess of 100,000 sales as we speak) were designed because they needed to sketch out ideas for an iphone app. obviously. but now they're being purchased by designers globally (including apple!). and all this because they made their own supports.
as an artist, this is an area that i'm pretty crap at, so i'm paying attention and seeing how i can apply that ethos to my own practice.
i think the reason why artists are so good at adapting processes and ideas to their practice is more than just laziness (although i'm also naive sometimes. heh).
adaptation reflects a particular relationship with language that is not about ego and is about understanding the difference between what is being said and that which is being spoken about. i know that structuralist theory is so passé in the era of neo-mysticism and the contemporary romantic, but in a digital arts era, i think it's going to inform a lot of processes and interesting critique as we start to unpack the furniture.
ps. oh. and it seems we've done ourselves a mischief and got in the paper.
even if this awesome little thing from oatmeal is bogus, i'm still feelin' a bit smug.
especially because it validates my judgemental attitudes.
what else, after all, is blogging for? :D
i popped into horse bazaar last friday night, very briefly, to hang out with to a couple of shit-hot-djs and fellow geek-tech-type. my brain was kind of mush, having spent the better part of the last 3 days watching blue bars, waiting for data to load, transfer, archive, copy, trash, mount, etc, etc, etc.
within the conversation, i was asked if i was process oriented.
right then? no.
but i guess, the answer is yes. most of my artwork, to date, has been about process. either the process of making, the process of destroying, the process of experience, the process of the document. and i so i realised perhaps why i've found myself supporting the tech requirements for a gallery.
there is an inherent link between process and tech-production. you have to be methodical, or at least value it. same with logic, order, modes of input/output (including human communication) and i guess even trial and error.
it seems to be the complete antithesis of the stereotypical artist - surrounded by chaos and drama, embedded in his own intuition and relationship to material, from which he produces a work of staggering genius.
perhaps this is an interesting aspect of this geek-in-residence program for me: insert an artist into an organisation as a catalyst for systematic, order, organised and intuitive process thinking. quite different to having an artist installed in order to get in touch with chaos, isn't it?
last week i had to deal with a fair amount of chaos as i worked on the installation of two new workstations. a backup system and migrated data. in terms of creative practice, it was the tech equivalent of painting a wall white, painting it black and painting it white again - a bit like the work in the 2008 sydney biennale by nedko solakov.
i planned it out a little in my head and wrote a list for all the the things that needed doing, but i do wish that i'd planned it out a little more. thankfully it wasn't a massive massive overhaul, but we're transferring to different email clients and accessing our network files from a different site. there's still a bit of trial and error going on, but after a few days, it seems to be working OK.
here's what i ended up doing - some random notes about process. i guess:
back-up live data to archive partition (quick transfer)
back-up live data to external drive (22 hours)
back-up entourage email database 1
export database 1 (put out massive spot fire: corrupt database)
back-up entourage email database 2
export database 2 (corrupt database 2)
back-up desktop 2
set up workstation 1:
- install office, CS5 apps, skype, etc. still having issues with CS5
- import entourage DB (1, 2, yes 3 times)
- import entourage contacts into address book
- set up mac mail/import entourage DB (discover that you have to do that in 5 increments!)
- install new database software
set up workstation 2
- install office, CS5 apps, skype, etc.
- import entourage DB (twice)
- set up mac mail/import entourage DB (6 increments)
- import entourage contacts into address book (turns out you can't merge two address book databases. boo)
transfer live files to new wkstn1 public folder (20 minutes! woo hoo!)
running working files off the public folder through bonjour/mac share wasn't working very well. transferred all the data to the external drive - sharing off that and backing that up too.
Illustrator and Flash are having troubles installing on one of the workstations, after a difficult birth. haven't had time to work it out - running without them for the time being. will reinstall sharpish.
coda ftp portal was only set up on one machine. it was installed on them all, but it seems to need setting up from scratch (i couldn't see an export/transfer/update section). so, because we're overhauling the new system, we've decided to stick with it.
notes: i didn't use target to transfer everything because of said corrupt databases and i wanted to start with a clean slate and transfer stuff slowly, using the opportunity to
strip workstation 3 of excess files, etc.
strip workstation 4 of excess files, etc.
after we're running smoothly off the new system, i'm going to try and reformat (although i can't find the install CDs yet). one of the workstations had been partitioned i'm hoping to join them up again so we've got a nice big drive again. need to read the manuals on them.
although the actual tasks are tech-system specific, actually, the process and the general ethos of this little overhaul have been greatly influenced by installation practice, really: prepare, install, trouble-shoot, de-install.
i haven't documented it yet, that's gonna come real soon - and i'm hoping to do that in interesting ways too: any suggestions for interesting procedure/manuals would be nice. maybe i should do a newspaper club style tech manual :D
ps; there's a whole other process about setting up the time capsule/backup system, but let's save that for another post about archives. it's one all the librarians in the house can salivate over.
phi-yew! what a massive week! there is so much to write about - so much to distil. but i don't want to overload you all so i'll do my best to eek it out in a reasonably logical manner.
monday was a day of endings - the de-install of structural integrity at the meat market and then the AGM at the gallery. i found myself haunted again by my untangling video work, having to disentangle the meters and meters of flags, then same again for lights and extension leads. it was a great opportunity to spend time hangin' out with the crew that made the space happen. i was also able to do an audio interview of them, which will go up on the new version of the site. in fact, sitting them down for an interview felt like a major imposition, but i think it enabled everyone to rest, take stock and to reflect on the project - often an act not afforded the busy.
the AGM went very smoothly and it was lovely to meet a huge swag of the (primarily voluntary) organisation. names and faces began to connect and i was very warmly welcomed. even if i couldn't get the projector working in time :D
three new shows started installing this week too. beautiful shows, with far less tech/AV support than the last one. I was able to help out a little, but i really wasn't needed much. *sniff*. it's ok.
this week also had some funding granted to put towards tech equipment. the office had been running on really old macs (G4 PowerPC tower/G5 imac) and i was able to facilitate a good price for a brand new suite of workstations and support equipment/software. it finally went through and i spent most of the week working through the slow process of archiving, installing and updating computers.
i'll write about the process in another post (as much to distill it for myself, as a possible place to discuss it further), but as the new equipment rolled out, it was pretty awesome to see the joy and relief on kelly and phip's faces as they realised how awesome it's all going to be from now on. it sounds like such a small thing to install two new computers and a back-up system. but for these guys, their tech was so fragile, that the change is going to make a MASSIVE difference to them.
for instance - 1GB to copy used to take 2 hours. now? 2 minutes. this upgrade is going to save them so much time, it's not even funny.
and, i'm so lucky to be working with a pair of mac-native, digitally mature lasses who have rolled with the hiccups, trusted that the end product will be worth the ride and supported me through the process too. there were some hairy 'oh fuck, i think i've lost the database' moments that i never want to go through again. these gals just let it all roll out.
at the end of the week (and a very, very late friday finish) my hosts now have working computers, connected, transferred, mostly updated software and only a couple of extra bits'n'pieces to finish off.
the office looks amazing and, interestingly, it was a whole lot quieter in there too! the new systems hardly emit any noise and the keyboards are the sound of a sleeping cat! rather than the clatter of old hardware - even our ears are happy.
in the middle
at the end of the fourth week, it really feels like things are starting to settle in and to go places. i feel very much a part of the organisation now and, as much as i love the ephemeral, it's nice to have some tangible outcomes starting to happen. warm fuzzies.
next week, we meet with the developers. [cue: suspense-filled music. roll credits]
i've spoken about my love of louise bourgeois on here before. and my inability to spell her name first go. and now, it's a super sad day for me to honour her whole life. she died yesterday, aged 98.
i have a few confessions to make:
i didn't know who she was until i was 2 years out of artschool. (can i blame the fact that i was in the photography department? unlikely - i did women artists as a history/theory elective)
my friend and co-curator at project, moira kirkwood, saw the work i was making at the time and almost hit me over the head with her book, saying that i absolutely must see her work. i fell in love at first sight.
I was so lucky to see her retrospective at the tate modern, thanks to the goodness of feltbug - my fellow bourgoise-phile in london.
we spent aaages there and i watched all the films, drew extensively from her sculptures, pored over the drawing cabinet and pined over the massive pile of books that i couldn't buy for baggage weight restrictions.
i also had a secret desire to meet her one day.
i know that she was super-old. that was part of what made her so inspirational to me. her longevity conquered all the bullshit of the artworld, of the patriarchical hegemony, of the financial/commercial conniptions. it endured and its endurance spoke volumes.
and now i'm super sad that she has passed away.
i'm glad that, in her lifetime, she received the kinds of accolades she deserved - massive public commissions, critical respect, institutional recognition. i'm glad that, because of that, her legacy will (hopefully) continue through the ages - that she's not just some young, spunky, hip young thang that made the art boys pants warm and whose work eventually peters out.
tonight i think i might stitch an homage to the other LB:
je suis triste.