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on friday, the geeks hosted a bit of a party at cia. the geek weekend, or as @rashasman called it, the geekender. i'm not sure where the geek party comes in on this geekslist of types of house party. but it was a good party. 


it was much more fun than an artist talk (even if i do love talking) and had quite a few more people, too. the ololo kids set up some projectors and a kinect cam, we had remote/itunes dj running for party tunes, and and a table of circuit boards, tin snips and a hot glue gun for some halla geeky badgemaking goodness. i made a nice hair clip and a cute firewire badge.


the oligatory geek/nerd/dork venn diagram was up. with an accidental intentional missing segment (usually dweeb). it was pretty rad to see everyone debating what the missing segment was and taking it upon themselves to edit and expand the meaning. including some nice derogatory terms there..

geek venn diagram

when WAAPA had the building, word on the street is that there used to be some killer parties in the building, but CIA hasn't really had many here. it was a nice opportunity to get some of the residents all together, who haven't had too much of a chance to hang out. it was also for peeps who maybe knew a little bit about the studios, to come and meet some of the crew. we made the place look and feel quite different, which i think is always the best excuse for a party.

geekender_glee steve web

designing a super-geeky costume is the other great excuse for a party. i think we could have had waaay geekier efforts, but steve looked pretty glee with a nice blue button-up vest with red/blue/yellow stripe detail. i went meta-mad and printed some pseudo code for constructing a garment on the garment: input and output, yo.

setup loop shirt

fortunately or unfortunately, there was no ridiculous behaviour - no-one got caught shagging in the toilets or making a complete fool of themselves, but it was still kicking on at 2:30 am, which is pretty tidy i think.

thanks to everyone who came (if you read this blog) and we're planning one in about 6 months' time (at the end of the project/christmas/etc), so join the cia mailing list for updates in the mean time.



easy rider

shivvering sky

in the 6 weeks that i've been in perth, i haven't done a lot of gadding about. i've actually used the time (and the lack of social life) to focus heavily on being here in the studios.

lake leschenaultia

i've been trying to implement a day a week to get out of the city and check out a bit of the rest of state - to no avail. until today.

rear view

i hired a scooter for the weekend, which has been trés cool. damn those little things suit my style and i think i have to get one when i get back to melbs. i've not ridden one before, so had a few days of riding around perth to get used to it, then hit the highways today.

stripey tree

i made a few errors (like following google maps' directions to a highway bypass, which is basically a freeway. not good for scooters), but enjoyed the trip out to lake leschenaultia. it's about an hour on the scooter from perth and had a nice big pontoon to dive off, some scary signs about amoebic meningitis and a nice big long track to walk around.

bush flower

i deviated from the path a little, following the mtb track and reminiscing about the days of loftus/royal national park bush-bashing (until i broke my arm at thredbo).

long red wide track

i did my first listening project out there, which is very different to listening to the city. i found it a bit hard. there is lots of space between sounds, but a lot of white noise, as the wind rushes through the trees. and i don't know what the different birds are, so writing high-pitched bird call and answer feels a bit, well inadequate.

on a rock and roll

but i found the walking and listening to only the sound of my own crunchy footsteps pretty easy. i've come back feeling a bit windblown, but refreshed. next week, i think i'll try and head further out.

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what is the role of 'geek' in art?


i'm making sure i ask myself these things a lot lately - so that i'm not just geeking out for the sake of it.

which leads me to analyse what is particular about geeks, that might connect with traits of artists.

geeks like conceptual fun

at cia we've set up a wiki. it has some practical extensions, like breadcrumbs. but we've also included awesomeness.

so what the fuck is awesomeness anyway? nothing but this; o_O.

but conceptually, the idea of extending an online space with awesomeness through a php extension? that is the mark of a geek.

but it is also not that far from the conceptual imbuing of meaning into artworks. hans haacke imbued history into a box by capturing air and keeping it - exhibiting the air from 1965.

it's nothing,really.

but both challenge the viewer to consider a site as more than just the objects in it.

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cia geek week 3

we're at the next level of getting our heads around things, and we've decided that the best way to think is actually do. this may be the mark of fools, but it's worked so far, so we're going with it.

i've done quite a bit of writing this week for a new blog, and some more writing for other bits'n'pieces, so i don't know how much i can really contribute.

rather than a long wrap-up, some highlights included:

- the third afternoon tea: with about 7 of us there. much laughter, discussion and sharing of stresses. feedback is already coming in that these kind of face-to-face connections are having an impact. it sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how often 'obvious' doesn't happy.

- purchasing equipment and fun stuff for our first arduino workshop. we got sparkfun flex packs from robot gear - super helpful local peeps with next day delivery :)

wk 3 critical3

- making and starting to work with my new super-high-tech critical meter (above), measuring the amount of proper thought, meaningfulness and rigour we've felt we achieved/received in the day. i've been uploading the 'results' onto instagram.

- planning our geek party. instead of doing an artist talk, which is standard for new residents, we're having a party instead. there'll be music and alcohol and people dressing up as geeks. we'll have some of our toys to show and we're setting up a bit of a geek spin-the-bottle for matching geeks with other arts organisations that said they needed geeks on board. revenge of the nerds vs rebecca black mashup. 

- some admin stuff: a nice clear schedule of works that we're making and working towards, promoting the workshop and the party.

- starting to thrash out some of the deets from our two major projects (langley and project socrates) - more on them later in the week methinks.

here are some pics to make the whole thing make a bit more fun:

wk3 heidegger

wk3 groovin waterfilter

wk3 universal remote

wk3 symbiotica

arduino unboxing01

arduino unboxing08

arduino unboxing06

arduino unboxing09

arduino unboxing12




a festival of lying beneath

May 3_24

so i've been having a 20-minute nap at 3:30 every day since the 3rd may.

big deal, you say. 
fair enough, i say.

but, the nap is actually a specific artwork - a response to the what lies beneath project as part of the tiny stadiums festival (which is a great festival) and finished today with a fabulous day of radness (or so i hear).

as part of their project, the students and staff from UOW Media Arts 101 designed a series of alarmtrack sounds for smartphones, inspired by trips to the steelworks at Port Kembla.

each day, i climbed up to a little 'bed' i've made on a landing in a workshop space here at cia. i slept for 20 minutes and woke up to that day's track. you'll see i've been keeping track of my response to the tracks-as-alarms in the comments here. and a few of them i've cross-posted over at their blog (just for a nice bit of rss feedback, yo).

now that the festival has come to an end, i thought i'd post the rest of my comments and some pics from the process here as a full post.

you'll see that the process hasn't been clean - it hasn't worked like clockwork. which is great, because clockwork is pretty simple. co-ordinating a nap, songs, smartphone alarms and downloads into my day isn't really. well, not as simple as clockwork.

but it has been an interesting process for a couple of reasons. 

process has become enjoyable again. i do love doing projects where i do a small thing for an extended period of time, setting up a cycle. 

sleeping is an interesting action to undertake within art. there are lots of artists that do it, and i have also, previously, but it still throws up fascinating results.

and what is the relationship between sound and sleep. we have a very different perception of sound in this altered space and alvin lucier has done some amazing works about the relationship between alpha wave brain patterns and sound.

i have been groggy every day. and each alarm fucks with my waking in a different way - some more than others. coming back down to work at my studio desk after an afternoon nap is also a strange action - my cheeks are all red and my eyes are a big blurry. instant work and sociality after sleep is not a usual process, so i end up feeling a bit discombobulated.

and there's also this great feeling of sleeping with others. no, not in that way you pervs. i mean, i know that there are a bunch of other people all doing the project - we're all sleeping and waking up to these crazy alarms. it's almost the same as watching the FA Cup final and seeing on twitter that all your mates in the UK are watching it too - there's this silly little feeling of 'hands across the globe' kinda thing. it's not absolute truth, but it's a nice feeling anyway.

and, it has also been a good opportunity to take 20 minutes to not think about art. to enforce the siesta way of thinking into my day. a much-needed meditation time, or something. a model that isn't really used in art production - we just kill ourselves, or work crazy hours and come into the studio on the weekends. but rarely do we say 'oh, i'm just going to switch off for 20 minutes'. 

well, i don't anyway. until now.

even though i've been all the way across the country from the base of the project, it has been a chance to also show the 'sharing' model of art making. i can participate in a project, without having to be on site. that time, or action replication are the only points of connection. it's something for me to think about too - in current/future projects: the place of reproduction in feeling connected to.

well done to all the media arts students who made some great alarms and to lucas for being the usual thinkin' man he is. it's been lovely to sleep with you all.

laying beneath

what lies beneath

what lies beneath

what lies beneath

May 11_12

May 10_09

May 9_05

May 8_12

May 7_0008

May 6_02

May 5_03

May 3_24

responding to laying beneath

ok, so i cocked up the order a bit. i napped, but didn't really sleep. and i woke up to alex's awake to a dream instead of snookie. but that's ok, i'll fix it up tomorrow.

i'm documenting it too. and today i looked like a puppy on a sheepskin rug. i need to work on it a bit.

but, the track itself was lovely and the tick-tock-tick-tock running through it was a reminder that i was late to a very important date, but with some kind of sloppy saggy clock that was squishing time.
03 May, 2011 16:11

oh dear, it's getting worse. i didn't nap today because there was a fun workshop using displaced vision and baby monitors.


ok, i'll be back on track tomorrow. and i'll post pics. this project is starting badly, isn't it.
04 May, 2011 17:13

yay! today it worked. and the today's track kinda fucked with my sense of space a little. i went into some weird other worldliness universe as i came to - the cricket=type sprinkle sounding electronica peppered my brain a little. it was great.
06 May, 2011 18:07

wow. i needed that sleep today. i awoke to jessicah haliday's piece (which was supposed to be the day before..i'm so on this), but it was quite a lovely way to wake up. gradual filtering then quite intense electro wah wah wah. my brain felt quick speckled afterwards.
07 May, 2011 16:05

 08.05.11 i forgot to post about my wake-up, but it was so lovely. i actually wanted to keep lying there. funnily enough, i'm starting to wake up two minutes before the alarm goes off. turns out it doesn't take much to reprogram sleep in the afternoon :)

holy crap! i woke up quickly this afternoon. three sharp bangs and i was up and stopped the alarm. i didn't even listen to the rest of it (sorry jamie). and i was so flustered that i banged my head on one of the beams. excellent for waking up quickly. not so great for waking up and still feeling functional.
09 May, 2011 16:28

dammit. i didn't properly sleep this afternoon. must have something to do with the coffee i had about an hour beforehand. which is a shame, because i quite liked the tick-tock-tocking of the alarm
10 May, 2011 16:00

google erased some of my comments in their fall-out
but i keep forgetting to write down what i think about the alarms too.
i haven’t been to india, but i imagine the sound of clinking bells and steel cutlery in the morning to sound a little like this. waking to the sound of running water is just mean :)
the truck reversing noise matched strangely with some crickets that were in the building. in fact i woke up when the crickets started, thinking it was the alarm. and then the alarm kicked in. it was a confusing afternoon that one.

today's the last one was great - a slippery slope of something rolling down brought my mind rolling with it from subconscious to consciousness - like a bowling ball rolling back from the pins.

15 May, 2011 17:19

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geek in residence, west side.

so, i'm in perth.

i'm working at cia studios, with a bunch of amazing people, as one of their inaugural thinkers in residence supported by the geek in residence program. and yes, for those who have been paying attention, that means that i have been lucky enough to have two bites at the geek cherry. it's a bit embarrassing in a way - there are loads of amazingly smart, techy, fun, enthusiastic tech/geek-types out there who are also ripe for a job like this. but i'm grateful that it has been an excellent fit for me to be here.

usually the first thing i do on a project is blog about it. writing, as a mode of language, defines it for me and i can then, seemingly, get my head around it. thanks to a long time of it being a bit hush hush, and a few weeks of intense working, i haven't and now it's 3 weeks on and i'm writing my first post about it. i kind of don't know where to start now.

so i guess i introduce the band, first:

cia studios is a bunch of people working in interdisciplinary arts practice - performance, video, interaction, sound, online, intervention/live-art, gaming. the works. everyone is super smart, super lovely and pretty keen on doing amazing things with their practice. it's a great place to be.

it's a project of pvi collective, who are stand-out political/public/tech infiltrators with a super-cheeky spirit. hopefully i'm not being too mean to be honest and say that it was only because of their presence in the program that i was willing to put in another application. i've always been a big fan of their work and already it has been a great fit.

i'm sharing the geek thing with steve berrick, who really is the brains and awesomeness behind the whole ship. i'm just the chatty bird who wants to make a stairwell cam. he's super-smart, super chilled and been working with the ololo kids doing some great interaction design, public intervention, cheeky-making stuff for years. it could have gone either way, but as it turns out, steve and i are a killer team [this is where i should link to his post that competely discredits that, right].

where we're headed: testing testing

cia have really encouraged us to think broadly and wackily, but gave us a great structure in the beginning with some clear goals (which we've called the six pillars of awesomeness). i spent the first week without steve, getting my head around the place, introducing myself to residents, asking questions, playing with coloured foam and planning a strategy session with the board (those things were not mutually exclusive).

i think i came up with 50 possible things to do in that time. i may have dug us a grave.

in the last two weeks we've done some pinning down and some knitting together. i put my best matrix/spreadsheet knickers on and set about categorising and sorting and fleshing out all the ideas, how they fit into cia goals, our goals, financial holes and measuring possibilities.

we've started testing types of channels, ways of connection, different tools and reasons for living. we're starting groups to test administrator models, sending out hashtags to see what comes back and what cross-references, we started new weird accounts searched with some painful keywords (i put 'random tv' into google. not a good idea before 10am). so now i'm planning some wacky chat roulette art night, just to see if that works too. we're playing with different colours, wires and lights and observing behaviour in the building.

new online accounts/action this week alone include facebook, twitter, soundcloud, vimeo, flickr, wordpress, instagram, listgeeks, github, delicious and words with friends (that's internal comms only, right).

and for a digital project, we've done a fair amount of paper-based muckin' around and planning face-to-face contact. we've started an afternoon tea, i've made a paper meter diagram, we're planning a bangin' house party. and we're going to run a couple of cool workshops - which i'll post about closer to the date and once we've got some rad flyer.

next: setting the clock

the next task will also be about giving ourselves some key dates to work towards and a nice calendar because i head off at the beginning of august, leaving steve with a pile of half-finished projects and a newborn.

- -  er. maybe i should rephrase that - steve and his partner are having a baby, which will be born very soon, and by the time i leave, he will be focusing on being a new dad. and some of our projects to deal with.
i'm not going to be starting projects, getting pregnant and leaving steve with my baby. that would be weird. and wrong.

our aim and approach

it's still open, but our little internal slogan for the project is building each other the world. it is actually three areas of focus for our project, strung together in a lovely sentence that underlies our desire for technology to help everyone help everyone make interdisciplinary arts practice great and amazing and reachable.

and probably because we are geeks with a healthy level of gen x/y nostalgia, and not business consultants with intense degrees in economics, our approach to the project is firmly rooted in fun and barrier-reduction.
we know it's kind of the 'cool' thing to do in certain circles but we don't care. we're working on fun and cute and totally bodacious ways to cross some of those boring and complacent barriers to time, money and cynicism. and hell, if you can't have fun at the cia, where in hell can you have fun?

until next week..

isolat-o-meter small

idea post-its








*cross-posted at http://www.residentgeeks.net/



i ♥ anish kapoor

and this is why:

image thanks to the potz!blitz!szpilman! blog.

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