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shopfront: garments for listening

Garments For Listening: Electrofringe 2011
as i sit in the second iteration of my installation that combines fashion with sound/listening, i realised that it's now officially a 'thing' i do and now i need to find more efficient ways to do that 'thing' more often.

this install took a whole lot more out of me than the last one. it's in the existing construct of a shop, which i thought would make it easier to install. not so, actually.

but, thanks to the brilliant peeps of electrofringe and the owners, sue and robert regan, i've been able to create a little shopfront install in newcastle.

it's a small range of "stock" - objects that support, fetishise or distort the listening gesture/act, through some of the ways fashion is used: t-shirts, jewellery, handbags (for your headphones), all surrounded by loud music, design, text, fixtures, opening hours, signage, etc, etc.

i'm learning a lot more about retail language than i thought i would when i first started this idea (which was first done at the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

I hope visitors to the shop get a picture of the ways in which fashion and sound intersect and perhaps change their thinking about the place of sound - especially listening - in pop culture.

** i also think it might be time to rename the 'shop'. now that it's a 'thing'.



lying in the grass on teufelsberg

boy i've done a lot of smiling since i 'moved in' to the studio. whenever i got 'top side' i make sure i smile and say hello to as many people as possible. it feels like the most important task i can do in any given moment: smile.

i had a fabulous talk with tony today about the estates and that the flats are full of frightened people. it never really changes, apparently.

tony lives in the flats in richmond. he has been there for 7 years and lived in rooming houses for 7 years before that. in his words, 'i wouldn't recommend it'. tony is also a director and writer for theatre. he's directing a play that is rehearsing in the underground at the moment and will be performed early next month.

i always thought collingwood was the more sinister of all the flats (there seems to be a natural desire to compare them all: richmond, wellington st, collingwood and fitzroy). turns out, i'm so wrong. people get murdered in richmond. three in the time since tony has been there. and the smack is worse there, apparently.  who knew! from tony's perspective, it's more secretive - not so transparent there. which of course leads to a feeling of fear.

sometimes i feel like the fear is tangible in collingwood. like i can touch it.
smiling releases it. and a happy, friendly 'hello!' changes the tune so quickly and so entirely.

image by sarah mosca. -cross-posted on the aura project blog


hey mum, i'm going to TiNA

TiNA love

how cute is that little burst of TiNA love?!*

it's that time of year again, when i seem to turn my back on melbourne fringe and head up the F3 instead for the This is Not Art festival, especially its festival-within-a-festival Electrofringe (does that make it a meta-festival?).

I'll be doing three projects up there (greedy? not much):

a retail space, where i'll be 'selling' the idea of listening

a secret sound mission in which a bunch of wretched field recorders will capture the sounds of newcastle and upload images to the aporee maps (follow me on twitter for updates on the locations)

and i'll be listener-in-residence - doing my usual listening projects during the festival and will be posting the sounds of the festival up at the festival club.

expect a bit more info on those things to come up a bit more in the next week or so. and if you're coming up to newcastle, get in touch! let's hang. and if you're not, why not?!

*done by the fabulous new best friend team


collingwood offerings


i've been ill for the past 2 days and only just managed to get to collingwood by lunchtime today. i was feeling a bit sad and sorry for myself until i popped in to see bobbi from The Wellington.

They run a fantastic program there - multi-purpose church and hall like it ain't no thang - she showed me through the place, told me about all the programs they're doing there, introduced me to some regulars and volunteers (including my gal wendy who is going to teach me to play guitar soon).


thankfully i also got to meet alan, who made my day by giving me 5 PC speakers. alan has parkinson's disease, but is still sharp-as. he told me he was taking the speakers to parliament, because god knows they need some there. in return for my taking them, i offered to speak in parliament instead, to which he replied that i couldn't be worse than what they've got now.

best compliment i've had all week!

then, on the way back, i met nahad. nahad is from lebanon and has been here for 4 years. he's quite lonely it seems - he invited me to his place to drink tv, watch dvds, etc. i'm not so sure about the ethics of doing that (or my personal safety), but i did take nahad's phone number. he may be interested in the listening booth i'm hoping to set up in a few weeks' time, for that precise purpose: so that people can come and drink tea, talk to me, maybe practice their english with me and my role is just to listen.


then, just when i thought the gods of collingwood couldn't smile any wider on me, i went to get the studio key from the key box (our system for accessing the underground), someone had left me a step so that i didn't have to reach up quite so high!

i have a sneaky suspicion it's one of the builders who are hovering about, waiting to de-asbestos-ise the place, so to mr anonymous builder person, from one ms short-arse: thank you.

this post is cross-posted at aura project


existence shall cry, sis.

the painful thing about the residency i'm doing at collingwood housing estate is that it throws into question my purpose as an artist, in a way that none of the other recent residencies have.

i reckon i've had at least three grades of existential crisis in the last two weeks, the deepest last weekend, rescued by a fellow artist who reminded me that i actually don't get a choice over the future and what it thinks of me and my art. all i can do is be as attendant to the workliness of the work as possible (paraphrasing heidegger in his origin of a work of art).

going to too many openings, or other people's shows is too much for me when i'm in this state - i get caught up in my own sense of ridiculousness, so i have to pare it back.

having said that, i was able to check out two visual art shows and two sound art shows on the weekend and enjoyed myself immensely.

stephen palmer has a wonderful sense of putting shows together and the group show at light projects at the moment is a testament to that. the show focuses primarily on 'simulacra' and artists who replicate daily objects with such alacrity that we assume it is that item, lest we look closely, plus a light-hearted 'huzzah!' work by clare rae. in fact, her work was so unlike the others, that what it did state was 'this IS real'. which i liked.

the other exhibition is at dear patti smith - a gallery after my own heart. their brand hock show, in loving memory of amnesia is amazing - sculptural and narrative and slightly unnerving choices of symbols. i would even say feminist. it's well-crafted, well-lit and just exudes 'we are here'.

after both those shows, i attended two separate sound art gigs: one curated by nic tammens at the NGV studio, as part of his interesting collaborative residency there. we stood amongst oh-so-placed objects - attempted simulacra but to my mind were a bit, well, contrived.

clearly i was sinking in my own cynicism and i was too up-to-my-eyeballs-in-my-own-garbage to really enjoy most of the music, although it was nice to see some peeps and nic's band at the end was a great intense cello/violin/guitar distortion build and expressed my own mounting tension.

on saturday, after i had mostly dealt with my own internal combustion, i was able to really enjoy the embedded gig, presented by ben byrne and avantwhatever. all similarly toned bands (deep frenetic bass/low freq chaos
and a counterpoint of super-high pitch/frequency overlay), i enjoyed the different processes and instruments on display: upright bass, sub-bass actuators+40gal drums, jim denley's water-filled sax, trombone, accordion and alice hui-sheng cheng's vocal intensity.

the whole crew there were great and i felt really welcome at art beat - exactly the kind of art space that i believe melbourne needs a whole lot more of.

brand hock #2 (sorry, i chucked away the room sheet and can't remember the title)
new music series 001

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in this first week of my residency, i've given myself time to set up and acquaint myself with the underground again, with local characters, with the personalities and organisations and with the patch of land i find myself walking across on a daily basis.

 at the moment, all these things are new and fresh and exciting. i spend a lot of time putting them into context, or thinking about them: wondering how they fit in with other ideas, localities, assumptions i have, prior experiences i have, outcomes of the project and my own values, thoughts, and aims for my particular project.

 in a way, it's little wonder that i'm exhausting at the moment: i'm writing a new locality for myself, based on new experiences.

 but at what stage will this become old hat? how long will it take for the walk between The Underground and the $2 shop in smith street to become just a thoroughfare, where i'm no longer noticing things.

and at which point do i then put my headphones on and aestheticise it, or make it meaningful again?

* this has been cross-posted on the aura project blog


new residency: the underground

if you're paying attention, you'll probably realise that i've been an artist-in-residence in three places in the last month. it's almost as exhausting as it sounds. i was the new kid on the block again today, and i'm exhausted because of it. i'd like to update a bit more later in the week, but in in the mean time, it's nice to be home. here's where i'll be during spring the block_0001


PhD shopping

it feels like i'm shopping for a husband at the moment, because i'm doing serious research into possibly doing a PhD.

i still don't even know if it's the right thing to do, but i'm talking to peeps about it anyway.

and it's quite a strange process to feel like you're testing people for a commitment of 3-4 years.

part of me wants to research in an international university, for something different. although i do love the idea of working with some fantastic australian artists/writers.

and it has thrown me into a bit of a quandary about how to best extend my practice. through the 'research' model of academia, or through the 'development' model of studio practice and funding? i'm sure that i'm being a tad binary about that either/or, but it feels like two different very routes to take and i don't know which one serves me best - i think i'd like a little from column A and a little from column B, please.

and perhaps i'm over-thinking the whole thing and i should just have some goddamn fun.

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end of residency: UOW

LB soldering wave shield

i was quite lax about blogging the last couple of days of the UOW residency, but i did want to just put a little punctuation into that process, if i could.

the second week of the residency was far smoother and i was able to speak to/with students a bit more. ideally, i would have had an extra week, but i think i've said that a few times now, so should get over it.

and i think it all went well because on wednesday, i hired a car. i'm a staunch advocate of public transport all over the world, but sydney continues to prove itself as a much better city with a  car.

day 7
on wednesday i spoke to the third year students about my practice and found out a little more about theirs. in fact one student told me about the hemi-anechoic chamber that was on the main campus!

gazoogs! i tried to set up a time to hang out in there, considering my previous work on listening to myself and making quasi anechoic stairwells, i was busting to get in there. sadly, it was booked out. boo.... but i think i should go back one day and use it.*

afterwards i managed to sort out some code and had the flex sensor responding digitaly, which is great - it's the structure to my wearable.
as it stands, when the flex sensor bends, a light comes on.

analog input (from either the flex or an accelerometer)
digital output (either from the wave shield, or a wireless headphone digital transmitter)

it's super basic, but as i'm just getting my head around these things, it took me a while to properly conquer it.

on wednesday night, the media arts crew held a dinner for me at jo law's place, with her partner's infamous pizza-making skillz - we discussed all kinds performance, sound, video and media arts things, as well as the various gossipy elements to the northern beaches of Wollongong.

day 8
Thursday was mostly concerned with soldering, although i did have some wonderful conversations with Penny Harris about Hexagram in Quebec, and some second-year students about Flood Slicer, the architectural film wunderkinder.

Just in time for my lecture to first years, i finished soldering my wave shield. i know that it means nothing to any of your who still happen to read this baby, but hot damn i was impressed with myself!

wave shield_soldered

The last day of the residency was primarily about showing the joint off to my geek partner-in-crime Steve Berrick who was in town for the geek-meetup the night before, and packing up both studios: no mean feat.
It was actually pretty ace to pass on info about the place - it felt like an unexpected by nice way to finish off a project by a walking show'n'tell or something.  Of course it was also pretty rad to hang out again and pick his brain about geeky things and programming bits'n'pieces.

black box 1: UOW

As a final hurrah, I did one last listening project with Brogan at 4pm on Friday and had some interest from a couple of students from Engineering and Business, which was enjoyable. they quite enjoyed the idea of us listening to their surroundings, including the possibility that we may have been eavesdropping on their conversation.

One of the best things about the residency was meeting all of the amazing people at UOW - a large chunk of whom are from Perth.

i need to thank profusely Dr Lucas Ihlein, Jo Law, Brogan Bunt, Derek Kreckler, and Associate Professor Sarah Miller, all of whom were totally bodacious in making me feel welcome and relevant in the media arts and creative arts faculty. I also have to thanks Robin Douglass for her generosity in the textile printing studio and to Boni Cairncross and Sarah Rodigari - students who it was rad to chat to and connect with.
I think i'll have to go back for another visit one day :)

* i think i'm now also slightly obsessed with them and have started tracking down other anechoic chambers, including one here in melbourne at swinburne university and at queens university in belfast - as close to the sennheiser headphone factory as i could find (another obsession of mine).

image: UOW anechoic chamber/3D speaker array from UOW spatial sound