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do you hit your kids?

The objections to the Occupy uprisings have been fairly predictable: 'no single cause' and/or 'go back to your jobs' and the charming 'the police said move on and you didn't, why is force surprising'/ 

Actually, the second one is a typical response to those who hide behind their jobs and expect others to be accountable for their freedoms. It's not their fault - standing up for your rights can be scary sometimes.

The first one is a funny response really. The reason that there are a myriad of demands by the Occupy uprisings, especially those I have briefly been part of in Melbourne, is that there are wide-reaching effects of focusing solely on listening to corporate lobbies, and focusing on the singular demands of the 1%.

When that happens, healthcare goes; poverty rises; education is to the privileged, citizens civil liberties are lessened (i'll go in to that in a minute), fossil fuels are mined and housing gets tight. all of those are worth protesting as a singular cause, sure. but all of them together are the symptoms of corporatism.

Mic check: This is what corporatism looks like!

And to the third one, I've taken to asking people 'do you hit your kids if they don't do what you want?' It's kind of the same response, really.

Until today, i hadn't been down to City Square to Occupy Melbourne. Clearly, i was resting on my privileged laurels: focusing on work and family first. But when I read the tweets of friends who were in the square and about to be evicted, I decided to finally act.

As Jello Biafra says in this interview, it's better to do something rather than nothing.

I joined the demonstration and occupied the public spaces of Melbourne. My home town, the place were I vote, where I contribute, where I participate in life as a citizen. It was great to remind myself that my rights are not just on a piece of paper, or something that Someone Else will take care of. I have to contribute to that.

So I did.

I also learned an important lesson about the State liberal government's focus on public spaces, in the form of their new Public Order Intelligence Group. Sounds sinister already, doesn't it.

Well, it is kind of sinister. Although technically they were working with the local constabulary - whose demeanour was firm and calm, yet still mostly polite - this squad of overall-wearing, nameless cops were another force altogether.

Yelling at me aggressively, I learned empirically that their hands are rough and hard. And that they believe grabbing someone me by throat and throwing me backwards was the best way to deal with a peaceful protestor. At the time, I was moving, but being pushed in a dense crowd down Swanston St and got wedged against a Police car parked on the road.

It was grossly unnecessary. And, like the old woman I am, I calmly told that man so.

I also learned that they are willing to drag a woman by her hoodie onto the ground and not assist her in getting up again, even when that woman was not resisting, fighting, yelling or contesting - but walking slowly in a packed crowd down the streets of Swanston St.

Yes, kids, that woman was me.

Thankfully, years in moshpits gave me the strength to deal with a pack of unruly men pushing and shoving and yelling and screaming. I was OK. Pantera fans are more intense in a crowd than these new thugs in uniform, but at least they're more polite.

It's weird to watch a group of people, moving slowly and purposefully, loudly, but in good spirits and with a sense of community be set upon by the human equivalent of barking dogs. I can't imagine what the perspective of the individual police officer in this situation is.

As well as contributing to a global uprising, sadly this situation has shown to Melbournians the petticoat of the Victorian Police (just like in the Kennett era): an aggressive bully, willing to strike out at the faintest whiff of conflict; attempting to cover up a sad insecurity complex.

Melbourne, we love you! 
Don't let them push and shove you!



i have not previously given too much thought to the idea of autonomy. in theory i know what the word means, and i value it as a principle in my personal life (especially related to family and other relationships). but it has not been until the residency at the collingwood housing estate that i have considered the real value of autonomy and its relation to public and social welfare.

the department of housing does a great job in providing housing for people whose situations are otherwise very precarious. it is an excellent safety net, that i'm very proud of in this county.

and having to bring together large groups of people to live relatively harmoniously, regardless of cross-cultural considerations, is a difficult job.

and in doing so, i wonder if the first 'luxury' to go is the luxury of autonomy.

it's not that there isn't freedom in a housing estate, or certain levels of creature comfort and community. but only to a certain level. major decisions all stop with DHS. public space is within the directorate, permission must be granted for all kinds of things.

this keeps residents - whose lives have been traumatic, or dangerous, or disastrous - safe. for the time being. and i wonder what a difference having a sense of autonomy might bring to these lives. and how does one learn a sense of autonomy in a community situation?

and can autonomy - the notion of freedom earned from self-responsibility - exist alongside welfare? or is it a utopian ideal - a luxury afforded the bourgeoisie and bratts like me, who are actually privileged enough to believe that choice is the ultimate freedom.



every artist remembered

on friday evening i went to ACCA to watch agatha gothe-snape's performance every artist remembered. this one was in partnership with domenico de clario and was actually really entertaining for an art history nerd and list-maker like me.

i didn't arrive until about 6:45, but stayed for 45 minutes, playing along at home - making my own connections between the artists remembered by agatha and domenic. and only once did the same artist come up: from The Quote Generator to Jenny Holzer.

this makes me a total sad-fuck, but i think i'm gonna go to as many of these performances as i actually can. i learned some things - heard about some new artists and enjoyed the slight randomness of grace crowley and pelé being on the same page.

in between days

jobs warehouse was closed when i went to pick up some fabric, so naturally i popped upstairs to check out what was on at sarah scout: kate daw's show in between days

kate's first show there was the first show i had seen of hers, the first show at the new gallery and i really liked the ceramic lettering.

this show was mostly about fabric motifs and the symbols in furnishings that just recede into the background so quickly (a bit like sounds of everyday life, yeah).

one work that i was intrigued by was a typed list of names - apparently fabric titles and flower names. it was very beautiful and reminded me of what i've been trying to make with my lists of sounds.

kate from the gallery showed me a few others of kate daw's typed lists or exerpts - on fabric, with an industrial sewing machine. i loved them immediately. they're mostly found type, but have the form that i like in text on fabric: slightly warped, considered and with the weight of literature (as opposed to a slogan, or marketing brand).

collingwood playlist

one of the projects i'm doing as part of the aura residency is asking people what their favourite songs are. i'm making a playlist and it will end up being a mixtape/CD thing that i'll give to anyone who wants it.

the list is starting to look pretty ace, and i've starting writing some of the songs up on the blackboards outside towers on 253 and 229 hoddle st.

i've also decided to make the playlist another formal object. so far, it's just blue whiteboard marker on a whiteboard. but i'm going to make it neater and more ordered, so that it's pleasing to look at and something that can be moved around a bit - maybe even hung up on walls somewhere in the block.

image credits: 
agatha gothe-snape's every artist remembered pinched from agatha's blog every artist remembered
kate daw's 5 menus; Juliana, Louise, Clara, Tim, Stewart pinched from the ACCA site


siri says the darndest things

excellent tumblr site.
and so quickly!
my personal favourite:
thanks to this is my next and jake marsh.



On saturday night, i had the great fortune of being able to check out the last show of the performance Assembly, on as part of the melbourne arts festival.

a collaboration between victorian opera and chunky move dance company, i was intrigued by the outline in the festival program, and by the seemingly unlikely pairing.

the tickets were SUPER expensive, so my best friend (a dancer) and i almost didn't go. until she overheard her dance teacher talking about how amazing it was. so we rifled through our possible discount options and, thanks to us both being RRR subscribers, got ourselves some cheap tix (still $60, mind).

after a bit of a kerfuffle with our seating, we settled in for what is probably going to be my favourite event of all year.

 i'm not kidding.

 it ticked so many boxes for me that within about 10 minutes of the performance, i had tears in my eyes from the beauty and 'right'-ness of it. i know, so Ancient Greek of me, but whatever.

It was just stunning.

 I'm not so great at writing/talking about dance*, so please excuse the simplistic review, but it was fuckin' ace.

The work was essentially about crowd movement. Gideon's discription of it in the program outlined it well. He wrote of seeing choreographic a group as a single entity and how that translates into public gatherings. Each of the 'movements' within the piece addressed different types of crowd movement - the collective form, the beauty of patterned chaos, the swarm and how and individual can divide a crowd so quickly.

The dynamics between the performers was incredible and they must have just practiced and practiced and practiced. It was a perfect example of controlled mess.

Singers vs Dancers
As the program mentioned, it wasn't an operatic piece that was 'illustrated' by dancers. It was truly a collaborative piece: the singers danced and the dancers sang. There were a small group of prinicpals from each side who led significant pieces, and supported by about 40 all-rounders.

Minimal set
The set was a brilliant double-sided, wooden staircase that added dynamic and cluey percussive elements to the dances. The movement thread up and over, up and across, down and over the stairs.
It added a percussive element to the otherwise accompanyless music, which I thought was pretty nice. And i almost wished for a little bit of tonal variation in the steps - not much, but just enough to click me.

The costume design was so amazing. The design disease in me just went bonkers. Everyone was dressed in a perfect blend of colour and tone - elements of neutrality and hue, with divisions possible along colour, tone and temperature too.

The scene about (which i pinched from the SMH review) was a fantastic haka-esque battle between warm and cool sides, with operatic, but tribal yelling and beautiful but warrior-like movement. 

Sound of the crowd
Obviously i found some areas specifically relevent to my work in it. The sound of a crowd all talking at once is amazing to listen to. I do it regularly in my listening projects, and it was a new, yet familiar experience to listen to it in a framed performance.

And I also enjoyed a section, early on in the piece, in which the whole crowd tilted their heads, as though collectively listening - to each other, or to the audience, or just to provide a welcome balance to the previous cacophony of rhetoric en masse.

 * which is why sarah is going to start a dance blog soon. when i get off her back about it :)

listening poem

i never thought of what i did as poetry at all. until i had to explain to DHS what i did.

saying it was a 'poem' was the quickest, simplest and easiest was to talk about the list of sounds i hear. 

 then i went to electrofringe and the peeps from australian poetry and the new young writers festival said it was totally poetry.

 on tuesday i started writing up the list of sounds i've been listening to on the glass in the foyer at 240 wellington street. i did another installment of it this morning and two people came up to read what i was doing. and aesha, a girl who lives in the wellington street block said that it was a poem and she liked reading it.

 when i talked about how i came to the words, she agreed that when you break it down like that, we listen to a lot, don't we.

 in fact, she liked the idea so much she's going to join me listening tomorrow afternoon!

what a great result that is. cross-posted at aura project blog


stay hungry, stay foolish

steve, baby.
see you at the big nerdfest in the sky.


sound mapping, across the universe.

LIR tag 1200

i was fortunate enough to participate again in This Is Not Art - the festival of festivals that takes over the ex-industrial city of Newcastle every year.

one of the down sides to realising my own work in the festival is that i didn't really get to full participate as a punter. i spent quite a lot of time organising and invigilating the shop-space i set up for garments for listening.

the rest of the time was as the listener-in-residence.

i did get to eavesdrop on some pretty fantastic workshops, discussions, performances, gigs and general ambience of newcastle at festival time.

each day, that list of sounds was transcribed onto 5 large blackboards outside the festival club - the fantastic great northern hotel.

the list was a combination of ambience and people's conversation - all sounds heard. and as it rolled out over the course of the festival, people enjoyed catching up on some of the happenings. it was so great to observe people reading and becoming more aware of the sounds of the festival, and also their own sound-based contributions.

there were a few times where, in the process of transcribing onto the boards earlier listening sessions, some fantastic sounds would reach me and i would jot them down too. some great conversations happened too - about what people said, or the nature of the festival - or even if the work was in fact poetry.

LIR board 1200

i really enjoyed taking on a 'role' as an artist for this project. rather than a producer of things, i was the provider of a service. miwon kwon has criticised this in the past, but i still enjoyed it. and felt that i contributed in a positive way to the event as a whole.

some of the sessions/events I listenly attended to* included:

The TiNA opening party
Songbirds by Joe Moriglio
GLI.TC/H: hacking codecs in the pursuit of communication by Evan Meaney
Listening to Place by Clare and John Andreallo
There might be a Bed in the Street by Crack Theatre
Spelling Bee hosted by Lawrence Leung
Media Lab Melbourne Presents.. with Pierre Proske from Media Lab Melbourne
Technology as/with/in Performance - a panel facilitated by Cat Jones
Save Me (which was called something else on the day, but i didn't note it) - Shani Moffat, Natalia Ladyko, Aesha Henderson and Matina Moutzouris
Science, Sound and Imagination - a panel chaired by Nick Keys
a pop-up performance outside customs house that i haven't quite been able to find what it was.

I really enjoyed this project, actually, and am looking forward to pitching it to a couple of music/art festivals coming up soon.

I do love seeing people walking around with their program - the bible for the weekend. But I must say, i hope sometime very soon, there'll be an online version that can be updated and distributed easily. Naturally there were stacks of changes as (mostly) weather fucked with people's projects (including one of my own), and there wasn't really an effective way of noting the changes.

Perhaps i also should have written up the changes on one of the blackboards, so that peeps coming to the festival club could see.

Regardless, congrats to all the artists who put work on, especially with the crappy weather, and the people who descended on Newcastle for the weekend.

*full TiNA program here