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christmas cheer, part 6

this year has been astoundingly busy. which you probably figured, thanks to the dearth of posts.

as a result, i'm extremely glad that it is drawing to a close and am looking forward to the three weeks' holidays i've taken the risk of indulging in.

and when i say holidays, i really  mean it. i'm not getting on a plane. i'm going to really stay off the computer, i'm going to steer clear of galleries, i'm going to watch TV series all in one go, go to the movies, the beach and the cafe (not always in that order) and i'm going to read a stack of books.

you know, like regular people do.

save a few days in dubai earlier this year, and two days in albany in august, i've not properly stopped for ages.

i look forward to having a slightly different approach to posting about art next year - more consistency and less frenetic squeeze-in-between-stuff attitude.

thanks to those peeps who continued to read and i hope you all have a wonderful holiday period.

see you in the new year!


and then what happened?


i may continue to write about things i learned at reckless for a while. probably because some of the works will take a while to sink in*

one that came to mind early on, perhaps even before the workshop started, was my new slogan for 2012: and then what happens? i don't recall making a specific one for 2011, but it was tied up with not having a day job. 
anyway, i realised that i'm not so great at thinking through an idea to its true end. like, i have a good idea and can imagine the final 'image' of it, but the reality of my ideas and their execution is that the 'image' is really only the first part of the experience and sometimes i forget to think about the rest of it.

say i decided it'd be awesome to set up an installation in which people DO stuff. well i imagine all the details of the room - lighting, costume, action, person shuts the door, ta-da! but after that, someone has to open the door, reset the room and make sure that the instructions for the audience actually work. and i often forget about that stuff until the last minute. having gaffed it up in small ways during the workshop, i've vowed to take some time in a project to think like a production manager and make sure that the actual end of the work gets seen to. like when the last piece is taken out of the building and the work is safely stored in a warehouse, or something.

i don't know if i'm quite explaining it, but i just wanted to share it all with you anyway. perhaps as a confessional. perhaps to get a witness. and make it 'real'. 


and something along with that resolve is also a reminder that i can make meaningful work about things that matter when i start with what matters to me. musicians i like often talk about the personal being political and i have been able to see how it works with them, but it wasn't until i saw my own interests and experience being extended and expanded that i could see how it pertained to me too.

as i write, i'm currently waiting for some funding apples to fall from trees (could those with connections to christopher hitchens please ask him to orchestrate a little luck for me, please?), and quite a lot of that funding is to develop new works, or extend works currently in the early stages of development. i'm hoping to bring into those new works a deeper consideration and perhaps a more serious or formal process for developing my own works. this year it was quite haphazard - dependant on residency projects and a bit reactionary - coming back from europe and the early stages of figuring out how to actually manage my practice.

in that time i feel like i learned from my peers and elders how to put some space around my work a bit. interestingly a lot of them are from performance backgrounds and seem to have a good sense of time-planning that i have pinched from. not that i won't give myself time to respond to works immediately, but next year i'm hoping to bring more measure into my time. 

and then what happened?

*guffaw! in-joke!  i made a work in which i got people to stick their heads in a sink full of  water) 


fremantle arts centre shows

for the first time in ages, i went to see other people's art. it feels so strange to write that, considering how much time i spent doing just that prior to this year. i guess the recent article was right in a guide to buying art when the author said 'don't listen to artists, they're too busy making art to see anything'. damn.

i digress.

on saturday i went to fremantle arts centre to see what was on offer. i've seen some good shows there during the last year, but i was a bit disappointed this time - the paintings and prints from the mark howlett collection really left me cold and the women in fremantle public art design competition made me angry. 

the paintings i did enjoy were a series with geometric consideration. not hard-line math-art, they were nonetheless drawing from isometry, representations of dimension and had a quasi-sculptural element to them. the framing/structure of the paintings themselves contributed to their form.

upstairs was an exhibition of public art proposals about the women of fremantle and within 3 minutes of being there, i was pretty damned angry. in fact, if i was a woman from fremantle, I'd be pretty damned depressed that the only way of representing me was as someone concerned with facile symbols of out-dated ideas of 'femininity': 
chocolate moulds of flowers and hearts, guadalupe on a ship with safety pins and an iron; a bracelet and a pearl necklace. 

i mean, for fucks' sake! are the women of the area so uninspiring that the artists can produce nothing less insipid? the only image that didn't make me want to go on a rampage was a twisted, ribbon-like form that was reminiscent of the pink ribbon of breast cancer research, twisted with a double helix. the video produced was an investigation in form, but it was more interesting (or perhaps less embarrassingly out-dated) than the rest.

i don't think these plans or ideas reflect the true depth of the history of women in the area. in fact lily hibberd's play and exhibition showed more research into the women in the area and she's from melbourne.

this exhibition also dangerously paints female artists as limited, not concerned with the depth of another woman's experience. 

perhaps there has been no funding attached to this call-out for a new public art work, which results in no time for research or thinking. 

it may be that the artists involved felt that they couldn't investigate 'difficult' subjects like education, imprisonment, racial discrimination, madness, triumph, glory or revolution. 

it may be a case of jumping to conclusions about the lack of depth of fremantle/western australian audiences (which i can understand). either way, the work suffers, art as a whole suffers and the depth of women's experience in public has been reduced to a cariacature, which is unacceptable.

so, looks like i've been a bit grinchy with my writing about others' work for my first one back - sorry about that. over summer i'm going to try and check out some more shows, so i promise to make it up to you.


sleeping recklessly

with a title like that, i should make a sordid tell-all of my dirty weekends. but frankly, that's none of your business, and would be more self-indulgent than my art practice is already and i don't think you could take it.

thankfully, it's about the workshop i've been doing with mole wetherell from reckless sleepers.

i still don't quite know how to describe what reckless sleepers are, but i guess you might call them a contemporary theatre company. but when i say contemporary, i mean that they really don't give a fuck about traditional theatre and are interested in time and process.

mole was invited to CIA to run a creative lab - passing on some of his processes and getting us to extend, expand and share our process for making work, so that we could learn and possibly create a new work.

it was quite an intense fortnight.
intense in the same way that falling in love is intense.

we really did have a lot of fun, played a lot, but also pushed ourselves and made each other work together. i think it was a pretty good group and i mostly had a great time.

interestingly, the times that i didn't have such a good time were when i found myself reverting to adolescent ways of being: convinced that my difference from others was detrimental (and naturally untrue). i also discovered that a group dynamic that reflects my family environment, i get a bit mental. so passé.

i was really hoping to blog about the process all the way through, but as the weeks rolled on, i had other things to fit in after workshops, or was spending time writing applications, or fixing things, or just resting my addled brain. we had a bit of a blog going all the way through, which was mostly attended to by me, lynda roberts and mole. but that's OK. things happen.

some of my personal highlights:
- i rediscovered the importance of music in my practice
- lying on the floor sideways singing 'these boots are made for walking'
- watching 8 artists shove their head in a sink of water to listen to beak> - the poses, the gasping afterwards and the various types of wet hair.
- seeing my work in a whole different context.
- eating two whole chilis and making a disgusting concoction of stuff in a food processor in front of about 30 people.
- the in-jokes (yawn, is this boring?, wrong!)

other things i learned so far (i'm sure more lessons will reveal themselves):
- i really do use spaces to make people do things
- i over-think things
- i  need to kick my insecurities about my practice to the kerb
- i like performing
- repetition, feedback and testing are important processes i need to formalise from here on in.

Santa Babyi
to the rest of the sleepers: loves youse all
(jen, mish, ben, lynda, julian, sarah, paea)


back in perth

what you may not have picked up in my absence, is that i'm actually in perth (and have been for two weeks!). i came back to finish the geek-in-residence project, which i worked ridiculous hours for ten days to finish up on sunday. it still needs tweaking, but it's as good as i can make it at the moment.

the last few days have been spent in an amazing creative lab with reckless sleepers' mole wetherall and it has been intense and amazing.

i can't explain too much tonight, but there has been a real focus on deconstruction and reconstruction from language, repetition and mistake (or anomaly, perhaps). there are 8 of us participants and i'm having a really great time.

today i felt a bit behind the 8-ball, thanks to a slight misreading of a task, which then became a complete shift in text. but apart from that, it has been a fruitful time.

i'll fill you in on more details very soon.

until then, here's a picture of my performance map today:

image credit: sarah rowbottam