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appearing as process

tomorrow (saturday 29 sept) is the last day of an exhibition i'm in, curated by the amazing laura hindmarsh. if you're in the area, you should pop in and check it out.

appearing as process
Lauren Brown (VIC/GER) 

Boni Cairncross (NSW) 
Darren Cook (TAS) 
Laura Hindmarsh (TAS)
curated by Laura Hindmarsh

Sawtooth ARI, Launceston
LAST DAY 29 September 12-4pm

performances from 3pm
you must follow me carefully 
 Boni Cairncross
no space no time Darren Cook 

UPDATE: here's a review of the show by Andrew Harper


it could have been me a thousand times over

if you're australian, especially from melbourne, you probably know about the jill meagher case. if not, here are a few news/comment links.

body in a shallow grave
Rape & murder charges laid as police find Jill Meagher's body

"can everybody please calm down about this jill meagher case"
"if like me you thought your information was inconsequential.."
"how many meters can i walk on my own at night?"

it has been all over the social media (esp facebook) and the shit that passes for broadcast media in melbourne (there's a media rant coming - you can feel it, can't you). i probably shouldn't post too much for legal reasons (although it's unlikely i'll be called for jury duty).

but it has been a case of news that spread really quickly. probably because she lived in an area that loads of my friends live in, everyone i knew posted her missing person's FB post (i didn't, because everyone i knew already had) and it was front page almost immediately. i must admit to being a teensy bit annoyed that every woman who goes missing doesn't get this amount of attention, but nonetheless, i kept an eye on the case, even from berlin.

she is a 30-ish smart, confident woman who walked from her local bar towards her home at 2am. a distance of about 100 meters, if that. like she always probably does. in that time, a guy allegedly abducts her, rapes her, kills her and dumps her body 50kms out of town. he apparently lives in the next suburb over.

it could have been me a thousand times over.

i could still be me a thousand times more.

i am a 30-ish, smart, confident woman who walks home at night. i always have. i grew up believing in my right to my own safety and the smarts to carry that out. i have been accosted by dudes asking for handjobs, flashed at, sworn at, called slut/lesbian/whore/showusyourtits, been followed. its a fucking jungle out there.

but i will continue to walk home at night on my own, thanks very much. the only rights we have are the ones we use and if i don't enact my right to walk in my cities, on my own, without the threat of violence based on my gender, i cease to have that right.

of course, the australian broadcast media, being the minefield of misogynist offal-bags passing for journalists and 'media personalities', have naturally used this case to highlight a woman's choice to walk home after drinks at the local bar as proof that she is a drunk-whore-who-should-have-stayed-at-home-with-her-husband-and-that-she's-asking-for-it-because-of-it and that's-what-happens-when-you-don't-live-in-the-suburbs-and-all-women-should-stay-at-home-from-now-on.

and of course you know what i say to them: get fucked.

you know, if i was in town, i would propose a big fuck-off reclaim the night street party as a memorial to jill (may she rest in peace) and as a middle finger salute to the men who decided that they still need to rape women, and equally to the chauvanist pundit motherfuckers who continue to blame the victim because they have yet to accept that men rape women.

guys, it's quite simple: if you see a woman walking home on her own at night, don't rape her.

if you have been raped, here are some peeps you can talk to about it:

rape crisis centre UK
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
Rape Crisis Center (US)
Rape Crisis  (ZA)
Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre (CA)
Toronto Rape Crisis Centre (CA)
Rape Crisis Programs (NYC)
The Turning Point (LA)
NSW Rape Crisis Centre (AU)
Centre Against Sexual Assault VIC (AU)

 And if you have any further information on the Jill Meagher case, call Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000

UPDATE: to the person coming here after searching for 'jill meagher dress like a slut', you might wanna check yourself. hard. maybe against a wall.


stand-up comedy and craft

i've been working on some drawings lately - which is kind of funny after a month of performance-focused work on time, body, heavy social issues, etc, etc. perhaps it's my come-down.

anyway, they're pretty small, laborious little works about hip-hop and whilst i've been doing them, i've been watching/listening to stand-up comedy hours - specials from HBO by chris rock, eddie murphy, louis CK and george carlin, etc*.

of course, they're funny. and it's nice to laugh whilst you're scratch, scratch, scratching pen across board. but i've also really enjoyed learning something from them too.

my friend rob often talks about using comedians for insight. and it's their particularly warped way of looking at the world that i like, and relate to. these particular comedians are observant - they feed you back ideas about the world in a way that you never would have seen it before. but they're also master performers - they can embody ideas, convey through mere expression, impersonate others and use their voice -  not just telling stories, but to push your way of thinking in directions you don't want to go - in a way that is masterful.

i've been watching or listening to how they 'dance' across their images, and how much control they really do have over an audience, even when they don't.

i've also taken to watching interviews with some of these actors on inside the actor's studio and a great special produced by ricky gervais called talking funny.

and in these shows, i get to hear about the craft of comedy and comedic performance (which is heavy on the timing, but has halmarks of performing arts). these guys talk about getting out there and doing it. and paying attention to if it's working - being honest to the bit and their life, but not ignoring that it's covering a joke - it is artifice and experience in perfect measure (and everyone accepts the measure).

comedy is a tough gig and you suck at it for good while before you have a successful career (like art), which is about longevity and determination. these guys talk about just doing it. and continuing to aim high because they want to 'be one of those guys'.

i enjoyed the honesty in that statement, because unlike art, it's ok to want to be part of that crowd;
to have success and reach people and command something. and that obviously in the process of becoming one of those guys - honing their craft, they'll be good and have something worthwhile to say and it will become honest.

*and i have to thank my friend Bonnie Davies who totally got me back into comedy by being one of those right funny bitchez, but also for giving me George Carlin to listen to during the OK Gallery performance.


8-bit jesus piece

if that ain't a hipster run-off, i don't know what is.

biggie smalls is probably rolling in his grave.

and still i think i want one.



abc. really not for me.

i left feeling sad. sad at the precarious state of affairs that contemporary art in berlin seems to be in.

i left feeling cynical. cynical that, if i couldn't find anything to stop me for more than 5 seconds, who would.

i left feeling despondent. despondent that perhaps this is the world of art and that it is exactly as precarious, insecure, listless and flaccid as all this.

i left feeling ripped off. there are some kick-arse galleries in that list. places with some great shows on at the moment. i wish i had saved my €8 and just gone to see them instead.

i did think it was amusing that i walked around the art fair with my bag of groceries - a leek in one hand and the plan in the other. i felt as though i was shopping for art lebensmittel in a supermarket at 10pm on a Sunday, before the shelves had been stacked full again.

i acknowledge that an art fair isn't really for me. i'm not an art-buying public at all. perhaps, for them, it's amazing. and a real success.

who knows.


berlin art week

I'm sure there's a well-written article about the shift from stables towards nomadic gallery lifestyles of pop-ups and art fairs. There will be great pieces written about berlin art week and the exhibitions on.

This is not going to be even close.

But I will be posting a few blogs about art that's happening in Berlin this week, because I've got time to write at the moment.

It's Berlin Art Week, which also incorporates art berlin contemporary - the art fair that still exists after the whole art forum debacle** (last time i was here there were six art fairs on in a weekend!).

On Tuesday night about a hundred galleries opened their new shows for the year and Berlin was kinda pumping. I only went to 2 complexes (which included about 10 galleries), but they were buzzing.

To my taste, most of it was kind of dull*, but here is a little bit about what I have liked so far.

Galerija Gregor Podnar - Vadim Fiškin
With a series of sculptural works that play on the role of the machine within the works, this show could easily be a series of one-liners. But the main work, Don Quixote Pact/v. Alliance was one work that really stood out - as enjoyable/entertaining visually, but a little more complex in terms of its dynamics (physically and compositionally speaking).

A windmill in a 'valley', is powered by the wind of electrical fans on a constructed 'hill', which in turn forces air back into the jetstream of these powered devices. It's a thermo feedback loop. All of these forces sit atop a fibreglass 'landscape' (that also looks like the mould of a hot tub/spa bath).

It alluded to more than just a little optical gag -  overproduction, authority, nature, surplus - are all words that come to mind with this work, and aesthetically, was a nice combination of readymade and crafted, designed and collated.

Galerie Opdahl - Chosil Kil
Amongst loads of painting-based work that I feel like I've seen tonnes of before, I found this show such a breath of fresh air. And mainly because of the work called Sausages - the first work you see when you walk into the space. It's a jewellery piece, strapped around the corner of the first wall. I love a work that transgresses its form and obvious exhibition format for something a little different. I wanted to own the work straight away (Hello? Kanye? You need this piece).

The rest of the show did remind me a little of works going around Melbourne at the moment, but this little fragment of the show - re-introducing the sausage-like leather wall sculpture and a haunting sound element - tickled my fancy. I'm happy to report that not all Berlin is monochromatic and geometric canvases.

Both these shows are in galleries amongst a block of austere white cube spaces above the German heavyweight Konrad Fischer Galerie. As we all scooted up and down the stairwell, popping in and out of the galleries' all dressed up for their first day of school, it was reminiscent of a commercial art version of the Dover Street Market in London. It was almost fun and cute. But for the Very Serious Art Crowd present.

MD72 - Florian Hecker
I like Florian Hecker's work, but this show, Auditory Objects has completely floated my boat in a way that others haven't. I've already warned the gallery staff that I'll be back to listen again :)

The gallery itself is stunning and holds these minimal scultpural devices so well.

In each room across the main space hang a single speaker with an attached convex/concave mirrored piece of metal***, extending, reflecting and distorting the audience assumptions across both visual and audio planes.  You find yourself listening to the sound works from the speaker, from the cone, between the two, across the space, between the rest of the gallery - in and out of each room. And because of the staccato and sycopation in the electronice sound works, you find yourself also listening to the door opening and closeing, to the ambulance, floor creaks, etc all with the same value.

This work is complimented by a work that spreads itself through the 'back end' of the space - in the office, store-room and little kitchen/ante room. It unites and divides the space in equal measure with its electronic intensity and repeated speaker objects. I'm sure it drives the staff nuts, but it's exciting to see an artist stuffing a new listening experience into the workplace.

The works are influenced by the questions of the phenomenology of sound: How is it perceived? As a discreet object, or an ongoing stream onto which we project meaning, which of course is right up my ally. And yet I'm particularly interested in the bodily and performative influence of this work, so you might hear more about it again.

Salon Dahlmann - In Action. Performance, Actionism and Concepts from the Charim Collection
Showcasing the private collection of the Charim family, this exhibition featured a whole load of VALIE EXPORT photos, documents and original artworks (yes please!), plus ephemera and drawings from the performances of Viennese Actionists and their ilk:  Günther Brus, Otto Mühl, Hermann Nitsch

I'm not from a performance background and the recent residency at ]performance s p a c e [ schooled me.  I was like a new student with this exhibition and the works had different meaning for me yesterday that they might have had a few months ago. What hadn't changed is the admiration of collectors continuing to collect performance work ephemera.

Of course not all of the works themselves were amazing. But as remnants of amazing things, and as a collection of a reference of historical significant, it was a great show. I enjoyed seeing the board on which Hermann Nitsch did those gross things with his body and animals and viscera. I liked seeing images of blood and goopy stuff from when blood and goopy stuff was properly new. Günther Brus' action paintings, Dieter Roth and Arnulf Rainer making Paul McCarthy look like a kid, Peter Weibel being taken for a walk on a chain by VALIE EXPORT - these are seminal images I've only ever seen in books.

It was also enlightening, in the face of history. Quite a few of those artists no longer practice performance work.  EXPORT is probably one of the most consistent and has continued longevity - which I always find inspiring. Her and Dieter Roth (what a power combination in just one sentence) are artists I still think are total guns.

I never really liked Otto Mühl works and found his drawings of the body to be crass and slightly cariacature, but then again, I'm not so good at divorcing artists from their abusive actions, so take of that what you will.

Comparitvely Brüs, who has always made beautiful imagery (more than powerful actions I believe), his drawings of skeletal figures were so touching and almost-classical in their form. They reveal a much deeper connection with the image of the body.

As part of the collection, it was also great see works by younger artists like Maja Bajevic and John Bock inspired by the work of these crazy performance pioneers. I think that's when a collection comes into its own - when you see the dedication to particular artists at a particular time/place, but also to the form through the next generation.

*so much so that even my lily white legs in short shorts caused quite the stir amongst the well-heeled art clientele. I wasn't even that racy!

** I'm going to abc today and will report back anon.

***a replication of a medical scientific device called a syncrophone - designed to alter the frequency of a listener's brain waves.


art and alienation

a couple of days ago, @ABCArts tweeted

'street art is cool, but does it alienate some people?'.

the sentiment behind this tweet made me incredibly cross, for several reasons.

arrogance about the place of art in society.

i believe art is an incredibly important part of society - it has the capacity to revolutionise the way people see and experience the world - on an individual and collective scale. it has the ability to present a world above and outside the system of capitalism, politics, media, or the systems that produce alienation in people's daily lives.

but there are much greater things that have a direct influence on people's lives (and have the power to alienate them). employment, love, political freedom, community, purpose/meaning - these are loose terms for things that have an incredible sway on people's lives. art can be part of them, but ultimately it's not above these things.

if someone feels disempowered, they will feel alienated by more of the world than a stupid tag on a wall. of course that will piss them off too, but it won't be because of the tag. it will be because they don't have a job/finances, are being beaten, feel discriminated against or don't belong, can't express themselves freely or are worried about their physical safety. or a host of other things.

actually the residency at Collingwood Housing Estate drove that home - autonomy, currency and agency were more important than art. art helps instigate a desire for those things and can reflect that potential, but ultimately it's more important to have people fed and sheltered well.

the use of alienation

alienation is more than just pissing people off, not liking something, or feeling uncomfortable. it is a condition that is deep-rooted in the anti-social - not feeling part of the community or the human race as a whole. it is the lack of purpose in ones life, a disempowerment to achieve freedom or a sense of self. it's on the scale of violence, in terms of the negative effect of a persons' wellbeing.

i'm really doubting that street art, even if it's not to people's taste, really alienates people and the use of that term in the tweet feels inflammatory; superfluous, rather than a proper understanding of what alienation is and why it's a real concern.

if ABCArts is really concerned with alienation, we should be looking at how the arts influences policy and social behaviour on a larger scale, in what ways economy and the arts are complicit, how street art influences the mental health and well-being of youth identity and community culture. etc.

i realise that i'm being slightly picky and pedantic, given the amount of shit troll tweets out there on a daily basis, but as someone who occasionally makes art in public (on the street), and who has a real interest in street art/culture, it pissed me off.


death by autotune

he's awful.
so are they.
she got pwned.
his expression is priceless.

Labels: ,



i have a lot to write about my own work at the moment, but i'm a bit sick of myself, quite frankly. so it's nice to be able to write a quick little post about a punchy little show i saw last night.

it was around the corner from where i'm staying and it was good (quality within walking distance is so much sweeter, don't you think?). 

portable practicality, practial portability is a show by ethan hayes-chute and it pivots around an old epson ASCII printer.

the printer, sitting on a plinth in the middle of the room, has been programmed by ethan and is available to 'play' with - visitors getting their own little receipt for their time and joy. around the gallery are little collections of things made with or about the printer - original flavour gum, a collection of terry-pratchet-esque bottles/spices with printed labels and a noticeboard of early workings (above). perhaps because i'm a bit of a nerd (and haven't been practicing my code AT ALL), i enjoyed looking at this one - seeing his tests for each line, working out how to best create the image he wanted through instruction.

and, i have to say, i really enjoyed the small video work in the corner *.  it's a process of him unravelling the printer roll from the manufacturers roll using a drill to re-roll them onto his own spool. apparently futile actions that carry personal meaning, frustration and some kind of resistance in their persistance. the drill and rolls atop the hand-made monitor box were a nice touch (although unnecessary IMO).

the video itself also reminded me a little of campbell patterson's videos and michaela gleave's 7-hour balloon performance. what can i say, i'm a sucker for ridiculous repetition.

the gallery itself, kinderhook & caracas, was also reassuring and exact.

that sounds so fey, but what i mean is that it was exactly the right size, attitude and layout that i was looking for last night.

it's quite a typical small berlin gallery (white walls, wooden floors, fluoros, shopfont) and ideal for a show of this size and scope. it looks like they have some interesting shows and i'm intrigued by their relationship to publications (it reminds me of big fag press or half letter press).

and although there were many many intimidatingly cool peeps inside outside, it was a bit refreshing to not be in kreuzberg or neukölln, but to just see an exhibition.

*not shown. and no titles either. apologies for being so slack - i didn't see a room list. if i go back and grab one, i promise to edit



some feedback I received about the work at performance space was that, rather than being separated from the audience by playing a character, i was inaccessible by "being elsewhere".

even though i was very much present in the space, the act of being blindfolded and with headphones on   not only isolated me - pushing me into my own world of intense audio overload and survival, but also  isolated me to visitors and the audience. my presence was called into question.

this presence/liveness is a topic of interest for the artist laura hindmarsh and she has been focusing her mentorship with lucas ihlein on it - what is the role of presence in performance and/or live art? how does site connect with it? how can process be performed and exhibited? what is documentation? what is 'live'? etc, etc.*

she has included me in an exhibition about presence, absence, performance and process that will be opening this week at sawtooth gallery in launceston: appearing-as process

if you're in the 'hood, do go. i've sent through an instructional piece and i'd love to hear about people's experience of it.

*laura, boni cairncross and i also have an ongoing collaborative research lab about it, that is currently split across a stack of media, but will be collated and presented at some point.