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black coffee blues

ella fitzgerald. oh baby, you're so pretty when you're sad.

when i'm sad, i very rarely get right down into the grit of it. i usually love listening to something that scrapes me out of it - peps me. but i'm doing some more research into people's favourite songs and finding songs that are visceral, hurting and really allow people to wallow. i'm looking for the ones that really take people places.

so i'm listening to some heart-wrenching blues. and this song just, well, whoa.

go on, listen to it and tell me you don't feel something. just a little.

the two things it reminded me of were henry rollins and afro house. diametrically opposed for most people.

the henry rollins book, black coffee blues was the first book of his i read (thanks to my friend and fellow coffee lover, jem) and i subsequently inhaled all of them. the manic self-deprecation was intoxicating. i came to see how being consumed by creative passion looks in another. and i realised that i sort of wanted some of it. not all of it, mind - there's some intense self-hatred in those books that's nice to watch, but not so nice to actually feel.

black coffee is a great afro house DJ and whose video of a gig in the baltic states (people dancing on sand, goddammit!) makes me want to go to a place with sand and dance all night. it couldn't take me to a more opposite place of happiness and joy. this is the kind of music i usually listen to on a low - something deep, soulful, but rhythmic. something that supports dark skies and cold winds. i'm also a major sucker for a hot man in glasses.

but for now, it's back to a kenyan espresso, ella and her heart-wrench.


love is a seesaw.

Balancing at the same level is a great challenge and fun for a while.
But its real function it is bound up in its momentum.
The joy comes when one of you is up in the air, and the other is down low to the ground.
One goes up the other comes down and you feel the wind rushing in your ears as you see your partner fly, framed against the sky.

I don't really know anything about love, but, as I sat with two other artists, looking out over St Paul's and the Thames, from the Tate, the analogy seemed to work. We're all in a slight existential crisis and were feeling very philosophical. I still think it fits.



i have been living out of a suitcase since the middle of 2010. my residency in perth is the longest i've ever lived anywhere in that time and it has been an amazing, wild and exciting ride.

i've learned to not take things like 'home' for granted, i've realised how much society is based on the answer to the question 'where do you live?' and i've had some time to work out what the role of stability and consistency is in an arts practice. turns out it's kind of important.

anyway, i've finally moved into a place that i will be staying in for a good while. it's not my very own, but that's a while away. it has lovely books on the walls, a balcony with all kinds of plants, the view of canary wharf and i go to sleep at night with the sound of the limehouse lock doing it's thang.

i'm pretty bloody lucky. and it almost feels like home - even after one day.

thanks for everyone that came along for the ride. here's to more good times.



*thanks to gregory povey for that wonderful term.

a few days ago, i had another accidentally-themed art day. this time it was pretty much all about vaginas.

firstly i went to see the judy chicago show at riflemaker, featuring early works of hers. i really liked the car hoods and especially the diagrams for them, but not much of the others.

then i went and saw the sarah lucas project space, situation, which wasn't all that vagina-heavy, but there was floor-to-ceiling meat genetalia wallpaper in your face as you walked in the door, including the image of two massive decorated vulva. it was quite spectacular.

actually, that show was a welcome relief, as i had popped into the ultra-white gallery downstairs and it was overwhelmingly austere. it was nice to walk into a space that, aside from the shock of a pair of  massive cunts, was an interesting space: personal, less homogenous and almost revealed the works more, in their cluttered/more homely space.

there were works in the 'kitchen', on a sink, sitting on tables, hanging from the ceiling and projected onto the wall.

i actually sighed in relief when i walked in, because it was my kind of space. and, thankfully, collectors also respond well to works in a space like that. not every work has to be shrouded in whiteness in order to give it the right space to be.

later that evening i went to see judy chicago speak at whitechapel gallery and she was amazing. i'm not going to speak too much about the whole talk - but the fact is that she was inspiring.

really - she talked about the first 10 years of her practice being ignored, that she hates injustice, that she's a moral artist, that she just raised funds to do her work and that if you don't have the money to make the work, don't make it - she wasn't interested in selling her work - it was more important for the work to be seen. not to mention her continued desire to change art pedagogy and increase women's appearance in our museums. she's another one who has been more interested in longevity than a flash-in-the-pan fame and it was exactly the kind of thing i needed to hear.

there was a medium amount of focus on The Dinner Party, her most famous work, but nonetheless, anna somers cocks spoke beautifully about the actual plates - renditions of the vulva. which pretty much rounded off the evening of vaginabilia for me.


a match made in heaven

leigh bowery and mike parr. at the kunsthalle wien.

could it get any more tailored to my tastes? only by adding patti smith and kanye west exhibitons in there...

leigh and mike are ongoing influences here at she sees red.

i'm bummed i didn't know about mike's artist talk and i am pretty sure i can't make next week's talk on extreme art and the body politic, but i'll be getting to vienna at some stage to see these shows.

you heard it here first.


mostly artefacts and artifice

between settling into a life of sorts, i've been trying to make sure i get to see some art every day. and i somehow have gotten lazy about it. preferring to do dumb shit like watch scary movies with my friend age or sit and read thick novels about young women trying to escape the inevitibility of married life.

but i have, in fact, managed to see quite a bit of artefacty-type things and i'm totally loving the historical weight of london at the moment.

the money gallery
last week i went to the british museum because i had half an hour to spare and i hung out in the money section. it is a gallery that, actually, i would love to see properly expanded. the historical coinage/artefacts of trade are really interesting, including the chinese coins that didn't change in 2000 years (!) (that's good design for you). i think the modern era hasn't really been explored that well and could really help unpack the crux of currency and value and monetary history.

even the history of accounting was briefly covered (like a monument to pretty much the first auditor), but could have expanded right out. like - how did accounting evolve? how did we, as a society, come to agree on ways of managing money, and establishing methods of checks and balances? given that money and trade and currency underpin massive chunks of house societies function, i think it would give us a real insight into how we operate.

or maybe it's just me that finds that history fascinating.

on the road
i've also spent a bit of time in the british library lately (a great place to work), and checked out the original scroll manuscript of jack kerouac's on the road - it's actually a beautiful object that just oozes that manic style of the book. i couldn't really read the words on it - low lux protecting the manuscripts integrity made it a little difficult, but there were chunks of break-out text that reminded me of how great the book is. i might have to read it again.*

the jewellery gallery
as a compliment to the history of trade and artefacts at the british museum, i love going to the jewellery gallery at the victoria and albert museum. it's about craftsmanship and social identity through the history of personal ornamentation - of course it could be waaaaay bigger, but for a mostly-private collection, it's pretty amazing. it's also a reminder of the immense wealth and power that is conveyed through bespoke jewellery. i still maintain that even 'peasant' jewellery in the past is much more impressive than the peasant jewellery we have going now.

on the street
and even when i'm not dipping into museums, i still get to experience a sense of history about london through the blue plaques scheme.**

like, i walk past places where REAL SHIT HAPPENED. yesterday we were talking a walk in our local 'hood and came across the old residence of emmeline pankhurst. until now, emmeline pankhurst has just be a name in the history books, or a link on wikipedia. not a real person who did amazing things! yesterday I had a moment where the history of her life and the reality of mine suddenly connected. lineage.

in australia, i'm pretty removed from that. which is exactly why colonisation works - I'm completely divorced from the immense history of the land I was raised on because my ancestors killed pretty much everyone who could have possibly passed down that history. and, because i'm from english stock and so far from the sites of my family history, the concept of being connected to history is a little foreign to me. which is why i'm loving the cold, dark and grey city i'm in.

* i won't be seeing the film, even if the amazing sam riley is in it - he's too white to be sal paradiso and they're all not loose enough.

**  brilliant idea, by the way, whoever came up with that.


please, sir. can we keep our moore?


london fashion

I've always engaged on some level with fashion design. you would have NO idea from the way i dress (or my wardrobe that fits within Ryanair luggage restrictions), but i regularly admire and covet high fashion.

You've probably seen random posts of mine about Hussein Chalayan, Ann Demeulemeester, McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, my work trying to integrate fashion and interactive art (which has been put waaaaay on the back burner) and perhaps wondered how I always end up at Dover Street Market.

The exciting thing about London is that I can properly engage with that aspect of my life (and practice) again. I don't have a fashion design background AT ALL. But I can still appreciate and learn on the fly. Actually, I plan to do that a whole lot more here, because I can

Even in the week I've been here, I've able to visit DSM (which is where I can get up close and personal with some of the designers I like), check out the Issey Miyake range, apply for work with Westwood, McQueen and Chalayan.  I'll check out St Martin's soon and keep an eye out for local designers (like the amazing Tanique Coburn stall at Portobello Market - watch this space for this girl!).

Once I'm settled and financial again, I might even do something to properly upskill in this regard, but in the mean time, i'm going to learn from the public intellect - the V&A, libraries, working studios and fashion on the street.