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designing places to eat privately in public

Hell On Earth

as some of you regular readers will vaguely remember, i've been doing some research about public private and private public places. as part of some post-grad study. not just as something to do on the weekend.

anyway, last week i took my lanky midlander UK plannery friend to hell's kitchen in melbourne, and as we were overlooking the hustle and bustle of centre place, i was reminded about some stuff i have been thinking about since i was in europe last year, relating to eating in public. and being alone.

i believe there's quite an art to designing an eating space (as opposed to retail, or other public spaces). it's a balance of logistics, cash flow (ie - 3 large tables gets x amount of business, where as 7 small tables and a bar gets y), ambience and dynamic. it's a space that has to be infinitely personal and public - at the same time; it needs to take noise and smell into consideration; anywhere from a single, intensely private dining experience to an amazingly social banquet experience - and everything in between.


and i believe that the starting point for this is possibly the consideration of single-dining. i think if you have a restaurant/cafe/bar where someone feels comfortable enough on their own but amongst others, it's not too far to becoming a place where they feel like bringing others.

in europe, i noticed that restaurants, cafes, etc are more designed with the single person (as well as the big group) in mind - tables or benches with your back to the wall but facing the rest of the place - closed enough to not feel so exposed, so vulnerable, but still open enough to be able to participate in the collective dining experience. and then extend that to the tradition of eating outside in public - especially in italy, in the piazza, as you walk around with cheese and tomato sugo dripping down your arms from the lunchtime pizza.

some of my favourite places are those which accommodate me as an individual, providing me with the privacy of my own eating experience, my own thoughts, food-based neuroses and choices, yet allow me to participate in the common action of eating, together, amongst my fellows.

whereas dining places that are only for the group, only for the couple - those with friends, large families and many colleagues, opens up a gap for people to feel that they must belong. and if they are on their own, they must be lacking. and lack is an anti-social condition (i wonder what lacan would think of that statement). well, certainly in western societies.


presumably the form of dining spaces have evolved out of the behaviour of dining, but what of those new spaces that are designed? those that need to be designed to accommodate cross-cultural, global and borrowed culinary habits in the cities of the future? where we are at one more singular and infinitely more populous than times past.

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takin' the piss.

ok, two 'this video is great' posts in a week. can you tell i have a deadline handy?

but really, this is great.

it's the recent spoof of this great ad. not often a spoof can come off as well as the first (except maybe all those gorilla piss-takes), but this is awesome.

thanks mr m.


last day: making sense


remember i hassled you last week about the last opportunity to see 15 x 15? well tomorrow is the last day to check out making sense, the group show i'm in at craft victoria. curated by nella themelios, it's a collection of artists who make sense of life through remaking/refashioning the everyday (as opposed to the current fashion in huge, grand gestures of the sublime, or neo-baroque).

the work i've done is the documentation (stop-motion) of a process, in which i measure and pattern the gallery space - so as to get to know it on an intimate level - to make it a private space and then to change it in some way through the act of being in it, and re-making it. through changing a small space, this changes a whole building and a whole street, a whole city, etc, etc. this small, intimate act of measuring and being in a corner, then becomes a philosophical act of shifting the public space.

there's also more info about the thinking/process behind it here

it's been a great show to be part of, and thanks to all those who went along.


having the courage of your conviction.

Donkey Kong

2008 has been a doozy of a year. i thought last year was crazy, but that was all fun and games and meeting people and seeing art, really.

this year has been a year in which i've had to learn some really hard lessons about following dreams.

in fact, following on from the last post about gaming, i feel like 2008 has been about clocking level after level of donkey kong. those barrels have just kept coming, but releasing the big guy from the cage has become more important and more important.

a couple of times i swore i was just going to roll over and be a lawyer or investment banker. well, then the financial vortex happened and i realised that maybe being an artist on the other side of the world might just be the coolest thing to do ever! ha!

This year isn't over yet, and there are still a few hurdles to jump: like trying to convince the biggest entity in the universe (not god, but close) that an idea of mine is worthwhile shifting slightly sideways for; and the next round of employment goodness (more on that later); but i did just want to say thank you to a few people who kept yelling from the sidelines (you know who you are)- i think i finally realised what conviction really means.

it's all about donkey kong and jumping barrells.

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you rock!!

this blog isn't really one of those 'here's a cool viral/fashion/trend/design link' kinds of blogs. but sometimes you gotta break tradition.

this guitar hero viral from the awesome kids at Droga 5 simply fucking rocks. no, really, it's the fucking awesomest thing on the interweb i've seen in ages. brilliant. makes me wanna play it right now.*

via stan.

*for the record, guitar hero, tetris, tekken and bobble puzzle are the only computer games in which i rock.

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meme time

it's meme time again. i'm sure meme stands for something quite technical and mature, but i prefer to read it as it's all about me me me me me me.

anyway, i've been tagged again and, in the interest of keeping the internet as random and useless as we all expect it to be, i've decided to go with it.

there are many quirky, yet boring, unspectacular things about me. so i thought i'd keep my neuroses themed to the kitchen (seeing as miss jones tagged me and she's an angel in the kitchen).

1. i like to collect plain pastel crockery from the 1950s/60s (esp. johnsons australia).
2. i would like to design flatware (cutlery) one day.
3. i make awesome scones and pretty good pavlova.
4. i don't eat chocolate (i'm abstaining from an addiction to the stuff - over 10 years now).
5. the smell of red wine, especially left-in-the-glass-from-the-night-before stale red wine, wigs me out.
6. i love espresso. but it bothers me a bit when i get it served in a glass, rather than ceramic cup. i think it tastes different. not quite as good somehow.

i'm sure i've tagged rather a lot of people over the years, but here are the ones i'm picking this time around:

the boys and girls at love

sorry kids, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do..

Here are the rules:
* Mention the rules on your blog.
* Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself.
* Tag six other
* Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they are tagged.


love on the dancefloor

warning: impending rant. it includes sweeping generalisations and comes with the following disclaimers: i am a) not the best dancer in whole wide world; b) not a dj; c) female.


last night i went to The Laundry for a friend's birthday and a bit of a boogie. for those who live in melbourne, you know that it's not the best club in the universe. but on a cold and rainy night in the middle of spring, it was where the party's at.

i know i've said this before, but i believe dancing and sex to be on the same playing field. and i reckon the way someone dances tells you a lot about, well, them. as an extension (ahem) to that, i reckon you can tell a lot about the way a dj fucks by what he/she plays. and one of the dudes at the laundry, girls, is gonna be a lousy lay.

it was one of the frustrating psudo-fucking experiences ever. almost as bad as the worst sex you've ever had - he had no stamina: playing tracks that would build up to be a good pumping danceable beat, letting them carry for about a minute, then switch it. just as we were getting our groove on! it would completely kill the rhythm. and i forgave him a few times, there were a few cool tracks which saw an almost-full dancefloor, but time after time i was frustrated as fuck. i wanted to go over to him and yell "just let me dance, will you!!!"

which confirmed for me how much dancing is like fucking - girls need time to work up to it all, but can go all night. where as guys love to mix it up, keep it snappy, to keep themselves engaged, for want of a much better word*. and this was no more obvious that on the dancefloor last night. the male bar staff and a couple of the guys dancing were totally loving the hit-and-mix. they didn't actually have to 'dance' for that long and got all high-five about that wicked remix of a remix of a remix, with that pop-culture-i'm-so-hip-dialogue-sample maaaan. whereas my (girl) friends and i were all getting so frustrated at him building it up, promising that 'i'm gonna make it pop' a thousand times, without actually dropping anything in above 95 BPM. ugh.

a few other things i noticed, which added to the amusing insight about dancing as pseudo-fucking:
white people have no rhythm. wow. it's really obvious. i mean i knew that. watch any stand-up comedy from eddie murphy and you've been told a hundred times, but i really saw it last night. there was an especially 'white' couple 'dancing' which was hilarious - she was all joints and limbs, with the worst style ever, but trying out the oh-so-sexy-who's-your-daddy-doggystyle-moves. it was kind of embarassing and i shuddered to think what their sex life was like.

then there was the group of very-pretty ladies who, rather than just dance, they felt that they had to either take the piss out of dancing, by doing very bad dance moves, or by talking about what moves they were doing. i couldn't work out whether this was de rigeur for the youff these days, or whether they were just nervous. i also wanted to say to them "just shut up and dance, will you!"

i could make some crass segue between rhythm and structure, space and conceptual installation art practice here. but i think i'll leave it. "shut up and dance, will you!" will just have to do.

*see, sweeping generalisation!

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last day: 15 x 15

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the last day to see My World is 15 x 15 at 374 Gallery in Northcote. If you've been having that 'I should really go check it out' kind of thoughts, then get up off the couch, log off facebook for 10 minutes and go see it.

And next weekend is the last weekend for Making Sense at Craft Vic. I'll be giving you similar directions then, so save me the trouble and go see them both tomorrow.

[here is a shitty low-res version of what's in the red box.. just so you get a sneak peek, prior to your sneak peek]

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some of the strange things i miss about london...

have recently arrived at my place for a while...

Where's Wally Will.jpg


and this.
Yorkshire Tea: In the goodie bag after a 10k Run

but not this or this.
Some handsome hands.

or this
Berwick St., London

thankfully, will and i have had a lovely time - hearty laughter, cross words and lots of galivanting. it'll get me through 'til january when i'm there next...

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exhibition update

as promised, here's some documentation from the exhibitions i'm currently in:

making sense
craft victoria
31 flinders lane





1300 x 740 x 470
until 29th november

my world is 15 x 15
374 gallery
374 high st

my world is no bigger...

(install)L: sean hogan:skull study #001 ; my world is no bigger..

more pics on my flickr spot.

and for those who are interested, the audio for the architecture + philosophy presentation will be up on their site soon. i'll post about it.

UPDATE: and for info about the exhibitions, check out here and here.


we love the one who responds to our question: who am i?

After this post, where the kids give their take on it. Here's what Jacques-Alain Miller and Lacanian theory tells us about it. Are they really all that different? I do, however, like the idea that finding love resonates with the process of sperm hitting the ova - as close to 'random' as you get without a hadron collider.

Jacques-Alain Miller: On Love

Hanna Waar - Does psychoanalysis teach us something about love?

Jacques-Alain Miller - A great deal, because it’s an experience whose mainspring is love. It’s a question of that automatic and
more often than not unconscious love that the analysand brings to the analyst, and which is called transference. It’s a contrived
love, but made of the same stuff as true love. It sheds light on its mechanism: love is addressed to the one you think knows your true truth. But love allows you to think this truth will be likeable, agreeable, when in fact it’s rather hard to bear.

H. W. - So, what is it to really love?

J.-A. M. - To really love someone is to believe that by loving them you’ll get to a truth about yourself. We love the one that
harbours the response, or a response, to our question: ‘Who am I?’

H. W. - Why do some people know how to love and not others?

J.-A. M. - Some people know how to provoke love in the other person, serial lovers as it were, men and women alike. They know what buttons to push to get loved. But they don’t necessarily love, rather they play cat and mouse with their prey. To love, you have to admit your lack, and recognise that you need the other, that you miss him or her. Those that think they’re complete on their own, or want to be, don’t know how to love. And sometimes, they ascertain this painfully. They manipulate, pull strings, but of love they know neither the risk nor the delights.

H. W. - ‘Complete on their own’: only a man could think that…

J.-A. M. - Well spotted! Lacan used to say, ‘To love is to give what you haven’t got.’ Which means: to love is to recognize your
lack and give it to the other, place it in the other. It’s not giving what you possess, goods and presents, it’s giving something else that you don’t possess, which goes beyond you. To do that you have to assume your lack, your ‘castration’ as Freud used to say. And that is essentially feminine. One only really loves from a feminine position. Loving feminises. That’s why love is always a bit comical in a man. But if he lets himself get intimidated by ridicule, then in actual fact he’s not very sure of his virility.

H. W. - Is loving more difficult for men then?

J.-A. M. - Oh yes! Even a man in love has flashes of pride, bursts of aggressiveness against the object of his love, because
this love puts him in a position of incompleteness, of dependence. That’s why he can desire women he doesn’t love, so
dependence. That’s why he can desire women he doesn’t love, so as to get back to the virile position he suspends when he loves. Freud called this principle the ‘debasement of love life’ in men: the split between love and sexual desire.

H. W. - And in women?

J.-A. M. - It’s less common. In most cases, there’s a doubling-up of the male partner. On one hand, he’s the man that gives them jouissance and whom they desire, but he’s also the man of love, who’s feminised, necessarily castrated. Only it’s not anatomy that’s in the driving seat: there are some women who adopt a male position. There are more and more of them. One man for love, at home; and other men for jouissance, met on the net, in the street, or on a train.

H. W. - Why ‘more and more’?

J.-A. M. - Socio-cultural stereotypes of womanliness and virility are in the process of radical transformation. Men are being
invited to open up to their emotions, to love and feminise themselves; women on the contrary are undergoing a certain
‘push to masculinisation’: in the name of legal equality they’re being driven to keep saying ‘me too.’ At the same time,
homosexuals are claiming the same rights and symbols as heteros, like marriage and filiation. Hence a major instability in
the roles, a widespread fluidity in the theatre of love, that contrasts with the fixity of yesteryear. Love is becoming ‘liquid’,
as noted by the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman. Everyone is being led to invent their own ‘lifestyle’, to assume their mode of
jouissance and mode of loving. Traditional scenarios are slowly becoming obsolete. Social pressure to conform hasn’t
disappeared, but it’s on the wane.

H. W. - ‘Love is always reciprocal’ said Lacan. Is this still true in the current context? What does that mean?

J.-A. M. - This sentence gets repeated over and over without being understood, or it gets understood the wrong way round. It
doesn’t mean that it’s enough to love someone for him to love you back. That would be absurd. It means: ‘If I love you, it’s
because you’re loveable. I’m the one that loves, but you’re also mixed up in this, because there’s something in you that makes
me love you. It’s reciprocal because there’s a to and fro: the love I have for you is the return effect of the cause of love that you are for me. So, you’re implicated. My love for you isn’t just my affair, it’s yours too. My love says something about you that maybe you yourself don’t know.’ This doesn’t guarantee in the least that the love of one will be responded to by the love of the other: when that happens it’s always of the order of a miracle, it’s not calculable in advance.

H. W. - We don’t find him or her by chance. Why that guy? Why that girl?

J.-A. M. - There’s what Freud called Liebesbedingung, the condition for love, the cause of desire. It’s a particular trait – or
a set of traits – that have a decisive function in a person for the choice of the loved one. This totally escapes the neurosciences, because it’s unique to each person, it’s down to their singular, intimate history. Traits which are sometimes minute are at play. For instance, Freud singled out in one of his patients a cause of desire that was a shine on a woman’s nose!

H. W. - It’s hard to believe in a love founded on these trifles!

J.-A. M. - The reality of the unconscious outstrips fiction. You can’t imagine how much in human life is founded, especially
where love is concerned, on little things, on pinheads, on ‘divine details’. It’s true that’s it’s above all in men that you find causes of desire like that, which are like fetishes whose presence is indispensable to spark off the love process. Tiny particularities, reminiscent of the father, the mother, a brother, a sister, someone from childhood, also play their role in women’s choice of love object. But the feminine form of love is more readily erotomaniac than fetishist: they want to be loved, and the interest, the love that’s shown them, or that they suppose in the other person, is often sine qua non for triggering their love, or at least their consent. This phenomenon lies at the base of the practice of men chatting women up.

H. W. - Do you not attribute any role to fantasies?

J.-A. M. - In women, fantasies, whether conscious or unconscious, are decisive for the position of jouissance more
than for the choice of love object. And it’s the opposite for men. For example, it may happen that a woman can only achieve
jouissance – orgasm, let’s say – on condition that she imagines herself, during intercourse itself, being beaten, raped, or
imagines that she’s another woman, or even that she’s elsewhere, absent.

H. W. - And the male fantasy?

J.-A. M. - It’s very much in evidence in love at first sight. The classic example, commented on by Lacan, is in Goethe’s novel,
the sudden passion of young Werther for Charlotte, at the moment he sees her for the first time, feeding the rabble of kids
around her. Here it’s the woman’s maternal quality that sparks off love. Another example, taken from my practice, is the
following: a boss in his fifties is seeing applicants for a secretarial post; a young woman of twenty comes in; straight away he
declares his love. He wonders what got hold of him and goes into analysis. There, he uncovers the trigger: in her he met traits that reminded him of what he had been at the age of twenty, when he went for his first job interview. In a way, he’d fallen in love with himself. In these two examples we see the two sides of love distinguished by Freud: either you love the person who protects, in this case the mother, or you love a narcissistic image of yourself.

H. W. - It sounds like we’re puppets!

J.-A. M. - No, between any man and any woman, nothing is written in advance, there’s no compass, no pre-established relationship. Their encounter isn’t programmed like it is between the spermatozoon and the ovum; it’s got nothing to do with our genes either. Men and women speak, they live in a world of discourse, that’s what’s decisive. The modalities of love are
extremely sensitive to the surrounding culture. Each civilisation stands out for the way it structures the relation between the
sexes. Now, it so happens that in the West, in our societies which are liberal, market and juridical, the ‘multiple’ is well on the way to dethroning the ‘one’. The ideal model of ‘great lifelong love’ is slowly losing ground faced with speed dating, speed loving, and a whole flotilla of alternative, successive, even simultaneous amorous scenarios.

H. W. - And love in the long term? In eternity?

J.-A. M. - Balzac said, ‘Any passion that isn’t eternal is hideous.’ But can the bond hold out for life within the register of passion? The more a man devotes himself to just one woman, the more she tends to take on a maternal signification for him: more sublime and untouchable than loved. Married homosexuals develop this cult of the woman best: Aragon sings his love for Elsa; as soon as she dies, it’s hello boys! And when a woman clings on to one man, she castrates him. So, the path is narrow. The best destiny of conjugal love is friendship, that’s essentially what Aristotle said.

H. W. - The problem is that men say they don’t understand what women want; and women, what men expect of them…

J.-A. M. - Yes. What objects to the Aristotelian solution is the fact that dialogue from one sex to the other is impossible, as
Lacan said with a sigh. People in love are in fact condemned to go on learning the other’s language indefinitely, groping around, seeking out the keys – keys that are always revocable. Love is a labyrinth of misunderstandings whose way out doesn’t exist.

Translated by from the French by Adrian Price for NLS Messager, taken from www.lacan.com

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obama, heidegger and me.

this is a love story about an artist, a theorist and the american president.

truth be told, i got a little overwhelmed and a bit weary with all the barack-ing that went on for most of this year. it's all good stuff, i'm quite chuffed, i teared up on the day, but by the 4th month i had reached peak obamafication.

but in the midst of all that, i realised that obama and i have a whole lot in common. mostly about the political influence of one person on a space:

one voice can change a room. and if you can change a room you can change a house [sic]. and if you can change a house, you can change a city. and if you can change a city, you can change a state. if you can change a state, you can change a nation. and if you can change a nation, you can change the world. let's go change the world.

now, strip away the electioneering and the rousing, teary, nationalist fru-fru and, actually, you have a combination between phenomenology 101 and politics 101.

which is where i come in.

hang on, obviously heidegger gets a nod and a wink - in his discussions about the sensory applications of the edifice (house, city, nation, world - remember) as does merleau-ponty for his phenomenology of perception, which discusses the role of the senses (esp. speech - one voice) on space.

now, why the hell am i making these ridiculous links between me, european cultural theorists and the newly elected president of the united states? other than obvious meta-data whoring?

both exhibitions i'm in at the moment are to do with ideas about spatial experience and its role in public/political life. they're about knowing a space by being in it, by touching it - through measurement and patterning. and this knowing, being and experiencing the place changes me/you and changes the place. and if you can change a room, you can change a house, etc, etc, etc.

a clip from my world is no bigger... as part of the exhibition my world is 15 x 15 , curated by kim jaeger

and these works are all part of my current research into the role of experience (occupation), space and the public/politic - that maybe in reclaiming an ownership, personal moment, intimate relationship with a place/public place, this will translate to a collective care, responsibility and engagement of public place, life and systems.

on thursday, curator nella themelios and i will be bickering about some of these ideas, as well as our upcoming collaboration into the city space, the relationship between art and politics (and probably warfare), the role of curating and other fun topics, as part of architecture + philosophy at federation square. [c'mon, pop down - it's free. starts at 6:30 6pm]

UPDATE - geek moment.
in writing up some of these thoughts. and putting together some images for thursday's presentation, i sought inspiration from my new lover: blip.fm.

here's my playlist on space, experience and public space [click to enlarge]:

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thuper, thankth for athking.

< rant

i've been very good lately and making sure that i follow up on my paper work, once i week. it does mean that i usually end up swearing at [insert bureaucratic dept here], but i figure a little bit of pain never heart anyone.

but this week, i just have to rant about super funds. they drive me fucking bonkers. as much as i loathed the previous government, the best thing they did was to free up choice about superannuation, so that you can just have the one fund for all your employers. [probably based on insight from 1985, which stated that people weren't working for the same company their whole career anymore, shock!].

given that, i actually haven't had to deal with the nightmare of superannuation companies for while, until this year, when i joined two separate employees under a federal award. which means that you don't have a choice, you have to go with the industry super fund. dumb.

i've since left both super funds and the first one sent me a letter a while ago saying (basically) 'sorry, we used up all the money in your pitiful and dormant account on our account keeping fees [read:shareholder dividends], we're closing it down'

fine, i said. i didn't want to be part of your dumb fund anyway and if you feel the need to take my $125, then fine. just don't bother me.

well, last week i got a letter from them 'noticing that i hadn't had any employer contributions for a while, tell us what you'd like to do'. to which i emailed them (on the email address on their letterhead) and told them that they already chewed up my money and closed my account a few months ago and could they just close the account (like they said they had) and leave me alone'

i wasn't rude. i wasn't especially lovey-dovey either and i did mention the fact that i didn't even want to be part of their fund, but it was a pretty clear email.

and then, in the interest of true customer service, i get this response:

wow - that's where my dollars go - setting up an email address with an auto-responder telling me to go to the website so that they can have a more secure system... does this confound anyone else? or is it just me?... how about just a better spam filter? or maybe more staff so that you actually get a response? a better database that actually keeps track of the direct mail you're sending out? no... an auto-responder and an online form.



UPDATE: ooh, ooh, one of the drop down menus for the 'category of query' of the online email form is 'stationery request'... yes, i'd like 3 packs of pink post-it notes and one of those cool machines that clips your documents together with those clips you can't open.

UPDATE 2: here's the clear and rational response i got from the online email form:

Dear Sir/Madam,
Thank you for your email received 5 November 2008.

We wish to advise that we have not been able to match the member information you have provided against your account. It is important for the protection of your personal information that we ensure we correctly identify you before responding to your query.

For information on your account please contact AustralianSuper on the number below and we will assist you further.

If you have any further queries, please email us at www.australiansuper.com/email or call our Customer Service Centre, between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday, on 1300 300 273. Local call costs apply. If you are calling from overseas, please ring +61 3 8663 1699 during AEST business hours.

Kind regards

AustralianSuper Administration

and then...

UPDATE 3: here's what i got in response to my original email (the one that wasn't secure enough, so i had to email on the website...)

Dear Ms Brown (wow! personal),

Thank you for your email received 5 November 2008.

To obtain information and documentation pertaining to claiming your benefit, please contact our Customer Service Centre by phone. Claim documents cannot be issued by email for security reasons.

AustralianSuper has a website located at: http://www.australiansuper.com

This website provides details about the fund, including products and services that are available to members as well as detailed investment information, including the ASX 200 investment option. Your MemberOnline account allows you to update your personal details and investment options as well as make personal contributions using BPAY and view your account balance. To register for MemberOnline please contact us by phone.

If you require any further information or assistance regarding this matter, please email us at email@australiansuper.com or alternatively you can call our Customer Service Centre between 8am and 8pm on 1300 300 273 for the cost of a local call. If you are calling from overseas, please ring +61 3 8663 1699 during AEST business hours. We will be happy to help you.

Kind Regards,

[this persons name has been remove to protect the innocent, naive or outright stupid]
AustralianSuper Administration

customer service is alive and well people. alive and well.


i'm banksy

funny how things can stick around. after my rant about street art and marc's article, the debate "is it utopia or just a bit boring" from the tate street art show turned up in my tate itunes podcast subscription. the two debater were evening standard critic ben lewis and time-out writer ossian ward and it is particularly hilarious. while i can't quite get my head around some of his reasoning, ben's dry, nihilistic humour about street art and himself is really amusing and ossian's picture of art's future is deliciously bleack and his responses to ben are so sharp. great stuff.

listen to it here

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in the galleries

G McElman_080417_6518_A L13 L16 E R Y7

after quite a mammoth couple of months focusing on uni, the feasibility study, this show and this one, i've not had a lot of time to be anything except artistically self-absorbed. thanks for putting up with it - i appreciate it.

going to SCAPE reminded me how much i love seeing other people's work too, so on saturday my friend miss n and i schlepped over to the galleries in richmond. i had been putting off going because, well, it's a bit of a psychological distance between the hoods that i hang out in on the north side, and richmond. now that i've done it - barrier no more there is (as yoda would say).

it was fantastic!

in fact albert st, where most of the good galleries are, reminded me SO much of vyner st in hackney, it was quite scary - i even got a bit teary at one stage. anyway, here's a bit of a review of the shows we saw/places we went.

and a note to artists, when you go to commercial galleries, go with a curator/writer/anyone apart from another artist - it's amazing the different reception you get!

Sam Jinks
Karen Woodbury

My friend has been helping Sam on his latest show and I was all set and ready to go to the opening, when i got mega sick and was in a land of delirium. i'm so glad that i got to see the show, because it's amazing. Jinks is part of the hyper-real silicon/fiberglass sculpture crew = a lá Ron Mueck (whose really successful show at McClelland I saw a few weeks ago) and Patricia Piccinini. The works out for this show included 2 full-length but half-scale nude human-ish works of a middle-aged woman and a young-ish male (with a fox's head). The other works were faces, but cut in the shape of masks: full-detail of hair, skin, tattoos for some, saliva for others, in the shape of kabuki masks.
the thing i find interesting about works of this nature is that fascination is such a strong aspect of the experience. and in some way, this kind of hyper-real figurative representation almost serves an educational purpose, now that the experience of others' (naked) bodies is no long part of a platonic/social ritual, at least in the west. in fact, our bodies have become entirely private and only really in the domain of the erotic/intimate or out there for spectacle. it was quite intriguing to look at an older woman's body and analyse it, in the way a child might - looking at how her toenails compare to mine; how her breasts sag in a way that mine are bound to soon enough and compare hairy legs and bikini line. not often i can say that's what i did on a saturday afternoon.

Mark Kimber
John Buckley

Mark Kimber's previous work that i had seen many years ago in sydney (maybe at ACP?) featured beautifully lit figurines that were reminiscent of dramatic film stills. this work features large photos of empty, neon, urban landscapes - carparks, industrial sites, highway verges, lit with fluorescent or neon glow.
My taste has obviously changed in the last 5 years 'cos i know that i previously would have found these works amazing and exciting. But my photography major has been mostly left behind, so i found them a bit, well, uninteresting. i hate that - i really wanted to like them, based on his earlier work. like when the second bloc party album came out. *sigh*.

Emily Ferretti
Sophie Gannon

It's funny how there's always talk of the death of painting, but you wouldn't know that from all the painting I see in commercial galleries time after time.

Emily's work was quite nice - so soft and gentle, quite thinly painted. She is to objects what Cherry Hood is to portraits - from the Luc Tuymans school of painting. It was a good show, loads of works sold and everyone must be quite excited.
but at the same time, nothing that I went absolutely ga-ga about. Except maybe the beautiful Dreamy Tyre Swing - that was really lovely and something that I could have on a wall somewhere.

Nicola Chatham
Anita Treverso

Walking past the gallery, I wasn't initially all that fussed about the painting in the gallery window - my first impression was lots of golden washes. Thankfully I headed into the gallery nonetheless, because the show in the back room by Nicola Chatham was surprisingly interesting. The paintings weren't especially WOW!!!, but were simple, well-painted and beautifully grouped. Lots of them reminded me of Gerhard Richter in the phase between his photo-realism and the squeegee paintings - soft and slightly smudgy images of suburban/country life, but the colours were nice and fresh. While they looked ace in the gallery, i could also imagine them in a domestic environment too. which i don't often think about (mostly because I don't really have a 'domestic environment' and i loathe the idea of choosing art vs sofa), but it was quite obvious that you could take one of these home. perhaps just as much a sign of good gallery management as good art. [oh dear, let's not start the debate about good art without a good gallery]

Maree Alexander
Jenny Port

Both miss n and I loved this show - she more than i, but only slightly. only enough so that I was trying to convince her to actually buy a work, without success.
Maree's work reminded us both of the Fischli & Weiss 80 Objects which we had seen at the Sydney Biennale, as well as a little bit of Jake and Dinos Chapman (mostly in the lews posing kind of way). These objects, guilty by association, were posed in saucy but hilarious 'poses' in order to maximise that anthropomorphic tendency in us all. The tableaus were really beautiful and the photographs nicely mounted too (block mounted on a lovely white-coated board). I'm glad we got to see the show - Saturday was the last day - but keep an eye out for miss alexander. I expect that we'll see more of her work soon.

Jolt and the Dark Luminance Project

After all the more traditional works we had seen that day, shifted was like a breath of fresh air. in fact, as we walked into the gallery, miss n and i cooed and aaghed so much that the lovely man in the gallery noted that we must like the show. did we what! the first darkened gallery was filled with silicon/wax cast epithelia - white fingerprints in swarms, like nesting cockroaches almost. except they looked beautiful. and they spread throughout the other 2 galleries - turning up on microphone stands, or in piles around audio cables. gallery 2 featured an installation of a performance space - chairs and microphones, speakers - both on stands and hanging form the ceiling and a camera stream projected on to the wall. in fact, at some stages you could be both filmed/projected and silhouetted onto the wall. i kind of liked the resonance it had with my current work too (how self-obsessed is that!).

even though i'm sure the work, with its electronic/soundscape soundtrack, drove the gallery staff bonkers by the end of the 4 week show, it was fantastic and i look forward to seeing new work of his in the future. in fact i'm looking forward to seeing the next show at shifted.

and so that was albert st, richmond - actually a great mix of trad/new/contemporary works and i can imagine that all the galleries support and feed off each other. especially 'cos i can imagine that most people did as we do and see them all in one go

PS -
Hellraiser - Director's Cut

just as we were leaving richmond for the afternoon, we popped into hell to see what was on (geez, that'll never get old) and got to see the coolest installation by the directors jordan marani and jess johnson: hellraiser. it was a mashup of stuff, but all centered around this idea of the black hole and the icky, gooeyness of life - it was fantastic. there were lots of bright colours and random objects, which i don't usually like, but it was really well set out and was a whole experience, which made it amazing. there tall plinths with big, black blobs of expanding foam, a galaxy of tape-ball planets, black holes made of painted wood, speakers and other nameless things painted in black, all with a soundtrack of evil, cartoon character, squelchy cackle. and then, just as we were leaving, jordan showed us the smoke machine and theramin - the smoke machine suddenly made it into an awesome b-grade english sci-fi set (a la red dwarf and/or doctor who) and the theramin - well, we were like kids in a sweet store.

all in all, it was a super fun day and gave me the much-needed pep i had been craving.

image credits, top to bottom:
Sam Jinks, Untitled, 2008 from the Karen Woodbury website
Mark Kimber, Southbound, 2008 from the John Buckley website
Emily Ferretti, Silver Steeple, 2008 from the Sophie Gannon website
Nicola Chatham, funny how i felt so anxious and it was nothing, 2008 from the Anita Traverso website
Maree Alexander, Closed Doors, 2008 from the Jenny Port website
Jolt (James Hullick), Wigga, 2008 from the Shifted website
Jordan Marani and Jess Johnson, Space balls, 2008 from the Hell Gallery blog

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blatant self-promotion #230

just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, jaws decides to go to jamaica with mario van peebles, man.

and just when you thought you were safe from having to hear about more upcoming projects of mine, i had to go and be part of another awesome group show.

the list of artists involved is amazing and i'm pretty excited to be showing with them - special shout outs go to long-time friend dave peddle, karla way and the jaeger gals.. it's gonna be ace. and also big-ups to RMIT Union Arts, who were very generous and gave me a little bit of cash towards the work, which was super nice of them.

blurb about the show: my world is no bigger than 15 x 15 is a collection of small works by artists across disciplines, research and destinations, all connected by works that are literally no bigger than 15 x 15cm.

blurb about my work: when i realised my world was no bigger than 15 x 15documents the process of "measuring" 15 x 15 cm as a way of knowing space and the realisations that happen when you truly experience the dimensions of your 'world' through empirical and mathematical means.

exhibition dates: 11th - 23rd November
opening night: Tuesday 11th Nov, 6-8pm

At Gallery 374
374 High St
Northcote, Victoria

*Catch the 86 Tram from Bourke St, or walk from Northcote Station - It's just north of Separation St.


This one's only on for a short time, so don't forget to pop in!

PS - the show at Craft Victoria (blatant self-promotion #229) is open until the 29th, so if you're in the CBD, check that out too. I'll upload documentation real soon :)

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my favourite secret to date

i don't know if it's quite as good as it used to be, but i still read postsecret. this one was in the mix yesterday and i think it's my favourite one to date - the perfect start to a week and a nice little antidote to all that schmaltz about love :)

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