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look i found her red coat...


i'm SO obsessed with this cherbic little electro-dubstep-jazz-futurist wunderkind that i just HAD to post this.

james blake. he is fucking brilliant and this song CMYK is playing 24/7 for me at the moment. either in real time, or in the depths of my sonic memory.

but it's not just this song. others like the bells sketch, and air and lack thereof are haunting and lynchian. and his remixes (untold/mount kimbie) are fucking brilliant.

and, just like alex turner from arctic monkeys/last shadow puppets - such genius so young! 22 years old! what is it in the UK water? damn.

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j'adore krink

talk about seeing red... i love this bit of neo-actionism.

thanks to gemma jones, via krink, via glitsch.

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geek week 3


this week has been all about web specs.

and i don't actually know how the rest of the world goes about developing their online spaces.

presumably in big corporate land there's a fair amount of outsourcing to peeps who do it all day everyday. and then there's your extremely ugly SME (small-medium enterprise) site that never gets updated because, really, whose got the time to develop that stuff when you're so time poor as it is.

the nature of the artist-run-initiative (ARI) as a cultural space (similar to that of an SME, in business terms) is one of nimbleness - projects can turnaround quite quickly and they are dynamic and responsive projects. i believe that's why they're important spaces to exist and support - they feed back into the culture quickly and allow for current and relevant thinking. they can also allow for flexibility and mobility in the presentation of works, which is vital for most contemporary art practice.

considering that artists and ARIs are SMEs, i think most of us have pretty spanky sites. compared to your local plumber, electrician or even bookstore, say. and, having said that, for the larger, more established and pro-active ARIs, it can still be pretty difficult to maintain a decent online space, when the real world is taking up an extraordinary amount of time.

especially when the site has outgrown you.

in empirical terms, try building a new gallery building, on your own (or with minimal contractors), whilst still maintaining, programming and staffing the current one. not really an easy task.

which is where i've come in. i'm helping these kids design, spec-up and hand over for development a new site. yeah, i know, doesn't sound all that fantastic really.

BUT, what we will be doing is setting up a template and a documented process for such a renovation. these scribbly, scrawly notes, lines of links and cool widgetty bits that we've used in the mean time will be compiled and edited. then put out into the world somehow.

other artist-run-initiatives can then use them and learn from what we've done, to do their own version.

we don't want to make it oh-so-modular-cut'n'paste, but we want to open up the dialogue. the business/structure of making art is not actually our IP. if we can share the process a little, it can save everyone time. which leaves more room for art production, curating, writing, performance and the goodness of making/presenting art.

we don't actually want to be administrators, believe it or not.


and hey artists, all those exhibition proposals and grant applications you hate? well, they help write web spec documents! yay! you too can spec up a website. it's just like proposing a massive group show in an open gallery space. huzzah!

this week some of the other highlights include: rediscovered my love of basecamp.
and iplotz is totes rad too - wireframe a website online to share, save, export with html-ness. good times.
printable checklist has been in fine form
as has word tables. very daggy, but really helpful in project managing for the time being.

i'm almost looking forward to talking to the developers now....

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hot in the city

i'm sorry if you don't live in melbourne right now. there is SO much on for anyone who is mildly interested in anything other than the lost finale (which, for the record, i'm not).

firstly, the next wave festival is on and although the first week of stuff didn't really get my heart started*, there have been some excellent works on and this week i'm finally having that 'oh crap i need to see 5 things in the one night' moment. PLUS the emerging writers festival has started!

if you haven't been down to the meat market to see the structural integrity pavilions and scott mitchell's smoke machine, for god's sake brave the cold and do it. it will make it all worthwhile.

and if you're whinging about how out-of-the-way the meat market it is, i understand. really, i do. but it's worth it - just get off the 19 tram at queensberry st, it's pretty easy from there.

the other thing you need to do is come to west space and see the feminist project exhibition, the view from here. and you should buy/read the catalogue. it is the hopeful beginning of the next wave of feminist discourse (see what i did there?).

interestingly, the introduction to the female eunuch could easily be the introduction to this work, whereby we've sat on our laurels again got all caught up in raunch culture and fake tans/boob/lips, forgetting that we STILL need to loudly remind ourselves and everyone that exploitation of any kind based on gender (or race, sexual preference or creed for that matter) is not OK.

it's pretty shit, but i've already missed out on the parachutes for ladies' i thought a musical was being made and tape projects' 100 proofs the earth is not a globe. if you're going, i think i might hate you for a while. and if you're not - join the philistine fan club.

things i will not be missing out on:

great heights 2 at melbourne central tonight, featuring kay abude, sam george, michael georgetti, tegan lewis, andrew liversidge, amy + claire spiers and paul wotherspoon.

the infinity tube near the neck face piece off meyers place (now that it has finally arrived!)

and estelle tang's 15 minutes of fame book launch extravaganza, as part of the emerging writers' festival. estelle's blog 3000books is one of the best lit blogs going around, so you should read it and come to the events this week. super ace.

two other shows you should see:

glenn walls' show at john buckley, projects for total urbanism (pictured above). i think it's in the last couple of days, so you should run to richmond. (yes, lauren. ahem)

and owen leong's show, birthmark, at anna pappas. SUCH beautiful photographic works. but you know, i'm biased as he's a dear friend.

PLUS there are a few things i'll be missing out on because i'm giving a lecture at RMIT.

so, if you're not going to grace us with your presence, one of the things you should go and check out the soundkilda music vid competition on at the palace george in st.kilda - showing the hottest music vids on the big screen, which i'm totally into as an idea.

and...actually i can't remember the others - i live in a purely need-to-know timescale at the moment. ha!

if you're not in melbourne, i'm sure your week is great - you've either got waaay more interesting things to do, or you're watching re-runs of the lost finale. either way, i'm happy for you. really.

* except the taking it to the streets forum with lucas ihlein on sunday. i'll talk about that another post.

image credits:
estelle and her facebook page
next wave site
john buckley website
owen leong website
dell stewart and her flickr stream

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i'm writing a functional spec doc for a new website, as part of my geek duties. i'm trying to keep in mind the idea of knowledge share and developing some ways in which we can template the process so that other ARIs can spec up a new site without having a geek on hand.

why? well, i don't know if you know, but most people running an ARI are >< this close to burnout, so any time spared or shared is a wonderful thing. a bit like the way in which we share plinths, lights, projectors, etc.

in the process, i've discovered joel and his excellent blog on developing/program managing/site building. it's all kinda dry, but this gem amongst a sample spec for a web-based time site was the perfect start to a monday morning:

splash screen
An annoying, gratuitous Shockwave animation that plays stupid music and drives everyone crazy.

lmao. seriously.

in other news, turns out that blogging and reading ender's game has been good preparation for this task: writing in plain english and building consensus. oh yeah.

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she says

irony alone is not a sustainable form of political engagement.

listening and silence in the built environment


if you're in melbourne on thursday night, and feel like participating in some discussion about sound, listening, silence, contemplation, architecture, the built environment, philosophy and quietitude, you're in luck.

i'll be giving a lecture as part of the architecture + philosophy series,

covering ideas about listening/silence and the forms of acoustic spaces which facilitate them, i'll focus on the grotto, the cloister, the autobahn and the headphone as a bit of a progression of those spaces.

i may also quote some adorno, some john cage and even wikipedia. just to keep it real.

and i'll also be speaking about some of the work that i've done which relates to a lot of these ideas.

starting at 6:30 pm, it is held at RMIT and will be an interesting night with some thought-provoking discussion. which usually comes from the audience :D

Thursday May 27, 2010
RMIT Building 8, Level 11, Room 68 (8.11.68).
Entrances are on Swanston and Bowen Sts, between Franklin and La Trobe Sts.

No need to RSVP, just turn up.

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Geek week 2


friday already? ah, that's right, i was at an audiology conference earlier in the week.

this week has been a short one, but it has felt more productive and effective than the one before.

some highlights include:

office love

my office desk

i moved into the main office, which was pretty exciting. partly because the workshop here is bloody cold and partly so that i could be a little closer to the action. it has already resulted in some great discussions and some real progress between us here. for all the improvements in technology and remote workstations, sometimes being able to sit in the same room as someone makes a difference.

actually, it has been interesting to note the different working styles for each of us. as i type, i've got my headphones on, with about 10 different browser windows, 6 applications and 5 documents open at once. (how the hell i would do without the tab command and spaces, i've no idea.)

one of the ladies here (on their clapped out system) runs one application, one document at a time. man, i admire that kind of focus. but am not jealous of that motivation :D

and the other powerhouse here is mostly working on the ground, so is pretty mobile in her system usage. but she's running two machines at a time (one for basic admin) and another for multi-tasking LAMF.

meeting the geek aunty

after lots of twitter and email contact, i finally got to meet with fee, the super-dynamic project manager of the geek program. not just nice to put a face to a name, but also to hear about how this program fits in with the others and to see how hard it is to turn a ship around. this program is the beginning of massive change for the australia council, in terms of how it best does its job, and i can tell you honestly that it's pretty exciting to not have to bend and squeeze and squish myself into an old framework quite so much. it's a bit of a relief to see that at least some people at the federal art funding level REALLY understand that contemporary art is very rarely about separated forms (sooooo last century), but about cross/trans/inter/whatever discipline. it's more and more about the whole of society as an engaged output. thank god for that!

web development in the urban environment

Slave Pianos Scaffold

and then today we had our first awesome web development workshop in preparation for our big project of updating the site. the organisation have done a reasonable amount of mapping and discussion already, so i didn't have to reinvent the wheel (thank goodness!). and, i have to say, it was an absolute pleasure running a meeting with peeps who were open, familiar and succinct in web/online culture.

interestingly, for the purpose of starting to really specify our renovated webspace, we decided to use the language of architecture for our semantics. this was based on the idea that the internet is a public space and therefore most sites are similar to buildings and instutitions. we were able to think of navigation as the passageways/windows, discuss 'spaces' as the different means of engagement the gallery has, and to clearly separate roles in making it happen too.

as it stands, i'm currently the architect, interior decorator and removalist. i will be liasing with some engineers, builders and interior designers very soon. it makes life so much easier when you're all talking the same language, i tell you. i'm also amused that the language of urban life translates so well and so easily for us.

i also had another 'i love the interwebs!!' moment when i scored a suggestion for developing wireframes (i'm hoping to give the best possible specifications to the developers, 'cos i reckon there's nothing more time-wasting that the back'n'forth) AND i started a little survey monkey survey design.

next week is going to get really exciting as i start to really play with that wireframe/spec document and organising the copy, media and archiving of the current site. eep! i'm also looking forward to touching base with other OzCo geeks about this stuff too.

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sound in public: audiology australia conference

whoa! what a day!


Art and Audiology Poster

yesterday was the first day of the national audiology conference in sydney. i've been invited here as a participant of a project i've been working on with a small group of audiologist in a community health centre in broadmeadows. we've worked primarily with indigenous teenagers to teach them and engage in education about hearing.

you may or may not know that otitis media, a disease which attacks the outer ear affects about 85% of indigenous children in remote communities. their hearing is severely impaired, which then translates to difficulties with schooling, social development, language (which is where i come in) and spatial perception.

the figures are pretty scary and i learned the true nature of it yesterday in a round table discussion on indigenous hearing health.

the numbers are not so dire when it comes to urban aboriginal and torres strait islander children, but their general and hearing health is still far below colonial australians, so we've been working with them to develop ways in which that can improve.

the initial project we developed was a program that involved some interactive workshops, interactive/performance art and some publications. it was, for a pilot program, pretty successful and gave us the impetus to keep delivering.

we presented a (last minute) paper about the work and have a poster as part of the conference/research section - which i have souped up with an inbuilt podcast, of course. it's all pretty exciting and new and a little bit daunting.

i learned so much here about how the medical/scientific world works, what are the real concerns for those working with hearing/listening/sound in the public health system, who are the key organisations interested in research and how does that all fit in with private practice and/or clinical diagnosis. my mind was being blown into a hundred different directions.

at each session, i took away something relating to my area of research - something that i can adapt to, or consider working with. i also realised that, even more than i originally thought, sound in the public space continues to get even more interesting for me and is revealing even more areas of opportunity. who would have thunk!

and although it might be a bit daggy in the art world, working with community/indigenous health like this is becoming increasingly important to me personally. i'm looking forward to designing some new artworks with/for them in future.

EDIT 1: this forum with artist lucas ihlein will be interesting to attend, in that light too.

EDIT 2: i'm hoping to find links to the papers from the interesting sessions and when i do, i'll post it on my delicious feed.


SSR_ 33

so, as if that wasn't inspirational enough, i finally met up with a fellow public/private sound/device researcher - michael walsh - who is submitting his PhD next month to Monash,and who has been researching the behaviour around sound in public, especially public transport and relevant to the use of PLDs (personal listening devices). i stumbled upon michael's research whilst trying to recruit a fellow presenter for the architecture + philosophy lecture i'm giving at the end of the month. we have a mutual love (read: biography referrals) of dr michael bull and his essays on headphone/ipod use in public life.

we ended up trading opinions, findings and general information for an hour and a half, perched in the thoroughfare at a QVB cafe. it was so fantastic and although it would have been fantastic to compare notes whilst i was doing my masters, in a way i'm glad that i could share my information afterwards instead. i tell ya - meeting of the minds.

social audiology

after a well-deserved home-delivered pizza, the audiologists invited me to join them at a supplier party in the v-swanky ivy bar in george st. i almost lost my shit at the tracey emin neon work in the lower foyer 'take me to heaven' (not the image above, which was pinched from the guardian site, and the hip penthouse bar was a real treat: sunken round lounge, cast concrete planks for the curved walls, free cosmopolitans (and they made me up a shaken orange+cranberry mocktail) and super-cute cupcakes. these audiologists are a spunky bunch, i tell you!

needless to say, i was absolutely knackered by the end of it, but man i'm havin' a great time. i'm so grateful to the crew from dianella hearing services for their courage to work with art as a means of communicating health issues and to continue a developing relationship with me as an artist.

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geek week 1

Label MakerW

well, it's friday and i promised myself that every friday i would update the world with my week as a geek with west space.

for any of you that have been following my twitter feed, you will know that it's been a pretty exciting and full week. i've spent a bit of time orienting myself within the space, getting to know the peeps and helping with a pretty AV-heavy install (which opens tonight - view from here, west space, 6pm, come along).

in the last couple of days, as well as doing tech support, i've been doing a tech inventory of the gallery's store room. for an artist-run-space, west space are reasonably well-stocked for artists who work in AV. my job over the last couple of days has been to start making that store-room super organised so that the gallery knows what's available and what they need. and artists will be afforded the same pleasure. it's so much easier to make work when you understand the edges of your limitations.

Kelly and her hot lampW

they already have separated boxes of cables: short and long RCA, power cables and speaker cables. they also now have one for extension leads (which is empty already). i haven't had to do too much cable untangling (despite my recent video about that same process). they have great stack of lights and their shelving is already well-labelled too, so i feel like it's a great place to continue the process. we've managed to make tech upgrades a bit sexy - lots of 'hot' adjectives added to things like lamps, globes, power, etc.

i've always thought that good tech interaction is all about labelling and so on wednesday afternoon i invested in a new label maker and have been labelling all the cables while i'm measuring and counting them. that same label maker has been labelling remotes (so that people invigilating the space know which goes with what) and the occasional funtimes.

we labelled victoria (the co-curator of the show) as a feminist. shock.

Feminist LabelW

yesterday i finally started the office tech inventory, 'cos we're going to try and do some fundraising to improve their rickety equipment. i know that i'm in the right space, 'cos everything is on the Mac platform (i think i would have cried if i had to upgrade a PC environment. sorry, heart on sleeve). they're on the highest level of OSX that their towers allow, but the printers are wirelessly networked (which is brilliant when working out in the back room) and all our laptops can slot into the system pretty easily.

i've also learned a stack-load of new stuff and met some super-ace artists. i've discovered the joys of HDMI and media players, been able to chat with some great female video/performance artists like Hayley Forward and Jess Olivieri from Parachutes for Ladies, Brown Council, Hannah Raisin and Keira Brew Kurec.

My desk

last night at the next wave/structural integrity/west space opening i had the chance to chat with some of the board members and everyone is pretty happy to have me on board. they can't quite believe that i like being called a geek. little do they know...

anyway my task by the end of this week is to have finished the labelling, inventory and to sort out a weird glitch of the printer using up colour toner even when printing black only. that's gonna be fun. i'm also crafting an idea for an artwork that will capture the residency on a daily basis. stay tuned for more info on that.

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tangles at plug'n'play


this week is pretty crazy with Next Wave Festival opening: lots of shows, performances, launches and gigs to go to.

One that you should all come to is the Plug'n'Play night at Horse Bazaar. After you've been to the Next Wave opening at the Meat Market and then the Festival Club at £1000 Bend, wander up the hill a little and have a chill/dance/looksy at the DJ/VJ stuff going on there. I have a video work there - an extension of the work at Seventh Gallery.

Here's the official blurb:

Anyone who owns a technogadget knows that process of having to disentangle the mess of cords. On a daily basis we unravel our headphone cables, untwist the laptop power cord, separate the printer from the scanner from the ethernet cable from the toaster. It is the modern condition of having to sort out our bloody technology.

Ariadne’s tangled bloody mess reflects this frustrating process, and sets it up as a metaphor for other kinds of disentanglement. It is a slow tracking projection, the unravelling and undoing a knot of red cable. In greek mythology Ariadne gave Theseus a length of red thread to find his way back from the Minotaur’s labyrinth. The term has become a way to describe the methodical process by which we solve problems – a way to talk about logic and order, integral to technology design

And the deets

where: Horse Bazaar
379 Little Lonsdale St

when: Thursday 13th May, from 8:30pm

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geek: first day


sometimes in the art world i feel like the biggest fraud. i'm not super cool, i'm not a master craftsperson at one particular thing - it's usually just all the time i spend in my head that has served me best.

so when i started today as one of the geeks, i was a little nervous - that maybe i wasn't techy enough. I can't recite the specs of a parallel circuit, or break down every kind of video codec available known to man. but i know a little bit of tech stuff about a lot of things. and, like a good library-goer, i know how to find the information i need.

so when i rocked up at the meat market west space pavillion and also at the gallery install for the feminist project i almost cried. not only was i able to help straight away, but i knew exactly how to solve the problems and i got to go and visit some of my favourite suppliers (jaycar and jbhifi).

my first task was to buy headphone amp and headphones! hey, i know headphones..

Headphone Amps

best of all, the sigh of relief from some of the artists and the curators at having someone to deal solely with technology was like the sound of tinkerbell and butterflies. i could tell that it just made the whole process of installing, making, exhibiting art just that little bit easier. and that was just in my first two hours!

i think i'm gonna like it here.

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super-official: geek in residence.

aw man, i've been holding onto this info for what seems like an eternity!

but now it's all official:

i'm one of the geeks in the australia council/arts digital era Geek-In-Residence program.

read the press release here.

what does this mean? well, i'll be doing a fair amount of tech/system-based stuff with the super-awesome peeps at west space and some of their friends.

it also means that this blog will, from tomorrow for the next three months, feature a blow-by-blow account of the tech vs art battle. there may be some bad geek jokes. sorry.

and if it's really not your thing, i understand. i'll see you when i'm in berlin :)

so, here's to good news.

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she sees red

here's a list of stuff i'm angry about at the moment. i don't presently have time to go into extensive detail (lucky for you poor readers), but i might soon. just you wait.

1. skinny jeans rape acquittals. nicholas gonzales in sydney was acquitted from raping a woman because a juror (NOT even evidence presented as defence) felt that because our victim was wearing skinny jeans, that there must have been some consent as those things don't just come off on their own.

to that juror: fuck off and die in a hole. go back to the barbarism of the 18th century and see how serfdom suits you.

2. deveny getting booted. much has been written about her. i know. and although i am a fan of her stuff (and have followed her column, twitter and books), even i found the rove tweet a bit much. AND i was reading it real time. (unlike much of the judging public). as an aside, i think she could have dealt with the fracas a leetle better.

but fired? are you kidding me?

riddle me this - what do matthew johns, sam newman, bert newton and kyle sandilands all really have in common?

3. oil vomitting out into the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico. oh lord - where to start...
if you're going to do surgery, know how to stop a haemorrhage first.

4. resources capital heads deciding that they might take their bat and ball and go home because they're being charged extra to plum the land. see this

i know that K-Rudd is not this forward-thinking (maybe he was in a previous life, i dunno). but as much as this capital hostage is fucked, i'm also hoping that this is a strange and almost-genius environmental policy based on reverse psychology. tax the fuck out of the bastards, they throw a tantrum. we reduce our carbon emissions and stop desecrating aboriginal land. hooray!

there. done. next time: good news.

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sound in the public realm

love attack!!

as seen in brighton, UK. via wooster. [click to enlarge]

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death, silence, performance and architecture

Abracadaver_Bus2 Web

For some absurd reason, i'm reading Michel Foucault's Spectacle of the Scaffold.

Morbidity by the French philosopher seemed a fitting chaser to the sexual introspection and feminist meanderings of Erica Jong's Fear of Flying. Suffice to say, i'm having some weird dreams at the moment.

Anyway, Foucault speaks about the public changes of death-as-punishment and they appear to coincide with political changes of modern democracy. It seems that one man, one vote, also inspired the idea of one man, one death - that the punishment of torture by a thousand deaths (first drawn and quartered, flayed, then dragged along behind a horse and cart before being burnt at the stake and ashes scattered to the wind, etc) was barbaric (!) and not fitting a system that sought equality and civilisation. He describes the history of penal changes in which punishment is gradually separated from a corporal act into that of the soul (or at least the mind) - a concept which is well-known by the legal peeps, but i found it disturbingly fascinating.

All of this has got me thinking again about death.

Death as the ultimate silence - a true absence of sound.

Death as a political consideration - one necessarily built into the public system of governance, law and order and infrastructure. In terms of death-as-punishment, it is the absolute removal of a citizen's place in society: the removal of one voice. And such a lack of voice is in fact the only silence in the public realm. It is primarily an undesirable one. Not this utopian, desired, i-just-need-some-peace-and-quiet silence, but the true absence of sound.

Death as an act to be performed- that the performance associated with capital punishment - in all its forms across the centuries - have been a performance of creating death and silence.

Architecture of death - the gallows, the guillotine, the dungeon and the death row prison ward - all architectural types for the creation of silence. Foucault speaks of the ever-lengthening distance between The Executioner and the prisoner - no longer does he even touch the body, but now presses a button. Has the designer who is charged with the task of designing these spaces begun to take on these roles?

These are just a few loose ideas, but something which has been an unexpected aside to my research into sound/listening/silence in public.

I know you think it's too morbid a subject for a Sunday morning, but how's this for timing:

- Yesterday was the Melbourne Zombie Shuffle
- Daniel Mudie Cunningham resurrected his Funeral Songs blog and
- Elvis Richardson and Claire Lambe have opened a new space called Death be Kind which opens on 29 June with The Memorial.

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dell stewart is another artist blogger type gal from melbourne. she makes such beautiful sweet works and has a total thing for woodgrain which is super cute. she has an exhibition at craft victoria at the moment, which you should all go and see. it's a collaboration with andrea eckersley and they've combined their love of geometric shapes with a perfect blend of wonky.

wonky is my new favourite word at the moment, by the way.

andrea's paintings and fashion pieces - with the right amount of stripe - floated my boat like high salt content and if i had cash, i would splash out on that shit for sure.

and dell's campfire? aw man - will somebody please do the world a favour and add it to their major collection?

anyway, as you can probably tell, i loved the show. go and see it.

image credit: pinched from dell's blog and her website dellstewart.com.