Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy new Year

Mayhem is in the big apple so sorry for lack of activity and local updates.

so far I've been on a routine tourist rampage but one of the highlights was checking out the painterliness of Marcel Duchamp at MOMA. I've chucked on a pic taken with my cell phone (argh - getting american already) - but GET THIS ONE UP YA DONALD KUSPIT!!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lucazoid's picks this week:

super8 screening at the chauvel cinema:
DLUX media arts screening of super8 shorts including original works by Rowan Woods, Nick Myers, Virginia Hilyard, Catherine Lowing

Chauvel Cinema, Tues 12 Dec, 7-9pm, Cnr Oxford st and Oatley Road Paddington



pet photo booth at the Australian Centre for photography:


Pet Photo Booth is a colourful travelling pop culture extravaganza by West Australian artists Justin Spiers and Yvonne Doherty.

Following a year spent capturing owners posing with their pets at animal competitions and Royal shows in WA, the artists are setting-up their backdrops, lights and cameras in ACP's new Gallery 3. Justin and Yvonne will be hosting the booth from Friday 8 to Saturday 23 December during Pet Project.


To make your booking call 02 9332 1455 or complete the form below:

Take home a photo memento and become a part of this interactive exhibition!


don't look gallery has an exhibition all about text messaging.

At Don't Look Gallery we have an exciting month coming up! All

exhibitions and events are FREE and everyone is welcome.

This month we have:

1) Last exhibition of the year;

'tXt:> tranSmission' by Matt and Greer Rochford

Opening Thursday December 7, 6pm

(Please see below for more details)

2) Christmas Party:

Sunday December 17, 6pm

DJ, Drinks, all welcome!

3) The LOOK! Don't Look Short Film Festival.

Beginning Wednesday December 20.


We'll be closed over Christmas on the inside, but very much open to

the outside world. Come December 20 our display window will become

home to our short film festival.

If you've got a video that's a bit experimental and under 10 mins,

please submit it and we may play it. Please drop submissions off to

419 New Canterbury Rd Dulwich Hill during opening hours.

tXt:> tranSmission

WHEN: Opening Thursday December 7, 6pm
Thurs Dec 7 - Sat Dec 16 (Thur-Sat 11-5)

WHERE: DON'T LOOK Experimental New Media Gallery
419 New Canterbury Rd (Near Marrickville Rd ), Dulwich Hill

WHO: Matthew Rochford and Greer Rochford
CONTACT: Greg Shapley - Ph: 0401 152 434, Email:

tXt:> tranSmission

To what extent have technologies become part of us? Or, inversely, have we become part of our technologies? Where do we end and they

begin? How would most of us feel without the simple technology of clothing for instance -- exposed, cold, incomplete perhaps?

How many of us now feel exposed, cold and incomplete without more sophisticated technologies such as the internet and mobile phones?

Brother/sister team Matt and Greer Rochford are Cyborgs. Technology consumes their existence. It mediates and mitigates the flow of thought and feeling between them, and between them and the rest of the world. Theirs is a world of the cyber-polis.

For a year, separated by vast distances, their main communication was the prudent text message. Every truncated word has been logged, providing ample raw material for this exploration of long distance communication in the age of instant, electronic, satisfaction.

In the nineteenth century, time became measurable; in the twentieth, time became money. Now time is data -- gigahertz and bits-per-second. We measure the worth of technology by how fast it can transfer data around the world; by how precisely space is annihilated by time. It is this speed of digital communication that warps and recreates our perceptions of intimacy and immediacy.

Matt and Greer Rochford use a variety of media; photography, computer manipulated text, and transmission static and interference to convey this communication -- this bridging (or perhaps erasure) of distance.

In this exhibition they explore the volatility of communication and interpretation through the use of degraded signals, mixed messages, illusion and allusion.

Greer Rochford is a photographic artist who experiments with a variety of mediums, pushing the boundaries of traditional photography. She deals with ideas such as surveillance, technoscience and alienation.

Her kid brother, Matt, explodes myths and storms social barricades. He is continually searching for the point where he ends and the rest of the world begins.



Monday, November 27, 2006

sliced brown bread dipped in mulligatawney

Lately I've been receiving art reviews by SMS! how cool is that?

The above was about the entries for the paddo art prize. the writer described the winner as "the same with a garnish of parsley"

I take this person's judgement to be FACT - so, err, yeah, there you have it need to bother making the trip, unless you're a big fan of mulligatawney.

Personally I cant wait to truck on over to Dulwich Hill for "It's Time for a Climate Change". they reckon you can "Come and get your Climate Change Christmas, birthday and wedding gifts, or, something special for that impending baby shower at DON'T LOOK GALLERY from 22 Nov - 3 Dec 2006.

Are you waiting in eager anticipation for climatic shifts ahead? Can't wait for that rising tide of apathy to wash us out to sea? Neither can Brendan Penzer.

Penzer, artist and social ecologist, has set-up shop in Don't Look Experimental New Media Gallery for a two-week clearance sale; mementos, knickknacks and a range of life's essential contemporary survival items - it's all got to go! Come and celebrate our present social, political and environmental climate by spending your swelling mortgage payments on things that 'really' matter.

Direct from Cronulla we have white picket fences that have been ripped from their moorings. These 'self-de-fence pickets' make great paddles for when tides start to rise, make bonza spades to dig holes in which to stick our heads, and (when all else fails) we can come out swinging against anyone who looks different or talks funny.

Also on sale, some lovely (soon to be) relics, including bottles of water from our once great flowing rivers and some rare clean air samples from last century (including an exquisite 1988 bi-centenary vintage). 'What an investment!' Don't wait to pay $$$ on ebay!

Still want more ...? You won't be disappointed with our great selection of fashion items. We have some very stylish red-neck rashies; guaranteed to ward off both skin cancer, and undesirables. Or there's the 'Bible Belt'. This most essential of items will offer the support you require (homosexuals, women, Muslims and green's voters excepted).

But that's not all! Everything comes with a free set of mis-steak knives! And how much would you expect to pay for all of this stupidity? Don't pay the earth... ...well, yes, actually, the earth will do very nicely...

So get on down to DON'T LOOK for the It's Time for a Climate Change sale."


It's that funny time of year when Sydney gets completely frenzied - art school graduation shows coincide with the 'christmas' shows for most commercial galleries.these involve a mixed bag of works on paper or smaller works by their stables and hangers on - that are meant to be a sort of a 'stocking filler' for the art buying public. I guess it beats late night shopping.....

So early december is a big sweaty frenzy of hastily pulled together group shows - that are more about the show than the group - and lashings of free piss, and sweaty drunken crowds, with the odd canape.....

and then in a couple of weeks it all dies down. Art schools close for a few months (unless they're running cash generating summer courses) - and the commercial galleries all close for their xmas holidays - which can run from 4-10 weeks.

Late December and January are pretty mordant times for an art spectator, and pretty lean times for an art critic. DON'T LOOK Gallery are running stuff on December 20th and December 30th - but I haven't heard about anything forthcoming apart from that.

Even the Sydney festival limits the ART part of its ARTS content to plugging some show at the MCA. AGNES has good aircon and free films on wed arvo and night - so I reckon its the place to be.... and if gawking/gaggin at Monica Tichaheks scarey girlie gore shadowers gets too much you can always go and eyeball the preraphaelites and ellioth gruner in the old and empty section, and vow, never again to curse trendy postmodernists and their hold on cultural institutions. think of sydney in january. Lots of cricket and not much art. total total hell. this is why I'm pissing off overseas for the summer. I like to spend january in a black skivvy.

Before the gloom of an endless beige sets in - get out and enjoy the splashing stupidity of the artyparty frenzy!

Here's a choice selection of tidbits:

On Tuesday Legge
has their xmas party opening. you can see a selection of their highlights that you may have missed - including JUMAADI, Alan Jones - and hopefully Catherine Hearse - and definitely My Mate Steve.
6-8pm tuesday 28th november at 183 Regent Street Redfern
Show runs till 9the december, then gallery is closed till 5th feb.

On Wednesday COFA has its big fine arts graduation show. Traditionally it was held on the same night as the NAS graduation show and oxford street was awash with pissed art students and coteries staggering between the two - but they've separated the nights.

so - no excuses for not making both opening nights. (except cirrrhosis). this is the last chance probably to see the two distinct art schools and examine what the hell makes them so different - or similar. ahhh F-block!, F-block! thank you for the memories!

On Thursday NAS has the same thing
. ahh! - goon!, sandstone! objets d'art and angsted students! will we ever see you again?

Friday - I forgot what's on.

Saturday - Sheffer Gallery has an opening called SWEET DECEMBER - which opens from 5-7pm and runs till December 23rd.(38 Lander Street Darlo)

Sheffer is a small, but extremely attractive gallery between abercrombie street, redfern and sydney Uni. they've had some really interesting shows by unsnathced up artists with amazing results - shannon Johnston's show being a case in point.
the new show has small paintings by Sandra Winkworth of funny looking BIRDS, plus some larger paintings by HIROMI OZAKI - that look more like linear draiwings of flowers and blossoms. Tres noice. i'm goin for the photos by PAOLA TALBERT, who (in between gigs as paparazzi for Schappylle Scragg) has been working on a series of DROWNING VIRGINS for the past 5 years. Her prints are large floaty sonnets of underwater light, flowing fabric and hair and soft dabbled limbs. right up mayhems alley.

On radio today - i'll gabble more about the stuff I saw last week - especially IT's A NEW DAY - but save the UWS review for my art schools lament next week.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Claire Conroy's Lightspeed

This week on Art and Mayhem, Lucazoid interviewed Claire Conroy, who has an exhibition of pinhole photographs taken inside the back of a truck as she journeyed from the eastern rim of the Sydney basin, all the way to the foot of the Blue Mountains. There's a small snippet at the end, of a sound work by Kelly Sturgess. Conroy invited several sound artists to make a sonic response to the photographs, working with field recordings taken during the exposure of the pinhole photo. You can listen to the interview here [9min 8mb mp3 file]. Claire's exhibition is on at Mori Gallery until December 2, 2006.

Daz also has a new segment on Monday Overdrive called "The Spider". This week she interviewed West Australian blogger Emma Lurie about her project "Adopt a Microbe". You can listen to that one (which includes some terrific dramatisations of talking microbes!!) here [6 min 6mb mp3 file]

This week, get along to see: (scroll down for more details on all of these, at Mayhem's posting "Pissy Season" below)...

- the Martin Sharp retrospective (including new works) at the Ivan Dougherty gallery (opening Tues 21st Nov) ...

-The UWS Nepean final graduation exhibition, opening on Friday night at Z building, UWS Penrith Campus (Kingswood).

-Artist-Curator speed dating. Sat night, 6pm, Artspace, Wooloomooloo.
Yes, that's right. Organised by Anne Kay and Josie Cavallaro. For all the details see the it's a new day blog.

-Engage art and Interactivity Conference at UTS. 26-28 November. For all the details see their site.

-another SquatSpace Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty, happening Sat 25 Nov, 2-6pm. For all the details see the SquatSpace website.

It's the pissy SEASON!

Get you're drinking boots on - coz it's time for art, goon and sweaty hangovers!

There's so much free piss - that I've confined plugs to QUALITY ART!

Tomorrow night a big Martin Sharpe retrospective opens at IVAN DOUGHERTY galery - next to COFA in Paddington.

Wedensdya everything opens but mayhem strongly recommends

BRENDAN PENZER 'It's Time For A Climate Change'
an un(site)ly specific installation at
Don't Look Experimental
New Media Gallery.
419 New Canterbury Rd
Dulwich Hill


"It's a new Day" promises to revolutionise the exclusive KLUB KOOL atmosphere of most ARTSPACE RESIDENCY OPENINGS - with a completely insane wildboys cave party!
this will kick of a month of everything from speed dating to barn dances.

so giddown to Cowper Wharf Road woolloomoolloo and go into that big old building opposite the Pie Cart!



Bloody crying shame and worth trucking on out to Penrith for.

The opening night will be on Friday the 24th November at the infamous Z building at Kingswood Campus to be officially opened by special guest Kon Gouriotis (Executive Director of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre).
With only ten days to go this is your chance to support the next generation of Western Sydney artists, and an exciting opportunity to venture out West if this is not the norm for you.

For more information check out:


Speed Dating at ARTSPACE!

If you are sick of fun and frivolity and want a nice bums on seats ponderous chingwag - then DON't MISS THIS!

ENGAGE: Interaction, Art and Audience Experience
University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
26-28 November 2006

FREE PUBLIC TALKS - Sunday 26 November 3-5pm
UTS Building 2 - Level 4 - Theatre 13 (map:

Tim Boykett, Founding member of Time’s Up, Austria
Professor Ernest Edmonds, Director of Creativity and Cognition Studios,
Professor Beryl Graham, Co-editor of CRUMB, resource for new media
curating, UK

The full symposium includes more than 30 presentations by leading
researchers in the field of interaction, art and audience experience,
featured talks by:

Andrew Brown - Manager, Digital Media Program at ACID, Australia
Bill Gaver - Professor of Design, Goldsmiths College, University of
London, UK
Mike Stubbs - Head of Exhibitions at the Australian Cenre for the
Image, Australia

Provisional Programme online

Sponsored by:
ACID, the Australasian CRC for interaction Design
ANAT, Australian Network for Art and Technology

And, for your touring pleasure... Tour of Beauty:
In response to Engage and OzCHI conference at UTS, Sydney’s SquatSpace
be running another popular ‘Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty’, a bus and
bicycle tour of a number of Redfern-Waterloo’s housing, development and
historical hotspots. For further information, please go to:

For further information, please contact Deborah Turnbull on +61 2 9514

Monday, November 13, 2006

CITYtalking - Astra Howard

This week on Art and Mayhem, Lucazoid spoke with Daz about CITYtalking, a project by Astra Howard in the laneways of Melbourne. Astra, in her mobile conversation booth, roamed the inner city streets and lanes. Conversations were transcribed and became scrolling LED messages on the outside surface of the booth. Lucazoid sat in the booth with Astra and asked her about the project.

Listen to the segment as it went to air on 2ser here. (8mb 9 min mp3)

or - Listen to a chunk of conversation between Lucazoid and Astra here. (2.5mb 5 min mp3)

(Note the sound quality is sometimes a little poor due to the fact that the recording was being made with a microphone shoved up against a little intercom speaker! But it certainly gives the atmosphere of the street!)


Also this week, we suggested you get along to Cross Art Projects for this:

The Cross Art Projects exhibition & talks invitation


You are invited to a conversation with artist Poklong Anading and Ramon E.S. Lerma, curator Ateneo Art Gallery, Ateneo de Manila University.

When: Saturday 18 November, 4 to 6pm, with drinks after Exhibition on View: 10 to 19 November 2006
Where: The Cross Art Projects
33 Roslyn Street , Kings Cross, Sydney (opposite St
Lukes Hospital gates)
Information: Jo Holder 9357 2058 or 0406 537933

The Cross Art Projects
A space for independent art & curatorial studies
Director: Jo Holder
Wednesday to Saturday, 11 to 6
T: + 61 (02) 9357-2058

and this (thanks to Mayhem for these paragraphs...)

The Performance Protest: called "Sleeping with The
Enemy" will be re-enacted THIS SATURDAY NOVEMBER 18th
from 6-8pm at "Glint Gallery", Level 1, 226 Union
Street South Newtown.

UWS visual arts and performance is being shut down,
and NAS and COFA are extremely likely to merge.

While the SMH and the Australian have had various
articles from NAS 'supporters' often dishing out anti
COFA vitriol about the great postmodern conspiracy -
this can hardly count as a credible defence of a
pluralist art education system.

In fact some nasty rumours say that under the merger
COFA will lose their fine arts departments becoming a
purely 'design' school. This would SUCK as much as
losing the NAS.

Fortunately, one woman and one gorrilla are
attempting to resist the closures/mergers/crap about
art schools in sydney.

The Performance Protest: called "Sleeping with The
Enemy" will be re-enacted THIS SATURDAY NOVEMBER 18th
from 6-8pm at "Glint Gallery", Level 1, 226 Union
Street South Newtown.

This is not just a chance to sip goon while gawking at
a whacky art student in a wedding veil pretending to
fuck a gorilla - but COULD actually be a good
opportunity for a discussion and exchange of ideas
about the current art school closures in sydney that
goes beyond the fatuous partisan name calling that has
been occuring in the press of late.

I've ranted elsewhere about why I believe in
preserving as many art shcools as possible - but I
also believe that given the politicla climate of
increasing censorship, that

art is often banal as hell - but we all know deep down
that it is also can be subversive, powerful and a
vital part of 'democracy'.

while there are still 4 TAFEs offering diploma or
certificate courses.... these are included under
'business, design and computing" and as NSW has a
state election next year - they are also a bit

Does no one give a shit?

If you haven't signed the save UWS petition: go to

lets go down fighting!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NAS vs COFA part 5

Cruising the blogworld - I found this GREAT posting about one woman and one gorrillas attempt to end the closures/mergers/crap about art schools in sydney.

Nasty rumours say that under the merger COFA will lose their fine arts departments: painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics and move/merge the whole lot with NAS - meanwhile becoming a purely 'design' school.

Maybe this explains the relative lack of action by NAS students - and the firey support that COFA students gave to the gorilla girl....... anyway - decide fer yerselves.......

The Performance Protest: called "Sleeping with The Enemy" will be re-enacted THIS SATURDAY NOVEMBER 18th from 6-8pm at "Glint Gallery", Level 1, 226 Union street South Newtown.

this is not just a chance to sip goon while gawking at a whacky art student in a wedding veil pretending to fuck a gorilla - but COULD actually be a good opportunity for a discussion and exchange of ideas about the current art school closures in sydney that goes beyond the fatuous partisan name calling that has been occuring in the press of late.

OVER THE SUMMER, SYDNEY WILL LOSE HALF OF ITS DEGREE BASED ART SCHOOLS. (there are still 4 TAFEs offering diploma or certificate courses.... but for how long?)

"I turned up on the NAS campus with my bed, my mini-kilt and my fluffy white gorilla, Manilla, who's a vanilla dyke, and we started performing dutifully.

At that point, some members of the staff came to me with soft smiles and asked me if I was going to stay there long, that maybe I could move, hum, before the Honours Degree Show opens at 6pm? Please? And why not right now? No?

This is a rock, a peak, a peninsula! (to quote Cyrano de Bergerac) Un comble, puisqu'il faut parler frog! I tried to contact these people during a week for them to tell me what would bean appropriate time for my perf to take place, and no-one told me THAT? Ouh là là là là là là........

Never mind, ça ne fait rien. I went on and tried to engage with students and passers-by, to try and raise questions, statements of opinion, et coetera. I got a few amused encouragements, a lot of indifference, and giggles galore. No-one seemed to take the matter seriously. ARe we so used to the masks and screens that we ignore the faces and real world behind? Are NAS people so blasés about my humour?

You want my word? I think the whole Caca thing is way out of their cognitive field because they believe in good taste, les c...s.

So off I went, je suis allée me faire voir ailleurs, namely at COFA. Believe me, pushing a hospital bed on Oxford Street at peak hour is fun. Now I've got the six packs and each time I laugh, my abds hurt as hell! Thank you RTA for the bus lane. But not for the hole in the bitumen each five meters.

At COFA, which is to some NAS people what Saddam is to George, I had a better welcoming. Not only did the students there cheer me and engage seriously with me, but the head of the marketing department and the dean himself insisted on dialoging with me. I don't think they got the Caca humour either, but well, as Gertrude Stein said, "There is, was and always will be the official art, and the art." And heads usually are on the official art side. Nevertheless, the dean invited a few students and myself to have an impromptu conference in his office, during which he exposed his vision of the future if COFA takes over NAS.
As a matter of fact, he was speaking about it in the indicative future, giving us the impression the merging had already happened. Maybe it's just like the cross city tunnel, it HAS already happened but we don't know it yet, we'll wake up one morning and there'll be twins towers instead of the good old chapel. He looked really confident and radiated with good will.
But he was still heralding the disappearance of one more art school in Sydney and finding it would be a good thing, R.I.P. National Art School.

Manilla started sobbing and I got scared she'd get upset, so we shook hands and ended the dialog."

Monday, November 06, 2006


Extending an invitation to see new work by Shane Forrest
opening Wednesday 8 November from 6pm
8-25 November
A-Space on Cleveland
420 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills 2010
9698 5156
10am – 5.30pm
Wednesday to Saturday

The title of this latest exhibition by Shane Forrest, FLOAT, is in part a reference to the erotic`floating world' of Japanese woodblock prints. Shane Forrest in his non-artist life teaches Japanese. In many of these dissected observations of very ordinary suburban houses, so typical of Forrest's home suburb of Leichhardt, floats a couple having sex amongst a kaleidoscope of interior wall papers, rugs, tiles, curtains and other patterned furnishings that is a reflection of the everyday banality of our lives.

Amusingly his titles allude to the advertising phrases and quips that real estate agents love to use to sell houses. For example `Cosy Cottage Feel' and `Delightful Brick Veneer'.

However in these collaged, painted and often three dimensional works, Forrest celebrates the individual and his `castle' despite or even because of its kitsch wonderfulness. Rooves bristle with equipment to trap floating transmissions, breezes and sunlight. The flayed interiors reveal dizzying patterned surfaces where couples play out their lives, seemingly unobserved, be it in the glare of a television set or in the jumble of their kitchen. In fractured, pop-up compostions Forrest gives a nod to Persian miniature painting with its vertical perspective and patterning.

This catalogue of suburban architecture with its erotic undertones is both highly amusing and an insightful observation into what makes Sydney more than the bland landscape that it sometimes seems.

Previous exhibitions at A - SPACE on Cleveland and in the Sydney Opera House foyer have been very popular and this collection of new works is sure to be just as rewarding.

The exhibition runs from Wed 8 to Sat 25 November 2006.

The opening of the exhibition will be on Wednesday 8 November from 6 to 8 pm

The gallery is open from Wednesday to Saturday 10 am to 5.30 pm

Media Inquiries: Pam Blondel Telephone/Fax: 9698 5156 Mobile: 0418 239 244

Gallery Hours: 10am - 5.30 pm Wednesday to Saturday

Just*ice? Antarctica is melting
Paintings by Lisa Roberts

Opening night Wednesday 8th of October 6pm-8pm
show runs to - 3rd December, 2006

M.A.D (make a difference), Sustainable Art and Design Centre, 55 Enmore Rd, Newtown, 2042,
Ph:(02)95573411, Fax:(02)95573021, Email:

Opening Hours- Tues: 11-5.30pm, Wed: 11-5.30pm, Thurs: 11-7pm, Fri: 11-5.30pm, Sat: 10-6pm, Sun: 11-4pm (or by appointment)

M.A.D is proudly a Reverse Garbage Project
Reverse Garbage Co-Op
8/142 Addison Rd, Marrickville, 2204, Ph:(02) 95693132, Fax: (02)95609765

An exhibition by

Claire Conroy

Opening Wednesday 8 November 2006 6-8pm
Exhibition 8 November – 2 December 2006
Wednesday – Saturday
11-6 or by appointment +612 92832903

‘Nepean River’ 3m x 1m pin-hole photograph by Claire Conroy

Lightspeed: a journey across Sydney in a pin-hole camera

“The biggest piece of domestic machinery, which is an extension of our homes and our own private space, is the motorcar. When people drive they have the possibility of death at their own fingertips. And then, people are aware of a whole range of emotions that can't express when they're in their office, dealing with other people, that they can express alone in a car. You can't swear at your secretary for making a spelling mistake but you can swear at another driver behind your windshield” JG Ballard.

Lightspeed: a journey across Sydney in a pin-hole camera is an ambitious solo exhibition by Claire Conroy which opens at Mori Gallery on November 8. Conroy has transformed a 2 tonne truck into a pin-hole camera and taken a road trip across Sydney from Berry Island reserve in Sydney Harbour west towards the Blue Mountains. With a small hole drilled in the side of the truck Conroy stopped at various points along the way using the power of natural sunlight to document her journey. The results are a virtuoso series of 3 meter photographic paper negative prints of the view from the road – toll gates, motorways, bridges, roads, car parks and roadside scenery.

While the truck-stop has been a recurring source of artistic inspiration, perhaps most memorably captured in Ed Ruscha's photographs of gas stations from California to Oklahoma, Conroy's use of the pin-hole camera allows the viewer to return to the roadside image in a startlingly new way. The long exposure times - Conroy spent hours holed up inside an often sweltering truck waiting for the image to expose – has the curious affect of capturing the solid infrastructure of the road whilst deleting the moving elements of the cars. This coupled with the negative quality of pinhole prints makes Conroy's images extremely dark, brooding and ominous. The black skies, ghostly white trees, and completely empty roads imbues Lightspeed with a post-apocalyptic feeling of life after the crash of civilisation.

Conroy explains that one of her inspirations for this work was David Cronenburg’s film adaptation of the 1973 novel by JG Ballard Crash. Ballard's controversial book uses the metaphor of the car crash to explore aspects of contemporary psychology. It tells the story, through the author's own voice, of a man who, after surviving a car crash, gets involved with a group of people sexually obsessed with celebrity, death and car crashes.

At a crucial moment in the film one of the characters tell the hero “that’s the future Ballard and your already part of it, there is a benevolent psycho-pathology that beckons towards us… the car crash [is a] fertilising rather than destructive event.” Conroy pursues this metaphor in her work by opening it up to a new layer of meaning. What if the crash were not the specific experience of tragedy on the motorway, fuelled by psycho-sexual addiction to cars, but the crash of motorway culture itself?

In each of Conroy’s prints she carefully counter poses organic and natural elements alongside the empty infrastructure of roads. These subtle and gentle juxtapositions remind the viewer of the environmental consequences of a society obsessed with cars. As Conroy explains “in using an old mode of photography such as pin hole photography I have attempted to in some way slow the world down.” Conroy’s work thus situates the viewer between the autopia and the autogeddon, a strange world where the structure of the landscape if dominated by the car and yet the car itself has all but vanished from the picture.

Of course this exit is not entirely complete. Central to Conroy’s work is the understanding that the images you are looking at were taken through the medium of a truck, which was driven west out of Sydney on the motorway. And attached to several images are a series of soundscapes composed by Kelly Sturgiss (Flat Products Division), Naomi Radom (Coda), Jarrah Kidd (BumbleBeez81), Kate Carr, Toni Buck (The Necks), David Haines and Joyce Hinterding (Sun Valley), Giovanna Picoi (The Lunettes) and Sam Johnson (Swinging and Tasty Bag). Each of these artists has worked with found sound at the sites of the photographic exposures, incorporating the hum of the road into a sound piece which matches the time Conroy took to expose each image. These traces of road culture allow Conroy to explore the themes of this exhibition from an ambiguous position situated somewhere between a sci fi vision of the future and the well worn path of a road trip.

Gabrielle Van De Laak and Reggy Gunn
New paintings by two celebrated Dutch artists who have been resident in Sydney for the past year.

opening Noon to 5pm Sunday 12 November
exhibition continues until 26 november 2006

special performance by Melbourne trio 'Vardos' recently back from touring Scotland, Switzerland, Hungary and New Calendonia will be playing their traditional gypsy music with verve, drama and panache from 2-4 pm.

Addison road Gallery
142 Addison road Marrickville NSW 2204 Australia
t: 61 2 9518 3709 f: 61 2 9569 1642 m: 0412 590 779
Gallery hours, 11 - 5 wednesday to sunday

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Art Students are finally responding creatively to closures and mergers!

There's going to be a SNAP AGIT-ART action THIS THURSDAY at 12.30pm in the grounds of the NATIONAL ART SCHOOL where some students are organising a BED IN.

"Sleeping With the Enemy" will involve a performance piece wiht gorillas, girls and wedding veils and a provocative play on the threats and possibilities of art shcool mergers/closedowns/cutbacks etc.

They hope to take the piece on tour - to the other art shcools before they shut down.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

some anonymous place between her legs

I got a promo email from the MCA about the Juan Davila show that's ONLY ON UNTIL 12 NOVEMBER 2006.

Apparently punter number have been down and the scarey old garde critics like Johny Mac and Smeethers have canned it, so the MCA are trying to flog the show off CHEAP.

Purchase a ticket to visit the Juan Davila exhibtion at the MCA, present the ticket stubb at the MCA store and receive a free, limited edition notebook or poster worth $19.95.

For the day of your visit only you will also receive 10% off any product purchased in the MCA store.
Offer valid only between 28 October and 4 November 2006.
The MCA store and shop is open daily 10am - 5pm
Admission: $10 Adult / $7 concession / MCA members free.
For more information about Juan Davila please see the MCA website.

I went and saw the Davila show a few weeks ago and spent a whole delirious afternoon staring, drawing and writing notes, sustained only by the odd pie from circular quay.

Since then I've found it really hard to put my sheer delight into words.

You know the tacit cultural myth that art critics are meant to review work in an objective manner? Well it’s shit. Davila is big and well known – and he’s one of the reasons why I decided to study painting. (Wendy Sharpe's Archibald winning piece was another). For some reason I came across the Fable of Australian Painting” and decided that if people could be that savage and delightful with the drippy stuff then that’s what I wanted to do with my life.

Davila's works are about excess - a crazed prmiscuity of references - jumbling madly wildly within each other in the most deliriously libidinal wya imaginable.

If Immants Tillers is the Ozzie godfather of POMO - then no wonder people hate the stuff. I find tillers bloody dry! restrained pallets, restrained references, choice neat quotes.

Davila is much more me cup off Camp billy tea - for me the POMO condition is like the excess of internet porn pop-ups on my computer screen.... and this is what davila's work exudes. Insane, parodic libidinal excess.... you can pick it apart , pull it, run with it and be pulled by the multilayered connotations.

and Davila has that crazy condorito humour that reminds me of why I like chileans os much - and he infuses it with the limipid aussie larrikinism (TM) to push all our envelopes.

So. I laughed.

I also cried.

The Woomera pieces - were starkly, intenseley moving. but this raw middle aged panterley politess was nicely set-off by the owmmera condom vending machine print (showing a condom made form loofah fabric). do you see why I love the guy?

The catalogue is so big and comprehensive that I am reluctant to repeat most of the wonders of the show here. Davila gives me reason to live. to fight, to fuck & to enjoy life and to scream out its contradictions and my despair in crazy peals of laughter, anger and song.

He also had the scariest versions of vulvas I've seen in long time. It's enough to drive person to sodomy.

I know I’m going to sound like a wanker if I start talking about some nice course that I’m teaching at Sydney Uni, and name dropping dead French philosophers, but I’ve never denied my onanism.

I’m a wanker. In as many ways, forums and positions as possible. I do it alone and in company, and it is one of the main reasons I don’t get out to openings anymore.

One day, having left my bed of play, I attended an amazing lecture about place, territory, home and habitus, and how our bodies feel a landscape or a space.

Pierre Bourdieu’s word “habitus” gets bandied about a lot. And it sounds like habitat, and evokes some sociological version of a nature documentary here we see the subject negotiating their positionality in a complex world of shifting signs…” etc. – but PB (being a legend) and Ghassan Hage (also being a legend) takes the notion of habitus further.

Evoking habitus as the accumulation of bodily knowledges (how to walk through your house after dark, how to know when to cross a familiar road against the traffic lights, how to walk through a shop or a street), PB evokes habitus as a much richer, much deeper set of sensations and experiences. And it gives a damn pithy explanation for why tourists always look like such dorks.

“Memory is bodily sedimentation of tasks accomplished”

My copy of Gaston Bachelard’s “the poetics of space” is on a friend’s bookshelf so I can’t give you the page reference for some nice quote he had about the phenomenology of the encounter between our bodies and territory: not only are our bodies shaped by our surroundings – but our capacity to experience apprehend and render meaningful our surroundings as itself in relation to our bodies, and the way our bodies have been shaped by them…… space is a product of the body which is a product f space. Or place.

As we walk through a place “the contours of landscape enter our muscular consciousness” and “its as if the street itself has muscles”. We FEEL our encounter with space around us as an encounter with another body. The ground touches us as we touch it. Objects are shaped and invested with our own fleshy affect…….

Such high falutin ponderings flooded my mind when I checked out Willurei Kirkbright-Burney’s video installation at Mori Gallery last week.

(its on until 4th November and you have to walk past the scary WA brothel photos by Karron Bridges – to get to a tiny little back room with kiddie chairs. )
both artists have used images of their own body – a common thing – and both works are nominally about body, place and culture. But I felt that “Peel” was a lot bigger, and more evocative of how a link between place, flesh and memory actually FEELS.

“Peel” consists of a lingering crawl over Willerei’s body, onto which transparencies of topographic maps had been projected. So the colour and space is already a bit weird, and adds to the dreamlike sequences of other splices in the DVD.

There’s a funny voyeuristic tease – but it’s more dreamlike and weird. Bits of rain like viola’s ascension series, a disconnected floating hand, and the close audio thrums bring us deeply into a space where our own body feels in contact with the projected flesh in front of us.

The projection presents a profoundly bodily encounter with flesh, space and territory. With kinaesthetic geographies, how place is embedded on bodies. Willurei's scarred, wrinkled pulled lines of flesh, her pores, and hairs are mingled with the raised ridged contours of the topographic charts. These are based on mapping of magnetic deposits around western NSW, with magnetic lines echoing the striated scars along the flesh beneath.

This use of video projection as installation, something we step inside, transforms the cyclopean disembodiment of the camera into a deeply visceral kinaesthetic eye. The piece is not about representation or decoding –but creating an experience, an affinity and an empathy. Seeing, sensing flesh, the mapping of meaning and place and territory onto flesh. Feeling our own bodies sway and echo projected vibrations within, sensing our own unfamiliarity with space, with place, and our vulnerability, is REALLY RATHER NICE.

I’d recommend people go and have a seat, have a stare, feel your body and have a ponder. Those who prefer disembodied thoughts to wordless ambiguities of visceral affect can think of nice confining categories and explanations; that part of Willurei's family are Wiradjuri, that her flesh is encoded with connotations of territory and colonial mapping in western NSW, that she’s creating a nice resistive rereading of the terms by which kooris get contained, confined, removed, categorise by place, time, memory and history. But because cultural resistance to genocide and political defeat always seems like such nice remote comfort, I prefer to imagine the trajectory taken by feeling, by association. Even honky white mongrels feel bodily attachment to places. Settler cultures mask our own strange connections to invaded lands beneath the nasty politics of guilt and denial, but maybe, just maybe, allowing some bodily affinities between indigenous and non-indigenous, (and I don’t mean a rootfest) – but a space where connections between land, place, memories and bodies meet….. well, hell, I dunno actually, but I liked the video.

O liked it more that the “Wik” video which was more of a straightforward documentary of a place I’ve never been in a language I don't speak. OK it was subtitled, and the food looked great and the lands are beautiful, but exoticism makes me feel ICKY. Looking at somewhere remote and beautiful, I feel cast in the role of tourist, and I imagine the heat, the mozzies, my own scratchy pale skin as pink and lumpy and sweaty, and purse my lips and think self righteous condemnations of honkies playing heroics in wild brown lands. But the WIK video is important – coz actually it’s all about to go pear shaped. Another two bauxite mines have been approved for the area, and environmental campaigners haven’t been allowed in to the remote areas to discuss the implications with the indigenous custodians. I kid you not. Bringing the video and the video makers to Sydney created a series of contact zones, between environmentalists and remote communities. Relational Aesthetics eat your bloody heart out!

Aside form Day street – I went and checked out Giacometti and the Dobell at AGNES and then had a longer stay at the MCA. (Giacometti is a famous artist and his work is great. Most of the works in the Dobell were a bit derivative of Kentridge, of Auerbach, and the new cool drawing school – but it’s free so worth having a gander)

On the way up to Davila which closes in 2 weeks – and which has a half price special on to drag in more punters, I checked out Primavera coz lots of people have said that primavera this year is shit.

I hate to go against the grain of popular opinion – but I liked most of it. (Maybe I just need to get out more). I thought opportunities were missed in terms of the arrangement. I reckon pieces could have been brought together a bit more sensitively and explained more – coz some of the stuff was quite clunky and it needed to be inviting. Dragging work from artists run initiatives and site specific street scapes into a white walled clean floored cultural container

There was nothing really mind-blowingly brilliant – but I thought the show overall was a nice prelude to Davila. The most obvious connection was with David Griggs whose bright crude graffiti style paintings looked great embedded on a ‘site specific 2D work’. (In English this means that some bits were done on the wall and there was a red mesh curtain).

In the same room Peter Mackay had what looked like bland photographic stellarscapes – until you could see a shoe edge. Intriguing. Here I reckon a bit of actual agitprop site specific installation would heave helped. McKay works outdoors – placing glitter onto oil spills – trying to aestheticise the banal. This made a bit more sense with the photographs of glittered sprouting potatoes, emblazoned with banal mantras as “No Regrets”, “Save yourself”, “Keep Breathing” and the shrivelled bread roll with “Believe”.

Tres noice liminality award goes to Christian de Villiers – with recreations of the circular quay buskers and the morphing museum barrier-boat tie along the red carpet. I reckon a CD of the Jamaican guy would not have gone astray – but the whole ensemble was a nice site specific segue between touristmania outside and the sombre spectacling gallery public. (also tourist mania but a bit quieter).

Actually I reckon they should have stuck the galleries donations request bucket in front of the sculptures. Or had slots in them – made them interactive. But that’s just me.

Round the corner – there was, what I found was the least engaging piece (for me). The Wilkins hill duo – “plague of inheritance”. (Hell, and isn’t it just! ) seemed to reference the worst stereotypes of bad emerging art without enough other stuff to ground as effective irony or sheer sensuous enjoyment. A brief catalogue of offending aspects were: ‘deep’ title, referencing some essential Grande scheme of the human condition. 2. Gratuitous and incongruous reference to pop culture (the multiple screens of morphed Bart Simpson characters). The gratuitous but cold deployment of slick consumer objects as sculpture (the aluminium screens upon which the installation was mounted. Incongruous and banal video projections (of a running tap and a spa), and some scary references to subconscious in the floor sheets. Hill was quoted in the floor sheet as seeing the piece as a ‘platform for a decayed but muted expression”, but I reckon it was just pomo-pastiche lite, and way too ‘90’s for my liking. I hate to bag out work, but playing with a complex set of codes, smack bang in the middle of a thoroughfare, presenting a stylised self conscious spectacle of the alienation of everyday life, is, well, alienating. People do just go ‘err, that’s shit’ (I know coz I saw them do it) and walk away. I had flashbacks to the Palais de Tokyo before it got all relational and did the same.

Fortunately the wall nearby had charm, quirkiness, affect, humour all wound up in words and pictures. Chaynni Henri's series of cartoons were GREAT and reminded me of how much I miss TextaQueen. It’s interesting how the dumb drawing approach seems to be so appealing. Henri’s flattened distorted figures, outlined in black and with bold simplified planes of acrylic colour actually belie a strong and skilled pictorial ability. The cutesy kiddie style comments, and the pencil lines ruled beneath each line of texta written text reminded me of school project books. This sort of pop cultural reminder – actually worked to fulfil a lot of the claims of the Wilkins-Hill piece, but there was so much wit and warmth in the text. My favourite line of the week is “she grabbed his aviator sunnies and squelched them in some anonymous place between her legs and stuck them back on his head”. Maybe I’m just a sucker for redemption. Coz the Retablo piece, dedicated to the virgin of “Tiwi and Arafura”, thanking her for removing Henri's family from Palmerston, reminded me of the delightful capacity of imagination and play to transform banality and hell into something fun and surprising.

The quiet room on the right had a series of scary candle glass lady objects by Benjamin Armstrong. They reminded me of Hans Bellmer’s ‘poupees', but I had to admire the craft. I got down on my knees, onto the lino floor and prayed to Ricky swallow. I then saw what some sort of statement about installation, assemblage and the everyday – but Katherine Huang. I reckon her piece would have gone better next to Simon Yates in the next room. Just for fine reruns of the fun-plays of arte-povera (and not the kleenwipe version presented at the MCA 4 years ago) – but mad clunky clutter. Odd juxtapositions of alienated objects that are still contemplatably beautiful. Yates stuff tho – his balloon robot and mad little scruffy machines have far more grounding in Psycho-geography and Paraphysis. Hands up who knows what that means? Probably not many visitors to the MCA –and there was no mention on the floor sheets. This is a damn shame and I wish Rheuban Keenan was still at the MCA to engineer some gallery educational bit so the punters could see the connection. I took Yates’s transparent map – rewriting a derive of Sydney harbour as central Paris – and decided to go on a wanter and pretend I was in the 9eme.

This is one of the dilemmas of curation: coz art historians and theory nuts and aged art punters like ‘moi’ – know the work know the plays and see the possibilities of what the works are trying to evoke – but if the pieces are just objects or photos stuck in a white walled space – then most viewers will see them as ‘art’. A strange isolated enigmatic but probably pretty meaningless bit of ephemera. Damn shame really.

Fortunately the room was saved by a series of Rod McAffies’ Mr. potato head fine quirky paintings. I guess painting is officially back innit? Exquisite quirky eat your heart out.

Heading up the stairs – there were more random object stuff – Fergus Binns had an abandoned bag (Yeah… but I would have been more impressed if it was installed in a train station….. the gallery is such a safe space for arty agitprop pranks), matched by as series of vegemite paintings and assorted Aussie icons. I wonder if Binns wants to join CACA?

Koji Rui had a room like a coke fiends dream land. The guy has moved on from crystalline straw sculptures in to the pure snow magic of exquisite polystyrene. I loved this room –and then enjoyed the video of his tactile drawing experience. First I didn’t know it was his – (coz it shows the artist with a box on head). And to be honest I found the whole installation set –up a little pretentious and I wish I could have seen the drawings. Maybe they were shit? It was a nice idea tho.

The last room – a funny little site – had a STRANGE juxtaposition of the exquisite corpses (tiny mounted dead animals) by Julia Deville. These reminded me a LOT of the object designs by E. Armonious at Gaffa – so I dunno who is imitating who. Thing Del Catherine Barton as object design Small cute and quite creepy.

The rest of the room got taken up by a massive bong-nation installation by Mathew Griffin – that would have matched Griggs’ work far more than the quiet little creepiness of De Ville. I liked the raver stick figure and admired the skinny scoob-leg jeans. But its cheap and nasty, like the pollywaffle masquerading as a turd floating in a bucket of water. Bongs, puking, chocolate, greed, smoke, webs, raves. With a shallow smirk I headed up the stairs.

And on the third level I found redemption and life. “quell joie!” sang my soul as I peeked at the Arkley/Davila duo next to the stairs, and then it continued.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's another BLLOODY BIG WEEK!


ART AND MAYHEM will have the worlds first RADIO STRIPATHON!
Over 2 hours Daz and Mayhem will remove one item of clothing in exchange for each subscription or donation from callers during the show!

It's all in aid of 2SER and keeping it on air.

tune in from 4-6pm either from the streaming link or 107.3 on ye olde FM radio dial.
you can subscribe by calling 9514 9514 but also online.


support the last vestiges of art education in sydney at: SELF RAISING -
at Kudos Gallery, 6 Napier St. Paddington

UNSW College of Fine Arts is regarded as one of Australia’s premier
university art and design schools, COFA excels in nurturing exceptional
talent in artists and designers who go forward to mould and shape the
image and ideas of our nation.

COFA SA's fourth annual emerging artist and designer award, SELF RAISING,
promotes the work of the next generation, direct from the studios of
the university, our future Art and Design stars.

COFA Students' Association invited student artists and designers to
submit work for competition, well over 200 entries were received, and the 40
finalists will be shown at Kudos Gallery for judging and exhibition
next week. Contemporary artists THE KINGPINS lead the judging panel with
Dinosaur Designs’ director, designer LOUISE OLSEN, and artist / curator
AARON SEETO. The judges will choose one over-all winner and seven
commendations. The works will be judged in regard to excellence and
innovation in design, concept, use of materials and technique.

The exhibition covers a cross section of art and design forms from
painting to performance, to jewellery and textiles. SELF RAISING gives
us a glimpse into the creative talents of the nation's most talented young
artists and designers. The exhibition will be opened by Dean of COFA,
Professor Ian Howard at 6.30pm on Tuesday 24 October, followed by the
awards presentation by student representatives of the Kudos Gallery
Management Committee.


"MEETING POINTS" by Jasmine Avril

AT DON'T LOOK Experimental New Media Gallery
419 New Canterbury Rd (Near Marrickville Rd), Dulwich Hill

WHO: Jasmine Avril

CONTACT: Greg Shapley - Ph: 0401 152 434, Email:

The exhibition 'Meeting Points' plays with notions of travel, longing,
miscommunication, and unintended consequences. Using fleets of paper
planes (symbols capable of inferring everything from childhood
innocence to terrorism), Avril conveys a desire to escape; escape from
the drudgery of everyday life, as well as our current dire world
politic. Tied to helium balloons, however, this way out may lie
cruelly just beyond our reach.

In another room a number of television sets will conduct a kind of
awkward conversation in mispronounced languages. This 'league of
stations' will use typical lines from language phrase books, spoken by
an anglo-centric computer voice. The outcome is a series of incessant,
systematic soliloquies.




Opening Night Party is on at Sydney Uni with screenings over 3 days.

Two-wheeled transportation will take over Sydney, Australia as the Sixth Annual Bicycle Film Festival rolls into town. The Bicycle Film Festival (BFF) kicks off on October 26, 2006 with the opening night Bikes Rock Pary and screenings October 27 and 28 at the University of Sydney, Bosch Theatre 2, Western Ave, Camperdown (close to Carillon Ave). Valet bicycle parking provided by MASSBUG.

Admission $10 + booking fee per session.
$37 + booking fee for a festival pass - limited number only!


Walking the street ended on sunday ad despite my whinges about dogy token ocmmunity art projects it had some really nice stuff innit.

Personal faves were ticket bags in bike shop, plus weird dolly head bottles, and the glittery horsey further down.

WTS organisers have a public poll - so punters can vote for favourite work!

This year the public get a chance to vote on their favourite artwork! In order to vote please provide name of artist, title of artwork and shopfront site. You can vote by email or by phone 02 9519 0815 or text message 0422 107 074. The Peoples' Choice Award is $400 Cash Award, $200 voucher for Covered in Paint, $50 gift voucher at Leo Monks and a $35 gift voucher at Fish records so vote now and make an artist smile!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Stripping Back

it was today

but no, I didn't mention it on radio - coz I was too het up about this UWS affair

University of Western Sydney arts students have set up a petition to protest the decision on the part of the University's College of Arts/School of Communication Arts to suspend its Fine Arts and Electronic Arts programs and abandon its Performance program. The Fine Arts and Electronic Arts programs as they currently exist are being taught out, and the plan is for a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts to replace them. Intake for this program has been indefinitely suspended.

with the NAS likely to merge with COFA and now the UWS 'suspension", basically it looks like Sydney's art schools are gonna be HALVED in 2008.Unless poeple seriosuly start kicking up a stink.

Can't we introduce art into the winter olympics? - Koji roji's polystyrene sculptures would go down a treat in the opening ceremony, Owen Leong and the wildboys would look great on the skating rink, Ron Swan could make some great forms for the snowboarders, and we could slop some paint down on the curling rink! there's gotta be an ARC /AIS research grant in there somewhere, surely!

while plugging the audio presence of the art and mayhem blog (whihc I was too blonde to record - so sorry no podcasting) allow me to give a sneak preview of next weeks show:

In which I will not only review the wonders of Primavera and Davila

(stay tuned for lingering reviews of "effluvial mass of celebrated wrongness and self assured rudeness" coming to this site soon).

but next week (monday 23rd October from 4-6pm) I'll be blabbing in the background of the entire Monday Overdrive show - for 2 hours! (wow!)

and removing my clothes for cash!

Next week is radiothon and so Daz & I thought we'd sex up the show - by conducting an on air stripathon: listeners phone in and pledge cash to the station and we remove articles of clothing.

Nude radio may seem like a bit of a pointless exercise - but we promise to make it stimulating and worthwhile.

Besides, since UTs & Macquarie Uni's pulled the plug on funding 2SER, and FBi stol the cool music cred - 2SEr is pretty much solely reliant on the loving cash of listeners and the volunteer efforts of its presenters......

In the meantime, there are some great openings this week with two on Regent street in Redfern.
Alan Jones has "the Human Show" Opening on Tuesday Night at Legge.

Its the same night as Craig Waddell's opening - but I'm all for diversity. Some poeple hate blue and have serious allergies to Glenmore Road. Al Jones has chunky impasto heads and bodies in incongruous housing scapes. the catalogue essay is a bit frightening but the paintings are cute.

ON Wednesday evening - there's a Guan Wei show opening at Sherman 16-20 Goodhope Street, Paddington

guan Wei is AMAZING - with the political bite of davila - but he has a slick subtlety that can even slide down the throats of the grande bourgeouis art art circuit. apaprently the Powerhouse also have a show of his works on paper.

I've got no idea what the latest show "ECHO" will be ilke but for more details about this exhibition, check the
sherman website.

Exhibition dates: 19 October - 4 November 2006

On thursday - across the road at no 70 Regent Street Medium Rare Gallery has an opening called "Vespertine".

I imagined that this involved sexy looking lolitas on scooters but apparently that has nothing to do with it.


vespertine /ves-per-tine / is an adjective meaning:

1. of, pertaining to, or occurring in the evening: vespertine stillness.
2. Botany. opening or expanding in the evening, as certain flowers.
3. Zoology. appearing or flying in the early evening; crepuscular.

the invite sez:

The Vespertine Project brings together 3 emerging artists working within the field of Contemporary Sculpture and Installation.

The works showcased in the exhibition involve the body as well as challenge the mind, combining to produce a completely visceral experience.

Perran's "In Memory of." series recreates the sublime qualities and light of the natural world via artificial means in an exploration of memory, space and the senses.

Edward Horne's installation investigates the relationship between architectural space and the viewer by immersing the participant in a contradictory world which at first seems fun but has a darker side of surveillance and imprisonment.

Robyn Buchanan's symmetrical sculptures seep into the viewers subconscious and gently hypnotize the mind and body, while her photographic installation investigates our internal world.

I'm not sure if any of that is true, at all. (btw)

On Saturday there's an opening at Cross Arts (33 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross, Sydney - opposite St Lukes Hospital gates)of:

Craig Judd is doing the honours from 4-6pm

Exhibition Ends: Saturday 4 November 2006 at 6pm
Information: Jo Holder 9357 2058 or 0406 537933


Absolute truths are not the concern of the works in this exhibition. Clinton Garofano and Carole Roberts come together through their paintings to create a dialogue between Garofano's interest in Buddhist teachings on impermanence and Roberts's interest in changing energy within nature.

In this exhibition their works appear to sit in completely different registers: dark and foreboding from Garofano, light and animated from Roberts. However, what we are shown is not simple dualism but different aspects from the same focus of contemplation.

The installation by Garafano consists of 10 darkly painted antique frames, modest in scale. Inside each is text in a comic-strip typeface, painted with a black background on glass. Each frame contains a colloquial statement, dead obvious and dead serious are examples, which prescribe a meaning of absoluteness to the word death. But death may also be seen as just a transition point in this life, not absolute or finite.

Carole Roberts's interest in spatial concerns has manifested in both her public design projects and art works, incorporating ancient architectural motifs and using primary materials such as tree branches and metals such as lead. The alchemists' dream of transmuting base metal into gold was a process they often symbolised as the purification of the soul. These new Energy Paintings mobilize the metaphysical properties of her earlier works into intense pigments of gold, blue and pink suspended within leaf motifs that rest upon a white ground.

Garafano and Roberts have been colleagues since the mid 1980s. As well as their solo exhibition career, they have participated in several group exhibitions together.

The artlife has a nice list of fun events this week, as does fluffy town.

The wild boys and girls at artspace are always happy for visitors, real or virtual - so check out "it's a new day".

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Weedy Bits, make a difference make a mole

If you just wanna look at fun organic drippy stuff then head to Mary PLace on tuesday for free piss, paint fumes and glorious space inducing drips by craig waddell.

It's all about loving the land, adoring nature, ain't it?

Nobody just set up a great plant based relational culture project at:

and there's a call out for a great fun save the forest project by sewing pink fluffy moles!

(this is right up mayhem alley)

ARTISTS: Make a difference, Make a mole

As part of the fight to save Yellabinna Environment association on Kokatha Mula land, we are calling out to artists to recreate the Kokatha mole as a plush stuffed creature to be exhibited and auctioned as a fundraiser for the ‘mole hunt’ and fight to save the land.

Kokatha country covers large stretches of harsh arid land in the far west of South Australia, stretching from Ceduna to the edge of the Nullabor, It is home to Kokatha Mula people. Yellabinna is culturally significant to the Kokatha Mula Seven Sisters dreaming is connected throughout the Yellabinna sand dune system by rockholes. Yellabinna is home to 4 million hectares of pristine mallee woodlands, and to critically endangered blind marsupial mole amongst other threatened species.

This precious country is now under threat from extensive mineral exploration and undergoing feasibility studies to begin large open cut sand mining project.

As a tool to protect this special county, there is currently a search on for the endangered blind marsupial mole known as the ‘Notoryctes Caurinus’. There have been few sightings of the mole in recent years, however the documentation of this endangered species could be a crucial element in saving the largest mallee woodland in the world.

So we are calling upon artists to recreate this beautiful little creature. We are planning to tour the exhibition to Mori Gallery,
Sydney CBD, TINA in Newcastle, Alice Springs, and hopefully many other destinations in Australia. EXHIBITIONS WILL BEGIN IN LATE SEPTEMBER, SO WE NEED ARTISTS TO CONTACT US AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

If you are interested in participating, we will send you out an artist kit with more detailed information, images, and an official patch for your mole. Also if you know of a gallery which may be interested in housing this unique exhibition, please let us know.

Please contact Renata on 0422854184 or
For more information on Googatha land see

Mole specs
: 15-20cm long
: 7-12cm high
: Pink fluffy exterior
: 2 fleshy coloured flippers 5-10cm long
: Stunted fleshy coloured tail 2-3cm long
: Hidden facial features
A google image search of "Notoryctes Caurinus" will give image results

Thursday, October 12, 2006


chirst the world is getting depressing sometimes.

My thesis on art education is rapidly beomcing redundant - not only NAS lookes likely to die - the REALLY innovative and interesting Nepean Cmapus of UWS is constantly treatened wiht closure.

Depsite massive state and federal words and the odd grant promising to promote the devleopment of 'the arts in western sydney' ..... well, the reality looks like they seem to think it can be done by untrained artists or social workery community based projects....?


so click on title of this blog to see the link about UWS - and come to the thing bleow on saturday.....

I'll rant more on monday

In the meantime, check out the following links:

and for pretty pcis of the SAVE NAS protest:

or if you can stand the heat - rock up to the cross

The Cross Art Projects invitation to particpate

What are art schools for? Saturday 14 October 2006, 4 to 5pm

Where: The Cross Art Projects
33 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross, Sydney (opposite St Lukes Hospital gates)
Exhibition Ends: Saturday 14 October 2006 at 6pm
Information: Jo Holder 9357 2058 or 0406 537933

In association with the exhibition

WHAT ARE ART SCHOOLS FOR? is an exhibition about the relationship between artists and institutions. The theme for this Saturdays conversation is the challenge faced by art schools in Australias current social and economic climate.

Although many challenges are not new, what is new is the 10-year reign of a party whose political philosophy is hostile to the arts.

The conversation will focus on the common experience of art schools facing cuts and downgrading. We aim to make a small contribution to the ongoing debate about the value and position of art in our society by considering the problems from the perspective of teaching art. The conversation might be able to cover ground not easily covered by the more abstract mission statements of major organisations.

You are invited to participate in a talk about your firsthand view of art and education and the current state of the affairs of art institutions in Sydney this Saturday at 4pm until 5pm. Followed by closing drinks.

Cross Conversation participants include artists: Justin Trendall, Andrew Hurle, Christopher Dean, Maria Cruz, Sue Pedley, Save UWS Art School


Past students of UWS Fine Arts and Western Sydney artists are concerned about the future of art teaching and effectively the resilience of art in Sydneys west. See the blog for details of upcoming events or protests to promote the necessity of preserving Arts in the West.


The Cross Art Projects
A space for independent art & curatorial studies
Director: Jo Holder
33 Roslyn Street Kings Cross Sydney 2011
T: + 61 (02) 9357-2058

Monday, October 09, 2006

Spat n Loogie's NEW! Shop

Today on Art and Mayhem Lucazoid interviewed Spat n Loogie, creators of NEW! Shop which was presented in Newcastle last week as part of This is Not Art.

You can listen to the segment online, or download the interview here.

(Behind the scenes, Spat n Loogie actually chatted with Lucazoid for a bit longer - so if you're a fan, you can download the bonus segment here.)

Everyone who sees this work will wonder why they didn't just tell me to bugger off and give me a bloody nose.

Mayhem has been confined to the BARRIO - due to impneidng thesis committments.

(I'm giving myself a big fat davila flavoured treat before next week - so stay tuned....)

Forntunately at such times - art comes to the doorstep of even the most recalcitrant hermit.

WALKING THE STREET opened on Saturday Afternoon. Satterdy Arvo was a bit of a sinney art fest - with the wildboys having a mad draggers tea party at arspace and the scraggy art auction action in paddo.....

Anyway, the southern end of Newtown is currently festooned with orange plastic banners suspended from shop awnings - and the odd piece of lackluster incongruity brightening occasional shop window displays (but not enough to challenge the vapid consumerist imperative...... or the veneerable smatterings of tourist bohemia(TM) smeered over ye Olde trueblue boho thai takeaway hairdressing paradise.........)

the whole effect reminds me of this thing they used to have in Glen Innes when I was a kid during the annual 'bush-week" festivities (that's before bush week became celtic week). The local chamber of commerce ran this thing called "spot the window", and each participating show would have a small red sticker and sign saying "spot the window" - and you'd have to look for the tiny incongruous object placed in the window display.

I think they were trying to teach us bored hicks how to do window shopping, and we had to find each object and write them down on some list and then we'd go in a raffle to win a meat tray.

"walking the street" has very much a similar effect, and affect. Only there's no meat tray. Some of the artworks are OK, some are cool, some are pretty shit - but as they are 'slotted in' to a banal retail facade as a non disruptive, non intrusive, bland recuperated little frisson of simulated culture - they ...well, they make me quite depressed really.

fortunately there's still quite a bit of life left in the inner west.

DON'T LOOK is a fine example of affordeable, accessible detournement of a retail precinct into a STIMULATING ZONE OF CULTURAL EXCHANGE. Renting an old cake shop, Shapley has converted the space on Canterbury road into a veritable haven of multisensorial delight.

Plus he's got the quote of the week in the plug for the current show: "But what is the question?"
Which runs until – Sun Oct 15 (Thur-Sat 11-5)

"I was handsome I was strong,
 I knew the words of every song.
 Did my singing please you?
 No, the words you sang were wrong."
 (from 'Teachers' by Leonard Cohen)

In this video work, I ask a question. The public answer -- try to answer -- fail to answer.

But what is the question?

We see people thinking, talking, being silent staring at the camera, dumbfounded like deer in headlights. Why do they stand there? Why don't they just walk away. What has entrapped them? They look awkward -- we can't help but feel sorry for them and empathise with their stage fright (we've all been there, surely).

But what is the question? They may be able to answer the question, but their answers do not answer the question, 'what is the question?'

So, what is the question?...

This is an exercise in media manipulation, in human frailty, and perhaps even in cruelty. Everyone who sees this work will wonder why they didn't just tell me to bugger off and give me a bloody nose.
Perhaps someone will see fit to oblige during opening night…

WHERE: DON'T LOOK Experimental New Media Gallery
419 New Canterbury Rd (Near Marrickville Rd), Dulwich Hill
CONTACT: Greg Shapley - Ph: 0401 152 434,

In Marrickville itself there's new paintings by Pam Aitken at Factory 49, Shepherd Street in Marrickville.
The exhibition can also be viewed from Thursday to Saturday 1-6pm until October 27. Milan to Marrickville is the name of the show and no, I haven't been there yet.
For more information contact -

Closer to the anti culture shopping strip that was once less beige - a GREAT little space has opened up at 30-34 Wilson Street Newtown .

In the words of the organisers LOOM is an extraordinary exhibition of rich woven texture and extravagant sculptural objects - and hell - I agree with them.

Artists are Sarah Jane Moore and Craig Russell and the show goes till the 15th October.
Open Wednesday to Sunday,  11am to 5pm until 15 October.  You can find Wilson Street Gallery at . 
Phone: 9516 3144 or email


Profile Week
Edition III

Opening @ Gaffa Thursday 12th October 6-8pm (runs until Oct 17)

Artist line up includes-
Luke Barrie, Jonas Wong, Joy Lai, Mirna Harri N, Aesha Henderson,
Anna Belhalfaoui and Vanessa Kyle doing photography, drawing, jewellery, object and more.

330 Crown Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
ph (61) 02 93806266
gallery hours mon-fri 12-6 sat 11-6 sun 12-5


International Artist Exchange Applications Open

Applications for Council's International Artist Exchange Program, which allows for a 2 month residency of a Marrickville artist are now open with the city of Larnaca in Cyprus .  The program aims to contribute to the on-going development of Marrickville’s sister city relationships with regions around the world by providing professional development opportunities for artists and promoting cultural understanding.  

The exchange includes studio space, accommodation, and the costs of return airfares, living expenses and art materials for the duration of the artist's residency.

Applications for the program will be accepted by mail only.  Applications are to be received no later than Thursday 26 October, 2006 at the COB.  Late applications will not be accepted. 

Application forms can be downloaded from Council's web site as follows:

For more information on the Program contact Council's Arts and Cultural Development Coordinator on 9335 2233 or email:


Thursday, October 05, 2006


This is a worthy cause, with a lot of interesting
artists, and yours truly (or my alter ego) as
Auctioneer. -hope to see you this Saturday at

Stone Gallery at Eastside Arts (Paddington markets)
7 October 2006, view from 10am, auction at 3pm.

Presented by Indonesian Solidarity and Union Aid

Earlier this year over 6 000 people lost their lives
in a high magnitude earthquake which struck the city
of Yogyakarta, Central Java on May 27. With around 46
000 injured, and over 600 000 left homeless, many are
now living in makeshift tents, or shelters on the side
of the road.

On June 17 another major earthquake occurred, this
time under the seabed off the coast of West Java,
causing a tsunami that struck the south coast of West
Java. At least 660 people were killed and
approximately 51 500 lost their homes.

With the monsoon or rainy season fast approaching it
is vital that the Australian community provide
assistance to those affected. WALHI - The Indonesian
Forum for Environment has been working in each of
these areas helping survivors to rebuild their lives.
WALHI take a community-based approach to recovery
work, with a focus on revitalising local community
organisations for the rapid recovery of civil society
in affected areas.

The art exhibition/auction will raise money and enable
WALHI to continue their much needed work in each of
these disaster-affected areas. There will also be a
door prize on the day sponsored by Australia Artworks.

"Artquake is about people connecting with people,
across national boundaries in order to help the people
rebuild their homes and livelihoods following the
disasters in Indonesia, "says Jumaadi, an Indonesian
artist residing in Australia.

Artists who have donated work include: Dadang
Christanto, Susan Norrie, Arlene Textaqueen, Sally
Smart, Liz Cuming, Mikala Dwyer, Rudy Ardianto, Rully
Zakaria, Aris Prabawa, Taring Padi (Yogyakarta),
Claire Conroy, James Hancock, Mark Hanham, Justin
Feuerring, Melody Willis, Mark Gerada, Nathan
Pyewacket, John Bell, Jacqueline Olivetti, Caroline
Kha, Neil Hicks, Lucas Ihlein, Rudy Kistler, Anna
Wheeler, Jim Croke, Mickie Quick, Refi Mascot,
Caroline Zilinsky, David Griggs, Alex Davies, Locust
Jones, Koji Ryui, Jumaadi, Simon Cavanough, Ian
Milliss, Mia Oatley, Paul Ryan, Roslisham AKA Ise,
Simon Yates, Josh Roelink, Sarah Nguyen, Yosi Messiah,
Malcolm Smith, Lynn Smith, Hana Schimada, Vicky Brown,
Lisa Kelly, Chayni Henry, Deborah Beck, Sia Cox, Keg
DeSouza, Anna Kristensen, Deborah Kelly, Diego
Bonetto, Stephen Oatley, Richard Tipping, Anna Young,
Jennifer Ogilvie, Kathryn Fries, Lisa Andrew,
Josephine Roberte and more to be announced...

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Please contact Amity Lynch on 0413
114 758 (

ARTQUAKE is proudly sponsored by Art Business,
Eastside Arts, Global Gallery, Global Colours, Art
Spectrum, Bruyeres Gray Fine Art, Eastside Radio
89.7FM, Paddington Inn.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

With Friends Like These

Things are bad.

Today mayhem went out and bought 3 CD's - by The Smiths, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash.

Getting the following in my email inbox did not improve my mood.


Friends of the National Art School 3 October 2006

Just when we had become used to the utter distain with which FONAS is treated by the NSW State Government (all the emails from FONAS to Ms Tebbutt’s, Minister for Education and Training, office being blocked is just one example) when yesterday’s article in The Australian newspaper proved that we can still be shocked by their tactics. What followed was 24 hours of non-stop phone calls from concerned supporters until we were able to get verbal confirmation from the minister’s spokesperson who claimed that they had been ‘misquoted’.
The article concerned, written by Imre Salusinszky, quotes Ms Tebbutts spokesperson confirming that the merger between NAS and COFA will proceed and that the minister would ‘try and preserve the school’s artistic philosophy’. Follow the link Schools of art in unlikely merger
The FONAS committee immediately ratified that such a hostile take-over of the National Art School through dubious and questionable processes will not deter us from continuing our campaign to save the school.
Even though there appears to me no substance to the quote, legitimate questions demand to be answered regarding this merger. For example, the proposal that COFA originally submitted never fulfilled the criteria set out in the original tender applications procedure. If the criteria has changed then surely other universities should be given another opportunity to apply, otherwise it is COFA rather than Department of Education and Training (DET) who is setting the agenda, with DET adopting the role of mere facilitator.
We would also like to know how Ian Howard (COFA Dean) felt able to inform the staff only last week (at the COFA Art Teachers Drawing Conference) that whilst remaining ‘circumspect’, an announcement regarding the expansion of COFA to include the National Art School in the creation of a very “exciting new art school” was imminent? He also stated that the negotiations with DET were ‘going very well indeed’.
So where to from here? Certainly we are full-steam ahead in our support for Angus Wood (see attached article, Printmaker to run against NSW Minister) who will stand as an Independent candidate against Carmel Tebbutt in the State election in March 2007.
We will continue using every means available to ensure that the correct decision is made – and we need your help to do this.
We would ask each and every one of you to do what you can to save the National Art School . Please write to newspapers, phone radio stations, talk to anybody and everybody who might be able to influence the decision. Forward this email onto all your contacts. Every little bit helps.
The unexpected support that the Liberal Party has extended reflects poorly on the Iemma Labour Government and the way it views art and art education in this State. Echoing the voices of over 400 supporters outside Parliament House on 20 September 06, ‘Shame Iemma shame’.
We will keep you updated on news as it happens and would ask you all to do the same. Let us know what you are doing. Let us know what you would like us to do.
In the meantime, hold firm and do not be dissuaded from our chartered course. It is the duty of governments, as the elected servants of its people, to listen to its electorate. Democracy must prevail.

Kind regards,
Bernadette Mansfield
FONAS President

Mayhem has posted previously about my links to NAS - I'm an alumni with many many fond memories and loyalties - but I also DON"T HATE COFA. I really admire COFA's curent drawing research program and loved the last chinese whispers I got really depressed at the in the SMH
Johnny Mac article/review

- which was facile and partisan and was more appropriate to an NAS funclub chatsite than a prominent broadshet newspaper.

Ideally I'd like to see Sydney retain the 7 government funded tertiary art schools it has (SCA, COFA, UWS, NAS, Meadowbank TAFE, Hornsby TAFE ,st. George TAFE)without any more cutbacks. but that's just me.

I'm concerned how drawing and blanket terms like 'traditional skills' are getting used by defenders of the NAS. I guess I'll save that concern for the PhD chapter I should be finishing this month - but politically I think it makes the NAS look like colonial outpost of the British Royal Academy of Art - which it isn't and never has been - and it underlines a rather seamier connection that makes me shudder.

Naturally NAS defenders are tyring to garner support from whatever pollies they can given the imminence of a state election in 2007, but the letters of support from Peter Debnam make my stomach churn. A comment in a story from 'The Australian'
also got me feeling icky. I think it was the bit about "an unlikely alliance between the elements of the fine arts community in NSW and the Liberal Party".

and mayhem wants to scream 'get fucking real'.

any punter can wonder just how many blond-helmet haired suburban matriarchs are there splashing away in the old gaol - but you can make an easy estimate from the population of four wheel drives parked around Forbes & Burton Streets. Despite being the cheapest art school in sydney (another reason why the State government should preserve it) - the NAS student population is the whitest, straightest and most affluent of any of them. Mayhem does NOT believe in the inherent attraction of certain materials or techniques to the beige, chattering or transgressive classes.

mayhem holds firm to the perversly polymorphous possibilities of paint, light, plaster, clay, metal, ink, charcoal, lenses, fabric, paper, mice and whatever oozing masses one can get ones bits on - and to the imagination itself.

also - the proximity of NAS and COFA to those shaded lanes of the woollahra horror vales of wall based investment displays - should put paid to any notions of art being separate or an anathema to money and its pursuit. it ain't.

anwya - I'll end this gloomy post - now - and will soon put up more fun exciting news about


stay tuned

Monday, September 25, 2006

unreasonable adults

This week on Art and Mayhem Lucazoid interviewed Jason Sweeney of the Unreasonable Adults. They're a hybrid performance/art group visiting Newcastle this week for Electrofringe. They're occupying an empty shop at 513 Hunter Street with a project called Gift/Back. All this week you can contribute "gifts" in whatever form you choose (in person at the shopfront, or online at ). On Saturday 30 September, and Sunday 1 October, they'll give your gifts back to you in some transformed way. You can hear the interview between Lucazoid and Jason Sweeney here:
[mp3 file, 6 min 30 sec, 7mb]

Also this week Lucazoid mentioned the great show "Miscellanea: Stuff Comes Alive" by David O'Donoghue at Don't Look Experimental New Media Art Gallery, 419 New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill. You can visit the show until Sunday 1 Oct, gallery open 11-5 Thurs-Sun. There's a little mp3 recording from the fragile and monstrous sound machine made by David, available here:
[mp3 file, 1 min, 2mb]

Finally we mentioned 2 shows you should get down to this week:

1. t'fouh - raw responses from arab artists (a multimedia exhibition) expressing anger and ultimate disgust resistance and steadfastness spitting on wars, occupation and racism.
exhibition until 30 Sept, and on 30 Sept a chance to hear and contribute to informal discussion with the artists 3-5pm.
Mori Gallery
168 Day St Sydney
[read on below for an extensive review of t'fouh, by Mayhem]

2. For Matthew and Others - Journeys with Schizophrenia (exhibition, performance, education and events programme).
at Campbelltown Arts Centre, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre

Spitting on the Sublime


Andre Breton’s second manifesto described surrealism as “Grabbing a gun, rushing outside and shooting into the crowd”.

This idea of art, and the activity of the artist as ultimate transgressive hero has become a little thin now that random shooting sprees (by socially isolated armed men) have become part of the mass media spectacle of criminal violence. It still persists in the heroic image of ‘bad-boy’ artists – again usually male, and wheeling a phallic substitute (brush, camera, chainsaw) but, it’s a bit tired. We’re all a bit tired probably, of watching more global and local misery on TV, of hating John Howard, of not being able to change anything, and feeling that not being able to change anything, is the same as not being able to do anything.

So, I’d like to write a third surrealist manifesto, and define art as “Someone grabbing a gun, rushing inside and shooting inside your house”. I’m not trying to equate artists with heroic martyrdom – but to try to indicate the space of culture, alongside life in chaos, flux and destruction.

What happens to art when shit happens? Mass media images of the victims of violence, wars, catastrophes or random shooting sprees always show people frozen, and reduced to the stock still religious images of mortified martyr. There’s the abject images of starving Africans –dinner plate eyes staring off a page or screen, and then there are the images where faces are disfigured by tears, so we look away, gooseflesh crawling up our arms.

Ever since going to ARS06 at Kiasma in Finland, I’ve been fascinated by types of art that responds to, or functions alongside terror or tragedy. There’s a song that I haven’t been able to get out of my head, and it’s coupled with a BIG projection of a man’s face, singing the following words in Spanish:

‘oh dios, escucha me
cuando yo canto
he mirada las cosas
que tu no puedos imaginar
tu no puedes creer,
pero creer me, por favor’.

Addressing God in the familiar, the lyrics say “god, hear me when I sing, I have seen things that you couldn’t believe, but believe me please” and it’s a beautiful acapella tune. Then he stops and the camera stays on his face, staring into the camera, and as tears well in his eyes, gooseflesh crawls up viewers arms, like it does now, remembering the video.

Bocas de Ceniza (mouths of ash): jurado don’t make me suffer because I’m dying of pain was a video work by Juan Manuel Echavarria involving the survivors of a massacre in a church in Colombia. It may seem hideously flippant to compare it to the Birmingham Complaints Choir by Tellerevo and Oscar Kalleinen, (getting whingeing poms to sing about their petty misery! Genius!) but Kiasma had both works on show during ARS06 – and both works were made using the same media (getting communities to sing their stories, and making a video) and the same art theories (relational aesthetics). And it makes sense that in another room, not far away was the Chapman Bros detournement of goya’s the disasters of war mixing parody, stupidity, horror and humour with lashings of kitsch plastic maggots.

Thing is, I (perhaps perversely) really like this mixture of the profound and the banal. I like the mixture of awkward clumsy and inappropriate stupidity, flippancy with intense gravitas, unspeakable pain, unbelievable horror.

The State Of The Real, was the theme of the Finnish biennale style exhibition and the two day seminar afterwards, where I was struck by one of the speakers, Lolita Jablonskiene. A curator from Lithuania, she was describing Lithuanian art during the massive upheavals since the 1980’s, and exploring art as a space of hope and anxiety. She underlined this with the main anxiety of ‘what if nothing happens?’. There’s always the sense of risk, of the fragility and likely futility of any action towards social engagement, and far more so with art making.

Art as action seems even more pointless than just art as play, as rehearsal, as self discipline, as hagiography, as necrophilia. So much activist art, executed on the hoof and badly bunched together because the ends justifies the means, and if they mean well, then they deserve to be included, right? But if art confines itself to reciting tradition, or to abstract games in neat framed squares or neat white boxes, if art buries its secrets in formalist mastery of posturing citations, we can all breathe the calm sighs of suffocating numbness and stifled affect. It won’t touch us. We won’t be moved, won’t be changed, won’t be challenged, just wryly smiling the defeating smirk of neo-liberalism. Yeah we know things are crap, we don’t want to know any more, OK?

This preachy rant sounds like nice sermonising stuff to be writing on a Sunday, but I’m trying to articulate my own feelings of reticence and foot dragging awkwardness around art deemed ‘political’. There’s a big gap between my promotional platitudes ‘yes, you MUST see this!’ and how I can describe what happens when you (or I) DO see it, or why so many people don’t see it. I’m interested in why I don’t go to rallies anymore, why I don’t do ‘political’ art, why I can’t call myself an activist. After all, I hate John Howard too, my pollable political opinions definitely fall on the left side of the divide, and I even sign GetUp! Internet petitions. Like many listeners, art audiences, and probably readers of this blog I fall smugly and squarely into that nasty little category of ‘the chattering classes’, concerned progressive latte swallowing articulate middle class aspiring professionals. Trying to move upwards within a society we say we despise, and feeling desperately incapable of changing it.

So what would happen if the shit really hit the fan and my house got blown up, or shot down, or that of my mum’s, or yours? If we lost our families? What would we do? Whinge some more, no doubt. Feel useless, feel confused. Sad, lost, forlorn, odd mixtures of love and hate. Moved by compassion and crushed by cruelty.

At ARS Jabloskiinane described how Lithuanian art was in ‘post-modern’ time – and involved a strange juxtaposition of simultaneous and apparently contradictory elements: gay porn, with orthodox religious ceremonies, folk dances and punks. Dragged from a pre-industrial peasant society through the fug of Stalinist totalitarianism into the screaming haze of hypermodern consumer culture of the European Union, art changed dramatically, but not in any nice modernist linearity of progression but a whirling soup of transformation. Contrary to the marxist dictum of society changing form below or above, society just seemed to change, relentlessly of its own accord. Society was characterised by an excess of change. By excess full stop.

I’m hesitant to characterise this flux as post-modern, because it seems so akin to the social upheavals of interwar Europe, and even industrial England in the 99th century. Modernism has always been violence, chaotic, crazy. The idea of ‘sur-realism- or Baudrillard’s ‘hyper realism’, doesn’t seem particularly new, just more intense. Maybe Augé’s term of ‘hyper-modernity’ is more apt. It’s the same thing, still the same thing, just more intense, rerunning running eternal return. Giddying whirl over a base line of nauseating ennui.

This is an extremely long segue to Beirut on Day Street, which is such an odd juxtaposition that I had to take it via Helsinki, Colombia and Lithuania. So much of the dreaming space in Australia is about other lands, other spaces, and anywhere but here that it seems unremarkable. But what is it to stand here, now, imagining somewhere else? When ‘there’ is being destroyed, what happens to the ‘here’. Does here become an exile rather than a non-space of hyper-modernity’

On the day that Israeli army started dropping bombs on civilian homes in Beirut, I caught a train into the CBD to check out Khaled Sabsabi’s installation at Mori Gallery. The copy of Mx that I glimpsed over from within the confines of shittyrail had no mention of the bombing – but I think I glimpsed the headlines while striding past a newsagents. I’ve written elsewhere about how moved I was by the massive video triptych, feeling my body enter the space of gaping raw cedar, sub audible thrums, stirring up my flesh, white bleached flashes of destroyed buidlings, flickering, fading. Sabsabi is an accomplished artist, this was a polished professional piece. Considered, crafted, consolidated, it was stunning.

T’fouh promotes itself as ‘raw responses’, flashing rapid fire cries by Arab artists residing in Australia to the news of their homeland, homes, memories, families being blasted apart. It’s a group show, with about 40 artists listed on the floor sheet, and an enormous variety of works, and really long descriptions of media. While the latter really helped while writing up the review – because I could connect the names to the works more easily, it was excessive, like the long titles, and the cluster of works, so many, sprinkled on walls, on the floors, suspended from the ceilings of the larger gallery, strewn like rubble throughout the space. It’s a community show, right? The artists aren’t all professionals, right? It’s not a show that’s going to happen at the Ox or at S.H.Erman, (thought some of the more crafted pieces could easily slide over there). It’s meant to be disruptive, rushed, crowded, overwhelming, distrcting, confusing. I’ts meant to be democratic. It’s allowing Arab artists to have a voice, a place, a space, it’s not about exclusion or refinement or finesse. So why do I want to write about it as if it is? Why do I want to select certain pieces, to draw your eyes into the text, into the feelings, and into this space?

The SMH article foucssed on the sensationalism – posing the exhibition as provocative: and mainly spoke about Habib Zeitouneh’s paintings of Ehud Olmert Kebab – a small acrylic on canvas painting that’s easily missed – but which stirred up some fiercely nationalistic Israeli Aussies and got some nice fodder for the non art loving Fairfax press. The SMH also had a nice picture of sad kneeling Rana Bazzi, looking not unlike the virgin mary beside her sculpture, ‘Dear God’. This type of coverage – like the storm in a teacup over the Martin Place body bags – play into the stereotype of Arabs as a hysterical angry menace – doing seditious art, shouting loudly in an untranslated language other than English when their homes are bombed and families are killed – it’s really really odd – how such representations somehow alienate us as viewers/readers from feeling ‘with’ the vicitms of war, and instead fearing for their reaction. Our sympathy gets overladen with apprehension and guilt instead of moving into compassion and action.

So I’m interested in how I as a guilt-laden but inneffectual honky can bear witness to a type of pain I hope I never have to feel, and an injustice that makes me sick to even think about. At what space does this art as a’exppresion of disgust’ invite and involve the viewer? And what if nothing changes?

The main gallery was presented as a n accumulation of rubble like floor, wall, ceiling and wall pieces – that created an overall impression of chaos – but I still managed to go up and have a bespectacled peer at some of the gems. Omeima Sukkarieh’s Bleeding Stones was one of my favourites – just because it was a temporary, simple and poignant – and quite intimate piece – that worked nicely with the effect of going up to something and finding a fragment of something impossible and frightening. Bleeding Stones consisted of a series of tearsoacked tissues – clustered beneath some red text written into tissue paper. Simple, moving, nice. Probably not archivally sound – so it won’t end up in Paddington.

Martha Jabour’s elegant sculptures of objects placed on plates were also able to mobilise that funny reification of objects as fragments and as artworks, and worked nicely against some of the more blatant sculptures, like Mouna’ Zaylah’s Once Apon A Time In Qana, and the Dear God piece. By ‘working nicely’ – I mean that the tension – between an established artist like Jabour – working in a well crafted and slow medium – actually sat well near the rapid response, emotional assemblage cum installations of the other artists. The justaposition of works crated a sense of different regiters of pain – the sudden searing shock of grief as well as slower insinuations of mourning and exile into a daily practice. This show isn’t a scream, it’s an orchestra, of different voices, different registerss of pain, different intensities.

Omeima Sukkarieh is probably the star of the show though – Her 'Once Living: About Humanity Not National Identity' body bags forming an impressive installation outside the gallery on opening night – and piling up well agains the back wall at the moment. Postcard photographs of the body bags are on sale at the gallery and two TV’s have video works based on the piece. Fadle El Harris's – editing footageof the installation with that of local anti bombing protests with some moving Leb-Pop and text – to create a rock clip effect; celebrating the cultural resistance of the local Lebaese communities to the undeclared war on their homeland. Anna Belhalfaoui’s video at the other end of the room – is more straighforward documentary style; including interviews with passerbys gaining their response to the installation of the body bags in Martin Place.

For some perverse reason – I liked the quieter pieces; Alissar Gazal’s 'Spring: Too Many Martyrs in Paradise' – involving pretty fake flowers placed over maps, and Maro F Alwan’s 'Frontera'. Mayhem reckons that ‘mapping’ is a bit of an overused term – in the case of massive horrible conflicts over land – then it’s probably a nice synechdote for all the scary limits imposed, trasgressed, evoked and torn up by fraught neotiations of identity and space.

There’s massive screen in the big room – with a 26 second flash by Khaled Sabsabi, and a more enigmatic video by Marian and Carol Abboud, 'Slap Me/On My Way To Beirut'. The latter directly engages with the unbearable lightness of honkiness; of guilt, grief and uselessness. But I was particularly moved by Fatima Mawas, 'What Could Have Been', a video made by an 18 year old soccer fan, devasted that the war prevented the Lebanese team from participating in the Asian Football finals, because half the players couldn’t be located in the rubble. The interviews with the hijab and footie scarf wearing woman splice nicely with stock footage of the Lebanese team scoring goals in Sydney, between shots of text, but it is this sense of the orindariness of tragedy that I found really hit me the most.

I like the audio piece in the corridor on the way to the toilets – but loved Mirieille and Fabian Astore’s video installation in the tiny room out the back. Called "3494 houses + 1 Fence", it shows flashing images of exactly that. The number of houses bombed in Lebanon are translated into flashing images of aussie suburban homes. This is a nice deployment of good old fluxus numerical games with that Aussie suburban camp that so much photographic art does in such an increasingly tiresome way. It’s detourned yet again, and begs the question where are we? Who lives in the houses? What if they were refugees with their former houses bombed? What could these houses mean?

The more polished pieces are locatd to the smaller rooms – and Nicole Barakat’s stripped seams entitled 'Flayed (again)' work nicely against Vivienne Dadours really lovely dyptich, 'Citizens'.

Barakat and Dadour are both establsihed slow, intensely medium based artists – so the time investment, of practcing, pushing, exploring art practice in the condition of exile carries a different flavour entirely. Viewers don’t register such a wrenching shock, but are invited to sense our own sadness and vulnerability in that of the work. This creates a deeply affective affinity that I find more interesting and moving, but harder to describe.

I hope this review conveys some thing of the type of relational aesthetics experiencem that I thik this show encompasses. It’s in a similar manner ot the Squatspace tour of Beauty protest/documentary/derives of Redfern waterloo. What underpins both is the notion of art as a field of relations, and an explicit commitment to building or defending or reinforcing certain relations – not in aesthetics –but in real worlds.

Readers of this blog may be familiar with my disdain for the S word. Sublime has been so overused in art reviews that it has become seared into mayhems brain as a synechodote of bland foggy paintings. ( a bloody shame really), but I want to propose something further. The notion of ‘the sublime’ comes from immanual Kant – and in Kantian aesthetics – ART™ is meant t evoke the same extraordinary experience that extreme sports nature does – you know that vertiginous exstacy involving sense of your own minuteness in comparison to the immensity of the universe around you of which you are deeply and intrinsically connected? No? sucking a couple of nitrous bulbs on the edge of a bondi cliff at sunset could well give you a taste of what its like. According to Kant, and Greenberg, nd many other worthy male types, ART™ should do the same thing. While I hate to deny the exstatic union of mind body and spirit often sensed in front of infinite oozes of the drippy stuff (an di’m not just talking about getting lucky at the slyfox) I want to posit ART™ as something that doesn’t aim to reach outside or beyond or above the experience eof the everyday or what mere mortals can communicate and achieve and access.

I’d like to think of ART™ as something as prosaic as speech – something that everyone does. Some do it well, and other’s do it badly. Some speech is awkward, some divine, some polished, some rough as guts. But as problematic as the word ‘democratic’ is, there is a culture where we all assume the right to speak to some people at some stage about some things. Mayhem believes ART™ is like speech – or any form of culture – a collective activity that everyone should access. Relational Aesthetics happens when art facilitates or communicates connections between people, when it provides a space where the unspeakable can be said, or explored, or shared somehow. Sometimes it’s striking, evocative, beautiful –other times it provides a nice Levinasian imperative (we see the face of the other and we feel compelled to respond) It is out of this space of sharing – or exchange that I think that solidarity and life can continue.

Don't miss your last chance to see the T'FOUH exhibition at Mori Gallery, 168 Day Street, Sydney.

The gallery is open wed - sat 11am - 6pm. The exhibition will close this Saturday, 30th of September.

There will also be an open dialogue with the artists on this day from 3-5pm, so come along and join us in a discussion about the exhibition and the artwork. For reviews, images and general info about T'FOUH and recent events in Sydney, visit