Monday, July 31, 2006

What Next

I think this week is going to be one of those qquiet weeks in the art world.


aka ‘the ORACLE” in the circuits of mayhems mind – did a general speculative whimsical feature of contribution based on WHAT NEXT.

It’s not that great reading – but it indicates that this soft weathered midwinter week – is a good one for toenail picking

Mori has an art auction for some bunch of shacks in royal national park and ELIZABETH GROSZ is giving a free excerpt of her MCA costly conference paper from earlier in the year, and kookey is being relaunched on Friday, and some boys in newtown have got a squat party on saturday night……

But in a week where even the legendary SQUATFEST film and culture jam spectacular has taken itself off to Adelaide – its probably a sign that not much is happening in the art world.

Well there’s the biennale. Still going on. Think the tin sheds has somefink opening up soon. And maybe artspace have got that mechanical machine room working again.

And you can check out the extreme sports dim-lit anorexia perv factor of Bill Henson at the OX

Mayhem outdid herself in managing to miss a whole heap of stuff happening last week.

Ghihglihgt was being completely UNABLE to locate the Knot gallery ‘café on the side’ which is apparently on the corner of Albion Avenue and Selwyn street in paddo – but post beer mayhem decided to wander up and down Albion Street in surry for a few hours before piking and drowning sorrows and brain cells at the hollywood.

However – I did managed to see some art. Which included a fetching long spikey vury object at GAFFA.

Vices and Devices was just the sort of girly gothfest spectacular that ain’t really mayhems cup of expresso – but you gotta admire fine workpersonship – and Armonious had it in spades.

Artbargain of the week – is the exquisitely welded bird claw/metal spike which for a hundred bucks has gotta be the best nose picking object d’art in the history of the universe.

Mayhem got dragged up the road past that bargain arthire space called BLANK for one of the best free noshups since the archies opening – and some rather brightly coloured landscape photos…….. which weren’t very interesting at all so I should stop writing aobut them

Apologies for lite content of pitch this week.

Next week – EVERY THING is happening, opening or closing. (again).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


If you haven't been down to the MCA for the biennale, then this Saturday at 3pm - I reccomend you go.

that honeyed voice man ruark will be giving an ORAL performance of Banalities Piece - presumably while negotiating the many frames of his Biennale installation.

think of the Number 3.

Its at 3pm
Piece is on level 3 - in that weird nookey bit near the lifts and on the harbour side.

If you want something less operatic and endurancy then you could go up to Cross Arts (33 Roslyn street Kings x) for artists talks by Fiona MacDonald, Sue Pedley, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Deborah Vaughan.

the show is really interesting and so are the artists and it's on the same time as Ruarks peice wihch is also the same time as some talk/thing on Mindfulness and Creativity at AGNES wales as part of the ZEN BUSH MASTERS exhibition.

and they are all freee - and it's furhter proof that sydney is not a boring overpriced banal hell hole really......

I think I mentined the Olaf talk fest at Paddo town hall tonight?

Also I just got a last minute note that ON FRIDAY (yeah -that's today) - squatspace kiddos Kernow and Amitie are giving a slide talkfest at SYDNEY, 302 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills.

Amsterdam <--> Yogja <--> Sydney.

Kernow has been in Amsterdam since 2003, living in squats and doing graphic design with Green Pepper Magazine, and DIY printing collective kNUST.

Amity spent 2005 studying in Indonesia. After the recent earthquake, she helped organise the wildly successful 'Rock against Rubble' fundraising party at Lanfranchi's. She has just returned from a short trip to Yogyakarta to deliver the proceeds to the Taring Padi collective whose building was destroyed.

Kernow and Amity will be accompanied by Sydney's famous Krazy Kool drinks (indo style), Indonesian Dangdut music, and really strange Dutch music.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Barakat Crackerjack

While it's part of the radio spin for me to promote art according to a criteria of free piss, I've been finding it a tad hard to attend free openings and still make some sense of the ART.

Mayhem will do her best to attend the opening night of

"Like Talking to a Brick Wall" by Josie Cavallaro

At Loose Projects: Level 2, 168 Day street, Sydney

(opening wednesday 26th july 6-8pm & continues to saturday 12th august)

As well as some scary spikey thing at Gaffa on thursday night (see cut and paste job on press release below)

::Vices & Devices: Machinations of Flesh::
Tales from the Great Subconscious by E. Armanious

at Gaffa: 330 Crown street Surry hills

the latter makes me thing of the show I straggled over on a sodden friday night at chrissie cotter gallery.

I'd already been sinking guinness all afternoon at the FLODGE (god academia is a tough life ain't it?)- and bedraggled my umbrellad frame up the road and round the conrer to the nice room at the back of Camperdown Bowling club.

After the SHAM project, mayhem has become fully convinced of the acute compatibiity of art and bowling greens and reckons more art audiences should be required to wear pristine white uniforms - just so the wine stains stand out more, but that's another story.

OK the pretext was not just the free goon in 3 flavours and 2 colours and some damn nice hoummous and probably my only source of fresh veggies last week, but for the art.

nicole Barakat is a damn fine seamstress. she teaches textiles at COFa and is known in some of the seamier circle sof the lady loving set as WIFE. Not because she is one - but coz of her whacky perfomative pisstake/well dressed fifty something exqusite stitching hysterical mimetic pisstake of the whole domestic fmeininity caper.
My favourite was her promenading around the performance space with a Ghetto Blaster screaming out that crayz turkish pop singer - it almost topped Texta's sister 'cheese single' doing Vinyl disc spinning - and inspiring a NO NET extrmeen sports karaoke collaboration... argh! those halcyon days of the early noughties.......

If you've been down to AGNES to admire the postmodern pastiche of Ghada Amer’s sexy stiched ladies on canvas… well you’ll wet yerslef over the barakat/collet combo at the cotter.

(Sorry for excessive alliteration)

Clarie Collett and Nicole Barakat both present rally involved fun pictorial works and objects – evoking the sensuality of stitch, weird mnemonic residues of text….textile and nice colour furry felty form……

I loved Collett’s tryptich “My heart is a Great Black Bird” and adored Barakat’s fine work over canvas book linings…… (It reminded me of this nice chapter in Ulrich Lehman’s tiggesprung/tigerspring about Prousts palimpsests as textiles……)

Mayhem loves two things deeply in this world: the infinite coloured ooze of divine drippy stuff and intense piercing intensity of good textile work. So sewing, pulling, felting…touching finding remaking, made birds, fierce flights of dragging imagination, sense, and the way woven things hold memory, touch, connection… well they get my juices going

I found some of Ghada’s canvases at AGNSW worked well, and the threads meshed madly into something not sewing and not paintings – other’s were just too crude/clunky & ostentatious.

By contrast the Collett/barakat show was all amazingly exquisite and the work is cheap and I’d put the show as hot tip for the mayhem budding art investors guide to starting small. Cheaper than a haircut. The show goes to 30th July. Chrissie Cotter is on Pidcock street Campo. Very close to parramatta road

meanwhile back to social calender:

Australian Centre for Photography and Institute of Modern Art present

An evening with Olaf Breuning
Artist talk with the star of Home, Brian Kerstetter

Paddington/Woollahra RSL
Oxford Street
Wednesday 26 July 2006
6.30pm - 8.30pm

Cost: $5
Bookings: Purchase Tickets Online
Please book early as numbers are limited

New-York-based Swiss artist Olaf Breuning will visit Sydney to present this artist talk for Australian Centre for Photography as part of a joint production with Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane. Supported by Pro Helvetia/Swiss Arts Council.

Drinks available from the bar

In his videos, photos and installations, Olaf dishes up a fantasy world of glam-trash quotations, an archive of alternative realities. Equally enamoured with heavy metal and counter-culture, historical romance and serial killer splatter, the courtly and the bogan, he constructs bizarre intersections of reality and simulation in which pop culture's interlocking clichés are amplified and exploded. His eclectic work provokes contrasting feelings of discomfort and fascination, repulsion and seduction, embarrassment and intrigue.

ALSO at Sherman


an exhibition of work by: JOHN YOUNG

The Director, Olga Harrison, and the Curatorial Director, Ricardo Silveira, invite you to attend the opening night of Col Jordan and Chris Langton's exhibitions.

Opening - Wednesday 26 July 2006, 6pm
Exhibition Dates - 26 July - 12 August 2006

Exhibition to be opened by Ken Reinhard and Anne Loxley

Harrison Galleries
294 Glenmore Road
Paddington, NSW 2021
t: 612 9380 7100

opening this thurs 27th July 6-8pm (runs 28july - 8th August)

::Vices & Devices: Machinations of Flesh::
Tales from the Great Subconscious by E. Armanious

Vices & Devices is an exploration into the nature and subjects of secrecy and the subconscious through the imagery of medical and cultural oddities and the literature and language of the hidden desires. The significance of these pieces rests in their function as tools for measuring the immeasurable interiors of the mind.

Vices & Devices take the form of hand held, physical and metaphysical tools, solid pieces of my fantasies and dreams that reside somewhere between the subconscious and reality, the grotesque and the seductive. They reference medical oddities such as Dermography (practiced on hysterical women in nineteenth century France) Phrenology as well less unusual historical and current medical trends, ideas, and design aspects, ritualistic tools of the past that mark rites of passage and states of emotion, such as tools for tattooing and scarification, and ideas of murder and prolonged suicide.

Utilizing a broad range of techniques and materials, this series resides in a unique position in regards to genre. My background in jewellery has allowed me to construct these metaphysical tools in a small scale with obsessive precision, but although their interplay with the body is of supreme importance, they are not by any means ‘Jewellery’. I have also been studying with a master swordsmith with whom I have been experimenting with Tamahagane Steel (also known as Damascus Steel), a exceptional metal, practically unknown in Australia, that originated centuries ago in
Japan for Samurai swords and blades. Other materials used in this series
include surgical steel, stainless steel, dental gold, sterling silver, graphite, glass, bone, mercury, gazelle antler and a single queen European wasp.

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

Actuallly the same night and kind of up the road, there's a KNOT event thing:

they say "Knot on the other side" say the addie is the coner of Selwyn & Albion streets in Paddo, and apparently it sosme exhibition of some french dude called ARTEFAKT.

nvite looks kinda cute - so it moytt be orroytt

Monday, July 17, 2006

Back in black

Black Brassier, Undies, socks, boots, leggings, skirt, top, zip-up cardie. Lucky for bleachey regrowth or I could have looked like a widow. I’m too old to pass as a goth.

None of this was visible from inside the weird burqua like structure that sheathed my form. My eyes peeped out and met other coy glimpses from other ned-kelly players. Ned Kelly? Or some anonymous stereotype of the suburban subaltern….. the veiled Islamic female. Unsure. Mayhem liked this particular confluence of codes. A cone of zontac between international contemporary artwork and a noice Nolan reference for the locals. It was up there with last biennale’s take your pick selection of sorry/no worries.

Back to the box. A light frame on wheels, in which I felt safe, secure and warm. I was nursing a hangover and happy to see without being seen. Well my bum could be seen through the slit in the back but who was I to care? My phone rang and my friend told me she was in my hometown. I told her to visit my mum and where she could see the farms of school-friends from the highway. She said it was freezing. She was just passing through. I told her about the box. It felt like a phone booth.

She hung up and my hands went to the frame within which I glided around the room. I thought of various assiduous texts on the gallery as a training space for public comportment. How is one to look, to stand, to behave in public, self consciously, with decorum and distinction? As I glided within my black carapace, on the inside I picked my nose and scratched my bum. Considered masturbating. I could have spent the whole day in there but the signs said ‘do not leave the viewing area’. Bugger. I saw a couple entering one together. Lucky sods.

Was this the work? I’d entered the space in last night’s clothes, trawling along the left hand wall, peering into the scintillating stills mounted on monitors. Half naked women and men, sitting on chairs in an ugly room. Posed like anthropological specimens from some ghastly photographic cabinet of the nineteenth century. these figures were white – but I couldn’t help thinking of their black Australian shadows. I rankled at the annoyance of my own shadow passing in front of one of the screens, darkening it to the point of invisibility. I moved back and to the side, tried to peer obliquely. How annoying. Signs around said ‘do not touch.’

At the end of the line of monitors, there were a series of black glass squares. Squares of impenetrable dark gloss mirrored my shadow across 3 walls of the space. Then I noticed that the black oblongs were for entering. Realised, that they were viewing booths. So I stepped inside and wheeled up to the square. The black matt pall cast a shadow over the square. Up close, the square almost filled my own narrow viewing slit entirely. Then the image became visible. A repeat of the topless staring others. A creepy, quiet little voyeuristic frisson, that diminished my desire to masturbate.

I loved this piece not only because it looks elegant – but provides such a clear experience of a the ‘scopic’ regime of cinematic voyeurism. I’m not a fan of the Mulvey/Pollock school of getyerhandsorffit antiperve feminazi aesthetics – but do feel obliged to acknowledge that the cinematic imperative (sitting in a dark room looking at something BIG that can’t see you staring at it) governs lots of the spectacular codes of err, you know, the NOW time, late/post/high/hyperreal modernity or whatever you want to call it.

And part of this err…. Ahem… ‘scopic regime of late modernity’ (yep that IS the title of some great 80’s essay) is based on the implied cultural relations of the voyeur. Sneaking a peek when you don’t have permission. Looking at something that can’t see you. A voyeur likes to touch themselves in the dark, apparently, but in a room full of people, the voyeur transfers the manual touch into a lingering langourous GAZE. Hungry eyes see the body of the viewed as a substitute genitalia – and here I should be nice girl and stop trying to be so non gender specific – because the genitalia involved is meant to be the PHALLUS. Readers may remember the Berger line about ‘men as viewing subjects, women as viewed subjects’, and the baudrillard line of the spectacular incarnation of the castrated phallus that is incarnated by the stripper…… and they are probably all apt and correct. However, it’s a pretty hard line to swallow when you’re a lone lady-loving lady in a dark box with an ex-dildo and ex-girlfriend both 17,000 kilometres away let me tell you.

So, let me try to conceive of the sopic regimes of late modernity, where the ladies get to be more than a cock in drag or some harbinger of Lacanian LACK.

I’m not sure that all peoples bodies are absolutely sure of their gender all of the time. I think gender is something negotiated, tested, tried, reinforced, challenged and confused. I think the experience of gendering is negotiated within the morass of fleshy stuff which comprises the mortal coil of you, and I, both probably sitting with numb buttocks reading a computer screen. Hands on a mouse. Are you 100% man in every pore, or 100% woman? and that turd yo did this morning, was it a boy turd or a girl turn? How did you know? Mayhem is beholden to the creed that bodies are ambiguous disruptive things, and that a fixity of gendered cultural relations can only be maintained by processes of disembodiment. English please? If you can’t feel your body, can’t feel the ambiguity of that turd, the crease behind your knee, your stomach, your snot, your ear wax, the crook in your finger, the flaccid folds of flesh in your underwear, that hair curling on the nape of your neck. (like who has the time to code all of these as masculine or feminine) then it’s easier to feel assured of your gender as some unified, seamless subject.

Unified seamless subjects, like the phallus act in coherent one-eyed unison in relation to the world around them. They see one thing at one time. Their bodies are reduced to a set of codes. Voyeur, viewed, subject, object. No time for ambiguity. No fluids. The key to reducing the body to a set of codes is of course – to evacuate any disruptive experience of it. control, contain, remove bodies from the visual experience. Cinemas do it by having comfy chairs, where crowds of people get to play quadriplegic for 90minutes. Glue arse to comfy chair. Don’t move feet, have strawed drinks and hands free nibblies on hand. Have no hands. Furniture that fixes our heads into a single position, a set viewing range for a set time. Mayhem hates choosing a cinema seat for this reason.

I dunno what the cinemas are like in Latvia but in “Breathing Prohibited”, Eveline Deicmane has created something perfectly brilliant for a comment on ALL OF THE ABOVE. The black burqua boxes create a gliding fusion between the cinematic viewing regime and that of the gallery experience that is delightfully deliciously almost perfect. Entering a black box inside a white box – our bodies dissolve into mere armatures for our eyeballs. Well, almost. I fidgeted in the dark, but felt too disquieted to wank, phallic longings aside.

I wish I hadn’t been too trashy the previous week, when I’d visited the AGNES with my finnish friend Kaisa. We were mean tot be doing the biennale together as part o our great plans for an art theory panel on Deleuzian Aesthetics and feminist epistemology at the end of the year. It’s going to be about all of the above – and strategies for researching and describing art practice beyond notions of representation or disembodiedness. But last week I was so trashy that all I could do was go ‘hey, look, that’s me! There’s Zanny!’ in the Fiona Tan photo constellation at the bottom of the escalators. The book has a picky of my lounge-room too. Mayhem is everywhere. So much for curing my mirror stage.

Anyway – the above is meant to be a long winded plug for the Deicmane piece. GO TO AGNSW FIRST AND GO INSIDE A BOX AND PEER AND PONDER. And then wander inside a great big black room with TABAIMO’s animation on a big screen, and enjoy yourself for a minute. Spread out across the lounge. If you wanna do serious contemplative video art installation – then stroll down to Harry’s pie cart, and cross the road into Artspace. Tacita Deans video installation for BOOTS is one of the most successful things I’ve seen in the gunnery cave for a long time. 3 video rooms that can almost be viewed simultaneously if you don’t mind mashing your head into one of the vintage industrial uprights of the old warehouse squat that was.

There’s so much good stuff in the biennale that I could have written long winded rants in the previous two fortnights – and could still write more. Mayhem holds to the belief that what makes video art, video ART as opposed to Video – is the condition where the spectator’s body can be engaged with. You don’t have to sit through a whole video piece to have seen it. you don’t have to sit anywhere in particular. You don’t have to sit. You can wander around, crouch, lie, walk up to it so the screen becomes a mass of pixels. Peer from the sides or not even look at it. you might just hear some noise and hate it like I did at walsh bay with the bad screaming sax of Almagul Manlibeyava’s video. I don’t care if Punk has reached Kazakhstan, it sounded like shit and I thought Paci’s chandelier was pretentious and the whole downstairs area looked not enough unlike expo ’88 to make me feel happy. But there’s still some great work there.

I keep returning to the video works –because I’m interested in ho this cinematic medium can be made non-cinematic. I’ll get over it so bear with me. There’s lots of nice installationy-sculptural stuff too.

Beyond the biennale I wandered into the moricave and saw Khaled Sabsabi’s incredible video installation; it think it’s called refuge. Sabsabi has done electronic and audio work for donkey’s years – and this has extended to the finely crafted audio scape – a sonic cone of sub bass thrums that hums beneath the traffic noise outside, and provides a lovely audio ‘ground’ for the visuals. 3 big screens, a cycling tryptic not unlike Tacita Dean. On comprises bass relief over exposed black and white moving images of a faceless head, and industrial bleached out landscapes that…. Yeah, must be Beirut or something. And the other two are immense red slides fading in and out, gashing, wounded cedar flesh. Ana Mendieta eat your heart out. This is Lebanese nostalgia, as raw aching visceral sensation, spiced with faded vague memories. It is incredibly moving. If you have a teleporter handy you can goo directly from that into Joyce Salloums installation at the MCA. There you can move edgily between seats and headphones, witnessing testimonies, and weeping. There needs to be more weeping in galleries. Some work is worth it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Too Blonde for words

mayhem is sitll lost in space (actually I've been in a PhD hole) and it has tuned me white
- so lucas is doing the segment this week
I'll be back in black next week.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

scragging around

Art and mayhem has been damn slack this week and hasn't seen any art.
(I went to one opening but the room was full of people and I couldn't see a thing)

there are limits to bullshit even I can make up aobut stuff I haven't seen so I'll fess up and close my mouth for a week and open my eyeballs.

but in case all my fans wanna feast yer eyeballs on mayhem action there's some nudy paintings of mayhem at Michale nagy, and Tim hilton has a collection of happy snaps of schappylle scrag

why review art WHEN YOU ARE ART????

hey btw - that creepy bone woman wiht the weird religious scultpures - linde eivermeyer is my second cousin