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 AugĂ©’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

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spewin Again!!!

Somethings are beyond a joke.

Just when mayhem was happy hiding in acosy little nest of PhD avoidance, angsting about the unwrittne chapters and dreaming of Juna Davila and giacommetti along comes bloody life to irritate me into a state of acitivity.

see the latest seditious interventions at :

and check out the following:

The visual arts community is aghast at, and mobilising in response to, the
announcement by Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock that he will not make the
changes to sedition laws recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission
(ALRC), and called for by the Legal and Constitutional Committee of the
Senate and representatives of the legal, arts and media sectors.
The ALRC was charged with the task of reviewing what was generally regarded
as ill thought through legislation, which was hastily pushed through
parliament in December last year. Even the Attorney General acknowledged
then that it was ©¯a work in progress©˜.
In response to this latest announcement, the National Association for the
Visual Arts  (NAVA), the peak body representing the professional interests
of artists and arts organisations, has joined with others in the legal, arts
and media sectors to demand changes needed to guarantee freedom of
expression especially for artists and other creators. A meeting will be held
next week to plan a co-ordinated response.
Tamara Winikoff, Executive Director of NAVA said today, ©¯We have already
seen the affect of these laws in dampening the full expression of innovative
ideas by artists who are fearful that their work could be misinterpreted.
The penalties are too serious for many artists to take the risk.©˜
Winikoff continued, ©¯These laws can be and already have been used to quell
the opinions of independent thinkers. Without robust discussion and debate,
we risk losing our moral compass. A strong democracy can accommodate and
respect the challenges thrown up by its citizens.  This law erodes the
democratic principle that has been a long cherished right in our country,
and one for which we have gone to war.©˜
The ALRC backed by the legal, arts and media sectors, want to see a clear
distinction made between legitimate questioning, dissent and critique by
those who may disagree with the policies or actions of governments, and
expression that constitutes a criminal offence. Representative concerned
groups demand that the law be changed to differentiate between a rhetorical,
satirical or critical challenge to the authority of the state, and the
security risk of the urging of the use of force or violence which is
genuinely intended to take place.
©¯Plans are in progress to approach those parliamentarians who have expressed
concern, to ask that they demonstrate their commitment and demand the
recommended changes to this dangerous legislation. Without any protection of
freedom of expression in Australia we could be headed for the same kind of
repressive controls that we have been critical of in other non-democratic
countries©˜ Winikoff said.

For media comment, contact Tamara Winikoff m: 0411 162 156

NAVA Media Desk newsdesk/mediadesk

National Association for the Visual Arts
Ph: (02) 9368 1900
PO Box 60
Potts Point 1335


NAVA advances the professional interests of the Australian visual arts
sector through advocacy, representation and service provision.

Monday, September 18, 2006

ideas, ideas

This week on Art and Mayhem Lucazoid interviewed Gabrielle de Vietri, an artist from Melbourne who produces the "Ideas Catalogue". There's an open call out for anyone to contribute ideas to the catalogue, and if Gabrielle sells your idea on, you'll get cash! For an entry form email ideascatalogue@
here's some more on Gabrielle's work:

for your podcast:
this is the edited interview on its own between Lucazoid and Gabrielle (7 min, about 3mb)

and this is the whole segment as it went to air with Daz and Lucazoid chatting around it etc as well as some bonus de Vietri soundworks! (16 min, about 13mb)


We also politely inform you of two events happening this week:

Tuesday night:

You are invited to view the latest travailogue, No: XIII, by Stephen
Eastaugh on Tuesday night, 19 September, 6 to 8pm, in the second gallery

room at the Damien Minton Gallery- 61-63 Great Buckingham Street Redfern

Later on that night view the documentary on the artist and his travels,
AntarticArt, on ABCTV.
see also:

Wednesday night:



Opening Wednesday September 20, Don't Look Gallery

Artist, David O'Donoghue, and curator, Greg Shapley, have been spring cleaning at Don't Look Gallery. In 'Miscellanea', stuff that would normally stay covered in dust on an unreachable shelf will be brought into the gallery, given purpose, and 'networked' with other 'useless devices.

The forgotten, the obsolete, the broken will be resurrected into an incessantly whirring rhizome. Reel-to-reel tape recorders, fluorescent lights, record players, timers, old speakers, film projectors, etc etc. etc. will be rigged up into a machine that is both entertaining and terrifying, fragile yet relentless.

'Miscellanea' is both a profound statement about obsolescence, and a captivating spectacle - lights, cameras and action - all rewired into a chorus line of mechanical zombies.

This 'Borgian' creation will be an act of inspiration from a moment of electrified passion, and as such will be entirely constructed within the constraints of a typical working day. O'Donoghue will have eight hours from when he clocks on to the launch of the exhibition to spawn his irrepressible child.

David O'Donoghue is a Sydney based Artist; who crosses territories of installation, sound design, video, object making, drawing, and contemporary bricolage. He has an interest in post-cultural mythology, micro-philosophy, and self-propelled propaganda mechanisms. His most recent exhibition was The Nerve Metre at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, February 2006.

WHAT: Miscellanea: Stuff comes alive
WHEN: Opening Wednesday September 20, 6pm
Thurs Sept 21 - Sun Oct 1 (Thur-Sun 11-5)
WHERE: DON'T LOOK Experimental New Media Gallery
419 New Canterbury Rd (Near Marrickville Rd ), Dulwich Hill
WHO: David O'Donoghue (curated by Greg Shapley)
CONTACT: Greg Shapley - Ph: 0401 152 434, Email:


There are a million other goings on around town, and Mayhem may update you with the rest!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Your Brilliant Career

Inspired by last week's ARTLIFE posting on How to be a successufl artists - I thought I'd chuck up the following bits form my email INBOX.

btw - DON'T LOOK is a new, great gallery in Dulwich Hill that is great for video/sound/installation works (it's a shofront with nice little boothable rooms)

it has fantastic wallpaper in one room - plus a 2 way mirror too.

And it's cheap.


Avant Card

Do you want to get your artwork onto an Avant Card postcard? Avant Card
is currently looking for a wide variety of 'great art' to put onto
postcards and distribute into venues Australia-wide. Your artwork can be
themed around a festivity (Christmas, New Year, Valentines Day, Easter
etc.), or you may chose to incorporate Avant Card in some way (their
'globe' logo or a small blurb relating to Avant Card). If you are one of
the successful applicants, 20,000 copies of your postcard will be
distributed across venues for two to four weeks. You will also be
provided with 1,000 copies for your own use. Full credit will be given
on the back of the postcard with including contact details, website and
a small blurb. There is no fee involved to or from the artist; this is
an initiative aimed at supporting Australian artists in providing
national exposure. Artists maintain copyright of their work and all work
must be original.

Contact Email Website Closing 1 November

Dobell Drawing Prize

The Art Gallery of NSW is calling for submissions to the $20,000 Dobell
Drawing Prize. Submissions may use media and materials traditionally
associated with the practice of drawing (pencil, pen and ink, charcoal,
etc.) and those which are part of contemporary drawing practice,
including pastel, watercolour, collage etc.


Closing 22 September

Art in the Park 2006
_Expression of Interest - Sculptors sought for Art in the Park Outdoor Sculpture Walk 2006
Inner West Sculptors are invited to participate in a one-day exhibition in Maundrell Park, Petersham.
Where : Maundrell Park, Stanmore Road, Petersham
When : Sunday 5th November, 2006 from 11-4 pm
Initiated by Marrickville Council, Maundrell Park hosts a unique outdoor gallery space, offering local sculptors, sculpture groups and galleries the opportunity to showcase and promote their work.
The sculpture gallery is set within the park grounds and consists of 7 plinths as follows:
4 plinths approx 900 mm x 900mm
3 plinths 600mm x 600mm
There is also space for 5 larger ground sculptures.
This event is curated and selected artists will be given a payment to assist with delivery, installation and collection of art works on the day.
Interested artists are invited to submit images of art works to:
Submissions must include a brief biography, description of art work, size of art work and contact details.
Deadline for submissions is next Friday 15 September, 2006
For any further information please contact Vanessa Owens
Mobile - 0402 236 619 or at the above email.

September, Jesus, disasters, Art

Apparently there are 80 checkpoints up around the city looking for weapons of Mass Distraction! so i-pod wearers BE WARNED!!!!

Well I could write something long and preachy today.

It's 5 years today since NYC got hit by terrorists.

It's 33 years since chile got it's prime minister killed and its government dissolved by a bunch of terrorists. They took that nice ship "La Esmeralda" and imprisoned anyone not extremely boring and tortured them to death on the ship, moored outsid ethe port of valaparaiso.

And they played STRAUSS non stop for a week on eveyr loudspeaker across every major town.
Women wearing pants in public had them slashed into split skirts by members of the new junta.
And the terror continued until the early 1990's.

Augusto Pinochet was far more of a menace to society than osama bin laden.

but apparently that has fuck all to do with art (but plenty to do with mayhem)

so. I went to some intense and delightfully earnest chinwag at artspace on saturdya. More to be posted soon.

on the way upstairs I cought snathces of the lelmeprier finalsits.

My favourite piece was Sari Kivinines nail biting video. (it's a MUST)
Owen leong has exquisite pink milky moving bits on a flat screen too.
and some dude had great fluffy inside out footballs stuck on a wall

The lemprier - is a great little 'survey' of what lots of the nice new funky art youf have been up to. It's great if you wanna see what's been happening lately (good bad and ugly) and if you missed some great show at some ARI and read about it on the artlife and have been castigating yerself for missing it - then you can often see an excerpt at the Lempriere.

Mayhem missed Zanny Begg's glass half full last year. (I was checking out relationsla Aestehtics in Paris - but I still cursed myself)
so it was good to catch it in the corner of artspace - and then swipe one of the accopanying zines wiht interviews with the supjects of the plaquards.

I took it, read it and got even more inspired thn by Alex Gawronski's manifesto upstaris at the reframing art symposium. Zanny's work is a delightful and empathic testimony to current/former activists - a delighfully human evocation of people who don't get a lot of humanity - not form mainstram press and certianly not within strident aggro activist sources - whose humanity so often gets overrun by sectarian desperation.

So It was really great to read and look at the pretty painted bits - and I gave my zanny zine to a bunch of young squatting relationally aesthetical youf later that evening. one of them runs 'cultural dissent' at some pub on abercrombie street -and he was moved and inspired.

Everyone needs culture - stories, images, songs for those of us engaging in the grim business of struggling against the current fuckup of society or desperately dreaming of another one. Culture ain't a panacea - but as seductive as a good old horizontal folk dancing frolic - it leaves you shagged but euphoric enough about being alive to keep on trucking on. - and cutlure is for eveyrone to create, make, improvise, cut up apprepriate, basterdise and enjoy. (imagine if eveyrone stopped screwing coz they couldn't do it like a porn star???)

On a smilar vein - Jumaadi's lovely little works on paper arre coloured jewels at Legge. SOme have bits of poetry in bahasa and english. some are based on folk dances from sulawesi, some on Jumaid's onwn performance poetry, other's on his own readings of joseph campbell (which i ain't a faan of - but I ain't a book burner either). Jumaadi's brand of 'fusion' isn't some kind 'authentic' exotic gado-gado experience - he's done his visual arts training in Australia - but a delightful exposition of the lively and playful links between life, imagination, play and the coloured pictorial form on paper principals........

I gusss you're all reading this to find out where to get pissed this week.

Hell just go and stand outside! man what weather!!!!

tongiht UTS galery has an opening (see above)


A regular feature of the Loose projects program is the LOOSE week.

One week in each month is dedicated to impromptu and quick response
events, projects and activities (talks, sound nights, publications,
workshops, exhibitions, production space) coordinated by the rotating
roster of Loose players.

this month...

"just checking to see what condition your condition is in"
Lucy from Peanuts, psychiatrist 5 cents (Sarah Goffman)
Local Correspondence, letters to artists (Carla Cescon)
wall works by Tanya Chaly and Drew Bickford

performance/opening wednesday 13th september 6-8pm
continues to saturday 16th

ongoing in the BLACK BOX: Ryszard Dabek

Loose projects: level 2, 168 Day Street, Sydney
gallery hours: thursday & friday 12-5pm, saturday 1-6pm


Film fundraiser for Lebanon at Mori Gallery
Here you can check out the GREAT ART in T'FOUH AND SUPPORT A DAMN FINE CAUSE

6-9PM @ 168 day Street, Sydney CBD

for info ring Alissar on 9649 5559 / 0405 206 617

The money raise goes to support hte relief effort via : Samidoun - The Sanayeh Relief Centre. The money will be used directly to assist those people who have been displaced by the invasion. Thank you again.

If you can't make the film fundraiser tbut would like to make a donation to the fund then make a deposit directly into>

ACCOUNT NO.: 693829
BSB: 032-044
BK/BRANCH: Westpac Banking Corporation 275 GEORGE ST, SYDNEY

but i rekcon the thursdya will be tops: films, food, and hundreds of boyd bags, amazing DVD's, lots of stuff. turning rage and despair into culture and life.

Gaffa Also has an opening:
:::LOVE LOGO::: @ 330 crown street Surry hills

(exhibition runs 15-26th September)

Love Logo is a 3 person exhibition combining sculpture, installation and design practices. Love Logo questions the effects, on people, on society, of branding in our culture. We are perpetually surrounded and saturated by media images of companies and their products regardless of our own desires, Love Logo questions its effect through works asking if ‘are we all unique?’ or indeed ‘is this branding enriching our life?’. Love Logo is an interactive concept research seeking to explore the implications of branding on us as individuals and what it is doing for the society at

FRIDAY 15th December

DACCHi DANG has an opening at 4A gallery (asia sutralia art centre)
6-8pm @ 181-187 hay Street Haymarket

Last time I saw Daachi he said he barely had time to get to studio - so god only knows how he's found the time to pull LIMINAL together.(oh - yeah - I have't seen him for 6 months.... I take that back)

show runs until October 14.

the same night is the opening of a QUEER ART SHOW

place: Aurora Gallery at GLCS (Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service
premises) at 43 Bedford Street, Newtown

I'm plugging th above coz i'm innit - but also scragg is doing somehting for their perfomrance arvo at the same place on sunday......

meanwhile - there's an amazing show at CROSS ARTS: 33 Rosyln Street, Kings cross.

The exhibition of metallic works by Margaret Grafton (1930-2004) is a great success. This is the first public showing of her work in Sydney for five years and her aluminium and copper weavings positively shimmer under the gallery lights.

Please see: - for a selection of images and biographical details
The exhibition continues until Saturday 16 September.
Contact: Daniel Grafton - 9818 8758 / 0407 242 955 or or Jo Holder - 0406 537933
Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat, 11-6PM

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fine Lines

For those who just want to see what I'm plugging on the way of free goon - skip this bit and head straight for the "bad wine" post below.

While hibernating with the TOME - mayhem did manage a few fleeting forays into THE ART WORLD - to glimpse space, light, inspiration, creativity, life - and all those things I've left behind in my bid to become some sort of international expert on the subject of art, art education, art practice, and ethnographic art research.

Deleuzian immersion sounds all well and good as a radical epistemology - but the exigencies of PhD production have meant that I've had to fall back on good old enlightenment models of "Me: expert". "You:subject" I will stand apart and above you and I will tell you what you are, and make money doing so.

It's a shite state of affairs really.

But one relieved by the odd delightful foray into an immersive encounter with the stuff - objects, on walls, on floors, in mostly white spaces. all placed there deliberately as some deeply conscious encounter with meaning making structuredom.

coz mayhem is mayhem - I like to check out high roads and low roads, coz both go to scotland or to rome, or to dead end metaphors. I make mention of the friends shows I see - not only coz of my onw sticky imbeddedness in the artworld - but as a cultural capital capacity builder myself - I lke to be clear about just how random, small, minute and arbitrary (and often nepotistic) my selection of exhibitions is actually is.

The luck of the artstar draw - is often about luck, as much as sheer bumcrawling slog of meeting the right connections or making the right shade of shit work, that meets the requirements of frisson generating newness without being too 'outre' for whatever box that we like all newness to come packaged in.

So last week - I rocked up to GLOBAL gallery - to check out a show that 2 art school mates were in Global is one of those many artists/hire spaces, wehre groups of artists band together whatever funds they've got to hire a space in paddington and stick their works on the wall, in the hope of catching the eye of some ACGA dealer on Glenmore road - or evne mkaing a random sale from some random rich person straying past dress shops and looking for a little somehting to go above their latest throw cushions or marble bench top super sinking fund.

The nasty old facts tho - are that most self funded/artists hire shows - also involve the artist bringing their own buyers as well. so the artists do the artwork, do an extra 3 jobs to hire the venue, do the PR, do the mailout, fork out cash for refreshments, maybe mind the space, and do the sales - usualy consisting of coereced firneds/aquaintainces, unable to stand the sinking faces of the artists as the night wears on wiht the only red dots consisting of flecks of red goon consumed and sprayed round the walls.......

anywya- a few of the artist from the current show "figure 8", have studios at lennox street and have been working for a few years in the above manner. Red dots are few and far between. I know Pete Yates and Megan O'brien - which is why I went. I loved aleena Smith's durer-stle hands and feets (intense emotive portraits) drawn onto rubbed back gessoed ply. Some were a bit twee, but you gotta love the lines.

Megan's paintings -almost wooed me from my visceral hatred of shubert's Wintereisse. she had lovely spikey caverns and endless pools (OK so mayhem is a sucker for rocks nd water) all conveyed in carefully worked back aqua monochromes.

My eyes danced inwardly, happily -and it was a nice way to start my segue over to COFA for the DRAWING CONNECTIONS event flagship: the chinese whispers show.

Once again - what dragged me - was familiarity with 2 of the artists - socially - through networks of friends, fellow students, dealers.

I've exhibited with Amanda Robins in 2003(she had paintings of folded fabric and I had fabric and human hair replica vulvas) and the ABC arts program - even mixed up our names. I have a bit of a soft spot for the enfolded qualities of her works -so much so that I even read the entire copy of Gilles Deleuzes "Le Pli" in French. HOWZAT!!! Folds rock. They ain't just about vulvas - I mean, vulvas are like folds...and folds are like mandelbrot sets, and - they go on FOREVER.

Mike Esson who is very much a figurehead of the australian post-post-conceptual 'new drawing movement - curated this show - featuring the drawing STARS of COFA staff and graduates. The right hand space of the gallery is dominated by 3 of Amanda's large drawing, that foorm a wierdly religious trinity and give the gallery an almost religious aura.

Now according to the book of MAYHEM - good art is WAYYY more than a representation - and in fact, good art is uses a representation to take us into a space where meaning is dissolved. I know Robins has a bit of a soft spot for Cixous and Kristeva - so I could use the symbolic/semiotic dichotmoy (Thus representation is part of the symbolic order, and art is the threshold where we enter into the semiotic order - the neonatal/prenatal, sub-linguistic non-phallic 'feminine') and so this is why it would make sense that her work evokes vulvas.....

but I actually think Kristeva is a but sucky, and I get a bit itchy when I think of an art being masculine or feminine, and I get really bitchy about Kristeva - coz she rekconed only men could represent the semiotic - or it's thresheold coz women were just too immersed in that anyway - and that's a damn hard thing to swallow if you happpen to be sitting on a vulva tyring to sew a replica one, or writing a PhD or, doing anything really.

Please bear wih me on this trip to theory land - it will wash out in the end.

Mayhem does not believe in the singular unified subject and reckons ALL OF GENDER belongs in the realm of the semiotic. Even phalluses have their fleeting temporalities and canot be relied apon as a ordering critera of subjectivity. Mayhem thinks the realy bodily remnant of the phallus is not the penis, not even the dildo but THE TURD. Phallocracy is abject.

Mayhem likes Irigaray - because she defies a singular reliable subjectivity. she's more flippo than Germaine Greer - writing is a mad intervention, a swirling that takes us well beyond a nice tight order of things, and becomes an imperative, a destabilising intervention, that cracks open shit. Mayhem also likes D&G (not Dolce & Gabbana and not Dolce & Gelato either - but Deleuze & Guattari) - because they call for an end to the subject - and an opening of multiple subjectivities, breaking down shit and letting it flow.......

so back to Ivan Dougherty - an imposing brick building with some nice stucco bits and nice white walls iside and very clean toilets.

Amanda's drawings are ostensibly representations of an old coat, some diaphanous dress, and some quilted dressing gown hung upsidedown. They have rather prosaic titles reflecting this like "oxfam dress", "ice blue dressing gown". (Drawn in grey so who cares?) that provide a coy nod to the instant naming thing - the nice anchoring thing that we look for in the title of a work. "Oh, that's what it is". that's why "untitled' seems such a posey post-object smark - doesn't it? I look at titles - hopeng to get an 'answer', and t read "untitled" feels like a smack on the wrist. "serve you right for not embracing the enigmatic!"

So. ahem. the works are big graphite drawings on big rolls of expensive paper. so they are physically imposing - and physically impressive - and deeply redolent of our own bodies. Graphite marks become like the lines on our skin, and provide a deeply uncanny visceral reminder - of..... that weird connection of flesh, fabric, marks and hands. the visceral bits are probably scoring points in the Mike Esson school of freaky dead flesh -but if we look byond the haunting beauty thing, there's somehting else quite special - that holds the ambiguity, and the weird affective mix into a tres noice suspension.

a deleuzian could describe the encoutner wiht the works as a machinic assemblage. so mayhem looking at "oxfam dress" is not just art receiver lookig at work but more like:

eye(mediated by thick specs mind you)-grey lines, diaphanous form - diaphanours fabric -retina-glint off graphite-galery light-move head-small marks, eyball meets small marks, looks at own hand, small wrinkles on flesh, hand lifts wine glass, wine enters mouth- eye meets marks, aware of my hand, her hand. eye-mind, hand-hand-body. steb back, soft folds, elephant tusks, ears, imagination, sheer shimmery glaphite, sheer shmmery fabric, must be pink. drawing is grey. I see it as pink, as pearl, s soft fabric, brushing on skin.......

next to this complex assemblage of sensation is the sart of a series of works by Toshiko Oiyama, whihc cover the next wall. Toshiko actively cites Deleuze in her artists staement - and so I say hear hear. these works look like classic exquisite Paul Klee line for a walk pieces - intense soft charcoal madness.

Because the pieces are 'non representational' (ABSTRACK) - the Paul Klee line got cited again and again by the tlaking heads at the opening. "take a line for a walk" coz it's an oldey but a goodey - that works like a signifier itself for 'modern thguhtful whimsical lines" while establishing the considered modernist lineage of the artist.

I'd prefer to say - take a line for a dance, take some charcoal for a spin, take it out for a burn, whack it around, scream it over the page - stop, start, run in the other direction and run back, stop and sing a line in a crzy falsetto, and whacck in some grunts and a bass line too. there's some lovely stuff there that's like the Zen Masters on damn fine phsychoactive chemistry - and provides a jolly eyball fest all round. Exqusite and elegant.

the thing that IRKED me though -and it irked me beacuse of the reference to deleuze - was the stop/start breaks in the works. Apparetly hti ws menat to be a japanses screen reference ( I nice easy orinetalist handle on the artists idenitit innit?) as welll as a conceptual device - a way of breaking up the narrative of each work - the line - into spaces/possibilities where the viewer makes a connection - agai disrupting the signifiying smotthness of the line - creating a jarring sense of our mahcinic assemblage: eye-line-continuation-imagination - and getting us to connect wiht something else.

but oh but - i reckon it just STRIATED the space of the drawings. the stop start, alternance - hindered the flow of meanings - jumping around and generating somehing else. and this is not deleuzain at all. Maybe I'm wrong, its just a thought.

the other delightful surprise of the night was in Nicola Browns work - nealty segued into a little alcove. Her stuff in SLIT and online - loks like careful pencil drawings of buch-ish masculine figures.

but this stuff you actually gotta see live and not on mp3/jpeg. Her drawings are MINUTE - and WIERD - and they feature these freaky chinese style military guards - tat are all self portraits - and its so ezquisitely delicously weird that - it's fantastic - a must see - bloody excellently odd.

Bad Wine

As bloody usual there's way too much happening in Sydney. Especially on Wednesday.

On TUESDAY 5th September

Jamaadi has an opening of works on paper at Legge Gallery, 183 Regent Street, Redfern

Now the wine at Legge Openings is so insanely bad - that the only pretext for attending openings is for the ART, and the nice courtyard out the back, and the firendliness of the crowd, and the fact that its only a block away from that really cheap fruit shop on regent street.

Fortunately Jumaadi's art does surpasse even the appalling wine, and can even help the punters wash down a VB. Jumaadi does what look at first glance like quaint symbolist colourist paintings - but - well - you don't even have to scratch the surface - he has bright coloured bits of text on the works - which even if your dylsexia is worse than mine - aesthetically blend in as nice marky bits of colour.

which of course completely misses the point. Jumaadi migrated to bondi from Jakarta - but has lived extensively and done art projects in and with various villages and indigenous commnities right through the archipelago to our north. He's had shows of everyhting form straw men, to pictures, to installations - to all sort of things - and is fascinated by text, the roles of words, the nonsense of words, and the meaning making practices that both creat and disrupt social cultures.

You can check out his older work on the website and see if I'm full of shit

- but I recckon anyone who can link Ned Kelly and Bin Laden together has got to be pretty cool, even if they aren't deep. Adi is deep. Mayhem approves.

show runs to September 23 and Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday
11am - 6pm.


everything is happening and it's all good.

Distressed by the ending of PELT - sound artist Greg shapley has taken matters into his own hands and set up a NEW ARTISTS RUN INITIATIVE IN MARRICKKVILLE.

DON'T LOOK Experimental New Media Gallery joins SYDNEY NON OBJECTIVE (SNO) in making marrickville the home of post picture art experiences.

someone needs to rename the 426 as the fluxus bus or something.
both galleries are on the 426 bus route - btw - so no one has any excuses for not cheking 'em out.

So, DON'T LOOK - the perfect gallery for a radio art show - launches THIS WED at 6pm with the inaugural exhibition "THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE TEE VEE"

Featuring: Pete McCarron, Andrew Newman, Greg Shapley, Kurt Sorensen who declare:

TV takes the best and worst bits of 'life' and distils them into a

nonsensical, overstimulating bombardment; a glutinous feast for the

senses that eventually dulls the senses with indifference. TV forgets

history but dwells on sentiment. The artists in this exhibition use the aesthetic of this medium to question its very substance."

Show runs from September 7-17 (Thur-Sat 11am-5pm)

IT'S AT: 419 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill (near Marrickville Rd)



T'FOUH... raw responses from arab artists

Is a multimedia exhibition expressing anger & ultimate disgust resistance & steadfastness spitting on wars, occupation & racism.

It opens at

Mori Gallery, 168 Day Street, Sydney
If you miss the opening - then don't miss the FILM FUNDRAISER - Thursday, 14 September, 2006, 6-9pm

T’FOUH alay’houm (trans: “spit on them”) is considered to be a rude thing to say in the Arabic language. Tfouh alay’koum (“spit on you”) is highly personally offensive. These words are said with disgust – and while a few artists have discomfort with such an exhibition title, most feel that the wars on their homelands are disgusting beyond words.

T’FOUH is a multimedia exhibition that brings together 40 Arab artists who are responding to the urgency of ongoing wars and occupation in the Arab World. The exhibition is being staged at Mori Gallery, a city-based art gallery with a long history at the cutting edge of Sydney’s contemporary arts.

T’FOUH has emerged from the cultural and arts development programs of Information and Cultural Exchange and Auburn Community Development Network. Both organisations have ongoing projects with Arab communities and artists in Western Sydney. The exhibition is reflective of the outpouring of creative and expressive responses to recent events in the Middle East – including exhibitions, concerts, screenings around the world.

T’FOUH will fill Mori Gallery with works from Arab artists from Western Sydney as well as from other parts of the city and beyond including the Central Coast, Melbourne, Canberra, Canada and even in Korea. The works reflect the spectrum of contemporary artforms including painting, photography, installations, sculpture, DVDs and sound. Some of the exhibiting artists were born in Australia, others have migrated here. Their heritage represents a diversity of Arabic-speaking countries, including Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Sudan.

OPENING - Wednesday, 6 September, 6pm - 8pm
EXHIBITION - 6 - 30 September, 2006
FILM FUNDRAISER - Thursday, 14 September, 2006, 6-9pm

Gallery Opening Hours Wed - Sat, 11am - 6pm or by appointment

More info contact Alissar on 9649 5559 / 0405 206 617nor Mouna on 02 9897 5744 ext 2 or email

If you seriosuly don't give a shit about art and politics and new innovations on struggle street, then go and sink some piss with the lucky evante gardian winners at the 2006 Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship

Piss up ad party with the brave new art world uberstars: Zanny Begg, Lauren Brincat, Mitch Cairns, John A Douglas, Chris Fox, Astra Howard, Sari TM Kivinen, Brennan King, Owen Leong, Fiona Lowry, Jess MacNeil, Todd McMillan, Jaki Middleton & David Lawrey, Pep Prodromou, Giles Ryder, Sam Smith, Soda_Jerk, Rolande Souliere, Mimi Tong, Pete Volich and toast the lcuky winner of $40,000 and bitch about them behind their back at artspace at 6pm.

(btw - this is not meant to be a nasturtium casting onto any of the finalists -all interesting and some even worthy candidates for the mega bucks - just a stick poke into the ribs of emerging artDOM)

After drinking more wine than you can handle you can cross the road, scoff a pie and spew the whole lot into the woollomooollo waters....

All week, there's heaps of other great stuff including a Sydney uni version of SQUATSPACE TOUR Of BEAUTY, running on Saturday 9th SEPTEMBER.

there's also some amazing talkfest at ARTSPACE on the same day

Re-Framing Art: The Conditions of Theory

2 - 5pm Saturday 9 September
$8/$5 concession

Speakers include: Nicole Anderson, David Brooks, Gordon Bull, Blair French, Alex Gawronski, Adam Geczy, Elspeth Probyn, Cameron Tonkinwise, Ruth Watson

In 2003 the editorial board of the Chicago-based journal Critical Inquiry in 2003 asked invited participants a series of questions as part of their symposium "Critical Inquiry in the 21st Century". Question 1: It has been suggested that the great era of theory is now behind us and that we have entered a period of timidity, backfilling, and (at best) empirical accumulation. True?

Pronouncements of the irrelevance and consequential demise of critical and cultural theory are now commonplace. Re-Framing Art: The Conditions of Theory brings together a group of artists, writers and theorists to address the question of whether we really are now living 'after theory'? What is it we are talking about when we cite 'theory'? Is it now simply shorthand for irrelevant intellectual pursuit displaced by the hegemony of market and cultural individualism salved by new claims to humanism? How did theory become the pejorative of thought? Why the divides between theory and practice, theory and direct action, theory and life? Can it be true that the new urgencies of the 'age of terror' preclude critical reflection? What are the implications of the shift in modus operandi of art writing in Australia from critical exegesis to PR copy? Or of the emphasis upon 'professional practice' modules rather than critical theory within art colleges?