Friday, July 20, 2007

Always Something there to Remind Me....

Thanks to wild man about town bimmelbimmel for the wonderful pic above - showing the motel sisters pouring cornflakes onto the promotor during the Cereal box art degree show last week at where mayhem's nepotism reigns...

Suited up in immaculate teal, the promotor segued elegantly from parody into pathos - maintaining a strangely playful vulnerability throughout.

The reason why i love this image - is it shows HOW BLOODY SIMPLE it is to make work, images and situations that are moving and fun with a few basic materials......

ART SCHOOLS ARE NOT EXPENSIVE - but require a form of intellectual freedom - and space for indeterminacy and play - which is being increasingly squeezed out of hypermanaged KPI'd campuses of late...

Aargh! do readers know that UWS faculties are charged BY THE SQUARE METRE for teaching space? and so those degrees that charge less but use more space get deemed even more 'unprofitable'? this situation is so stupid I could spit.

The promotor's alter ago and others are giving talks today and tomorrow at Blacktown Arts Centre. this should be an amazing opportunity for artists and regional gallleries to get together and work out how to save art education in Western sydney.

Teeth gnashing aside I exposed meself to some art openings this week. It was weird being out in public - wearing spectacles instead of being one. Schappylle Scragg has been taking on my mid-week persona which has saved mayhem from many a hangover...but not this week.

On Wednesday I'd been caroused by the needy students of NAS who'd hungrily soaked up my 2hour rant on feminism, queer theory and contemporary art. Somehow I'd ended up trying to explain the difference between Deleuzian schizo-analysis and the Lacanian order of the phallus using a mandarin peel - and this was probably over ambitious to students who hadn't even done an undergraduate slog over nochlin, pollock & mulvey - but wot the hell - they seemed to like it, and they decided I needed to numb some brain cells while checking out their studios....

I wandered through honours painting and third year ceramics before running (in order to ward off impending hypothermia) down the hill to catch a 426 bus to Don't Look Gallery. I was TOO COLD TO TEXT the wildboys and apologize for missing sonic yootha's birthday - and TOO COLD to note down the names of the artists at the Don't Look... so I drank goon, huddled in the crowd, looked, chatted, listened....

I remember..... the collection of pattern-making paper pret-a-porter garments hanging on a rack in the doorway. And I REALLY liked the matching window display of brown paper rolls.

Brown paper rolls?
ahahhh! no! These are infact instant DIY aesthetically relative agitprop devices. In fact this project is so cool that I'm kicking myself for not remembering if it's by Annie, Anna or Alanna.

anyway, the divine miss A, has taken it upon herself to challenge the VILE JCDecaux streetscape distraction - i.e. those non sheltering, visibility reducing advertising structures they call bus shelters... (grrr! I *hate* them). And run an effective detournement against their recuperated campaign of 'art' on bus shelters.

she does, simply unroll a sheet of perfectly matched brown paper covering hideous lightbox structure... and takes a photo. and she's invited ordinary punters to do the same! (you choose the shelter/ad that most disgusts you, you cover it, you take a hoto, and you send the image back to the artist - who is an archiver/coordinator).

wooo hoo!

this is almost as good as the project from Helsinki - where an artist has made 800 editions of 'feminist' wallpaper - given it out to 800 volunteers who stick it up where they want and send a pikki back - thereby showing that feminism is everywhere! (my roll just arrived in the post - so keep your eyes peeled)

Hell - this i almost as good as FLICKR!

so - that made me happy.

Inside I was disturbed by the most seductive piece - set in a curtain lined room - with airial ambient music piped through... to an edited loop of the fight scenes from "top gun". Ohhh god - I was being sucked into identification/aestheticisation of fascist sludge big time and it was a scary scary feeling let me tellya...

retopupping my goon - I headed for the bank of TV's - showing a series of international video bits. And then got involved in playing mix and match with the headphones. so the spooky thrummy sub bass that went with the statticky smokey figures, got teamed up with the gaffer tape pentagon boy, and his minimal soundtrack (of gaffer tape) went rather nicely with the outdoor terraces..... and then there was a very silly monologue of some guy doing art school angst in Canadian, about the gap, and blankness and the blankness of meaning - to a frozen zooming on Bert and Ernie.... he was canadian so it was ironic. so with the cold, the jampakked art, the funky crown, I felt like I was back in Brooklyn.....

Last night I strolled round to the galleria del barrio nicely called At the Vanishing Point, and consumed a very large glass of red wine. I wandered into their back space and saw something that reminded me of new york, of kiki smith, of petah coyne? of... where had I seen it before? - oh yeah UWS graduation show. Coris Evan's 'melt' is one of my favourite things - OK the wax figures are my favourite things.... the video seemed a little *too* slow and still for me - but that was during the opening which always makes me a bit hyper for some action.

Meanwhile around the corner - Bridie Connell's cat and mouse proved to be a surprise... delicate screen printed hankies..... about and accompanied by pics of her with a nose bleed.... now I really like it when a person takes their physical foibles and turns it into a broader whimsical metaphor that has a nice touch of playfulness and pathos.

P&P were fully at work in Brendan Penzer's mirrored installation - where a video shot of a waterfall was doubled into a face that looked at me, while i looked at it from various angles in the mirror panelled room - seeing my own face distorted across and infront of the waterfalled face behind me.....

Or maybe i've just been staring too long at a computer screen. I really like the SPACE of ATVP - which doesn't scream "blank room full of art" - but has little curves and corners and hidey holes where a body can lurk with the work for ages.....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It's About a GAP

Aporia is one of those big philosophical words that gets bandied about a bit.

Literally it means GAP - a blank space between stuff. In relation to the big stuff of the world (the grand scheme of creativity and 'the sublime' TM) it's meant to evoke the gap between experience and explanation.

I make it sound so simple.

it's something I experience every friggin day right now. Writing is hell. even for a florid individual like mayhem.

At the moment I've been shutting myself away from art openings, from art, from immersion and experience in order to let myself sink into the gap - and hopefully slide across it into some state of articulated intelligence.

I DID go to the cereal promotor show last week - but strayed away from letting my feelings and joy of the show crystallize into words - ARTSWIPE has done a damn fine review instead.

I wandered past ATVP is it getting hotter in here and gazed wistfully at the video of artists on a ferry and thought of the harbour, and thought of the MCA and thought of THE HOURS, and quite intensely wished I could get down there to see the ECHAVERRA video "bocas de ceniza" which I RAVED about last year and is up there with the ten best things I've ever seen in my entire life for sheer heart-breaking brilliance.

But i haven't been down to see it - coz I'm trying to write a chapter and only interrupt my life for little political demos, little sexual demos, food, conversation, meditation, other essential things like dressing up and dancing...

Enough about me. each time I write - or try to write I slide into a scary gap where nothing makes snese and I can barely string a text message together. this gap - is aporia - and I'm slowly working up to a catalogue essay about paint/bodily extension/aporia and the shudder of contagion and possibility. My mouth waters thinking about it....

In the meantime - back in the ghetto it's all going off!

I've been intrigued by the use of 'underground' lately. My neighbour organised and 'underground' club night on the weekend - which all the neighbours attended. It was in some schwanky place in the CBD - which was so intensely and randomly different to anything I'd experienced that I was really quite amazed at this new culture that I was coming across. but was it underground?

Feeling overwhelmed at my sheltered little barrio life, I headed off back to the ghetto to hear some band with a rather kinky and frightening name and saw a bunch of naked people wearing mutant pig masks thrash around while someone set fire to their pubes.OK more accurately - I glimpsed bits of them - while chatting to lotsa people I ain't seen for ages - and feeling relieved to not be the most outrageously dressed person there. Is this underground? the people I knew weren't trying to be particularly posey and transgressive and we chatted about heartbreak, yoga, firends, family etc. - and mad projects like animating fake foetuses and performances involving shit and painting genitalia.... and it reminded me of that Raymond Williams classic essay, Culture is Ordinary.

Culture is part of the activities that people do as part of their everyday lives, that is a response to and a way of linking ourselves with the world around us. I like when hanging with the muso friends how they'll be strumming or plucking or blowing into something while watching TV or eating dinner - and me - I've always got to have my hands on something - drawing, scribbling, making, folding....

Culture is the stuff that bridges the unmentionable unspeakable gaps between ourselves and the world, between our bodies and other bodies - between experience and understanding.... and how bloody preachy am I today? I just don't seperate 'underground' culture from 'underground' living - and I don't like the thought of either culture or life being 'underground'. I guess my life is a world away form supermarkets, chainstores, consumer culture, gourmet beige product land... and culture is something I create rather than consume, but can't it actually be that way for EVERYONE?

and why would people go out and consume something they don't feel a part of?

that's my opening segue for the performance space's 'underground' fest this weekend: i've promoted it coz I recognise the names of the 'artists' and as lots of them hang doing collaborative stuff in the backyard or each other's loungerooms - I reckon it sounds like a *treat*.

Meanwhile SLOT has an interesting display of Clare Martins detourning "blockbuster of 20th century art" - aka miniature replicas on display in the window on botany road alexandria.

and NEXT Wednesday I'm even going to miss my yoga class to go the the opening of:
Distance Yourself at DON'T LOOK Experimental New Media Gallery
419 New Canterbury Rd (Near Marrickville Rd), Dulwich Hill

WHO: 16 international artists:
Amber Phelps Bondaroff, Erin Bosenberg, Joy-Loi Chepkoech, Andrew
Fisher, Nikolai Gauer, Amanda Griffith, Stefan Hancherow, Bonita
Hatcher, Alana Hunt, Ryan Ling, Annie Macmillan, Gavin Maitland,
Kristy O'Leary, Shaun O'Reilly, Audrey Wang and Anna Williams.

WHEN: Opening: July 18, 6pm, Exhibition: Jul 19-28

CONTACT: Greg Shapley - Ph: 0401 152 434

Underbelly: public arts lab
100 Sydney artists and performers collaborating, creating and evolving over 10 days
3rd - 12th July, 2.00pm – 10.00pm FREE!

Underbelly: festival
Indoor winter music & arts festival with projection, DJs, VJs, performance, bars and cafes on Saturday 14th July, 12 noon - 11pm Tickets: $17/$25 pre-sale available thru Moshtix; $20/30 at the door.

CarriageWorks: 245 Wilson Street , Eveleigh

Underbelly: public arts lab and festival at CarrriageWorks from July 3-14 will bring over 100 of Sydney ’s fringe artists together for a ten-day public-access artist residency, finishing with a one day music and arts festival on Saturday July 14.

A social and artistic experiment of sorts, the Underbelly Public Arts Lab is about creating a space for Sydney artists to collaborate, exchange, rehearse and cross-pollinate in a communal environment, whilst inviting the public to witness and engage in this process first hand. From July 3 - 12 the lab will be open free between 2 – 10pm to watch and interact with works evolving daily.

On Saturday July 14, the Underbelly Festival will transform CarriageWorks into a massive indoor music and arts festival, showcasing an unpredictable collection of performance, music, digital media and art installation. As well as featuring performances and works produced during the ten-day lab, there will also be talks panels, DJ’s, VJs, live music, bars and cafes.

Artists include: Aural Adventures, Entropic, Kate Smith & Drew Fairley, Lynda Roberts & Ceri Hann, Meem, Miss Death & Jay Katz, Pig Island, Pixel Vision, Pork, post, Power Media Industries, Reef Knot, Stephanie Carrick & Sumugan Sivanesan, Tesseract, Tetronomicon, The Synaesthesia Collective, The Vespertine Project, Token Imagination, Trevor Brown (The Distillery) and more TBA!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Greenhouse Daze

Mayhem apologises for the lack or recent art updates or reviews.i've been blithering about art on my other blog and writing a PhD and even doing some ART.

In an effort to promote things that I'm NOT exhibiting in or performing at and are not associated with or held at Mori Gallery, I'll hereby offer up the following art delicacies:

Briefly for your diary:

Tuesday - UTS Gallery - the trouble with the weather
Wednesday - don't Look gallery - Dulwich Hill DayZZZe
Saturday - - at the vanishing point - Is it getting hotter in here? forum

(PS: click on titles above for directions & opening hours...)

and now for the extended rants:

tomorrow night Dulwich Hill DayZZZe is going to open - but you can pop in an visit the artist ANYTIME over the next few weeks as he does an extended sit in at the gallery.

Matt Rochford (AKA 'Rochy' from the current season of 'Nerds FC')
needs somewhere to live for a couple of weeks. I've offered him the
gallery window. He will, of course, be furnishing it to his liking;
installing his bed, TV, the odd pot plant or two and anything else he
can fit into this very modest living area.

The downside to this arrangement is that he will be on constant
display. He won't be able to scratch his butt without the whole street
seeing. Further, seeing he's getting this space rent free, Matt will
become my circus animal, my freak show. At least eight hours a day a
commentator will provide thrilling updates on Matt's every move. Every
itch, every scratch will be analysed and replayed in slo-mo for the
public's edification.

I will also expect Matt to play to the camera and the transient
audience. He will put on little performances to get the attention that
he craves. He will try his best to communicate to the passing traffic
with hand gestures and scribbled signs. Matt will also have
houseguests. Come join the show, have a chat to Matt on his
laissez-faire talk show. Have your 15 minutes of fame in Don't Look's
front window.

Join us for Matt's house warming on July 4. American Independence Day
will mark the end of Matt's independence for the next couple of weeks.


If the hothouse theme gets you warm then you'll LOVE the show opening tonight at UTS gallery...

The Trouble with the Weather: a southern response hass got an allstar line up of amazing artists and should offer a thoughtful, interesting engagement with the phenomenon of climate change.... as it is happening.....

Participating artists:

Isabel Aranda (Chile), Peter Bennetts (Aus), Vera Bighetti (Brazil), Elizabeth Day (Aus), David Haines (Aus) & Joyce Hinterding (Aus), Niki Hastings-McFall (NZ, Samoa), Jonathan Jones (Aus) & Jim Vivieaere (NZ/Cook Islands), Zina Kaye (Aus), Dani Marti (Aus), Maria Miranda (Aus) & Norie Neumark (Aus), Jason Nelson (Aus), Regina Pinto (Brazil), Janine Randerson (NZ),

Te Vaka (Tuvalu, Tokelau, Samoa), John Tonkin (Aus) and H J Wedge (Aus)

In order to match their current amazing show,
Is It Getting Hotter In Here? - which runs till Juy 15,

At The Vanishing Point – Contemporary Art presents a forum outlining the work of artists concerned with issues pertaining to climate change: this saturday from 3-5pm

the show features another impressive line up of local talent, such as Jenny Brown, Anna Chase, Amanda Hills, Thomas Hungerford, Mitra Jovanovic, Daniel Kojta, Tom Loveday, Tony Nolan, Adam North, Masaaki Ohno, Brendan Penzer and Pickafight Books

Temperatures Rising:Art and Climate Change

*be introduced by special guest keynote speaker;

Dr. John Kaye, Greens MLC in the NSW Parliament

*illustrate examples of artistic projects that are happening globally.

*introduce networks and forums for artists to engage in.

*present projects and practices of the exhibition artists and other local artists that engage with climate change issues.

*provide a platform for an ensuing discussion and debate.

RSVP by Friday 6thJuly. (02) 9519 2340