a flurry of activity

even though the thesis was at the printers and most of the hard work was done, this weekend was unconveniently full of stuff to look at. in fact, i went to about 12 performances/exhibitions in 4 days – it was like i was travelling in europe again (except i also had to squeeze in a list of things to do).

here’s a little about them all:

peter greenaway’s the last supper

i went in on thursday afternoon, a little sceptical and expecting to not have to pay for the work. i grumbled a bit at the non-student prices, not to mention my initial comparison to the amazing bill viola works at venice biennale that i fell in love with. but as the light, video, painting work unfolded, i was captured. the way he manipulated that image and unlocked the narrative in the original painting was, actually, captivating. it was a subtle unfurling of rapture and i found myself thinking about it again and again – which is always a good sign for me. my criticisms are: that it needed to finish 2-3 minutes earlier than it did. that sounds like i’m being picky, but you start to anti-climax and that’s not a good way to leave a theatre, or whatever; and lose the entry fee – bill viola at NGV is free and it’s comparable to that. i know – i’m a bit all over the place with my sense of worth about things, but hey.

the french and free choice duo at craft vic:

nathan gray ended his excellent exhibition, attack decay sustain release with an evening of experimental music performance. it was a really exciting evening and lovely to see a whole bunch of peeps who had also been at electrofringe.

the french: nathan, julie burleigh and bianca hester, are an emerging collaboration that combine trad pop rhythms with electronic and other wacky sounds (air horn, anyone?). they really play on the mixture of rhythm and sound structure – which of course blissed me out to no end.
surprise of the night was the free choice duo: jarrod zlatic and jess mc elhinney, who do a great, hypnotic electronic ‘fabric’ of sound, with a performance style reminiscent of gilbert and george’s living sculptures. i’m excited about seeing these guys again – they push the audience’s sense of anticipation for all things traditionally musical: the pitch change, the bass drop, the rise and fall of the rhythm, whilst maintain this sense of utter control over the whole shebang. looking forward to seeing them again.

alex bennett at kings ARI:

brother of the fabulous suffragette city gal, victoria bennett, alex is investigating sound, performance, behaviour stuff that is complimentary to my stuff – except he’s coming at it from a musician/electro production angle. his repeat performance, using his hand-made pneumatic instruments, stagpipes and wheezebox, was absolutely amazing and i’m glad i went (despite being delirious with tiredness).

the dwelling at ACCA

while there have been better group shows at ACCA, this is still a pretty rad themed exhibition. absolute highlight of the show is the work by janet cardiff and george beures miller. i first saw their work in the silenzio exhibition at the fondazione sandretto re rebaudengo, but seeing it again here was wonderful. and then their amazing opus: opera for a small room, is almost inexplicable. it was such an overwhelming joy for me to watch/listen to/experience that i think i don’t have the words to be describe it. it’s a narrative work, played out through the sound/light-based behaviours of a hermit-type. it’s constructed through a series of animatronic responses, all enveloped in a surrounding soundtrack of opera, applause and a freight-train. it’s just amazing – so perfectly executed. it made me want to work as their assistant.

it has similarities to work by the kienholzes and a bit like the not-quite-as-engaging mike nelson work in altermodern at the tate triennial ealier this year. But that comparison is only for the purpose of giving you an idea of its scale and scope, rather than as a derogatory way of undermining the work.

just go and see it.

dictionary of imaginary places at the meat market

i was originally intrigued by the source material: sound recordings of conversations on the train and have been keen to see more work at the meat market. thankfully i had no expectations of the work, because it quite a confronting performance – the performers seated and facing the audience in a row of tiered seating – and then acting out a stream-of-consciousness barrage of monologues collaged together. it was almost a dada performance, quite insane in some parts. and i loved it. i enjoyed seeing the bizarre costumes and the random acts of shoving shoes up leotards and copies of mx into bras. wacky. and utterly enjoyable. it gave me a new appreciation for the absurd – as an artform and a phenomenon that presents itself regularly on public transport.

my disco at the forum (becks’ rumpus room)

after the drama of DIP, the ernest intensity of the first band, your animal, was way too much for me and i just had to sit up the back and chatter. it’s far from my usual way of engaging with music, but i just couldn’t take it in, and there’s no real break-out area at the forum with a gig like this.

beaches are a band who do the wall of sound like it ain’t no thing – a band of 5 gorgeous ladies, who bob mould would be prouda. but, like the vivian girls at TINA, my main criticism is that, it feels like they’re riding on the ‘novelty’ value of that gender thing a little too much. their stage presence is pretty uncompelling and i would love to see the vocal element of their work either tightened or dropped altogether – it just undermined the amazing musicianship that the band has.

my disco, on the other hand, are just a 3 piece and take up the stage like they’re movin’ in. they were mesmerising in their perfomance and their sound is hypnotic. liam resembles ian curtis in the memetic intensity of his movements and between the 3 of them, their ability to turn trad instruments into pulsating electronic waves is amazing.

pornography – deutsches schauspielhaus von hamburg

i almost didn’t buy a ticket to this ‘cos i had pretty much spent my festival budget in the first day, but i’m so glad i took the risk. it was a fantastic production.
the sets were amazing – in that they were well-integrated into the dialogue and performance, they were changeable, yet consistent, meaningful as metaphor and abstract enough to be ‘furniture’.
watching a play in german was great and i surprised myself with the level of understanding i had (i only partially referred to the surtitles for bits i didn’t know) and it was quite amusing sometime seeing the different timings of audience reaction between those who understood german, and those who were reading the english translation. sometimes the actor wouldn’t have finished the sentence and the audience were laughing and other times there was a quiet laughter – followed about a minute later by a louder response.
it was confronting, heartwarming, tragic, entertaining and enlightening all at once. and i didn’t even get bored. the ensemble approach to the casting and 8 stories was ace and made for a tight production. definitely would go and see it again, given the chance.

phew! what a weekend, huh. satisfying, though. and i’m looking forward to seeing more stuff over the next few weeks.

image credits: all images from the melbourne international arts festival are from the festival website: http://melbournefestival.com.au.
alex bennett’s images is from the kings ari site
the image of the free choice duo and nathan gray is from craft victoria‘s facebook page

update: the thesis is now in. w00t! i now only have to present my research next week and it’s all done. huzzah!

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quick! to the gallery!

a visitor to the george paton gallery

holy happenings batman! in my masters-inspired self-absorption, i almost forgot to remind you about a fantastic show by an awesome australian artist, whose work has been more influential on my own than he probably realised.

lucas ihlein, lucazoid to some, has been exhibiting the ‘sham piece at george paton gallery and it closes today! it’s the work which resulted from his residency back in 2006, in which he didn’t leave the boundaries of petersham, in sydney. the suburb in which i last lived in sydney.

anyways, lucas blogged the whole process of really inhabiting his local neighbourhood, highlighting the goings-on of this funny little suburb and focused on the process of action and occupation as an art practice. his blog became one of two that properly elevated blogging as an aspect of practice (that, and the art life back in the day) and he continues to use it as one of the tools for action/process/fluxus works.

today is the last day of his show, so you really should go to the gallery. end of story, really. check out the ‘sham blog (in zine format, that you can make yourself) and his totally beautiful prints – done on the big fag press, you know – and feel good about the rest of the day, knowing that you can tell your grandkids that you saw lucas ihlein‘s the sham when it came to melbourne.

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some cool stuff i’ve seen lately.

even though i’ve been trying to spend less time out, i’ve seen a stack of top shows lately – it seems to be that time of the year in melbourne – where the galleries of the city are heaving with cool stuff.

anna schwarz – marco fusinato

marco fusinato is one of my favourite artists – he wrangles research into sound and behaviour of sound like it ain’t no thang. this work, double infinitives, is more about silence and resistance than any of his other works and while i was hoping for some dirty sound works, these paintings had such an amazing classical presence that i quickly forgot my initial disappointment.

images of rioters around the world – captured in stasis, without the din of civil disobedience as a soundtrack. perhaps it’s my über trad art education pushing its way to the surface, but it seemed that the poses fusinato chose for the figures harked back to classical poses of greek and roman statues/paintings – the ultimate stance as a citizen of the politic. there is this amazing one from the athens riots, with a huge brute of a man, shirtless, his face covered in a cloth and his jeans so low that his pubic hair is showing. his shoulders back and legs positioned so that he replicates a centaur-like figure, with denim and jeans instead of trotters and hooves. it was quite an arresting image. so to speak.

mr tulk – pocket guide

part of State of Design, this little show in the cabinet at Mr Tulks is all about the lovely pocket. in all its forms. it’s such a beautiful premise that I wish it was enlarged into a more accessible space, more conducive to object exhibition. curated by the marvelous miss muddle from milly sleeping, there were pockets and pouches of all sizes and a cute little add-on to all the other stuff that was going on at the time.

this is not a design market design market

not design desgn

in the new ‘oh-my-god-it’s-amazing’ venue: the factory, in latrobe st, this market was a really great vibe. a good combination of grit and finesse – excellently crafted pieces, eloquent ideas, thoughtful solutions and the occasional random plastic water fountain. just to keep everyone on their toes. although still pretty hip, it didn’t seem too full of the nouveau riche and there was still enough sense of wonderment and delight to keep this cynic feeling good about markets 🙂

sarah scout presents

as i’ve mentioned previously, i’m quite excited about the opening of this new gallery space in melbourne. it’s focused largely on a commercial outlet for works of a primarily conceptual nature and has some great artists involved. it opened on the 20th of july and has work by kate daw featuring at the moment. i’m eagerly awaiting the next run of shows and will be supporting it as best i can. you should get down there and check it out. it’s above von haus on crossley lane. opposite pellegrinis.

1000£ Bend – cloud 19

ooh – new space in town. i heard about this through the state of design murmurs that rumbled about in july and was dragged there by my friend linda. such a great space – every slacker’s dream place; cafe with cheap simple food in the front (couches, music, blackboards, etc). gallery space from a converted auto workshop out the back. gold star. i especially liked the scandanavian wallpaper and some of the hanging works (name? ermmmm…). anyways, looking forward to seeing more interesting stuff happening there. seems like a great space to have ‘happenings’ or performances, or something.

counihan gallery – surveying the field.

this is a group show, featuring some awesome contemporary artists from the area. my favourite works are by sam jinks, sam leech and owen leong. ok, so owen is a friend, but his white noise and milk ring videos from 2007 are amazing. i saw them at mori the first time around and was completely taken by them. so sensual, haunting and those alien eyes. oh. lord. and the sound work that accompanies the performances is spot on. glitch technoscape which highlights the lush corporeal. nice.

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on the go-slow

i know that it’s my blog and i’ll post when i want to, but i did just want to fess up to being slightly pre-occupied at the moment and having a little trouble with making time to blog.

between a tonne of new projects, new semester, a weird sleep-inducing-sickness-thing and a stack of interesting stuff in town, it’s a long time between drinks.

in the mean time, here’s a disco burger, courtesy of maurice golotta at don’t come (a pretty rad gallery soon to disappear, sadly).

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

black wall, white text, feminist discourse.

I’ve been to see a few shows recently and have stumbled upon some recurring themes: white text on black wall; and feminism.

The white text on black wall is really just on the block of Gertrude street that contains Seventh Gallery and Gertrude St Contemporary Artspace.

There’s a series of shows at seventh at the moment that are fantastic and predominantly text based. The first thing you see when you walk into the space is an epic FAIL. As in, a huge F-A-I-L in white on a black wall. Awesome. And then in the back room, it’s spectacularly ordinary: white neon ‘ordinary’ in a black room, by Kristin McIver.

Between the wordplay is also a beautiful project piece that is playing with magnetic force and light, creating a trajectory between a magnet on a rotating motor/crank with LED – a picture of attraction and repulsion. It’s simple, delicate and beautiful.

Then, across the road, the front gallery at Gertrude is lit up and open to see at night (which I love!) work by Newell Harry (“The artist with the first name last and the last name first” – The Art Life), which, as well as an installation of bottles, clay pots and broken glass, is the neon sign reading THENATIVESARERESTLESS coupled with its own anagram in reflection. It’s such a striking diorama, especially in light of these other text pieces across the road.

I love that kind of synchronicity.

And to follow on from that, in the last 2 weeks, there have been 3 – count them – 3 shows about feminism in various galleries about town.

Instructional Guide to Femininity at Jenny Port Galleryis a work by my studio-mate Naomie Sunner and is a fabulous work which critiques fashion and media-based ideas of what it means to be ‘feminine’. Using costume, and more importantly, the idea of the pose, the is like a storyboard of the female gesture – rarely seen in reflected in mainstream images of ‘beautiful’ or ‘feminine’.

There was quite a bit of discussion about feminism and its ideals at the opening – a refreshing change from some of the banal conversation that can creep into such gatherings.

I got a lot out of the show – being a straight girl who very rarely subscribes to the traditional idea of ‘feminine’ and apparently challenges the idea of what it means to be straight, as a consequence. This work reminded me of a time (not all that long ago) when female fashion was all about rejecting a narrow-minded view of gender stereotypes and that blonde-long-hair-big-tits-short-skirts were a fashion faux-pas to be fucked with.

AccidentalFeminists

Over at Kings ARI is a great work –in the form of a publication – Accidental Feminists by Victoria Bennett. This work combines a series of documentary images of incidental or ambient feminist discourse –graffiti in womens’ toilets and various groups of women together – interspersed with 3 essays about feminism in a contemporary setting by Clare Rae, Nella Themelios and Anna Knight. It is almost a curated exhibition in print form and has the perfect balance of fun, intense critical dialectic and pride in feminism as a vital social mechanism.

Accidental Feminists Opening

At the opening, it was fantastic to see people sitting around, reading the publication, discussing feminism and the images/words surrounding it. I had a romantic and/or sentimental moment, imagining that this is what it means have been like in early 20th century paris, sitting around, drinking wine, discussing political theory and contributing to the shaping of society. And then the crowd got too much and I got too hungry, so had to leave. Real life, baby. Real life.
However, it’s great to see that feminism as an important topic of discussion continues to knock on the door in Melbourne.

And then…next week there’s a show at Shifted: Unfixing the Feminine with Meg Andrew, Justine Barlow, Kotoe Ishii & Jade Venus. I’m looking forward to seeing how that relates to these other two shows and to start to experience a city-wide focus on feminism. It’s great to see a resurgence of its presence in ‘output’ and I’m hoping it’s the beginning of a new round of regular discussion about the role of feminism in contemporary life.

image credits:
FAIL by Anthony Sawrey
Lifeless by Kristin McIver
Instructional Guide to Femininity by Naomie Sunner
Accidental Feminists by Victoria Bennett
Unfixing the Feminine from the shifted website

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

abracadaver: last days.

Residence From Above

hey peeps,

just a quick reminder that abracadaver at bus gallery has its last day on friday. if you haven’t had a chance to pop down and see it, now’s your chance. gallery is open 12 – 6 both thursday and friday.

deets:

abracadaver: death and magic
putting the ‘fun’ back in ‘funeral’.

Bus Gallery
Level 1, 117 Little Lonsdale St
Melbourne, 3000
Skinny Gallery

http://www.bus117.com

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx