hey mum, i’m going to TiNA

TiNA love

how cute is that little burst of TiNA love?!*

it’s that time of year again, when i seem to turn my back on melbourne fringe and head up the F3 instead for the This is Not Art festival, especially its festival-within-a-festival Electrofringe (does that make it a meta-festival?).

I’ll be doing three projects up there (greedy? not much):

a retail space, where i’ll be ‘selling’ the idea of listening

a secret sound mission in which a bunch of wretched field recorders will capture the sounds of newcastle and upload images to the aporee maps (follow me on twitter for updates on the locations)

and i’ll be listener-in-residence – doing my usual listening projects during the festival and will be posting the sounds of the festival up at the festival club.

expect a bit more info on those things to come up a bit more in the next week or so. and if you’re coming up to newcastle, get in touch! let’s hang. and if you’re not, why not?!

*done by the fabulous new best friend team

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innovation, circulation and repair


my time at ars electronica has been oddly influenced by the book i’m reading. my first proper day strangely resonated with cildo mereiles‘ ideas about circuits and circulation in society – that art can really make a difference in these circuits.

the two main circuits he inserted work into were money (currency) and coca cola distribution, but i had been wondering about what others there were, when i walked into carlo ratti/MIT‘s presentation.

carlo presented two main projects: trash track and sea swarm.

trash track is an older work, based in seattle that seeks to track the removal chain of our consumer products to the same end that the supply chain is tracked (and they don’t like you using their imagery). hundreds of volunteers ‘tracked’ their garbage and ratti presented some stunning video and still visualisations. sadly, when you see these within the wider festival exhibits, you can’t actually find anything more about the products other than a map of where they went. it wasn’t clear (to me at least), whether they were mulched, re-used (like was a paper starbucks cup picked up by a beggar and used to get a bottomless refill?) or taken to a recycling plant, or left to degrade on the streets? perhaps they’re rolling this info out.

but, i think it’s important that this research continues and spreads and gets taken up by as many cities as possible, as an audit of our waste/sanitation circuits. and, it could also be a fantastic tool for some great artforms – manipulating the circuits so that the same cup you threw away ends up on your doorstep every time. or gets redirected to ash keating’s mega installation. or something.


obviously found myself thinking about the use of existing circuits/systems in order to ‘repair’ the environmental, social, financial and philosophical malady of our disposable mindset. and i started with the festival itself.

for the first time, ars electronica was based in a massive, cleared out, ex-industrial space ever-so slightly away from the centre of the city – the old tabakfabric (tobacco factory). aesthetically, acoustically and historically, it was amazing and there was a real ‘collected’ vibe sometimes.

but, in festivals past (when the works were spread between the galleries and spaces throughout the city) we would all eat in existing eateries – paying their staff, using their existing furniture, utensils, toilets, kitchens, systems of disposal/clean-up/supply, use existing public transport modes, discover the smaller details of the city and expand the existing city with people and art.

this time, we hardly went to any of the local cafes or restaurants.

this time, we had special on-site catering (that was mostly expensive and limited), special cutlery/crockery shipped in, disposable beer cups (even with a pfand), extra pop-up kitchens, fridges, kegs and energy supplies, extra portable toilets, extra staff and signage and furniture and lighting.

see where i’m going?

i know that there are different ‘repair’ benefits to a separated, concentrated and contracted ‘festival atmosphere’, but given the discussion about clean-up, technology and all the exhibits about repairing the environment, i couldn’t help but wonder if this festival model itself was not in everyone’s best interest.

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james blake. damn.

remember this?

now, see this.

it’s the first thing i saw when i arrived at ars electronica at 9pm on Friday night. yes, that’s james blake. here’s how it played out

act 1: lauren freaks out.

act 2: lauren dances for over an hour with a massive grin on her face.

act 3: lauren even talks to james, who is stupidly lovely and a bloody genius.

act 4 (fade to black – at 4:30am): lauren claims bragging rights to her friends in australia about it.

james blake closeweb


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Electrofringe/TINA : Day 2. Friday


day 2 was the first ‘real’ day for me. from a performer/artist point of view. i got amongst it. but i still got to check out a few things happening at the festival.

alarm clock ensemble

I spent a large chunk of the day performing, or catching up on little tasks. I popped in to check out the China Club Arts Hub – a fluid series of spaces, with open, workshops areas, a great kitchen that serves crepes (including their specialty – the date crepe, with apple). I went to see Matt Rochford’s alarm clock extravaganza – a series of clock radio alarms, mostly set to the same time (give or take the random one or two), which were set to explode at midday on Saturday.

stockhausen set-up

I did get to see an amazing performance – my personal highlight of the festival thus far: Ensemble Offspring, Pimmon and a performance of the Stockhausen piece: Kontakte. Pimmon is an electronic artist and academic who produced some beautiful soundscapes while offspring ensemble make improvised syncopated works. their collaboration was a perfect mixture between the two methods – a great reverb/electro distortion and collage.

The work of Karlheinz Stockhausen is a recent discovery for me, but what a discovery! And this performance was a combination of acoustic instruments, performed by Bernadette Balkus and Claire Edwardes and electronic parts by the fantastic sound engineer, Bob Scott.

As well as a great performance, the amazing aspect was the fact that the two principal performers on stage were both women. Stockhausen is the kinda guy that all the boys love and it’s not often that you see the ladies up there. Well, I was pretty excited anyway.

I did have plans to see Suzanne Grae and the Katies – great band from Melbourne that i keep on missing, but the line-up was mental and they finished before i could get there. sad face.

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Electrofringe/TINA : Day 3. Saturday

Today was raining, which put a bit of a dampner on the festival, but I managed to see more stuff than previous days, despite an early performance and a presentation of my own.

Pics are to come, but I managed to catch a bit of a performance and Q&A with Rosy Parlane, a field recording artist from NZ; a snippet of a performance/workshop by Bum Creek – who were positively hilarious and who I’m going to make an effort to see tonight and definitely when I’m back in Melbourne.

I also caught up with the Suffragette City gals, a bit of John Kilduff and the Let’s Paint TV crew and saw some of a presentation and performance by Jim Cuomo, electronic jazz musician, computer games soundtrack developer, avant garde – who is sharing our apartment too.

As you can probably tell, a festival like this is all ‘part-of, in parts and just caught some’. Too much on, not enough time. But in a good way, y’hear? In fact, there were many correlations between my time here and that in Linz at ars electronica, which I think is pretty rad – given that I’m in a small town on the east coast of Australia.

There’s still a lot to process and I’ll write some more about my performances another day, as I will about the invaluable contribution that participating in the festival has made to my own artistic development.

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Electrofringe/TINA : Day 1. Thursday


I arrived in newcastle at about 11am and had Mia, our friendly runner, pick me up from Newcastle station. It was pretty warm and I was carrying my luggage, equipment and an artwork. Hard work, so it was great to get a lift.
I went straight to the Octopod and worked on assembling the cone – did that for a few hours until I needed some food, then decided to actually see some stuff, rehydrate.

there’s a lot of great stuff about – lots of street-based sticker stuff, random performances and a bemused kind of vibe.

I met Mika Meskanen – a Berlin-based Finnish artist, who has assembled a Temp Sauna: a temporary sauna (see what he did there) in Civic Park. – right in the centre of Newcastle. It’s fabulous – constructed from tent-structure, thermo wraps, a wood oven with granite stones.


Mason’s festival club launch was great fun – I just scooted around the outside, checkin’ stuff out. I saw Dan Mackinlay’s fantastic performance, chatted with some of the peeps, handed out flyers, etc.


Laughed at the Giraffe Carafe, by Belle Brooks: Typing ‘giraffe sex’ into google yields ungodly results – A pixelated sculpture of two giraffes fucking (see above). Ooh, naughty. Taboo aside, the work is also really well-presented – in a long, narrow room, with a locked, reinforced glass door and dramatic spot lighting. It screams ‘enclosure’.

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