sesame street

some of the research into some new work related to sensory overload has actually lead me back to sesame street.

here are some beautiful videos from their youtube channel. this is what the internet is for – able to be nostalgic and also pass on these great learning/singing/watching tools for the kids.

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kony. rhymes with sony.

i’ve tried to stay out of it, because i feel like not adding to the debate will better separate me from those in the debate. but today, for some unknown reason, i felt the need to at least mention the kony2012 debàcle (said with the most frenchy accent you can muster).

only a few people know how much of an interest in african politics i have taken over the last five years. but i guess you guys all know too now.

back in 2007, living in a suburb of london that has a high population of the african diaspora, it was pointed out to me that i knew nothing about the rwandan genocide, something that killed almost a million people. that’s shocking.

i borrowed a book from a friend and read the first-hand account of a young tutsi woman who hid in a hutu minister’s bathroom for seven months as the rest of her countrymen and women were systematically killed and raped by hutus and tutsis alike. it was a fucking mess and it was heart wrenching.

and, as a white girl from the ‘burbs of melbourne, it made me realise that i actually know fuck all about fuck all.

so i stepped up my focus on world politics. keeping a particular an eye on africa.

since then,  i have researched the disaster that is the stateless somalian war/famine/war and the ongoing battles of mogadishu and suicide blasts

i continue to read about the the sudanese civil war, south sudan’s independence, the ongoing torture and corruption in khartoum and the genocide in darfur.

i’m keeping an eye on the withdrawl of shell from the niger delta, the big payout and watching the incitement of sectarian violence between christians in power and islamist rebels boko haram (let’s keep the people occupied while we fleece them of their resources).

i did clicktivate for uganda to reverse its barbaric treatment (ie torture) of gay and lesbian ugandan adults and was fucking relieved that it seemed to have made a difference a couple of years ago (i’m not against the weight of taking action by clicking an email signature).

i’m very proud of senegal’s recent committment to democracy. at all costs. their clear message to abdoulaye wade and his wacky dictator-esque consitutional changes have kept them at the forefront of political stability in africa, a continent that is still wrestling with post-colonialism.

i know the extent of AIDS/HIV infection and death rates in southern african (average of 15% adult populations across the region are infected with HIV. 15%!!) and am particularly aware of the difference between the access to treatment here and there.

i have a pretty good sense of african geography (well, i know the difference between countries in east and west, north and south and central and the congo) and i can even name capital cities in a fair few key african states.

i’m not saying all those things to show off, because really, it’s not much*. but i really try to understand, i take the time to educate myself. and even then i know that i have no fucking idea what it’s like.

which is my point.

unsurprisingly, i don’t think i can say this about the stack of peeps sharing the Invisible Children garbage over the last couple of weeks.

i’m not even going to really talk about what’s in the video, and the ‘issue’ behind the ‘campaign’**. but i doubt that most people who shared that video have a clear idea how it fits into the context of uganda, african politics, their dictatorships, who the fuck the LRA actually are and where their danger lies (most recently seen in sudan ahead of south sudan’s birth as a nation in 2011).

they have no fucking idea.
and even worse, they have no idea that they have no fucking idea.
oh, and the call to arms by a white guy about the dangers of a black guy in a country they’d never sought to enquire about before? i mean, really.

please. look up the word colonialism and then tell me what you really think about joseph kony.

we’re all so fucking desperate to be part of something meaningful, without doing anything to actually be part of something meaningful.
how about educating ourselves for a start?

how about taking a little bit of time to cultivate some understanding? how about accepting that perhaps you know nothing about the world and that’s as equal a crime as committing children to guns and genocide. ignorance is dangerous.

so you want to make a difference in african children’s lives?
find out about them first, for scooby’s sake.

a few links
i know that the heady high of participating in viral activism might have left you dregged on the couch. but in case you’d like to actually know and care, here are some of the things i have read.
which not all that much, even:

africa, general: ***

the kony debate:

a few books:
what is the what by valentino achak ‘dachi’ deng (transliterated by david eggers) – sudanese civil war
left to tell by immaculee ilibagiza – rwandan genocide
the heart of darkness by joseph conrad  – the colonisation of africa in the 19th century

oh, and talk to africans. you know, about what’s happening in their home countries. they are actually politically aware and quite like to talk about it.

*although it’s pretty good for an australian white girl, so i’ve been told.
**UPDATE: this is what prosecution for using child soldiers looks like with due process.
*** i know, it’s just wikipedia and al jazeera, but that’s what i’m trying to highlight. it doesn’t take a masters degree to get a bit of a jist of how it all fits together.

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dear music media #2

dear music media (and marketing types),

do not bullshit me about your investment in music.




for years i’ve read fistfulayen and followed ian rogers’ twitter account. mostly because marcus brown told me i should. marcus has good taste in these kinds of things.

this week in music
i recently had time to discover ian’s newish thang – this week in music. and i watched a few excellent clips.
the one with erin potts from air traffic control, i really liked. it fed into my whole relationship between music and politics, sound and action in a way i hadn’t thought about. an important service.

it also made me realise that, if this whole art thing fails, that i could definitely do what erin does. it’s a fantastic role and something i would love to do for more underground bands – not the big names with the ‘what’s $50K to a motherfucker like me‘ kind of swag, but for bands with a little cash, a chunk of sway and you know, hearts.

appropriating musical culture for ethical political means.

but that’s not really what this post is about.

actually, maybe it is. but about the complete opposite to that.

coke music

this is the footage of a discussion between ian, mark ronson and wendy clark from coke marketing at the midem conference.

i understand marketing a bit. i know the lingo and the drill. and i’m highly critical. my friends in that biz hate it when i get like that.

and i can tell you (and them) that this woman and her ‘coke music is all about the music’ bullshit is everything i hate about marketing, about multinational brands, about The Industry (FMCG, music and marketing industries included) and the bullshit of those worlds.

it is the arrogance about the façade of care and understanding that makes me see red. and it’s not even a very good façade. puh-lease, my grandmother could convince me that she loved the process of making music better than this woman. and i might even believe her that coke are interested in the true and emotional reaction that music has on people.

bullshit. coke are interested in coralling consumers and leveraging emotional attachment for the purpose of selling drinks.  as they always have. **

i just had to check to make sure the midem wasn’t actually a marketing conference. nope, it’s apparently about ‘connection to music’. yuh. sure.

so, for those who don’t want to watch the vid, coke “commissioned mark ronson on an ‘project’ to investigate the sounds of the olympics for the london campaign.
they basically bought mark ronson’s services to make a slightly-more-interesting coke jingle for advertising during the olympics. and they made a movie about it so that they could do a “transmedia schtick” and seem like it’s part of a much wider process of culture and interest and art.


mark ronson

and, whilst mark ronson is complicit in this, i love what he does. i mean, i’m glad that it’s him who got to record the sound of arrows flying through the air. he’s smart and open and skilled music/artist. 
i’m really interested in the technical aspects to this project too. really, i am. and i’m kind of jealous of his chance to record the grunts of darius knight and i think they way he composed them into beats was interesting. up until the point at which it is restricted by having to squish into a coke-identifying thang.
i know that musicians and artists don’t always just do things for the betterment of society, on an altruistic basis. we’re part of the commerce. i get that. but i’m always sad when amazing people limit their skills and squish them into a financial transaction for the sake of that financial transaction. especially when it’s a naff transaction like a coke endorsement. uh.

the olympics

and, well, this is just a small thing, but the other thing that annoys me about this appropriation of musical amazingness for naff commercial naffery, is that the olympics are such an opportunity to really impregnate something interesting into the world for a couple of weeks. really use cultural difference and variety to its absolute maximum.

it’s a real pity that this kind of sound project has to be supported by a fizzy drink company. that this isn’t the kind of thing that is just obviously part of the olympics – a big festival/competition about the human body and its elite levels of amazingness.

**and for those who might think that i’m living in a quaint utopian ideal where we only trade on authenticity, i see your perception of naivete, and ask why the fuck coke bother with trying with the ‘authentic’ spin and using an artist as a vehicle for sales if it we’re all such mature consumers that can trade in commerce evenly. pssht.

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dear music media #1

this is just the beginning.

dear music media,

if a girl raps, she still a rapper.
not a rapstress.
not only is it a dumb word, but it’s insulting.
go learn something.



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Please don’t cut ABC Arts programming

To the ABC Board,

I never beg. But I’m begging you to reconsider the decision to cut ABC arts programming.

The media landscape in Australia has never looked so grim – there is so little quality, interesting, thoughtful or relevant content on most of the commercial/SBS bandwidth and the ABC makes that just a little brighter.

The arts division of ABC is such a core part of the ABC and as an artist I need it to continue. Its features, documentaries, mini-series and news support our art production and inform our audiences so that we’re not having to dumb down to Murdoch-reading standards.

When John Howard was fixing to scrap the ABC, it was the arts community who really got behind the cause – playing gigs, making works, organising articulate public argument and designing those beautiful “I <3 the ABC and I vote” stickers that harrangued the politicians.

Please. Don’t forsake Australia’s right to have intelligent, interesting and relevant content about beauty, creativity, innovation and collaboration. The encroachment of trite, mindless, commercially sullied content is already overwhelming and ABC Arts has been the last line of defence against a nation of imbeciles.

Kind Regards,

Lauren Brown

lauren brown

thinker-in-residence at CIA studios ||
artist-in-resident at AURA project ||
electrofringe listener-in-resident ||

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Viva la stupidité


Ok, so I think this is the third article by carrie miller that I’ve chucked into my delicious account. Which officially makes me an adoring fan.

This article is exactly what I needed to hear.
Along with bret easton ellis’ damning of empire sensibility and some more heidegger on the clearing.

I don’t actually entirely agree with baudrillard’s idea of compulsory inclusion within the capitalist state. I think there are degrees of inclusion and I have recently embraced my inner outsider, given that time, tax, superannuation, utilities, media and property are not inclusive of arts practice or inter/multi-discplinary language. But, this is not to say that I shouldn’t change my attitude about the commerce of my art.

Let’s see where this leads to next.

Image credit: the art life.

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