Friday, November 13, 2009

optic nerve

You know how it is. There you are, exploring an abandoned mental asylum and picking up metalic shrapnel off the dusty ward floor, wondering what dust is when there is no human skin shedding into the air, and thinking how lucky you were to be given the chance to install in this sundrenched, ghostly room and that this was undoubtably the highlight of your week. Then the very next day you come across Ralf Kempken and suddenly real estate at the top of the week's podium gets very tight indeed.

I wa
s in local shopfront gallery Oh Really yesterday afternoon with Punk Monks Clare, Alex, and Kaitlyn when I came across Ralf Kempken's optic nerve-tickling work for the first time. In his own words:

'The development of the screens are essentially an extension of the stencil. To me the stencil always appeared to be more than just a tool for reproduction and repetition. Inherent are also the ideas of the pattern, ie. the original model, plan or sample and the template. These are used for forming shapes, repetitively. My interest in the screens is based in the context of them being "templates of perception". But not in regard to sense perceptions in the eye. Optical art explores these ideas well and demonstrates how fallible our visual perception really is. My screens are to be thought of more as an internal process. On how we perceive our emotional and physical environments through screens of our own making. [read the rest here]

Now, usually I would try to find a picture of some of Ralf's similar work to give you a feel of what got me so hot and bothered. [oh, go on then...]

*lovingly pinched from Ralf's website. Go check it out, there's more!

But thanks to the wonders of modern technologists and, you can actually check out the works virtually. You don't get the sweetly organic physical experience of your eyes adjusting to your position in the room, but you do get a pretty cool online gallery experience.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Media140- You guys should totally make out.

disclaimer: when I'm not being a punk monk, I work as an analyst for Media Monitors and as a media producer with enigmatic emerging outfit Long Play Creative. I was invited along to Media140 as a liveblogger and twitterer. Darling arty blog readers, have you averted your heavily kohled eyes? I'm about to get all corporate. Please don't hate me because I'm employed. We are all The Man. I'll start tweeting about digital graffiti again tomorrow, promise.

Considering I'm at a Media140 conference entitled "The Future of Journalism in the Social Media Age", I've been hearing very little today about the future and an awful lot about the present. As a result, my thoughts have been straying to the past.

July 2008, specifically. That month we all sat down in essentially the same configuration in the ABC's Eugene Goossens Hall for the Future of Media Summit 2008. Back then, journalists were spitting on the bloggers who were supposedly predicting the death of their profession, bloggers were flying their freak flags proudly, and there was generally an air of uncertainty, fear, hope and revolution. In short, we were passionate.

Over a year later, the room has subdued somewhat, with bloggers and journalists politely sharing the bagel queue. The forum's focus, in turn, is on normalising the use of Twitter and other social media platforms in journalistic practice, rather than relegating social media to what we were calling citizen journalists but have now graduated to the lofty title of pro-am.

The stand-out exception was the Australian's Caroline Overington (@overingtonc), who repeated the tired death prophesy of the existing media models, and seemed to be suggesting that the ABC's dominance of social media and ability to provide free online content would lead to the national outlet being the only source of political journalism in Australia. As I mentioned earlier today, the likelihood of a single institutional voice dominating political discourse is simply unlikely in a user-generated age. I look forward to the Murdoch monetisation revolution that Caroline hinted at, and I genuinely hope that it is more imaginative than a subscription model.

@Stilgherrian's call for a discussion of the future of journalism that isn't all doom and gloom and instead engages intelligently with the possibilities before the industry is timely. What is missing from today's discussion are innovative partnerships between journalists and business. While success stories of "learning as you go" such as @leighsales are great examples of journalistic use of social media under the current model, these examples are hardly innovative.

I should clarify that when I talk about business partnerships, I'm not talking about paid comment or PR. Quite the opposite. I want to see joint ventures between the best minds in journalism and the brightest innovators in the digital media industry. Surely it's time to grow together instead of simply reacting to mutually external developments.

The vision of the journalist as curator is one springboard for a discussion of how these partnerships could work. Last week, the Australia Council's Revealing the Arts forum exposed the gaping ideological divide between arts institutions that revere institutionalised curation and the practicing artists that reject it as obsolete. The media industry does not need to polarise itself in this way. Like talented artists, journalists have the skills that are valued by their aggregating institutions. But this shouldn't stop journalists from experimenting with, to borrow a film term, non-theatrical release. Journalists are free-thinking practitioners and should be encouraged to step outside the theatre of the established media outlets. Mark Scott's ABC Open Project is a step in the right direction, but it is not the end of the road or the model that commercial media necissarily needs to adopt.

Perhaps if we started to think about innovative ways to integrate journalistic craftsmanship and ethics into digital media development, the future would be easier to discuss practically and passionately.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Other Corner Shops

Former Corner Stores from nils on Vimeo.

Nils Crompton's clever take on The Corners Project was a definite highlight at last night's post-T.I.N.A Kino #30 at Fraser Studios. The crowd was sighing lustfully throughout, clapped wildly afterwards and I didn't clock a single bladder running off to take a bathroom break while it was screening. Nicely played, Nils.

While our algae-hued Corner Shop didn't feature, I felt somehow that she was creaking in approval at this imaginative showcase of her near-invisible sisters.

You can check out Nils' thoughts on his work over at his creative web log.

want to exhibit your work and take home a share of the tip jar?

First up, this isn't a traditional gallery situation. The organisation that I work with, Punk Monk Propaganda, are teaming up with Sydney bands Hailer, The Prayer Circle, Driftwood Drones and Wade Jackson on 17th October for an event at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville called Born In The Doorway. The idea is to extend people beyond their normal, passive, gigpig selves and create a mutual space where creativity can roam free.

It occurred to me that while we're herding this captive, creative audience into The Factory, we should also expose them to some more polished local colour. Which is why we sweetly offer a space in the room to your wares.

You can exhibit your work however you like- mount, project, set up a stall, superglued onto beer coasters, whatever you please. I am meeting up with the AV dudes at The Factory on Thursday morning, though, so if you've got any special requirements please give me a heads up so that you're not disappointed when you rock up on the night.

Importantly, this will also be a way for you to put your cap out and busk a little. We know as creative types ourselves that often you slave away on your work to not get much back monetarily from the people who get to enjoy it- and to be fair, your avid fans might simply not know how they can give back to you. We encourage you to shake the tip jar around in front of your work on the night, and without promising that you'll be living like kings the day afterwards, we do promise a few shy smiles when kindred spirits throw their church change into your pencilcase.

All the details of the event are in the link above- get in contact with me to reserve your spot.

Feel free to repost/forward this on to any other artists you know.

Big love,


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

splashing galaxies

The Hopetoun Hotel, last Friday night. Hailer, Sister Jane and Wade Jackson provided the grooves for the launch of Hailer's latest offering, Sunny Letters. It was a new way of working for Alexander and I. While we've always worked "live" having to focus on getting feeling and emotion out of the projections rather than just a pretty image was a new challenge. The forced improv meant that we came up with a whole new set of tricks, worked out a few colour mysteries that had been keeping us up at night, and generally honed our craft in an intense couple of hours.

If you want to see our improved moves, we're putting on a display at the fundraiser for the short film project Kelly's Blues at Sydney Film School on Saturday night and will be projection bombing our liquid galaxies onto some tall alleyway walls for Algae Rhythm 0.05: PORTALS.

The photographs in this post are lovingly borrowed from Fastlane's Faster Louder photoset- check out his whole set here to spot your pretty face in the crowd.

Friday, September 18, 2009

(sun)light exposure

Tonight, Alexander and I will be throwing some liquid light shapes onto the walls of the Hopetoun. The Sunny Letters Exposure is just the first instalment of a couple of holy unions between Sydney band of music men Hailer and Punk Monk Propaganda.

If you're still hungry for the sun after today's warm rays have sunk away, come and get exposed with us.

Monday, September 7, 2009

electric jug lover

I went to the first Vanquish last week. Before I start rattling about matters jug, a few observations on the Vanguard's new first-Wednesday-evening-of-the-month affair:
  • Slimy Things are Australia's self-billed "most exciting sci-fi rock band". Their leading man wears a mad scientist's lab coat and there was a fellow dancing in their devoted crowd wearing a horse's head on his own crown. I can report that I, my fellow punters, and everyone that I've since shown photographs of the man-horse to all found this pretty exciting.
  • Besides the floury-based $16 pizza, the specials are a classier-than-Carlton $5 beer and three different $10 cocktails, of which the Golden Eagle is my pick. I can't remember exactly what was in it and that should be evidence enough that it is worth your tenner.
  • The projection behind Psychonanny & the Baby Shakers was very cool indeed. If that was you, get in contact. We could make beautiful love light shows together.

That Jug Man

My friend Filthy Lucre was the man who invited me along to Vanquish. For context, he is a music nut and will squash you like a bug in music trivia. He's also a gun at ancient mythology trivia- handy man, that Filthy.

Somewhere in the pre-Golden Eagle haze of last Wednesday night, we were talking about 13th Floor Elevators and he was saying how much he hated Tommy Hall, the electric jug player. His argument was that a jug player shouldn't have been leading the musical direction of a band as obviously talented as the 13FE.

"That jug guy... he fucked it all up. They were such a talented band- if it hadn't have been for that fucking jug guy."

I have to disagree. I am definitely buying what the 13th Floor Elevators were selling, jugs n all:

In today's electric jug researching adventures, I came across a band of gentlemen who have dedicated themselves to the worship of the electric jug and other DIY instrumentals- The Crabapple Creek Electric Jug Band. Folk out with your jugs out.

Monday, August 24, 2009

punks do it mushroom style

Last Saturday night, Ron Mann's excellent nature porn documentary KNOW YOUR MUSHROOMS played to a sold-out Red Rattler theatre as part of the Possible Worlds Canadian Film Festival. Big love to the Festivalists for inviting Punk Monk to throw together the installations for the evening. A playground like the Rattler is a treat for us, from its industrial warehouse street to its velvety lounge chairs.

On a day like last Saturday, you can find yourself on the floor of the Corner Shop studio cutting out giant fly agarics out of cardboard and covering them in alfoil while listening to Andy throw together an emergency psychadelic playlist. In the room next door people frantically fold lovingly complex zines, and the other Punks are out on wild mushroom chases and black light adventures.

Then somehow, by the time darkness falls, you have fantastical humans- most of whom you'd only met on the internet until they rocked up- turning an industrial streetscape into a glowstick accented circus fireball while video and liquid projections pulse from the road, past Clare's mushroom village textile explosion through to Michelle's experimental visual soundscape inside.

The images without Susie's watermark are Tanya Hoang's. The rest are courtesy of Susie Stavert. You can see some of Andy Finn's fine photography from Saturday on Victoria's blog awolmonk.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

how I almost forgot the round rainbow mirrors

One of the girls I live with has started a new tradition of buying a new CD for herself every sunday afternoon, and it's made me want to spend more time with my eyes closed.

When I first left home it was all about books and music. I spent whatever money I could pull together on books that I would stack up against my wall because I didn't have a bookcase. Everything else went on gigs and the CDs and tshirts to remember them by. I rarely buy CDs anymore, even though I do see quite a few gigs working at The Gaelic. These days a lot of my play time is spent in cinemas, screenings or in front of a television or computer screen watching the way people make their visions move. But DVDs just aren't all that beautiful (why is that?) and the tactile artifact of the CD, and the precious way she carries them from player to player, reminded me of my parent's record collection and the way they used to talk about the magic of record sleeves and the sensitivity of vinyl grooves. CDs used to be the soulless new development in music, but now that they're mostly compared against a single iTunes line on a flat screen, any touchable musical artifact seems antiquated and a little bit holy.

The upshot is that my flatmate's been sidetracking my cinema-centric mind, and I am totally benefiting from the influx of new tunes that are wafting down the staircase. Today she turned me on to her latest obsession, The Weepies. True to my latest evolution, I couldn't help but notice their adorable video clips.

While I was listening, my grandma popped up on google chat and started telling me about the eight whales her and my papa had just seen at the beach at the end of their street in Cudmirrah. While my papa ran back to their house to get the camera and grandma just hung out on the beach watching the whales, the bus from the old folks home pulled up. Grandma said that all the elderly people were so happy to see the creatures. It might have been the Weepie melodies, but there was something about that quiet, happy meeting of the whales, my not-so-old grandma and the bus full of ancients that has meant I haven't been able to stop smiling all morning.

Friday, July 31, 2009


In between dashing into the parallel-universe Melbourne podjob to smash a deadline or two, I managed to cosy into a hard-backed cinema seat and see a few flicks at the Melbourne International Film Festival last week. I've already tweeted about what I thought of the films I saw, but once more for those in the back, with notes:

Our City Dreams: interesting fem artists in NYC portrayed without any curation of thematics, narrative or location.
[The film told each artist's story one after the other, in blocks that reminded me of the trapped bird feel of a gallery room. The edit was completely uncreative and jarred uncomfortably against the otherwise intriguing stories of these free creatives. There wasn't any sense of why we were in New York, which leant the film a kind of assuming arrogance that its content unfortunately did not support]

All Tomorrow's Parties: brilliant for chucking on after you've trundled home from a festival. Not so much if unmunted in a cinema.
[does however contain some awesome footage of Nick Cave performing No Pussy Blues and some interesting interviews with various artists, but as a whole, a film where you could easily walk out of the room to grab another beer from the fridge and not feel that you've missed anything on your return. There was a little too much footage of wasted festival goers to keep me entertained for the full duration. Even people at festivals don't want to see other stoned people at festivals. Out of context it's just a bit creepy]

The Beaches of Agnes: memory as humble and tactile cinematic installation. Unsophisticated, in the very best possible way. [I recommend not only that you see this one, but that if you have a chance, see it in a cinema. It is designed for a cinema screen and this film feels, more so than the others I watched at this festival, like such an intimate gift when you view it as it was intended to be seen]

Prime Mover: a few decent gags hidden under yet another predictable Aus caricature comedy. Found the protagonist entirely unendearing. [This is a shame, as I was looking forward to this film. I'm really craving an indie Australian comedy that doesn't trade on jokes that died in the early 90's. Also, what is the deal with Aus films using pointless animation lately? I had the same graphics gripe with My Year Without Sex- I find it really distracting when there's no diagetic connection]

Outrage: doco outing closeted gay American senators will make you question the rights of private citizens compared to public citizens. [this one raised some serious moral questions for me. I'm an advocate of letting people come out in their own good time, and I think outing is immoral. Still, I've never applied this private opinion to public figures who have the right to decide whether or not I deserve the same rights that would be considered human rights if I was currently sleeping with a dude. It's a tricky topic, and definitely one that should be up for debate. See it.]

Outside the darkened theatres, I developed the biggest interior design crush on the MIFF festival lounge at the Forum. The blue-lit roof, strung party lights and cosy round booths all collide to make the perfect space to argue with your friends over whether or not that film you just saw had any magic to it. It's one of those cosmic holy places. If I was still in Melbourne, I would still be sitting there, smiling shiny-eyed up at the roof. I'm a total deviant for a well lit room.

So, now you know. Next time you're trying to woo me, stock up on coloured globes, gels and fairy lights.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Before July smacked me about the head and sucked my dazed form into into a seemily 24 hour a day work vacuum, Teddy and I threw a David Lynch inspired installation together lovingly for Kino Kabaret in our capacity as punk monk space magicians. Not that we had to use much punkdust to make the velvet-draped Red Rattler look Lynchy. Dermot and I also got up to some loopy video antics with tuneful performers MA on the night.

The evening also featured a trippy installation film from Dermot called in plastic, rapt. It's not available on the interwebs yet but here are some taster frames.

p.s if you haven't been following David Lynch's Interview Project, I suggest you get into. Think of it as reality television, but with interesting characters and less sadistic humiliation rituals.

Monday, July 6, 2009

razor play

Last night, after treating a few of us to an orgasmic roasted feast at her amazing new pad, my friend Fee lead us down a few dark Darlinghurst alleyways to the East Village hotel. There we got a taste of the new locative art gaming project, Razorhurst.

The deal is that you rock up at the pub and grab a shiny little GPS device, and then run around the streets of Darlinghurst like the Depression-era sly grog runner you've always wished you were. You get to move illegal booze between Darlo's historic bars, snort a bit of cheeky (virtual?) cocaine and have to literally grip your GPS tight and run away from the razor gangsters lurking around every dark corner to stay alive. The game also intigrates some really cool old video footage from a documentary about this lusty, cut throat period in Sydney's history.

There were still a few technical issues when we tried to play last night, so we didn't get very far. But this is a very cool concept and a funky new way to interact with Darlo's already mysterious (and sometimes dangerous) streetscape. Despite the buggy tech fail, I'm still intrigued enough to go and try to play again. After all, half the fun of experimentation is finding out why stuff doesn't work so that the artists can work on making it work better next time.

Razorhurst runs from July 5 to 31, Sunday to Thursday, 5:30pm to 9:30pm.
It's totally FREE. How depression is that.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

little girl's games

I've been playing the addictively haunting game The Path a bit lately. I love it in all its lolita emo babygothness and I want to plug myself into the scariest part of our upstairs hallway, turn all the lights off and let the wolf get me again and again. But I'm a busy girl this week with kino kabaret shoots to organise and red rattler installations to create so at this stage I've been playing it on trains with Ax instead.

I didn't pay for this game- it was a sneaky present from the girl coz she can be gorgeous like that- but for once, I would have gone out of my way to pay for
The Path. I haven't ever been driven to spend my coin on games- I imagine this is mostly because when we were kids, my brother would bring them home while I was off in my room with my head buried in a book, so having new games loungeroom-delivered meant I never thought to buy them. And honestly, I didn't really miss the playstation, the gameboy or the xbox when I left home. It scares me how much I've been missing out on by not paying attention to this kind of storytelling.

moral of this fairytale: gaming is a lot more fun when you don't have to fight your obsessive gamer-genius little brother for the controller.

Being (over?) familiar with indie filmmakers and musicians and those who voraciously consume their creative spawn, this new little obsession has sparked my interest in our geeky cousins, the indie gamers. I was poking around on the Path's creators Tale of Tales' website, and was not entirely unsurprised to see that their next project Fatale is inspired by Oscar Wilde's
Salome. As soon as you start toying with a notion, suddenly you'll see it everywhere. We're currently in pre-production for a Salome project shooting in spring.

Lucien Lévy Dhurmer's vision of “Salomé”, as featured on Tale of Tales. This painting nails what I love about Salome stories- the consuming eroticism of the young girl who is more in love with victory than any man.

Just one last bit of image stealing before I run off to Kabaret tonight- this is the sisters of The Path reimagined by the talented Sarah Lomba as bears. Cutesplosion much? (via Game Set Watch)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

night by avatar

There was no single photographer at our latest Punk Monk happening; instead, an unplanned and informal parlour game of pass the camera began early in the evening and continued on into the night. From this fractured diversion sprung some seriously lovely documentation.

After the obligatory photo set from Monday night's Algae Rhythm 0.03: TURN ME ON DEAD MAN was posted online yesterday, an interesting phenomenon began to mushroom in the land of the punk monks. Everyone's online avatars started appearing in the mysterious monotone of our conspiracy-themed gathering.

It's interesting to me that in one night, through the multiple visions of our friends and colleagues, almost all of us found an image of ourselves that fits the avatar criteria of representing a personally (if momentarily) idealised version of our faces.

And so, here we are. Some of the Punk Monks, and a few of our nearest and dearest, captured as we want to be seen.

NB: if you want a full account of what went down at our third Algae Rhythm, shift your browsing eyes to AWOL monk.

Monday, June 15, 2009

turn me on, dead man

(GD cred to the always arousing Matt Ravier)

After a long two weeks of sitting in dark theatres soaking in the varied delights of the Sydney Film Festival, it's time to stretch your shapely legs out of their cramped State Theatre position and join together to see your friends, lovers and artful colleagues in full colour.

Tonight is Punk Monk Propaganda's third Algae Rhythm intermedia installation evening. Curators for AR 0.03 include Punk Monk's own Dermot McGuire, Kino Sydney's resident vivacious pin-up Karina Libbey, and film academy darling and conspiracy theory junkie Kathleen Williams. RSVPs are tight at The Corner Shop and places have all been filled for this suspicious inquisition into pop conspiracy and the questionable history of common knowledge. But we love a mysterious stranger. So get in contact if you're intrigued and you want to come and play in the night.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

naked pink walls

On Saturday night we took a night off from SFF to have a winter colour festival of our own. My flatmate and I wallpapered our kitchen with our local newsagent's generosity and invited our most creative art-jamming friends in to splash some paint, glue, and imagination around in an attempt to make some soul to hang on our naked pink walls.

Bear was in vintage form as documenter and muse, and you can see and read it all from her angle here.