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.