Wednesday, June 28, 2006

biennale biennale

Detail of Gormley's Field installation at Pier 2/3 Sydney Biennale. Check out

Went to the Sydney Biennale on the weekend - only saw the MCA and the Pier parts, so I'll be going back to see the rest. I had this instant reaction of irritation when I got there. I immediately started telling Ted what was wrong with each of the works and how it would be better. I needed to chill, get some perspective and find something I enjoyed - which I did.

Highlights of the Biennale for me were:

- Julie Gough's lovely ti tree and cuttlefish installation
- Djambawa Marawili's barks - this work was beautifully installed in Pier 2/4 and had the best artist's statement
- Antony Gormley's impressive Field project - really moving work and placed in such a fantastic environment
- Mona Hatoum's tensely delightful motorised domestic assemblage - really don't know how to describe this one, it's clean, sharp and poignant
- Julie Mehretu and Stephen Vitiello's sound and drawing installation

I only saw a bit of the show - so I need to go back and see the rest. Being tired and hungover means I had a somewhat grumpy encounter with much of the work I saw so the following whinge reflects that particular state of mind.

I love art and most of my waking hours revolve around it - but sometimes it really annoys me. So much installation art tries too hard and wants to make sure you get everything - it ends up coming across more like a museum education display or a documentary. Now I'm getting started on documentaries I also got pissed with how much indifferent video art I saw on the weekend.

The following points are not criticisms of the Biennale but video art in general. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against video as a genre, and I even make videos myself, but here's what bugs me:

1. Most video art I have seen recently looks like documentary. I love documentaries, but so many artists make something that's not a good documentary and not very engaging art - just doesn't quite get there on either count.
2. I'd like to see artists challenge the genre, mess with it, do something unexpected even...
3. When the gallery is full of videos and there is nowhere to sit I get cranky
4. Noise bleed shits me - you go into a gallery and all the sounds from the different installations overlap creating an irritating cacophany - that makes my head hurt.

That's my whinge about video.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Where did I lose you, my trampled fantasies?
Andre de Richaud

But exaggeration is always at the summit of any living image.

I have hands to pluck you,
wee thyme of my dreams,
rosemary of my excessive palor


I heard myself close my eyes, then open them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

it's too cold

it's too cold
it's too cold
it's waaaay toooo cooold...

I hate the cold, my head needs a beanie on it all the time, hat hair doesn't suit me, the two doonas fall off in the night, my joints hurt, I can't get my car to start.

There was a damn fine frost this morning though - the kind that covers the fields and turns the trees into sparkling ice chandeliers.

I know anyone who comes from a really cold place will laugh at my pathetic inability to cope - but minus two degrees after 9.30am is just so wrong...

Monday, June 12, 2006


There is a secret bond between slowness and memory, between speed and forgetting. Consider this utterly commonplace situation: a man is walking down the street. At a certain moment he tries to recall something but the recollection escapes him. Automatically, he slows down. Meanwhile, a person who wants to forget a disagreeable incident he has lived through starts unconsciously to speed up his pace, as if he were trying to distance himself from a thing still too close to him in time.

In existential mathematics, that experience takes the form of two basic equations: the degree of slowness is directly proportional to the intensity of memory; the degree of speed is directly proportional to the intensity of forgetting.

Milan Kundera Slowness

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I found a couple of notes in my sketch book from last year today - I think they came from Apsley Cherry-Garrard's diary of Scott's tragic voyage to the South Pole:

...the weather was horrid, overcast, gloomy...

...the weather was about as poisonous as one could wish...

Poisonous - what a great word to describe weather!

I've been thinking about turn of last century exploration lately because of all the mountaineer news in the media - what makes people go to such extremes? There's something really fascinating about existing right on the margins of possible existence

There's also another note in my diary at the bottom of a page of scribbly drawings of men pulling sleds:

one and half hours to put on your socks

It reminds me of this other quote that keeps popping back into my head: much exploratory or pioneering activity is performed on the basis of distant displacement of internal objects, seeking legendary wealth?
Lawrence Cawte - Last of the Lunatics

another list of things to make

things to research:

William Francis King - pedestrianism
cloud seeding

things to make:

more hot glue drawings
curiosity cabinet of strange and mysterious anomalies
an online component to the Modest Museum of Impressive Innovations and Admirable Attempts
blimps, flying machines, icebergs
another bicycle grass cutter
heater element sculptures
spinning shadow lanterns

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Something I discovered reading the Faber Book of Utopias:

Utopia means nowhere or no-place. It has often been taken to mean good place, through confusion of its first syllable with the Greek eu as in euphamism or eulogy. As a result of this mix-up, another word dystopia has been invented, to mean bad place. But strictly speaking, imaginary good places and imaginary bad places are all utopias...

Things to make: (little utopias)

teetering towers made from cardboard and strung with fairy lights
magic lanterns and viewing devices
ear trumpets
melting lampshades
astral travelling machine
flick books using sign language
wax casts of my sneakers
colonial decorative arts reliefs
solar powered jewellery