Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ted + chook

Ted + chook, originally uploaded by Kate&Ted.

I've been meaning to write heaps of posts over the past couple of weeks - but have been so stupidly busy they will remain unwritten in my head. As a way of getting back into the habit I'm posting this pic of Ted and our one laying chook, Madame Duchamp, taken today on our back step. Duchamp is the most curious of our chooks and will take any opportunity of scouting our laundry when we forget to close the door.

We have two other chooks - Fifi - a white silky who looks like a poodle and is hopelessly timid - totally the bottom of the pecking order. And there's miette a black and white stripey bantam with yellow legs. She's very pretty and a total bitch - gives Fifi hell.

I love having them in our yard, especially since recent rain has delivered us some green grass. Their clucking around the garden makes the times we're at home during the day (extremely rare, unfortunately) feel wholesome and domestic. I love that when I drive in to the driveway after a hard day at the office a big black chicken comes belting down the driveway to meet me. The comedy of Duchamp skidding sideways 'round the corner makes my day every time...

Friday, May 18, 2007

MA conference

I've just spent the last couple of days at the Museums Australia conference in Canberra and can confidently report that the wardrobe colour scheme required for museum and gallery staff in Australia is black - black with red, black with grey and black with an occassional flash of a green or brown. Today I bucked the tidy trend and wore sneakers (very good for running to the car in the rain while my unfortunate colleagues hobbled in heels). Mind you I still stayed with the colour theme in my very dark blue/black jeans, black and grey stripy top under black designer cardigan... better pull out that old yellow leather jacket and inject a bit of loud, tasteless colour into my life.

On a more professional note the conference raised a number of interesting issues and propositions. The first focus session I attended looked at interpreting contemporary art in art museums and working with audiences to get them engaged and interpreting contemporary art for themselves. This is something I as an artist and gallery worker am particularly interested in. Jane Deeth has done some nice work at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery researching how audiences engage with contemporary shows and ways to get them to express their responses to the work. What I liked about her approach was that it goes beyond bombarding people with information and just telling them about the work. She is more interested in getting people to look at work and form opinions and ideas for themselves.

In Tassie she put cards into the exhibition that asked the audience for comments and found that the majority of the responses were judgement calls - I like it - I don't like it - it's crap etc. However when the questions on the cards were changed to ask the audience to comment on the differences between the works or some other element that required them to stop and think a little longer she found that many more of the responses began to interpret the works - to talk about the discursive element in the works.

I'm fascinated by the reactions of people who go into galleries and get frustrated and angry with contemporary art - that a bunch of inanimate stuff/things can piss people off so much. It was really interesting to see in this case, that if people were encouraged to spend a little more time to think about what they are looking at, and if they were prompted by a question that directed them to think about a particular aspect of the work came up with really insightful and sophisticated responses. My theory is that we are basically a visually literate society and bombarding people with lots of text explaining stuff only works for those of us who like reading. If there are other ways of reducing the sense that the art is alienating and confronting and deliberately trying to make people feel stupid and can get people to stop and look for a while - rather than trying to give them answers - we can create some interesting conversations.

If I still have a brain tomorrow I'll write about some of the other sessions - for now it is time for a nap and then beer and pizza - the perfect way to finish a week of cultural bombardment...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

stage 2

stage 2, originally uploaded by Kate&Ted.

It took four days to get this room clear - the floor was clear literally for a few minutes - now it is covered in a drawing made of hot glue and fishing line - I'm getting it ready to send off to an exhibition in Queensland. Since it is 6 metres long I need to test the strength of the fishing line to make sure it won't fall apart while it's on show. It's times like this when wonder why I don't stick to nice little pencil drawings...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

before #2

before #2, originally uploaded by Kate&Ted.

Time to do a little cleaning - this is the before shot and actually looks misleadingly tidy - it's far worse in real life. This is what happens when artists and musicians cohabit. So far I've spent two entire days sorting out this room and T has spent a day in there. We've emptied and refilled four bookcases - thrown out several garbage bags of junk - removed partial and entire works of art to the garage and relocated a drum kit. I reckon there's another two days work to get it entirely functional.

The motivation for this clean up - I have a work of art that needs to be unpacked and checked before sending away to an exhibition - it is six metres long and four metres wide and requires a certain amount of non-dusty, wax or plaster encrusted floorspace.