Friday, April 30, 2010

[bad bad] guilty pleasure

because i'm a weak human & ardent lover of aesthetics sometimes i fall prey to the power of consumerism. no matter how hard i try to resist. how much i know. even when there's a much more politically conscious use of my scarce dollars. usually i'm very good, like that little girl with the curl who was very very good when she was good but horrid when not. occasionally i fail. hard.

you see i've always been a sucker for prada. i love lines. i love fashion. mostly vintage. generally i love everything about prada clothes, sunglasses, footwear, styling, OMG OMG... everything [has manic ab fab moment]... and i love their models. 

so many things tell me why i shouldn't identify with or desire girls who look like they're jon-benet ramsey going on twelve [rasa zukauskaite - the face of prada's spring 2010 campaign is actually eighteen] dressed up as glam hoes in costuming which would pay off my rent for a year. we're down-shifting into smaller footprints right? i'm all about affluenza. my first documentary "aliennation" was about it. 

thing is i'm a frustrated superficial monster trapped in an activist's body. a hypocrite dying to get out. of the closet. and i want. therefore i am. human.

now i shall go down to the garden & eat worms. big fat shiny ones. with fuck-off hipster glasses. let's not get started on the shoes.

*slaps self*

poor little matchstick girl

alex papasavvas & clare devlin mahoney - lost

no people...on the walls. or any other surface. despite numerous photos everywhere. yet the gallery was packed last night as peeps flocked through the doors to savour excellent photography with no face. yet still implied human value.

the digital consumerist age has placed photography in the hands of the masses, more so than ever. the incredible proliferation of trigger-happy portrait snaps with an inverted signal to noise ratio littering the interwebs is increasingly out of whack. still, there's nothing more subjective than art.

jason SG white - dreams

"no people" at the vanishing point shares stories of being with delicious fragmentation. freshly delivered bite-sized pieces whet the palate enabling those who interact with the pieces to conceive their own complete meal: whether it's mcdonalds for one or ancini balls for another.

take an abandoned box of empty matches on a city street. add imagination. spark & stir. desaturated in name but not in nature. thanks for the colorful ingredients punk monks' alex & clare. the only thing "lost" about your zine was it, buried under the delighted throes for the night. it was hard to get a clear shot in [with my happy-snap phone camera].

sue storry - sixteen people

i just love the vibe at ATVP gallery. it's the iconic centre of a hub which shows the inner west has truly arrived. the wankers can keep the eastern suburbs. 

this dynamic vibe & humming space are testament to the entire buzz which is sweeping the gutter edge of the city. the artistic expression is free. there's an unpretentious honesty when a gallery asks for donations for the wine & the people pay. they really are there for the art. and it's worth it.

the group exhibition curated by alex wisser via contemporary art inc opened last night and is part of the ambitious HEAD ON photo festival involving 67 venues showcasing local and international photographers across all genres. no people runs till may 16.

no people
at the vanishing point
565 king street
[02] 9519 2340

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

invisible man leaves stencil footprints

you know what hip-hop has done with the word ‘nigger’ - i'm trying to do that with the word vandalism, bring it back.
-- banksy.

the poster boy for street art, enigmatic socio-political activist banksy's been in the news again. if he's not commenting on it, he's frequently in it. these days ironically he or at least his reputation profits from it. increasingly the blurred line of problem vs solution becomes his all too familiar terrain.

his commodification probably doesn't make the elusive self-proclaimed vandal too comfortable, but he's known as a modern day robin hood giving the bulk of it away when he deservedly profits from collusion with the traditional art world. mostly he works for free for the common good. his work a public gift. or he's "lucky to break even" when some of his collaborative shows have massive outgoings and he sells programs for 3 pounds a piece.

the latest melbourne escapade now has the mayor inviting banksy down under for a spray painting rerun. i guess there are some landowners desperately looking to increase their property value.

which brings us to the interesting debate of public domain. whilst looking for various art to use [i do have a copy of wall & piece which is officially not sanctioned by banksy as per his website - who can tell?] online the majority of banksy's photographed work has been copyrighted by others with questionable motive. creative commons yields a sample of his infamous imagery but most people are holding onto their photos with a tight dickens-like grasp. there's no accounting for greed. no matter how incongruous with the original motive.

many people are turning onto banksy's art because it has been determined to be of social, political or artistic merit. 

this from a guy who cutely debunks the recent ID reveal by saying [he has been identified as robin gunningham through an old jamaican photo traceback [courtesy of what appears to be a high scale personal fall-out with the problematic man responsible for this video & the leak of the original photo]:

- no matter what the case, the ability to maintain his identity for so long has been an incredible feat. but thanks for nothing daily mail]:
a modern day hero akin to zorro. the cultural phenomena has earned buzz. kudos to that. banksy put the spotlight back on the art/message not pseudo celebrity which he often satirises. 

following fast on those tracks in a mass surge are those who perceive that this has value. of the financial kind. with that comes the plethora of rich who can afford to buy his work. ie. entire building walls. the people in & beyond the system. luckily he keeps speaking to us from the streets which are his world stage.

there are banksy spotters everywhere. he's been spotted in san francisco in the last 24 hours with a number of new art works. the flickr photos are copyright courtesy of the featured photographers. a contradiction of sorts.

what would banksy do? well the popular cut & paste plagiarist would probably go right on ahead and serve them, perhaps with a timely yet suitable twist.

with his filmexit through the gift shop just released in the states it's no surprise the artist turned flipside filmmaker could end up leaving many more stenciled footprints in his US wake. celebrities, governments & the status quo should shake. while the rest of the people can celebrate. so many agendas.

make sure you buy a postcard on the way out.

all images courtesy of creative commons & romanywg @the wooster collective & banksy's own site via interwebs. thank you for re-packaging anti-establishment mentality in a palpable user-friendly call-to-action breath of fresh breezy freedom goodness & providing a vehicle of expression. we're not all cattle for consumerism slaughter.

haiku: two bubbles are united

the moment two bubbles
are united, the both vanish.
a lotus blooms.

- kijo murakami[1865 - 1938] 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

a curable social disease?

some australian stats: 105 thousand people per night. half of those are under 25. is it a disease? it could be argued yes. is it curable? yes. does everyone want to be "rescued"? most definitely no. nor should they be.

not quite zombies these are the homeless. those that most pretend not to see, not to slow down for like the uncomfortable accident site they represent. society's fearful poster people for failure: "if you don't work hard every day, this could be you".

the concept of home is relative. for most it represents a physical structure which provides shelter where other essentials such as food are prepared and enjoyed, belongings can be stashed and displayed, where competition continues. the survival of the fittest. of the joneses.

a home is a symbol. a state of mind. a refuge. this could be a cardboard box or it could be a palace. different horses for courses. some more hollow, less warm than others.

personally i think homelessness is a symbol of freedom, the end of servitude but certainly it doesn't ring true for all. an equally viable life choice is the decision to live as a nomad outside of the system we choose to operate in as a society. when i grow up i want to be a bag lady. through choice. not necessity.

but amongst that enormous number are an increasing percentage rendered helpless outside of their control through changed financial or personal circumstance. abuse or family breakdowns are often at the forefront of the increasing number of people seeking help for a homeless assistance service. the people to truck out into the far reaches of the west in dachau-like truckloads during the olympics [lest our visitors see].

the hunting ground staple for churches when no-one else is left to fill the unjust gap. religion loves to recruit from the bottom down with the needy and poor. it's the backbone. some actually believe in their own philanthropy & are blind to the buzzard mantle they wear.

which is why we all need to shut up. just for a day. that day is may 14. hush for homelessness. my friend mia is holding a silent film screening to help support the cause in conjunction with the national event.

ultimately home is where the heart is. if a heart is broken, then smashed & ground into the gutter then everything else can quickly be rendered obsolete. we could be there next too. and it might not be our choice [so work hard].

saving seed city side

on friday, fellow punk monk clare & i went on an adventure to share seeds before we headed off with our little posse into the mountains for garden faerie action. but first we headed over to the bower at the addison road centre which is the HQ for inner west seedsavers co-op.

seed savers is a networking organisation created in australia by inspiring permaculturists jude & michel fanton. their first book, the seed savers' handbook is one of my bibles.  i had the pleasure of doing a couple of workshops with them several years ago down in the southern highlands branch where i'm a sometime member. we're in autumn propagation mode ATM so it's time to dip our foot into the local community and get involved city side. ie. share knowledge & well, grow plants.

the object of seedsavers is to promote and preserve the free distribution of open-pollinated seeds. maintainence of genetic diversity - something which seems obvious in the animal kingdom but is of equal if not greater importance at the foundation of life.

it's an ancient premise but as agriculture has fallen into the stable of large pharmaceutical conglomerates gradually all DNA, life itself, is being patented, owned & controlled by greedy companies. over 2/3 of seed internationally is owned by petrochemical giants: monsanto, dupont, syngenta. these companies all aggressive agrochemical producers & genetic engineers. the ramifications are of course huge.

we have grown up all too aware of the constant of third world starvation which is written off as an unfortunate casualty of war, weather conditions & guilt mongering TVCs [before you remote channel flick]. not the cause for unnecessary perpetuation. 

insidious opportunistic rape following the rubber stamp legitimized theft of natural resources is the rinse repeat cycle practiced by multinationals abroad. locals are paid to only produce one specific increasingly fertiliser dependent crop [which is then exported] & dominate land use for raising antibiotic fueled meat [also exported]. this all but eliminates the ability to adher to age-old polycultural land practices & thereby support the local community.

seedsavers thanks to the incredible network & unswerving dedication by the intrepid founders has swollen to become an international entity with soul & legs which is actually making a difference realtime. the LSN [local seed networks] are spreading like a wonderful anti-virus & now number over 70 in 7 aussie states. all those people are actively getting their hands dirty in a tangible way. not just another just add water & stir social media fad. a movement which operates behind enemy lines without government support.

once struggling communities in far flung nations now benefit from seeds harvested by backyard farmers all over the world. this precious resource grown, collected & preserved by humble heroes on balcony to lifestyle blocks. nature's heirloom varieties often previously overlooked or forgotten, restored whole.
claire, michele and jane are the integral backbone of inner west seedsaving libary which officially opens doors this wednesday with a fundraising film & music night at the red rattler to celebrate. clare & i as their newest seed savers will most likely be there to document this vital cause and help support it strike through infancy. we've already had an advance sample...

after lingering an age and borrowing an array of seed from the seedbank we are in agreement that garlic and onions are just too good to give up for other humans. we nod with the others. we are the plant ladies. in order to examine this theory we quickly evacuate the area with proffered muffins in hand and wander to the back of the bower where the community garden lies. mmm, delicious.

the sun is low in the sky. winter is coming - it feels like mid afternoon but already it's almost night. clare is cold but we're both so excited about our new-found mini zip-lock bag stash which may as well house drugs as we bounce through the humus. 

the garden is full of life. various eclectic areas lure us in deeper as we admire a sweet potato tree clad in bags to preserve the seed. small lovingly attended plots bearing the name of the caretaker beckon us to discover their secrets. the leaves whisper our names. maybe yours too. they tell us stories. it all starts with sowing [to save] the seed...

inner west seed savers & seed library launch:
wednesday 28 april 2010
red rattler
6 faversham street
$10 on the door

the seed library can be found at: 
the bower
addison road centre
addison road

Thursday, April 22, 2010

topography as art

created over 80 million years, the painted desert in south australia is a topographical abstraction, a geological wonderland. a series of ancient hills which once comprised the bottom of an ocean floor with a macro hyperrealism which truly supercedes the photographic medium.

cast in brilliant hues depending on the sun the prehistoric palette extends beyond yellow ochers, reds and browns sometimes leaching into greens and blues. a myriad of colors weaving into another. pigments which extend beyond an analogous paleolithic color fest. erosion made sexy.

best reached either 4WD via oodnadatta track or by chartering a plane from coober pedy. scenic air tours are also operated from william creek, home of my favourite pub on the planet. what's not to love about a hotel neighbouring a former 1950s atomic testing site?

thanks to creative commons for the pub pic. ♥

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

midnight juggernauts

cat and i have been hard at work in the studio all night. the clock strikes twelve and he tells me it's time for a break to stretch our legs. we should go for a walk. i grab my dysfunctional phone and follow.

it's dark and still outside. the signs of the day-breed loom down upon us, but we are not afraid. we don't see any conjoined giants anywhere.

cat checks to see if he can sense their tracks. he smells an odour he finds strangely erotic yet disturbing at the same time and pulls a strange face. sadly because my phone camera has poor low light performance [duh] you just have to imagine. one thing is clear, obviously the sign people should wash.

we move on forward. perhaps a little too fast and have a lost highway moment. we should slow down. we're on foot after all. cat's not even wearing shoes.

the obvious solution is to have a wash and consider our options. if tabloid hungry monsters lurk further than the naked eye can see, at least we know they stink. we have a better chance of not being detected if we neutralise our scent. we will spot them first.

cat transports himself mid-wash to the side of the road and continues unperturbed as if nothing strange has happened. "i had no idea you have magical powers" i say. he coughs up some fur patiently and gestures with his paw to the adjacent anomaly.

a tree spurts forth from a rubbish bin. it too acts like nothing is out of the ordinary and quietly grows out into the bleeding night. "who are you and who do you work for?" i ask cat.

"you want the truth... you can't handle the truth" he says, turning his back on me and refusing to discuss the topic any further. together we sit in silence in the middle of the road as the chortling bats in the trees above coax us back into action. i sulk quietly. "you should really floss", i say childishly. "you have fur stuck between your teeth" [yes, that's all i've got].

embarrassed i wander off on my own for a bit and pretend to make shapes in the shadows like figures in the clouds. but all i can see are dancing geometric patterns of light and something that reminds me of kate's film "the sleeper". perhaps this is another sign and it's time to go home to bed?

cat senses my confusion and stares at the wall with me. side by side we focus our energy on it until the shadows and light cease their waltz. the brick facade gradually takes on new monochromatic meaning. there are visible hieroglyphs whose ink strains forth from the mortar. they beckon us.

we are surrounded...

the message is clear. the world is our playground. we like this. but is everything in it our toys or are we? cat and i consider this ontological dilemma for a bit before conceding it doesn't really matter. we have no god complex. there is however the perplexing issue of the elusive twins to consider.

cat suddenly speeds off into the night. suspicious, i look down. he's stolen my shoes! i chase after him.

...and arrive at a dead end. an imposing tower lined with windows which blare cruel reality shifting light framed by rotting curtains stands tall on the asphalt. it mocks us with its doorless wall.

pairs of deeply ingrained gouges in the brickwork evidence the method the inhabitants enter and leave. the stench is incredible. my stomach heaves as i convulse and double up into the gutter.

i look around for cat.

he's on the other side of the road gathering energy to maintain our magic bubble and to stay black and white. the light almost got him. my running shoes are nowhere in sight. he apologises that it was a necessary ploy to disguise our tracks & and buy our safe passage.

he assures me that my trainers have gone to a better place. in order to appease the toy gods they were sacrificed to the fetid demons. the night caresses us with renewed promise. but it's time to return to the corner shop to do some work. footloose and fancy free we walk out into the seductive nothingness.