mordwen: (ariel flux)
Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] derigueur : Soy tu aire. Spanish interactive art, requires Flash 10. Utterly beautiful.

It's funny, I remember sitting at a press conference many years ago and having some Adobe guru demonstrate for us the various things they were working on for Flash, which at the time was nothing more than a plug-in that played animation. It seemed so far beyond what the Internet as we knew it could do and it seemed like yet more vapourware, something we saw every other day at the height of the dotcom boom. I'm so glad this one has become a reality. We need more ways to make art and beauty in the world.

mordwen: (Default)
And in shock news, the Australian censorship office has made a logical decision, announcing that the controversial Bill Henson photos of a 12-year-old naked girl rate a PG and should not be banned. Could this mean that any pedophilic thoughts while viewing the image are — wait for it — in the mind of the beholder? Are they saying that meaning is created between the viewer and the text? Is it possible that the censors have caught up with post-structuralist thinking? [1]

Henson must be thrilled, not least because everybody and their dog is now going to go and see this exhibition.

[1] Doug and I had an extensive conversation about this at the time the photos were banned. I essentially agree with this theoretical position but I do also think that there are interpretive communities and cultural codes that come into play and that it is possible for an artist to deliberately transpose sexual codes that are commonly understood in our society to indicate availability onto an underage person in such a way that would make it almost universally interpretable as sexual and furthermore that this would be problematic. Most people would interpret that image as revolting; pedophiles would interpret it as enticing. Would that image still be art? Doug thinks so. I'm leaning toward saying it would be porn. Note that Henson's photos were not visibly sexualised — no makeup, no spread legs, etc.
mordwen: (Default)
The last days in New York were overcast then rainy, but we walked the Brooklyn Bridge and I spent a bunch of time in MOMA and the Met. I didn't make it to the Guggenheim because it was closed on Thursday when I tried.

Still, the Georgia O'Keeffes at the Met were divine, especially her Black Iris which 'makes vision drunk', I loved Yves Tanguy's future cities and bodyscapes and landscapes, good old Cy Twombly whose soft canvases always make me smile, Georges Braque, the Still Life with a pair of Banderillas right next to Picasso's Still Life with a bottle of Rum, both 1911 and both the same palette. And some new names: John Cedarquist's clever Little Wave sculpture, a trompe l'oeuil take on marketing and the overused Japanese wave and Joseph Cornell's shadow boxes, especially Untitled (pharmacy) -- little glass bottles filled with sand and shells and other mementos, something I think I might do with the glass bottles we have from Doug's mother's estate. And Calder mobiles hanging gently in the stillness of the gallery.

MOMA had an exhibition celebrating 50 years of Helvetica, which was fantastic. Yes, I'm a typography geek. Deal with it.

And I voted at the Australian Consulate, an odd experience, these familiar cardboard voting booths in the middle of New York. But I've played my part now, dutifully numbered 1-68 below the line for the Senate and 1-8 in my seat for the Lower House. For those voting back home on Saturday, let's get Lying Johnny out. And check the AEC's site for preference flows. Let's give the Greens the balance of power in the Upper House and make the major parties do something meaningful for the people for a change.


I have a new (or perhaps the same old) interlocutor arguing for "Anglocentric exceptionalism". I've spent a bit of today in the car thinking about the various ways in which I disagree with this person but I think I'm too tired to write a full reply just now. I certainly know I disagree that believing in human rights necessarily means I reject Derrida and Foucault. Baudrillard, maybe. The other two, not so much.
mordwen: (music)
Today's musical styles couldn't have contrasted more. The afternoon was upbeat reggae and African rhythms in one room, West Papuan and pacific in another and smells of cooking wafting through. This evening was serious young men (and they were all men), black-rimmed glasses on structured white faces, hunched over laptops or electric guitars, creating squirls and beeps against a backdrop of experimental art, cigarette smoke and scotch and dry.

I loved both of them.

The best of the afternoon's music all seemed to feature Nicky Bomba on percussion somewhere in the band while the evening's best were Amplifier Machine and Because of Ghosts, the first a dreamy ambient excercise is sparseness with violin and guitar and a real drum kit, the violin dragged gently across the cymbals every so often as it wailed, then held close to the speaker for some feedback, loops and pedals and distortion as far as it could be pushed; the second reminded me of Godspeed You, Black Emperor, quiet, drawn-out beginnings leading to walls of guitar and drum, crashing crescendos of sound and then back to looped tinkling from brandy balloons filled with water, their rims rubbed into a mic.

As for the art, it's harder to remember which bits were which as I wasn't taking notes. I thought the birds of Zero Dollars piece was great, especially when filled with manuscripts in Latin and red ink. The beginning and middle section of Cornelius Wilczek's work was amazing: the russian animated carriage racing through the snow and the boy in the jungle with the animals who is then transfixed by the mirage of the dancing fifties' stripper in the heat of the dry grasses. I'm not sure whose work it was because the programme lists two names, but the 60s footage of Australian children playing during Becuase of Ghost's set was great too.

And of course, I had great company: first [livejournal.com profile] fizit, where we caught up on our lives and talked of work and other stuff, and then James Geurts, my artist friend, where we spoke of art and life and politics and being driven.

One thing I've realised from today is how much I enjoy having purpose. I love having this magazine company starting and organising the picnic again because I love being able to say to people, "so, I'm doing this thing, can I get you involved in some way?" Teaching wasn't like that. It didn't have the same external focus and engagement that is energising me now.
mordwen: (music)
Things I would like to go do/see in the near future:

The Unquiet World exhibition @ ACCA (free), on now.

Some of the Gypsy films at ACMI (films $13/$10, season passes $60/$48), starts Thursday.

The opening of James Geurts's exhibition Tidemark at the SPAN gallery on Tuesday 13th June. (Met him in Linz in 2003, went to giant bouncy castle in Vienna).

Flamenco at Arte Canela on Johnston St at some point ($10 for a spot at a table, $5 for standing room, Friday and Saturday nights, 10pm, Thursdays at 8.30 -- serves dinner too.)

Various Friday night musical adventures at Café Quince ($10/$8). There's gypsy stuff coming up and afro-caribbean...
mordwen: (Default)
Tom Stoppard says the concept of freedom of speech as an inalienable human right makes no sense in a Darwinian world.

Fascinating.

Not sure what that means for hate speech and how we as a group then choose to move forward. I supported the NSW anti-vilification laws which are a form of limitation of free speech and would do so again although I would fight harder for the clause to be 'vilification on the basis of sexuality' rather than 'vilification on the basis of homosexuality'. Ditto ethnicity versus membership of an ethnic minority.

This is one of the reasons why I am more interested in concepts of anarcho-syndicalism, which to me try to balance the needs of the group with the needs of the individual, than liberal democracies, which trumpet the rights of the individual over all things. And why I sometimes clash with purist anarchists who don't want to have consultative processes but prefer to operate solo.

Anyhow, thanks to Creed O'Hanlon for the heads-up and while we're at it, put July 6 in your diary as the date that Hazel Dooney's art exhibition opens at MARS, with photography and video by Creed.

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January 2011

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