Posted by Gemma on the 20th of September, 2012
Our key contributions to Here & Now 12 at Lawrence Wilson are preparing for takeoff.
Part 1: HARD AND FAST Editions #1 and #2
Location: OK Gallery.
A futile and vaguely ridiculous attempt to survey Perth contemporary arts practice, in which as many artists as we could get to participate attempt to explain their practices in under 5 minutes each.
Edition 1, Thursday, September 27th:
Edition 2, Friday, September 28th
Grace Gamage and Olivia O'Donnell
Probably more to be announced.
Both events start at 6pm. Free Entry.
PART 2: NOW & THEN 12 SYMPOSIUM
Location: Old Masonic Hall, 6 Broadway, Nedlands.
Saturday, September 29th, 10am - 3:30pm
Acquittal Report (Matthew Hunt and Robert Cook)
Dale Buckley and Kate Mullen (MOANA)
Daphne Major Research Office (Jason Hansma and Eloise Sweetman)
Museum of Natural Mystery (David Egan and Patrick Miller)
Now&Then12 will explore intergenerational dialogues, alternative means of written discourse and curatorial practice and the complex relationships between distance and written history, seeking new models for discussing and exhibiting contemporary work in Western Australia.
For more info, I'd suggest downloading a media release (click and scroll down)
Entry to Now&Then12 is free, but RSVP is essential to: email@example.com
(This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.)
Posted by Gemma on the 20th of September, 2012
A: Matthew Hunt, Backwater. $50.
Matt Hunt might be the Bruce Nauman of Perth. This is a big call, but hear me out. As well as working in nearly every discipline imaginable whilst also maintaining a coherent practice, Matt Hunt seems to always have done it first.
Interested in those mysterious islands in the Hyde Park lakes? So was Matt Hunt, about 5 years ago. Considering revisiting your highschool lever-arch for vernacular phrases and graphic design for a series of Ed Ruscha-esque drawings? Too late, Matt Hunt's been on that for years. Using that symmetrical doubling effect in your video or photographs? Matt Hunt went to town on that during his residency in Toyko in 2002. The expanded semiotic significance of or connection between collected objects? Zines? Collaborations with local musicians? Horticulture as contemporary practice? Close Encounters of the Third Kind as a metaphor for research?*
Have you ever wanted to go back to high school and do it again, but with the knowledge you've gained with hindsight? Matt Hunt makes work that's like this, that has an art-school freshness and experimental contemporary currency, executed with the added advantage of a decade's practice. It stays fluid in subject and material and asks but also thinks a lot of the viewer. Matt Hunt also makes work about Perth that transcends being about Perth, which is a difficult thing to achieve when making work about any specific location, regardless of the peculiarities of this one.
This is an incredibly biased review, evidently: Hunt's work, back when I was in first year at art school, set a kind of standard for my expectations and understanding of contemporary art and also for contemporary art's capacity to engage meaningfully with locality. Hunt's contribution to John Barrett Lennard's Flux, at Lawrence Wilson in 2003 (a timely reference considering the presence of another survey of Perth contemporary practice, Here & Now 12, in that gallery now) - a weird, object-based form of conceptual ikebana using bowling balls, carrots, staghorn ferns, wooden laboratory benches, footage from Rambo (I think?) and of rain on a lake- was the first incredibly challenging art experience I had, in the flesh, but the first one that I also loved without really knowing why, or what it meant, and this has had a considerable influence on the kind of work I'm interested in today.
This is getting a bit gushingly embarrassing and honest, and I'll probably run into Matt Hunt somewhere soon, as is the nature of Perth, and things will be very, very awkward.
So, practicalities: Backwater is his self-published monograph, released to coincide with his show of the same name at Holmes Ã¥ Court in 2006, detailing his work for that show and from the previous couple of years. Matt and Tony Nathan designed it, and it has texts from John Barrett Lennard, Robert Cook and Sabine Schaschl-Cooper.
For many years I assumed pineapples grew on trees, hanging somehow from the leafy protrusion on the top of the fruit. Imagine my surprise. Interestingly, one can grow a pineapple by planting the sliced-off crown, like a succulent, but it will take nearly 3 years for your plant to bear fruit. The pineapple game is a long one.
Debate rages about the validity of applying pineapple to a pizza, but a certainty is that pineapple tastes like summer, whether canned, juiced, cocktailed or eaten fresh (add finely chopped chilli and salt for extra flavour). Raw pineapple is apparently an excellent source of manganese, but I'm not actually sure what you need that element for.
Also, the pineapple is one of the illustrious objects that Australia has decided to supersize: the Big Pineapple, in Noosa, was controversially heritage listed in 2009.
*Evidently, I have very specific, yet varied interests.
Posted by Gemma on the 19th of September, 2012
A fresh week of books and fruits, starting with some rule breaking: multiple books, fruit that isn't fruit:
A: Dexter Sinister: Dot Dot Dot #20, Bulletins of the Serving Library #1 and #2: $20, $15, $15
Dot Dot Dot and the Bulletins of The Serving Librabry are both the 'house publications' of Dexter Sinister, a collaboration between David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey running out of the Just-In-Time Workshop & Occasional Bookstore in Brooklyn, which the pair began as an 'antidote to the contraints of long run publication'.
Dot Dot Dot, which launched in 2000 and ran for just over ten years, features an often idiosyncratic but also closely related conglomerate of graphic design/typography/art texts and images, creating a kind of syncopated visual culture beat as letters and cartoons collide with essays and photographs. The 20th edition is the last of Dot Dot Dot, before Dexter Sinister made the transition to the somewhat more structured 'Serving Library' project, an ambitious attempt to redefine the experience and distribution of knowledge under terms and conditions relevant to contemporary society.
The Serving Library exists in three different formats - a website, in which 'bulletins' from each 'issue' - texts on semiotics, the nature of time, Sesame Street, Goethe, Steiner, mathematics, semiotics, grammar, etc - which are each attached to a related cover image that stands in as an icon for the extended text appear over a six month period, able to be downloaded for free before they are compiled into the second format, an inexpensive short run publication. These texts also travel as an itinerant library/installation. Each issue is a mixed bag - bulletins may be metaphoric fancies or hard analysis but, as in Dot Dot Dot, ideas clash and mesh with a rhythm that makes each issue sing.
The beet isn't a fruit, it's a root, but it's an excellent juicing ingredient so I'm happy to ignore its life underground. Anyhow, it's just classification and we should know by now that boundaries, like juices, are fluid.
The beet must be close to being a superfood - it has many benevolent powers and preventative effects, a great source of antioxidants and nutrients including magnesium, sodium, potassium, vitamin C and betaine. The compound that gives the beet its colour - betanin - cannot be broken down by the human body, resulting in the day-late calling card familiar to regular eaters of beets and often frightening to those who might have forgotten about their prior beet intake.
Skirting round other points, British commander Field Marshal Montgomery, circa WWI, was reported to have encouraged his troops to 'take favours in the beetroot fields'. By which he somehow meant paying for sex.
Posted by Gemma on the 16th of September, 2012
A: David Bromfield: Gone West. Essays and Criticism 1981 -1992. $12
I've been talking about this book to anyone who will listen since I quietly acquired a copy last time PICA reorganised their archive room, and it was my first choice from their back catalogue when we got in there on more official terms. A collection of texts from David Bromfield, once head of UWA's art school, long time director of the hyper-democratic KURB Gallery and now manger of the Victoria Park community arts center, Gone West is in many ways the compendium of Western Australian contemporary art-history that I once complained did not exist. Bromfield's reviews and essays document early performances by Brian Blanchflower and political activism by artists waged against AGWA, efforts to theorise a uniquely Western Australian practice, the struggle the assimilate or to counteract the influence of international modernism.
At its best, Bromfield's writing is a reminder that, whilst criticism should be necessarily divisive, it should also be as generous and as elegant as it is polemic or provocative. His central concerns are certainly never obsfucated by politeness, and the legacy of this is a collection of texts that are often incendiary and also still very relevant - Bromfield's 1990 take on the responsibilities of art schools is especially worth reading in the context of now.
The spiky jackfruit is, surprisingly, a close relative of the mulberry. It's native to South East Asia - widely cultivated in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines - but is also found in Africa and in South America.
The flavour of a jackfruit is variously described as 'sweet and subtle', 'poultry-like' or 'like a tart banana'. It can be made into a custard, or it can be dried and eaten as chips, or it can just be appreciated as a big, weird, fruity readymade.
Posted by Gemma on the 15th of September, 2012
A: The Little Joe Clubhouse Reader, $10
The Little Joe empire includes a magazine, "about queers and cinema, mostly", and a 'clubhouse', a total installation drawing on 'ideas of withdrawal, defiant separatism and delicious seclusion' that is also a temporary cinema programmed by artists, writers and filmmakers.
The Little Joe Clubhouse Reader features essays by those artists writers and filmmakers, discussing their unique contributions to the cinema's program and continuing the discussion started by Little Joe Magazine. It's a wonderfully tactile book, designed by Martin McGrath and printed on a risograph by Ditto press.
The orange is a Saturday morning kind of fruit, just acidic enough to shake off sleep, full of the right nutrients to counteract any Friday night indiscretions. Since 1987 it's been the most commonly grown fruit, however its ubiquity doesn't stop it from feeling somehow exotic. I think of oranges and I think of California and its cinematic banality, Florida, Bermuda shorts, tans that don't cause skin cancer, wholesomeness, some place where it's always 27 degrees, close to raining.
We've been trying to determine which came first, the colour or the fruit, but it's too close to metaphysics for the weekend.
Posted by Gemma on the 12th of September, 2012
A: Jan Verwoert: Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want, $38
We're pleased to be able to feature Verwoert's text, as it's become quite difficult to locate online. Verwoert writes on a number of topics - magic, agency, metaphor - finding a tone and language for art criticism both playful and sharp.
Publisher Sternberg Press puts it more eloquently:
"Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want brings together a selection of recent writings by art critic Jan Verwoert for the first time. Published in collaboration with Piet Zwart Institute, Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, the book galvanizes central themes Verwoert has been developing in pursuit of a language to describe art's transformative potential in conceptual, performative, and emotional terms. He analyzes the power of public gestures to constitute communities as well as the pressure to perform that governs the sphere of creative labor, in order to show how particular artists perform gestures and invoke community differently. Exploring the emotional power games that shape social relations, Verwoert looks for an alternative ethos of action and feeling, asking: How can a modernist approach to artistic form as a means of social critique be expanded to fully avow its subliminal affective undercurrents, and produce a pleasurably crooked form of criticality in art and writing?"
B: The Avocado. (99c - $2.99 each)
I need to start with a retraction on my previous comments: the avocado also cannot be juiced. Interesting avocado fact - its Central Mexican etymology makes reference to its distinctive texture and shape. The Nahuatl word ahuÃ¡catl becomes the Spanish aguacate: testicle. 'Guacamole', is derived from the same origin, meaning 'testicle sauce'. The Aztecs considered the sympathetic magic of the avocado vital for improving fertility.
Tone-lowering aside, the avocado has culinary versatility, making good friends with condensed milk in smoothies, improving nachos, surprisingly palatable with vegemite. Nutritional benefits include plentiful vitamin c for flu protection, e for radiant skin, fibre for digestion, antioxidants for eternal youth.
Posted by Gemma on the 12th of September, 2012
We'll be bringing you a book and a fruit per day of Intellectual Property. Starting today, despite delays:
A: Chicken Stampede, George Egerton Warburton, 2010. $34.
Egerton Warburton initially conceived his Chicken Stampede as a piece of romantic, absurdist theatre, conducted for the projects of self sufficiency and the 2010 Next Wave festival, subtitled 'No Risk Too Great'. 500 chickens, rescued from a battery life, would be mustered through Fitzroy - from Seventh Gallery to festival director Jeff Khan's backyard - fed on donated food and adopted by consenting participants. Thwarted by bureaucracy and an unsympathetic animal rights agency, the project required an ironic compromise under threat of prosecution, becoming instead a 'sound stampede' - the poultry noises blaring down the original parade route from boom boxes and Mr Whippy vans. The book, published at the project's conclusion, chronicles Egerton Warburton's sometimes troubled, sometimes hilarious struggle through image and text, including a souvenir poster and possibly the only hate poem written to a member of the RSPCA.
B: The Banana. ($3.99 kg, North Perth Grower's Market)
I wanted to open with the banana because I recently learnt a very interesting fact about it whilst staying up late reading Wikipedia. The banana is a kind of herb. This fact requires citation, but I'm willing to believe it, regardless:
"despite its size the "banana tree" is in fact an herbaceous flowering plant (an herb). The misconception arises because of the shape of the plant, which resembles a tree with an apparent trunk and branches."
The physical comedy and breakfast staple is high in potassium, which may lower blood pressure, improve skeletal health and aid digestion. It might also be the only fruit/herb that cannot be juiced.
Posted by Gemma on the 11th of September, 2012
Building furnishings for Intellectual Property.
INSPIRATIONAL THUS FAR:
1: Franz West
2: Small Business Offices, circa 1984 -1999
3: Sea Punk/Teen Witch (colour palette)
4: Summer Fruits
Posted by Gemma on the 11th of September, 2012
Where have we been? Blogging seems to always be the first thing to go once things get hectic. Quick recap: Jacob Ogden Smith's Hovea Pottery Ale; Katie Lenanton's Here & Now 12 at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, which we are participating in; our first birthday; Andrew's solo exhibition at Fremantle Art Centre; an impending symposium; the looming Intellectual Property - our book and fruit division.
Here is an appropriate link-gift for the first post in many months, courtesy of Cory Arcangel:
I'm sorry. I promise we'll never go away again.