Sunday, 31 May 2009

Anything you don't have to do

"Can you turn the house-lights up, please? That's better, I can see people's hair-styles now".
Brian Eno, paraphrased.

I just got back from Sydney where a friend and I made a cultural pilgrimage to see Brian Eno give a Keynote as well as to take in other aspects of the Luminous festival and some other things.

Seeing Eno talk was fantastic. He was humble, erudite and covered a vast range of topics including: Art and society, what art is ("anything you don't have to do"), writing about art (and his scorn towards it), climate change, hair-styles, screwdrivers, jokes, evolution and the goodness of the un-categorised. Some absolutely inspiring material that's still got me thinking.

We arrived at the ambitiously illuminated Opera House to be greeted by what was perhaps the most gentle protest I've ever seen. A number of bike riders (as part of the the Gloom festival as I understand it) protesting the funding of large-scale international arts programs where monies would potentially be better spent locally. Eno addressed this, and I agree with the protesters approach, but was still glad the festival was happening. With luck, governments will take note and distribute funds intelligently among local (and emerging local) artists, international artists so everybody wins.

The Opera House looked incredible with projections on both sides of Eno's work. I was, in fact, also interested in the logistics of projecting at such a large scale across the harbour. Interestingly Eno mentioned climate change quite a bit in his keynote, yet this aspect of the Luminous festival would certainly have been pulling down the watts. No doubt there's been consideration given to offset this. You can see some better photos of the projections here.

Eno's 77 Million Paintings were on display and were absolutely profound - almost religious. There were a group of us in a darkened room with ambient music washing throughout the space, while a configuration of illuminated shapes blend and shift. On the floor, a couple of illuminated cones cycle through various colours. We spent about a half-hour in this space and the effect was incredible. Entering the space with us was a family with a rabble of kids. As soon as they sat down the kids went completely silent and stayed for ages without a trace of restlessness. It was something.

Here's a video with Eno talking about the 77 Million Paintings:

Before we saw the keynote, we visited the MCA where Yayoi Kusama has a show, and it was an absolute cracker. Experiencing her installations suitably warps your mind and there were some screen-prints of obsessively developed texta-based works (which I never knew existed) that were hung together in a room making for a powerful overall experience. I got told off for taking a photo, as did most everyone else in the exhibition as there was no signage saying you shouldn't, but managed this:

Other highlights included: My favourite Sydney book store, Gould's Book Arcade. I bought a 1973 edition of 'God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater' with blue edging. There aren't enough book arcades these days.

An empty space, Newtown:

Spending time in a place called 'Green Square' (which is another blog post):

This LED sign:

And finally, a luggage store at the Airport called 'Carrion'. Seriously.

If you can catch any of the above while in Sydney, I thoroughly endorse!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Lessons in Art, number 47:

Landscape while on a moving train. From Top Secret! (1984).

Friday, 22 May 2009

Accidental Live-Trace Face

First the surface of Mars, then this. PURELY UNINTENTIONAL.

So does anyone else "Tweet"? See my input into the current ornithologically-based social phenomenon here.

Monday, 18 May 2009


In response to William Gibson, an introduction to a short story, novella or something:
"The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to 'Video 1'".

Monday, 11 May 2009

This just in ...

Balaclava, Australia: Sesame baguette placed anonymously on 7-11 sign. Authorities notified. Nearby institutions alerted. General sense of ambient panic increasing. Mass text messages sent out. Reporters milling around the scene, while maintaining a safe distance. Links to current flu-trends yet to be confirmed.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Looking up while looking up

I enjoy "looking up" in Google Street View on my iPhone. While searching for a business recently I looked up and noticed that almost always a kind of lens-flare effect appears in the sky - must be something to do with the cameras the Street View vehicles use. Sometimes it looks quite beautiful. Here is a selection of the flares over various Melbourne locations:

The last image is the "Sky" over my "Studio". I may yet do something with these, or this idea. Large-scale canvases complete with Google logo and location circle maybe...