Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blue Heat wishes to White

What is wrong with this picture? Nothing really it has some playful surrealistic elements like the dolphin flying and the Moon emanating so much intense light as to give the girl some tan-lines but summer and Xmas is the normal way of things yes?

The images in this post are by Tadanori Yokoo and are from an advertising campaign he designed in 1971. Seeing the exhibition *The Complete Poster Works* of Tadanori at the the Osaka National Art Museum was one of my highlights of of my trip to Japan in August for the Aichi Triennale.

The whole exhibition was fairly overwhelming, and with no translations of the titles or wall plate information, I was pretty much lost in the spectacle of his amazing prints. So I had no idea that this series was advertising for Xmas holidays in Hawaii- as I said above, Summer and Xmas just seemed normal- I guess I though it was an extension on some of the images of women he had been doing. (which seems crazy now- but lots of weird things happen in Japan all the time, so weird seems normal)

I think this one is my favourite. (big picture here on flickr)

The flat horizon created by cutting across an image of sea, the centred island and the general From here to Eternity vibe are the first things that hook me in. The placement of that horizon is just above centre- the convention suggests that a mid-picture plane horizon is a very difficult image to pull off- Yokoo nails for me, by anchoring the bottom half with a gianormous pink fleshy nude. But I think the thing that keeps my eye moving around the image is the way the light comes from all different sources: from above on the palm trees and front right of the model just to name two. I also just can't get past the models awkwardness - and her right hand underneath her leg is crab-like and creepy. The pink nail polish is so uncanny! (click over to here for a big version)

Kind of odd advertising for a family holiday in the sun.

(BTW this is a *great* little tourist video showing Halcona Cove Beach on Oahu, Hawaii, where From here... was filmed. The narrators diction is interesting- is that a Hawaiian accent? And all power to this couple who re-enact the kiss- I hope I have the same amount of self deprecating humour and abandon when I am their age.)

Partly my reasons for not recognising what this was about, was I think of Hawaii- thanks to American TV (Magnum PI) - as being American even though I know there are a lot of Japanese living there. Also the landscape is not one I intimately recognise. For example the below scene just says "tropical" to me- maybe even reminding me a little of Mt Warning. And OK- I didn't notice the Hibiscus flower being distracted by that 'jazz-hands' nude. (another landscape poster here)

Who knows what thought to myself when confront with this one- That he didn't like Xmas? That this one was about the family dramas associated with Xmas?

So to all my Northern friends buried deep in a white winter I wish you some Southern heat and will be thinking of you on the beach tomorrow.

Xmas Paradise is missing you all.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Conversations with photographers

Our friend Nadege was visiting on the weekend from land-locked Canberra, so after an excellent breakfast at Cafe Ella (now open on Sundays!), a bit of art at White Rabbit, we went over to Bronte for a swim at the Bogey Hole- sometimes also known as the Bronte Piss-pool due to its popularity with parents of small babies. It's one of my favourite places to swim in Autumn when the surf turns rough but the water is still really warm- I hate the rips and wild surf at Bronte anyway. (that link sends you to a Beach Safe website which has good images of Bronte on a rough day, when the rocks at the Bogey Hole are completely covered by white water, and explanations of the permanent rips)

When we arrived we saw that it was one of those very low tides that happen now and again in Summer. The drama of the high Winter Tides with a lot of surf, and low Summer ones exposing the rocks and sand bars bring out extra photographers to this picturesque spot. I wasn't surprised to see more people snapping that swimming- the air temperature was pretty cool and there was a big summer storm brewing and it was the last shopping Sunday before the Xmas consumer Fest.

As I was wading in I noticed one particular guy who was pretty hyperactive- moving around a lot- jumping the rocks and then climbing the walk-way fence. He had a pretty serious camera and a kind of washed up baby-boomer look of round glasses, dark baggy jeans, baggy loud printed shirt, and red baseball hat on. I watched him for a while as his frenetic movement was a little out of place at the beach. I guessed I was in some of his shots but what can you do about that. It was a great swim- the water was nice after you let yourself go and as long as you kept moving. Even nicer was that Nadege and I had the pool to ourselves.

This morning Haico called me at 8:30 laughing his head off telling me I was on page 3 of the Sydney Morning Herald- I was wondering what news would have made it there without either of my dealers calling me first. Haico soon informed me it was not about my work but that I should go and buy the paper.

Thank you Steven Siwert for my Page 3 bikini girl moment of fame.

Page 3 of the Sydney Morning Herald 20/12/10

Full size view here.

First harvest

We have been working on our garden a lot this year. Haico has spent days digging out rubble, and building raised gardens- I spent most of this time taking pictures of him doing it. I'll up load them eventually but as I am trying to keep on my writing schedule so I'm being brief. The last garden he made was my vegetable garden on the front cement driveway. We live in the Greek part of the neighbourhood so this is in keeping with the tradition- it would be more traditional if there where a couple of lettuce patches in styrofoam boxes but as if Haico would let me do that, and despite how messy I am it is one step too far for me too.

This weekend I have been able to harvest my first fruits: Chillies and yellow tomatoes. The basil has been used a few times already and the rocket has been harvested three times and is now bitter and going to seed.

The weather continues to be very erratic. On Friday afternoon I was wearing a singlet and on Sunday a long sleeve top and pants- its even colder today and I am in jeans.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Marrickville nature strip

Wednesday again so soon. My problem is I feel like all my words need to be saved for my thesis at the moment.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kai over Sydney.

I have decided to start a wordless wednesday thread.

Last week a visit from my old friend Kai, from Strelizer Strasse, Berlin

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Flashed flowers

More hydrangeas from my garden in a 1950's hand glazed Italian vase.

Mambo's Hydrangeas in a West German ceramic vase plus a a small vanitas of a vintage paper scrap book illustration of a Dutch couple with a tiny skull sitting on the frame. Very Calvinist and reminder of the shortness of our lives.

Lilli Pilli from our side garden in the West German vase found for me by Regina's mother Seya. In memoriam.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

conversations with spring nestlings

I found this guy with a Noisy Minor nestling out of the front of Fisher Library. We had a chat (ie. I bombarded him with questions) and it turns out he found the nestling on the foot path. It was still calling for it's parents who where bringing it food. I suggested he put it down on the seat to see if they would still feed it which they did. So we found a suitably bushy tree to deposit the bird it and let nature take its course. As we where leaving two senior ladies passed and said that noisy minors often fall out of thier nests- interesting information- its not something I have noticed before.

Mambo’s Hydrangea

Is in bloom. They beautiful and they remind me of the blue of his cushion that used to be next to my computer.

It’s seven month since Mambo was laid to rest under the Hydrangeas. I still miss him. Below is Haico saying goodbye.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

More letterpress adventures

There are no pictures of me in action this time as I was the only one in the studio Book Studio, due to term break and Caren is having a well deserved research break- part of which was at Otago printing press, Dunedin. So it was just me and The Beast. I was a little nervous so I did venture into the nearby honours studios and ask the conscientious students socialising working to come running is if they heard screams. But I am please to say that I did not fuck up the press or rip the paper drum (I have forgotten it's Proper Name) although I did print red hate and silver love onto it once or twice. It does sound as if it has a new wheeze but I could just be being paranoid.

I was printing up a couple of things- the extra chapzines (which is still in process but fairly straight forward as the chases are already set), and a cover for the new Flaps: Hate Mail #3. With Caren not being there to check my chases I made several mistakes. Not so many on the first plate- which I printed in red- so I could so straight over the orange of the chapzine plate and not have to clean the rollers. But with the second plate- silver- it took a a while to work out how I should set the chase and place it on the bed.
Take one:

Take Two:

There are four changes that you can see. There was more padding to bring short letters up to type high. With photocopying it's so easy to make a change to where you put a page and my mind is so geared to reversing and the paper and printing face down that it was a little weird thinking through how I had to place and set each plate. Caren would have answered all my questions in two seconds before I had placed it on the bed, where there is not enough space to turn the chases without lifting them up and therefore losing loose letters and all the paper padding you have in place.

The original idea was to have the two plates printed over each other as you can see below:

But as you can see it wasn't working. I set both plates with wooden type as they are a lot larger and you can quickly create a solid page of type. However the same scale makes over printing in this style harder read. I was realising then what was working with the two colour plates in the Nature Strip Chapzine. But the biggest and mist painful aspect about making changes when you have the chase in place , is that it takes many hours to set the plate, and a good hour to clean up so you feel very committed to getting something printed- or using the plates that you have. So an emergency decision was made to print the second plate on the back side. Here's the two sides:

It still needed something to make it work and to make it clear what the zine was about and who by. So we stamped the cover with our trusty rubber stamps- used in three Flaps editions now, the other two being Sad Sack Saturday Night and Joe Jobs.

You can buy Flaps and other zines at Sticky in Melbourne and online with Smells like zines and hopefully soon Format.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Documentation of Feeders at Aichi Triennale

I finally got around to uploading the installation documentation on youtube. Enjoy!

The encounters that started these works are in the posts Black Kite Kamakura and a post about bird watching at the Meiji Shrine. Although the back story for the Varied Tit encounter isn't posted yet...

You can see the paper birds in progress in this post...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Japanese song I had to wait to come home to experience.

Which is not quiet true... I was there when a group of people left the after after Triennale opening party for one of the several palaces near our hotel, but after 3 weeks of intense work, I was just too tired.

My dear friend Bec, an karaoke enthusiast, was turning 35, an occasion to eat a lot of food and then head into the CBD to be serenaded by her. The name of the karaoke place is Echo Point, which I find amusing, not only for it's self referential nature, but as Echo Point will always be the Three Sisters to me- a sublime vista, rather than a dingy underground black box lite by black light fluros. (while I was searching for some information on the echo at that location, I came upon this delightful panorama, which pays more attention to showing the parking space available, than the view.)

Bec being absorbed by the screen.

Special inter-state guest Andrew.

Raybe and Andrew looking for obscure gold.

I sang a Shirley Bassey number, and one of all time Pixie favourites among others.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

poem forwarded from a friend

With clacking heels you breeze
through parkland
towards the obligations
of the day.
By an iron gate you pause,
noting within a shrub
a shadowy fidget of birds.
For a minute their presence
holds you, like breath,
a poem unfolding.
You hear the slough of leaves,
the snap of sticks and beak,
the snare of claws.
A sudden whirr of wings
thrums like a heartbeat.
Wide eyed you stoop and peer
into their green marquee.
Rarest of fortune to observe
this tiny theatre of birds.
See how they weave
collaborating twists
of twigs and vine
into a perfect mesh of
form and line.
Perhaps they see your boots or hear you breathe
for now they stop and wait for you to pass
and as they pause, you wonder if they too
are ambushed by a poem about you
Marian Waller

What Bird is that?

Marian Waller 19.9.10

So many wonderful lines in this poem. I think Marian has captured the sense of wonder and privilege I feel when I have an encounter with birds.

From the ABC's "social media space" Pool and the project Birdland.

Pool is:

ABC Pool is a social media space that brings together ABC professionals and audiences in an open-ended process of participation, co-creation and collaboration. It’s a place to share and talk about creative work - music, photos, videos, documentaries, interviews, animations and more.

Monday, September 6, 2010

human noise

On my third day in Nagoya I rode south and came to a temple... I can't remember the name of it, it was really hot and I was looking for a pool, but the temple was peaceful- mostly. I could hear all these children yelling. On investigation it turned out to be Akido lessons. These little films are mostly posted for the noise- I am a little disappointed in the quality after compression- But I hope you can see the dailek-like action in the second clip- I can't work out whether the exercise is to practice striking someone on the head, or to practice being beaten on the head- probably both.

The sound of the cicadas also sound quiet mechanical after the compression too.

The title of this comes from Sarah's new blog Human Noise, and these where the words that came to my into my head as I watched.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Conversations with cats - Gotokuji Shrine

I wrote this more than a month ago but had not had time to correct it or put in as many details as I had wanted- and then I just got super busy finishing the work for Aichi Triennale. But time has passed and is passing so fast and I am now back in Australia so it will have to go up as is in order to think new thoughts.

In 2007 my dear Ruben died. It was long and drawn out. Not long after a friend of Lucas(Ruben's co-owner) and I, Jo Law, had the Australia Council residency in Tokyo. You can read about her trip on her Season Almanac blog. As part of trip she went to Gotokuji Shrine and said prayers for Ruben and her cat Puzpuz. When I came home from Tokyo in April my dear Mambo died and I felt I needed to go to the shrine to visit Ruben and say good bye to Mambo.

Gotokuji Shrine is where the legend of the waving cat- Maneki Neko is said to have happened. The White cat - Tama- is buried in a shrine along side the main Buddhist (?) temple, and this is where I said my prayers.

It was a fantastic thing to do- the quiet ( there was only me and two other people there) and very green space was exactly what I need, and I lite insense and said prayers for all my friend's cats who are no longer around and for those who still keep us company.

Cats of freinds who have passed on: Tupelo, Jose, Blanche, Smilla, Puzpuz, Puspus, Gordon, Lucy, Claude, Gus and Carole. As well as those still living: Otik, Martha, Sushi, Drazic, Orlando, Dexter, Zooty, Minny, Baba, Brian.

I love the backs and the tails in the shot above, and I couldn't resist putting my miniture Yokoo Tandanori cat Buddha in for a picture too.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Conversations with trees #1

This is a thread I have been thinking about a lot and for some time but was always too scared to start- too much to say, too overwhelming. But I am just going to start and not say much, but post a picture of a tree from outside of Tokyu Hands.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tokyo blur

The last five days have been a real blur- trying to see as much as I could and as many people as possible. Some snaps and images from the first couple of days.

Commercial gallery hoping with Reuben from
Artspace (now on internship at the Yokohama City Museum) and Will French, an Australian artist now at Tokyo Wonder site (check his site- nice work with flags and bicycles). It was quiet nice that day as it rained, so it was reasonably cool.

The galleries were a pretty mixed bag, with Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba at Mizuma being a highlight, especially two flag works that remixed the stars of the Vietnamese and U.S. flags. Here is a link to his current large project “Breathing is free”.

We ended up in Ildabashi the part of town where I was staying and ate dinner at a nice isagaya. It’s a fairly fancy part of town so it has a fugu restaurant in the main street. Eating this fish doesn’t appeal to me, they are fairly ugly, along with being poisonous. I like the ‘before and after’ set up, one window has the fish tank and the next is a display of what you will get served.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Green greeting

After the high of seeing Fuji from the plane I was delighted by the heat and green of being on the ground. I took the Skyliner to Tokyo, which has a slightly different route from the Narita express, my departure route,  passing first through rice fields before hitting the city. It’s nice to compare the UFO landing spots with how they looked in Spring.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finished Chapzine- Printing, pick ups and nature strips


I am amazed that I managed to get the chapzines done. It wouldn't have happened without Louise from Poppy Letterpress and Caren. Thank you ladies of movable type!

I am now wrapping some of them up to send to Melbourne and some to take as gifts to Japan. Less than 24 hours now before I fly.

ok now I feel like a real iidiiot- just got down some packets of paper to freight down to the show in Melbourne and discovered a stack of anonymously stamped paper- more than the stack I have printed- derr!
Just as well I kept my chases intact- and now I get to correct the spelling mistakes - namely mine and Andrew's names.