Monday, April 19, 2010

conversations with cats #2

In the first week home I was cycling along one of my regular routes I came out of a cutting to see about 10 cats trotting towards me with their tails in the air- a pack of friendly strays. It was the oddest sight. I have only ever seen two cats do this at once. I of course missed the moment to photograph them doing this. I guess there is someone who feeds them you arrives on a bicycle? I have wanted to go back and visit them but have not had the time yet.

The sense of wonder and pleasure at these stray cats is a new response for me- a post-Tokyo curiosity. Usually I would be angry and cross that they where there and that someone was supporting them (a typical bird watcher response). I was still concerned that the pack is growing as one of the young females (the tabby grey in the top photo) was clearly pregnant.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rest in Peace dear Mambo

He had a massive tumor in stomach area which was affecting his kidneys. There was no possible treatment, which we had suspected so pampered him for weeks till it looked like he was loosing the plot. Luckily he made it through ok till I came home. The demise was pretty fast in his last week, so Haico and I took the hard decision that it was best he took a one way trip to the vet. I didn't want him in hospital like Ruben, mostly because he was an anxious cat and wouldn't cope. The vet told us he probably only had days to live. He is now under the hydrangias in the front yard in the opposite flower bed to Ruben.

I instinctively look at the front door when I walk past expecting to see his shadow asking to come in. It will take a while I guess.

He was very restless his last two nights, getting up lots to drink, wee and lick at a vast array of food we presented him with. Poor thing, but he had a good and long life. He arrived to live with my parents and I (he was dumped over our fence) in my honours year at Art school. He appear in various of my performance to camera, which I am now keen to dig out the video documentation.


Every day clear and sunny since I've come home.

The view from the new deck.

I wish you could photograph customs as you arrive into Australia- I always know I am home at that point- the look of all the lower public servant workers: customs officials in short sleeves with large tattoos pocking through the lower sleeve; Gay men and women working as quarantine officials; Australian tavellers in tracksuit pants, jeans and t-shirts the main dress code; the immediate feel of the dominate working class culture; humidity and blue blue skies as you touch down. Ah home... I love it

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Field Guide to the Birds of Tokyo's Metro System.

Ryuto's hand holding the finished prototype of A Field Guide to the Birds of the Tokyo Metro System. One of my works in the exhibition Tokyo Story at TWS Shibuya is a collaboration with a talented young artist Ryuto Miyake.

It started with my recording of the bird sounds used as alarms in the metro system, soon after I meet Ryuto who has a passion for drawing birds. The question was then how do we illustrate a field guide to these Metro birds while avoiding the mannered ‘imaginative’ drawings of people who know too much. Children drawings? How do I find a group of children? Enter Kate Gane: an Australian who is teaching English in the Kanagawa area as Warnambool's cultural ambassador. Kate and I did a series of workshops with the students playing them the alarm sounds and shown them images of Japanese and Australian birds. Ryuto’s drawings are based on drawings by first year students in classes 1-1, 1-2 and 1-3 at Hasse Junior High School, Kanagawa, and photos of birds we thought they looked like.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Tokyo did not quiet spit me out- almost- I had a least 11 hours combined sleep over the 4 days. So what did I learn in the last days? All the things I already knew: I’m not very good with technical things, especially with computers if they decide to not work perfectly; if you don’t sleep enough hours you become stressed and can’t communicate well, and I become really forgetful and appear quiet crazy; you eat crazy food; you never have time for those last minute purchases.

The ride on the train to the airport was completely different to my arrival: grey rainy afternoon, very tired emotional and stressed, but I wanted to enjoy every minute, and soaked up the beauty. The cherry trees where in full bloom and had started to rain their perfect pink blossom. It was interesting to see clusters of them all over the city as we headed out north to Narita.

Another moment of surprise beauty was one of the parks along a river with baseball diamonds, the pitchers mounds look like UFO landing spots.

Monday, April 5, 2010

chaos and sleeplessness

Only two days to go and complete exhaustions as I try and make it all happen. Thanks to Kate and Hanako for the rescue last night.

But still pausing to photograph fashionistas:

A bike gang Tokyo style: Yoyogi
Install Shibuya.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

white beauty

3 days of absolute beauty- I can't believe how lucky we where to have such thick snow, sunshine, and each other, to enjoy this perfect forest.