october 2009 | week three


THE LAB_symbol

Open residency project
Ocular Lab
West Brunswick


THE LAB_week three_outside view
THE LAB_week three_inside view


week two_honey wagon week two_bucket contents
week two_weedings week two_compost making
week two_bucket on compost week two_weeds on compost
Riding week two’s collected toilet and organic material back to the compost site on Thea’s bike as honey-wagon. Weeding the overgrown house garden and feeding it to the heap, enjoying time in the sun and air outside in this grassy meadow.

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individual projects
studio practice

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july-august 2009

ODS_wellington sky_march 09


One Day Sculpture: An International Symposium on Art, Time and Place
26th-28th March 2009
Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

In the late summer I was fortunate to be able to combine a visit to a friend on New Zealand’s Kapiti Coast with attendance of the One Day Sculpture symposium in Wellington. Conceived by the Litmus Research Initiative within the Massey University School of Fine Arts and creatively directed by UK-based curator Claire Doherty, the One Day Sculpture project was a one-year program of twenty temporal public works by local and international contemporary artists staged across the North and South islands. Lasting more or less twenty four hours each, the projects were realised Cuckoo-style (1), commissioned in partnership with a suite of institutions including museums, public and artist-run galleries and thereby nesting into a wide range of organisational resources. Instrumental to the accompanying discursive program – together with public discussions, responsive critical texts and a rich website of documentation and recommended reading – the symposium was held over two days at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. It featured a dynamic range of local, regional and international critics, academics, curators and practitioners and was timed to coincide with the presentation of two of the One Day Sculpture projects in Wellington.

I’d been drawn to attend by the dynamic structure of parallel session streams – academic papers, close text readings and project case studies, bracketed by keynote and positioning papers and panel discussions – from which delegates could fashion their own symposium experience according to their leanings. Mine were toward the strong foregrounding of practitioner voices via the project case study sessions with One Day Sculpture participating artists. This composite structure suggested a malleability running counter to my prior experience of contemporary arts forums – though this was the first time I’d been at a symposium as a delegate, not before having been able to afford the cost of registration fees or loss of paid work time. Conferences and symposia tend to privilege arts industry professionals over producers, being typically staged on weekdays, when institutions can despatch their employees to attend in work time in continuance with paid work duties. Showing up on my own money and my own terms, my experience of the symposium was of an abundant, stimulating but ultimately overwhelming program that left me musing on some reverberating motifs of expectation, interjection and locality. And the distinct gaps between situated and secondary viewing and the specialised research community of contemporary art and the real live world. Continue Reading »


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december 2008

woodblock print from Masanobu Fukuoka’s ‘One Straw Revolution’ reaped from Culiblog and used twice without permission

Nothing to give.

catalogue essay

mikala dwyer_moon garden invite

Moon Garden
Mikala Dwyer
Aratoi – Wairarapa Museum of Art and History
Masterton, Aotearoa New Zealand
december 08 – february 09

“Natural farming” is a method of land use developed by Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008) on his mountainside farm and orchard in southern Japan. Known also as “Do-nothing” farming for Mr. Fukuoka’s recommendation of doing away with unnecessary work, its grounding is in the four principles of no cultivation, no fertilisers, no weeding and no chemicals. His plentiful crops of rice, citrus and vegetables demonstrated that with careful observation and minimal tending, land left to itself will find a natural pattern and balance. Using cooperative systems of green manure cover crops, rice straw mulches and small grazing animals the Fukuoka method shows that even the most depleted soils can be restored, healing the land and maybe even the spiritual wellbeing of the practicing farmer. Continue Reading »


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june 2008 (continued)

thisiscurating_opening_may 08
image courtesy of Firstdraft

Notes on a state of conversation

essay commissioned and originally published
Issue 11: Conversation
edited by Anneke Jaspers
Winter 2008

runway 11 cover_winter 08

download pdf of full text here [64KB]

On the short term, phones and email can be used
to arrange meetings. But they often fail to provide
the impetus that actually brings people in
dialogue with one another. They act as alibis for
the commitment that may or may not be sufficiently
developed between people. Given the event-led
cultural economy we live in today, communication
after the fact proves to be the weakest link in
our development. One might envisage setting up
art practice… Face to face contact is precious.

– Clementine Deliss (1)

Over a recent three-week period I was immersed in an incidental but noticeable sequence of visual arts dialogue events and encounters. These seem useful material for a part round-up, part temperature check on how occasions to talk to each other – as artists, audiences, people, peers, and communities – are being generated out of local practices, projects and spaces. On the varying qualities of these occasions, differing approaches to facilitation, and the meaningful potential and effects of thoughtful discursive practice. Continue Reading »


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august 2005

I want to be Loieln Doolsn_1 
I want to be Lioeln Doolsn_ 2


Only one and a bit days to go

Mikala Dwyer
Darren Knight gallery, Sydney.
28 june – 23 july 2005

performed by Justin Butcha, Grzegorz Gawronski, Tom Isaacs, Jum and Ben Terakes

chapter Delirium selected by Bianca Hester
Melbourne, 2005

[download pdf [1.2MB] or read full text below]

Turning up to an opening can inspire a moment or two of presentation anxiety. Approaching the entrance you’ll do what you can with your hair, straighten clothes and hope there’s nothing stuck in your teeth. Crossing the threshold swells this hyped exteriority, the work suddenly a dim pretext for your arrival to play a part in the galaxy of interactions, signs, signals and social insincerities that greet an exhibition into the world of interpersonal relations on its opening night. Though the gears will change quickly, the moment you’re afforded to assess the situation (who’s here? who’s not here?) from its ‘outside’ swiftly collapsing as you’re swept into its overflow with a hello, an observation, an exchange. Becoming suddenly of and integral to the human context field of this artist, this exhibition, this gallery. Depending on how at home or in good company you feel inside this ‘inside’ there might be flashes back to that outer rim (glancing eyes, things said and unsaid), as a roomful of people go about interconnectedly generating and processing a meshwork of messages and meanings around, about or beyond the artwork they’ve come to see.

Funny things were happening at the opening of Mikala Dwyer’s ‘Only one and a bit days to go’. Planted into this given theatre of interactions seemed to be a cast of players acting at subtly externalising and frazzling these edges of personal conceit and consciousness. It wasn’t obvious at first, and remained slight enough to be unsettling even when you ‘got it’. Continue Reading »


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june 2006

Grasping the Thistle_page spread

Grasping the Thistle


Zones of Contact: 2006 Biennale of Sydney
A Critical Reader
edited by Natasha Bullock and Reuben Keehan
Sydney, 2006

[download pdf [84kb] or read full text below]

In the time allocated for questions at the close of a session titled ‘Art, Autonomy and Hospitality: Networks, Transmission and Locality’ in the June Zones of Contact: 2006 Biennale of Sydney symposium ‘Biennales, Cosmopolitanism and Locality’ at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, I had a question to ask. In the course of the session the tilt towards curatorial rather than artistic practice had become pretty clear, with far-flung interpretations by panellists to the plainly over-packed topic. My question outlined that I’d been attracted to this session by it’s hum of particular buzzwords – ‘hospitality’, ‘networks’, ‘transmission’ and ‘locality’ – and that I’d likewise heard the word ‘inclusive’ in the air a lot over the last few days of Zones of Contact openings and events. I was interested to hear thoughts, particularly from the Sydney-based panellists, as to how these principles might actually be put into practice in light of the insignificant inclusion of Sydney artists in this Biennale of Sydney? After a pause the session moderator turned to the panel and asked, ‘Right, who’d like to grasp that thistle?’ Continue Reading »


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march 1999

tentcraft_life security
tentcraft_ljus och viss varme
tentcraft_burning desire

Lisa Kelly & Alex Gawronski

tentcraft_invite_front tentcraft_invite_back

30 march – 10 april 1999

1. Life Security 1999 (with Alex Gawronski)
found chairs, nylon rope, dyna-hooks, hardware
2. Ljus Och Viss Varme 1999
twig, camping lantern, citronella candle, hardware
3. Cobweb 1999
projector, spider, glass slide, plastic, dowel, acrylic, cork, adhesive mesh
4. Burning Desire 1999
cyalume light sticks, dowel, blutack, hardware

[all photos: Christopher Snee]

tentcraft_catalogue_1 tentcraft_catalogue_2 tentcraft_catalogue_3 tentcraft_catalogue_4

catalogue text
Alex Gawronski & Lisa Kelly (italics)

A working motivation unravelled from the container of a word.
t e n t c r a f t
faded advice soon re-developed amid Parramatta Rd.

Thinking of movement, a conflict of mobility and stasis,
and the parallel world of stuff that crafts a migration elsewhere.

Camping is a word embroidered with numerous associations. It is inscribed with various international codes that nevertheless belie a desire for universalism. It is colour coded, bound up yet it suggests escape and freedom, freedom from life. When we take off we hope equally to get lost, without necessarily abandoning the familiar texture of our lives back home. Indeed it is familiar difficulties of the emotional, financial and social kind that we seek to replace with the difficulties of a sort we can readily overcome. These are primarily practical difficulties. What they represent is an A-Z guide on how to: stay dry, stay warm, keep cool, avoid bites, avoid falls, maintain orientation, remain mindful of the environment and of our co-travellers and of ourselves. At the same time we seek to erase temporarily our local presence and to become (if only partially) wild. The camper seeks a reunification with those things that he or she takes for granted, those things technology keeps us safe from whilst seeking to maintain our complicity with our natural selves.

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september 2003

Lives of the Artists #5 edited Elizabeth Pulie

All Girl Line-Up


Lives of the Artists #5
Spring 2003 – Chicks Issue
Edited & published by Elizabeth Pulie

All Girl Line-up_spread 1 All Girl Line-Up_spread 2

[download full text pdf [48KB] or read below]

Italy has been spoken of as ‘the land that feminism forgot’. What the English speaking world knows as ‘International Women’s Day’ on the 8th of March, translates in the Bel Paese as ‘Festa della Donna’, which might translate back as something like ‘celebration of woman’. Note the lost collective and authoritative dimensions and you’ll come to appreciate the reality of a largely commercial appropriation that has more in common with the art of chivalry calendar dates of Valentine’s and Mother’s Day. Dragged out into a week-long occasion for men to buy specifically mass-marketed flowers and chocolates for the women in their lives. To all appearances, many Italian women find it a load of tokenistic rubbish. Younger women in particular aren’t falling for it, as a series of interviews with school students in the national newspaper La Repubblica for the event made clear; one saying simply that all she had to do was take a look around to see that no positions of authority in her society (read judges, lawyers, editors, politicians) were occupied by women. While comparatively this makes the role of women in public life in Australia look pretty progressive (though hardly as progressive as New Zealand), local indicators might otherwise be pointing some way towards ‘ a land that is forgetting feminism’. Continue Reading »


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april 2007

Years without magic: Bridget Currie & Louise Haselton

Years Without Magic
Bridget Currie & Louise Haselton
SASA Gallery, Adelaide

catalogue essay

Years Without Magic

c o m i n g f r o m n o w h e r e

Less a surprise than something slow. A picture roughed together from many quarters along the dual tracks of long and short time. Short from here, from afar. Kindled fast and fanned by emailed requests, questions, answers with jpegs attached, text messages, long phone calls and a ragged express post envelope crammed into the letterbox. Photo sharing and a Myspace page. Two pads with two different kinds of notes and pages of internet printouts, old catalogues, photocopied drawings, posters, profiles and reviews. The fuel one of these things feeds on in its odd, anticipatory way. Bound to the greater timetable of print production and really just one of the many things yet to be thought, made, written, organised, negotiated, placed, considered and reconsidered in the realisation of such a thing as an exhibition…

download pdf of full text here [88kb]


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