Sunday, December 14, 2008

Grow Australia

7 Plants, 7 Continents

Grow for Australia!!!

Be quick, ends soon.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


While on the subject of books about urban space and design, there is another good one just out, Heterotopia and the City, Public Space in a Postcivil Society edited by Michiel Dehaene and Lieven De Cauter. It "discusses the concept of heterotopia: urban spaces that carry multiple, fragmented meanings. Heterotopia and the City seeks to clarify this concept and investigates the heterotopias which exist throughout our contemporary world: in museums, theme parks, malls, holiday resorts, gated communities, wellness hotels, and festival markets."

"Heterotopia, literally meaning 'other places', is a rich concept in urban design that describes a world off-center with respect to normal or everyday spaces, one that possesses multiple, fragmented, or even incompatible meanings.... The term was coined by Foucault in the late 1960s but has remained a source of confusion and debate since."
The book combines theoretical contributions on the concept of heterotopia, with a series of critical case studies that probe a range of (post-) urban transformations, from the 'malling' of the agora, through the 'gating' of dwelling, to the 'theming' of urban renewal. Wastelands and terrains vagues are explored as sites of promise and resistance in a section on urban activism and transgression. Heterotopia and the City provides a collective effort to reposition heterotopia as a crucial concept for contemporary urban theory and redirects the current debate on the privatization of public space.

In both this and Steffen Lehmann's book, art is assumed a "natural" instrumental or relational role, which needs to be critiqued, as the practice could be seen to have become 'formalised'.

While pondering this I came across this comment by Calin Dan on Nettime.
"Autonomy entitles art to float freely in the interstices of the social fabric, to experiment and to steer in unexpected directions. When experiment and steering relate directly to the fabric itself, the art discourse looses autonomy and gains relational power (in the sense designed by Nic. Bouriaud). Relational art has an increased chance to acknowledgement, but also - naturally - to criticism, coming not only from the comfortable inner circles, but also from the structures to which the respective discourse 'relates'. Needless to say that both concepts (autonomous, relational) have no axiological power; they are not about quality, they are about method.

Back to the City

For those who found the talk at Art inTent interesting, you might be interested in a publication edited by Steffen Lehmann.

The 'Back to the City' book was launched last week at the office of SUTERS Architects in Newcastle.

It is a very well produced book which addresses many aspects of a form of art practice now well developed in urban contexts. It is good to see that the field is being opened to theoretical examination, even if the $90 price tag will direct it to the design/architecture end of the market.

Details of the book:

'Back to the City. Strategies for Informal Urban Interventions'
Edited by Steffen Lehmann
15 essays by leading authors (academic papers, all fully refereed); authors include University of Newcastle academics, such as: Prof. Michael Ostwald, Prof. Anne Graham, Dr Steven Fleming, Michael Chapman, Dr Angela Philp, and others.
The book includes the documentation of 28 site-specific, temporary installations in Newcastle, Berlin, and Brisbane.
The book discusses models of interdisciplinarity, the value of small public spaces, and the potential of temporary interventions as a resource for urban renewal.

Ph.D., AA Dipl.

UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Urban Development for Asia and the Pacific
Chair, School of Architecture and Built Environment The University of Newcastle
Director, s_Lab space Laboratory for Architectural Research and Design
Editor, 'Journal of Green Building'

On the same occassion, the book Temporary and Permanent, by Cida de Aragon was launched. It introduces some of the major interdisciplinary, collaborative works by this Brazilian/Australian artist, who brings her design and architectural background to her work. Cida was also at Art inTent, as you might recall.

They send their regards to those they met in Kibble park.

Monday, December 01, 2008

GRG Advisory Committee.

There has been some confusion about recent advertisements in the local newspapers calling for applications for community representation on the Regional Gallery Advisory Committee.

Correspondence from Debra Schleger, GCC Arts and Culture Manager, has clarified the position.

A decision of the committee, which some of you know about, to end the committee was not made with a quorum, so has not been enacted.

In response to a recent Council resolution, on November 4th, expressions of interest have been advertised for community representation on the various committees including the Regional Gallery Advisory Group. This is for community not organisational representation.

This means that anyone interested in being part of the committee, including existing community members, will be required to submit an application.

Check the council website for details about submitting an expressing of interest.

Naked or Nude

Recent controversies about the public display of ‘unacceptable’ prepubescent naked imagery in art, has highlighted the way in which photography is regarded as a special case in its relation to ‘reality’.

Pick the real frog.

Simon Martin. Untitled (2008), a single-screen video installation.
High definition, CAD (computer assisted design) animation.

“In 1998 Martin made a photorealist painting of a strawberry poison dart frog based on a found photograph. Untitled returns to that same source image though here it is rendered in a fully three-dimensional state. The animation of the frog could be seen as a collection of establishing shots, carefully observing the creature and exploring the virtual space of the synthetic image. Moving between stillness and motion, Martin's digital rendering of the photographic image creates an uncanny effect and a self-reflexive comment on the construction of images.”

This is an Argentinian ornate horned frog.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bruce Barber

Before Fiona Woods returned to Ireland, she had a chance to meet up with Bruce Barber and others in Sydney.

Fiona Woods, Anne Graham, Pauline Barber, Bruce Barber, Neil Berecry-Brown, Stephen Mulqueen (NZ artist doing residency in Newcastle) and Patricia Flanagan (foreground)

For any readers who might have been at the Ourimbah campus in 2004, you might remember Bruce who was in doing a residency at Newcastle at the time. And those with longer memories, might remember his great contribution to the Chimera Conference, held in Sydney in 1995, organised by Synapse Art Initiatives.

His exhibition at Artspace, (blurb below via Artspace website), is well worth a visit.

14 November - 14 December 2008
Reading and Writing Rooms

Image above: Bruce Barber, Kiss, 1973, Slide/sound installation. Photograph: Colin McLaren, Courtesy the artist

"Since the early 1970s Bruce Barber has worked across performance, installation, film, video and photography developing propositional and situational works that engage and question social and political regimes of power. Originally from Auckland where he studied at Elam School of Art in the early 1970s within the highly influential and experimental sculpture and intermedia program, Barber has been based in Canada for three decades, retaining professional ties with New Zealand and Australia.

This major survey project, the largest to date undertaken on Barber’s practice, encompasses the full range of his work from performance actions, found situations and video work of the early 1970s through his multidisciplinary Reading Rooms begun in the 1980s and Squat Projects of the 1990s and beyond, culminating in a new reading room project regarding immigration, identity politics and alterity developed in-situ whilst undertaking a visiting artist residency at Artspace.

Bruce Barber is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he is Professor and Director of the MFA Program at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. He has exhibited and published extensively internationally since the early 1970s. He is editor of Essays on Performance and Cultural Politicization (1983), Conceptual Art: the NSCAD Connection 1967–1973 (2001), Condé and Beveridge: Class Works (2008) and co-editor, with Serge Guilbaut and John O’Brian of Voices of Fire: Art Rage, Power, and the State (1996). A new two-volume set of his writings has just been published as Performance, [Performance] and Performers: Essays and Conversations 1976-2006.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Irish Artists at Mangrove Mountain

We were pleased with the success of our international contemporary art presence, “library from the ground up”, at the Mangrove Mountain Country Fair. Fiona Woods, who has now returned to Ireland after completing her residency with Brown’s Cows, presented the work of the artists’ collective very well, making accessible an emerging form of art practice to people with widely different levels of cultural experience.

Participating artists included:
Astrid Adler, Monica de Bath, Marie Connole, Alan Counihan, Amanda Dunsmore (UK), Maria Finucane, John Hanrahan, Eileen Healy, Emma Houlihan, Patricia Hurl , Tamás Kaszás (HUN), Máirín Kelly, Maria Kerin, Aileen Lambert, John Langan, Clive Moloney, Fiona O' Dwyer, Deirdre O' Mahony, Áine Phillips, Jim Ricks (USA), Therry Rudin (CH), Seán Taylor, Fergus Tighe, Vincent Wall, Fiona Woods.

Perhaps one of the most valuable experiences of the residency was the discussion (ongoing) about art making in a local, rural or regional environment in the context of current art theory and urban practice.

In Belfast on the 17th of December, Fiona will be participating in a debate WHERE ART GROWS GREENER? - art in a rural context.

Thanks to Kiera O’Toole for her assistance with the installation.

Neil Berecry-Brown
Mangrove Mountain & Districts Country Fair

Friday, November 07, 2008

The winner of the Road Works (My favourite Pothole) category at the Mangrove Mountain & Districts Country Fair this year was Sharyn Walker.

It was good to see the development and increasing complexity of Sharyn’s work. She is acquiring a unique language of form and materials, and an idiosyncratic take on socially engaged practices that has modesty, wit and conceptual clarity.

Special awards were made to John O’Toole whose animation was produced at the Mangrove Mountain computer centre, and Laura Kostalas (Junior section).

The Back Page team will be road testing the Pot Hole Covers soon and posting a report.

Thanks to Tim Braham for judging this category in the Art section. (note: at the time of judging John O’Toole’s animation was not available)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Art on the Mountain

Ground Up Artists’ Collective

A one off opportunity to see this presentation!

Fiona Woods, a member of the Ground Up Artists Collective, and until recently, Regional Arts Coordinator for North Clare, Ireland, will be presenting
library from the ground up
at the Mangrove Mountain Country Fair on the 18th of October.

She will be bringing from Ireland two groups of work - library from the ground up, which consists of books, catalogues, reports, films and documentary material on DVD, soundworks, posters, comics (and a tea towel!) relating to the work of the 26 artists from the Ground Up Artists' Collective, to present the organisation through the members’ temporary public art, community-based research and discursive art events in rural contexts. Fiona Woods has curated a selection of work from the library for the Mangrove Mountain and Districts County Fair, including an exhibition of drawings.

Fiona is a visual artist whose practice includes curating and writing. Her recent work has focused on issues relating to art and public space in non-metropolitan contexts.
In October-November she will be creating new work on a farm at Mangrove Mountain, NSW, and talking with other artists and organisers also working with art practice in rural/regional contexts.

She devised Ground Up, and Shifting Ground ( and is currently coordinating Verge, an art journal that will engage critically with art in non-metropolitan contexts across the world.

Supported by The Arts Council of Ireland and Gosford City Council.

Inquiries, Neil Berecry-Brown:

Saturday, September 20, 2008


New SPRING 08 exhibition at the Christ Church art space, Anglican Parish of Gosford.

The Opening Event for the R-e-f-r-e-s-h exhibition will be held at 3 Mann Street, Gosford on
SUNDAY 28TH September 2008, 7pm - 9pm

More information can be found here.

Image from the WATER exhibition

From Marie Andrews

Extract from a letter received from Marie Andrews regarding her representations to the Minister for the Arts on behalf of Mr Berecry-Brown.

“Mr Berecry-Brown's suggestions, in particular the number of opportunities for arts development in the Regional City Strategy including an educational/cultural precinct and a cultural centre in the city have been noted.

I understand that Gosford City Council recently made the decision to utilise a building in the city centre as a regeneration hub with the aim of encouraging artists to live and work in the city much along the lines proposed by Mr Berecry- Brown. I have asked that the relevant staff at Arts NSW follow this development and provide further advice.”

It is good to know that our Member for Gosford is working to help the development of art.

Debra Schleger, Cosford City Council Manager Arts and Culture, informs us that she is on the case, but nothing concrete to report at this stage.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

In passing

A quick update.

The Regional Gallery Advisory Committee finally met at the end of last month. It was resolved that the committee be disbanded. Only two members of the community managed to be there. The minuted resolution will be forwarded to Council, as will a recommendation that Council establish an Art and Culture Reference Group to give advice directly to Council.

At the meeting Councillor Drake advised that there has been no progress with the Cultural Spaces and Places Report.

There appear to be no announcements of substance about the arts from new candidates in the upcoming local government elections. The records of those standing again for re-election speak for themselves, and reflect the current state of affairs.

There is a rumour that Gosford Council staff are planning some art activities for Gosford town centre, but nothing more is known by the Back Page.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Road Works

Road Works (or My Favourite Pothole)

An invitation.

At the Mangrove Mountain Country Fair this year (18th October) there will be a new category in the art section open to all ages and mediums.

We are looking for art made in response to the pleasure of negotiating a way along the road surface of Wisemans Ferry Road, or any other road in the Mangrove Mountain districts, as you experience the impact of a kaleidoscope of colours, materials, textures and topography.

The road is a metaphor as well as a physical, political and economic reality. It has aesthetic values and has been a defining element in the district’s historical development.

The subject can be approached in a wide variety of ways. Already we have people interested in making paintings, digital images, prints, photographs and sculpture.

To make the challenge less hazardous, we have a collection of digital images of the road surface available to work from if required. A CD is available on request.

We would like to invite you to enter. The deadline for works to be delivered to Mangrove Mountain Hall will be in the week leading to the 18th of October. More details will be posted when finalised.

If you need more information, or have any questions, contact:
Neil on 041 1136 145 or

There will also be updates at:

By coincidence, and as incentive, we record that Huma Bhabha is the recipient of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum's 2008 Emerging Artist Award. She will debut an exhibition of new work at the Museum on September 14th. For this exhibition, she has created Bumps in the Road, a figurative sculpture made of clay, wood, wire, Styrofoam, metal studs, acrylic paint, cast iron, burlap, newsprint, sand, and ash.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Sense of Place

The current exhibition at the Gosford Regional Gallery, A Sense of Place, reflects a lack of clarity in curatorial intention and inconsistencies in process. This is a pity as ideas about identity and place are worthy of deeper consideration than was possible given the brief, seemingly to entertain guests of the Sister City Convention.
With curator Tim Braham on sick leave and an urgency to get the shop open in time, some of the artists having been included in an intensive educational process and others brought in at short notice, it is not surprising that the exhibition (including some interesting individual works) was too disjointed to deliver an opportunity to question notions of 'place' more extensively.

The following text was included in the installation can. you. here, and touches on a few concepts that might be of interest.

Place is an imaginative process, a destination.
It is virtual in the sense of its virtuality being an aspect of the actual. (Deleuze)
Beyond topography it is a story, or stories, that need to be told and retold. Topography too is a cultural construct, so place is intellectual property, cultural property.
A location’s particularity exists in a network of differences, so it’s meaning is fluid, relational, and contested.

A sense of place, or consciousness of the particularity of location, with associated emotional responses, requires all the senses. It also needs memory, knowledge and suspension of ego. It is intuitive and creative, involving a complex array of cognitive and perceptual processes. It is assisted by a form of perception sometimes referred to as “allocentric perception” – letting oneself be informed by circumstances – ‘listening’, rather than interpreting situations as opportunities for personal gain.
Understanding of place also can be expanded in the light of changes in technology, in particular rapid transport and digital communications. Of particular interest is what the sociologist Manuel Castells calls “the space of flows”.
The space of flows is best thought of as a myriad of translocal networks, held together by continuous circulation of people, materials and bits. The key element about the space of flows “which justifies us to speak of it as a unique space despite its constitutive fragmentation” is that it enables us to connect distributed entities as if they were in one place, thus fundamentally affecting social geography.
In this environment we live simultaneously in different time ‘spaces’. Amongst these are the slow lived time of social transactions, industrial time of commercial and institutional production and, now of great significance, instant global digital communication.
Distant communications linking people globally is as fast as local connectivity and much faster than ‘on the ground’ transaction. Our sense of place is conditioned by tensions arising from trying to mesh the gears of these different social processes.
Tensions also arise from trying to accommodate what is perceived as a ‘natural” definition of place, that based on physical features and historical identities, with juridical and political-administrative areas. The Mangrove Mountain area, as defined as an entity by geography and history, is divided and administered by three different local councils.
A sense of place is something that must be continually reproduced. It is not something that is solely a result of individual perception of the distinguishing features, but is also the result of the mechanisms that produce collective identity through public and political pedagogy and “learned prosthetic memories”.

Places are distinguished not only for their place-myths, but also for their differences to other places. This is not only the negative understanding of what is lacking in relation to other places, but also what is construed as appropriate for a place; places for this and places for that. Of course the place-myths can also be seen as ways to accentuate differences to reinforce local identity as Levi Straus pointed out in The Raw and the Cooked.
An example of construing or compelling place identity can be seen in the recent state planning strategies, which designated the Mangrove Mountain districts, with an arbitrary eastern border, the F3, as being zoned to protect the potential for extractive industries, with disregard for the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants.
Places are also memory banks for societies. They retain the rhythms of repetition, routine, deportment and gesture imprinted in the somatic memory of individual inhabitants. Many of us can remember where we were when we heard of some significant event taking ‘place’. And we might also recall being ‘out of place’ when our behaviour did not match the prescribed forms.
In this way ‘place’ is causative, it “puts us in our place”, but perhaps this is what we test for in our awareness of a “sense of place”, a feeling of being at home, of belonging, of communion.

Place awareness is an aspect of locality, and is deepened by memories associated with that place, and of previously known places, and personal emotions associated with them. In this way it is an aspect of self-recognition. Matching of this complex individual psychological matrix with the perceived attributes of a place, gives us our nuanced sense of belonging.

No News

The postponed June meeting of the Gosford Regional Gallery Advisory Committee has not yet been rescheduled.
Likewise there is no news of any progress with the Cultural Spaces and Places Report.
We would ask candidates for the September local government elections about their arts policies, but we don't know who they are.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No Comment

Was unavailable when asked for a comment about the recent naked attempt at newsworthiness. So offer some pictures instead.

Nudist Zone, FIB-Art '05, Intervention on the beach of Benicassim, August 2005. Via WMMNA

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Baa. - Will we bother?

From its beginnings Gosford has been described as a “sleepy hollow”. While much energy has been expended counting sheep, posts to the Back Page have been slow in coming.

So if you are eagerly waiting for something to happen, perhaps you can relax by counting sheep at the sheep market website (there are 10,000 in case you don’t get finished). The site takes a minute or so to load.

[Thousands of workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk webservice were paid two cents to "draw a sheep facing to the left." Their sheep drawings were collected over a period of 40 days.]

Gosford Art Flux Forum (GAFF) has not been sleeping, but incubating projects and talking with Gosford Real Estate people about a temporary place in Gosford for art. There is little interest in that quarter. There have been some leads followed, but commercial interests in Gosford seem not aware of the importance of art and culture in urban renewal (at least not to the point of sustainable action)

GAFF applied to join Gosford BID (Business Improvement District Association) to contribute expertise to discussions on ways forward for Gosford centre, but the application was not accepted.

In this regard Frank Sartor’s recently released Central Coast Regional Strategy has one or two (that’s about all) mentions about art and culture.
Here they are:

[There are] “forecasted high rates of growth for cultural industries as well as accommodation and hospitality. The Region’s tourism advantages are also likely to increase.

"5.3 Councils are to investigate strategies to ensure sufficiently zoned land to enable the provision of comparatively low cost premises for start-up business. Centre strategies should include provision of low-cost office and studio space to assist business start-ups for cultural activities."

"Priority will be given to:
• expanding retail and commercial activities in the city centre and ensuring that these functions are not put at risk by residential development
• encouraging and facilitating the development of strategic sites in the city centre that help to achieve the vision for the regional city
• integrating the waterfront with the city centre and developing marina, performance and artistic cultural activities as well restaurants
• requiring a high standard of urban and building design within the town centre
• investigating how through-traffic can be better managed through the CBD or redirected around the CBD."

How many sheep have you got to by now?

No News.
GAFF’s Cultural Grant applications to Gosford City Council were both unsuccessful.
One was to produce a Gosford Art Journal focused on contemporary art, as a pilot for a quarterly publication, and to document past achievements by local artists and groups in the field.
Another was to produce more out-of-gallery projects in the centre of Gosford, including rental assistance for a temporary contemporary art coordination and project place in Gosford centre. The project was a blueprint for a much needed function identified through GAFF research in discussions with practitioners and in the forum at Art inTent.

No doubt there were many worthy projects competing, so for now energies will have to be redeployed and invested where there is a better prospect for sustainable outcomes.

Still on the drawing board.
GAFF Contemporary Art Future Forum
Exhibition by Irish artists (approx 14) coming in October.

Other news.
There has been an indefinite postponement of the June meeting of Gosford Regional Gallery Advisory Committee.

Up at Christ Church, Meredith Brice ( has organised an exhibition, w.a.t.e.r, opening on the 19th of July.

Those of you who know Anne Graham will be interested in an opening of her work (with performance) at the Gosford Regional Gallery on the 18th of July.

A meeting for members of eO inc. is scheduled for the 27th of July to decide about winding up the association.

Meanwhile - enjoy the Sydney Biennale !!!

Number 7,298 is cute.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

In the Vineyards '08

7 October 2008 - 18 January 2009
A massage from Tara:

"I am happy to invite artists to submit a proposals for 2008 exhibition of Sculpture in the Vineyards.

Continuing on from last years success, we hope to put together just as interesting and diverse an exhibition.
Please visit the website for more information and follow the link to the blog for some of last years highlights."


Tara Morelos - curator

"Artists are invited to submit proposals by Thursday 31 July 2008 for selection be included in 2008 Sculpture in the Vineyards
Set in the picturesque Wollombi Valley, Sculpture in the Vineyards features an innovative array of large-scale outdoor and site-specific works by local, regional and city based artists. Wollombi, already home to many artists, writers and performers, provides fertile ground for a festival-like atmosphere as a new community of artists come together for the opening weekend.
Sculpture in the Vineyards provides the artist with ample opportunity to showcase their work, engaging visitors over the three month exhibition period by inviting them to enjoy contemporary sculpture amidst the springtime beauty of the Millbook Estate, Undercliff, and Stonehurst Cedar Creek vineyards. Over this time, visitors will also be able to sample unique boutique wines, participate in a creative workshop and join in one of three guided bus tours of the exhibition for an informal and fun day out in lower Hunter Valley."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Art Centre

It is good to see they are moving ahead with waterfront arts infrastructure in Norway.

New performing arts centre in Kristiansand in Norway

Of course Gosford had a state of the art centre for the arts at one time. The building is still there!

Renewable Energy

The immanent demise of eO inc. was given greater poignancy with the announcement of an exhibition at Malmo Konsthall, The Hamsterwheel.

“The Hamsterwheel is an exhibition initiated by the Austrian artist Franz West, and was originally presented at La Biennale di Venezia, 2007. The exhibition has since then travelled to the Festival de Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, and Centre d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona. At each exhibition venue the presentation of the works and relation to each other changes dramatically.

The Hamsterwheel can be seen as a playful comment to the wheel of life – the life as an artist. A wheel where we struggle to go forward, to get ahead. That always takes us forward, and still – at the end – nowhere. The exhibition attempts to show art as turbulence.

Having for many years watched, and been part of, many artists initiatives driven by committed, energetic, optimistic artists, that finally collapse under the pressures of a huge voluntary workload with little financial support or return, the “hamsterwheel” seems an apt metaphor.
But is the impassioned energetic activity simply wasted? One suspects that there is a drive mechanism attached to wheel, which, as artists instinctively struggle to go forward, generates power to keep the top heavy apparatus of the art industry lurching onwards.

Replica of a human hamster wheel, used in the 1700s to 'put the sick person back on the right track'. From the Glore Psychiatric Museum.

It is amazing that an activity carried out by a group of people, the majority of whom cannot make enough money from it to earn a living, can give rise to the huge infrastructure of well paid administrators, managers, cultural planners, curators, critics and writers, academics, gallery operators, government officers etc. We are of course grateful for the contribution they make to the industry.

Designed by Swedish physician Gustav Zander in the late nineteenth century

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mourning the Morning

eO inc., Central Coast Contemporary Arts Initiative, has over the past five years, striven to progress the Central Coast’s Contemporary Arts agenda. Unfortunately, despite the passionate commitment of its members, a point has been reached when they can no longer sustain the energy required to keep eO alive.
Therefore, eOinc. announces that, Shell Collection will be eOinc.’s final exhibition, and the last in a successful programme including f3Xit, col-aberration, re-View and Kvinna-Nainen-Women. Earlier in the organization’s life, it was the agency that sent four Central Coast artists to an Environmental Art Symposium in Korea, and the foundation organization for the Dawn Light Symposium at the Gosford Regional Gallery in 2005.

Central Coast artists Meredith Brice Copland, Sandy James and Maumer Cajic in Cheongju.

Meredith and Sandy proudly display their eO T-shirts

This is not the occasion to detail why it is so difficult for independent artist-directed organizations, or individuals, to be positively engaged in contemporary art in the region. It is enough to say that the art community is diminished by the ending of eOinc. The details are well known, and constitute the hill up which, inevitably, one gets tired of pushing shit.
It is not surprising if artists decide to just get on with their work, and go somewhere where there are more people pushing in the same direction. In these times when the scope of art is global, Gosford needs leading edge artists more than the artists need Gosford.

Engagement is not so difficult if the forms pursued fit the cultural paradigms in vogue, but critical practice will always contest orthodoxy, even in its experimental guise.
Yet despite this, there is a core of contemporary artists who live locally and who would like to see local practice able to participate in the broader intellectual and critical milieu that constitutes contemporary art. It is tragic to see the passion and enthusiasm, the time and effort, the generous community spirit, worn down.
But – don’t be surprised if a few ex-eO members pop up unexpectedly. They might have been pushed to the fringes, but there be a feral and fertile place to play.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The dimming of the Dawn

eO incorporated is proud to present its final exhibition!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hanging out

Berlin street performer Johan Lorbeer

Just hanging about. Don't try this one in Kibble Park, Gosford, Johan. Loitering is prohibited, according to the sign in William Street, with a penalty of $500.
(I thought that was one thing parks were for)

Thanks to Sharyn for the link.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It never rains

"Rising seas will swamp thousands" (Express Advocate, 14th May) No news there.

Margaret Roberts, who as part of her work in the Dawn Light Symposium in 2005, shows anticipated sea level at the Gosford Regional Gallery.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Cida de Aragon & Steffen Lehmann

Steffen Lehmann has sent some information about the completion of the work that Cida de Aragon and he have been working on for Brisbane.
This will be of particular interest to those who had the opportunity to meet them both at Art inTent.

Re: *Resilience* - The Women Suffrage Memorial in Brisbane.

"According to the dictum of Adolf Loos, only memorials and tomb stones are worthy of true architectural attention (Loos, A: 'Ornament and Crime', Vienna 1910). 'Architecture is about monuments and graves', said the Viennese architect at the turn of the 20th century.

I am pleased that a small memorial project in Brisbane has come to completion:
The completed artwork by media artist Cida de Aragon in collaboration with Steffen Lehmann is located in close proximity to Brisbane City Hall
and King George Square.

The Women Suffrage Memorial commemorates one hundred years of women's right to participate in state elections. It commemorates the centenary of women suffrage and is a reflective, quiet place where people may walk and sit in the shade. It is a permanent artwork visible from all sides and surrounded by high-rise buildings, so scale was crucial – the memorial needed to be large, with an abstract graphical reading of the historical facts. It therefore uses texts on steel panels and an inserted light box, expressing both resilience and delicacy.

The three silver-coloured steel volumes form a cross in plan - symbolizing the cross on the ballot paper of the first state election in1907, when women were allowed to vote. The kaleidoscopic repetition of the faces represents each of the three female pioneers as well as all women of Queensland. The light box shows historical portrait photos and creates a dignified visual presence, while the slanted steel elements (a metaphor for the struggle) create a sheltered space in the urban landscape.

The work deals with the complexity of contemporary memorials and the problem of commemorating historical achievements in the 21st-Century. It acknowledges the contribution of these dedicated and resourceful women, whose legacy, fought one hundred years ago, is still ongoing and unresolved, as even today we find discrimination against women, for instance in the form of unequal pay. With this commission, we could explore some important questions, such as: What is the connection between collective memory and commemoration? What are the challenges of integrating memorials into the urban fabric, and how is the appropriate scale determined.

End of May, the memorial will be inaugurated by the Premier; the project has also just been selected to be exhibited at the forthcoming Architectural Biennale in Venice (Sept. - Nov. 2008), as part of the Australian exhibition."

I hope you have a chance to see the memorial at your next visit to Brisbane's CBD.

Best wishes,

Ph.D., AADipl.

Chair, School of Architecture and Built Environment
The University of Newcastle.
s_Lab space Laboratory for architectural Research and Design

Editor, 'Journal of Green Building'

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sharyn Walker?

If you have not caught up with Sharyn Walker’s latest forays into public space, real and virtual, her recent 'blog projects' were worth a look . She has put them on hold for now, but when they are restarted we will put up a link
The project is a very nice example of open process work, that invites you into the artist’s 'making in-progress' while playing with the illusion that you think you know who that person is. The subtext is an examination of processes of identity formation.
Using the internet as a medium is now a well established art form, but as a strategy it takes on greater significance and political force given the context of Gosford’s lack of material infrastructure for contemporary art. It also gives Sharyn a potential audience of millions. Sharyn has achieved an impressive amount and variety of work in the past year.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Place of Fear

Firstly an update on the report to council; on new directions for the regional gallery, on bringing contemporary art to the centre of Gosford, and the benefits of funding Terri Latella’s YAG.
Trevor Drake, who introduced the motion to Council, tells us that he is working on the report behind the scenes with Debra Schleger (who we know has been trying to facilitate a greater art presence in Gosford CBD).

Yes! – we have discovered that the acronym YAG stands for Yerin Art Gallery.
According to the Gosford Library local studies page, Yerin means A Place of Fear (but in the case of its being the origin for the place name Erina, as “a place of fear” it is applied to a place of initiation)

ORLAN: Post-Identity Strategies
Tallinn Art Hall (Estonia) April 16th - May18th. The exhibition produced in collaboration with Michel Rein Gallery, Paris.

"In the Self-Hybridization series (Pre-Colombian, African and the more recent Native American), ORLAN continues and extends her journey through an infinity of possible physical identities. By using various canons of beauty and aesthetics from different times and places, the artist creates “living” totemic figures, “almost tangible in their virtuality, fascinating in their disturbing appearance and seductive in their artificial otherness.”

Orlan is best known for the surgical-operation-performances of the early nineties where she transformed the operating room into an artist’s studio, and appropriated plastic surgery as a creative art form mirroring the mutating paradigm of contemporary art."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Australia 2020

The issue of arts funding was on the agenda at Belinda Neal’s forum at Erina on Saturday in preparation for Australia 2020.

The session dealing with Topic 3, Towards a Creative Australia, was guided towards consideration for the individual creator by Chris Bearman’s opening address.
Along with the obligatory ‘we have so many talented people here’ (Which other place will not say the same?) the discussion tended to focus on local problems rather than national objectives. In particular, our dilemma, and consequent funding limitations, occasioned by the region being categorised as neither urban nor regional; lack of cohesion and cooperation within the local arts community; a crisis in art education, and the talent drain.
However it was possible to get on record, yet again, the essential component in moving Towards a Creative Australia, that is, adequate financial support and respect for the individual artist and small to medium sized art organizations. I say “yet again” as the research has been done indicating the imbalance between the funding for the primary producers and that of the major institutions and a burgeoning class of arts managers.
It was pointed out that the platform for any hub of creative industries is provided as a collateral outcome of having a dynamic contemporary art scene, that individual and small group art funding is less that 7% of the Oz Council’s arts budget, and that the mean income for visual artists is a little over $17,000 per year. The percentage is even smaller for individual artists, when it is realized that state and local governments concentrate their resources on infrastructure.
Australia needs artists to make their unique contribution to the national debate and cultural environment. This often entails no financial return to the artist. To have a Creative Australia we need to provide greater financial support, to let artists do what they do best -– make art.

It was interesting to see in the session on Topic 4, Future Directions for Australian Economy, that Caroline Veldhuizen concluded her opening address with a Powerpoint presentation that showed four key objectives for the economic development of the Central Coast, and that two of them could have been lifted straight from Richard Florida’s Rise of the Creative Class.
Her graphs showed, amongst other things, the growing importance of the knowledge based enterprises, but still maintained the ignorant categorising of art with entertainment and recreation.

The session on Agriculture was dominated by issues of Intellectual Property rights, something that artists, also ‘primary producers’ and creators of immaterial value, are also grappling with.

Unfortunately I was not able to stay for all the sessions, but regardless of whether the ideas somehow make their way to Canberra, the Australia 2020 initiative already has been useful as a form of dialogue to raise big picture issues, as well as serving as an indicator of how we can reshape political processes.


Below is a contribution to Australia’s preparation for the big sports event in Beijing, thought it worth passing on for all those who have not yet seen it. (received from Nina Angelo)

No news on the Report to Council being prepared. It seems that it will be at least a week before the process for preparing it will be addressed. Likewise no one seems to know what YAG is.

Posting has been a bit sparse lately with deadlines approaching. Yes, it is that time again when we artists are reminded of our place in the scheme of things, as we compete for scraps of financial support to keep the practice afloat.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

We know where you've been

Bio reading of the city.

Work by Tuur Van Balen, student of Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art in London, who, at the work-in-progress-show at RCA, offered tap water (kindly provided by Thames Water) and asked visitors to donate a urine sample along with their postcode. He added the samples and postcodes to a map of London which contained biological information.

He commented “I'm interested in how cities are not as much made up by streets and buildings as they are made up by our behaviour and experiences.
These experiences are heavily mediated by technology, just look at the way mobile communication networks totally reshaped our cities.
We're on the verge of a new area, an area that relies on the understanding of our body and the understanding of our DNA. What does this mean for the cities of tomorrow? Will we have DNA-surveillance and discrimination? Bio-identities and communities? ...

The biological map in the interim show was an 'intervention' using the show as a platform to get feedback on these ideas. By gathering urine samples, I want to make people think about how their biological waste contains information. Pissing in public might become like leaving your digital data up for grabs, spitting in the streets like leaving your computer unprotected on the internet.”

Professional Practice

Just back, and clearing out the inbox, so thought I would share these snippets from Nettime before deleting.

"I think we need a non-commercial public sphere, as a complement to other proletarian and marginal public spheres which can put pressure on the state and make up for the insufficiencies of formal democratic representation. In other words, I think there should be an anarchic civil-society sphere that produces political confrontation and conflict. I am not naive or bitter enough to think that can be the only dimension of social existence!"

best, Brian

“I visited Glasgow about 18 months ago and was able to sense in a matter of days the attraction the city holds for creative people, and the way the arts are being used to regenerate what was formerly a declining industrial centre."

The complicitness of artists and 'arts professionals' in the instrumental use of the visual arts as propaganda for the rapid neoliberal structural readjustment of the city really could not be more explicit. However, I am bemused by the seemingly prevalent academic spectre of an art "passionately producing alternative visions and utopias for today’s late capitalist society".


"What would happen if art stops with relentlessly criticizing the existing state of affairs, or with passionately producing alternative visions and utopias for today’s late capitalist society? What if art would, on the contrary, fully identify with and affirm the prevailing norms, values, practices, etc., even adding some oil to the fire? The latter would, in other words, demand of artists to no longer automatically assume the role of the ‘good guys’, the eternal idealists, dreamers, etc., who always try to make the best out of the current situation, pushing the system to be something other and better than it is. It would, inversely, ask of them to stop protecting society from what it wants and turn it into the worst version of itself, so as to confront it with its own unsustainability and undesirability."
Ned Rossiter on:
Cultural Activism Today, The Art of Over-Identification

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


A motion was passed at tonight’s Council meeting which might be of interest.

The gist being that a report to council will be prepared on:
1. Developing an indigenous and others cultures gallery at East Gosford;
2. That Council review the purposes and role of the Regional Gallery in the long term, and its relationship to the City Centre and previous plans for its expansion and;
3. Determine the economic benefits of supporting YAG with the development of a gallery and contemporary art space in Gosford, including how it would interact with Gosford City art and culture policies, plans and strategies.

The motion was stitched together by Trevor Drake and Terri Latella.

I do not know what YAG stands for, but it would seem to be a non-profit association currently being cobbled together by Terri Latella, who will be on its executive. A site is already being negotiated at the eastern end of Erina Street.

You know something is going on here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones.
(Bob Dylan)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tactical cartography

The emotional mapping project at Art inTent is being covered on the Gosford Times blog, for those who have not checked it recently.
When discussion came around to the work of Christian Nold, I was interested to hear from Anne Graham about new work she is doing using emotional responses measured by GSR (Galvanic Skin Response), and the significance memory had regarding the feelings people had about places, which were picked up by the apparatus.

Christian Nold's Bio Mapping is a community mapping project in which, over the last four years, more than 1500 people have taken part . In the context of regular, local workshops and consultations, participants are wired up with an innovative device which records the wearer's Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), which is a simple indicator of the emotional arousal in conjunction with their geographical location. People re-explore their local area by walking the neighbourhood with the device, and on their return a map is created which visualises points of high and low arousal. By interpreting and annotating this data, communal emotion maps are constructed that are packed full of personal observations which show the areas that people feel strongly about and truly visualise the social space of a community.

Another useful read on the subject is Jessica Clark's The New Cartographers, which contains good links. To quote a little, "In many ways, these mapping tools are re-locating us as the center of our personal universes. We no longer go to maps to find out where we are. Instead, we tell maps where we are and they form around us on the fly, a sensation that can be comforting or stifling. After all, while finding the right map can orient you, having dozens can threaten to tip the signal-to-noise ratio toward cacophony."

"Maps are everywhere these days. The ubiquity of global positioning systems (GPS) and mobile directional devices, interactive mapping tools and social networks is feeding a mapping boom. Amateur geographers are assigning coordinates to everything they can get their hands on—and many things they can’t. “Locative artists” are attaching virtual installations to specific locales, generating imaginary landscapes brought vividly to life in William Gibson’s latest novel, Spook Country. Indeed, proponents of “augmented reality” suggest that soon our current reality will be one of many “layers” of information available to us as we stroll down the street."

Finally, there are some examples of mapping as an art of rhetorical engagement; a process where art does not simply reflect upon its context but, as Trevor Plagens says, takes a "position" within what ever matrices of power constitute that reality.
The following quotes are from An Atlas of Radical Cartography, Ed. Lize Mogel and Alexis Bhagat, Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Press, 2007. (Ten essays with accompanying maps)

"There is a Long tradition of making maps that present alternative interpretations of various landscapes and reveal implicit relationships between power, control, and spatial practice."

The essay Tactical Cartographies, by the Institute of Applied Autonomy, which I thought pertinent to our project in Gosford, contained the following:

"Embracing the potential for maps to be used in advocacy is an explicit recognition of maps as rhetorical devices. In short maps don’t merely represent space, they shape arguments; they set discursive boundaries and identify objects to be considered. When individuals make their
own maps, they offer an expression of what they consider important, what they consider to be "of interest," and for what they are willing to fight. In openly acknowledging the rhetorical power of maps and positioning themselves as interested parties taking sides in contentious debates, tactical cartographers offer a direct challenge to the presumed neutrality of mapmakers as mere visualizers of spatial data. Tactical cartographers make claims about
landscapes, but also about their own status as authors of spatial narrative. In creating maps that confront power, tactical cartographers claim their right to set the rules of debate and to provide interpretations of local events with both an authority and a contingency equal to
official representations."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

inTent update

Art inTent update.

An inspiring presentation was given by Steffen Lehmann, Astra Howard catalysed a valuable discussion about local issues, we were joined by artists Cida de Aragon and Anne Graham who contributed insight gained from their extensive practices, artworks by Sharyn Walker and Judy Harris appeared in the Park, people contributed to an intriguing emotional map of Gosford, Councillor Vicki Scott attended representing herself as well as the Mayor, and Member for Gosford, Marie Andrews, opened the event and stayed well beyond her scheduled time to take part in the open forum session.

The forum will continue, and a time will be scheduled soon for this, as the conversation was extremely productive, but had to be curtailed when the tent removers arrived.

Professor Steffen Lehmann – Key Note Presentation.

Matters arising, DVD projections, and further psychogeography outcomes will be presented in Gosford as soon as approval can be obtained for a site.

Unscheduled installation/tableaux by Judy Harris

The mapping project proved popular, and requests for late additions have delayed its display. We expect it to be on the Gosford Times blog within the next couple of days as a work-in-progress.

Liz Wright considers her options.
We must acknowledge once again Marie Andrews’ engagement and interest in the future of art in the Gosford region.
[Images thanks to Sharyn Walker and Fiona Doyle]

Friday, March 07, 2008

inTent forum

Forum/discussion sessions at Art inTent

Following presentations by professor Steffen Lehman and Astra Howard, there will be a short break after which Anne Graham will address issues arising from her considerable experience as an artist, and I will speak about locality and regionalism in a global context, as well as critique the function of 'art for social betterment'.
Integrated with words from Anne and I, will be round table discussions about local issues in light of the presentations.

The nature of Click Here as a project will be put in the context of related projects of urban intervention occurring around the world in what is becoming a mainstream genre of practice.

The purpose of the discussions is to share our perceptions about the current character of contemporary art and to envision its future in the local context. From this we will move towards some proposals and strategies for the next steps forward in Gosford.

Some recurring topics have emerged from recent conversations with local artists, and we will endeavour to address these as well as issues arising on the day.

Local opportunities for strengthening art milieu (resources and impediments)
Communication and coordination
Locus focus
Financial support
Education, and critical context needed for, contemporary practice.
Action plan

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Art inTent

Art inTent

Announcing the next activity in the Click Here series of art interventions in the centre of Gosford, Art inTent (Ceci n’est pas Baba).

Art inTent is a being organised by Brown’s Cows Art Projects and Gosford Art Flux Forum, who will be joined for this event by eO inc.

Open from 11am, in a tent in Kibble Park on Saturday the 8th of March will be presentations and restagings of past projects in the Click Here series, including the Bloomsday psychogeographic dérive. There will also be an opportunity for people to contribute their impressions to a collective “mapping” of Gosford.

If you missed, the Space Between, Buy Nothing – Get One Free, Astra Howard’s SPI vehicle, Scoop Shadow, or Streaming by Korean group KoPAS, this will be your chance to catch up.
There will also be new works, information about contemporary art groups in the region, and a mini-workshop/introduction to a project by eO inc.

Marie Andrews, MP for Gosford, will be there to officially open activities at 1pm.

The Key Note speaker at Art inTent will be Dr Steffen Lehmann. Art inTent is the next in the Click Here series of art activities being conducted in the centre of Gosford by GAFF and Brown’s Cows Art Projects, assisted by a Cultural Grant from Gosford City Council.

Dr Steffen Lehmann is the Artistic Director of the ‘Back to the City’ project in Newcastle, a new biannual public arts festival about temporary interventions in public space. Its aim is to gain new readings of the city and experiment with innovative forms of collaboration, bringing into focus the revitalisation process of Newcastle's city centre.

“Steffen brings a wealth of international experience and extensive knowledge of curatorship to the exhibition of public art. His practice, teaching and research demonstrates an enduring commitment to involve the local community in excellent exhibition projects about the contemporary city. He is a German-born architect and urban designer and holds the Chair in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Newcastle. He is Founding Director of the s_Lab Space Laboratory for architectural Research and Design (Sydney-Berlin).”

In regard to the Gosford Art Flux Forum, Click Here project and Art inTent, he said: “I congratulate the organisers. This exciting initiative is based on a continuing dialogue between the different disciplines, and different worlds will be engaging with each other in this collaborative site-specific endeavour.” – Professor Steffen Lehmann Ph.D., AADipl. Chair, School of Architecture and Built Environment. The University of Newcastle.

Elephants boycott The Room

As with the parable of the six blind men asked to describe an elephant, six topics examining aspects of contemporary art practice in Gosford will make up a framework for open discussions. These hybrid performance installation-roundtable discussions have been designed to facilitate informal conversations. Come along and give your opinion! Neil Berecry-Brown will offer some thoughts on locality and regionalism in a global context, as well as critique the function of 'art as a tool for social betterment' in relation to local practice.

Joining us will be Professor Anne Graham, School of Drama, Fine Art & Music, The University of Newcastle. Anne Graham is an artist and an academic; she teaches performance, installation and sculpture. She has exhibited in the Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne Festivals, the Biennale of Sydney, Perspecta and in many curated exhibitions nationally and internationally. In 2000 she completed ‘Passage’ a major permanent public art work for the City of Sydney. She has recently completed major public artworks for the Tweed River Regional Gallery and the Newcastle City Council. She has worked extensively in Japan and has recently designed a public park for the Second Echigo Tsumari Triennial in Nigata Province, Japan.

Astra Howard, who was in Gosford in December with her SPIV project, will present documentation and ideas about her innovative form of art. Astra Howard is an Action Researcher/Performer working predominantly within public city spaces. She has completed a PhD centred on facilitating communication via performance-based interventions. Her most recent solo works have been commissioned by the City of Melbourne, the Frankston City Council and the Queensland Department of Communities. Astra also works in a crisis accommodation centre in Sydney, designing and facilitating educational programs and professional services for the homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged community.

During the event no harm will be inflicted unnecessarily on elephants in the room, real or imagined.

Details of the discussion section of the schedule will be posted before Saturday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Double Click

It seems the "With One Click" post has been ruffling some feathers.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Big Tent Revival

Big Tent Revival. Second Coming of the Tent to Kibble Park.

Weather permitting, we will pitch the Art Tent,
“Ceci n’est pas Baba”
on Saturday the 8th of March, 2008.

(Image credit - Banksy)

With a Programme to Edify, Amuse and Provoke.

It will feature:
Presentations and restaging of past projects in the Click Here Series, including the Bloomsday psychogeographic dérive.
Make your mark!
There will be an opportunity to contribute your impressions to a collective “mapping” of Gosford.
Technical wonders!
We will make use of new technical advancements on the Magic Lantern, the Lumière brothers’ Cinematographe, and Edison’s “Talking Machine”, the Gramophone (all demonstrated in the Gosford School of Arts in the 1890s), in the form of DVD and PowerPoint projections.
Live Conversation!
As with the parable of the six blind men asked to describe an elephant, six topics examining aspects of contemporary art practice in Gosford will make up a schedule for open discussions. These hybrid performance installation-roundtable discussions have been designed to facilitate informal conversations. Come along and give your opinion!

During the event no harm will be inflicted unnecessarily on elephants in the room, real or imagined.

Watch this space for updates, schedules and details.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

with just one click

Appearing in the Express Advocate, 30th January, and other places.
Story picked up from the Gosford Times.