Tag Archives: Petersham

Proposal for a (networked_book) about (networked_art)

turbulence.org, an online network “commissioning and supporting net art” has called for proposals for a web publication discussing recent art projects made possible by computers and networked connectivity. Importantly, the published contributions, being online, will be available for further discussion and additions, which is entirely appropriate given the subject matter.

I figured my blogging-as-art projects might make a useful practice-based contribution to this publication, and to that end, here is my proposal. (You can view others’ proposals here.)

Lucas Ihlein

Blogging as Art: a Framework for the Intensification of Lived Experience

In 2006, I carried out an art and blogging project designed to intensify the intimacy of my connection to my local neighbourhood. I made a strict rule: For two months, I would not leave the boundaries of Petersham, the suburb where I live in Sydney’s inner-west. Each morning I wrote a blog entry about the events of the previous day. The blog, Bilateral Petersham (http://thesham.info), developed a large and loyal community of readers and became a powerful tool for framing, participating in, and reflecting on everyday life in my local community.

Bilateral Petersham is one of a series of “blogging as art” projects engaging with different communities which I have undertaken since 2005. In my practice, my starting point is always the inherent aesthetic qualities of everyday conversations and interactions (including those which occur online). Blogging creates a framework in which attention is focused on, and in, these conversations. Dialogue with online correspondents generates a proliferation of new opportunities for encounters in “the real world”. These encounters in turn become the material for tomorrow’s blog postings, which go beyond diaristic reporting or ethnographic record. The blog – an ever-evolving work in progress – is simultaneously a genuine component of “real life” and an extended literary drama.

To demonstrate the dramatic and aesthetic potential of blogging as a dialogical mode of art making, this chapter will examine a series of postings from my blogs. In one particular entry from Bilateral Petersham, “An Easterly Dilemma“, I am confronted with a compelling request to break my own rule and leave Petersham for a family event. This dilemma is opened up to my blog readership, initiating a heated discussion on the ethical tensions between art and life, and prompting an online brainstorming of strategies for future action.

blogging, attention, experience, drama, interaction, art, communicative exchange, relationality.

Three networked writing samples:

An Easter-ly Dilemma“, from Bilateral Petersham.

Cold Turkey, from Bilateral Blog. Having completed several blogging art projects, I am contemplating withdrawing from the internet for a period of one year. This blog entry, “Cold Turkey”, is a discussion of the practicalities and ethics of this “net-death”.

At the Cemetery, from Bon Scott Blog. This entry from the Bon Scott Blog is a good example of the way blogging operates to focus and intensify a series of ordinary/extraordinary encounters. In this post, I tell the story of my day at the Fremantle Cemetery on the anniversary of Bon’s death.

Short CV and biography of Lucas Ihlein.

Beginning Bilateral Petersham

[nb: the following is the first blog entry for the project Bilateral Petersham. For the rest, head on over to http://thesham.info]


The clock ticked round to midnight and I sat in the kitchen watching it. When all the hands pointed to twelve, I took two photos. Without the flash, the clock looked yellow and blurry. Flash-frozen, on the other hand, it looked like it had been caught in the act. Embarrassed at having been sprung doing something vaguely shameful but essentially harmless.

That’s how I brought in the third of April. The beginning of “Bilateral Petersham,” aka “my Petersham project,” aka “The Petersham Lockdown.” There was no tangible difference between one moment, where I was not “on the job,” and the next, when the “project” had officially begun. No fanfare, no ribbon cutting, no glass of champagne. I went to bed and read a bit and then fell asleep.
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