Tag Archives: squatspace

An unReal Estate Guide to Finding Your Own Gallery

photofile header

Here’s an article that was published back in 2004 in Photofile Magazine, issue 70. The issue is out of print, but you can download the pdf of the abridged article as it was published complete with images here [1mb].

Alternatively, the original, unabridged version of the article is here, without images.

The article describes some goings on in the world of art and real estate in the early 2000s: Sydney’s Broadway Squats, SHAC (Sydney Housing Action Collective), unReal Estate, Perth’s Hotel 6151, the Empty Show, and Public Liability, linking these recent activities to the 1970s work of Gordon Matta Clark.

Many of the links in the original article have since gone dead. I reproduce the text below as it was written in 2004, complete with broken links. You may have some luck finding the old websites on the wayback machine.

Interestingly, unReal Estate, the SquatSpace project described in the article below, has, I believe, some resemblance to the more recent project by Marcus Westbury called Renew Newcastle. Marcus was the director of the This Is Not Art festival in Newcastle in 2002 when SquatSpace launched the controversial unReal Estate (see a news article about it here).
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Participation, Experience, Public Art, Radio

…what I’ve been up to lately…

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Together with Eve Vincent, presenting at this conference at COFA:


our abstract:

Participation and Experience: Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty

The desire for an active spectator-participant was a key goal of avant-garde art during the twentieth century. Rhetoric surrounding such art practice often connected “aesthetic interactivity” with the ideal of a wider participatory democracy. During the 1960s, in an attempt to overcome the separation between “art and life” which characterised the museum-based practice of much modernist art, artists like Allan Kaprow developed “Happenings” which occurred in the everyday places and rhythms of city life. Utilising the tools bequeathed by Kaprow’s Happenings, artist group SquatSpace now runs the Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty — wherein the “work of art” is to facilitate discussion about neighborhood life and community organising in inner-urbanSydney. This paper moves through the perennial question “but is it art?” in order to examine the Tour of Beauty as a case study of “Art as Experience” (John Dewey). This co-presentation engages two perspectives — SquatSpace collective member Lucas Ihlein talks about the making of “the tour as art”, and Eve Vincent speaks from the perspective of a participant-audience member.

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wot i bin up to

have not posted for a while here…

i’ve started a web design course at tafe, so conceivably bilateral will be moving to a better coded, diy home soon.

have also been working towards a comprehensive squatspace website.

also: will post up some writing soon that was published in latest spinach7 mag – about a super project called splint. check out splint’s beautiful website.

in the meantime: watch unco artist andrew harper (witch from tassie) – he has a film up at www.hobartunderground.com – it’s his celluloid curse against the current government.

also: if in Melbourne, go visit Spread of the Empire – by unco artist Forest Keegel at the Melbourne City Square corner of Collins and Swanston Streets. The work will be on display from midday Friday October 8th until 2pm Sunday October 10th
more info is at the Melbourne environmental art website http://ausmag.de/xxx/enviro/
(the website is made with frames (ugg) so you have to click to “programme” and “melbourne city square” and “page 2” to see info about this great project.)
From the press release: “Spread of the Empire refers to the colonisation of Melbourne. White flour was part of the currency used to supposedly purchase the land Melbourne stands on, and will be used to symbolise the white settlement and City grid being stamped onto the land.

ps – get your entries in for the NUCA unco grants due at end Oct – see the blog entry from August 2 2004 for details!!


The following is a review of a show that Tim Hilton produced for BlauGrau Gallery (inner Sydney) in 2001. At the time that the review was written, Tim emailed it to me. I am not sure if it has been published elsewhere, and hope that it's ok I post it here. If not, please get in touch! Cheers, Lucas.



by bunny star

31 may 2001

"Artists and creative thinkers will lead the way into
space because they are already writing, painting and
filming space. They are providing us with the only
maps for space travel. We are not setting out to
explore static pre-existing data. We are setting out
to create new worlds, new beings, new modes of
consciousness. … What you experience in dreams and
out of the body trips, what you glimpse in the work of
writers and painters, is the promised land of space."

– Burroughs

Travelling through a world of experimental art, the
explorer discovers a field of music branching inward,
and outward, in a spiralling, centripetal fashion,
revealing the industrial insect sounds of Tim Hilton.
Shadow Matter – his second CD – is a collection that
plays with the combined forces of technology and human
chance. Dinosaur bleating, liger growling,
extraterrestrial humming and hearts beating leaves
listening open to individual interpretation. The idea
is to access pathways through ‘coincidence’ by
locating form in surface using the random functions of
a computer. Hilton describes his process as a way of
‘revealing the hand of god at work’ – artist becomes
conduit to facilitate an interaction between universal
energy, human perception & earthly technology. An
aural mapping, if you will – a stitching together of
space and time in the 21st century.

Through music and art, Hilton investigates what lurks
beneath the surface of sound and sight. He is
interested in the response-ability of himself,
technology, an audience and the space in which we
locate ourselves.

‘I see the process of making these sound pieces as an
unknowing collaboration between person and machine
with the outcome due to guided chance – a personal and
impersonal documentation of existence.’

An alchemical resonance is fused by choosing computer
samples and filters, leaving the technology to shape
shift the selection. Soundscapes form and like ‘making
pictures in clouds’ or ‘throwing grains of rice and
seeing where they land,’ the end result reflects a
surrender of absolute control. Unsolicited imagination
meets multi-media modes of statement. Laptop geek
music comes alive.

Like an apparition of the spiral entrance into a
galaxy seen from afar, Hilton’s music embraces
non-linear consciousness. The journey takes precedence
over arrival. As such, we are offered process-based
productions of anti-narrative, fantastical aural
visions sprayed out in the circularity of musical
loops. Finding form in spurts of crackle, beats &
rhythms looped at different speeds, a mutation takes
place. Bridging the microcosm with the macro- he
points to ways of bringing awareness to inner states
of realisation and magical energy through the
technology of this time.

‘I see the melding as a way of creating phantom-like
sound pieces that I could not have otherwise imagined
– like hypnagogic imagery. Although I produce these
images, I don’t conjure them, they appear in my
consciousness with other forces at play.’

Consider this – a space pulsates with the blueprint
energy of Hilton’s work. Three hand clap samples are
arranged randomly through the use of the software’s
random function pattern. Set to the beats per minute
(bpm) of his heart rate at the time (63bpm), the
composition is humanised, or mortalised, through an
interactive process. When installed, the piece
emanates from two red funnels which are suggestive of
big ears, or maybe eyes, that become a productive
organ, rather than a receptive one. The space is
anthromorphosised as the unit is attached to the body
of the room, endowing it with human qualities.

At the launch of his debut video clip at Squatfest
2001, critic
Heath O’Brien comments on the effect such
sutured sounds had on the audience.

‘Everyone is silent, basking in the hypnotic rhythm
and pulsating response’orial psalm. Now everyone is
intensely aware and there is an electric sense of
expectation and a palpable curiosity in the air
mingled with an uncanny familiarity as if we are
immersed in a primreview collective memory.’

Hilton’s work delves further and invites the audience
to step outside of the subjective experience of human
ego, just for a moment, to stand on a stage of
unidentified experience, if only to broaden the scope
of inner vision or activate latent perception. Barbara
Freedman writes in Staging the Gaze, ‘The
objectification of the self by an alien viewpoint
enables, as it undermines, self-consciousness by
calling into play an unconscious look.’2 With a
Lacanian bent, Hilton encourages a destabilisation of
conditioned response by challenging the limitations of
conscious thought and, in doing so, allows space for
the collective unconscious to mingle with music and
mortal beings.

Is this by chance or specific intent of the composer?
Both – the essence of blueprint energy lies beneath
the surface of Hilton’s sounds, conceived in the
mind’s eye and ear, according to the subjective
experience of the collective unconscious. Working with
an interest in responding critically to the concept of
‘Mektoub’ – the idea that everything is written by the
hand of fate – he points to the significance of human
interaction in an age of art and technology, blazing a
trail of unique talent.

– bhs 2001

expanded cinema/deborah k

yes i wish i could bring valie export too. recently she was invited to london to give a talk on her work (she lives in germany and austria) and she said she couldnt make it (at the last minute) due to the flying thing. she doesnt want to fly in aeroplanes. the transcript from that talk that she didnt give (but she sent the text anyway) is at sensesofcinema journal which is at www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/03/28/contents.html
(but the site seems to be playing up at the mo, i cant make it work. hmm)
she writes really clearly about expanded cinema and its pervasive connexion to the rest of her work.
i hear ya about art about art. i must admit to having been a nerd about some of that conceptual art stuff (in the past, in the past!) which irritates the shit out of me now.
expanded cinema however is messy, its people getting together in small rooms and showing each other stuff and talking about it, its a bit like the sydney moving image coalitions super 8 nights. its about doing stuff with very little resources, and it was very much about the london filmmakers co-operative, a unique organisation which controlled the production, collection, and distribution of its work. i am very keen to see the project happen in sydney, partly because of the dire state of the film scene there (and the video installation "scene" if you can call it that). the film scene, well, squatspace has been ranting about that for a few years, the tropfest business and the fox studios hollywood production sweatshop. the video scene, because for some godforsaken reason it seems fascinated by the idea of "immersion" and "virtual reality" yet seems to do these things so badly. i even went to the zkm organisation in germany (the home of video-immersion-virtualreality) to see if i was wrong, but i dont think i am. its a resource-heavy parade of gimmickry. this is the kind of thing that expanded cinema artists were (and still are) against, yet theirs is a forgotten history. so its partly a historical-reconstruction project. i want to remind sydney artists that you dont need huge resources to make interesting moving image work.
yah, i wouldnt worry too much about the collectible thing. a few posters sold to a gallery certainly wont qualify you for a rush at the next madrid art fair.
but seriously, im keen for the project to explore "collectability/collectivity etc" in its many senses. so if you work with "collectives" often, that may be an interesting angle to explore for this one.
also, problems with collection are to be explored i reckon. mickie has complained about a similar issue, that his small disobedience kits are collected and put on the mantlepiece by "politically minded" but not "politically active" friends and colleagues, which for him kills the piece entirely. the project should bring out those issues.
for me, you are a prime candidate, even if you sell them posters to the gallery. i hope you do. we all need the cash.
50 most uncollectable is meant to be humourous and by necessity it cant become self-important. that is what we are working away from, the self-important cross-referencing of "credible" sources who "say" that an artist is collectible and are therefore slavishly followed by the market (who knows if this really works anyway, but it makes for some ghastly magazine filler).
ruark of course has his own motivations, and there is something to be said for his proactive attempt to insert the work into the collections of major galleries. strategic historymaking or something.
alla best