Tag Archives: writing

multiple and miscellaneous in melbourne

Over at CLUBSproject, which I reckon is the most exciting gallery project in Australia right now, they're doing mcultipleMISCELLANEOUSalliances (mMa) – "a series of collaborative events, objects, actions, activities, documentation and information by and between people whose practices construct, explore, and enact multiple social relations." It's a mouthful, but basically we're talking artists who want to use the gallery as a "venue" rather than as a pristine display case.

CLUBS has a great deal going with the Builder's Arms Hotel in Fitzroy, where they get to use a few large, rough rooms above the pub for free – and rather than just renting them out for "static exhibitions" the committee consistently offers the space up for events which allow playful and dynamic interaction, often with an accessible and lo-fi approach. Damien, a veteran artist and activist who I met during mMa, commented that CLUBS was moving towards the kind of model a "Social Centre" aspires to [for more on social centres, see http://scan.cat.org.au] – and that it was exhilirating to see artists embracing this very progressive form of organising.

Damien and I got stuck into Splint, a kind of organic meccano set made by Jason Mailing and
Torie Nimmervoll. At first we sniffed around it, not knowing what to do (like most projects at CLUBS, no explicit "instructions" are offered) – but soon enough we were diving into the metal cases for the hand-carved wooden stakes and beautifully-smelling sisal ropes, and attempting to make our own "billy-cart".

I can't speak highly enough about Splint – the playful, absorbing construction task kept us going for a few hours, and even when our makeshift vehicle ended up in the pits, with a tragically split-chassis, Mailing didn't chastise us – "I guess we'll retire that piece" he said with a shrug.

Cleverer than us were a duo of theatre designers who set about constructing a fully functional chair out of the versatile Splint kit, and even gave themselves the limitation of not using any knots! (Which famous architect said "It is harder to design a chair than a building"?)

One of the most intangible "products" of splint is the collaborative relationship which stealthily develops between the two or more "players" – and this was evident in the faces of the chair-makers as they tackled problem after problem with the utility of their ad-hoc furniture while not wanting to sacrifice their aesthetic decision to avoid knots.

Right next to Splint was CXXXXX's Breath piece – a fluxus-like task where friends were encouraged to step up to opposite sides of a piece of perspex projecting from the wall, and gently breathe condensation onto its surface. The sensation was intimate and confronting – the perspex allowing both participants to get very close to one another without quite touching – and some folks responded by utilising "distancing" strategies – laughing to break eye contact, or deliberately breathing onto the perspex away from the face of the other.

Also part of mMa:
-a vast repository of artists books, zines, articles and journals, set up in a comfy couchy carpeted space next to a ricketty photocopy machine.
-a re-creation of Azlan McClennan's censored artwork – complete with a planned forum to discuss the issues surrounding the work, on Sunday 4th July…
-an old Mac Classic set up so that visitors can log in their immediate responses and messages regarding the show (presumably these responses will be posted on the CLUBS website shortly)…
-documentation of The Laws Project by Damien and Kylie Wilkinson – this piece began with the distribution of hundreds of fridge magnets outlining the US government's INTERROGATION RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – rules which became apparent following the scandal surrounding the treatment of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers.
Wilkinson and … followed this up with a "re-enactment" (in Federation Square) of the famous photograph of the Iraqi prisoner balancing precariously with a black sack on his head.
-and there are DOZENS more projects coming up during the rest of the mMa…

The launch afternoon of mMa was jam-packed and chaotic. Soup was doled up as you walked in the door, and tea and coffee were constantly available for free. These humble, hospitable gestures may seem minor, but I don't doubt that they were as thoroughly discussed and orchestrated as any of the other elements of mMa.

[a tidied up version of this blog entry, focusing on the SPLINT project will appear in the upcoming SPINACH7 magazine…]

[ps – i have posted that article up online now. See here.]


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

BANALITIES for the East Cape (by Ruark Lewis)

BANALITIES for the East Cape

1. she flies over the molten lava and looks out to sea

2. the bird is accustomed to headaches, yet no one acts naturally. when the car rounds the corner expecting collision. heartaches, clenching teeth, shortness of breath or far-off something that sounds like a skidding snake

3. when the fire burns it follows orders. it makes no mistake by diverting attention or lowering its heat

4. where food is beside sleep nothing is resolved, nothing except a fart

5. movements open the door to the face without translation. kiss my teeth to whisper . . . . . I say nothing then I ask, would you leave and you don't

6. the soup is customary, like tidal lagoons it has something to say to the sun

7. the trees disappear, they simply leave a gap of broken teeth

8. this surface makes a trace, a space between rivers, between land plates for grazing cattle and tracks for explorers. it is about proximity, about length and breadth, over time and space hillock and mound are turned to acres then to shires their measure of weight and height we sell abstractly full of weeds

9. in the course of the day, eros and desire, urgency and gaze pushes me ‘til I sleep

10. nothing follows, things follow things where a thing seems to move round and round and is followed around then turns and having followed it again when they have followed all day long looking for a voice that persists – in time these things come and go and then they turn. their beauty has no order. their being has no movement outside where a bird is literally caught in flight – and squeezed to death

11. sound. my ears are made of deafness in the roar of reckless care

12. beside this measure where else is the edge or morsel beside taste and food?

13. the application in itself goes against the tide, and that line yawns absentmindedly, that's how conversations circle one another, in time and after, a beautiful intelligence with nothing to say, that things end sometimes before the next phase of time exists at all, or perhaps way after it should – given time I think I would settle for charming you

14. but trees are like that – they rarely risk attack

15. the uneasy condition sore and broken has fallen from a mighty height

16. to get it on. to lose the plot. to never reach the end. to drown here where it is shallow

17. size sets elements to organise old Greeks and Egyptians, but now in the age of everything things are elementary, they are full of principles and coordinates

18. around and around sent off spare the wool drawn up against your hair

19. in crime as in freedom honesty is pretty universal

20. in sea myths storms are synonymous


…for more Ruark Lewis please visit: