Author Archive

Listen: our radio art piece on Occupy, love and politics

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By Nick Keys Produced by Lauren Carroll Harris

Coming this week: Becoming Otherwise Occupied, a radio art broadcast by Nick Keys

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This Thursday night, Sydney writer and artist Nick Keys is occupying the Eastside studios to bring us a very special radio art piece, a broadcast version of his performative lecture in Martin Place… Continue reading

Review: Down the Rabbit Hole, White Rabbit gallery, Chippendale

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http://vimeo.com/20475619

Down the Rabbit Hole at White Rabbit gallery, Chippendale

I’d never seriously considered the impact that private philanthropy can have in the art world until White Rabbit Gallery opened in Sydney a couple of years ago. Australia just doesn’t have that longstanding culture of art patronage that’s taken for granted in Europe and the US.

That seems to be changing. In the last few years or so, mega-rich art hobbyists like the Neilson family, John Kaldor and that professional gambler turned art gallerist David Walsh of Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art have really stepped it up with their Oprah-like gestures of luxury altruism. But instead of hybrid cars and best-selling books, these guys give away access to the kind of art that our government-funded galleries could never get their bureaucratic paws on.

White Rabbit is an art utopia in a four storey warehouse in Chippendale which is updated every four months with the latest acquisitions of Kerr and Judith Nielson. The collection is not at the whims of trends, nor is it accountable to a grant-providing body. It’s just reflects the tastes of two collectors who simply don’t have space in their house for all the art they buy.

Something very interesting is happening in the Chinese art world. The limited opening up of the country’s political system has meant two things: artists are no longer completely restricted to producing socialist realist propaganda, and there are middle and upper classes, who have stacks of new money and are looking for investment opportunities. Beijing now leads the world in its market share of art sales. In other words, there’s a huge new art market that didn’t exist twenty years ago, and there are far more potential buyers than in a country like Australia’s, where being a blogger is a more pragmatic career choice than being an artist.

This has all meant that artists from the People’s Republic of China are producing some of the most engaging and challenging contemporary art in the world.

You really get the sense of a country in flux, of a generation of artists finding their way and busting to really say something. Rather than much contemporary Australian art which is cloaked in layers of irony and self-reference, the thematic trends in White Rabbit seems to be towards artists who are interested in a non-ideological understanding of nature and spirituality, and who are questioning their identity and personal histories in an unstable period. In other words, art is not a cold academic path of inquiry, but a key way that people are understanding the brave new world they’ve found themselves in. Some of these artists have spent much of their careers in exile, and this affects their work in very strange and exciting ways.

The current show is themed Down the Rabbit hole. Perhaps one of the most stunning pieces is Scripting by artist collective, “Luxury logico”.

In a dark room, a row of fluorescent bars of light are suspended from the ceiling. Accompanied by a chime-like soundtrack, the lights moves very slowly, rippling through the air. Though everything about it is mechanised, choreographed and electrified, the work is an exquisite ode to the natural rhythms and cycles of nature, translated into an arresting gallery installation. I lost track of how long I spent enthralled by the lights and sounds in this room.

I have never not been captivated by a White Rabbit show. It is an utterly different experience from the usual white cube gallery show where people glance at the walls then chat with their friends over a glass of bad wine. The latest show is on until August 1 but it really benefits from a couple of viewings. Cancel your plans for this Saturday arvo, and start exploring this brave new art world.

White Rabbit is in Balfour St, Chippendale. It’s open Thursday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

By Lauren Carroll Harris

This is the music you won’t find on iTunes.

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New Weird Australia float our boat They’re a bunch of menaces who love going to the end of music. New Weird Australia have a compilation they’ve curated called New Editions, its a bunch of… Continue reading

Q&A with sound art curator, cat enthusiast and cheesy R&B groover Romy Caen

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Q&A with sound art curator, cat enthusiast and cheesy R&B groover Romy Caen

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(Photo: Forenzics at Sound Series. By Lucien Alperstein)

As a follow up to last week’s show, we continued our harassment of Sydney-based sound art curator Romy Caen. Here’s a quick peep show of the emerging, independent and experimental sound art that Romy’s listening to, and a hit list of events for the next week or so. 

Name: Romy Caen

Day Job: Casual Feline Services Attendant at the Cat Protection Society, Enmore.

Three events you’re looking forward to: Moduluxxx showcase – Serial Space, Friday April 27th, ft Robin Fox, David Burrastion, Hair Hochman, Pia van Gelder, Nadir.

The NOW Now Series #2 – 401 Monday April 30th, ft Mike Cooper/Chris Abrahams, Jon Wilton/Jeremy Tatar/Andrew Fedorovitch, Jon Watts/Ben Byrne, xNoBBQx.

Sound Series – The AV Union, Friday May 4th, ft Anthony Guerra, Black Cracker, Sex Tape.

Three sound/art groups of the moment: Can’t speak for everyone but at the moment I love Grouper, Sky Needle and lots of cheesy rnb.

Latest sound art musical discovery: Lots of treasures around; Jeremy Tatar, Black Cracker, Ivan Cheng.

Favourite unknown/under-appreciated Sydney destination (venue, park anywhere): The Townie (Newtown)

Your dream line up for the ultimate Sound Series: Grouper, Sky Needle, Jeremy Tatar, Black Cracker, Ivan Cheng.
+ lots of cheesy R&B.

Your ultimate Sound Series venue: An old church. (LCH: Can we make this happen?!)

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Romy’s next curatorial project, Sound Series, is restarting on May 4 at her new artist-run space on Parramatta Road. Sound Series evenings feature a bunch of creative menaces whose core curatorial link is a commitment to experimentation through sound. These are the nights that Something Else adores – you never who’s playing, or what perimeters of music they’ll cross, but go in with an open ear and you are guaranteed to be floored by at least one artist who doesn’t care for conventions or classics. Do it. Promise me.

Lauren Carroll Harris

Poetry sans berets and beatniks

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Forget what you know about poetry. Forget what you think about spoken word artists. Last night, Something Else recorded at Outspoken, a monthly spoken word night. Think poetry, but less existential. Think hip… Continue reading

Have you had your weekly dosage?

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Cardboard kitchens, abandoned warehouses, falling in love at Occupy, and a Microphone Mermaid…. Here’s lots of things to do, make, be part of over the next week: 72 Hours of Art at 107 Projects… Continue reading

CALL OUT FOR WRITERS

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Are you the kind of person your neighbours refuse to make eye contact with? The kind who shock jocks want locked up? The kind who refuses to get a “real job”? Who probably… Continue reading

Live storytelling special featuring Caravan Slam

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BIG THANKS to the Caravan Slam crew for packing into our tiny studio for the Something Else live storytelling special. It was quite special, I think! We heard from New York’s Freddy Rowe,… Continue reading

Your underground art hit list for this week

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Here’s a pile of events to get your art beating (apologies for starting on a dad joke)! There’s so much going on in Sydney’s artist-run community, and so much to be part of… Continue reading

Painting in the age of the pixel

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    By Lauren Carroll Harris   Pure Blonde – Nigel Sense Painting is dead! Long live painting! Well, kinda. Not really. That was the conclusion Nigel Sense and I came to during… Continue reading