Jul 29 2012

The Sound of Hair

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“The Sound of Hair”

Essay on Philip Brophy’s music and sound design in Philip Brophy: Hyper Material for Our Very Brain.

Brisbane, Institute of Modern Art, 2012.

In an age otherwise haunted by the spectre of plagiarism, the cultural obsession with pilfering, plundering, and re-designing what someone else has said reveals much about the obsequious, licentious, and promiscuous nature of sound itself.  Who speaks? What matter who’s speaking? Someone said, what matter who’s speaking? Who said that? Sound, along with its gestural manifestations in space as text and its organisation in time as music, cannot be controlled as it circulates through the airwaves. Mishearing is the norm, communication the aberration. Sound is the ultimate bio-hazard, an oral/aural risk. Promiscuous and benignly indifferent to who receives it, blithely acquiescent to its uses and abuses, it curb crawls on the make, eager to be done over, again and again. Pale Glitter-Fat Sound? Innocence with big-hairy-gut-man rocking.


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Mar 20 2012


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The Murmur of Skin

Catalogue essay for Stelarc SUSPENSIONS exhibition

Scott Livesey Galleries

Melbourne, 7-31 March, 2012

The spectacle of the body in states of stress captures the fine, ambiguous line between cruelty and aesthetics, an idea that was central to the work of Antonin Artaud, an artist with whom Stelarc shares many affinities. Both the suspensions and the theatre of cruelty presume the abandonment of traditional conceptions of performance space and a more visceral communication between spectator and spectacle. And in particular the spectacle of the human body in transformation. As Artaud famously and somewhat presciently wrote in the First Manifesto on the theatre of cruelty, it is through the skin that metaphysics must be made to re-enter our minds.

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Mar 05 2012

Classical Gas

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“From exciting pop sounds to lush orchestrations, this platter will make your listening hours supremely enjoyable.   The spirit of a sentimental journey brought to life in a most enchanting dialect.  Virtuosity, richness, bite and resilience.  Qualities that beggar description”.

Andre Kostelanetz, Der Spiegel

Classical Gas

Darren Tofts & Lisa Gye

The hit parade for the now generation!

Think cool beats and timely accents.  The most exciting sounds ever suscitated, the sounds of today, you dig.  Many of the titles are traditional, with their origins lost in the midst of time.  Others are hot and new.  But they all swing.

Here for the first time we offer selections from the spectacular and exciting Classical Gas catalogue.  What names!  Names that are bound to crop up wherever aficionados make the scene to talk the freshest ideas.  Those who have heard these hep cats perform will need no sales talk to get down with these records.


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Sep 03 2011

“Maladroit Simulations: or, the art of not letting the truth get in the way of a good story”

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Commissioned essay for Peter Milne Monograph Beautiful Lies: Notes Towards a History of Australia.

Queensland Centre for Photography, 2011.

Milne’s fascination with the melodramatic properties of Australian political history underwrites his understanding of myth as something that is larger than life, a form of camp sensibility, a narrative in excess of the ordinary, potentially sublime but at the same time, in the artist’s words, ‘a little bit sad’. This technique of seeing a molehill in a mountain has been fruitfully explored in three series, ‘Dreams of the Skull’, ‘Brief Shining Moment’, ‘Running Dogs’ and ‘The New Australia’. His approach to the interface between history and myth presumes that truth in photography is never fixed, unproblematic or beyond dispute or negotiation. The notion of the epiphany is the rhetorical lens through which he views and constructs cathartic moments or turning points in the narratives of his subjects.


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Aug 28 2011

“Sounds of the City”

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Commissioned catalogue essay for Sue McCauley and Keith Deverell’s The Housing Project.

Featured work in the 2011 Victorian State of Design Festival

20 July-26 August

We have forgotten how much of our daily social experience is abstracted from the world of atoms, translated into the electro-magnetic field of bits and bytes.  We press buttons and poke screens, blithely ignorant of how these slick abbreviations correspond to an outcome elsewhere that we never see.  The artists elegantly observe of the work that it is “embedded in issues of tactility in an age where we are gradually losing our sense of touch”.  


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Aug 28 2011

“Of stately pleasure domes, memory palaces and hummingbird mind”.

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A Conversation with Ted Nelson

21C Magazine

Nelson’s standard byline credits him with such coinages as “intertwingularity.” Try getting your mind around that one and you just might get a glimpse of Xanadu.  And this may well be in fact Nelson’s enduring legacy. Rather than a technological innovator he may be remembered as the Sausalito sage, a visionary techno-soothsayer of “how we may think” in the 21st Century and beyond. 


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Aug 28 2011

“”"And we shall play a game of chess”"”

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Invited remix contribution to Mark Amerika’s remixthebook: the remixes

Marcel Duchamp vs. Professor VJ: Game 1, Philadelphia, February. Starting with the arrival of Picabia, Berliet then films the chess sequence, which is from a scenario commissioned by Rolf de Mare for the Ballets Suedois. Duchamp and Professor VJ sit astride the low balustrade at the edge of the roof with the chessboard between them. An IBM technician is nearby. As they play, a medium close-up of Duchamp’s head, a chimney on the left and an aerial view of Philadelphia in the background, is followed by a close-up. Duche to play …


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Aug 28 2011

“In My time of Dying: the premature death of a film classic”

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Essay on Led Zeppelin’s film The Song Remains the Same.

Lola, Issue 1: Histories

Edited by Adrian Martin and Girish Shambu

The Song Remains the Same must be retrieved from the unforgiving dustbin of history. So fuck Ian Haig, fuck the American and British rock press and every other two-bit motherfucking hack that’s canned the film over the last thirty-odd years. The Song Remains the Same is a bad film that no one likes, but it might yet be cinema.


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Aug 28 2011

“Tales from Futures Past: the Lessons of Lemmy Caution”

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Commissioned essay for “Seeing to a Distance: Single channel video work from Australia”

Curated by Amanda Morgan

2-26 August, 2011

Level 17 Artspace, Victoria University City Campus, 17/300 Flinders Street, Melbourne 3000

The intergalactic traveller of Jean Luc Godard’s 1965 sci-fi noir thriller Alphaville may seem an unlikely figure in the history of video art.  While the title of this exhibition has its origins in nineteenth century speculative science, Lemmy Caution is its atavistic guide.   A traveller in time and space, he represents that which is at a distance, from afar, a stranger in a strange land.  Between smokes and dishing out rough justice he can tell you all you need to know about advanced technology, computers, urban screens and artificial vision— themes that are central to Seeing to a Distance. Single Channel Video Work from Australia.


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Jan 18 2011

Hitting the Deck: traversing the embodied city

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Essay commissioned for UrbanCodemakers, Melbourne Laneways Project, 2010.

I’m not simply talking about the everyday experience of “walking in the city”, as Michel de Certeau would have it.  I’m talking about the residue of the street that builds up on the soles of your feet, the dust and fumes that irritate the mucous membrane, the seduction of the olfactory imagination with the aromas of grimy restaurant exhaust fans, caressing the air with the spunk of a dozen promiscuous cuisines.  


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