About Me

My photo
Sydney, NSW, Australia
I'm an arts management worker/ artist/ designer. I work at Accessible Arts in administration and bookkeeping, but also work on various freelance activities from photography to graphic design. I'm Associate Partner at the ARI, the Big Fag Press, board member of Runway Australian Experimental Art and occasionally work at Bailey and Yang Consultants. My creative work has often been driven by social issues and commentary. This blog started as a way of documenting research for my honours year at uni, which I have continued, in order to gather inspiration for future artistic practice.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review of Justin Shoulder & Collaborators: The River Eats

A couple of weeks ago Diego Bonetto printed Justin Shoulder's Poster for the River Eats on our Big Fag Press machine. The poster itself is amazing - one of the most intricate, visually engaging prints we've done.

As a thank you, Justin got Diego and I a couple of seats at the preview show at Performance Space a couple of weeks ago.
Poster for the River Eats, design by Matt Stegh, printed on the Big Fag Press

The River Eats is Justin Shoulder and collaborator's phantasmagorical performance which flabbergasts the audience with its somewhat trippy tale of a creature called Pinky who transforms from a histrionic self-obsessed attention whore into a mesmerising butterfly.

The scintillating performance is an overwhelming sensual experience - hypnotic light movements and dramatic music hold you spellbound while Pinky prances around in exquisite costumes undergoing her (its?) identity metamorphosis.

The audience sits disillusioned in a way that cannot quite be described in words, unsure of whether to laugh or clap, and half feeling like they may have fallen into a psychedelic dream or unknowingly consumed some illegal substance.

The River Eats was a confronting experience. The one word that came to my mind whilst watching was akrasia - the concept of acting against one's better judgement, despite conscious knowledge and prescience of events to come. This is a phenomenon which I think is present in many a mind's decision in the modern world. When this psychological conflict is applied to identity, we have people are caught in a constant battle between who they are, who they think they should be, and who society sees them to be.

Pinky is caught in this battle, and frolics from one spotlight to the next until (s)he is confronted by her equal and opposite identity, exorcises yearning for fame and fiction, and is eventually reborn into the character Oo - a beautiful black and pink butterfly whose force is derived from the river, from nature.

Justin Shoulder has created a plethora of strange creatures like Pinky, often inspired by various cultural traditions, fables, myths, stories and masquerade, and all with the intent to deconstruct how we emotionally relate to our reality.

Pinky specifically was derived from the idea in Taoism that identities have a sort of Yin and Yang, that every energy force has an equal opposite. Shoulder was also inspired by a visit to the Brazilian Amazon, which for him embodied notions of life and death, rebirth and decay.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cake Decorations in Love

Image from: The Age, 'Gay or Straight, Love is Love'

Those of you who know me, know I'm a 'wannabe' cake decorator, so this image caught my eye because the decorations are really awesome and something I'd love to try. However currently, this image - as cute as it is - is controversial.

I was once approached on the street by a charity worker who asked me what I thought is the most fundamental human right. I think he wanted me to say clean water, because polluted water is one of the most serious issues faced globally. Anyway, I wasn't really thinking, but my response was "love". I think maybe I threw him for a second, but yes, I truly believe that along with clean water, food and shelter, people have the right to love and be loved, and to be heard and understood.

So hear me out.

I'm an atheist, I don't believe in any higher governing power, but that doesn't mean I don't have a set of morals and values by which I live. I do, and one of them is the fact that in this sometimes scary world, humans have the ability to love one another, to do good to one another, and to fulfil each others' lives. I would say this belief is something close to what I might call my faith. It is what makes me a thankful person. It is what brings meaning to my life.

So the idea that people oppose the relationship and marriage of two people who love each other, and intend no harm to society, that is a threat to my beliefs.

Because in my philosophy of right and wrong, every person in this world deserves the chance to be happy.

For me, that's all there is to it.