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Archive for 2009|Yearly archive page

Crop of the new

In exhibition, painting, photography on 19 August 2009 at 1:30 am

Three interesting shows featuring emerging artists open tomorrow around Darlinghurst in Sydney.

Kill PixieKill Pixie

At Monster Children Gallery (20 Burton St [map]), a two-man show by Kill Pixie and Cleon Peterson called The Mirror Stage. A former Sydney graffiti artist, Kill Pixie (aka Mark Whalen) now works out of Los Angeles, where his disctinctively coloured, delicate line drawing are in high demand from collectors and savvy magazine editors. Cleon Peterson is also from LA, well known for his paintings of a world where random acts of violence are the status quo. The exhibition runs until 17 September.

Cleon PetersonCleon Peterson

Anton Benoisstreet work by Anton Benois

Around the corner at Palmer Projects (238 Palmer St [map]), new works by Anton Benois and Esjay go on show under the title Bad Influence. Benois’ work is influenced by Soviet-era propaganda of his native Russia, with icons from pop culture mingling with faces from history. Painter, illustrator and designer esjay is also showing new works. The show runs until 26 August. Read the rest of this entry »


“Problem + Chainsaw = No Problem!” – the inspired animation of VDA Studios

In illustration, media, video on 13 August 2009 at 12:52 pm

A couple of mates, Rob Moffett and Benjamin Baker, were passing the time of day at work while making shipping pallets by kicking around ideas for a cartoon.

Their first idea was called Helpy the Helpful Turtle. “It was a faux-educational show about a man-sized turtle who spends each episode being abusive and failing miserably in his attempts to help children,” Ben says. “After a few voice recording sessions it was clear that making a cartoon based loosely on our own exploits was far more appealing.”

That cartoon became Friendcore, a few minutes of Flash animation they put up on MySpace and some blogs every couple of weeks. It was spotted by animator and visual effects artist Doug Bayne – from Double the Fist (he plays Mephisto) and The Chaser’s War on Everything – who was scouting for animated contributions for the ABC’s jtv, and in 2007 Friendcore started airing on national television.

jtv’s producer called about doing something similar for the new video game show, Good Game.

“At the meeting they asked us if we knew how to use After Effects,” Rob says. “I said, ‘Sure!’, and signed the contract. Then I had to do a crash course in After Effects.”

“We sort of jumped in the deep end on this,” Ben says, “but we figured learning a whole new program couldn’t compare to the hell of converting Flash animation to TV-compatible footage. Turns out it opened way more doors than we had anticipated.”

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Newcastle’s thriving zine scene

In media on 11 August 2009 at 9:06 am

Newcastle is home to two amazing resources for zine makers and readers. A zine is — well, I’ll let this typewriter explain.

zines 1

The community arts and media organisation Octapod houses a library of zines that the National Library of Australia assessed in 2004 as a “collection of national significance”.

It started when one of Octapod’s projects, the National Young Writers Festival, put out a call in 1998 for zines to be included in an anthology called The new pollution as part of the Loud media festival. Those first submissions formed the core of a collection which today is estimated at somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 zines from 1990 to the present – and it keeps growing.

zines 2

Unlike many other zine archives around the country, Octapod is committed to keeping its library accessible. Cataloguing and archiving the library is an ongoing project, with a work-in-progress online catalogue of the library available here.

In June 2008 Jessie Lymn, a PhD student at the University of Technology Sydney, wrote a well received strategy for preserving and maintaining the library. You can read her full report here.

zines 3

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Typing “Giraffe Sex” Into Google Yields Ungodly Results

In sculpture on 7 August 2009 at 5:02 pm

Giraffes 1

These delightful creatures are in the foyer of the Newcastle Art School. The work, by Belle Brooks, is called Typing “Giraffe Sex” Into Google Yields Ungodly Results.

It’s a pixel-perfect rendering of a jpeg (I’ve recreated the search for you, here) in plasticine.

Brooks writes:

In their creation, the magnificence of the living, breathing, feeling animal has been intentionally sacrificed for the convenience of Google Image Search, with one pixelated and vastly inferior .jpeg acting as an exclusive reference.

The circle will become complete when Google Image Search returns images, like the ones in this blog post, alongside the original source.

Giraffe close-up

The work will be on display in the foyer of the Newcastle Art School Hunter Street Campus, 590-608 Hunter Street, Newcastle West [map] until 18 August.

Belle Brooks, Typing “Giraffe Sex” Into Google Yields Ungodly Results 2008. Plasticine, fibreglass and steel. 360 x 300 x 90cm.

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Robots, comics and one helluva slide night

In architecture, festival, graphic design, illustration, industrial design, technology on 29 July 2009 at 4:35 am

The Sydney Design 09 festival starts this Saturday, 1 August. Kollektor has already given you a heads-up about five great ticketed events, the talk on the Bruno Benini archive and the tour of treasures from the Caroline Simpson Library.

Here are three more events to consider: a collection of cool talks.

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha – the Japanese term for the sound of conversation – is an event which gives anyone with something creative to share a forum. Presenters are allowed 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each, and there are 20 presentations in a single night. Snappy!

Devised by Tokyo-based Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture in 2003, the idea of Pecha Kucha nights spread virally and are now held regularly in more than 100 cities around the world.

This will be the 12th Pecha Kucha night in Sydney. Confirmed presenters include Lacoste + Stevenson architect David Stevenson, artist George Khut and Triple J programmer and presenter Craig Schuftan. More will be announced here as they are confirmed.

Thursday 6 August, 6.30–9.30pm | Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh | $10


9 out of 10 robots will kill you

Who could resist the combination of robots and movies? Only something with milky android circulatory fluid flowing through its veins.

Tom Barker will be looking at the future of robots and humanoid design for the 21st century through the medium of movies featuring robots, sentient computers and androids. Selections include Metropolis (1927), Modern Times (1936), Forbidden Planet (1956), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Westworld (1973), Dark Star (1974), The Stepford Wives (1975), the Star Wars franchise (1977–2005), Blade Runner (1982), The Terminator (1984), RoboCop (1987) and I, Robot (2004). Read the rest of this entry »

Ten not-so-little Indian boys: new work by Michael Parekowhai

In exhibition, sculpture on 23 July 2009 at 5:17 pm

You see the first figure at the top of the staircase as soon you enter the gallery. In its scale and pose, it reminds you of nothing if not a glossy version of a cigar store Indian, the figure used for 300 years to advertise tobacconists. Its boyish, doll-like face, however, shows that Michael Parekowhai has dived into the childhood toybox once again and come out to play.

Parekowhai 1

Parekowhai’s exhibition at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery is titled Seldom is Herd. There are 10 of the figures in total – like the nursery song, 10 not-so-little Indians – all called The Brothers Grimm, arranged like giant toys, solo, in pairs and trios. There are also three figures of antelope standing on giant books forming oversized bookends.

Parekowhai 2

As always with Parekowhai’s work, the surfaces are seductively glossy and highly refined, almost jokey in their simplicity. But they are packed with ambiguity, attracting us with childish glee, unsettling us with their implications.

Parekowhai 3

Parekowhai’s work often plays out aspects of indigenous identity and colonialism and its representation. Rabbits, the great introduced pest species, are common motifs. So too are the players in the best known colonial drama in Western culture, Cowboys and Indians. Read the rest of this entry »

Fancy papers: design treasures from the Caroline Simpson Library

In interior design on 22 July 2009 at 12:56 pm

Caroline Simpson Library 1

“Seeing this collection is a challenge to your ideas about colour and pattern in the past,” says Megan Martin, Head of the Historic Houses Trust’s Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection.

Caroline Simpson Library 2

Indeed, flipping open a copy of Ackerman’s Repository of Art, a journal published in London from 1809 to 1828, reveals samples of vivid orange fabric with polka dots or vibrant pinks and yellows to be used as wall coverings, something you wouldn’t expect from Georgian times.

Caroline Simpson Library 3

The Caroline Simpson Library is a stunning resource for designers, homemakers, students and anyone working in visual media. Focused on the history of house and garden design in New South Wales, it houses over 2,000 manufacturers’ trade catalogues, more than 1,000 architectural pattern books and another 1,000 sample books taking in wall and floor coverings, soft furnishings and fabrics, and hardware and garden ornaments.

Caroline Simpson Library 6

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Stick one of these in your pants

In menswear on 16 July 2009 at 12:25 pm

I’ve been seeing Status Anxiety wallets around for a while but only recently found out that it’s an Australian brand started by a couple of guys in Cronulla. Props to them!

Status Anxiety 1

Status Anxiety 2

They’re designed to keep your wallet low-profile – if yours is stuffed with business cards, receipts, laminated photos and loyalty cards from every retailer, these could help cut the clutter and keep you in order.

Status Anxiety 3

The flip wallets are slimline and fun to use – just put your hard-earned on it, flip it around and it’s not going anywhere.

Status Anxiety 4

They’re a good-looking gift idea, too, packaged in reusable tin boxes and smart slip cases.

Prices normally run from $35 to $65, but for this week only there’s a 20% discount on everything through their online store. Sweet!

Details of stockists around Australia and in New Zealand here.

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Guerilla knitting in Sydney with Magda Sayeg

In knitting, public art, street art on 14 July 2009 at 10:40 pm

Magda Sayeg, the founder of KnittaPlease, was in Sydney on Monday 13 July. Kollektor was invited to join her guerilla knitting posse for the day.

Here’s a gallery of images from the event, taken in the centre of Sydney’s business district, around the Opera House and at Bondi beach. Click here for a slideshow.

About KnittaPlease

Paint and texta graffiti are so passé. Instead of tagging with a sign, the KnittaPlease crew bomb with wool. Leggings, beanies and scarves for statues, striped warmers for poles and parking meters.

The crew from Houston, Texas, formed in August 2005 when PolyCotN and AKrylik were frustrated with their collection of unfinished projects. The first knitted tag was a doorknob cozy on a clothing store. The attention it attracted lead to more additions over the next few days, and guerilla knitting was born.

It’s street art with domestic origins, confounding the line between illegal vandalism and decoration. Where a spray-painter might find a freshly painted stretch of wall an irresistible canvas, Knitta Please feel the same about ordinary urban furniture, from bike racks to park benches.

KnittaPlease’s Sydney visit was hosted by Diecast Agency, who take Australian fashion brands and people to an international audience. Magda Sayeg’s visit is part of a cultural exchange program that offers Australian audiences the opportunity to rethink the ways we can use textiles.

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50 years of Australian fashion: inside the Bruno Benini archive

In fashion, photography on 12 July 2009 at 4:07 pm

Benini 1

Bruno Benini was a pioneering Australian fashion photographer, bringing a European elegance to the field from the post-war period right through until his death in 2001. Together with his wife, Hazel, who played an important role in styling the photos, the Beninis were central, glamorous figures in Melbourne’s cultural scene for 50 years, documenting not just fashion through his commercial work, but also leading players in the world of arts and entertainment through portraits.

Photo N¼: 00x11085Left: Pauline Kiernan in a strapless evening sheath by Theo Haskin of Salon Milano, 1956. Right: Bambi Shmith (Patricia Tuckwell) in Hall Ludlow’s ‘Magpie’ tunic, 1957

His body of work was recently acquired by Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. Design and Society curator, Anne-Marie Van de Ven, targeted the archive for acquisition back in 1996. “I knew it documented post-war dress design and manufacture,” she says. “What delights me is the scope and depth of photographic representation of the clients, like Ninette and Solo, and the models like Janice Wakely, Maggie Tabberer, Jan Stewart, Nerida Piggin and Maggi Eckardt.”

Benini 3Curator Anne-Marie Van de Ven with part of the Benini archive still in its shipping crate. Read the rest of this entry »