15 May 2016

In development: Vanishing Point

On 18 September 2015, Melbourne-based artist Shian Law, presented a showing of his new work Vanishing Point at Arts House's Meat Market venue in North Melbourne.

Currently in-development, the work is described as:

'a hybrid performance documentary exploring acts of self-preservation within an ephemeral art form. With a crew of filmmakers, choreographer Shian Law strategically captures, archives and fabricates the process of his collaborations with dance luminaries Deanne Butterworth and Phillip Adams. As the cameras historicise each artist the question emerges, “whose f*cking work actually is this?”'

I was invited by Law to write the text script for Vanishing Point, which is read out live by a narrator during the performance. An initial version of this text was presented for the 2015 showing, with the final, longer version in-development for the premiere in 2017.

An excerpt from my text:

What you have seen, heard and spoken could be revived at any moment. But how would you know if you had seen, heard, spoken it before? It will have changed, and you won’t even have noticed; it will have changed while you weren’t looking. While you were off doing something else, looking at something else. No need to keep looking here. This will lead somewhere else. You won’t even remember if what you were seeing, hearing or speaking was fake, whether it was a stand-in, or the real thing.

Many thanks to Shian for taking a chance on me. I am excited to continue working on this project, and to see its outcome in 2017!

18 April 2016

Psychoanalytic thought #003

Alenka Zupančič discussing sexual difference and ontology in an interview with Ran­dall Terada titled 'Sex, ontology, subjectivity' (2015), sourced from Mariborchan:

'The sexes are not two in any mean­ing­ful way. Sexu­al­ity does not fall into two parts; it does not con­sti­tute a one. It is stuck between “no longer one” and “not yet two (or more).” I would say that it revolves around the fact that “the other sex doesn’t exist” (and this is to say that the dif­fer­ence is not onto­lo­giz­able), yet there is more than one (which is also to say, “more than mul­tiple ones”).

[...] my claim is, fur­ther, that if we simply replace two with a mul­ti­pli­city (and claim that there are more than two sexes), we do not get out of this same logic of onto­lo­giz­a­tion. We affirm that there are many sexes, and miss the very onto­lo­gical impasse involved in sexu­al­ity. [...] It is not simply that we think onto­logy can­not begin with One (this point is not very con­tro­ver­sial), it is that we also think it can­not begin simply with “mul­ti­pli­city,” con­ceived as a kind of ori­ginal neut­ral­ity. This is the real core of this debate. I believe the altern­at­ive between One and the mul­tiple is a wrong altern­at­ive.

[...] the basic idea is this: onto­logy begins, not with One and not with mul­ti­pli­city, but with a “minus One” (Lacan talks of l’un en moins in Sem­inar XX). Mul­ti­pli­city is already a con­sequence of this para­dox­ical minus One, which is not, but struc­tures the field of what is. In this sense mul­ti­pli­city is never simply neut­ral, but biased by that ori­ginal neg­at­iv­ity, and hence ant­ag­on­istic. The way this struc­tur­ing neg­at­iv­ity (or onto­lo­gical impossib­il­ity as insep­ar­able from onto­logy) exists in the world is in the form of an impossible two, that is, in the form of sexual dif­fer­ence which can­not be onto­lo­gized, pos­ited in terms of dif­fer­ence between two beings, two onto­lo­gical entit­ies.

Sexual dif­fer­ence in the strictly Lacanian sense of the term is the way in which the minus One, as neg­at­iv­ity struc­tur­ing the realm of being, gets to be for­mu­lated within this very being as its point of para­dox­ical impossib­il­ity. My point is not: there are only two sexes, but rather: there is only the split, the ant­ag­on­ism. Ant­ag­on­ism is not simply ant­ag­on­ism between two things, but also, and more fun­da­ment­ally, what struc­tures the field in which these things appear.

You men­tioned Slavoj [Žižek]’s example from Levi-Strauss’s Struc­tural Anthro­po­logy, which is also a per­fect example of this dif­fi­cult, counter-intu­it­ive point accord­ing to which ant­ag­on­ism some­how pre­cedes the (two) sides of the ant­ag­on­ism. If the two vil­lage groups draw two com­pletely dif­fer­ent maps of the vil­lage, the answer is not to take a heli­copter ride and try to look from above at how the vil­lage looks “object­ively.” The point is, as Sla­voj said, to recog­nize that the two per­cep­tions of the ground plan are simply two mutu­ally exclus­ive endeav­ours to cope with this trau­matic ant­ag­on­ism, and they rep­res­ent an attempt by each group to heal this “wound” via the impos­i­tion of a bal­anced sym­bolic struc­ture cap­tured in their respect­ive ground plans.

Sim­il­arly, the nar­rat­ives about what is “mas­cu­line” and what is “fem­in­ine” are pre­cisely attempts at cop­ing with this kind of trau­matic ant­ag­on­ism by sta­ging it as a dif­fer­ence between two kinds of being. Which is why it is not enough to dis­miss “mas­culin­ity” and “fem­in­in­ity” as sym­bolic con­struc­tions (which they cer­tainly are), but one also has to recog­nize the real (the ant­ag­on­ism) that pro­pels, motiv­ates these con­struc­tions.'

11 April 2016

Text for Adam Cruces @ Galerie Joseph Tang

I wrote a text that has been included in Adam Cruces' solo show PASTEL, which opened on 17 March 2016 at Galerie Joseph Tang in Paris.

If you would like to read my text 'Pen, or, le stylo', please drop me a line and I'll send it through! EDIT: Exhibition pics and text available on Art Viewer!

The show runs through Saturday 23 April 2016, and has been called a 'must see' by Art Forum, so go check it out if you're in Paris!

Thanks to Adam for the invitation.

4 April 2016

Text for 'Real state' by Asta Meldal Lynge

London-based Danish artist Asta Meldal Lynge's first book Real state, published by Studio Operative, London (2016) is out now! Real state is designed in collaboration with Rory Gleeson, with text by Eleanor Ivory Weber.

Launched on Tuesday 8 March at a.m. in London, this Wednesday 6 April 2016 sees the Copenhagen launch, hosted by Motto at Kunsthal Charlottenborg. (Here is the Facebook event.)

There will be a screening/reading at 18:00 combining three moving image works by Asta Meldal Lynge - Camera Shake (2013), Site Seeing (2014), and Showhome (2015) - and a reading from excerpts of Real state texts by Eleanor Ivory Weber.

Real state
Asta Meldal Lynge
Text by Eleanor Ivory Weber
Design by Rory Gleeson with Asta Meldal Lynge
Published by Studio Operative
ISBN 978-0-9575223-6-7
216 x 279 mm, 128pp, softcover
RRP £22.00

From the press release: 'Real state is a visual essay that takes a critical stance towards the subjects of housing, urban development and image production. Employing video-stills, photographs and found images, it explores the social and political value of the image, in a specifically urban context, emphasising the fictions present in the (re)production of space.

[...] As the content is framed and re-framed, trackpad gestures are overlaid, ultimately bringing the stability of any image surface into question. This destabilising approach is mirrored in Weber’s text which combines excerpts from e-mail conversations, with differing registers of fiction, expanding on the disconnection between the idea of housing as a basic human need and it’s position within market logic and neoliberal ideology.

The title Real state alludes to the conditions of these systems, the power structures of governed entities and the business of real estate, while insinuating a difficult promise of something real or true to be revealed.'

For more information, and to order, click here: studio-operative.co.uk.

23 March 2016

SafARI - Internet Super Highway 2016

SafARI is the off-space or Artist-Run Initiative (ARI, hence the name) program timed to coincide with the opening weeks of the Biennale of Sydney, and aimed at showcasing the work of emerging and unrepresented artists. SafARI is hosted by independent Sydney venues and has a program of exhibitions, events, publications and online components.

I was invited to contribute something to the online program Internet Super Highway (ISH), organised by Kailana Sommer, Benjamin Forster, Jack Lanagan Dunbar and Emilia Batchelor.

ISH is a multi-faceted week-long program that runs twice over a fortnight, 14 - 27 March 2016, between the hours 21:00 - 09:00 AEST (that is, 11:00 - 23:00 CET).

The program includes amazing work by Australian artists including Lachlan Anthony, Elena Betros, Deborah Birch, Bonita Bub, Simonne Goran, Aurelia Guo, Megan Hanson, KK+JLD, Del Lumanta, Kate MacDonald, Rowan Oliver & Louise Dibben, Marnie Slater (NZ), Tosha Van Veenendaal, Emile Zile, and many more.

I selected some texts (by Michel Foucault, Keith Hart, Sarah Kane, Samo Tomšič) for download as part of 'Reading is free-ish' (Tuesdays 15 & 22 March), plus 'Tele ~ visions' (Sundays 20 & 27 March) includes a video recording of a reading I did in Sydney in 2014 as part of GOB fest.

You can download the full program here: http://www.ᔕᗅᖴᕱᖇᑊ.com/ISH/all/program.pdf

To access ISH (but only between 21:00 and 09:00 AEST, at all other times you will see the regular SafARI website), click:


18 March 2016

Quote of the day, yay!

"At the height of the Troubles, gay clubs were actually some of the only non-sectarian gathering spaces where Catholics and Protestants socially mingled without having to talk about it. Gay clubs and punk clubs — in the ’90s, it was raves. I guess middle-class areas have always been pretty neutral, and they still are today: art spaces and the university."

-- Mariah Garnett in conversation with Risa Puleo, BOMB Magazine, 3 March 2016

11 March 2016

General Fine Arts, Vol. 2, Issue 1

Finally, General Fine Arts, Vol. 2, Issue 1, published by Version House (Berlin) is online!

Edited by Tom Clark and themed "Values", this latest issue was launched on Tuesday 8 March 2016 at a.m. in London.

It features the work of: Adam Gallagher, Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe, Anna Zett, Beatrice Loft Schulz, Eleanor Ivory Weber, Imran Perretta, Jaakko Pallasvuo, John Hill, Josefine Wikström, Kalliope Maria Nagy, Karisa Senavitis and Kevin O’Neill, Malin Arnell, Kajsa Dahlberg, Johanna Gustavsson, Laura Guy and Fia-Stina Sandlund, Leila Kozma, Manuel Arturo Abreu, Marina Vishmidt, Martin Kohout, Nina Wakeford and Lily Keal, Owen G. Parry, Vincent Para, and William Kherbek.

I am chuffed to have an untitled text/polemic nicely placed between Nina Wakeford & Lily Keal and Jaakko Pallasvuo.

You can read it and everything else by clicking this link:


Many thanks to Tom.

25 January 2016

After the Eclipse V

This Thursday 28 January 2016 from 19:30 is the 5th After the Eclipse, a series of reading events initiated by Imri Kahn, Sarah M Harrison and Ebba Fransén Waldhör.

For number V, the speakers are:
Tommy Camerno, Natalie Häusler, Marlie Mul, Michael Runyan, Maria Votti, Eleanor Weber

Doors open @ 19:30 / Readings start @ 20:00 sharp

Am Flutgraben 3
12435 Berlin

I will be performing an excerpt from the work I’m really sorry to hear about your dead father, but there’s nothing we can do. Thanks to Imri for the invite :)

EDIT: Photo documentation :)

17 January 2016

Psychoanalytic thought #002

Samo Tomšič, author of The Capitalist Unconscious: Marx and Lacan (Verso, London 2015), recently gave a talk at the American University of Beirut, hosted by philosopher Sami Khatib.

Titled 'What is Repression?', the talk traces links between the work of Freud and Lacan in psychoanalysis and that of Marx in political economy, combined with a very interesting critique of Foucault. You can watch it here:

3 January 2016

Quote of the day, yay!

'Any egalitarian project, whether directed to the equalization of relations between the sexes, or between races, classes, or ethnicities, is, for Irigaray, antagonistic to the project of the specification of differences. Egalitarianism entails a neutral measure for the attainment of equality, a measure that invariably reflects the value of the dominant position. Egalitarianism entails becoming equal to a given term, ideal, or value. Irigaray's work on sexual difference, along with the writings of other feminists and antiracists focused on the work of specifying irreducible differences, problematizes any given norm by which sexes or races can be measured independent of the sexes and races thus measured. Equality in its most far-reaching sense involves the creation of multiple norms and the recognition of multiple positions and not the acceptance of a norm or value based on the dominant position, as most forms of egalitarianism entail. It is her anti-egalitarianism, her anti-essentialism and her refusal to privilege the present and the actual over the future and the virtual that mark Irigaray's unique and ongoing contribution to philosophy, and that are key elements of her understanding of sexual difference.'

-- Elizabeth Grosz, Becoming undone: Darwinian reflections on life, politics, and art, Duke University Press 2011, p. 148

15 December 2015

Psychoanalytic thought #001

From a great lecture given earlier this year by British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips for London Review of Books, titled 'Against Self-Criticism':

"Like a malign parent [the super-ego] harms in the guise of protecting; it exploits in the guise of providing good guidance. In the name of health and safety it creates a life of terror and self-estrangement. There is a great difference between not doing something out of fear of punishment, and not doing something because one believes it is wrong. Guilt isn’t necessarily a good clue as to what one values; it is only a good clue about what (or whom) one fears. Not doing something because one will feel guilty if one does it is not necessarily a good reason not to do it. Morality born of intimidation is immoral. Psychoanalysis was Freud’s attempt to say something new about the police."

Listen here:

Thanks to Amelia Groom for the heads up.

5 December 2015

In solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-Hub

'There are many businessmen who own knowledge today. Consider Elsevier, the largest scholarly publisher, whose 37% profit margin1 stands in sharp contrast to the rising fees, expanding student loan debt and poverty-level wages for adjunct faculty.'

Read this open letter defending the right to, and sharing of knowledge for free and out of the hands of the Academic publishing monopolies!


'Share this letter - read it in public - leave it in the printer. Share your writing - digitize a book - upload your files. Don't let our knowledge be crushed. Care for the libraries - care for the metadata - care for the backup. Water the flowers - clean the volcanoes.'

20 November 2015

Quote of the day, yay!

'In appearance, speech may well be of little account, but the prohibitions surrounding it soon reveal its links with desire and power. This should not be very surprising, for psychoanalysis has already shown us that speech is not merely the medium which manifests — or dissembles — desire; it is also the object of desire. Similarly, historians have constantly impressed upon us that speech is no mere verbalisation of conflicts and systems of domination, but that it is the very object of man's conflicts.

But our society possesses yet another principle of exclusion; not another prohibition, but a division and a rejection. I have in mind the opposition: reason and folly. From the depths of the Middle Ages, a man was mad if his speech could not be said to form part of the common discourse of men. His words were considered null and void, without truth or significance, worthless as evidence, inadmissible in the authentification of acts or contracts, incapable even of bringing about transubstantiation — the transformation of bread into flesh — at Mass.'

-- Michel Foucault, 'The Discourse On Language', Social Science Information 10/2, April 1971, trans. Rupert Swyer

Thanks to Elena Betros for directing me to this essay.

22 October 2015

Athena Thebus: Demented Fury

Australian artist Athena Thebus' solo show Demented Fury opened at Brisbane's Metro Arts on Wednesday 21 October 2015.

I wrote an essay for the catalogue, which can be downloaded here,


or here,


Demented Fury runs through Saturday 7 November, and there is an artist talk at the gallery on Thursday 5 November at 6pm - check it out if you are in Brisbane!

19 October 2015

HOTLINE +61 (0)285 990 669

Please call the HOTLINE: +61 (0)285 990 669
A new service by editionless editions.

HOTLINE is a system that allows anyone to either leave a message or listen to the previously recorded messages (these are randomly spliced into a seamless loop). It is very simple to use, here are the instructions:

— Call the number +61 (0)285 990 669 and follow the prompts.
— The recordings are limited to 2 minutes in length.
— Silence at the start and end of messages is automatically clipped.
— There is no limit on how many recordings you can make, but they may not be played back consecutively.
— If you hang up without saving the message, it will be automatically discarded.
— Due to the open form, there is no way of crediting contributors, but if you can include it within the recording if you desire.

Conceived by Benjamin Forster, HOTLINE was launched on 30 September, and publicly trialed as part of the National Experimental Arts Forum in Perth, Western Australia, on 5-6 October 2015. It is ongoing.

HOTLINE is a rewarding project to contribute a message to, knowing others will hear it, and the experience of calling in simply to listen is somehow therapeutic. This is not a self-help project, but a phone call is cheaper than a psychologist. It's a nice feeling just listening with no expectation of response or performance. The anonymity is reassuring and the thought of all these other listeners/speakers contributing at given moments in their own lives is humbling. Silence on the phone doesn't have to be threatening, this is not call-waiting and you are not on hold. Give it a ring.

12 October 2015

Quote of the day, yay!

'Normcore, a term brought into use by self-defined “trend forecasting” group K-Hole, looks at the revolutionary potentials of sameness in a time when resistance strategies that rely on difference are increasingly coopted by neoliberalism’s make-over regime. Instead of difference, normcore moves into a post-authenticity that opts for sameness. So, if normcore is the understanding that “normality” doesn’t exist, and finds “liberation in being nothing special” (following K-Hole), then homonormcore is the understanding that there is no such thing as homonormativity — at least for the teen girls who create slash fiction. This, of course, does not mean that every gay marriage proposal and gay adoption is a revolution, but raises the issue that if individuality is now very much a regulating capitalist desire, then perhaps one way out of this conundrum is through a sameness that is not imitative and exclusive, but adaptable and expansive.'

-- Owen Parry, 'MPREG versus Homonormcore', The New Inquiry, 24 August 2015

7 October 2015

Text for West Space Journal @ Volume Art Book Fair 2015

I was commissioned to write a text for West Space Journal's stand at the inaugural VOLUME 2015 | Another Art Book Fair hosted at Artspace in Sydney 11-13 September.

WSJ editors Kelly Fliedner and Rowan McNaught initiated a trial where they invited writers to simply select an object and write something about it. This resulted in object/text pairs, whereby printed A4 texts were accompanied by a relevant or corresponding object. Both Fliedner and McNaught contributed texts, as did J Annear, Sarinah Masukor, and Isabelle Sully.

To read my text, 'A blue dress', click here:


6 October 2015

frieze blog: Postcard from Melbourne

I wrote a 'Postcard from Melbourne' for the frieze blog, which can be read here:


Thanks to Jennifer Higgie and Paul Clinton.

18 August 2015

Quote of the day, yay!

'The time and situation in which the performance takes place — a singular performance, any singular performance, which is the singular performance that I have in mind — does something that is beyond and that cannot be comprehended by the conceptual tools and analytical moves associated with the “postcolonial” as a scholarly practice. This is due to the fact that something happens, and becomes part of the performance as it happens, which the artist herself could not have anticipated and directed. This occurrence is contingent upon everything that is then/there: the audience, the artists, the technical staff backstage, the curators, the stage, the lighting, the seats, the space between the stage and the first row of seats, the in-room temperature, the outside temperature, what each one of us had for breakfast, how easy or difficult it was to get to the venue … it involves everything; it is about everything. It is about everything because it is about how each one of us then and there reacted or responded to the key descriptor of the performance: “making visible without making public.” This is the turn of critique when it comes out of books into the world, in this case the art world, corrupting the form in the process.


Making visible without making public, I learned while watching (I should say witnessing) [Yasmine] Eid-Sabbagh’s performance, when rendered in the aesthetic form, operates at the level of feelings, both physical and emotional. This practice elicits reactions, tears, laughs, nervous coughs, deadly silences … The art of making visible without making public corrupts the neat web of conceptual methodology that the postcolonial critic learns during academic training. It turns presentation into a confrontation. It is the move that renders one exposed in the moment of exposure because by breaking the polite/police rules of engagement, it also renders the rule-breaker unprotected by them.


Without a doubt, Eid-Sabbagh had already thought about the aesthetic effect of her postcolonial method. She later spoke on “the question of responsibility and how it comes together in the network of the art industry. Who do we speak for? Who are we to speak about the political? [Is] part of the violence [in] the institutional context? How could art exist outside of this context?” She asks whether “there would be a possibility for addressing something like violence in a different way.”


By staging a confrontation, it forges an aesthetic experience that recalls and exposes art’s own performance of the violence that is modern thought, precisely because of the in/difference between the stage and the museum as exhibition sites. Both offer precisely that which Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh’s performance refused (its corruptive move), which is the “ethical closure” effected by a reassurance of difference, namely, of a given distance between “I” (spectator/colonizer/Human Rights enforcer) and the “Other” (exhibit/colonized/victim). For that is precisely what has justified (as explanation, cause, or meaning) the violence done in the first place.'

-- Denise Ferreira da Silva, 'Reading Art as Confrontation', e-flux journal 56th Venice Biennale - SUPERCOMMUNITY, 13 August 2015

Thanks to Susan Gibb for pointing me to this essay.

10 August 2015

Text for 'Hybridize or Disappear', ed. João Laia (2015)

I was invited by London-based Portuguese curator João Laia to contribute to a publication he was editing to parallel the curated exhibition Hybridize or Disappear, held consecutively at two venues in Portugal: Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea - Museu do Chiado, Lisboa (9 April - 24 May 2015), and Paços do Concelho - Câmara Municipal do Porto (9 July - 18 September 2015).

Published by Mousse in June 2015, and yours for only 15€, Hybridize or Disappear contains contributions by museum directors David Santos and Paulo Cunha e Silva, as well as writers Stephanie Bailey, Rózsa Zita Farkas, Attilia Fattori Franchini, João Laia (ed.), João Ribas, Alex Ross, Andrey Shental, and myself.

The artists in the exhibition include Cécile B. Evans, Neïl Beloufa, Antoine Catala, Diogo Evangelista, Oliver Laric, Shana Moulton, Katja Novitskova, Laure Prouvost, and Magali Reus.

As Laia describes in the preface: '... this book aims to expand on the universe of the show, posing a wide set of questions that shape contemporary visual culture, rather than serving as a document or an archive. Through the lens of the “hybrid”, the commissioned texts look at different dimensions of our current condition, addressing ideas related to the circulation of identity and meaning in our mediated environments.'

My text is titled 'Disappearing the Straight Mind: Witches, Monsters, Zombies, Strangers' and appears on pages 41-49. It explores non-dominant modes of writing through the work of four white female writers, suggesting a parallel between the 'loss' of identity that occurs in the contemporary world of digital images (such as those employed by Catala), and these writers' attempts to step away from identification with dominance through their language. The text posits these modes, the 'loss' of authorship and of clearly recognised~identified language, as strategies to negate the mode of domination encouraged by competitive capitalism.

Many thanks to Australian artist Hamishi Farah for providing images to parallel the words. The 168 page softcover book is in both English and Portuguese, so I'm excited to say it's the first time my writing has been translated into another language.

Click here to download the essay: https://www.academia.edu/14816589/Disappearing_the_Straight_Mind_Witches_Monsters_Zombies_Strangers_-_catalogue_essay_Hybridize_or_Disappear_Mousse_Milano_2015

Many thanks to João for this opportunity. For more information on the project, read his essay 'Hybridize or Disappear: a bodily speculation on immaterial visual cultures' (pp. 17-23 of the book) over at Terremoto.

3 August 2015

Quote(s) of the day, yay!

"Cinemas were the dream palaces of the interwar working classes. Marlene Dietrich, Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo – screen sirens in ermine and pearls were rarely shown in domestic settings ... Celluloid film was made from the same chemical formula as viscose rayon. Stockings screened the flesh and giant fragments of body were projected in black and white on the silver screen.

In 1937, the novelist Elizabeth Bowen reflected on her own cinema-going habits, describing an experience of emotion, distraction, beauty, ‘unlikely energy … preposterous pattern … bright light, abrupt shadow, speed.’ She saw the cinema as an antidote for lassitude. Cinemas were built from new materials – ‘concrete succeeds stucco and chromium gilt’ – and ushered in new modes of perception. For Bowen, glamour is a key element of the experience:

'What do I mean by glamour? A sort of sensuous gloss: I know it to be synthetic, but it affects me strongly. It is a trick knowingly practiced on my most fuzzy desires.'

Knowingly subjecting oneself to glamour is not a form of stupor but a conscious fantasy. Synthetic dreaming has an emancipatory aspect. Bowen describes the bond formed between the audience and the giant stars projected on the screen as ‘inoperative love’ – a form of human intimacy that demands nothing of the spectator. In a society in which relationships are structurally unequal, entering a space where the strains of reciprocity are suspended provides respite from ‘the necessity to please, to shine.’

The challenge then is for the fuzziness of desire to come into sharper focus. A new collective might emerge from the darkened movie theatres, blinking their mascaraed lashes in the neon lights of a world that might be re-made in the image of the unfettered lives projected on screen."

-- Hannah Proctor, 'Synthetic Dreams: Gender, Modernity and Art Silk Stockings', Mute, 31 July 2015


"The wit and sharpness of Tim Burton is entirely missing in [Christopher] Nolan's obtuse movie. Indeed, as Andrew Klavan wrote in reference to The Dark Knight, Nolan's trilogy 'is a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war'. But the similarities between the latest Batman trilogy and the ideology of the Bush administration exceed the limits of the cinema screen. James Holmes's inability to distinguish between reality and movies mirrors the attitude of Karl Rove, the master of the American political imagination during the years of Bush's Holy War. When journalist Ron Suskind defended the prerogative of others in his profession to pursue the judicious study of discernible reality, the wizard of Republican campaign strategy responded,

'That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'

Is this a symptom of psychosis? Yes, it is. But it is not peculiar to Karl Rove. The sublimation of reality to simulacrum is the quintessential feature of semiocapitalism, the contemporary regime of production in which capital valorization is based on the constant emanation of information flows. In the psychosphere, reality is replaced by simulation."

-- Franco 'Bifo' Berardi, Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide, Verso, London 2015, pp. 23-24

28 July 2015

EFFE presents... Coup de coeur #1-5

EFFE's first series of exhibitions, titled Coup de coeur, occurred at a studio in the Cité internationale des Arts in Paris, France, from April through June 2015.

The five solo exhibitions were curated as discrete entities, each responsive to the individual artist's needs, yet they also formed the five integral parts to the project Coup de coeur. Once grouped as a series, moving across a predetermined period of my residency at the Cité, they started to inform and shape one another through a shared sensibility; through overlaps in thoughts, and friends who would attend and reattend; through the conversations and celebrations that would go on; a rhythm emerged.

To read the texts I wrote, and to see photo-documentation of the five exhibitions, please follow these links to the website:

#1 Asta Meldal Lynge / 21 - 23 April 2015

#2 Noémie Bablet - Shakkei / 15 - 22 May 2015

#3 Elena Betros - The room limits established by us / 26 - 31 May 2015

#4 Nuno da Luz - with Assisted Resonance / 18 - 21 June 2015

#5 Signe Frederiksen - Les Insoumuses / 28 June 2015

Many thanks to artists Asta Meldal Lynge, Noémie Bablet, Elena Betros, Nuno da Luz and Signe Frederiksen; to Ella Sutherland, website and flyer designer; to Sergiu Giani, castillo/corrales, A Constructed World (Geoffrey Lowe and Jacqueline Riva), ENSAPC, Ulrike Buck, Arthur Dreyfus, Ana David and Inga Krüger for providing materials; to photographers Frieder Haller, Romain Darnaud and Guillaume Vieira; to videographer Ana Vaz; to actors Peter Paltos, Pedro Gomes, Julia Perazzini and Anne Steffens; and to everyone who came to one or some or all Coup de coeurs!

Plus thanks Tula Plumi for posting us on Daily Lazy! For more information, contact effefe.net @ gmail . com!

10 July 2015

Yasmin Smith: Ntaria Fence @ The Commercial

I wrote the exhibition text for Yasmin Smith's latest solo show at The Commercial Gallery, Sydney. The show opens tonight and runs through Saturday 1 August 2015. Read the text below or download it here; see the show on Wednesdays to Saturdays; hear Smith present a talk about Ntaria Fence at 4pm on Saturday 25 July 2015.

‘Home is that place which enables and promotes varied and ever-changing perspectives, a place where one discovers new ways of seeing reality, frontiers of difference.’ [1]

Despite its title and undeniable resemblance to a human-made barrier for separating one thing from another, Yasmin Smith’s most recent work, Ntaria Fence, is a porous, flesh-like frontier. Fences can serve an array of metaphors for keeping things out, protecting oneself, ejecting the other, delimiting private property, preventing human or animal movement, and demarcating difference. Fences imply a duality of inside/outside, here/there, mine/not-mine, which derives largely from a colonial, bourgeois understanding of land, not to mention a Cartesian understanding of the self. Ntaria Fence could easily be viewed from this perspective; as an exploration of the sense of conceptual and actual distance one feels, for example, between coastal city centres like Sydney and remote locations like Ntaria, 130 kilometres west of Alice Springs in the Central Desert region of the Northern Territory.

Yet dislocation and separation are far from what pushes Smith to create this specific fence. Her motives are not conceptual but physical. When something is porous it means it absorbs and thus changes; is affected by things around it; its state alters and moves. State can be understood as physical state, from earth to clay, from wood to ash to glaze, from skin to blood, from NT to NSW and back, from desert to coast; the way the light shifts, how temperature effects the reaction of bodies – human and otherwise; feelings, in short, through place, things and time. Crossing the gallery temporarily, Ntaria Fence is all about this movement – difficult to name for it escapes the terms we have at our disposal. One could imagine here that the word ‘fence’ is a barrier, but one that exists on this corporeal level; the heart passes through with ease, for it’s the heart’s fence.

In February 2015 I went to the Northern Territory for the first time. Yasmin, a friend and colleague, invited me along on her last trip before this exhibition. This was her third visit since early 2014, when she went to Ntaria to work with the local Hermannsburg Potters community on the Old Church Project. My initial response, recorded in a small notebook:

25.2.2015 Purchased at Alice Springs airport. Waiting for Yasmin to arrive from Sydney. I just came from Melbourne. Felt a sense of unknown that I haven’t travelling anywhere in a really long time. Like somehow the most unknown place is this one in my own country, a place where I’ve only ever traced the borders. This ‘fear’ or anxiety goes to the heart of Australian alienation, or why we are alienated from ourselves. What could I possibly be afraid of here, what is so unknown here that isn’t anywhere else? The taboo of ‘un’ or ‘non’ civilisation, of indigeneity? Of the ‘wild’, of heat and open space…

Maybe when I said ‘we’, I actually meant ‘me’; one shouldn’t presume to speak for others. Though of course, as ‘they’ say, it’s easier to speak in generalisations than of individual emotions. Without going too much into the centre-periphery question, maybe the problem is reversed in the Australian context. Here, the physical centre is the metaphorical periphery, the unknown, the ‘wild’, as I clumsily noted – at least for people like me, who come from the coast. This is where this sense of disorientation comes from: the outside has been the thing that concerns me (we) for far too long.

The red centre is a heart, which is a life force, it pumps and pulsates softly away, creating vibrations around it, speeding or slowing depending on surrounding factors, yet sustaining itself and its members, even when they choose to ignore it. If that was the reason for my apprehension in Alice Springs airport, it is a quite common and banal fear of life. Yasmin wrote in an email to me:

‘I think the reality of alienation that you speak of is what makes me see with unrestricted eyes a strange fence almost kind of mirage-like in the heat … To me [Ntaria] is a place that is alive and pulsating with silica and iron that transfers through the trees. And the heat of the place makes it feel like everything there could at any second melt back into the sand.’ [2]

On a day-trip from Alice Springs we visited the Hermannsburg Historic Precinct, comprised of several 19th century heritage buildings with fading information panels to describe the original function of each. We heard Evangelical Aboriginal Arrernte hymns from a CD stereo in the old church and learned nyinta, tharra, tharra-ma-nyinta (one, two, three) – anything beyond three is called a mob. As we were leaving Hermannsburg, we drove by Smith’s former share-house, on Pareroultja Street. This house has a fence parallel the road, about waist height and made of metal wire, with gum branches stuck vertically in the gaps. There are plastic objects wedged in the fence, too: a bucket, an ice cream container, a fridge shelf. Whether all this is for reinforcement, concealment or decoration, one can’t know. It’s as mysterious and unassuming as a front fence can be.

The branches Smith used to make moulds for the ceramic pieces of Ntaria Fence, and the iron-rich ash (the burnt remains found in fire pits of River Red Gum, Mulga and Palm Tree wood) that she collected to make their glaze, all come from around locations in the area that are important to her; the yard of the share-house, the claypans, her friends’ house in Alice Springs. In an essential way, Ntaria made the work.

What does it mean to make work away from the centres, yet in the red centre? In 1877 two Germans made their way from the coast of SA to the middle of the continent, near the Finke River, to establish the Lutheran mission of Hermannsburg (Ntaria) on Aranda land. This journey to the peripheral centre affected what this land is today, and will continue to do so. As long as I’ve known Yasmin she has been a ceramicist; passionate about the molecular changes that occur when temperatures rise or drop, how this affects colour and form, as much as she is awed by the implication of clay and iron in human and geological history.

A functioning shower made of ceramic crates that reference those used for storage in her mother’s house in Dundas; two hard bags of cement, limed with age, separated by rods of iron atop which stand a pair of dainty ceramic chicken legs inspired by a hen in Cumnock; the angular Apprentice Welder series with copper-eroded barium blue glaze where clay is made to look like steel and delicate integrity mocks the facade of solidity. These three earlier works of Smith’s, like Ntaria Fence, herald what she might call ‘the magical mystery hour’ – the mid-zone in any firing process ‘the symbolic moment of creation, where alchemical changes occur’ [3] – that is, fusions of the molecular, the geological and the personal.

It seemed obvious that the house we passed by on our way back to Alice was a place of emotional attachment, being there was important, though its fence was ambiguous. A barrier that is neither a priori and universal, nor totally singular. It could be torn down or reinforced. It is a fence that separates the front yard from the street, a line of distinction between private and public, between past and present. More so than that, Ntaria Fence is a piece of personal, local and geological history, embodied and re-embodied through endless processes of energy distribution. There are no peripheral limbs without a heart and the justification of one without the consideration of the other would be like saying the fence predates the law. Here a fence is recreated in the spirit of the red centre, with the force of heat and the assurance of a heartbeat.

‘Then again, it’s decided well before this firing as to what the colour of the ash will be. It’s decided by place, by the land, and tiny particles of sand and iron … Just imagine if that iron particle had consciousness, and had a narrative. And it does in the end because it makes us alive today.’ [4]

[1] bell hooks, ‘Choosing the margin as a space of radical openness’, Yearning: race, gender and cultural politics, South End Press, Boston 1990, p. 148
[2] Yasmin Smith, email to the author, 1 July 2015
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.

With thanks to Yasmin Smith and Amanda Rowell.

3 June 2015

Quote of the day, yay!

'It just makes me sad that everyone lets everyone go all the time. Precarity and chronic melancholy have made everyone emotionally inert and estranged. Now that all the previously stabilizing and organizing structures (however false, oppressive, manufactured, and unsustainable) have been eroded by late capitalism, we need to create internal structures of hope, love, devotion, sustainability, and stability. Otherwise, we’re all doomed. Ok, will stop texting about all these serious things now.'

-- Masha Tupitsyn in a text message to a friend, 25 April 2015

27 May 2015

Love Your Parasites (Baroque Edition)

Love Your Parasites (Baroque Edition) is a book I worked on that is edited by British artist Camilla Wills and published by Paraguay Press, Paris. I contributed a text to the editorial titled 'Add-on: stuff that sticks' (which you can see/read in pictures at bottom of this post).

Launched at South London Gallery on 2 May 2015, with a forthcoming launch in Paris from 19:00 at castillo/corrales on Friday 19 June 2015 (with readings by Justin Lieberman, Laetitia Paviani, Sabrina Soyer and Eleanor Weber & Camilla Wills), this book contains contributions by the following artists:

Morgan Courtois
Stanya Kahn
Allison Katz
KAYA (Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers)
Rachel Koolen
Justin Lieberman
France-Lise McGurn
Jamie Partridge
Laetitia Paviani
Valerie Snobeck
Amelie von Wulffen

As the blurb describes: 'Love Your Parasites is a picture book that recognizes the “co-suffering parasite” through the lens of the motif in different art practices. Motif is taken to be a charged shape that communicates a desire. A form that is clung to, repeated and ascribed significance, that sticks around for a long period of time: scab, bruise, receptor. In this case contamination is renewal, a recurrence without security. Circulation is an intoxicated survival ...'

Designed by Ben Weaver and printed to an edition of 500, for 20€ get your hands on one of these beautiful things, to reference, to open up, and to keep generating heat.

For more information and to order (worldwide postage), click HERE!

8 April 2015

'Richard Frater: April 2015' for ACCA's NEW15 catalogue

I wrote an essay for the catalogue of NEW15, held at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Melbourne.

Curated this year by artist Matt Hinkley, NEW is ACCA's 'annual commissions exhibition for rising Australian contemporary artists'. It opened on 14 March and runs through 17 May 2015.

The selected artists are Paul Bai, Jessie Bullivant, George Egerton-Warburton, Richard Frater, Ash Kilmartin, Adelle Mills, Kate Newby, and Alex Vivian. The catalogue contains essays on each of the artists' work and can be purchased for a tiny $16 at ACCA or online.

I wrote about New Zealand-born, Berlin-based Richard Frater's work 'April' (2015), and the piece can be downloaded here:


If you are in Melbourne, be sure to check out the exhibition! Many thanks to Richard, Matt, and ACCA.

11 March 2015

Quote of the day, yay!

'Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.

They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving.... The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.'

-- David Foster Wallace, excerpt from 'In His Own Words', commencement address at Kenyon College, USA 2005

11 February 2015

"Woman, which includes man, of course": Notes on Andrea Fraser's 'Men on the Line'

If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution's Performance Days, curated by Tanja Baudoin, Frédérique Bergholtz and Vivian Ziherl, ran from 27 November through 3 December 2014 across various venues in the Netherlands. This seven-day festival dedicated to performance 'comprised all the productions that were developed as part of If I Can't Dance's Edition V – Appropriation and Dedication (2013-2014), alongside contributions by other artists and speakers.'

I was invited to write a text on Andrea Fraser's Men on the Line, performed Wednesday 2 December 2014 at De Balie, Amsterdam, and co-presented with Casco.

“Woman, which includes man, of course”: Notes on Andrea Fraser’s Men on the Line: Men Committed to Feminism, KPFK,
1972, 2014, Amsterdam
is published as part of In Rear View, a series of documents that reflect on the Performance Days through visitor accounts by a range of writers, photographs by Kyle Tryhorn and interviews by Amal Alhaag and Maria Guggenbichler with participants.

You can read and download my account here: https://www.academia.edu/10688558/_Woman_which_includes_man_of_course_Notes_on_Andrea_Fraser_s_Men_on_the_Line_Men_Committed_to_Feminism_KPFK_1972_-_If_I_Cant_Dance_Performance_Days_Amsterdam_2014

Many thanks to Tanja, Frédérique, and Susan Gibb.

2 February 2015

Quote of the day, yay!

'The theoretical and practical struggle against unity-through-domination or unity-through-incorporation ironically not only undermines the justifications for patriarchy, colonialism, humanism, positivism, essentialism, scientism, and other unlamented -isms, but all claims for an organic or natural standpoint. I think that radical and socialist/Marxist-feminisms have also undermined their/our own epistemological strategies and that this is a crucially valuable step in imagining possible unities. It remains to be seen whether all 'epistemologies' as Western political people have known them fail us in the task to build effective affinities.'

-- Donna Haraway, 'A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century', Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, Routledge, New York 1991, pp. 149-181

31 January 2015

How To Sleep Faster #5

I have a strange essay titled 'NOT!: becoming fanatically NEET' about language under capitalism, investors and NEETs, and Tiziana Terranova's theory of 'ordinary psychopathologies' on pp. 126-33 of the fifth issue of How To Sleep Faster (Winter 2014), published by Arcadia Missa.

Edited by Tom Clark, Rózsa Farkas (Arcadia Missa), Holly Childs, and Leila Kozma, the issue asks:

#HTSF5 #nofuture
What are our politics of refusal? Sleep? Catatonia? Hedonism? Transgression even? #hustle?
[Can refusal can be performed as resistance and not operate as preemptively fucked. . .]

Contributors are:
@GAYBAR, Abri de Swardt, Anna Zett, Ann Hirsch, Anne La Plantine, Aurelia Guo, Beatrice Schultz, Campbell, Dénes Krusovszky, Eleanor I Weber, Elvia Wilk, Holly Childs, Holly White, Imran Perretta, Jala Wahid, Jesse Darling, Katherine Botten, Lauren Hidden, Marcell Szabó, Michael Runyan, Sarah M Harrison, Sophie Collins, Steph Kretowicz

You can ORDER the 162 page issue for £12 + postage here: http://arcadiamissa.tictail.com/product/how-to-sleep-faster-issue-5 (or find in good bookstores: ISSN 2052-3769).

21 January 2015

runway #25 [MONEY] guest blogger

Back in 2010 I contributed an in-conversation with artist Brian Fuata to Sydney-based Australian magazine runway, which can be read here: http://raddestrightnow.blogspot.fr/2010/07/runway-issue-16-disappearance.html.

Since then, as of Issue #23 in December 2013, runway is no longer in print but nonetheless has survived in digital form!

I was invited by curator and editor Macushla Robinson to be the guest blogger for Issue #25 [MONEY], launched in August 2014, to which I contributed a series of posts broadly dedicated to the theme, which played out in eight parts.

Part I: Lazzarato's 'Indebted Man'
Using Lazzarato's book as a touchstone, this first post discusses the ideological use of indebtedness in the creation of late-capitalist subjectivity. A lens for viewing the blog series.

Part II: Eyes on the prize

A critique of competition in art.

Part III: What is this thing called 'work'?
A discussion of Silvia Federici's theories in relation to the feminisation of labour and how it relates to post-Fordist 'creative' (under- or unpaid) work.

Part IV: Some smiles for the Economic Frown
A semi-fictional narrative of some Australians in Brussels, a lot of beer and a poetry reading by Matthew P. Hopkins!

Part V: A page on W.A.G.E. (valued at approx. $93.75)
A brief discussion of the project of US activist group W.A.G.E. and the false-dialectic of 'not-for-' and 'for-' profit.

Part VI: Notes on Society, with Susan Gibb
An interview with Australian curator and writer, Susan Gibb.

A brief reflection on one booth at FIAC, Paris 2014.

Part VIII: One for the Money
Jeanette Winterson has final word.

Thanks a lot to Macushla for the invitation! Long live independent publishing!
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