25 November 2015

Balance : Pt2

Just quickly, some grabs from the last rehearsal, before the Frinj festival. Edwin Irvine putting the island through its paces.

These are all screen grabs from footage shot by Jacqui Schultz (thanks Jac).

I'm off to Warrnambool for workshop and continuded development of the shop window installation with Glenn Morgan.More Balances photos once I get back (and maybe a sneak preview of the the Warrnambool project)

23 November 2015

Nyah West : Pt 2

Just a couple of shots of of the premiere screening on the silos at Nyah West.

In spite of gale force winds all day, and fears of the projector and speakers being blown all the way to Swan Hill, things calmed just enough on sunset to fire it all up.

Really great to see just about everyone in town turn up for the screening from the 5-year-olds to the 95-year-olds and a fair few in between. Well done Nat for pulling together such a great event (and thanks again to RAV for coming to the party).

I'll upload the actual film soon...

10 November 2015

Nyah West : Pt 1

Geting ready for the screening at the Nyah West Silos for the school centenary. Nearly there.

Thanks to al the kids at Nyah west for their excellent drawings...the teachers for being so helpfull while I was there and also to RAV for making all of it possible.

25 August 2015

Balance - Part 1

Right in the thick of pulling together a new puppet show called Balance.

Really pretty excited about this one.

I brings together a lot of the bicycle power stuff I was playing with during the previous Nati Frinj Festival  (Red vs Blue and Somethings Afoot) and marries it with a bit of puppetery and a whole new world of automata that I've been enjoying delving into.

All the puppets and bits are made of old circuit boards and the basic premise is that the island (which is the central feature of the show) on the knife edge of being cut from the grid has a week to find itself a Balanced alternative and sustainable way to power itself.

Part puppet show, part forum theatre. Lots of fun. If anyone else has half as much fun as Im having making it it ought to be a roaring success.

Thanks to RAV and the Australian Children's Theatre Foundation for giving me the chance to make this happen. Its an idea that's been slowly brewing in the back of my brain for a long time and this is a real chance to coax it into reality.

17 August 2015

In Debt-Saving Seed

A bit more detail on the In debt Saving Seed Project now that the dust has settled on that one.Great prject all things considered, a good blend of subject matter and an approach that was going to require me to do something Id never done before. My favorite project are always the ones here I go in not know if, let alone how I was going to pull them off and this was definitely one of those.

Complicating matters further I was back and forth to Singapore quite a bit, working on the 50 Bridges animation project. Another excellent thing to be doing that warrants a more detailed post of its own but multi-tasking has never been one of my strong points.

The seven prints that were finally selected for the exhibition are below. They are amongst my favourites but really it cam down to the space at CCP dictating the number of prints that woud fit at the desired size (7 plus 2 videos) and then selecting, within that, what worked with each other, and covered the range of what I was trying to explore.

 And a few stills from the videos.

These were shot with a video camera and then processed so that each new frame was "added" to the last (in the photoshop use of the term "add"... though I made up a sketch in quartz composer to do the job). Rendering these two out was a lot more time consuming than I would have guessed. I put them onto render around midnight the night before the install fairly sleep deprive by his point after 3 months of not a lot of sleeping. Then bed... and... up again at 6 to make the four hour drive to Melbourne and they were still chugging away. Shifted computer to the car running off cigarette lighter. Drove to Melbourne, rendering all the way pulled up outside CCP and it still had 5 min to go. Rested my eyes for those 5 glorious minutes. "Bing" done. walk in to CCP and comence the install.

 Here's those couple of shots again of the install.(I was off tinkering with the videos while Kara and Alison did all the heavy lifting)

 And the launch that night...

And here is a (rather blurry) shot of how it looked going up at Horsham Regional Art Gallery (must have forgotten to take the phone out of my lunch box before I took this).

Actually, here's a better photo taken by HRAG (also featuring a couple of Steven Rhall's images in the foreground)

And this is a trip we did with the Natimuk school kids for a final look at the work before it was all pulled down.

Posing in front of their handy work. This field of canola was created by four kids marching up and down the field with iPads at night for a 45 minute shot whilst I barked orders from the sidelines. 

I feel like I could easily have put up twice as many images without it getting repetitive but by the same token... Seven gave a pretty good cross-section of the work. Here are a few teasers from the B-List.

Seems to be a bit of interest in the series so hopefully there will be an opportunity down the track for some of the others to have their moment.

23 July 2015

Lots of Stuff

Meant to put this all up a while back but got completely overwhelmed by the 'lotsness' of the stuff.

Had a very intense period of projects all coming on top of each other.

All great things...not a lot of time to fit them all in and multitasking had never been one of my strengths. Each thing is probably worth a post in their own right..but now we a here that this is all quickly receding into ancient history.

The dates elude me but the follow all takes place over the course of around 6 weeks.

So, in order of appearance...

The final development and rehearsal and sell-out-season of 'Captives of the City' at the Melbourne Art Center. This show has been in development for more than two years, and great to see it finally get over the line. Working with Chamber Made and Lemony S to develop the show...which occurs in an entriely projection mapped concrete bunker underneath the Art-Center.

'In Debt... Saving Seed' (formerly know as 'Seeds of Change'). A photographic exhibition with Steven Rhall at the Australian Center of Contemporary Photography (CCP) in collaboration with Horsham Regional Arts Gallery (HRAG).

Coming along...Most of the work done photographing and filming. Spent a few days in the deep freeze trying to get some decent images using the light extrusion technique and quite a few other long nights out in the field capturing others. Really feels like its getting there but I still need to digest and let it coalesce into an actual exhibition. Steven Rhall is up here also, in residence at the AGG as his part of the exhibition.

Went in to have a look at the exhibition space at on the way to the airport. Good chat to Naomi.

Off to Singapore to make a start on an animated film project as part of the Australian High Commission's "50 Bridges" project (In the vein of In My Day) to help Singapore celebrate its 50th anniversary of independence (Hard drive full of Light painting to mull over if I get a spare moment). Never been outside the airport in Singapore before but these projects are always a great vehicle to explore a new place so I'm excited. Happily this moment coincided with school holidays so Jill and the girls came along too and, amongst all the film making, there was still time for a bit of taking in the sights. A great 2 weeks in Singapore. Staying with the Coulter family who are possible the best and most generous hosts who have ever volunteer to invite me and my family into their doors. Interviewing some of Singapore's pioneers...

On the gathering of film making materials front it was a raging success. Ethan in Singapore had assembled a great ensemble of interviewees.  

...and then a week working with the students at Raffles Primary School to animate these stories and bring them to life.

Back to Australia. One week till the exhibition launch at CCP. A last minute dash back to the -22°c freezer at the Australian Grains Genebank (AGG) in Horsham to reshot one of the images I wanted to see if I could push a bit further.

Then Back dawn to Melbourne for the install... The last video files I popped on to render...went to bed at about 3am...got up agian at 7 for the 4 hour drive with the computer still rendering...drove to town with my laptop plugged into the cars cigarette lighter rendering all the way...and had itfinish literally as I pulled up outside CCP (cards well played).

Alsion from HRAG came down for the install and below you see her and Karra giving the prints the white gloves treatment while I fiddled with the video player on the other side of the room.

Launch done. Great turn out, enthusiastic crowd. Really good experience all round.

Back to Natimuk. repairing and prepping the virtual bike for a stint at the regional victorian living expo and trying to coax a bit of life back into my savagely damaged unicycle puppets to get them ready for the Charlegrark Festival.

Down to Melbourne set up the bike for the expo. This is a bit of a first for me in that the bike was a hired one and I had to retro fit my sensor kit to it.

Not only that but I will not actually be there during the running of the event in case anything goes wrong. This frightens the hell out of me but they don call me 'No Alternative Dave" for nothing. I meet the team...people are worded up.

Everything works. Yay! I get back on the bus and leave.

On the bus back home. Somewhere near Ararat. Phone rings...The bike has mysteriously stopped working. Bugger! Upon further questioning it emerges that some of the leads have been "unplugged a little bit". Manage to talk through a repair on the phone and it all seems to be working again....recommend getting some good tape and wrapping the leads all up to prevent any more mishaps.

Final touch-ups on puppet. Load trailer. Ready to install at Lake Charlegrak the following morning.

Against all odds, the puppets up and running at Charlegrark...

...Along with second virtual bike.

This is a first time for having the bikes running simultaneously in two remote locations for me (starting to feel like a bit of a franchise).


Regional Living Expo and Charlegrark Festival safely over. Back down to Melbourne to set bike 1 up for the Showcase (Regional Victorian Performing Arts Market) and man that for the weekend.

Back home... working like a fiend on the film for Singapore... Its great material...excellent interviws and such a wealth of great drawings that have been produces by the kids. The difficulty is in whittling the whole thing down to a manageable size. Settle upon ten minutes, duration, which feels like it gives enough time to explore the breadth of what all the pioneers had to say. And then to create from that

Back to Singapore for the '50 Bridges' launch. Turning the paired back 10 min version into a super tight 3 min version on the plane on the way over.

Singapore trip two is great....a whole contingent of Polyglot and Snuff Puppeteers and oz graffiti art elite who are all there for 5 Bridges. My work by this point is largely done. Unlike the puppeteers and street arts who are out there sweating it out on the streets of Singapore taking the best of Australian street art to the masses.

 Launch is a terrific event at the Australian Embassy. Really great to see some of the Raffles students back again and great to watch them tittering as their animation plays on the big screen to the crowded room.

I have at this point about four weeks worth of sleep deprivation to make amends for, so I do some of that. Even mange a cheeky climb or two with polyglot ring-in  and puppeteer extraordinaire Jacob Williams.

 My task on arriving back in will be to create a motion activated waterfall projection. Also just heard that an application I put in to the Australian Children's Theater Foundation was successful and I get to make a bicycle powered puppet show that explores ideas of sustainability to premiere at the NatiFrinj Festival in October building on some of the ideas and themes of "Something's Afoot" and "Art Pumping Action" from the 2013 NatiFrinj Festival adding health splash of puppets and pushing it in a direction where it hopefully might make some sort of a difference.

So trying hard to rough out plans for motion sensor waterfall while bike power puppet designs keep slipping out the end of my pen.

Back home, one week to Art Is... launch.working furiously with Blizz and Robbie to create waterfall installation. Really like working with Erth. Their approach to community arts projects is really exciting.

Robbie has already filmed the faces of the local indigenous elders and sorted out the sound design, its up to me and Blizz now to get the waterfall and projections working.Also there is puppet making to be done.

A master-class Erth on the art of foam puppet making. The puppets are destined to be debutantes and the ball that is a part of the Art Is... launch event.  In anticipation of the Id picked up a cheap dress at Little India in Singapore the morning before I flew out thinking that even if the puppet was a last-minute dogs-breakfast, the dress at least might keep peoples eyes off that fact. Again a really great thing to be a part off Aesha and Blizz really know a thning or two about making puppets...stuff I wish Id know before I ever launched into Highly Strung. Given a choice I would probably have opted for a spider or something with loads of limbs so I could ptactise making joints a whlo lot more, but as it is, I'm shaving down foam buttocks to try and squeeze them into the cheap dress I picked up last week.

Friday.Art Is...Launch. It happens, the waterfall is working. Yay! The puppets are finished and after arriving in a stretch limo handed over to the dancers to work their magic.

Again I must say...Im really please with the way Erth have come in and created an event/space in the traditionally Arts-phobic Horsham that feels like it is gaining some traction. Cant wait to see what we come up with for next year.

Saturday. Day trip to Melbourne...Regional Arts Victoria AGM and I receive the grant from the ACTF and my first ever giant cheque.

Sunday. Art Is... artists' talk and continuing festivities. last immediate deadline


Cant believe it. Really didn't think it was going to even be humanly possibly to deliver on all of these things...the simultaneous running of virtual bikes, one week after the return from Singapore and CCP exhibition launch was the point where I was the surest it was all going to fall in a heap but somehow squeaked through no small thnks to the organistional juggernaut tht was Graham and Rainbow at the Regional Arts end of the moment and the extreme good will, calmness and problem solving/crowd management that was Oz and Duncan on the ground out at Charlegrark.

End of endurance event. It's amazing how when you get enough good things together and line them all up in a row it becomes almost a traumatic experience.

There were other things that happened too... Applications written for future projects. Meetings I sat in where people talked about stuff. But above are the things I made or was a part of the making of. A few where I felt I knew the co-meeters well enough to fore-warn them I was happy to sit in the meeting if they (felt it was helpful fr me to be there) but would have no recollection of any discussion that took place as soon as I left the room.

If I get a chance I will revisit these things and tease them out over the course of a few more posts... really just wanted to have a record that ll this stuff happened in early 2015 and somehow I survived it.