BLOG (March 2006 - March 2009)


March 30, 2008


Speaking to sound artist Robin Minard on a rainy evening in February this year, he explained to me that writing a Masters thesis is one of the most gut wrenching and difficult experiences you can ever put yourself through from an intellectual perspective. Writing an Honours thesis was hard enough in that surreal final month of October 05 - it felt at times like a bad one night stand that kept happening over and over again. Writing a Masters thesis for the past two years has felt more like a drawn out dysfunctional relationship - you love each other, the sex is alright, but more often than not there are disagreements and you feel the necessity to start throwing things at each other.

Analogies aside, it's a question of commitment and dysfunction when it comes to the masters thingo.

The good news is that thing are beginning to work themselves out, the amended research paper is progressing and should be in front of my supervisors before weeks end. Robin's been back in town for a couple of days after his extensive research tour of the north country and finally has some gaps in his schedule to discuss the mentorship. Confidence is gradually coming back after a frustrating period of indecisiveness and non-activity, a couple of meetings/brain picking sessions over the next couple of days with Robin should prove vital.

The amended research paper will be posted here soon, all things mentorship-centric will be posted as per usual.

Exciting times ahead.

March 25, 2008


Of late there hasn't been much posted on the blog for reasons outlined very briefly in the previous 'Blog Hiatus' post. So I've decided to take some time to plug the gaps on what has been an eventful and mildly productive month of March.

Arts and Music:

Adelaide Fringe Festival round-up

The Adelaide Fringe festival was a crippling disappointment for me this year, with an uninspired vis arts/performance program and a few saving graces in the music programme. Apparently this was a very financially successful festival with attendances up from last year's festival, but the 'safe' middle of the road fare that has dominated the programme in the past couple of years (primarily comedy) is threatening to turn the Fringe into a literal joke.

Adelaide Festival of Arts round-up:

By contrast, what I saw of the more upmarket (and better realised) Adelaide Festival of Arts was consistently excellent. Highlights include the Speed of Light exhibition, the Adelaide Biennial, Hossien Valamanesh's in-conversation artist talk, The Imaginary Menagerie and Michael Riley's 'Cloud' photo montage that stretched along North Terrace.

One image from Michael Riley's 'Cloud'

Graffiti Research Lab:

Unfortunately, I haven't had much of a chance to keep abreast of the Graffiti Research Lab's movements in Adelaide, though I did get a chance to have a chat with one of the visiting members who encouraged me to check out New York sometime soon. Lauren and I had some fun with a bright blue throwie on the way home that night.

GRL opening at Artspace

The throwie finds a home on a gutter

Miscellaneous exhibitions:

A couple of exhibitions around the first half of the month were good too. The SASA gallery and Liverpool street art space offered up some inspiring and creative works including this shredded assemblage of vinyl records (below).

Shredded records


This year's Womad was by far the best I've attended in several years. Musical highlights included the suave Mariachi Victor Valdez and his pimping white harp, the Jazz Fusion of Billy Cobham, a Japanese Drumming trio and some enormous fire murals around the festival site. It was a hot and dry Sunday - a little too much cider was consumed and the dustbowl conditions were inhospitable. I'm very glad I don't have a respiratory condition.

Victor Valdez at Womad

A suspended fire mural

Some live music:

Cat Power gave a splendid performance at the Governer Hindmarsh, prowling the stage with a hot shit rhythm and blues band backing her up. It was a distinctly contrasting performance to the depressing spectacle I witnessed in 2003 when she tearfully exited the stage mid way through her set.

Cat Power

The following night Ron Sexsmith delivered the goods at Fowler's Live in a mercurial set with a bassist and drummer forming a tightly knit trio. It was perhaps not the most appropriate venue for Ron's stuff (questionable acoustics and PA), but this couldn't take anything away from a brilliant performance.

Ron Sexsmith

Research and extracurricular:


The dust at Womad and a heavy schedule took hold upon my returning home from Ron Sexsmith with a mid-tempo cough and two weeks illness commenced in the midst of Adelaide's record breaking heat wave. In other words, I became sick as a puppy. Thankfully, antibiotics are pop-rocking my world.

Ink sketch "Continuum Fruit": 1st March 08

Masters research:

The research stalled dangerously at the start of the month and I've since tried to get things running again with measured success over the past week. In May I'll be delivering a research update (ostensibly an amended version of my previous research paper), so this is providing some much needed impetus to get things done.

Robin Minard Mentorship:

Lauren and I met up with Robin and his partner Susan on a psuedo-wintery night about a month ago as Sonic Youth played downstairs from a friend's studio. It was good to see Robin and Susan after about two years, and although still heavily jet-lagged, Robin was his usual erudite self, offering some helpful advice on my research as well as making some preliminary plans for when Lauren and I get over to Germany in September. The following day, Robin and Susan headed south to the Coorong on a research gathering mission with 20,000 Euros worth of audio/video gear. Robin's expected back in Adelaide over the next couple of days, it will be good to catch up and see what he's been up to on his travels. We might even be able to figure out what exactly we'll be doing together as well.

Robin Minard's 'Sounds On Paper'

Rolf Julius:

I managed to establish contact with German sound artist (and good friend of Robin's) Rolf Julius, whose been mentioned in this blog a few times. Since he's based in Berlin I'm hoping to drop by his studio during the Germany trip. Cheers to his daughter Maija for her prompt reply to my queries and her Dad's email!

EAF 2009:

The belated EAF proposal for 2009 is virtually finished, taking up the stack from my Shoot collaborators and knocking it into some coherent sense. Once it's been submitted I'll post some info on it. Lauren's on board too as a Shoot member which is nice.

ACMC Sound:Space:

I'll be attending ACMC (Australasian Computer Music Conference) this year, I just have to write a paper and put a work together. Since the conference theme is right up my alley, it would be a shame to miss this opportunity to get my work amongst a broader realm of peers.

So all in all, it's been a frenetic and frustratingly busy (and sick) month - here's hoping April is a bit better adjusted and free flowing. There's plenty to get done.

March 18, 2008

Blog silence

Strange phenomena: 16 consecutive days of 35+ degree heat has led to a lack of productivity.

Sick: Combination of heat, dust, lack of sleep, stress. Cannot presently concentrate.

Snowed under: ACMC paper, EAF 2009 proposal, amended research paper, teaching, mentorship, grant deadlines.

March 01, 2008

The Imaginary Menagerie & Northern Lights

As someone who has (so far) found the 2008 Adelaide Fringe to be severely underwhelming and lacking imagination, it was a welcome relief to experience a couple of performances and presentations for the opening of the 2008 Adelaide Festival which restored my faith in Adelaide's festival season.

The Imaginary Menagerie consisted of three 20 minute sets by Hidden City in the gregarious atmosphere of Elder Hall. The combination of electronics and live instruments was very good at times, especially during the quieter moments when Stephen Whittington's Satie/Monk piano came to the fore. The sound overall though was a little imbalanced at times though, as Derek Pascoe's saxophone occasionally drowned out the other instruments. However that shouldn't discourage from the good overall performance by the group and the fact that this was the first proper electronic/experimental music performance I'd seen in Elder Hall in eons. Hopefully it will be more of a common occurance in the future.

Afterwards, the festival opened proper including some lovely (albeit slightly gaudy) projections on the facades of prominent buildings along North Terrace. A nice night.

intrepid visitors since 25/1/08