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.