Down by the Riverside finalist in the Greenway Art Prize

One of my rare 2D works – a collaboration with my partner in crime/art Alessandro Berini- has been selected as a finalist as a local artist in the 2016 Greenway Art Prize. The title comes from an old spiritual dating back to the turn of last century. I don’t tend to listen to music much on my headphones as I usually find it too overwhelming and am too interested in the soundscape of the world around me, but I often have songs in my head, and this one pops in every now and then. I sang it as part of a jazz festival in the local church when I was fifteen, with a group of old musos (at least they seemed old to me at the time, they were probably only in their 60s). I was a little nervous and one of them told me the best way to prepare for a performance was with “a shot of whiskey and a raw egg.” Unfortunately not an option for me at the time, but still remember it to this day.  Anyway, here is the artist statement:

Urban spaces are saturated with stories. Every day we pass through these spaces; we work, walk, live and breathe them. Spectral traces of history ebb and flow in, through and under the tide of contemporary life with great intensity. This is particularly true of the river, which reflects in its waters and along its banks shades of the past; mantels of the land worn at different times, those dissipated and those still forming. Stories of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Down by the Riverside seeks to intimate the ephemeral histories which rest beneath the surface of the everyday and hint quietly as to which shape these may take in the future.

Down by the Riverside acrylic/oil on canvas
Down by the Riverside acrylic/oil on canvas
Down by the Riverside
Down by the Riverside(detail)

No audio for this one, maybe one day…

Shades At Hidden

We are proud to have our work chosen for inclusion on Hidden. I’ve been working on the script and artist statement and thought I’d share it prior to the opening. I am working on recording the words with different speakers/ages and they will be mixed into a multi channel work installed at Rookwood. The largest cemetery in  the southern hemisphere.

Artist Statement
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she;
But oh, the things
I learned from her
When Sorrow
walked with me!
–Robert Browning Hamilton

All traditions, all customs have words which resound over our passings. Words spoken to comfort; words of solace. Their meaning, floats like shades out into the universe, songs made so by our singing of and unto them. Not only in the moment but past our own lifetimes. What is left when there is no more? Only shades of our departing.

Hidden (Shades)TEXT

I was thinking,

And my thoughts became loud.

So loud others could hear them

Eventually they passed into stories.

Passed on,

Past my lifetime. Living on,

No longer of mine tongue alone.


I wrote words onto page

They spoke to me

And through my speaking,

you took them in.

Said them aloud,

Wrote them in your own words.

These passed on

Past your lifetime. Living on,

No longer of your tongue alone.


We said the words aloud.

They resounded.

Words at the end, for those remaining.

Past our lifetimes.

…Audio to come.

Bad New Days

It’s a new day on the bottom of the ocean. Two pieces of rubbish sit on the sea floor and chat about the weather and the changes they’ve experienced.
This work is about the consequences of climate change and our own existence in a throw away society.

Soundpod #1: Red

057096Soundpod 1# Red

This piece is a stereo version of a multi-channel sound and sculpture installation built for the show Flushed, Red, Rubicund and Scarlet.It is the first in a series of Soundpods that you enter inside to experience. Created from luscious red velvets and silken fabrics it is both a sensual and aural experience. The vocals are recorded through a throat microphone and include a snapshot of people speaking about the colour red and its associations, from teapots to genres of film, Chinese weddings dresses to female sexual liberation, red is a colour of passion and difference. The heart beat, recorded with a stethoscopic microphone, seeks to capture internal sounds and combines with the fabrics create a haptic feeling of ‘red’.

2016 HFA Art Exhibition See Street Invite

Artist Peer Award AND Staff Choice Award at Sculpture at Scenic World

So humbled to have been chosen to receive both the Artist Peer Award and the Staff Choice award at Sculpture at Scenic World for our multi-channel sound installation. “Whispers of the Forest”.

Thanks for everyone who voted for us and all the talented artists who we had the privilege of showing with, the amazing installers and the wonderful staff.

Will post pictures and a link to the sound soon.

Art on the Greenway Commission wins at ROGAP!!

Happy to say our work ‘Waves’ originally commissioned for Art on the Greenway as part of LOST (Leichhardt’s Open Studio Trail) went on to win First Prize at ROGAP  (Rockdale’s Outdoor Gallery Art Prize) this year. Thanks to my collaborators Kresho Srpak and Alessandro Berini.

This is the audio for the work. The waves are made by putting together units of cut recycled tyres, combining them in a modular and organically repeating pattern, working with the natural curve of the tyres. Together they form a undulating array of stylised wave forms reminiscent of traditional Japanese Seigaiha(seikai-ha) waves.

The waves seek to represent the cumulative effect of our actions both as individuals and as a society. One person dumping rubbish may not feel that their actions matter much, but coupled with others who do the same, accumulatively, is enough the create a wave of waste that threatens to crash over us. However, this is true for collective action too. By working together, we can turn back the tide of waste entering our landfill or waterway and by changing our actions and making others aware,
create a ripple effect that becomes far reaching. In this way, the actions of one may lead to change for the better and it is up to us to decide which direction this should take.

In the Current (In the Loop)

Rivers, of course, are metaphors for time – and nature, and for history, all of which, are irreversible processes. The hydrological cycle however is cyclical. [1]
Robert Hass

In the Current
In the Current

In the Current forms one layer of a palimpsest of works about the Cooks River in Sydney and is my contribution to the exhibition In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present. Created for the show it seeks to convey in some sense my research to date about the river. Unglamorous and unlovely the Cooks River has been altered beyond recognition in the last two centuries by the gaze of non-indigenous peoples.  Through misappropriation, mismanagement and channeling, the river has largely been turned into a drain and is now amongst the most polluted rivers in Australia.  Based on the cosmopolitical proposal of French theorist Isabelle Stengers[2] In the Current seeks ‘to “slow down” reasoning and create an opportunity to arouse a slightly different awareness of the problems and situation mobilising us.’ It asks the viewer to consider their place in relation to the river, and not only how their presence and actions have a direct effect, and continuing relevance within political ecology. What this work seeks to explicate is the proposition that there is no identity of practice independent of its environment and our own position, as well as that of non-human actors must be considered in terms of co-existence, and our collective becoming.

Water is collected from various points along the stretch of the Cooks River, and there is one bottle for every kilometre. The tape loop plays a hydrophone recording of underwater sounds and the interactive projection, created in conjunction with Alex Mesker, changes colour according to the observer’s presence. The longer you sty the more opaque the colour becomes(see below).

[1] Hass, Robert. What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination and the Natural World. New York, NY, USA: Ecco Press, 2013.

[2] Stengers, Isabelle. “The Cosmopolitical Proposal.” Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, 2005, 994–1003.

In the Current (photo by Effy Alexadis)
In the Current (photo by Effy Alexadis)
In the Current (photo by me!)
In the Current (photo by me!)
In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present exhibition
In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present exhibition (photo by Effy Alexadis)
2015-10-28 15.17.45
Water form the Cooks River
projection detail with observer present
2015-10-28 15.19.59
Work in site

In the Loop: feeding the polyphonic present

In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present exhibition
In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present exhibition

I’ve had the privilege and pleasure to work with a number of established and emerging artist colleagues to work on the show In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present. Co-curating with the very talented Terry Pelarek and video artist Danielle Zorbas and under the auspices of senior curator Rhonda Davis we put together a show that I am very proud of.

In the Loop is an inaugural exhibition   It arose, as many great happenings do, out of a frustration of the sometimes separate and lonely nature of higher degreee research and the want to celebrating the diversity of arts practice within our department, that being:  Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies (MMCCS). Crazy name I know! We wanted to interrogate the liminal and expanding zone of creative practice as research. That is what does it mean to explore independent means of presenting, embodying and manifesting art-as-research; a research that does not simply write about art, but, that is, of it. In the multi-vocal polyphonic environment that is academia, where does creative practice fit in and how can it effect discourse in a unique and inspiring way.

Primarily, the exhibition is about creating platforms which encourage the celebration of art as scientific inquiry within the academic community. As creative practice researchers and practitioners it is sometimes difficult to understand how and where we fit into more common modes of text-driven analysis and neat disciplinary boundaries. Our work is by nature interdisciplinary.

By putting on the show we wanted to amplify the voices which do not fit neatly into more traditional paradigms of inquiry, and create a collaborative contemporary conversation about the place of creative practice within the broader research culture.

Aside form myself, In the Loop showcases work by multimedia research artists and academics Alex Mesker, Vanessa Berry, Terry Pelarek, Danielle Zorbas, Clare Cooper, Wade Marynowsky and Clinton Walker, across sound, video, drawing, installation and live performance.

Here are some pics of the show (all photos copyright of Effy Alesakis unless stated). In the Loop runs until the end of November 2015:

In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present exhibition
Alex Mesker
In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present exhibition
Terry Pelarek ‘Clank’
Clare Cooper
Clare Cooper
In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present exhibition
Clare Cooper Video Still
Clinton Walker
Clinton Walker
In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present exhibition
In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present view
In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present exhibition
In the Loop: Feeding the Polyphonic Present view
Terry Pelarek performing his live looping with a saw bow opening night. (photo by me)
Terry Pelarek performing his live looping with a saw and boot opening night. (photo by me)
Danielle Zorbas at the curators' talk
Clare Cooper speaks with Danielle Zorbas at the curators’ talk. (photo by me)