Carl Sagan, in his 1996 book The Demon Haunted World: Science as a candle in the dark, suggests that it might be useful for scientists now and again to list some of their mistakes. It struck me as an interesting exercise to formulate a list of some of my biggest mistakes in my artistic career to date, get a new perspective on them. In no especial order:
paying $1,600 for Public Liability Insurance in 2003 for only one show (w3 w3lcome the future / Spitting Image)
attempting to create a play (Arcade Play) in a few weeks in 2002 with no time, support or money – when it was (inevitably) cancelled, I had wasted people’s time, my own rep as a producer, and delayed starting work on Opiate Productions’ Chosei: Eternal Life
failing to properly credit the origins of the samples of stories that were used in 2003’s w3 w3lcome the future
holding auditions for 2001’s The Mischief Sense, as if it was a privelige worth competing for to be a part of that production
not setting up a clear and straightforward decision-making structure for the collaborating groups in 2005’s One Night Only: Dallas Rockwell’s Confessional Tour
trying to be both actor and co-director in Bonesyard in 2002, causing me to fail in both tasks
trying to manage performing in Hadley and Na Milthorpe’s Bring Me The Head of Edgar Allen Poe and Bohemian’s A Prisoner’s Dilemma in the same stretch of 2007, and therefore giving Poe less time than it deserved
trying to add an unrehearsed new segment to the Fight Fire With Knives gig at C-Block in 2007 and (at the same gig) continuing to perform stale material rather than shaving down to a short but tight set
failing to film any of our Adelaide Fringe performances of A Prisoner’s Dilemma
continuing to perform at CYT’s Zapt variety evenings in 2006 and 2007, rather than saving it for occasions when I had something worth showing
the insanely bloated running time of This Is A Paid Presentation at the 2004 Multicultural Fringe Festival
not giving enough time and support to the Frozen Shape’s 2007 production of The Birthday Party
sending those few people who have ever asked me for scripts to the jumbled pile of wreckage that is my website, rather than mailing them samples directly
So in my post-Electrofringe stumblings through the web on the hunt for abstract video art, I came across a number of superior creations, ranging from the mind-bending eye-spasming phase signal artists such as billy roisz, Botborg and Lovid to the highbrow art gallery sexiness of Farmer’s Manual or Kurt Ralske. Finally (inevitably?) I came across SonicActs, an annual computer arts festival held in Amsterdam. Through some arcane grey market dealing, I was able to order a copy of the DVD which accompanied 2006’s SonicArts XI, and it has provided me with near 40 stunning videos from a huge variety of computer artists. Some highlights:
Scott Pagano and Keepadding’s videoclip for hiphop tune Chopping Heads by Funkstorung. It’s an incredibly detailed soup of colourful grafitti-drenched images from the land of urban hiphop, but rather than being just a wash of flickering shapes, it’s precisely arranged and balanced to give you the feeling of forward motion, travelling through a deformed extra-dimensional landscape to Mr Funkstorung’s handsome funk beat.
Mateusz Herczka’s 2005 video projection 44/13. Took me a while to get to grips with but was utterly fascinating when I did – on a train trip through the Netherlands, Herczka filmed the Dutch landscape out of the train window. This footage was processed through some (presumably) alien technology to make ‘objects nearest the camera stand still, while faraway objects move, the farther away the faster’. The effect is somewhat indescribable, except perhaps if you imagine standing at the centre of a city-size whirlpool, watching the outer reaches gradually drag the Dutch countryside into its pull… (Perhaps best to ignore my description and simply check it out.)
And then fist-punching-in-the-air finally, dieb13 and billy roisz collaborate as NotTheSameColor to create BYE BYE ONE, which is a technically superb and visually a melting orgasm in your retinas. The program notes describe BYE BYE ONE‘s setup as: ‘a complex accumulation of digital and analog devices [and] the result is a unique and unreproducible snapshot of technical and artistic constitutions.’ Without knowing what any of those words mean, I wholly support this sentiment.
In short, this last few hours since getting home from work and really getting to grips with this DVD, I feel I have changed for the better. You also could change for the better, probably, and to enable this you should watch some beautiful computer art. If you want to.
Arright, so I’ve plugged in some more business on the writings page: namely, three Mappalujos from 2003. The Mappalujo is a process for collaborative writing created by Jeff Noon and Steve Beard, with their grand 2002 effort The Theatre of Creatures still being the canonical example. Now on my site are three examples of the form I wrote with Nickamc & Alethiometer across 2003.
image by frosty
Players – Mountain(written with Alethiometer) turned into a charming fable about a collapsing MMORPG chewed up by nasty viral sandwiches.
The Suburbs and the PEAK(written with Nickamc) is set in a city built around a steep tower called the PEAK, which is experiencing a catastrophic wave of suicides owing (apparently) to a Smashing Pumpkins song which was never recorded. Baffling.
Lastly, The Proxies(written with Alethiometer) is a deformed epic documenting the political upheavals, the revolutions, the rebellions and the epidemics that are sweeping a solar system where the planets and moons are linked together by huge rivers of heat and current.
okay, this is a kind of cool thing, for me if no-one else. Tonight I finished posting on this website the last segment of Vnampqir, the half-prose / half-photos / half-script / half-terror-sweat retelling of the story of my 2004 script Vampire Play. Produced by Bohemian Productions and directed by Nick Johnson at the C-Block Theatre in the Cancers, with mentorship by playwright Paschal Berry (through the Canberra Youth Theatre Engagements program), Vampire Play was possibly the first script I wrote which (a) a lot of people saw and (b) that same number of people did not hate. The script was nominated for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards in 2005, wherein the judges described it as ‘a mod-gothic fantasy of vampire gangs in the tunnels of Canberra fighting for life and territory’. (lo, more production info and photos-) What is mod-gothic? Surely that’s not a real thing.
barb barnett as The Finn ignites a chinese firecracker. photo by ‘pling
But point is, it’s all up online and I dare you to glance at it, though I’m not sure I can honestly recommend you wade through the whole wrecked jungle, colourful though it is.