Friday, March 25, 2011

What's in a name?

(Documented some naming brilliance from the town council in Savusavu, Fiji)

So after a stagnant year of too much work and little else, things have started a moving 'n' shaking.

For a number of months I have been meeting with a group of other AUT graduates in the hope of setting up a studio and artist run space together. After much jumping through hoops with trying to find a space and a sixth member, we finally have both thanks to Gemma and Lisa's efforts. The signing of the lease for the space on Karangahape Road is in it's final stages and we can now turn our attention to practicalities - painting, desks, lighting etc.

I have already started thinking about potential combinations for group shows - am getting a bit ahead of myself whoopsie. We want the space to function not as a exercise of self-promotion but rather an opportunity to turn our hand at the differing roles of practicing outside the institution and a space that is accesible to recent graduates and students.

The thing that is stumping us all at this point is a name. So many impressions can be taken from word association and what you choose to work under. There's the route of going with something simple and related to the location or what we want it to function as, and there is always going with terms that are unrelated and seemingly random ala Blue Oyster or Gambia Castle; both have their pros and cons. Nothing seems to fit yet, flicking through dictionaries has even been attempted. Jeepers it's kind of like naming a child no one wants it to be burdoned with a stupid name that it will be stuck with for the rest of its life before it becomes bitter and changes its name by deed poll. Sigh.

We are waiting for inspiration to strike, but I have a feeling that we will actually have to be in the space before we can decide on what fits.

Here's to the beginning of something good hopefully.


Saturday, October 23, 2010


Recently I've been discovering a lot of websites and blogs which are not of English descent. One of these websites is of a person who likes to take pictures of things stacked and arranged on top of their cat. However, one site more art specific (although I am probably one to argue that a whole art practice could very much be documented on the 'things I put on my cat' site) is pictured above which I believe is called Art-Ba-Ba. I am hooked already on the one page that I managed to stumble across. However, I also have no idea how to navigate myself towards other pages in the blog...will commence clicking on various parts of the page until I have achieved the desirable goal.

- Agnes

(And one for good luck)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Points Lost


I repent for my failure and avoidance of all things art related.

Sorry Jignes.

I offer up my first two attempts to become schooled in the art of icing.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thinking about Furnitures

I am gearing up to move flats for the third time this year which will see me transitioning into a smaller apartment block in the city. Because of this, I have become obsessed with small space solutions and furniture. I also understand that these sorts of obsessions are best directed towards my art practice before I become a crazy furniture hoarder and start dreaming in all things particleboard.

Thus, upon my research, I came across this post which outlines 19 space saving furniture concepts for making the most out of a tiny apartment space. The overwhelming consensus on this list is that to save space, things must turn into other things (barring the bed which is stored against the ceiling, although that too turns into an optional lighting system for your open plan loft apartment...). Also, the things that these things turn into would either be other furniture, or art. The above picture shows a concept which would turn four cushions and a coffee table into a fantastic 'contemporary piece of art' whereby you can even choose the colours of each individual piece. This made me wonder whether the 'artist' is the person choosing or the original designer?

But it also got me thinking about my own exploration of objects and their performative functions. While I'm interested in the point at which an object has the potential to be perceived as something else, such as an anthropomorphic body, essentially I am doing the same as these transformative furniture concepts; turning things into other things, or at least laying open the potentials of a thing being another thing...

But perhaps the difference between my practice and a piece of space saving furniture lies in the allowance of an object to be both one thing and another at the same time. A dining table cannot be used as both a dining table while someone is playing billiards on it (see no. 4 on the list) and a bunch of chairs cannot exist as both a chair and a table, you are instead made to choose one function or the other during one usage (see above).

Within my own practice however, I am aware that I am only really interested in objects which do not deny what they are even when they are transformed into something else. A plastic sheet is still a plastic sheet even when it exercising a performative value. However, I am also allowed this luxury because often the range of transformations exist purely in the viewer's change of perception, not in physical space.

I remember reading Jeremy Millar's book on Der Lauf der Dinge (an art piece which seems to come up a lot on this blog...) and his theory on an object and its level of automatism. An object only had the ability to be performatively adaptable when it had a lesser degree of automatism eg. a table or a chair in comparison to a iphone 4 which is programmed to be more automatic/have more automatism. But what is interesting in the inflexibility of these supposed flexible space saving options is that they only have the options given to you by the designer. Even though they pass themselves off as a chair or a table, they still have more automatism then a standalone chair or table due to their design being programmed to work and transform a specific way. Which also makes me wonder the irony in how much space one is actually saving when they need to purchase a chair to use for their table which folds into chairs, and the trouble one must go to if they want to sit down eg. 3+ minutes of unfolding a chinese screen (see no. 17)

Below is my favourite of the 19, which requires you to build your own furniture. I have always compared IKEA to lego for adults, but this takes it one more step. This particular concept also probably has the least amount of automatism out of the list.

And a video I came across which is close to my heart, having been born in Hong Kong and knowing that fitting a family of 5+ into a 600 square metre apartment is very normal.

- Agnes

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


After taking a short hiatus (the bitter Melbourne cold left me uninterested in anything other than getting over disease and hot water bottles...) I am emerging semi-victorious into Spring, and ready to share a few things which have been exciting me recently:

1: Isamu Noguchi, the Noguchi Museum and his playground proposals:

2: Edward Tufte's Gallery in Chelsea

3. Manuel DeLanda's A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History and Jörg Heiser's All of a Sudden: Things that Matter in Contemporary Art.

4. Gestures and Procedures and Bianca Hester at ACCA and their public program talks.

5. My 2011 IKEA Catalogue

6. My Ellsworth Kelley Panda Dome Birthday Cake

Eight months into my course, and I am still fuelling my art practice with cake. As you can see, not much has changed. Paint = Cake?

Photos from Peter Nencini, Edward Tufte and ACCA.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Workshop Pt.1

David Thomas giving introductions

The leftovers of Wolfgang's evolution drawing lecture

Oak Wedge (a part of the University of the Trees kit)

The rest of the kit

Beuys' presence in the form of a cardboard box Fat Corner

I have spent an intensive three days being two things:

1. Sick
2. An attendee of the first half of the Social Sculpture Workshop led by Shelley Sacks and Wolfgang Zumdick.

Having been less than impressed with my practice of late, I was hoping that through attending this workshop, I would be able to open up new avenues of thought and perhaps feed some energy back into how I make and think about art.

A few theories were touched on, the most important being Joseph Beuys' Theory of Sculpture and his statement that 'Everybody is an Artist'. Shelley talked of the use of 'invisible materials' and the new organs of perception. Wolfgang gave us a multi-media Beuys lecture where the only words spoken were those read from a German book. We spent time with trees and made gesture drawings, debated philosophical ideas and contemplated our own transformative powers in society.

Turns out, through the experience of the last three days, I've come to realise that it is less about a change in how I make and think about art as a change in how I am conscious of myself and the world around me. Perhaps it is only with a change in attitude and mindset, through coming out of a stagnant rut in my life, that I can continue to progress with my art practice.

The knowledge I had of Beuys before this workshop was merely superficial. To hear from two people who had spent time with him and continue to carry on his work today is a huge privilege. I look forward to this weekend, when the workshop continues...

In the meantime, I will also be calling upon the transformative powers of getting well (vitamin C?).

Gesture Drawings of my relationship to a Person (left) and my relationship to the State (right)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Vicarious Living

Procrastination on my Semester One Documentation Powerpoint has led me to fantasize a little about what it is like back at the old AUT. Luckily, via email, Amber informed me that Talk Week had just been and even let me have a small taste through a few images of a performance she gave for critting. In true Amber spirit, she has upholstered many an ambiguous object to engage with and I am interested to see where the performance leads her...

Thus, I share this with you as blogging is also another adequate thing one can do when mastering the art of putting things-I-must-do off.

- Agnes