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Tag Archives: Alister Karl

Science Friction @ Counihan Gallery

The Moreland Summer Show at the Counihan Gallery in Brunswick has the work by fifty-two artist who live, work or are otherwise connected to the area. The theme of the exhibition is “Science Friction” and that meant several flying saucers: Daniel Armstrong and Melinda Capp’s made of various found materials and Nadia Mercuri’s classic saucer in cast green lead crystal and blown glass.

UFOs are a barometer for the ignorant paranoid thinking about the idea of science and many of the artists in the exhibition were conflating the idea of science with industry and commerce. Moans and complaints about science do not generally make for good art or an engaging discourse. In his opening speech at the exhibition, senior curator of contemporary art at the NGV, Max Delany was kinder referring to the portrayal of the unthinkable and unsayable.

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Frances Tapueluelu, Technological Colonisation

Maybe if the word “technology” was used instead of “science” then the artist would have been less confused. Artists are familiar with technology, old technology, new technology, pushing technologies and exploring technologies. Frances Tapueluelu provided more balance and beauty in looking at the impact of communications technology on Tonga culture. Technological Colonisation is a magnificent headdress made of old mobile phones, keyboard keys, wires and plugs.

Many of the artists in the exhibition use technologies, from ancient to new. There are several video works. Ben Taranto’s beautiful one minute video loop, Blue Space, that turns the floor into a small pond with fish. Jenny Loft combines both old and new technology in When Mary met Ada, with a glass sculpture, cast using the ancient lost wax technique, mounted on a digital print of a computer chip.

Alister Karl keeps on pushing drawing in surprising directions and graphite can conduct electricity. So Karl has hooked up two batteries to a mix media drawing of a rocket adding a circuit board element, two LED lights and a small speaker.

For me the work that best captured the theme of the exhibition was a small oil painting by Saffron Newey. Mashed Romantic is a beautiful but unreal landscape mixing images from the visionary American painter, Thomas Cole and other painters. This mashed image reminds the viewer that the artist’s, or other observer’s image of nature are always artificial constructs, mashes of ideas and impressions.

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From Russia with Stamps

The video shows the image of Roger Moore strangling a blond woman with her bikini top projected onto the back and thighs of a lingerie clad woman. Jenna Corcoran created the video and is tells me about her marathon of watching Bond films to find these strange misogynistic images amongst the early films; thankfully diminished by the 1970s. “Goldmember,” Jenna says and then realizing her Freudian slip, “I keep saying that.” Easy to do the Bond films are one gigantic Freudian slip, the id projected onto a giant Cinemascope screen.

On Friday night Brunswick Art Space opened two group exhibitions: “Bond Song” and “Posted from Nowhere (Or, What Have You Done For Me Philately?)” advertised the Fringe Festival Guide.

Sorocuk, Ive Sorocuk

Sorocuk, Ive Sorocuk

Dapper Ive Sorocuk, a committee member at Brunswick Art Space had art in both exhibitions and was dressed for the Bond theme. His video played with the iconic opening credits with the gun barrel viewpoint. Brunswick Art Space has several comix artists on its committee, an unusual artistic direction for Melbourne’s art run spaces.

“Bond Song” features art by Monique Barnett, The Chaotic Order, The Dark Carnival Dolls, Alister Karl, Max Piantoni, Genevieve Piko, Ive Sorocuk, and Jamie Rawls. Curator Alister Karl’s theme of the songs Bond movie franchise inspired lots of video art and even some music videos like The Chaotic Order’s take on Peter Gabriel’s song “Sledgehammer” as a Bond theme. Genevieve Piko’s video installation “The Sun Ain’t Shinning No More” showed the influenced of both Bruce Nauman’s “Good Boy Bad Boy” (1985) with the two video monitors with heads and the vacuity of the Bond movie dialogue.

(There is a sideshow or teaser for this exhibition in the window space at the Edinburgh Castle but that looks a bit weak with an awkward installation of a TV set and other bits.)

“Posted from Nowhere (Or, What Have You Done For Me Philately?)” is an exhibition of comix artist showing a series of stamps issued by the postal system from utopia/dystopia/parallel universes. Curated by comix artist, Jo Waite, the exhibition looks great. The tight theme for this exhibition is great as postage stamps are evidence of the collective consciousness, the official image of the country, some of the best of these retelling Australian history presenting alternative cultural icons. There is philatelic focused art by Neale Blanden, David Blumenstein, Bernard Caleo, Alex Clark, Maude Farrugia, Michael W. Hawkins, Greg Holfeld, Peter Jetnikoff, Mandy Ord, and Ive Sorocuk.


Like This

On Friday evening I went to the opening of “You Like This – concerning love, life and FACEBOOK” curated by Vinisha Mulani and Alister Karl at Brunswick Arts. This is not the first exhibition about Facebook; last year there was an exhibition at Dark Horse, “Facebook project” but I didn’t get to that exhibition.

I liked the Brunswick Arts exhibition; each of the artists had their own wall, like in Facebook, except this was an actual gallery wall. Peter Davidson took this took this further and made an actual wall, instead of a virtual one, with a string time line, photos and index cards for each entry.

Jenna Corcoran “Facebook is a dirty word”, (blue wool and nails) 2012

I particularly like Jenna Corcoran’s “Facebook is a dirty word” (blue wool and nails). That is the problem, although most art is only looked at for a few seconds, Facebook is reducing everything to eye-candy and gossip.

Jamie Rawls video “like totally” was a montage of people using the word ‘like’. Like wow, man. “Like” is such a mild positive statement, it is also a simile drawing a comparison between two things, not an equivalence like a metaphor just a comparison. (Like Californians didn’t say like enough already before Facebook and, of course, everyone wants a dislike button on Facebook – a thumbs down to massacres, dictators and other ugly things.)

The rest of the exhibitors were not as focused on Facebook as the concept of liking which was explored by Vinisha Mulani with a series of photographs that visitors were to attach blue like stickers. Or internet stalking explored by Alister Karl with a creepy computer installation, “Stalkbook”.

Facebook is so ubiquitous that it is hard to sum up. In the past I used to see travelers in Internet cafes reading Hotmail, then it changed and every computer screen was on Facebook. The two most obvious ways that Facebook has changed art in Melbourne are Facebook events for exhibitions and Facebook entities. Facebook events allow the galleries a better idea of how many people might be attending and to communicate with those people intending to attend. This free alternative to advertising in publications like Art Almanac, InTrouble and other paid gallery listing. Brunswick Arts exhibition was put together and promoted through Facebook.

And Facebook provides a forum for artists and galleries to communicate directly with their patrons. As a forum, Facebook has lead to the creation of a kind of micro bloggers who post regular photos and other information.

It hasn’t been a dramatic change. Facebook has been a small influence on art, mostly street art. I “Like” the seepage between the internet and the street.

Peter Tyndall writes in his blog about the way that social media and the sculpt society. Art Business has a page of do’s and don’ts for social networking for artists. I have a Facebook page for myself as a public figure (art critic). You can “Like” Black Mark, Melbourne Art & Culture Critic’s Facebook page.

Like this on Facebook.


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