Bados Earthling was a street art performance artist, not a busker but guerrilla theatre performer interacting with the public in Melbourne’s laneways. Bados made himself into a cartoon complete with a handheld chalkboard speech balloon. He is a fun character, friendly and approachable. Bados claims that he is from the future but time travel appears only to have confused him and has provided him with no insights. Bados’s naïve interaction with contemporary culture provides a mirror, or rather, a blank blackboard. He has been on my radar for 3 years, in 2010 he was collaborating with street sculptor Nick Ilton. I’ve never managed to see an actual performance, relying only online videos and still photos.
Then Bados Earthling announced that he was starting a band – “something like TISM”. Bados later denied this: “Its funny TISM never really entered our minds until after our first gig @ CoCoa Jackson. They never really influenced any of my art in the past. Including the development of Bados Earthling & performance graffiti. I’ve never owned a Tism C.D. or record and never saw them in concert. Until recently when I bought a box set with a C.D. and 2 DVD’s. It was out of curiosity. I do like them though I guess you can say we will be Tismish.”
Everyone claims to know someone in TISM (This Is Serious Mum) – as all the members are masked, it is an unchallengeable claim. There was always chaos accompanying a TISM gig, it would be late, the audience would be hassled and then both chaos and music would erupt on stage. TISM describes itself as “part Dada, part-paramilitary, part-comic” and the identities of Ron Hitler-Barassi and Humphrey B. Flaubert, fit into the tradition of Rrose Selavy and Monty Cantsin.
And this is where Bados Earthling comes back into the story now with a band – the Wild Audio Society with WaDe on keyboards, Bados and Songstress X on vocals. The gothic steampunk style of WaDe improves his claims to be a time traveller but from a different time from Bados. The Wild Audio Society was officially founded in March 2012 (there must be some time travel involved).
I still haven’t got to a gig by Bados Earthling and the Wild Audio Society but I have experienced them online. Ever keen to follow the popular meme the Wild Audio Society sing about “Where’s the Banksy?” and “Free Pussy Riot”. The Wild Audio Society’s electronic rock of “Free Pussy Riot” sounds like a parody of Liabach.
Bados says “my own influences came out of Dada, Devo on the concept behind Bados, not musically, street art and comedians I have done a little stand-up over the years & fringe type comedy.”
The other band that I should mention in this mix-post is Curse Ov Dialect with their politically conscious rap with ethnomusicological sources and a hip-hop base. Curse Ov Dialect’s performances are over the top and chaotic artistic events that make TISM look like a private school variety show.
I have neglected examining Melbourne’s music in this blog, believing that it was better covered elsewhere and forgetting the importance of music to post-modern avant-garde art in general. I had been in that scene decades ago and wanted to maintain the focus of Black Mark on the visual arts but occasionally you have to make diversions.
Leave a comment | tags: Bados Earthling, Curse ov Dialect, guerrilla theatre, Melbourne, music, TISM | posted in Culture Notes, Street Art
Graff Hunters are fun series of online videos about graffiti. The presenter and lead Graff Hunter is Spud Rokk. In his sunglasses, hat and single glove Spud Rokk is exploring and hunting through the urban wilderness for graffiti. He is like an urban version of Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter and other the wild wilderness-men TV presenters. But he is a graffiti art critic.
Spud Rokk - image courtesy of Graff Hunters
Spud is a high-energy presenter; he runs down streets, climbs walls and leaps over storm water drains in a single bound. His cameraman struggles to keep up with him. Spud is always excited by the art that he discovers on the street and the excitement is contagious to the audience. His commentary is also high-energy and well informed about street artists and graffiti technique. His style of criticism is mostly about pointing out the quality in the graffiti piece. His hands and body still dance as he explains the movement and composition of graffiti pieces. Watching a Graff Hunters video is an education in the elements that make up a good piece of graffiti.
Spud is sometimes joined on his graffiti hunting Australia wide expedition by his sidekick Juzzo, sometime Spud interviews artists, but mostly he has a dialogue with the cameraman. He swears a lot more than any TV presenter (certainly more than any art presenter) but that is the street and the advantage of presenting his videos are online.
Spud Rokk - image courtesy of Graff Hunters
In reality Spud Rokk is a character created by Spencer; the blue eyes behind the trademark sunglasses. There are lots of fictional comic presenters from Norman Gunston to Ali G; these clowns are no less artificial than many glossy TV presenters but are perhaps more honest about their fictions. Spencer says that by the fictional VJ, Max Headroom inspired him to uses scratch j-j-j-j-jumps in his videos. In real life Spencer is just as full of energy, he laughs more and swears a lot less. He is motivated by his love of art and his passion energizes and motivates him. Spencer told me has done about 30 Graff Hunters videos but only some are currently on the website – he puts them up and if they don’t get good hits then he takes them down.
Spencer started off as a b-boy and break-dancing; then he saw the writing on the wall and became interested in graffiti. His old catalogue of hip-hop music has now becomes the soundtrack for the videos. He started making videos about Melbourne’s graffiti in the mid-90s and then started editing in the 2000. In 2000 he produced documentary for indi hip-hop group Curse ov Dialect who he also collaborated with musically. Editing the videos became easier after he won an ABC mini-documentary competition that lead to Graff Hunters being sponsored by NMG in Footscray. He is also working with Oriel Guthrie making a feature length documentary about Melbourne’s graffiti scene: Hello My Name Is…. Spencer plans on expanding his range of videos with Spud Rokk exploring cooking, bicycles and others passions.
I’m glad to have met Spencer as he really inspired to do more with the Sweet Streets festival film night that I ran this year that featured both an episode of Graff Hunters and the preview of Hello My Name Is…. The episode of Graff Hunters warmed up the capacity house and got them laughing – see for yourself.
2 Comments | tags: art critic, Curse ov Dialect, graffiti, Sweet Streets, video | posted in Street Art