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Unproductive Thinking Jessie Bullivant Lauren Burrow Eugene Carchesio Laresa Kosloff Rob McHaffie Ian Milliss Elyse de Valle Simon Zoric

Deakin University Art Gallery 26 April to 26 May 2017


installation view Deakin Art Gallery, Burwood campus


Unproductive thinking

How does one go about creating a context for art which is produced today? How can one anchor the work to the realities of its production? The story of this exhibition begins in the hills of South Gippsland. I am the passenger in a van with a work colleague heading from one university regional campus to another. A song by the famous Hollywood auteur director David Lynch plays through the crackling speakers. A low strumming of guitar and the auto-tuned voice of the singer channels Laurie Anderson. The computerized male voice repeats the words ‘strange and unproductive thinking’ until they become indelible. A prominent proponent of the transcendental meditation movement or TM, David Lynch believes in achieving higher consciousness through mediation and vibrational energies. TM is undergoing a renaissance of late. Bob Roth CEO of the David Lynch Foundation explains “With TM, you’re given a mantra – a word with no meaning – and taught how to use it… The active thinking mind settles down to a state of inner calm without any effort… I can put it even more succinctly: TM uses sounds or mantra that has no meaning as a vehicle to experience a quieter, less agitated thought process.” i Over the span of my own life I wasted a lot of time thinking unproductively, experiencing negative thoughts, doubt, worry, anxiety and paranoia. At times, I think they have been overwhelming. The idea we can transform these feelings and emotions quickly like flicking a switch to become a better you, is the starting point of this exhibition. Featuring eight Australian artists Jessie Bullivant, Lauren Burrow, Eugene Carchesio, Laresa Kosloff, Rob McHaffie, Ian Milliss, Elyse de Valle and Simon Zoric, collectively these artists explore the many terrains and territories we encounter in the pursuit of self-knowledge. They each do this in different ways through their real lives lived, through sharing their experiences and through their varied artistic approaches and materialities.


Counting Steps The second seed for this exhibition is planted when Fitbits began appearing on work colleagues wrists, circa 2012. A few years on, generations of successive monitoring devices have been quickly adapted into a normal part of contemporary life. Last week, I overheard a story that a family member now eats dinner while walking around the dinner table. Thus ensuring they meet a regular daily target of steps. Most of us are now ‘willing’ participants in collecting, analysing and monitoring one’s own life data. The life tracking or Quantified Self Movement aims to improve our selves becoming more productive, healthy and happy citizens by measuring and quantifying the body and its functions.ii As Melbourne academics Suneel Jethani & Nadine Raydan observe in their essay Forming Persona through Metrics, “Through the diligent record keeping of vital statistics users are seemingly taking control of information which was once purely the domain of medical practitioners”.iii The collection of data through consumer technologies is now used to provide agency and answer all types of questions that one may ask about one’s self. From why do I feel depressed, to how can I improve my outlook on life? Immersed in a sea of endless data there is very little time remaining to reflect. Einstein kept a sign in his office that read, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.” The new grand narrative dictates that big data is truth. Hence, it necessitates a reconstruction of values and meaning away from the spheres of the social and the cultural, toward an atomised version of the individual. To accompany the exhibition we have reprinted an essay Brain Tracking by Dr Justin Clemens at University of Melbourne (first published by The Guardian newspaper online) which further explores the pressures to optimise the self in contemporary life. Fitbits, life tracking apps and the Quantified

Self Movement set up a metaphor of the self as a heroic soldier or athlete: virtuous, disciplined and dependable. An image of the self as a Spartan runner, who never stops. The first account of this mythic story appeared in the second century A.D., when Greek writer Lucian wrote in his “True History”: Pheidippides, the one who acted as courier, is said to have used it first… when he brought the news of victory from Marathon and addressed the magistrates in session when they were anxious how the battle had ended; “Joy to you, we’ve won” he said, and there and then he died, breathing his last breath with the words “Joy to you”. – Lucian translated by A.M. Harmon, K. Kilburn and M. D. Macleod.iv What can’t be measured can’t be managed It would seem the twin goals of productivity and happiness have been inextricably linked since the ancients. The conflict between becoming the best we can be and the real world in which we are often each struggling with difficult social, familial, economic and cultural situations is introduced through two key works in this exhibition. Simon Zoric’s, The finest actor of our generation 2016, is a mock black and white staged portrait of himself as a Hollywood actor replete with the signature disposable quote ‘Work hard and be true to yourself’. In this exhibition, Zoric’s portrait is paired Laresa Kosloff’s self-proclaiming video I can’t do anything 2015. The subjects of her short video declare their incapacity to act, their lack of agency, and a fallibility to progress to anywhere at all. The search for truth, and a failure to live up to one’s own and others expectations, are further explored by artist Simon Zoric. What’s your beef guv’nor 2007 is a familiar diagram of how to butcher a cow. Instead, Zoric has supplemented traditional cuts of meat with a critical selfexamination of his motivations and relationships. From the desk of 2013 explores the full spectrum of self-depreciation and inadequacy. The artwork takes the guise of a letter from the artist to the Senior Curator of Contemporary art at the NGV. The possible purchase of a sculpture (a silicon cast of his penis) is discussed which leads onto a very revealing story about artist’s deep seated shame, the humiliation he feels about his penis, and about being a man in general. Dissonances and Resonances How we can inhabit our bodies and minds is the subject of Laresa Kosloff’s video Personal

trainers demonstrate unproductive thinking 2017 commissioned by Deakin to screen every day in the fitness centre at the Burwood campus. Kosloff designed a series of instructions she gave to trainers to act out in nondescript service style uniforms. The trainers were required to work in unison and in rhythm with each other to avoid collision. Kosloff’s aim was to insert a more openended language of form and bodies in motion into the strict code of the gym environment. Contemplation and observing the minutiae of everyday life is featured in the drawings and paintings by Rob McHaffie. In a number of journals and drawings on paper featured in the exhibition he studies his travels, and the daily grind. Everything from life as a father, husband and artist; to group therapy, conversations between friends and catching the train are featured. McHaffie connects the everyday world around him to an inner world of thinking and imagining. In one drawing the image of narcissus ponders his reflection. The word ‘SHIT’ is mirrored back, a classic representation of negative self-talk familiar to us all. In other works desire and sex, love, art history and presenting yourself on Instagram are all subjects. The conflicts and difficulties of the everyday are explored through humour, a love of drawing and an acknowledgement that the self is a project incomplete. McHaffie, like Kosloff and Zoric, explore the self as a social construction. Big data is changing everything The third chapter for this exhibition occurs in July last year. The Pokemon Go augmented reality game became an instant phenomenon. Observing hundreds of people walking - phone in hands, at all hours of the day, around the local park, all in pursuit of Pokemon monsters was a sight to behold. Befuddling onlookers, the game transformed a perfectly normal everyday activity such as going for a walk into a competition between users online. Pokemon Go seemed to blow over just as quickly but it captured a new zeitgeist. One in which the everyday and the physical world we inhabit has now been overlayed with an aggregate of user profile information and avatars, social media and online gaming to potentially redefine the nature of our experience.v Brisbane based Eugene Carchesio’s ongoing drawing, sound and sculpture practice connects the everyday with layered systems of order and belief, through an interest in geometry and mathematics. In this exhibition Carchesio is represented by a series of drawings of knots,


ribbons and animals that appear to be about to talk. Carchesio uses the simplest of artistic means - pencil and watercolour on recycled office and note paper to emphasize drawing as an act of thinking. A second grouping of works the Interpreter series from 1993-1994 Carchesio utilizes the most impoverished of art materials one could find. Scraps of recycled cardboard and toilet paper rolls are glued to create a series of abstract sculptures. Reminiscent of works by the Non-objective artists or the Bauhaus, the sculptures are fun and inventive. Out of confusion and a lack of resources Carchesio draws us to process. Through repetition, interlocking and layering of shapes he creates imagery that tugs at the boundaries of forming meaning - ideas coalescing, slipping and falling away. As Mike Sperlinger explains in Afterthought, his re-reading of conceptual art from the 1960s, conceptual artists of that time had a strong interest in information, codes, data, record keeping and analysis. And they utilised in their works the new communications technologies that were available to them such as telegrams, telephone systems, instruction manuals and early computer programing as they emerged.vi Sydney based artist lan Milliss has generously contributed to this exhibition in a number of works. Firstly, he is represented by a series of instruction based typed works on paper from 1970. Each has a potential instruction simply typed on a typewriter and date stamped by the artist. Poorly cared for and rarely seen in several decades these works still powerfully capture an energy. Contained within the text and textures of the ink and paper is a potential for agency, for the viewer to act, to do something and make a simple changes to one’s life. Everyday acts such as going for a walk or rearranging the furniture or forgetting are overlayed by Milliss with analytical and systems thinking are not unlike his earlier approaches to formalist painting. Artist Jessie Bullivant avoids turning her artistic gestures into objects instead she proposes and facilitates real life interactions and events that often occur without much fanfare or signposting. Giving away something that is free 2013 was an action timed to coincide with opening of an exhibition at Westspace. Bullivant‘s contribution took the form of an insert into MX magazine, a free (now defunct) newspaper given to commuters. Bullivant purchased advertising space into which she inserted a stock image of a naval orange into the newspaper. The result was a strange collage of the absurd into the routine of daily commuters and their working lives.


For Unproductive Thinking Bullivant worked with the emergency and fire safety officer at Deakin to coordinate a fire evacuation procedure or a series thereof. In the event of fire (unproductive thinking) 2017 is a gesture which took the potential form of several acts, including the design of the cover of this publication, an object and a fire drill. The aim was for audience, students and staff at the University to actually share some unproductive time together - away from their busy schedules of classes and daily work regimes.vii It was determined legislation around occupational health and safety prevented this idea from occurring. To represent this possibility Bullivant facilitated the loan of a bronze from the Victorian College of the Arts Sculpture and Spatial Practice department. The heat from a furnace during the casting of a bronze sculpture in April 2016 triggered a fire alarm and evacuation. The transformative act of pouring molten metal into a form was suddenly halted mid-way through as real life intervened. The resulting sculptural form of a crucible, seized with bronze ingots, is a remnant of where the law has intruded into the everyday fabric, causing a rupture. Bullivant engages with the symbolic order of the world, the law, bureaucracies, rules and systems with which we live (and can’t escape) often revealing an unspeakable truth. Keep busy - avoid death Emerging artist Lauren Burrow has used the state of exhaustion as a space for creativity, possibility and action. Broken car windscreens and fractured glass from bus stops are collected on walks across Footscray and frozen into ice sculptures that melt away to reveal the detritus abandoned from the streets. Lose the language 2015 is a series of 20 clay ceramic forms that line the walls of the gallery intermittingly at Burwood. Burrow slept with each slab of clay over three nights. The resultant ceramic sculptures accrued bodily topographical impressions and wrinkles. These are in turn, fired, glazed blue and arranged around the gallery like an empty sentence - a stand in statement for something else, left unsaid.viii Burrow taps into this accelerated life of endless work and emails, a workaholic culture where laziness and inertia are seen as the worst of all evils. To withdraw is an affront to our unrelenting schedules and a sign of weakness and frailty. I don’t know who I am when I’m bored With work life constantly taking over our leisure time, decision making is often reduced to the fast and the impulsive. Working with Carrara marble,

chiselling and carving the stone in a slow manner that has gone on for centuries, emerging artist Elyse de Valle connects both to long standing traditions but also to the other. In A Persistence of the Past 2015 de Valle invokes the ghost of Charles Summers (1825 - 1878) the little known Australian sculptor. A chance visit by a former student of Summers to Monash University Caulfield, led de Valle to retrace the artists footsteps in Europe, including a visit to Summers’ now defunct studio in Rome. On return, de Valle subsequently carved replicas of Summers’ tools of trade including his chisel, fountain pen and journal. In a second work in the exhibition, de Valle has collaborated with artist Chris O’Brien from Arts Project Australia assisting him in the production of an artist book based on a fictional episode of the Blue Heelers TV police drama. Light hearted and irreverent, the book inserts a new narrative into the character’s lives and fantasies. A third work by de Valle captures a different kind of ghost. The artist has painstakingly carved a replica of a frame that once housed a painting by Frederick McCubbin of Melbourne. Research and conservation treatment has recently revealed that another half of the painting existed that has since been lost.ix The frame will never be used again as a search for the missing section is well underway. De Valle’s sculpture sits flat on four legs like a table revealing a spatial void of emptiness. Working through authorities both past and present, de Valle makes the voice of the Master apparent. She directs us away from feelings of loss to an awareness that we can once again be full. While I’m typing away in my backyard in suburban Reservoir in the autumn sun the final chapter to this exhibition is presently being formed. The image of an anti-capitalist love note was circulated on my Instagram feed overnight and it remains clearly in mind. Above a handprinted image of an English rose declares in cursive script ‘You are worth so much more than what you produce’. The endeavours of artists continue to reveal the real and the true. By laying bare their inner restlessness, their intuitions, feelings, anxieties, weaknesses, the ordinary, the intangible and the intransigent and other modalities of our experience they open space for us to follow, producing something new again. And they reflect, even if momentarily, a more truthful and genuine representation of the human condition.

Judgement As an epilogue to Unproductive thinking a large painting by Ian Milliss farewells visitors to the gallery. Completed while undertaking a residency at an art school in Florida Judgement 1999 is a grand painting representing the scales of judgement inspired by readings of the ancient Egyptian book of the dead and the Negative confession. In the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against a single feather of Maat, the goddess of truth and balance, law and order.x The deceased would have to declare that they have not transgressed the 42 declarations of spells that made up the conventional moral code which governed Egyptian society. If the heart was found to be lighter or equal in weight to the feather, the deceased had led a virtuous life and would go on to next. As an alternative to the accelerated, consumer and quantitative driven life we now inhabit, Milliss suggests a move away from the burden of possessions to a lightness of being and spirit.xi James Lynch Curator, Art Collection and Galleries i.

W  alton, Alice G, 2015. Transcendental Meditation Makes A Comeback With The Aim Of Giving Back, Forbes magazine https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/04/27/ transcendental-meditation-makes-a-comeback-with-the-aimof-giving-back/” [Accessed 4 May 2017]

ii. Wolf, Gary, 2010. The Data-Driven Life, The New York Times magazine. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/magazine/02selfmeasurement-t.html [Accessed 11 April 2017]. iii. J ethani, Suneel & Raydan, Nadine 2015 Forming Persona through metrics: can we think freely in the shadow of our data? Persona studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, Deakin University. https://ojs.deakin.edu.au/index.php/ps/article/view/451 [Accessed 4 April 2017]. iv. L ucian translated by A. M. Harmon, Kilburn & Macleod (Eds.), Macmillan, first published 1921. v. M cCue, T. J. Sep. 2016 Leveraging The ‘Pokémon GO’ Phenomenon Forbes Magazine https://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2016/09/30/ leveraging-the-pokemon-go-phenomenon/#12eae21e7455 [Accessed 18 April 2017] vi. S perlinger, Mike Afterthought: new writing on conceptual art, London, Rachmaninoff’s, 2005, p.7. vii. M  ilena Hoegsberg, Cora Fisher (Eds.) Living Labour, Sternberg, 2013. viii.A rtist statement, 2016 from the exhibition Lose the language, Bus Projects, Melbourne. https://busprojects.org.au/program/lose-the-language [Accessed 15 April 2017] ix. W  ebb, Carloyn, Oct. 2008. Gallery appeal to public in hunt for McCubbin’s other half, The Age newspaper online. http://www.smh.com.au/national/gallery-appeals-to-publicin-hunt-for-mccubbins-other-half-20081003-4tkc.html [Accessed 15.3.2017] x. Redford, D. B. (Ed.) The Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology:The Oxford Guide, Oxford University Press 2003, p. 190. xi. ibid.



Laresa Kosloff I can’t do anything 2015


Simon Zoric The finest actor of our generation 2016


Brain training: opt-in, optimise yourself, or go extinct

Brain training is everywhere. Because of the benefits of ‘neuroplasticity’, the brain can be constantly optimised and improved to perform cognitive functions – memory, problem solving, whatever – more efficiently. Take the Lumosity website, for example, which promises a personalised, progress-tracking suite of twee games that turn “common neuropsychological tasks” into “fun”.i “Our members are amazing athletes, talented artists, and hard-working parents,” boasts the site, “but no matter where they come from or what they do, they can challenge their brains with Lumosity.”ii Between the exhortatory vignettes of hard-muscled youngish personages of various sexes and ethnicities engaging in strenuous, virtuous activities, it’s impossible to escape the real message here: don’t relax for a moment. Or, rather, Lumosity guilts you into turning every temptation to relax into a challenging de facto program of self-overcoming. Even games aren’t a break from productivity or self-optimisation exercises any more. “Play” is now a networked big-data-enhanced technology for further opportunities for getting ahead.

What if you can’t neuroplasticise your way to the optimum you? Too bad. Failure has become personalised and moralised: you haven’t taken enough advantage of the options out there that would have helped you avoid your failure, which is in itself evidence you deserve everything that’s coming to you. No wonder polities around the world are currently doing their best to enforce extraordinary austerity budgets as a genuine moral duty. You’ll get what you deserve. This excited transgression of all existing limits demanded by contemporary techno-capitalism — whether biological or cultural or religious or moral or ecological — has received a massive shot in the arm from post-WWII corporate technologies, ranging from psychopharmacology to probability theory to plastic surgery. You’re ugly? That’s unfortunate, because statistics show that ugly people make less money. (Physical beauty, said Aristotle, is a better passport than any letter of recommendation.v) But you’re very lucky, too! Now aesthetic sculpting enables you to get your stomach stapled, your facial warts removed, and plugs for your bald spots. Welcome to the world of the “quantified self”.

Walter Benjamin called capitalism the purest and most extreme religious cult ever, which brooks no divergences from its rapacious program.iii In fact, the current tagline – be a lifter, not a leaner – is about as close as we get to a universal moral imperative in our globalised world. What’s life now, but the unrelenting ramping-up of demands for productivity, at every level, for everyone and everything? You’ve gotta work longer, harder, better, smarter, happier, faster, etc., etc. — or you’re obviously doing something wrong in both an economic and an ethical sense. (But now you can do it with games!)

Don’t have time time to optimise yourself? Too bad. As Jonathan Crary fulminates in 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep, “there is a relentless incursion of the non-time of 24/7 into every aspect of social or personal life”vi. Sleep is lost time – just ask Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, or the other members of the high-powered four hours a night club. If you must sleep, you should, as Rob Lucas details in an essay titled Dreaming in Code, solve at night those workplace problems you couldn’t put to bed during the day.

Immanuel Kant’s moral theory stated “you can, because you must,” contemporary capitalism urges “you must, because you can”.iv Now that’s a motto: “Lumosity: you must play, because you can be better.”

As the so-called “internet of things” envelops the earth, it’s in the regime of virtual technologies that the contemporary anxieties around productivity are most fruitfully exacerbated and exploited. The gap between your sluggish body and the affordances of high-tech accelerationism has to be closed at all costs. Not only are you


likely to carry your smartphone or tablet with you everywhere, but you’re more than likely to be answering work emails on IT way out of hours, when you’re not eagerly working on your electronic-self-fashioning through one or another social media platform or improving your brain – with Lumosity™. Because these technologies function precisely by an unavailing, incontrovertible real-time monitoring of every fumbled key-stroke or imperceptible biophysical spasm, there’s no longer anywhere to hide. Even leaving aside the ongoing harvesting of your data by websites, service providers and the NSA, the possible sharing of your health information between employers and insurers, ubiquitous CCTV surveillance, and so on, we have a situation from which there’s no real opting-out. Your only choice is to opt-in; that is, optimise-in. But where, exactly, are you going? And if nothing in your body or brain is permitted to escape monitoring and enhancement, who are you? All the evidence suggests that the planet is currently experiencing what’s widely called the sixth great extinction — and there’s no reason not to feel this at a personal level too. If you’re not showing yourself constantly prepared to run ever faster – even just to stay still, in a Red Queen kinda way – the chances are that you’re going to go extinct faster as well. In principle, there is no internal limit to the technological paradigm of infinite selftransformation under conditions of extreme economic competition, so I suggest that we all get with this program immediately, and disappear ourselves, one way or another. If that means altering yourself at a neurological level – let alone retraining your beliefs, behaviours, circumstances, or locale – so be it. The alternative is the trash heap; there is no I in technology. Justin Clemens Associate Professor School of Culture and Communication University of Melbourne i. http://www.luminosity.com 2014 ii. ibid iii. Walter Benjamin, Critique of Violence, Selected Writings; Volume 1; 1913-1926, London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1921, p.290. iv. I mmanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, 1785, Cambridge University Press, revised edition, 1998. v. “Aristotle, from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers Quotes.” Quotes.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web 2014. http://www.quotes.net/authorsAristotle%2C+from+Diogenes +Laertius%2C+Lives+of+Eminent+Philosophers vi. J onathan Crary 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep, Verso, London, 2013, p. 30.


Simon Zoric Mood-O-Meter 2010


Laresa Kosloff Personal trainers demonstrate Unproductive thinking 2017 HD video Installation view YMCA Burwood Fitness Centre

Rob McHaffie You won’t find the real me on the ‘gram 2016 What if I’m left here or you’re left there 2016 Trish is devoted to saving people’s lives 2012


Rob McHaffie Reflection 2010 If the world could sit and do nothing for 100 years 2017 View of Melbourne from Mt Martha 2009


Eugene Carchesio The Interpreter, piece 1-11 1993 – 1994


Eugene Carchesio Untitled (red knot) 2002 (detail)

Ian Milliss Info Transfer Analysis Piece 1970 Close your ears 1970 Untitled 1970 Every Capital Letter 1970


Ian Milliss A life in one room 1971


Jessie Bullivant In the event of fire (unproductive thinking) 2017


Jessie Bullivant In the event of fire (crucible) 2017


Jessie Bullivant Giving away something that is free 2013


Lauren Burrow Lose the language (detail) 2015


Lauren Burrow Lose the language 2015



Elyse de Valle A Perverse Past: the persistence of objects 2015



Ian Milliss Judgement 1999



List of works All works are copyright of the artist Images are courtesy of the artist and their respective galleries Photograph by Simon Peter Fox unless otherwise stated.

Lauren Burrow Born Darwin NT, 1992; lives and works Melbourne.

Eugene Carchesio Born Brisbane QLD, 1960; lives and works Brisbane.

Laresa Kosloff Born Melbourne VIC, 1974; lives and works Melbourne

Lose the language 2015 glazed earthenware, brackets various sizes installation view Bus Projects, Melbourne Photo Christo Crocker Courtesy of the artist

The Interpreter, piece 1-11 1993 – 1994 cardboard and adhesive construction various sizes

I can’t do anything 2015 HD video with sound 1:56 mins Courtesy of the artist

Jessie Bullivant Born Albury NSW, 1986; lives and works Melbourne. Giving away something that is free 2013 stock image printed in Mx Newspaper, 16 May 2013 installation view Westspace Melbourne Photo Christ Crocker Courtesy of the artist In the event of fire (unproductive thinking) 2017 unrealised proposition to run the annual emergency evacuation fire drill of building P & FA, Deakin University Burwood Campus, during the exhibition period Courtesy of the artist In the event of fire (crucible) 2017 50kg of Bronze, result of fire evacuation at the VCA workshop during bronze casting demonstration April 2016 On loan from Victorian College of the Arts In the event of fire (crucible) 2017 C-type print mounted on dibond Courtesy of the artist


Untitled (lion) 1998 watercolour on paper 30 x 21 cm Untitled (dinosaur and angel) 1994 watercolour on paper 30 x 21 cm Shadow Upfront (for Neil Wallace) 2002 pencil on paper 38 x 28.5 cm Untitled (red knot) 2002 watercolour and pencil on paper 38 x 28.5 cm Untitled (two dinosaurs) 1997 watercolour on paper 30 x 21 cm Silence is golden 1996 watercolour on paper 29.5 x 42 cm Untitled (tiger head) 1998 watercolour on paper 41 x 29.5 cm Untitled (yellow knot) 2002 watercolour and pencil on paper 38 x 28.5 cm You don’t know what love is 1996 watercolour and pencil on paper 27 x 35.5 cm All works courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery Melbourne

Personal trainers demonstrate unproductive thinking 2017 HD video no sound 1 min camera and videography Alex Cuffe Courtesy of the artist Rob McHaffie Born Melbourne VIC, 1978; lives and works Melbourne. You need this time 2013 gouache and pencil on paper 32 x 24 cm Could you tidy my mind 2017 gouache and pencil on paper 28 x 19 cm If you gotta do it, you gotta do it 2014 gouache and pencil on paper 32 x 24 cm I better settle or I’ll never sleep tonight 2012 ink on paper 30 x 21 cm Alexander technique 2009 gouache and pencil on paper 29 x 19 cm Where am I? 2010 Gouache, ink and pencil on paper 28 x 19 cm You won’t find the real me on the ‘gram 2016 gouache and ink on paper 32 x 24 cm

What if I’m left here or you’re left there 2016 gouache and pencil on paper 32 x 24 cm Trish is devoted to saving people’s lives 2012 ink and spray acrylic on paper 32 x 24cm Reflection 2010 gouache and ink on paper 28 x 19 cm If the world could sit and do nothing for 100 years 2017 gouache and pencil on paper 28 x 19 cm View of Melbourne from Mt Martha 2009 gouache and pencil on paper 28 x 19cm My eyes at the moment of the vision 2012 gouache and pencil on paper 32 x 24 cm Little ol’ me 2017 ink on paper 28 x 19 Have you seen Rob’s Bracusi 2016 gouache and pencil on paper 32 x 23 cm Assorted journals 2004 – 2017 all works pencil and pen on paper unique artist books bound All works courtesy of the artist and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney. Ian Milliss Born Sydney NSW, 1950; lives and works Sydney. Forget your last thought 1970 Typewritten text and marker pen 48 x 35 cm (framed) Private Collection, NSW

Close your ears 1970 Typewritten text and marker pen 33 x 21 cm Private Collection, NSW

Elyse de Valle Born Melbourne VIC, 1986; lives and works Melbourne.

Rearrange the furniture 1970 Typewritten text and marker pen 48 x 35 cm (framed) Private Collection, NSW

The frames that remain: marble reproduction of Fred McCubbin, “Melbourne in the Eighties” frame 2016 – 2017 carved marble and pine dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist

Formalist piece a walk for two 1970 Typewritten text and marker pen 48 x 35 cm (framed) Private Collection, NSW

A Perverse Past: the persistence of objects 2015 carved marble and plastic milk crate 34 x 34 x 34 cm Courtesy of the artist

Quadrilateral walk for four 1970 Typewritten text and marker pen 33 x 21 cm Private Collection, NSW

Elyse de Valle and Chris O’Brien Blue Heelers: Episode One 2016-2017 sample pages from artist book digital print on paper dimensions variable Courtesy of the artists and Arts Project Australia

Info Transfer Analysis Piece 1970 Typewritten text and marker pen 33 x 21 cm Private Collection, NSW Every Capital Letter 1970 Typewritten text and marker pen 33 x 21 cm Private Collection, NSW Untitled 1970 Typewritten text and marker pen 33 x 21 cm Private Collection, NSW Judgement 1999 synthetic polymer on canvas 204 x 275 cm Private Collection, NSW A life in one room 1971 chalk marker and instructions 270 x 270 cm Private Collection, NSW

Simon Zoric Born Melbourne VIC, 1977; lives and works Melbourne and New York. The finest actor of our generation 2016 autographed inkjet print, framed 20 x 25 cm Courtesy of the artist What’s your beef guv’nor 2007 inkjet print mounted on aluminium 120 x 77 cm Courtesy of the artist From the desk of 2013 paper and ink, inkjet Print 76 X 46.5cm Private Collection, Melbourne Mood-O-Meter 2010 aneroid barometer, inkjet print 21 cm (diameter) Private Collection, Melbourne



The Deakin University Art Collection and Gallery extends its sincere appreciation to the artists in the development and realisation of this exhibition: thank you for your generosity and enthusiasm in all aspects of the exhibition. Also a special thank you to the various private lenders who have shared their collections for this exhibition. I am grateful to all the galleries we have worked with and would like to thank Kati Rule from Sutton Gallery, Melbourne; Sim Luttin from Arts Project, Australia and Darren Knight from Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney for all their time and efforts. The development of the exhibition has benefitted greatly from the support of various faculty and campus colleagues. A warm thank you to Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr Russell Grigg, Faculty of Arts and Education for his thoughtful remarks, which opened the exhibition. Thank you to Professor Matthew Allen, Head of School Communication and Creative Arts; Professor David Cross, Head of Art and Performance and to colleagues Yoni Prior, Head of Drama and Senior Lecturer Dr Patrick Pound for their ongoing support. Thank you to their generous colleagues in the Faculty including Scott Allan, Bradley Axiak, Colin Savage and Thomas Salisbury who have assisted us kindly in many ways.


A special thank you to Alicia Beard, Fire and Safety officer Deakin and to Nathan Sibilia Centre Director of the Deakin Burwood campus fitness centre. As well as thanks to the YMCA trainers Kanella Tsirbaswright, Rhiannon Wade and Danny Fotinatos for their generosity, assistance and goodwill. My profound thanks also to Dr Justin Clemens for his catalogue essay first published in the Guardian online 2014. Thank you to Jasmin Tulk for her design of this catalogue and to Rowan Brown, Senior team leader of Logistics at Burwood campus and Cameron Ross from Film Shot Graphics. Finally, grateful acknowledgement to my colleagues in the Art Collection and Galleries Unit for their ongoing counsel, encouragement, support and assistance in all matters. Thank you to Leanne Willis Manager Art Collection and Galleries Unit, as well as Claire Muir, Julie Nolan, Cinda Stevens and Vanja Radisic. Thank you to Simon Peter Fox, Deakin Photographer and Thomas Dudley for his expert installation of the exhibition. James Lynch  

Eugene Carchesio You don’t know what love is 1996


Unproductive Thinking Jessie Bullivant, Lauren Burrow, Eugene Carchesio, Laresa Kosloff, Rob McHaffie, Ian Milliss, Elyse de Valle and Simon Zoric Exhibition dates 26 April to 26 May 2017 Deakin University Art Gallery © 2017 the artist, the authors and publisher. Copyright to the works is retained by the artist and his/her descendants. No part of this publication may be copied, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted or reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher and the individual copyright holder(s). Justin Clemens Brain Tracking is reproduced courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd. The views expressed within are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views held by Deakin University. Unless otherwise indicated all images are reproduced courtesy the artists, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne and Darren Knight Gallery Sydney. Photography is by Simon Peter Fox unless otherwise indicated. Image measurements are height x width x depth. Exhibition curator: James Lynch, Deakin University Published by Deakin University 978-0-9944025-5-4 Edition 500 copies Catalogue design: Jasmin Tulk Deakin University Art Gallery Deakin University Melbourne Campus at Burwood 221 Burwood Highway Burwood 3125 T +61 3 9244 5344 E artgallery@deakin.edu.au www.deakin.edu.au/art-collection Gallery hours Tuesday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm Free Entry Deakin University CRICOS Provider Code: 00113B

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Unproductive Thinking Jessie Bullivant Lauren Burrow Eugene Carchesio Laresa Kosloff Rob McHaffie Ian Milliss Elyse de Valle Simon Zoric Deakin University Art Gallery 26 April to 26 May 2017


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Unproductive Thinking  

Unproductive Thinking