SLICE ME PAPER THIN
ART.PHOTOGRAPHY MUSIC.DESIGN | FREE SPITPRESS.COM DEC/JAN
OCCUPY We talk Wall Street with Aloe Blacc
1000 JOURNALS Anonymous art that’s good for the mind and soul
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! 20 years of Tropfest
The Techno-cality of Sexuality A look into electronic and cyber fetishes AND Lanie Lane, Wombats, Elize Strydom and many more!
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Polar Knights Overtime EP now available on bandcamp! Yew. polarknights.bandcamp.com --“This is the epitome of pretty” - Dom Alessio, Triple J
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8 Spit Bucket 12 Doing it for the Paper 14 1000 Journals Project 16 Lanie Lane 18 The Wombats 20 Surrocodelia 22 Happy Xmas 24 Three Part Poet 25 How to Occupy Wall Street with Alloe Blacc 28 Master & Apprentice 29 Handmade Fortune 30 Lights, camera, action: Celebrating 20 years of Tropfest 32 Carta Magnifico 32 Two Baked Pooseys 35 On The Sure 36 Separation Anxiety 37 Elize Strydom 42 Paperless 46 Pizza Pages 47 All in the Name of Film
THE SPIT PRESS TEAM Publisher - Spit Press Media Managing Editor & Advertising - Tym Yee email@example.com Head Designer - Chumpy firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Editor & Submissions - India McDonough email@example.com Online Editor - Erin Holohan firstname.lastname@example.org Intern - Julian Webster email@example.com Distributor - Ray Micallef firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors: Contributors: Erin Holohan, Julian Webster, Edwina Storie, Sally Rawesthorne, Chloe Hazelwood, Brittney Klyen, Fiona Murphy, Andrew Kingsford-Smith, Holly R. Smith, Caitlyn Adamson, Sarah Lakos, Cam Taylor, Elize Strydom. 4 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11
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The Spit Press is published bi-monthly by Spit Press Media. The opinions expressed by individual contributors are not necessarily those of The Spit Press staff. All of the content in this issue of The Spit Press is artistic opinion, expression and interpretation of the theme Paper. For more information visit spitpress.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org --Emails are to be used for professional use only. All competitions are games of skill and do not involve any element of chance. Winners are decided by a panel of judges. WHEREVER YOU ARE, HAVE A RAD ONE!
Please the trees.
8PM Thursday 19 January GOODGOD Small Club email@example.com tickets $10 on the door THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11 | 5
PAPER Hello! Being that it is the most wonderful time of the year, we’ve put together a most wondrous issue for you to ponder over the silly season. This time we’ve spent the past two months exploring our favourite thing in the world; paper! We love that it can tell a story, bring people together, create art works and make people go just a little bit bonkers. We spoke with Aloe Blacc and The Wombats, tracked down Someguy who bought 1000 journals and sent them out into the world, asked ourselves why we live our lives chasing paper and spoke with emerging talent Victoria Garcia who is turning heads with her masterpiece Surrocodelia. Let’s keep in touch over the holiday break via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/spitpressfb and our Twitter @spitpress and @tymspitpress and you can download our iPad and iPhone Apps from Apple if you’re so digitally inclined. Season’s greetings, Tym & India.
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one nine nine + drum media present
THURSDAY 29th DECEMBER @ THE STANDARD
FOR ADVANCED TICKETS moshtix.com.au/thestandard
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Convaire We don’t know what it is about local indie electro pop that gets us so fucking excited, but Convaire’s latest offering The New You does just that. It could be the ridiculous image of an upside down polygonned horse on the front of their EP or it could be the fact that they sent us a vinyl. Regardless, it’s a fun-filled record with enough summery riffs and synths to make you want to jump into the pool with all your clothes on. We can’t get enough of this band.
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Dark Horse by Julia Stone & Original Matters Julia Stone and ‘the Stones Crew’ have just released Dark Horse, a 42 page limited edition pop horror zine based on her solo release The Memory Machine. With ghoully design by Sarah King and words by Lisa Lerkenfeldt there’s also a poster from the album’s first single ‘Maybe’. Inside you’ll find an interview with the Dark Horse herself, imagery from iconic horror films as well as prose about all those things we’re often too scared to explore within ourselves. Dark Horse is available from the Angus & Julia Stone online store. Drool.
Page One, Inside the New York Times For any budding journalist or opinionated media studies grad constantly weaving into casual conversation the plight of the print industry, this flick is for you! Take a look behind the scenes of what it’s like running one of the worlds most reputable publications and get to know some of their most intriguing writers. Page One will provide you with good fodder for print vs. digital debates but most of all it’s just a damn good doco. We have two copies of Page One up for grabs thanks to MadMan. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us in 25 words or less where the print industry is heading and we’ll pick the two most creative answers as winners! Closes 15 Jan 2012.
HipsterMattic by Matt Granfield Endlessly disarming and soul-warmingly cheeky, HipsterMattic is a tale of self-hipsterisation and hilarity. On a journey of self discovery, figuring out the difference between what you’ve done and who you are, Granfield manages to write genuinely about a lifestyle that is so very fake. Part humour writing, part memoir, this book would make a great gift for that friend every inner city dwelling 20 -something has the hipster who hates hipsters for being hipsters. They’ll be annoyed at first but will grow to love the book for all its honesty.
Space Ibiza New Year’s day is often a time spent in recovery mode, but word around town is that there is a fiesta earning itself quite the reputation as a party worth saving just a little bit of your energy for. Flaunting a line-up of quality underground musicians and artists, you can expect an atmosphere full of like-minded party goers. So why not pay homage to your reckless youth by welcoming in 2012 at The Greenwood on the 1st of January.
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Paper. “The page waits, pretending to be blank. Is that its appeal, its blankness? What else is this smooth and white, this terrifyingly innocent? The page itself has no dimensions and no directions. There’s no up or down except what you yourself mark, there’s no thickness and weight but those you put there, north and south do not exist unless you’re certain of them. The page is without vistas and without sounds, without centres or edges. Because of this you can become lost in it forever.” Margaret Atwood, The Page
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DOING IT FOR THE PAPER Do you work for love or money? Edwina Storie sold out.
I am a sell out. I no longer subscribe to the idea of ‘finding what you love and a way to get paid for it’. Writing about what I love doesn’t pay. Writing about the mundane cogs of the corporate world does. And this is what I have done for the paper. I grew up, got a haircut and a real job. I’ve given up the starry-eyed dream of ‘working to live, not living to work,’ and the art of my craft all for the money. And the money isn’t even that great. As a writer, my nine to five job murders my passion. Everyday I use the clichés I was taught are the enemy, and alliteration that would make you think my headlines come from a children’s book. In return for my sacrifice I can buy festival tickets, feed my magazine addiction and pay my rent. How fulfilling. I guess it’s the fact that I have essentially chosen to complete someone else’s dream – to build up someone else’s company five days a week rather than my own – that makes me a sell out. There is a decision you make between sticking it out as a freelancer and doing what you love; or having a reliable salary doing something that doesn’t really add anything to
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your life, except responsibilities and references to your resume. You end up working to pay the bills and your passion gets the spare time. But it is easy. Being a cog in the wheel is mindless – despite being weighted with the guilt and loss of your time and art. You go to work, you do the time, and you know where your next paycheck is coming from. So it all comes down to love or money. I am torn between these two elements. Perhaps this is because I am part of the trial generation. Generation Y was the first to be put through the new parenting method never before practiced on others. As a reaction to their own strict upbringings they sought to nourish us with healthy self esteem. We were all told, “You are special. You are perfect exactly as you are. You should do whatever makes you happy in life.” We were part of a new schooling style that rewarded everyone simply for participating, and we grew up in the longest period of economic growth and prosperity, before the worst economic downturn since The Great Depression. We were the first to grow up with an intangible online
$ identity; we have experienced the fusion of education, business and life as they all moved online; and we are the first to be able to fit our entire world in our pocket and be constantly contactable. We are test dummies who have born the brunt of no privacy settings on social media, felt the negative effects of digitally edited fashion images; and felt our attention spans diminish as our reliance on technology envelopes us. We of Generation Y are children of contradiction and confusion. We don’t want to waste our lives working shitty jobs, and yet we want the impressive and fulfilling career. We think the world is completely f*cked and yet we have hope for the future. We hate everything that the corporations embody and yet we work within them or buy their products. We feel guilty for our First World privileges and yet still we desire them. We’re torn. Perhaps this confusion comes from being taught how much potential we and the world had. We were given everything our hearts desired growing up, only to later feel the rude shock of life’s reality. The cotton wool couldn’t be held over our eyes forever and we soon discovered that life is unfair – that there are people who do have everything, and those who have nothing. Rather than growing up with the mentality that this life is hard, and that everything requires work – that you have one goal and you
slog it out until you make it – we were instilled with hopes that we can have it all. But can we? Have we been falsely built up only to be knocked down by disappointment? But the world needs the optimism that was once drilled into us. This time more than ever we need that hope that everything will be okay – even if it won’t. That everyone can do what makes them happy and that we each have the power to. We’re taking the baby steps and tumbles for this new century and way of life. We live in a time when the Internet is exploding and infesting our lives; economic power is being redistributed from Europe and America to Asia and India for the first time in modern history; the world’s environment is bearing an ever-increasing burden and everything as we know it is starting to shift. It’s a time when we can feel that something huge is going to happen and we’re not quite sure how it’s going to pan out. So if we’re growing up through this period of immense change, then I guess we don’t really have to go by the norms. We are a generation of firsts who has already seen so many transitions - we can f*ck up and change our minds and do things differently. There’s always been a new rule book for us and now we can write it ourselves. Some of us may have sold out, but in this First World of constant change and opportunity, at least we have the luxury of buying back in. At least we have a choice. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11 | 13
1000 JOURNALS PROJECT One thousand journals are travelling from hand to hand throughout the world. Those who find them will add their stories and drawings, and then pass the journal along in an ongoing collaborative art form. This is an experiment, and you are part of it – Someguy. Erin Holohan writes
It takes a special person to see beyond what society teaches us; to take an action usually condemned or punished and be inspired to create something truly beautiful. Someguy, aka Brian Singer, is one of those special people and his participatory art project, quite literally, is now travelling the world over. Inspired by the messages people write on toilet doors, the San Francisco based artist had an idea. In August of 2000, Someguy released 100 journals in San Francisco alone. Some went to friends, others he left in bars, on park benches and in cafes so they could be discovered by anyone willing to join in. When people started requesting journals, Someguy sent out 900 more and 14 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11
since then, these 1000 journals have made their way across the world, from friend to stranger, with one goal; to encourage shared creativity and interaction. “Originally, I didn’t have specific goals, and it was more of an experiment,” he says. “Then, as the project began to gain traction, I could see the direction it was heading.” “The largest unexpected benefit of the project was to inspire people. I can’t even count the number of emails I’ve received over the years, telling me how the project has inspired someone to pick up their painting again, or begin writing... Things we did and enjoyed before getting bogged down with day to day life.”
Anonymity can be a powerful truth serum. One can imagine writing on a toilet door to be somewhat liberating. Viewed by thousands, they become the perfect place to express feelings and opinions, and share stories that might otherwise not be told out of fear of ridicule and judgment. Perhaps the same is true of the 1000 Journals Project. Is it anonymity that makes the contribution to and sharing of these journals so appealing? “I thought that at the beginning, but as the project grew, I noticed more and more people adding their URL or email address into the journals,” says Someguy. “Personally, I never signed an entry, enjoying that sense of anonymity, but others were just the opposite.” Perhaps then, it is simply the act of sharing oneself, anonymous or not, that has made this art form so desired. After all, many of the entries have now been published in Someguy’s 1000 Journals book. “The most heartfelt entry I’ve seen was one that I really wanted to include in the book. It was also the one entry that Chronicle Books refused to publish, despite me receiving permission from the author,” he says. “Essentially, the entry was written from the perspective of a split
personality. It walks the reader through this woman’s life, from her childhood to now. When you get to the part in high school, you find out how the split happened. She details being sexually assaulted and threatened. To read through her entry is heart wrenching. The story ends on a high note, with her describing her new job and boyfriend, but to this day, remains one of the most powerful entries I’ve seen.” In many ways, the 1000 Journals Project was a conception ahead of its time. “This project was launched over a decade ago, before Facebook and Twitter,” says Someguy. “Our behavior has changed dramatically, and everyone has a voice now. The 1000 Journals Project was the old-school Facebook wall, where people would write their updates in crayons.” Someguy is unsure of where all his journals are now. To date they’ve been left in phone booths, remote caves in Texas and who knows where else. Someguy has 30 in his possession and doesn’t expect to be reunited with many more. “When I set out, I thought the end of the project would be getting journals back, but it turns out I don’t need the journals to come back,” he says. “I need people to stay creative.” THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11 | 15
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Chloe Hazelwood makes the acquaintance of a lovely songbird with a tattoo of a horse named Fierce, and a name that rhymes with Annie.
‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’. You could apply any and all of these to Lanie Lane, a singing ‘cowgirl’ hailing from Sydney. Her affinity for ‘something old’ comes through in her 50s attire, as well as her extensive collection of old guitars. “I think I’ve got five or something now, I mean, only really two or three of them I’d play. I’ve got a Gibson that I play all the time now, it’s my main guitar.” With a father who specialises in antique restoration, vintage seems to be in Lanie’s blood. “I love going antique shopping and I love going to retro shops or, you know, just wearing things that have a history and have a different kind of energy to them.” Here enters ‘something new’. Lanie’s debut album, To The Horses, was released in October 2011. I ask what the title means to her. “It’s about my individual passion for what I do, my fierce passion really.” Calling her musical style “a mix of early rock’n’roll, blues and rockabilly”, Lanie credits her diverse sound to the plethora of music she grew up listening to. “I think that’s why my album is so varied in the genres that I touch on and that’s really fun, it keeps it interesting for me.” If you’re wondering where ‘something borrowed’ comes into the equation, ‘Bang Bang’, the opening track on To The Horses, is a Janis Martin cover. It has all the country twang and rockabilly swing of the original, with Lanie’s sweet and sultry vocals giving it a new spin. Lanie has been busy touring and collaborating this year, at home and abroad. “I’ve been enjoying going overseas, it’s nice being somewhere different, expanding your
mind, seeing what kinds of other people are out there, other kinds of music and audiences.” A trip to the USA afforded her the opportunity to work with Jack White, who produced two tracks for her: ‘Ain’t Hungry’ and ‘My Man’. They were released as part of the Blue Series on 7” vinyl for White’s record label, Third Man Records. “He was great to work with, really passionate about music and loved being open to things, as well as having a clear idea of what he wanted.” What about ‘something blue’? “I’ve got an electric guitar, Bo Didd (named after blues legend Bo Diddley), and then Betty... she’s semi-retired. I used to take her on tour all the time around the country but I just find she’s hard to keep in tune because she’s been through the wars a bit. There’s a song about her on the album.” We talk about the title track. For Lanie, horses are a symbol of creative freedom. “It’s really important for me to have the right people around and always have inspiring things going on, not to limit myself or lock myself into a hotel room. It’s important to be out there all the time, going into different environments, keeping things fresh and always being around creativity, otherwise life can get sterile and boring.” Lanie also mentions her love of horse riding. Since I’ve only gone as far as sitting atop a timid old girl and being too terrified to gallop off into the sunset, maybe I’ll make that my New Year’s resolution.
Lanie Lane’s album To The Horses is out now on Ivy League. Catch Lanie on tour, for details visit http://lanielane.net/ THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11 | 17
WOMBATS Tord Øverland-Knudsen has seen a real life wombat three times. Sally Rawesthorn asks
S: Welcome back to Australia, how are you finding it this time around?
are places we’ve never been. Before it was like playing in a bar for 200 people; it’s going to be quite refreshing. Coming from the UK T: It’s very surreal. This time round the venues are a lot bigger and more with its massive venues, then coming here to Australia which is just as sold out and it’s getting a little overwhelming, it’s bigger than the UK now big, then going to the States and going back to where we started in which is absolutely ridiculous. It’s out of control, so yeah, having a good the pubs and bars. I think that everyone needs that at times. time. This time we don’t get to hang out much, it’s gigs every day. We had an evening off in Brisbane, we went to Perth this time too – I like S: How are reactions to your second album? A Guide to Love, Loss & Perth. All the cities are good, but I like Sydney the best. Desperation would’ve been a fairly hard act to follow. S: Have you seen a wombat?
T: Yeah, the new album has been even better in its reactions. Two of the songs we get the best reactions to – Tokyo and Technofan, the T: Oh yeah, I saw one at the Nova studios. We did an interview title tracks – go wild. Even album tracks like Girls Fast Cars get the there and they bought in a baby wombat, and that was the third time. crowd dancing; even better than some of the old stuff. Obviously, you Last time we were here we played at Groovin’ the Moo, and we saw can’t argue with the reaction we get from Let’s Dance to Joy Division one at some park over there, that was a fully grown-up big one. I’ve or Moving to New York, they’re safe bets that people will go nuts. But seen them in the zoo, and they look a bit dirty and mean, but this one the second album is very well received too. was really cute. I didn’t give it a cuddle though, I was like “I’m ok.” S: In terms of creating that second album, how did it work with the S: How do you find Australian audiences in comparison to home? four producers you had? Was it difficult to achieve consistency, or was it more exciting? T: Quite similar, but people are really enthusiastic here – it’s a really warm crowd, as opposed to in the UK where you’ve got pub T: A bit of both; it was really exciting to get the chance to compare them brawls and people throwing pints on stage. Here is more warm with each other and find out what we like in a producer. If we worked and controlled in a way, but in a good way. I feel like if we play a with someone and it didn’t work out, at least we had backup. Ok, we quiet song, people actually listen and enjoy it, instead of being like worked with Jacknife and it didn’t go very well; we recorded three songs yeaaaah, let’s punch on. People stand there and listen, it’s quite nice. and only kept one, so if we’d done the whole album with him it wouldn’t be great. But it was cool to work with different producers to find out what S: You’re headed to America next, how does that compare to our we like. I was thinking that when recording though – will this sound like fair shores? one album? Obviously, what we did with Erik is different to what we did with Jacknife is different to the work with the other producers too. But T: Yeah, it’s different – very different, because we’re a lot smaller somehow it really seems to work as a piece – critics have said that as there. It’s like starting over there. We’ve been a few times, but we’ve well, that it’s very cohesive. I guess the main reason for that though, is never really done tours or anything, a lot of the places we’re going to because it’s all the three of us. 18 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11
The original demos don’t sound much different to the finished pieces, because it’s all The Wombats. I think the main producers were really us, and for that reason it hangs together as a piece. S: This album is certainly heavier in sound, what kind of music were you listening to this time around as opposed to the first album? T: I don’t know... there’s so many things. You can say oh yeah, we listened to some grungy stuff so that explains why its a bit heavier or whatever, but it’s not really like that. We did that before too, and I did that when I was growing up. I grew up in the nineties, and I was really into that Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Silverchair, Weezer kind of sound. I think it’s just a lot of fun. But I also listen to a lot of electronica, which is something we’ve been into for a long time. It was early 2000s when Radiohead did Kid A, and I thought “Ohh, a rock band can do this as well.” I wasn’t really listening to much electronica before that, but it opened my eyes. Depeche Mode is also a bit of an influence on this record, I guess you could say. S: Given that you formed in Liverpool, The Beatles comparisons are fairly easy to make. But what about the Norwegian influence? T: I grew up with quite a lot of grungy music, like I said. Obviously, the British and American influences made it up to Norway, but there was
obviously a lot of Norweigan music in my ears as well. I’m not entirely sure how directly it influenced our music! S: So, I’ve read a few times that you don’t want to be remembered as the band who wrote Let’s Dance to Joy Division. What are your future plans to ensure that doesn’t happen? Are you going to keep writing? T: Of course, yeah – we’re going to write banging tunes. I feel like we’ve already written songs that get the same reaction, are as successful as Joy Division. I think so, but it doesn’t really matter – people even sing along to album tracks, they know all the words. I don’t think we’re one of those bands that just have the one song that everyone knows. We’re going to start writing again after Christmas; we need some time off from it all. That was one of the mistakes we made on this record; we were touring so intensely, and we didn’t give ourselves a break afterwards. We need some normality – just go somewhere, or stay at home for a month, be normal. I think we need to do that, and then meet up in February. I think I’m going to go travelling, maybe in Asia with my girlfriend. She hasn’t travelled much, and neither have I outside my job. And at the end of the day, it is a job, a busy one at that, so it’ll be nice to just chill in Vietnam and be a tourist. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11 | 19
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SURROCODELIA Sydney artist Victoria Garcia has just released her conceptual masterpiece, Surrocodelia. With influences coming from Surrealism, Rocco and Psychadelia, the installation is turning heads. Sally Rawsthorne writes You may not recognise the word Surrocodelia. That’s because Victoria Garcia made it up. As the artist explains, “I have come up with the word ‘Surrocodelia’ which I feel encapsulates my art both aesthetically and conceptually. It’s an amalgamation of the three art and aesthetics movements I admire most. I strive to evoke feelings and concepts from each of these movements. Surrocodelia is more a way of seeing than any specific imagery – in this sense it could take many forms, not just 2D drawings.” The installation is a natural progression from her previous works, Victoria explains. “Although I work in and on a variety of mediums, hand drawing on paper has always been the first step in my process, working on paper is the starting point. I have always kept countless notebooks filled with drawings, thoughts and ideas.” Paper has always been special to Victoria. “I love its accessibility and the immediacy in putting pen to paper. There is something endlessly fascinating about being able to create something from a blank piece of paper through drawing, and I like the control and detail I can achieve,” she says. It’s not all beer and skittles, though. “Paper does have some limitations however, and I do like to experiment in 3d sculpture. Exploring digital textiles has also helped me discover other possibilities and mediums for my artwork.” Her latest paper installation represents her development as an artist and ongoing focus on the medium of paper. “I chose to work with paper on my last project due to the scale of the installation – it was extremely labour intensive and involved covering all four walls, a floor and a ceiling in very detailed drawings,” she says. “In total the original installation comprised of 60 unique panels, each depicting a different scene, and
each one joining seamlessly together. As this was the first time I had done a work of this size, paper seemed the best option.” All this hard work has paid off, it seems. “After spending four months of ‘hermitting’, drawing and creating the artwork, it was exciting to finally exhibit the artwork publicly for the first time. The installation shown was smaller and did not have a ceiling or furniture like the original room, but I think I still managed to create a ‘Surrocodelic’ effect,” she enthuses. “The positive response was amazing and extremely encouraging. I was also awarded the Sir William Dobell Foundation Award for Drawing, which was a huge honour –I was told it was quite unusual, as it has always been awarded to someone from the fine arts, and it was the first time a design student had won it.” However, the young achiever isn’t planning to stop with this. As she explains, “I am very grateful to have experienced working as a fashion textile designer so early, but now that I have graduated I’d like to continue my practice as a fine artist and illustrator. I am currently in the process of expanding and exploring this independently and taking as many opportunities to create as possible.” Despite her history with the medium of paper, Victoria refuses to limit herself. “I am aiming to hold a solo exhibition early next year and will also be working on a children’s book project. I think the beauty of hand drawing is that it can take you down so many different paths - whilst still remaining true to your passion for it. This summer I want to learn to scuba dive for my next drawing installation, which will be set under the sea! I feel the possibilities are endless!”
To see more of her work, visit www.surrocodelia.com THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11 | 21
HAPPY XMAS (WOE IS OVER) It’s that time of the year again – fires blazing in the hearth, colourful Christmas stockings hanging, bells ringing, and halls decked with holly - Fa la la la la, la la la la. Or, the more relatable Christmas imagery for a scorching Australian Christmas – the tacky suburban Christmas decorations, the smell of BBQ prawns, the constant flow of cold beer and cricket test match cheer - Fa la la la la, la la la la. Nancy Bludgeon writes
Before you can try and redeem yourselves on Santa’s Nice List, you’re probably up to your elbows in shopping receipts, clusters of ‘Season Greetings’ cards from people you loathe, invitations to parties, and yards of decorative wrapping paper and sticky-tape. For many people it is also the season of obligation, gluttony, debt and dysfunction. Christmas can be a difficult period for all... relatively speaking. The consumer chaos in shopping centres everywhere and the overt commercial and schmaltzy representations of Christmas have cheapened the meaning of this glorious season. It comes as no surprise that many people opt to avoid Christmas. They simply haven’t the time and patience or economic means to battle the Christmas crowds, congestion and costs. On paper Christmas is the season to shun: overspending, overwrought, overcrowding, over indulgence, over eating, overheating and plain just over it! Bah Humbug! In Jon Winokur’s comical Encyclopaedia Neurotica, he defines these feelings towards Christmas simply as The Christmas Blues – “Anxiety and depression affecting the estimated one in four persons overwhelmed by the physical and psychological, and financial demands of the Christmas season.” Having said all that, it is still my favourite time of the year (the Sydney film festival and birthday aside) thanks to Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. Christmas should be a pleasant time and we can sometimes forget that a good Christmas really comes down to key Epicurus fundamentals – good friends, food to feast on and a roof over your head. And that’s crucial to surviving the holiday season. Epicurus lived in a time before Christmas TV specials and stocking stuffers. This ancient Greek philosopher was concerned with living an enjoyable life and believed that happiness could be obtained through the simple things. You could enjoy the pleasures of life as long as you were surrounded by friends. “Before you eat or drink anything, consider carefully who you eat or drink with rather that what you eat and drink: for feeding without a friend is the life of a lion or a wolf.” 22 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11
Epicurus believed that a life of delight involved little money. To be happy you need friendship, freedom and to live an analysed life. This relates to the idea of an epicurean Christmas because during this holiday period we take time off work to spend with family and friends. We use this time to unwind and relax, reconnect and rekindle friendships and passions. Epicurus urged us to free ourselves from the prison of everyday affairs and politics. To free ourselves from the shackles of the working life, while most of us are in no position to quit our jobs no matter how much this fantasy often occurs, the time off during this period gives us the opportunity to appreciate and value the freedom we have, even if it is only for a few days. The holiday period occurs at the end of the year and it offers us the chance to reflect and meditate on the year just past; rejoice in our success, analyse our errors and learn from our mistakes, for Epicurus believed that intellectual thought could calm the mind. This act of analysing and optimism also applies to the annual promise of selfimprovement: New Year’s Resolutions. So no matter your plans or how you celebrate Christmas just remember to enjoy yourself. Other useful advice to impart would be a spliff is best shared, and to stop your calorie counting! You’re being annoying and you can start the diet sometime in the New Year 2015. If your boyfriend’s family are bogans, just look forward to the bottle of bourbon you’ll receive from them. If you’re stuck in bland and boring conversations with your in-laws or extended family, just drink (responsibly of course!) till the conversation gets interesting. If you’re hosting Christmas this year – Good luck! Seriously. And if it all gets too much just breathe and remember that it’s 365 days till next Christmas. Christmas can be totally awesome if you don’t have any preconceived expectations. Be open to that convivial Christmas magic and it’ll always be some kind of wonderful. Remember that a little kindness goes a long way and don’t forget to KISS – keep it simple stupid! - Fa la la la la, la la la la.
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THREE PART POET Sarah Lakos chats to a poet with a plan. I had met Christian Wright, 26, only once before, at a gig he performed at. You assume I mean music gig. Yeah, he does play in bands and is involved with other music projects. But that night, Christian performed poetry. That’s right, he’s a spoken word poet. So many stereotypical visuals come to mind with that sentence but take my word, it’s not, and he’s not exactly what you expect. Christian is tall and slim, and has a Rai-Thistlethwayte’s-upper-lip-meets-Tom-Selleck’s 80s-stache. It definitely lends something to his performance. I thought spoken word poets were meant to be terribly heavy-duty... you know what I mean. Painfully thoughtful, and lots of metaphorical nonsense. Performing material from two of his three books (more on that later), Disturbing Short Stories and Equinox, his characters and stories are side-rippingly funny, painfully truthful and clever. Meeting up a few weeks after that gig in a Newtown café, I’m curious about how someone actually starts to perform spoken word poetry. He told me how it all began. “I was attending a church in the Shire... and someone in the church knew I wrote poems, and asked if I’d get up and read one. I think they were just expecting this nice little poem. Instead I threw the bible to the ground and I started ranting and raving in front of them. I think I even ripped my shirt off.” Nowadays Christian doesn’t perform at church, but performs his material at the odd gig-about- town. Not only does he write spoken word, but is the author of three books and he plays in bands. “I devote a third of everything I do to that stuff.” A third? We’ll get back to that. Christian has self-published three books. His first book, Botany Botany is a photographic study of nature and light. Disturbing Short Stories & Poetry for Young Children and the Elderly (not really meant for the young or the elderly) is 192 pages of rollicking stories and poems.
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Hilarious and worrying, Christian’s stories are darkly mischievous. He describes his most recent, and third book, Equinox as a ‘faux study’ of the dreams participants had when the sun reaches its zenith over the equator; the equinox. He asked people about their daydreams and nightmares, taking down their exact words by hand, and recording the vague and bizarre answers his book. Christian has dabbled into the art world too, displaying a Polaroid installation in a Surry Hills gallery. Travelling up and down the coastline, visiting friends and meeting complete strangers, he took their portraits with a Polaroid camera. He explained that the concept came from his “obsession with relationships.” Every person in the album is connected, through this project and through Christian. Before I go on, lets return to that third business. Christian explained that a while ago he decided to split his life into three. What? “One part is arts. Another one third is adventure. I go off into the national park on my own for a few days on a trip. I just sort of wander around and spend some time alone. Or I go overseas. I’ve been to India and rode around on Royal Enfields. The last third is to do with my nursing.” Christian is currently a trauma nurse in the emergency department of a south Sydney hospital. As a part of a bigger plan, he wants to go overseas, to a developing country and support a community with his nursing. Let’s take stock. He’s a nurse who rides Royal Enfields around India, writes books and poetry and plays in bands. Gentlemen, take note. Ladies, he’s single. I get the sense he isn’t one of those people who can sit still for too long. Not a bad thing though, because as a result, his stories and poetry aren’t stagnate either. Christian plans to write more books and perform when he can... Well for a third of his time at least.
HOW TO OCCUPY WALL STREET WITH ALOE BLACC It just might be as simple as the paper in your wallet. Holly Smith writes and asks
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I need a dollar, dollar, dollar is what I need. Thank you Aloe Blacc for voicing the plight of every povo uni student, homeless vagabond, Qantas staff member and welfare dependant tragic, worldwide. It is a beautiful thing when one song becomes an anthem for so many. This dude is not your average pop star. In an industry that can be as shallow as a urine-filled kiddie pool, this guy takes music somewhere else. Blacc goes deep. He is eloquent, thoughtful and passionate. Not only about music, but about current issues affecting people on a global scale; unemployment, homelessness and corporate greed in particular. He believes every person has the power to affect these issues and he sees music as his vehicle to change, inspire and empower all who hear it. Also - he was wearing a vest. Good god, I love a man in a vest... H: I’m really interested to hear about the purpose you feel is behind your music. There’s been a few quotes that your music is about positive social change and you’ve been referred to as the modern day Robin Hood which is pretty interesting... A: I’m doing music mainly because I can’t help it. I’m just always coming up with song ideas and the ones that I eventually put into the marketplace I like to serve a few different purposes; one entertainment, cause when you’re making people happy you’re creating positive social change and hopefully people can pay that happiness forward, create an energy that’s reverberating to other people. I do it when I’m on stage, I do it when my music’s playing on the radio and that’s one way that I feel my music makes positive social change. But another way is; I am able to generate a fan base and build some visibility, people can hear what I have to say, whether it’s in interviews or in my music. I am still a member of a community, you know, and my community is growing, it’s global at this point so the messages that I want to present in my music are global in nature and humanitarian in nature.
H: Do you feel like maybe your music is connecting with so many people at the moment because there is a big movement with those more political views, with the whole ‘occupy wall st’ thing that’s happened, that’s kind of spreading across....
A: ...yeah absolutely, I think the sentiment that is inspiring and motivating the ‘occupy wall st’ movement is what pushed me to write the kind of songs I did and put them on the album back in 2009. Over that time songs like ‘Politician’ and ‘Life’s So Hard’, ‘I Need a Dollar’, ‘Take Me Back’, ‘Miss Fortune’, all of these songs H: And do you think those themes you address come as you are relate to the economic crisis and the disparity between the rich and writing your music? the poor, the liberties that corporations take in terms of not paying taxes and corporate welfare. I feel like my voice, along with many A: Yeah, they come into play when I’m coming up with a song others, has been part of the culmination into this ‘occupy’ movement idea that isn’t necessarily socially progressive or political. I find worldwide and I think the occupy movement is just the beginning of ways to integrate a little bit of something that is meaningful in those this international outcry for change, for positive social change and that respects into the song. Sometimes I come up with ideas that are is going to have to come sooner rather than later because the people strictly political or socially progressive and I have to figure out how are fed up and they don’t want to take it anymore. And what are they to make it entertaining, because I really want for people to like fed up with? They’re fed up with corporations not paying their fair my music. I want them to enjoy it, but I also want them to learn share, they’re fed up with not having universal health care, especially something, or be inspired or enlightened by it because otherwise, in my country, they’re fed up with not having jobs when corporations to me, it’s just empty... empty entertainment, and I don’t want for my are making record profits. If you’re making record profits you can music to be that. afford to have a few more employees and those few more employees means more jobs and these are the kinds of things that I think people H: I think that’s a really unique feature in the industry at the moment are looking for, it’s not necessarily being presented or communicated as well. I know you’re not signed to a mainstream label and I think properly through mainstream media and news, but this is what the that’s a really positive thing. I imagine that gives you much more movement’s about. freedom in what kind of songs you can create. H: So do you have a tangible vision in your head of what you see as A: Yeah, I am able to make whatever I want, whenever I want and social change? at this point I have the capacity to release whatever I want and I now have a fan base large enough to recognise that something is available A: It starts with the tangible vision- everybody can do it from their and they have the opportunity to like it or not, without, you know, some armchair. Really, you know. I call it ‘occupy your wallet’. If you choose unseen taste-maker choosing whether I get heard or not. the companies you want to purchase your items from wisely, then we 26 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11
don’t have to worry about corporations having record profits and not sharing. Because the ones that you offer your money to, is a vote for a company that you know is going to pay their taxes well and is going to employ people and give them the right kind of benefits they need, and is going to make sure that there’s no child labour issues or slave labour in their supply chain and make sure that they’re not mistreating the environment in the development of their products. If you consciously make a decision based on certain factors when you’re making your purchases, then it will all have a ripple effect. Other corporations will start to make changes so they can win your dollar, win your respect really. I think it’ll change a lot of things. Until people realise that the power is in their wallet, then things probably won’t change so quickly. H: Do you get frustrated with your musical peers? Those who choose not to express their political views so openly? The music industry is such a huge thing in the world in terms of generating change, it must be frustrating for you. I feel like your view and the way you can express yourself is so rare in that industry... A: Yeah, it’s unfortunate. I’m just disappointed, it’s not really frustrating. I think my goal is to help inspire other artists to use their voice in a way that can create positive change. It’s just disappointing that it doesn’t exist right now but I understand it because this is the music business, and the music business has some of the same problems other industries have and so hopefully I can help clean it up with the way that I think and hopefully be respected by my peers H: do you have any big goals or big things that you’re looking forward to? Are you touring heaps? A: Well I’m touring more than I should be, cause it’s important to
rest my voice and rest my body as well. But I want to write songs for other artists, and I want to continue to tell stories in different ways and one way would be in front of the camera as an actor and finding the stories that I think are important to tell. Maybe historic depictions of events or biopics of particular historic figures. And helping other artists gain a foot in the industry. H: Can you tell me a little bit about your influences, but not so much musical, like who else has been an influence in maybe shaping your views, helping to educate you? A: I guess it all comes from maybe some religious philosophies, studying the basis of many religions around the world and trying to basically distill down to what are the most important things and really it all comes down to love, you know, love and happiness. How can you be happy, and how can your happiness create happiness for others. I find that in many of the religions around the world without getting into the specific methods of practice, just the over- arching philosophies behind them. And people like Gandhi and of course Martin Luther King, who learned from Gandhi’s perseverance and methods of non-violence to create change. I’m not sure in terms of other particular individuals... I’m sure there are many, I just cant think of specific names, but really I think Gandhi would be one of the biggest characters. The Dalai Lama would be another really huge character that’s inspired me and musically, or in terms of his place in music, Quincy Jones, being the godfather of music, especially the kind of music I do, cause he’s out-lived everybody he’s worked with and he continues to be a sage in the industry. H: So how long are you in Australia for now? A: Well, I’ll be here for about 5 days to promote the Good Things album and promote my tour coming up in January. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11 | 27
MASTER & APPRENTICE Andrew Kingsford-Smith met with the Belvoir Theatre’s artistic director Ralph Myres and NIDA student Katren Wood. The theatre industry is all about being noticed. Whether it’s your acting, directing or writing, the people who succeed in this business are the ones who stand out from the crowd. But this is the exact opposite when it comes to set design. Ralph Myres –– a set designer and artistic director of Belvoir Theatre –– described beautiful sets that don’t serve the text as worse than irrelevant: “it would be better if they weren’t there”. He explained that set design is not about making great visuals; it’s about making good theatre. The set is secondary to the actor-audience relationship, and must work in conjunction to blend with the entire production. So how does one get noticed in this chameleon career? Though mentors and a lot of luck. Ralph first experienced this with his goodtiming when he graduated in 2000. Most of the established set designers in Sydney were working on the Olympics, so the theatres needed somebody new. Right after studying, Ralph’s first job was at the Griffin Theatre, an opportunity many don’t receive even several years into their career. From this experience onwards, his luck and skill (though he modestly claims it all to be luck) has had him mentored by some of the greats in the theatre industry such as Jim Sharman, Barrie Kosky, Neil Armfield and Robin Nevin. Extremely thankful for these incredible opportunities that came out of chance, Ralph knows the importance of good fortune and a helping hand. While this sounds like a unique path, Katren Wood, a design student at NIDA, is already walking similar lucky steps. Last year, just before a planned trip to Melbourne, Katren received a call asking whether she would like to work with Ralph. One flight cancellation later, she was with her new mentor at one of the biggest theatres in Sydney. Katren told me that the greatest lesson she has learnt through
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working with Ralph is the importance of communication. “While studying, we learn the principles of design and how to design wonderful sets, but being a designer is so much more than that. It’s being able to talk to people, it’s the relationships we build and understanding how that process works. You get a taste of this at NIDA, but not as much as you do in the real world”. Ralph completely agreed with Katren, and it was amazing to see the strong friendship between them. The mentor-student relationship is a rich one. But how are these relationships born? Do mentors need to be selfless saviours trying to aid future industries? No. They are just people who need things done. Ralph explained that the Belvoir hires emerging practitioners because they have tasks they need completed. Of course the company is interested in nurturing young talent and it’s great that the participants learn from the experience, but internships/ secondments/ placements (& whatever else you want to call them) all begin as any other form of employment would: with a need to delegate work. Ralph then explained this in a parable (perhaps revealing his inner saviourside): “You learn to be a plumber by being a plumber’s apprentice. They are not doing it because they love young plumbers.” I then asked what advice Ralph had for aspiring theatre practitioners. He told me: “Go to the theatre. See as much of it as you can”. Katren was quick to add with a smile, “Preferably the Belvoir”. Seeing theatre is the best way to understand how it works, and to figure out what excites you. You learn about making theatre through watching it. And who knows, maybe a mentor will be waiting for you in the foyer.
To see Katren’s work and to support emerging talent, head to NIDA and see Thirst, performing from the 30th November to the 3rd December.
HANDMADE FORTUNE Art exhibitions from Sydney to Santa Monica, fashion stocked from Melbourne to Japan and a publisher in New York who’s asking for ideas. Julian Webster caught up with Lang Leav to discuss her handmade treasures.
In 2004 young creative Lang Leav was fired from her first full-time job designing the packaging for Wondersoft toilet paper. She found herself at a complete loss, without direction, but somewhere among it all she created Akina, a cutesy cartoon girl who killed teddy bears for their button eyes. Lang sketched the character. She put the illustrations on some t-shirts and entered them in the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award. She took out her category, winning $10,000 and a mentorship with fashion icon Peter Morrissey. Years on, Akina clothing is stocked on shelves around Sydney, Melbourne and Harajuku, Japan. Lang’s artwork has appeared in the prestigious Copro Gallery in Santa Monica and she is currently preparing for an exhibit here in Sydney. “It was a lot of hard work,” says Lang, “a lot of all nighters. I was just saying yes to everything and taking everything on... It was very exciting though. You should always enjoy the beginning, you can never replace that feeling of excitement and possibility.” Fashion and art were not Lang’s first loves. At heart she is a poet, a writer. Lang says her written work underpins everything she does creatively. It’s the corner stone of Akina. Lang has an impressive catalogue of books she writes, designs, illustrates and hand crafts herself. Her titles are usually printed in limited editions of 100 copies and snapped up quickly by her international audience. Her latest work, Charlie’s Widow, was presented to Tim Burton at the opening of his Wonderland Exhibit at the Centre for Moving Image in Melbourne. Lang’s books are exquisite creations, printed on linen paper and bound with cloth. You can see the effort in every inch of her work, from the chilling illustrations of girls with bloodied baseball bats, to the ornate metal corners on the cover. The stories themselves deal
in the macabre: little girls become deranged and go on bloodvy rampages for teddy bear eyes. Lang says the Brothers Grimm were a big influence for her. When she was twelve her father brought back one of their books from a trip overseas. “They were the fairytales in their original form,” remembers Lang. “They were all very, very dark because they hadn’t been interpreted for children. There were scenes where people were put into barrels with nails in them and rolled down a hill. I think that book had a very significant impact on me, especially reading it so young. I was very fascinated.” Recently a literary agent in New York approached Lang and asked her to prepare a few ideas for children’s books. She’s very excited by the opportunity, but says even if she entered the publishing mainstream she’d still handcraft a few editions on the side. “I really enjoy the process of creating it all from scratch and having a finished product... I think I’ll always do that regardless.” It’s been an astounding journey for Lang, who was born in a Thai refugee camp after her parents fled war-torn Cambodia in 1980. “I pinch myself sometimes, that I can actually create this work and have people support it. That’s really important for any artist... what we do takes a ot of time, a lot of passion and energy.” Lang currently splits her time between Sydney and Auckland, where she has a tree house studio on the edge of a cliff. She is preparing for her ‘Naughty and Nice’ exhibition at the Kinokuniya Gallery in Sydney, which will run from the 7th to the 19th of December.
To see her full collection of storybooks, artwork and fashion head over to www.akina.com.au. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11 | 29
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: CELEBREATING 20 YEARS OF TROPFEST As Tropfest prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Erin Holohan asked Managing Director Michael Laverty to press both rewind and fast-forward, and tell us where Tropfest began and where it’s going in the future. In Darlinghurst’s Tropicana Café some 20 years ago, a young filmmaker screened one of his films for the first time. He invited cast, crew and friends, and a turn-out of over 200 people was the result. This young man was John Polson, and inspired by the success of that one night, he went on to establish the world’s largest short film festival and an iconic Australian event. In February 2012, Tropfest will celebrate its 20th birthday. “John has often said he had never planned for Tropfest to become what it did,” says Managing Director Michael Laverty. “It was really by mistake that it happened and it’s just evolved.” Polson is busy tending to his family, his wife having just given birth to the couple’s second daughter but Laverty, who has been Managing Director of the festival since 2002, proudly discusses the event’s success. “Obviously the last 15 years have seen a more focused, concerted effort,” he says. “Now it’s a big machine and a very slick organisation.” Tropfest has drawn a live audience of around 150,000 people in a single night and reached more than one million viewers at home and in venues around the country thanks to the live television broadcast of the event that commenced in 2009. Tropfest has also expanded internationally, with competitions taking place in New York and Las Vegas as well as Arabia. With China, Paris and London all possibilities for future festival locations, Tropfest is definitely on the rise. “There’s going to be a big roll out of Tropfest,” says Laverty when asked about the festival’s international expansion. “We’re going to see storytelling and short films coming from various countries and various cultures and that’s what is really exciting us.“ Although it still has a grassroots reputation, Tropfest seems to be drawing more fans by the minute. Laverty says the cause of its appeal is divided but it mainly comes back to the films themselves. “It’s the wonderful stories that are coming through the films,” he says. “I think that’s one of the most important things. They’re engaging, they’re entertaining and people love to see what Australians do.” Along with the story telling aspect, Laverty says Tropfest has now established itself on the nation’s cultural calendar. Combine the films with 30 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11
this publicity and the opportunity for a day out in the summer sun, as well as the free element of the festival, and Laverty says this is why Tropfest is so appealing. When asked what short films have to offer that feature films don’t, Laverty highlights the accessibility of the craft, especially for those just starting out in filmmaking. “Any person who is going to be a serious filmmaker probably starts their career out in short films and experimentation,” he says. With YouTube and various social networking sites increasing the potential for just about anyone to broadcast their own films, one might think Tropfest has difficult times ahead. Yet as Laverty explains, the festival actually utilises these tools. Tropfest now has its own YouTube channel and contestants have to upload their films rather than send in DVDs. “Those types of Internet portals are extremely important to us.” For their 20th anniversary, the people at Tropfest have some pretty big things planned. As Laverty suggests, “It’s going to be a huge weekend!” For the first time the festival will span three days, kicking off with an opening party for the industry. There will also be screenings of films that didn’t quite make the final, and a high-end filmmaker composium with Laverty insisting there’ll be some big name presenters involved. Add to this the Trop Junior, Tropscore and Mobile Masterpieces (films recorded using mobile phones) competitions and of course, Tropfest itself, and this really is set to be one big birthday bash. Looking ahead, Laverty says the global development of the festival is their focus but so too is staying true to what Tropfest is all about. “We want to make sure that we keep the culture of Tropfest and the Australian side of Tropfest integral, through to its core values of being grassroots and a festival for the people. And we have to take that globally. We’re pretty pumped!” When asked if there will be an even bigger 21st birthday celebration, Laverty explains it is time for the festival to move forward. “After this, I think we might just start again and say this is our first year. We’re in a new era. We’ve got a new focus now. “
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CARTA MAGNIFICO Chloe Hazelwood chats with Siân McIntyre on the marvellous merits of a simple, yet essential substance. It is the vessel for the very words you are reading at this moment. Paper: an item that we’ve come into contact with countless times throughout our lives. It has existed for far longer than you or I. Without it, we would be walking through streets mumbling important reminders to ourselves, or covering our bodies with ink – both of which may make us seem slightly crazy. It is considered one of the ‘Four Great Inventions’ of China, with the paper- making process dating back to the 2nd century AD. It goes without saying that paper is to the writer what pages are to the book – how would this article exist without that white blank page and its endless possibilities? The Paper Mill, a gallery space tucked into a small laneway behind Sydney’s bustling CBD, extends this reverence to paper-based art. Siân McIntyre, a founding director and printmaker herself, explains why the gallery chose to focus on this medium exclusively. “We see paper as being the base material for where the creative process begins. It is where the first beginnings of ideas are sketched down, it is cost effective, textural, environmentally sound, sustainable and it is also the intersection of all creative practice - design, fine art, craft - paper covers it all.” I ask Siân what distinguishes paper from other mediums. “Paper provides an inexpensive, recyclable, readily found material for creative practice. It is easily molded and transformed and can hint at nostalgia, the every day and also the contemporary. During my time at The Paper Mill I have seen paintings, drawings and prints on paper but I have also seen sculptures made from paper pulp and cardboard, baskets created from shredded and twisted paper and a performance piece using paper.” One such exhibition was Penelope Benton and Alexandra Clapham’s Une Fete Dans Le Papier – “an installation/performance piece that really embraced the idea of exhibiting in a paper-based space in the centre of the CBD,” Siân says. “The installation totally transformed The Paper Mill; all the objects were made with cardboard (complete with a cardboard grand piano). The conceptual statements in the work were also really interesting - it was directly interacting with the 32 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11
disparity of lux and poverty that occurs in the CBD.” Siân outlines the gallery’s intentions. “We wanted to start a dialogue about the process of creation, a place where skills and practices can be shared and taught, a place where people could be inspired by this somewhat unassuming material - a material that surrounds us every day, that is used in every single high-rise office building that looks down on our little inner-city site.” With the rise and rise of digital output, artists can exhibit their work to mass audiences, exclusively online. Does this pose a significant threat to paper-based practice? Has there been a response in artists’ work? “I think that the introduction of digitallybased media has perhaps had a positive effect,” Siân muses. “Paper and the hand-made has experienced a mass resurgence and I would suggest that this is because we are learning to once again
value the aesthetic of the hand-made and created. With the excess of produced, slick and digital material, the imperfect, textured and human side of media and art has well become something to value and respect.” The Paper Mill will be looking for a new home in December, so in retrospect I ask Siân what the highlights of her time at 1 Angel Place, Ash Street have been. “Witnessing and engaging in creative dialogue with other practitioners and also members of the public really has to be the most rewarding thing about running a creative space. We also have had incredibly talented artists come into the space through our residency program.” Stay tuned for the next location! In the meantime, check out www.thepapermill.org for a rundown of past exhibitions, events/ workshops and featured artists. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11 | 33
Fish and Chips There is no need for cutlery in the summer, just wrap it in paper and attack!
Method 1. Pre-heat the oven to 190° fan-forced. 2. With your trusty baking paper, line a flat baking tray and set Year in, year out, I find that summer never comes fast enough. I love aside for the chips. Then line a 27x20cm brownie pan with enough the hot breeze, the cool relief of shopping centre air-con, and the excess baking paper to double over and create a pocket for the fish casual nature in which everyone approaches eating. From Calippos to steam in. to Icy Poles and Chiko rolls to hot chips; getting fed is quick, easy and 3. Rinse off any excess dirt from the potatoes. Don’t peel the potatoes no fuss – you don’t even need a knife and fork! Wrap it up in some as these chips are all about the skin. In a large pot of water boil the paper and attack it with your fingers, or if you are like me, directly potatoes for 5 minutes, no longer. This will soften the insides of the with your teeth if it’s still piping hot. Summer food is nothing but easy potatoes and give the chips a softer inside when ready to eat. Drain and yum. the water and leave the potatoes to cool on a breadboard. 3. In a large bowl toss in the salt flakes, pepper, rosemary, oregano Enjoy the heat and enjoy the paper food! and mixed herbs. Cut potatoes into thick wedges and place in bowl Sophie and Zabrina with herbs. Toss the herbs and potatoes together so that there is an even covering over the chips. Place on baking paper, drizzle with olive oil and put in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. FISH AND CHIPS 4. Meanwhile, put the fish under a running tap and rub off any missed Serves 2 - 4 scales on both side of the fish. Running your fingers along the skin from the tail to the head will pick up any extra scales. Be extra careful with Ingredients the pointy fins on the fish. For the Chips For the Fish 5. Place fish into the middle of the baking paper in the brownie tray 5 medium to large brushed Medium whole Snapper fish (this tray will help shape the paper pocket and keep in any fluids that potatoes (when buying, don’t forget to leak out) and scatter lemon slices under, inside and on top of the fish. 4 tbls rock or sea salt flakes ask for it gutted and cleaned.) Place about half the butter and some salt inside the fish and scatter the 1 tbls cracked black pepper 2 lemons, slice 1 into circles remaining butter, parsley, basil, chives and salt on top of the fish. Fold 1 bunch fresh rosemary, finely to cook and 1 into wedges to the excess baking paper into the middle of the tray and fold the edges chopped serve of the paper together to enclose the fish in a pocket. Handful of fresh oregano, finely 100 grams butter, small cubes 6. After cooking the chips for 20 minutes, take out of the oven and turn chopped Handful of parsley, torn into the chips over, place back in the oven on the bottom rack and place 2 tbls mixed herbs small pieces the fish on the middle rack. Cook for 20 minutes. 2 tbls olive oil Handful of basil, torn into small 7. Plate the fish pocket on a large dish and serve the chips in a large Aioli, to serve pieces bowl lined with baking paper. Don’t forget a generous side of aioli for Handful of chives chip dipping and when you’re ready to eat your little hearts out tear 2 pinches of salt into the pocket with your hands and devour the fish with a fork or your Pinch Pepper fingers – Enjoy! 34 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11
ON THE SURE Sitting on sand dunes and grassy knolls, nestled amongst the reeds and fibres of Uni essays and under work desks someone in HR bought from Ikea, Matt Hogan and Jonas Nicholls escape the tedious events of everyday life. This is of course their haven. Holly Friedlander writes Located in the inner most workings of their minds, this daily oasis allows the pair to create riffs and smoke spliffs. And before they even get home to their wives and their dogs and their floors covered in children’s toys, something wonderful has been born. ‘We just think of a tune as we are going about our day,’ explains Matt, guitarist of local Sydney band Sures. ‘If we can conveniently record that tune at that time then it turns into a song, if not, then it’s lost forever.’ Stemming from punk roots at 13 years of age, both boys just recently discovered their simultaneous surf-rock musings and have been collaborating ever since. The result? Infectious pop melodies and heart-breaking choruses, a tribute to the young life and the good ol’ days that we all strive for. Put it all through a semi-surf-grunge, lo-fi filter and you get Sures’ Triple J hit Poseidon. According to Dom Alessio, you ‘take Panda Bear and Best Coast, record them on a cassette and you might get something like this’ – a super encouraging start to two guys who just make music in their bedroom/garage/Trans-Am equivalent. With a string of friends that help fill in their live spots and drummer/bass positions, the boys’ fluidity drives through their tunes, with melting guitar riffs and heavenly reverb inkling at what is to come. Perhaps there is too much ‘indie-rock-surf-pop-throw-it-on-TripleJ-Unearthed-and-make-it-big’ these days, but maybe it shouldn’t be discouraged. With the creative energy flowing enthusiastically and rapidly around our Australian shores, it’s bound to be on the tips of everyone’s fingers, the avenues of Internet accessibility making the
guitar thrashing heroes push their creative boundaries, to see if it’s all worth it. And with an equal or greater amount of keyboard weilding critics, constantly sharing their grammatically ambiguous thoughts online, creative growth ensues. ‘I don’t really think the Triple J thing is a big deal,’ explains Matt, reflecting on a recent online article Polaroids of Androids whipped up over the dominance of Triple J, specifically their new Unearthed radio station. ‘Obviously it is a system that works, [but] another great force is the blog circuit, it’s crazy how powerful blogs are. If you get on the right ones it’s a good way to get a couple of thousand fans at a time.’ Although the powers of 21st century media and marketing have proved to be quick and effective, time and time again, there is nothing like an old fashioned live show to revel in new fans and express what making music is all about. ‘Shows like the Rabbit Hole/Spit Press show have mad vibes and killer line-ups. Also the crowd is specific to the event not the bands so you introduce your music to all new people. I suppose that’s how we met Tym Yee right?’ At the end of the day, besides talent, which these two boys bathe in, it’s about right time, right place and the right people. Or perhaps in the attitude of Regurgitator, doing whatever you can to get to the top. Maybe they’ll be gobbled up by the Triple J enthusiasts but is that such a bad thing? ‘I haven’t actually heard Poseidon on the radio yet but I feel like if I did I would turn up the radio and squeal.’ Why shouldn’t we be given the opportunity to squeal at our achievements?
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SEPARATION ANXIETY A message from Brittney Kleyn to all you travellers out there – ride the home-sickness and ditch the postcards.
To my fellow travelers out there I have one question that has plagued me for some time now: how bizarre and meaningless are postcards? They’re a tokenistic picture (most probably ridiculously tacky) with little room to write your ramblings. One must wonder why we waste our time and precious pennies on them. After hours scribbling on said pieces of card pondering this conundrum, I’ve drawn it down to one conclusion: home sickness. They say it comes in waves when you travel and I’m a firm believer that even if you’re the Mahatma Ghandi of today’s day and age, you’ll come unstuck at some stage. Whether it’s craving a lamington or pining for your long lost lover over land and sea, we all have ‘those days’. It takes all the independence and maturity (which may or may not exist) within us to wake up to ourselves and realise it’s all part of the grand adventure. Unfortunately Lonely Planet is yet to release their ‘Coping With Travelling Alone’ guide, although knowing their monopolisation of the travel guide market, they’ve got someone at HQ working on it as we speak. In the meantime, I think it’s suitable we band together (a support group of sorts) to work through some ideas. Shall I start? From my three hundred and sixty five day hiatus, it was only after exactly eight months and thirteen days that the HS virus hit my immune system. It came in the form of a hilarious and lengthy email from my best friend, only the fourth I’d received to date at the time. Both terrible at keeping in touch (hence the BF status), it was only after reading close to two thousand words of her ridiculous banter that it hit me. I freaking miss this girl. Actually, wow. I really do miss home.
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Not to discredit the pining I’d experienced in previous months for my family and certain individuals, sometimes it’s a bizarre catalyst that ticks you off. The yeasty smell of Vegemite or the twang of a fellow Australian accent. Evidence shows (from my personal investigations) that distancing yourself from such creature comforts not only allows you to immerse yourself in your new surroundings, but seems to keep the sickly ‘missing’ feeling away. Maybe this can be said for humans too. That ailing feeling you get post-Skype, the “I wish you were here” sign off to the postcard from interesting-location-here, is it really worth all the pain and angst? I’m not saying forget them, I’m not saying remove them from your short or long term memory – I just think it’s wise to respect the distance. Everyone is different and I apologise for the lack of conclusions on how to maintain relationships whilst living worlds apart. My personal analysis concludes that there is no easy way out of the conundrum. Ride the wave; consider it your first priority to enjoy your time away and those who truly care will understand. Besides, slide night will be all the more entertaining with the air of mystery from the lack of conversation every second day. Everyone wins. Summarising the minutes of this support group meeting, I think we’ve come to a collective conclusion that we should circumvent the touristic ploy of the postcard altogether. Let’s stop wasting time with them. Instead, send your grandma a letter (she’ll appreciate the sentiment more), your mother a quick ‘I’m safe’ email and if you still feel the need to put pen to paper, document the experiences in more than the prescribed postcard twenty-five-words-or-less size. You’ll be thanking yourself later.
ELIZE STRYDOM: PAPER TIGER (SHEâ€™S SO HARD) "Threatening? No, you're reading me all wrong. I'm harmless. Fragile, even. You know what they say; appearances can be deceiving." She called herself a Paper Tiger but I didn't get it. So she broke it down for me and it all made sense. I wanted to show you both sides and how they fit together; the hard exterior and the delicate layers underneath. Double exposures that look like one image has been cut then pasted over another. I had to shoot it on film, didn't I? This story deserves the raw honesty that film reveals. Plus, it's been my obsession for the last little while. The digital SLR is buried away at the back of the cupboard, emerging only to shoot gigs and festivals. I don't know what I'll do with all of these pictures but I do know I'm compelled to take them. That light, his expression, their history - click - I must.
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PAPERLESS Cam Taylor was recently given the somewhat awkward task of walking into public toilets carrying a camera. There was no sinister motive behind this. It was merely to capture the scribblings and thoughts scattered over the walls and doors of cubicles. Looking past the doodles of doodles and the phone numbers promising ‘good times’, it was interesting to see that not even a lack of paper will stop someone from drawing a picture or sharing a quote or message. All of it to remain anonymous, unless you’re game enough to sign your name. Or unlucky enough to have a ‘friend’ do it for you.
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There was some 80â€™s punk revival with the Dead Kennedys symbol on an old outhouse, surprisingly in a pretty posh suburb. Whether or not it was a cry for social injustice or just some teen angst is hard to tell. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 11 | 43
Hopefully gullible Harry Potter fans are not fooled by the misleading directions to the Ministry of Magic, yet still follow the rather obvious instructions of where to aim.
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The Schrödinger’s cat reference was probably the most scientific quote I have ever seen in a public toilet. Based on the thought experiment about a cat left in a box with a subatomic particle and a flask of hydrochloric acid. The cat’s life was dependent on the state of the subatomic particle and whether it reacted to break the flask of the acid. The cat remains both alive and dead to the universe outside the box until the box is opened. Essentially saying that Schrödinger’s cat is dead, but is it really dead?
So when books and magazines are not enough, you can always count on public toilets to provide some easy reading.
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PAPERBACK OR PLAYBACK? PIZZA PAGES Fiona Murphy states the case for leaving novels alone.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, write a good book and Hollywood will come knocking. Jane Austen herself is a screenwriter’s Jezebel with a staggering number of adaptations, sequels and prequels made of her books. While I will be forever grateful to the BBC for searing Colin Firth’s sodden torso onto my retina, I usually go to great lengths to avoid watching film versions of books I’ve read. This is because I usually find that watching a book adaptation is like eating left-over pizza – the original is fresh and full bodied with flavours designed to please the palate. Whereas the microwaved version is the sum of the same parts, but tastes completely different, lacking the same bite and zesty freshness. Unfortunately filmmakers seem to be raiding the bookshelves, with a slew of adaptations in the works from Cloud Atlas to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. How can the heft of words be distilled into celluloid? When a book is well written there is drama in the grammar, commas are considered and exclamation marks examined, to allow words to dance with lyrical lilt. Sentences are saturated with sensory cues so you taste and smell the story. I’m not just referring to highbrow elitist literature, as some of the most vivid writing resides in children’s books. Dr Suess is pure poetry on the page, yet falls into mind numbing tripe when Jim Carey prances around as The Grinch. This is why I let rip a string of expletives when I heard my favourite childhood book – Roald Dahl’s The Twits – is being adapted. The story already plays like a film in my mind, I’m afraid that watching an adaptation could taint my memories of the book. Or at the very worst, completely erase my version of the characters. Even with the author actively producing the film, it’s still a risky process translating a novel to celluloid as they potentially incur the wrath of the readers if the film doesn’t meet expectations. Most people accept that even if filmmakers try to stay loyal to the original text, it is unlikely they will recreate the vision you had when you read the book. Generally even the most rabid Harry Potter fans will accept alterations to the finer nuances of dialogue and minute details such as character’s
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height. However even people who can’t quote pages of dialogue still have the basic expectation that the film will retain the general gist of the novel. Anyone who had read Nick Hornby’s novel Fever Pitch would have been a tad confused by the film. Instead of watching the intimate musings of life lessons learnt by a die-hard Arsenal football supporter, the protagonist has an obsession with the Boston Red Sox baseball team and a tricky yet humorous romantic entanglement to deal with. In a suitably poetic protest, author John LeCarre said ‘Having your book turned into a film is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes’. Hollywood has the habit of hacking away at books, streamlining them into something that can be watched in the time it takes to munch on a carton of buttery hot popcorn. Character arcs are condensed into minutes as screenwriters nit-pick out film worthy sections of the narrative. Technically while every book, no matter how atrociously avant-garde or pretentiously post-modern, can be filmed, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road has long been classed as ‘unfilmable’. Developing the script has tormented director Francis Ford Coppola since he purchased the film rights in 1979. The novel was championed as capturing a snapshot of the beatnik generation, something Coppola has grappled with translating onto screen. Though thirty-three years after commencing the project, Coppola intends to deliver the film by next year. John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces is classed as unfilmable for more bizarre reasons. The numerous attempts to bring the story to the screen have all failed and it is now considered to be a cursed book. Casting the lead role is almost like passing down a death sentence, as each actor toted to play Igneous J. Reilly has died suddenly including John Belushi, John Candy and Chris Farley. Not to take away from the magic and delight of cinema, but Jane Austen sums it up best in Northanger Abbey - ‘The person, be that gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.’
ALL IN THE NAME OF FILM There is a rivalry between two sorts of people that may never reach resolve. Each group fuelled with a passion so incendiary to defend what they believe to be true, that they’re blinded by their convictions and are a hazard to the innocent bystanders who watch them argue safely from the distance. It’s not politics, it’s no war story, it’s Literature vs. Film. Caitlyn Adamson puts up her gloves and defends her team. There will be several morals to this never ending story. They’re warnings and words of wisdom I will bestow unto all my little team Film warriors. 1) If you find yourself intervening in a Lit-Film War, make sure you have the gonads to go the distance. 2) If you find yourself in this splintering conflict, know your trivia and know it well. 3) Unless you’ve both read the book and seen the film adaptation your opinion will not be valid for debate, and 4) If you find yourself backed against a wall, with no means of escape, bring up some examples of film adaptations that are superior to their literature originals. In my humble and always right opinion, here are a few: -Fight Club (David Fincher) > Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk). -The English Patient (Anthony Mighella) > The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje). -Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson) = Lord of the Rings (J.R.R Tolkein). -The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher) > The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (F. Scott Fitzgerald). -Gone With The Wind (Victor Fleming) > Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell). There are standard arguments on either side of this brutal boxing match between these two mediums. Lit-buffs will argue that films can never capture the same amount of detail that the novels represent. Film-buffs will fight back and say that they’re more visually stimulating and immediately satisfying. Lit-buffs bite back with how reading is more leisurely pleasurable. And Film-buffs counter-attack with the time card. It’s a knife fight that is simply about what you love more, and which form you’ve been exposed to first.
That being said I’m not stating that every novel that’s been moulded into a film will always be superior. Believe me; I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak watching beloved books become terrible movies. And classic old movies becoming terrible modern adaptations. As well as beautiful foreign films being turned into horrid and vomit inducing English films. Sometimes I still find myself curled in the corner of my lounge room shouting blasphemy at the television whenever the Keira Knightley version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ comes up on Showtime. And why, oh, why would you even touch Kevin Bacon in his prime and remake ‘Footloose’? But take a look at the juggernaut box office hitters like ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ that, without their film adaptations, would probably have not made J.K Rowling even more money than she already knows what to do with. Or would’ve been able to create a world as complex and vast as that of Middle Earth. Books stimulate the mind; make us use our imagination to create what best we can. But films, oh my, when they do adaptations well, they paint a picture and show us a world that we couldn’t even comprehend. We see futuristic dystopias the way Philip K. Dick wrote them. We witness tragic love affairs that span through the Russian landscape in Dr. Zhivago. We fall in love with Cinema legends like Vivien Leigh and Clarke Gable who told us that “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” – a line not originally in the novel but oh so powerful. We’re taken out of our bodies and placed into a world of the unknown that could only be recapitulated with darkness, a big screen and a surround sound system. We’re taken on a cinematic journey. However why fight when we could love? Why argue when we could agree to disagree? Why cause conflict when both of these art forms give so much to the general public? Trying to find a peaceful resolution? Just bring up Twilight because, let’s face it, either way they’re guaranteed to be terrible. Middle ground found. Thank me later.
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OUT NOW THROUGH YES PLEASE YESPLEASERECORDS.BANDCAMP.COM
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Published on Dec 31, 2011
Paper. Issue 11 of The Spit Press features: Aloe Blacc, The Wombats, 1000 Journals Project, Elize Strydom, Cameron Taylor, Tropfest and much...