Video art

•Sunday, 12 May, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Seeking out art is one of our amusements and pastimes. We frequent galleries [art museums & selling galleries] as often as we can. And finding art that’s escaped from the galleries out into the streets, onto external walls, and into parks can be great fun as well. So while it’s a considerable sadness that the Christchurch City Art Gallery has to remain closed until the needed earthquake-strengthening work is completed, the gallery’s enterprise in taking art out into the streets and various spaces in the city provides repeated opportunity to go on brief adventures of hunt-the-art. Currently the Gallery is celebrating 10 years since the new gallery building opened [“It’s our party and we’ll cry if we want to”] and the exhibition on show around town is titled, Populate!

Yesterday we saw the wonderful silvered and mass solidity of Gregor Kregar’s gnomes guarding the south entrance to the gallery. Round the corner are the delightfully posed and assured lace monitor lizards at home in Joanna Braithwaite’s Lizard Lounge.

Tony Oursler SpectarThis morning [a stunning Canterbury autumn day – still chill air, warm sun] we sought out exhibitions in the gallery on the second floor sandwiched between C1 below and the Physics Room above: brutal hand-painted film posters; and intricate drawings by Jess Johnson. Across the wasteland beyond C1, in the gallery above NG are 3 pieces of excellent video art. When we’ve found video art in galleries we’ve frequently found ourselves declaring it dull and boring, obvious or pretentious, and all too often, a waste of time and space. Daniel Crooks wonderfully fluid and compelling videos are notable exceptions to this judgement. So too are these works by New Yorker Tony Oursler: “grotesque, morphing faces and tragicomic dialogues invite both our discomfort and our empathy”. Finding his stuff was worth this morning’s art-hunt-adventure. Next will be going out one evening to find the night-time projections onto the exterior gallery walls which are the others of his pieces currently also on show.

a wet Saturday afternoon

•Saturday, 20 April, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Arthur & Lucas JussenWe’ve had a long sun-filled summer. But autumn’s here now, and today the rain has fallen all day. The sort of day to stay indoors. I finished reading a book at lunch time and seeking occupation thought that after all this time I really should attempt some refreshing of this too-long-abandoned blog.

The new courtyard deserved a page of its own – and so it now has that. [See the link under pages in the right-hand sidebar.]

I thought it also it would be good to have some new guys on the page – so here they are: welcome.

And since we’re speaking of handsome young men I would also like to refer you to two wonderfully accomplished brothers [who are quite astoundingly beautiful as well as skilled] – Lucas and Arthur Jussen. They are pianists, and they play, together and individually, superbly. Seek them out at their website and on YouTube.

Celebratory Tour #2

•Friday, 4 January, 2013 • Leave a Comment

We’re travelling in Europe again. C has just turned 60 and so we’re making another extended celebration as we did at the time of my 60th birthday by taking a similar tour in Europe as before via Hong Kong to London, and this time via Montpellier to Spain. The photo in the previous post is of the street where our hotel in Montpellier is situated. That post generated itself as I was trying to figure out how to insert images into a new post on the travel blog using WordPress’s iPad app for the first time. (You may notice this is the first post here in some time. Since the Christchurch earthquakes in fact – they kind of threw my interest in doing this.)

I will endeavour to put more posts on the travel blog now; and if you wish to follow our journey you’ll find it here.

Rue Jean Rousseau

•Friday, 4 January, 2013 • 1 Comment


William Gibson

•Sunday, 23 January, 2011 • 1 Comment

I just adore William Gibson’s writing. I am in the midst of Zero History and it is completely wonderful: the density of what is here; the detail; and how Gibson chooses words and phrasing that evoke so much.

We are back with Hollis Henry, Hubertus Bigend, Blue Ant, Milgrim, Oliver Sleight and Heidi Hyde. And brands. And so much more – timeless fashionless quality, and patination; a cartel-grade Jankel-armoured Hilux, and Festos surveillance platforms with iPhone control; oh, and Gabriel Hounds. A delight, and utterly compelling.

extended celebration

•Monday, 6 December, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A month ago we were in London celebrating R’s 60th birthday with dinner at Magdalen. The celebration in fact took the somewhat extended form of an almost month-long tour of four of our favourite cities — Hong Kong, Berlin, London and New York.

We had an excellent time, and you can read more about some of the details of what we did and saw in our travel blog @ argosy travelling.

I’m still working on the record there — intending there to a page for each of the cities with some description of the significant stuff plus pictures. Haven’t got terribly far at the moment but i promise what is there will grow. So check back.

Meanwhile back here at home summer is definitely here, the year’s end and Christmas are approaching. So, Solstice Salutations to you, one and all.

mid-winter amusements

•Friday, 23 July, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Tonight i’ve just finished a book that has made me a happy reader for several weeks now. Neal Stephenson’s Anathem is a big tome, and i haven’t rushed it – for several reasons – so it has occupied me for a long time. Anathem is one of those fictions that creates a world i was happy to linger in; and then it was often dealing with ideas [frequently to do with logic, science and parallel and intersecting cosmi] that tended to tax my brain. So i read slowly. Fraa Erasmus’ tale is hugely interesting, so if you like ideas, science, history of thought & ideas, science fiction, and human nature this is a book for you.

My finishing Anathem was further delayed by our visit to Sydney – this was not the small book to take on the plane. We were in Sydney for a week in the middle of July, and as ever enjoyed our time there. Familiar stuff: caught up with friends – usually meeting up to eat or have coffee with them – or both. Had some good food – especially at LL a new, small cafe & Chinese restaurant in Kings Cross J. introduced us to. It’s run by 3 good-looking brothers and they have an excellent chef who produces some superb food – amongst the best Chinese food we’ve eaten. We shopped a bit; walked a way round the north harbour bays; checked out some of our favourite haunts; and enjoyed the surprise of being amongst the 17th Sydney Biennale.

We didn’t even know Sydney has an art biennale – and this was the 17th! – i guess because we’ve not been in Sydney at that time of year before. And had not seen any reference to it when we were searching for things we might want to do or see before we went. But our hotel had left a copy of Time Out Sydney in our room and we found an article there about the event. The Biennale invites artists from all over the world and their works are displayed in several places around the city – both major art galleries, Botanic Gardens, Opera House – and in the now disused engineering and prison buildings on Cookatoo Island. We’d never been to this island before – it’s further up the harbour. First a prison, later dockyards and engineering works it is now disused and the buildings are slowly falling into ruin – some roofless, some empty, some with bits of machinery still in place. The art – paintings, photos, sculpture, videos – is just installed with little preparation of the spaces and so the contrast is often as interesting as the works themselves. We saw some very good stuff and quite a lot we thought was a waste of time or pretensious nonsense. The most impressive were a stunning video projection in a large circular space on 9 screens of quite stunningly gorgeous pictures recreating a contemporary version of Trimalchio’s Feast from the Roman Petronious’ Satyricon by the Russian quartet AES+F; a suspended arc of 9 cars each with a star-burst of long iron rods pierced through them and lit with chasing LEDs to give the effect of a car exploding and flying through the air; a huge stainless-steel brain dendron on the lawn in front of the contemporary art gallery; a room with a copse of aboriginal wooden memorial poles [larrakitj] exquisitely, beautifully decorated. Seeing all this was a considerable treat.

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