In Melbourne this week Warwick Thornton's Mother Courage
at ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image)
was a highlight of my visit -

From the program:
"Acclaimed filmmaker and artist Warwick Thornton has a distinctive and powerful cinematic voice. He won the Cannes Film Festival's Camera d'Or Award for his debut feature, Samson and Delilah (2009) and exhibited Stranded (2011) at the Samstag Museum of Art during the Adelaide Film Festival.

Mother Courage is an immersive film installation that offers a striking and poetic perspective of Indigenous life in Australia. Based upon Bertolt Brecht's play Mother Courage and Her Children, it explores cultural displacement and the tensions between contemporary urban and traditional Indigenous lifestyles.

On the final weekend of this much celebrated exhibition, Thornton's mischievous title character takes her art to the street, parking her van in the Federation Square Atrium. This will occur as part of 'The Light in Winter', Fed Square's month-long program of free performances, exhibitions, film screenings and forums."

Last year Warwick Thornton took this piece to Documenta in Kassel, Germany. It's exhibiting in Melbourne until Sunday June 23rd
Further information here.



   Vietnamese storyteller Sheila Pham's mother

Last night, I heard six autobiographical stories at Carriageworks, Redfern. They were performed in the style of William Yang's well-known personal narratives with images. This show is well worth seeing.

The final performances are at 2pm and 7pm today. There will be a post-show talk with the directors Annette Shun Wah, William Yang & the cast members today at 3.20pm (Saturday 25th May)

From the program notes :
"Taking the audience from the conflict zones of China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea and Sri Lanka to the fraught family squabbles of suburban Australia; these candid narratives are drawn from the rich life experiences of academic and author Ien Ang; performer and writer Jenevieve Chang; filmmaker and writer Michael C.S. Park; producer and writer Sheila Pham; social worker and food writer Paul van Reyk and civil marriage celebrant Willa Zheng. The stories are told through words and rare photographs from private collections. Music by Nicholas Ng.

Stories Then & Now brings together six Asian Australians to tell personal stories from their past to unravel the threads that lead to their present day lives. Directed by the photographer and storyteller William Yang and writer Annette Shun Wah with music by composer Nicholas Ng, experience how war robs a father of his children, obliterates a young woman’s village and thwarts a young man’s aspirations. A heartbroken dancer buries her pain in burlesque; a young professional ‘outsources’ her quest for a husband; and a traveller finally embraces her cultural homeland. These stories of determination speak bravely of the challenges of finding your way in contemporary Australia."

Tickets and information here


The indefatigable Stephen Jones has curated This is Video
at Artspace from May 30th until 16th June

The result of extensive archival research and remastering of key historical material, this project revisits the 1981 exhibition Video Art from Australia presented in Venice and subsequently toured through Australia (before disappearing in transit). Works from the original exhibition have been supplemented by some key additions, creating a unique insight into early video practice in Australia.

Stephen Jones is an Australian video artist, curator and electronic engineer. He is author of Synthetics: Aspects of Art and Technology in Australia, 1956 – 1975 (Leonardo Book Series, MIT Press,2011)

Featuring work by: Pam Brown, Warren Burt, Peter Callas, David Chesworth, Malcolm Ellis, Mick Glasheen, Miles Green, Marr Grounds, Stephen Jones, Peter Kennedy, Eva Krczag, Gilly Leahy, Bob Pollock, David Perry, Paul Pholeros, Jill Scott, Bush Video, Bruce Tolley

Visit Artspace here


If you like Etta James or if rhythm & blues, soul and funk are your kinds of music then you should not miss this brilliant show. Vika Bull is totally stunning. She is a fantastic singer. And the seven piece band with piano, horn section, drums, bass and rhythm guitars is wonderful too - plus, the musicians sing. It comprises twenty-three songs - it's a totally generous show. It's only on for one more day in Sydney, but they're travelling to Brisbane and Perth soon.

Sydney details : here
Brisbane, Perth and more info from Room 8 : here


A bumper issue of Mark Young's Otoliths magazine has just been published. Click here to read the 'many e-things' it contains.

                                                                        Happy May Day ...