Biographs - south coast art exhibition

Kurt Brereton, Mangrove-Time (102x152cm, embroidery & oil on linen), 2016

Kurt Brereton, Mangrove-Time - detail

Kurt Brereton, Mangrove-Time - rear

Kurt Brereton's exhibition Biographs is continuing at the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre in Nowra until 21st January 2017.

Basically a painting show, it's a display of Kurt Brereton's typical experimentation in mixed media. One large work comprises backlit shell and glass fragments arranged in a slightly irregular linear pattern. This time he has intoduced embroidery to some of his paintings. He reveals process by suspending two of the pictures to reveal the threading on the back of the image, including still-threaded dangling needles in the large self-portrait K-scan :

The artist embroidering (he sometimes calls it 'tatting') a small work (for his forthcoming coal/coral reef exhibition in Canberra in February 2017) in his lounge room in Currarong on the South Coast of New South Wales :

Kurt Brereton tatting, December 7th 2016

as usual, click on the images to enlarge them


esther leslie in sydney

Cat Moir & Rory Dufficy with Esther Leslie

Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck, University of London, Esther Leslie was in Sydney last weekend as a guest of the 2016 Historical Materialism conference. She is the author of Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant Garde (2000), Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry (2005), Derelicts : Thought Worms from the Wreckage (2013) and the editor and translator of On Photography by Walter Benjamin (2015). She spoke on panels, gave a keynote address - Animating Marx - and, introduced by casual academic, poet and researcher on various avant garde-isms Dr Rory Dufficy, and in conversation with socialist activist and lecturer in Germanic Studies at the University of Sydney Dr Cat Moir, she launched a new book on liquid crystals and their effect on how we live.

Liquid crystal is a curious phase of matter. It has the ability at once to flow, like water, and to refract, like ice. It was closely observed, if not yet named, by experts in 1888 but they found no practical use for it. Probed and imaged for decades, its polar properties were eventually harnessed for an age of screen-based media. Now liquid crystal is ubiquitous, communicating, selling and delighting, in flat-screen LCDs, computers and mobile devices. We also now know that it exists inside our bodies.

For the very first time, Liquid Crystals tells the history of this anomalous and little understood phase of matter in relation to a ‘liquid crystal’ epoch, spanning from 1820 to today, detailing the key interminglings of the liquid and crystalline located in politics, philosophy and art during this time. There are insightful and remarkable readings of cultural forms from Romantic landscape painting to snow globes, from mountain films to Hollywood eco-disaster movies, from touchscreen devices to DNA, cold wars and political thaws, media meltdowns and ice in the desert. Expertly written in an accessible style, Liquid Crystals recounts the unheralded but hugely significant emergence and applications of this unique matter.

Sean Cubitt, Professor of Film and Television, Goldsmiths, University of London says -
"There is every chance that you will be reading Liquid Crystals on a liquid crystal display screen, if not in the year of its release, then somewhere in the future. The ubiquity of LCDs makes them invisible, unthought. Leslie drags us back to the screen, to the discovery of this uncomfortably contradictory state of matter, and to the vast range of implications it has for the way we imagine the materiality and abstraction of our world, from financial liquidity to Superman’s icy Fortress of Solitude. She raises the tantalising prospect that liquid crystals are key not only to images but to perception and to our worldview: the governing metaphor through which we comprehend the rival claims of dialectics and flow. Erudite, lucid, enthralling, Esther Leslie's eclectically logical investigations transform our understanding of the historical generation of ideas and ways of thinking."

Esther Leslie, Saturday 26.11.16

To order the Liquid Crystals -
In Australia - New South Books
In the UK - Reaktion Books


Issue forty-three, the southern spring 2016 issue of Otoliths
is now live & available for your reading & viewing pleasure.
Just visit this link.

cover image -'psyche' by mark young

This is a very big issue with work in a variety of styles & a variety of media from Jesse Glass, El Habib Louai, Scott MacLeod, Maria Damon & Alan Sondheim, Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo, Cecelia Chapman, Pete Spence, Kyle Hemmings, Heath Brougher, Volodymyr Bilyk, George McKim, Nicole Pottier, John J. Trause, Sanjeev Sethi, Ian Ganassi, Jim Leftwich, Willie Smith, Philip Byron Oakes, Mary Claire Garcia, Douglas Barbour & Sheila E. Murphy, AG Davis, Peter Ganick, differx (Marco Giovenale), Jim Meirose, Mark Roberts, Olivier Schopfer, William Repass, Texas Fontanella, Michael Gottlieb, John W. Sexton, Edward A. Dougherty, Eric Hoffman, hiromi suzuki, Simon Perchik, John M. Bennett, Ivan Argüelles, Scott Helmes, John Xero, Pat Nolan, Andrew Topel, Daniel John Pilkington, Demosthenes Agrafiotis, Raymond Farr, Lakey Comess, Bill Dunlap, Christopher Barnes, Robert Okaji, Jeff Bagato, Nico Vassilakis, Mitchell Garrard, Keith Higginbotham, Fabrice Poussin, Richard Kostelanetz, Sabine Miller, Meeah Williams, sean burn, Louise Landes Levi, Brendan Slater, Oscar Towe, Tom Beckett, Mark McKain, Jürgen O. Olbrich, Sneha Subramanian Kanta, Jorge Lucio de Campos, Eileen R. Tabios, Andrea Mason, Joe Balaz, Michael Caylo-Baradi, Jacqueline M. Pérez, Owen Bullock, Roger Mitchell, Steve Dalachinsky, Jeff Harrison, Aurélien Leif, Holly Day, Stephen Vincent, Carol Stetser, nick nelson, Seth Howard, Taylor Leigh Ciambra, Poornima Laxmeshwar, Hamish Spark, Márton Koppány, Alicia Cole, Cara Murray, bruno neiva, Jack Kelly, Mark Cunningham, Massimo Stirneri, Matt Dennison, Olchar E. Lindsann, Karen Greenbaum-Maya, Darren Marsh, Nika & Jim McKinniss, Natsuko Hirata, Tony Beyer, Edward Kulemin, John Pursch, Irene Koronas, Darren C. Demaree, nick-e melville, Josette Torres, Shloka Shankar, Piotr Kalisz, Ella Skilbeck-Porter, Bob Heman, Garima Behal, Paul T. Lambert, J. D. Nelson, Michael Brandonisio, Eddie Donoghue, Katrinka Moore, Indigo Perry, & Marilyn Stablein.

Also, the print parts of Issue forty-two are now available from The Otoliths Storefront.
The editor, Mark Young says : I apologize for the price of Part 2, but, unfortunately, 288 pages of full color doesn't come cheap. Issue forty-three will be available by the middle of November.


pop-up reading in october -

click on the image to enlarge it


Avant Gaga in September

'Archibald's chilli', collage from 'Westernities' by Pam Brown, SOd 2016

On the FIRST TUESDAY of September (not the second), the Sappho poetry night will play host to AVANT GAGA #25, with guest poets Laurie Duggan, Pam Brown, Liam Ferney and Allison Gallagher.
Open mic too. Drinks. Food. Bar. Etceterahhh. Et, peut-être - une surprise. Hosted by Toby Fitch.

at Sappho Books Cafe & Wine Bar
51 Glebe Point Road
on Tuesday 6 September
at 19:00–22:00


Laurence "Larry" Duggan (1905-December 20, 1948), was head of the South American desk at the United States Department of State during World War II. In 1948, Duggan fell to his death from the window of his office in New York, ten days after being questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about whether he had had contacts with Soviet intelligence.

is a dedicated professional amateur. Her most recent of many books of poems is 'Missing up' published by Vagabond Press last December. She lives, as the fruitbats fly, a few haphazard kilometres south of Sappho, in Alexandria.

Liam Ferney’s most recent collection is 'Content' (Hunter Publishing). His previous collection, 'Boom' (Grand Parade Poets), was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Poetry Prize and the Queensland Poetry Prize. He is a media manager, poet and aspiring left back living in Brisbane, Australia.

is a writer & poet from Sydney, whose work explores gender and sexuality. Her debut poetry collection will be released independently in October 2016.

Sign up on the night from 7pm. 10 readers, 2 mins each, max.


Join us to raise a glass to celebrate
Emily Stewart’s debut poetry collection Knocks
published by Vagabond Press

Knocks will be launched by Pam Brown
with readings by Elena Gomez & Holly Isemonger

on Sunday 14th August
at 3pm

at Frontyard
228 Illawarra Rd

About the book:

Knocks is the debut collection from one of the most exacting writers of Australian poetry’s new wave. Stewart’s poetry consistently surprises in its formal range, encompassing sonnets, erasures and found poetry, and striking at the level of the image –“the computer ecstasy of first-person”. The collection conveys the sense of an extended, “stretched” present, politically shadowed, where “it is commendable / to sign up each day, but better / to maintain a patina of disobedient / actions, shoplifting or whatever”.

Individual poems consider place, persona, fandom, viruses, data and desire in evoking “a residual gala of feeling”. Yet out of variety emerges a very particular architecture: these are the works of a poet obsessed with the structure of the everyday; its litter and networks, idiom and drama: “today we hyphenate our names / today paper shredders are put to good use / today Bikini Bill's power is self-evident”.

visit Vagabond Press here

“There is more than one kind of poem here, thank the Lord. Poems even differ between modes, get meta on our saggy adulthoods. The generation you didn’t know you were disappointed in not arriving has arrived. In Stewart poetics has a new seat in parliament for wetlands and other erasures. If you have a thing for internet stockings, read this. Not to mention mixed diction Australia, fuck! we don’t just get to live here, we get to write about that shit.”
– Michael Farrell

“Emily Stewart delivers punchy constructions of contemporary life in the Anthropocene and beyond. She wields her language sharply, imagery exploding with unexpected confluences that sweep routine assumptions aside.”
– Jane Gibian

on Tuesday August 16th
at 7pm (I think)

at Dark Horsey Bookshop
Australian Experimental Art Foundation
Lion Arts Centre,
North Terrace,


Mairéad Byrne

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa is currently preparing an anthology of highly innovative transcultural women’s poetry and accompanying short essays - women : poetry : migration [an anthology] forthcoming in 2016 with Theenk Books.

'The Argotist Online' has published Jane Joritz-Nakagawa's
succinct essay "On Feminism and Migration in the Work of Poet Mairéad Byrne" here.

Mairéad Byrne's The Best Of (What's Left Of) Heaven is available at Publishing Genius here & there's an interview by Sina Queyras here.


Three parts of the Biennale of Sydney : the theme this year was a well-known quote from cyberpunk author William Gibson : The future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed.. The venues were parcelled as 'embassies' - you can interpret and riff your own allusions or metaphors on that idea. The presentations I liked were :

Taiwanese artist, Yin-Ju Chen's Liquidation maps, 2014-2016 at the 'Embassy of Spirits' at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Using a combination of media Liquidation Maps recounts traumatic political events (uprisings, massacres) in various countries - South Korea, East Timor, Vietnam, Singapore & Cambodia. Yin-Ju Chen astrologically charts the exact date & time of each incident & presents an interpretation in series of large charcoal drawings. Time's cycles are a strong component. Wall-text by Amber Tang provides historical information and astrological details.

(click on images to enlarge them)

Chun Doo-Hwan's chart: 'Greed captivated by power' -

Find Yin-Ju Chen's website here

Thai artist Korakrit Arunanondchai's Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names (3) at the 'Embassy of the Real', at Cockatoo Island - not that the video ever seemed intended to represent 'The Real' (whatever that is). It could have screened in the 'Embassy of Spirits'.

To watch a trailer click here

Still from the video :

and for a different excerpt -

Korakrit Arunanondchai: Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names 3 (Excerpt).

British-based Karen Mirza & Brad Butler's The Unreliable Narrator, at the 'Embassy of Non-Participation' at Artspace, Woolloomooloo.

A video installation, The Unreliable Narrator narrates terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, alternately from a position of the terrorists and of a seemingly impartial commentator. The video, sourced from CCTV recordings of the siege, together with telephone conversations between the attackers and their controllers, suggests that the event was performed for the benefit of news cameras: “this is just a trailer, the main feature is yet to come”.

(Unfortunately the video is unavailable to screen here but you can find an extract on the Biennale's 'Embassy of Non-Participation' website)

NYNY poet & art critic Eileen Myles zoomed through Sydney recently & gave readings (via the Biennale's sub category 'Bureau of Writing') at Artspace & (via University of Sydney English Dept's Creative Writing) at the Footbridge Theatre -

Eileen Myles at Artspace

Eileen at the Footbridge


readings coming up :

click on the above info to read it : : poets bios here

Monday evening, 23rd May at University of Sydney :

Michael Farrell & Pam Brown
at 5.30pm
Common Room
Upstairs in the Woolley Building
Science Road
University of Sydney

free event - everyone welcome

PLUS : Eileen Myles at Artspace
(tho it's sold out)
at 7pm
Wednesday 25th May
Cowper Wharf Road

AND : Eileen Myles at University of Sydney :

Join us for a reading, conversation and Q&A with acclaimed US feminist poet and writer Eileen Myles.
at 6.30pm
Footbridge Theatre
Holme Building
Science Road
University of Sydney
Tickets available here

“Everywhere you look these days, the world has taken notice of Eileen Myles,” says Literary Hub contributing editor Adam Fitzgerald. “There’s been four or five features in The New York Times, almost as many online at The Guardian. The most recent, for T Magazine, places Myles as the triggering influence for generations of feminist writers and artists. The continuing angle in much of her media coverage: she’s finally as famous as she deserves to be.

But as Myles told me in a recent interview for Interview Magazine: poetry has always been about being in smaller rooms, that sometimes, as in her case, add up to a larger cross section of an entire culture or nation."

Hosted by Associate Professor Kate Lilley, Director of Creative Writing at the University of Sydney, and author of Ladylike and Versary.


The Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, San Francisco was built in 1933 by socialite Lillie Hitchcock Coit. The photo is taken on an overcast, almost typically foggy morning from the ferry to Sausalito. The closer picture below is from a visit to the tower.

The Social Realist murals inside the tower were made for the Public Works of Art Project during the 1930s depression.( there are a few more photos of them at the end of the post).

One of them, Diego Rivera's 'Man at the Crossroads' mural, was destroyed by its Rockefeller Centre patrons because Rivera included an image of Lenin. The Coit Tower muralists protested, picketing the tower. Sympathy for Rivera led some artists to incorporate references to the Rivera incident; in Zakheim's Library panel, one of the muralists, Ralph Stackpole, is painted reading a newspaper headline announcing the destruction of Rivera's mural.

There are many more murals - this is a very small sample -

as usual, click on the images to enlarge them