CAMOUFLAGE CULTURES: SURVEILLANCE, COMMUNITIES, AESTHETICS, ANIMALS

Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), The University of Sydney, in partnership with The University of Northern Iowa and University of Auckland and in association with the Australia Council, the Ian Potter Foundation, the Goethe-Institut, Sydney University Press presents:

Camouflage Cultures: Surveillance, Communities, Aesthetics, Animals, an international conference and exhibition co-convened an co-curated by Ann Elias and Nicholas Tsoutas.

The conference and exhibition address two key principles of camouflage – concealment and deception – in relation to four themes: surveillance, communities, aesthetics, and animals. The theme of ‘surveillance’ includes war, defence, militaries, and conflict; ‘communities’ embraces society, the everyday, government, and identity; ‘aesthetics’ incorporates art, architecture, film, and popular culture; ‘animals’ includes human and non-human beings, nature, evolution, pattern, and optics.

CAMOUFLAGE CULTURES conference runs from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th August. The conference and exhibition offer an exciting range of interpretations and understandings, research and investigation into the subject of camouflage and in relation to visual representation and the contemporary world. The event showcases the work of staff from the SCA and other leading national and international artists, academics and writers.

Conference Keynote Speakers:
Roy R. Behrens, Professor of Art and Distinguished Scholar at University of Northern Iowa
Hsuan Hsu, Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Davis

Speakers:
Paul Brock & Jack Hasenpusch, Donna West Brett, Edward Colless, Ann Elias, Ross Gibson, Pam Hansford, Ian Howard, Bernd Hüppauf, Ian McLean, Jacqueline Millner, Jonnie Morris, Nikos Papastergiadis, Tanya Peterson, Linda Tyler, Ben Wadham

Exhibition Artists:
Robyn Backen, Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Debra Dawes, Alex Gawronski, Sarah Goffman, Shaun Gladwell, Emma Hack, Ian Howard, Jan Howlin, Jonnie Morris, Justene Williams

Camouflage Cultures Conference

When: 8 August – 11 August 2013
Where: Sydney College of the Arts
Rozelle Campus
Balmain Road, Rozelle

Camouflage Cultures Exhibition

When: 8 August – 31 August 2013
Where: SCA Galleries, Sydney College of the Arts
Rozelle Campus
Balmain Road, Rozelle

Location & Getting to SCA. Wheelchair access: The SCA Galleries are fully accessible venues. Public transport and limited accessible visitor parking is available. Bookings are essential.

The Safe Itinerant / The Insecurity of Mobility

A mobile workshop, seminar, performance, between Berlin and Luneberg August 14, 2013

 

Leaving from Berlin Haupbahnhof, concluding at the Post Media Lab in Luneberg

Organized by micha cárdenas with support from the Post Media Lab

Featuring the work of: Zach Blas / micha cárdenas / Tikul / NM Rosen / Pinar Yoldas

 

We are safe when we walk.

We have walked for generations.

Your colonial regimes want to stop us, name and identify us.

We won’t be stopped by your policing violence,

We won’t be named by your regimes.

 

From Oscar Grant, a black man killed in San Francisco at a public train station by private train police, to the 2012 sexual assault of a woman by a group of men on bus in New Delhi, India, repeatedly the promises of urban mobility are belied by the violence that is used to police spaces of transit and the ways that access to mobility is regulated. This performance / seminar will consider the themes of mobility, violence and access, using the actual space of transit, the train and train station, as the space of performance, discussion and presentation. The performance is part of the project Local Autonomy Networks, by micha cárdenas, which works towards networks of community based responses to violence through performance and dance. This part of the series will consider how trans-local networks of safety can be imagined within spaces which are intensely regulated yet fall between the lines of local regulations. Engaging with the Post Media Lab’s theme of Organization After Networks, this performance will consider how communities can organize for safety after their lives have been shaped by inter-urban and transnational transportation networks.

Themes to be addressed:

  • The cloud versus a home / colonial dream of mobility versus de-colonial construction
  • Safety in Numbers / Gendering of Public Space
  • The Itinerant scholar / the safe itinerant / the itinerant artist
  • The Insecurity of mobility / gender/sexuality/race in transit and across borders
  • From passport checks to biometric mobility controls
  • Ticketing systems / E-Ticketing
  • The price of speed / The cost of easy border crossing
  • Mobile Public Space / From Public to Corporate Transit / Public Interstitial Space
  • The promise of mobility / Disability and access

Inspired by The Political Equator my daily sense of danger and my daily experiences of harassment and violence (micha cárdenas)

To join, use the following itinerary for DB
Halt Datum Zeit Gleis Fahrt Reservierung
Berlin Hbf (tief) 14.08. ab 12:16 7
Hamburg Hbf 14.08. an 13:57 5a/b, ICE 1612
Hamburg Hbf 14.08. ab 14:53 14a/b
Lüneburg 14.08. an 15:25 1, ICE 681

Nice Rain

performance and discussion by Gilles Aubry

May 10 2013, 19h
Errant Bodies project space
Kollwitzstrasse 97, 10435, Berlin.

The project Nice Rain takes the city of Berlin as a pretext for exploring the notion of urban sound document from the perspective of a diversity of recording practices and intentions. Confronted with the difficulties to discover new strong narratives by simply listening to the Berlin public space, I’ve decided to explore instead the narratives embedded within already existing audio documents related to the city. As an alternative to a classic city soundscape like some of my previous works, I will present a collection of Berlin audio recordings from the personal archive of various practitioners who I know personally, some living in Berlin and some elsewhere.

While all of the recordings will be referring to Berlin as their location, each one will represent a specific recording practice corresponding to an intention more or less defined by its author. The live mixing of these files over multiple loudspeakers will thus be an attempt to create something like a soundscape of (documentary) intentions, while at the same time generating an arbitrary sound travel through various public locations of the city. One aim of the project is also to discuss and re-situate the community of field recording practices within a field of intentionality and reflexivity, as possibly opposed to a logic of place.

With announced text and audio contributions by:

Rinus van Alebeek, Mario Asef, Boris Baltschun & Serge Baghdassarians, Alessandro Bosetti, Rob Curgenven, Peter Cusack, Anke Eckardt, Christina Ertl Shirley, Helena Gough, Andy Graydon, Ezgi Kilincaslan, Achim Langerer, Felicity Magan, Israel Martinez, Anders Lauge Meldgaard, Valeria Merlini, Udo Noll, Dave Philips, Stephan Roigk, Jodi Rose, Fritz Schlüter, Tapeman (Helge Neidhardt), Valerio Tricoli, Antje Vowinckel and Kathrin Wildner.
Recording the demolition of the Palast der Republik, Berlin 2008
Recording the demolition of the Palast der Republik, Berlin 2008

(picture by Jodi Rose, 2008)

*I am very happy to be invited to participate in this event, enjoying the discussion via email with Gilles around notions of intention & authorship, composition and place. JR

Gilles Aubry is a Swiss sound artist living in Berlin since 2002. Trained initially as a sax player and composer, he graduated in 2010 as a Master student in Sound Studies at the University of the Arts (UDK) in Berlin. His artistic practice is based on an auditory approach of the real informed by researches on cultural and historical aspects of sound production and reception. Combining ethnography, critical discourse and formal experiments, Aubry creates installations, performances, compositions, audio essays and radio plays. His sonic images (phonographies) of more or less identified situations stand as an attempt to challenge problematic aspects of visual representation.

Nice Rain is part of THIS IS THE END, a research project curated by Marta Ferretti and Gaia Martino about the relationship between public space and narration in the specific context of Berlin. THIS IS THE END is hosted from April 15th to May 12th at Errant Bodies project space, Berlin.

Lost in Berlin
Thursday 4th April, 2013

 

I had high hopes of the Lost Lectures first foray into Berlin and wished to be enchanted as promised by the cleverly marketed event, which bills itself as using “incredible secret spaces that surprise, delight and bring the imagination to life.”

Ready to be amazed and taken somewhere completely out of the ordinary, the first disappointment was the choice of location. Stattbad Wedding, although a unique space, is a well-known venue that Berliners attend, usually for a much lower entrance fee. Sorry “lostlings”, while this may be incredible for someone from out-of-town, a decommissioned swimming pool regularly used for events is far from our most “secret” location – for anyone who lives here, it is simply part of the local cultural scene. The organisers need to dig a little deeper to find a local venue that fulfils their marketing pitch – in a city like Berlin it is not difficult to find unique, hidden and really special venues that aren’t traditionally used for events.

It was unfortunate that almost all the talks were riddled with technical problems – in part due to the location, as the audience was far away and out of sight of the speakers, who could sometimes hardly be heard over the echoes from vast tiled surfaces. Technical snafus ran the gamut from sound issues and malfunctioning speaker microphones, to speakers unable to hear audience questions, information disappearing as the presenter slides were not working and projections being difficult to see due to the dull projector and sight-line issues of the space.

The first half was underwhelming, three lectures were pitched to a basic introductory level and lacking in the level of interest, performative aspect or personal stories one needs to be “delighted.” Covering familiar topics (3D printing, fallen fruit maps and open data) from the extensive range of talks and events to which most people living in Berlin have access on a regular basis. Taking the event as one for people who would alternatively be drinking at the pub or watching TV, perhaps it has something more to offer, but for someone already informed about 3D printing, the fallen fruit maps and open government & data movements, these ideas were presented competently but without anything special to “enchant”.

While the neuroscience lecture intrigued me, I still didn’t quite get the shift in focus, which was largely about flies and leeches, and it seemed a stretch to extrapolate these to human free will.  One of my companions disagreed, saying she actually found it very interesting and liked the examples of fish and insects to show the creativity, randomness and unpredictability of nature, as well as free will, being crucial in natural selection and evolution.

The PARKOUR team display was brilliant, totally shifting the energy of the space and using the empty swimming pool as their jumping platform and diving board – energising adrenaline rush throughout the house. Their talk about how and why they do this urban street sport was equally intriguing, offering a sense of passion and humility, striving only to better their own attempts rather than competing with each other, and always reaching to leap that next wall.

Julius von Bismark talks about whipping nature and colouring pigeons
Julius von Bismarck talks about whipping nature and colouring pigeons

The absolute highlights were Peaches and “mystery guest X,” wildly inspiring Berlin artist Julius von Bismarck. His activities as artist in residence at CERN remain a mystery, however he notably won the Prix Ars Electronica in 2008 with his Image Fulgurator, a wonderful and strange apparatus that looks like a camera, but actually projects an image onto the object at which it is pointed, a subtle intervention which is only visible on the photo afterwards. These range from “NO” projected over the Pope, to the Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit being ‘powered’ by “O2” at the opening of “ART FORUM 2008” (02 World is a massive development along the River Spree), Obama having his lectern enhanced with an iconic cross, and one the most confusing to the tourists whose photos bore this strange unexpected image, a Magritte inspired dove fulguration on the Mao Zedong portrait at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

“At sacred or popular locations, or those having a political connotation, an intervention with the Fulgurator can be particularly effective. Especially objects with a special aura or great symbolic power are good targets for this kind of manipulation. It is possible to have a lasting effect on those kinds of individual moments and events that become accessible to the masses only because they are preserved photographically. In this context the Fulgurator represents a manipulation of visual reality and so targets the very fabric of media memory.”

juliusvonbismarck_punishmentI_lake

There was something unbearably hilarious about watching his lanky form whipping nature, with his brilliant “Punishment 1” video. The artist is depicted wielding a long whip and ‘punishing nature’ from calm Swiss lakes to rocks, mountains and eventually where nature fights back with a strong ocean swell knocking him off his feet. His action on Liberty Island resulted in being arrested for carrying a weapon and his assistants for participating in an unauthorised performance – whipping the base of the Statue of Liberty. Sadly most of that footage was lost – confiscated by the representatives of said “Lady of Liberty”, however there remain some tourist videos and a short introduction to the piece, before the cops arrived. Next project is the somewhat odd coloured pigeons – look out for the yellow pigeon in Kreuzberg. Julian spoke very convincingly about how this introduction of colour to the pigeon population would allow people to focus on the sky and be aware of the city in a different way.

Julius von Bismarck Punishment I (nature fights back!)
Julius von Bismarck Punishment I (nature fights back!)

This strangeness and poetry in the subtlety of his interventions is exactly what makes all of these works so compelling. I find the title of the work when searching for the link: “Some pigeons are more equal than others”, which adds another layer of politics to this intelligent and thoughtful urban wildlife intervention. It’s far easier to see the effect with the documentation online than it was during the talk as the projection was not clear – the pink and blue pigeons flying over Venice are especially gorgeous and enchanting above the picturesque rooftops. I’m still wondering if Nikolai Tesla and his well documented romantic love for a pigeon had anything to do with inspiring this piece?

Julius von Bismarck "some pigeons are more equal than others" Venice
Julius von Bismarck “some pigeons are more equal than others” Venice

Finally, Peaches invited the audience to join her in the pool, where she gave a very personal and moving talk about her own journey to creative self expression, from teaching art in primary schools to dropping acid and jamming with strangers to unleash their freeform song writing. The forced audience participation was a little uncomfortable, as the vibe and energy never reached the pitch where people actually wanted to run down to wave their hands in the air. Although it was necessary for her performative talk this felt off kilter as a demand, especially in the context of talking about “creative freedom.” The moment when Peaches threatened the people looking from above to join in or she would accuse them of “looking down on her,” fell completely flat, particularly when intimating that this was a form of being fearless, which detracted rather glaringly from her stated ambition of fostering creativity.

Talking about naming herself after a line in a Nina Simone song was a charming insight into the process of developing her artist persona, as she imagined Nina singing “Her name is PEACHES” directly to her – not quite the same as “Her name is… Merrill.” After stripping off her excellent purple 80s sci-fi inspired designer onesie to reveal gold hotpants and donning a wild hot pink leather frilled-lizard style top, she asked everyone to raise their hands in support and walked out onto the crowd singing an incredible aria and directing the flow of hands to take her next step. Although you’re definitely preaching to the choir when telling an audience in Berlin to “embrace your creative spirit, take risks and become the person you can are meant to be”, this was a magic performative moment of connection and sent the audience out into the night on a high note.

Peaches_Uberlincouk

Peaches – Photo uberlin

Overall, I am glad I went along for the experience, not sure if I would go again… As the location was not particularly “enchanting” or magical, the sound was overridden by echoing tiles, and the decor of mismatched furniture much like any random corner Berlin bar, I was still impressed that the place was packed – selling out 350 tickets at €13-17 a pop, the organisers are clearly onto something. Wondering what their magic formula is – a mix of secret location, mystery guest, celebrity, new-in-town and really good PR? All of the lectures are generously available online, so you watch for yourself and decide if you want to make the effort next time.

Note to the London-based team, while it’s a great idea and clearly successful, please try to do more local research into places and speakers that are exciting for Berlin residents! Admittedly we are spoiled with the plethora of free or vastly more affordable talks, lectures, workshops, conferences and masterclasses on offer in Berlin on an almost daily basis. However, when you are asking a ticket price at over 17 euro, a much higher level of content curation and event production standards is needed if the Lost Lectures is to keep an audience for future Berlin editions.

Jodi Rose

Thanks to Michelle O’Brien for thoughtful comments & feedback, Leela Shanker for documentation and the organisers, speakers and audience for a thought-provoking evening.

stattbad_audience_lost

Lost in Berlin

Lost Lectures – Watch online

Julius von Bismarck
Image Fulgurator / Punishment I / Some Pigeons are more equal than others

Prix Ars Electronica Collide@CERN Artist Residency

Peaches

This evening I am going to the Lost Lectures with the seriously awesome Michelle O’Brien. Will report back!

LOST IN BERLIN

The Lost Lectures is a unique series of ‘Enchanting Talks from Secret Locations’.  We take lectures out of traditional corporate and academic environments and into incredible secret spaces that surprise, delight and bring the imagination to life. We invite a magically eclectic host of speakers: 6 per evening, from the worlds of science, art, design, business, blogging, entertainment and more.  Their talks range from the sublime to the ridiculous, which is just how we like it!

lostlectureslogo

BERLIN: April 4th 2013

Josef Průša: is considered something of a revolutionary: an open-source ‘genius’ and a pioneer in the world of  3D printing.  He’s one of the lead developers of theRepRap project: an open-source hardware project that is fundamentally changing the rules of manufacture, creating wealth without money (who needs money when you can make anything?), logistics (who needs deliveries when you have the blueprint?) and forging a new future seemingly without limits.  Josef is coming from Prague to share his 3D vision of the future and demonstrate his brilliant replicating machine.

Katharina Frosch is an economist and co-founder of Stadtgarten, a community-based gardening initiative that encourages would-be gardeners to use this public space to grow and harvest their own vegetables and share in the spoils: over 1000 servings of fresh, organic fruit and veg last year!  She is also the co-creator of Mundraub, an internet platform that enables users to share the location of fruit trees lying on common or non-farmed land so they can be tended and harvested.  Both projects have been awarded prizes by the German Council of Sustainable Development.  Katharina will talk about the importance of collaboration and community (both real and digital) in channelling the agricultural potential of our planet.

Prof. Björn Brembs:  is Professor of Neurogenetics at Regensburg University: he’s a prolific blogger and world authority on how the brain accomplishes adaptive behavioural choice, in other words how the brain is organised for reward, punishment and decision-making. In 15 minutes, he’ll describe a new understanding of neurons and circuits ending centuries of philosophical debate around the idea of ‘free will’ and use neuroscience to wrestle this term from its philosophical ancestry, the goal being to arrive at a scientific and factual understanding of the fascinating and uniquely human concept of free will.

Anke Domscheit-Berg is an entrepreneur and a campaigner for both open government and better opportunities for women in leadership roles.  She’s on the board of Government 2.0 and previously worked as Director of Government Relations & Innovation at Microsoft.  She’s the founder of FemPower, an organisation that advises female executives on how to break the glass ceiling andOpengov, a body that advises governments and policy makers to develop and implement open government strategies, making them more transparent and participative.  In her talk, Anke will reveal a new way of politics, one where government and civil society can collaborate, share data and work together towards common goals, creating a fairer, more open society.

Peaches is an electro artist known for her ravenously raunchy, gender-twisting mix of explosive electro-clash, with tracks like Fuck the Pain Away and Mommy Complex.  Music is just one element in her expansive oeuvre: throughout her career, she’s furthered her experimental sound and stage creations, allowing us to experience the evolution of the Peaches persona.  From electronic music machines to pink bathing suits, giant necklaces to hairy costumes, Peaches has pushed the boundaries of self-expression to their breaking point.  In this no-holds-barred performance (part talk, part interactive show), Peaches will demonstrate that it’s in losing fear that we will gain freedom of expression and experience real creativity.

We are planning to announce one final iconic speaker on the night itself (Lost X), we are still awaiting clarity on this, thus their identity must remain shrouded in mystery.

As always there’ll be a bar open till late, free-running demo from one of Germany’s foremost parkour crew, ParkourONE intro’d by Ben Scheffler as well as a musical mash-up of an interval, a chance to meet all the speakers and then, the afterparty!!

Until then, Lostlings… keep this to a whisper.