Tuesday, July 31, 2007

70% Urban

I just visited the National Museum of Australia today and really got something different from when I biked past it the other day. I guess it somehow built as a touristic attraction but it's no compromise to its substance. Seeing inside it's far more than a photo spot.

I like it in a way not too didactic although all the time you sensed the political correctness as the national museum would have. The racial issue is something so serious here in Australia but is simply overlooked and ignored in Hong Kong. It's so much a memorial for reconciliation. After all, instead of being overwhelmed by all those historical artifacts, there are quite a lot of contemporary art works here. Art works more often pose questions instead of answers. Although the tone is quite set, audience could still have this space to think about the issue.

Especially I like the temporary exhibition "70% Urban". Unfortunately I walked to that part when the museum was almost closed. in a pretty rush I walked thro' the show. It's such dilemma and tension between tradition and new in many post-colonial discourses. It's a resonance of the rethink of orientalism in Asia which a lot of internalization takes place because of globalization and tourism. You always have this arguement of authenticity..... I probably have a revisit as the good thing of this museum is free admission.

One of touching display is about the 70s movement for civil rights and social justice. There was an Aboriginal Tent Embassy set off the old parlament house, where now has become a listed heritage. It means a piece of history of thiry years. Now look at our Queen's Pier. Where is the gut of our government to preserve our history (of both of the colony and the civil rights)?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Night ride

Last night I went to a deaf kids' parents meeting as the beginning of my research of the sign language here. It's held in Holder, a suburb 12 km away from the city of Canberra. For a moment I was thinking to go by bike all the way there. Then when I thought of the highway, it seemed not a good idea to do it at night. However, for its remote location and rare bus services, I decided to take the bus to the Woden Interchange and continued with my bike for something like 5km. All sounds not too bad. But when I have had my quick sandwich after the bus journey and walked out from the mall, I found myself right next to the highway. Having spent sometime in my google map, I started my bike journey at night. I was leaving the main traffic and the area turned so silent. I came to a road where was no street lamp. In the darkness, I recognized my way with the starlight and the light from the remote houses. I had to stopped when there was a car coming as its frontlight was just too bright for me to see anything. Then there were ups and downs that you never realized on the map. For a moment I was having the picture of Tour de France in my mind. However, there was a slope where I simply had to get off my bike. Actually the silence and stars were very enjoyable. I found myself in the countryside! For this journey of 5km from the city to the suburb via a no-man's land, I spent 1 hour & 15 min.

The meeting was interesting though, it's a different story. Once in my mind: " Would there be anyone who might give me a ride back?".

I returned alone, on the same route to the bus interchange. This time, it was only 30 min!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Art & death

To my ignorance, I have just learnt about the death of Dominican/Mexican curator Priamo Lozada who passed away on June 14 in Venice(Mestre). I had no knowledge of him. From the news I got, he was the curator of the new Mexico Pavillion in Venice Biennale this year. Many people recommended the Mexico Pavillion although I haven't got a chance to visit it. Many people went to the opening of Venice Biennale as part of the Grand Tour but it was also this sadness a curator died by accident during his time in Venice when most were partying around.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Intimate shots

Just received an invitation to take part in a group show in Spazio Paraggi. It's about intimacy related to certain erotica. I am thinking to extract something from the Domestica Invisibile series. A few digital trials here. Are they erotic?

Fern Garden

In the National Gallery, there were collection shows. Even the "special" photo exhibition VIP-Very Important Photographs makes no difference. The interesting things are outside the galleries. The commissioned works by a few Asian artists are great. Also I found the Fern Garden by Fiona Hall very intriguing. She relates it to history - all the fern here are thousands year-old!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Art in Canberra

Last weekend I had visits to a few art spots in Canberra. I got an impression that the local artist community is rather small although there are some national institutions because of its status of the national capital, which are not so much related to the community here. Perhaps their perspective is mainly national or international but then it's a feeling of transplanting these institutions to this place from somewhere else.

The Drill Hall is a public gallery located in the ANU campus, currently showing a touring exhibition of drawings by an Australian artist. It's no particular interest to me but I just couldn't imagine if I would only make drawings for my life long career. However, it held the retrospective of Rebecca Horn last month, as a stop of her international tour.

The Contemporary Art Space is located in an old government premises with other non-profit arts groups. It's called Gorman House Arts Centre, similar to our Cattle Depot, much smaller but more lively. It was a Saturday market where second-handed stuffs and craftswork were for sale. Food and drinks were also available. I think Cattle Depot could generate more dynamic if it could also be turned as Sunday market, the best way to relate its neighbours.
The CAS currently shows as part of the Festival of Contemporary Art that doesn't shows any focus indeed.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Physically mobile

Today I bought an used bike and immediately felt ready to move around. Canberra is such a city not really designed for pedestrians. If you want to walk, you're supposed to do it in the park or the promenade. It's a city of roads but not streets. Roads form the fabric of the city where only objects with wheels are mobile!

Anyway, I had a nice short bike tour along the lakeside. Nothing to complain then!

The landmark National Museum of Australia on the lakeside - sculptural & deconstructive - I don't like it much although I haven't visited inside yet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Arrived in Canberra

Just arrived in Canberra yesterday. It was my first time to board on a plane with propeller. It flew at a height a bit lower than the jet. I got a nice window seat on the plane and found the city looks so much like a huge golf court.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Shanghai MOCA

Reversing Horizons is a show co-curated by Chang Tsong-zung & Gao Shiming. It's rare not only as a Hong Kong art show outside Hong Kong but also one cross-generations & cross-media seldom seen in Hong Kong.

Yuk King was not able to install the show herself and entrusted me to keep an eye on the installation. It's my ignorance that it was finally mis-installed. I hope the museum staffs can fix it soon.

Yuk King's work on the right is supposed to be hung at an angle.

Amy poses as model for my installation, a 4 back-projections installation entered via a small corridor, which should be realized 4 years ago.

Monday, July 2, 2007

before 71

After many difficulties and help via a friend in South Africa in addition of my call for help at various websites, I sorted out translations in Tibetan (done in Vienna, London, Switzerland & Bhutan!!!). The first line "I don't like my name" was pencil drawn directly on wall in 1a Space. The 2nd line "Can you change your name?" was on the banner for the July 1 march.

I also did a collection of Google search "I don't like my name" and it's amazing to see how many really don't like their name!


This year I saw a lot of aeroplanes in Venice!

64 & 71

I went to the candle night in memory of June 4, 1989 in Victoria Park and then got really stuffed with art in the famous Grand Tour (3/4 version!) in Europe. Immediately it's the July 1 march that I returned to the same place.

This year Para/Site organized the participation with banners designed by artists. I also contributed one in Tibetan. It's my first time to walk with banner.

"Can you change your name?"

Bernd Becher

Bernd Becher has just passed away last week. The Becher couple was really contemporary masters who have so much influence on what we see photography nowadays. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/26/arts/26becher.html?ex=1340510400&en=aa3ba0750af71bc2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss