Ice Suite at MONA March 29

I’ve finally put together a decent promo clip for The Ice Suite, a live a/v performance and collaboration I’m a part of, based on the last days of Scott in the Antarctic. We’re performing this at MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, in Hobart on 29th March, the exact centenary of Scott’s death in 1912. Footage here comes from various sources, including our dress rehearsal at Southern Cross University, where I coordinate the Media degree.

The Ice Suite

I’m doing visuals for a new project entitled “The Ice Suite” – which is going to be performed at MONA in Tasmania in March 2012. This is a project developed by Bangalow composer Karena Wynn-Moylan; it’s a meditation on the last days of Scott in the Antarctic, developed for the centenary of Scott’s death in March 2012. I’m mixing all sorts of materials for this, using everything from photos of sparkles on water in Ballina, to ice photos from my time in Montreal, and Herbert Ponting’s photos from the actual expedition. This clip below is from the version we did at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival – where we opened for Kamahl! Very much looking forward to doing it at MONA in 2012!

The HOME Project

I’ve been involved lately in a project being run by academics and students in my school, the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University, in collaboration with this fantastic performing arts group, NORPA. The project is looking at issues of home and homelessness, and seeking to address the public perceptions of homelessness via a series of “creative investigations”, in whatever form or medium seems most appropriate. Our first foray into this area comes in the shape of an exhibition, “A Place for Everything”, which arises out of film and photography we shot during National Homeless Persons’ week in August 2011. There’s a short video below where I’ve edited together some of the materials.

Our intention is that this first exhibition sets up some ground for future collaborations with community members and organisations. What we’ve done so far is generate some media, build some relationships and gather some community stories around the issues, so our intention is that this can work as the seed for future more theatrical and performance-based public work. So, watch this space…

Kellerman: EXPANDED

I performed a new work recently at the 2011 SICRI Small Island Cultures Conference in Airlie Beach. This work is “Kellerman: EXPANDED,” a meditation on the undersea films of Australian champion swimmer and silent film star, Annette Kellerman. In this show, I’m mixing some Kellerman films (one starring her from the 1920s, and another one that is a biopic from the 1950s) plus other footage, to a soundtrack mixing excerpts from Mike Cooper’s “Rayon Hula” CD (available on Room40: with songs from Phil Hayward’s “Tidelines” CD on the music of the Whitsunday Islands.

The show also features audio recordings of conference attendees talking about their experiences underwater, AND, even more exciting, it features live silent-film inter-titles provided by the audience using RSS feeds; I’m using a re-jigged version of the RSS Quartz patch in VDMX to capture blog comments written by the audience in real time, and I’m mixing them in to the film as they arrive. So, all the inter-titles you see on the video below have been supplied by the audience in real time.

DomeLab – ANAT Fulldome Workshop

I was recently privileged to take part in a fantastic workshop run by the Australian Network for Art and Technology – ANAT – in Perth at the University of Western Australia. The workshop was on fulldome filmmaking – making films for fulldome projection in planetariums or other dome environments. Because I work with multi-projection as much as I can, and have a research interest in Expanded Cinema and, really, all forms of projection that break the classical cinematic relations and modes, this was deeply exciting!

20 artists from around Australia and a bunch of national and international dome practitioners came together to nut out experiments in live action for the Dome environment. The organisers had given us a bunch of young actors to work with, so we put them through their paces (well, in the case of the production team I was in, that involved tying one of them up and filming him wrapped in black plastic, lit with a strobe light, and locked in the boot of a car…) while trying to wrangle the idea of shooting for a round space that stretches behind and around your audience. A bunch of pictures and other info available on the Domelab blog here.

Shooting for the dome is strange! Firstly, we were shooting on Canon 5Ds with fisheye lenses, so a 180 degree field of view. Very hard to keep yourself, or your tripod legs or dolly, out of frame. You have to frame in literally the bottom 1/3 of the frame; none of this rule of thirds business; central framing in the very bottom of the frame was the go, in order that the ‘sweet spot’ appears basically in front of most audience members’ heads. It does get into your head, though – I left this week-long workshop seeing everything in fisheye…

The result of our group’s efforts is below. This was a collaborative effort with myself, Donna Kendrigan, Teresa Crea, Lindi Harrison, Paul Ricketts and Yvette Coyne. You have to imagine that you’re sitting with a dome directly above you and on all sides; the top of the round image you see here stretches right above and behind your head.

Multi-projection: Burnett_LIVE

I recently had the opportunity to perform a collaborative project I’ve been working on for awhile, with musician Peter Rickert, an incredible multi-instrumentalist friend from Bundaberg. We performed Burnett_LIVE at the opening of the CRUSH festival, an arts festival run in Bundaberg during the month of October. This show features incredible, meditative music by Peter on an insane array of instruments – voilin, shakahachi, zither, gamelan, gongs, singing bells…. – with live-mixed video of Burnett River country taken from a documentary I made a couple of years ago. Peter was doing some live-looping as well, via Ableton, while I was mixing in Modul8.

Most exciting, I got to mix it over 5 screens strung round the sides of a band rotunda in the park; I strung up 5 screens of Rosco back-projection vinyl (great stuff for back-projection by the way, definitely recommend it if you’ve got a bit of a budget – was about $800 for 14 metres at around 1.5 metres high), and projected from the centre. Used a triplehead2go for the central 3 screens, and mirrored the middle screen on the 2 edge screens. And – it was just beautiful. The bats flew overhead, and it looked just like a huge Chinese lantern sitting there in the middle of the park. Magic.

Trystero System: Mike Cooper and Grayson Cooke

I have collaborated on a bunch of projects with Rome-based sound artist and improvisor extrordinaire, Mike Cooper, under the Trystero System moniker. Mike plays lap-steel guitar and crazy electronica, and has been described by Room40’s Lawrence English as “post-everything.”

One of our shows is entitled “My Tragic Second Life” – we’ve performed it in a bunch of places: Wellington, New Zealand: Bundaberg, Queensland: Lismore, NSW; University of Gloucestershire, England; Noise=Noise, London; Angelo Mai, Rome… It features deconstructed drum-n-bass beats and a visual set shot entirely in Second Life.

Excerpts from a performance of the Trystero System “My Tragic Second Life” project with myself and Mike Cooper, at Sound Crucible at the Italo Club in Lismore, April 2010. Big thanks to the Sound Crucible team Rex and Vaughan, and to Clive Best and Jesse Neilson for the camerawork.

Footage from the first performance of the show, at Happy Bar in Wellington, New Zealand, February 2009. For this gig, Mike’s surrealist aleatoric strategy was to borrow the crappiest guitar he could find, and refuse to tune it….