I am now in my mountain home: Toowoomba, Australia. There has been quite a bit of running around these last few days so from now until Wednesday I'll be staying here and seeing old friends and my family. Tonight I play music in a cafe as part of the long running musical collective (begun 1988) FFEHRO. These are people I've know most of my adult life so it will be fun to reconnect on the musical plane with them. I got out the sitar this morning and tuned it up, it seems that in the last 5 years of concentrating on the didgeridoo my playing of rhythm has improved a lot. Tonight at 8:30pm, Cafe Bon Amici in Margaret Street Toowoomba. Some exciting news is that I have been awarded a Wallenberg Scholarship to begin my Ph.D. This is most excellent news and means I can continue working and learning at Umea University and particularly at HUMlab. Here is a pic of where I am:
I have just returned from the Next Wave 2004 Festival in Melbourne and it was fantastic. The highlight for me was hearing a presentation and meeting up with Brody Condon an artist who works in with and around digital games. His work is a fascinating exmination of the materiality and content of games. Brody described how he strips away the narrative of the game to reveal a single aspect of the text which he then accentuates in some way through his own manipulation and subsequent recontextualisation of the material form (I love the language of critique...basically he twists the thing which twists the viewers mind). He showed his piece Worship (2001) and the stunning Waco:Resurrection (2003). This is an artist I will investigate further.
I made my own presentation on Saturday and it seemed to go pretty well, speaking for about an hour on building in Adobe Atmosphere 1.0 to groups of people as the passed through the strange hall we were given as The Demo Room....I also got to spend 48 hours in Melbourne which really impressed me as a city as it has been 8 years since I was there. An open enthusiastic atmosphere, a lot of culture, wide streets lined with autumnal trees, cafes filled with happy people,and the good company I was with.
Tomorrow I'll look around Brisbane and then catch a bus back to Toowoomba. My plan for next week is to spend time with my family and record some music with some friends. We have been speaking about starting a record label between Sweden and Australia and we are very close to it actually happening it seems as I heard part of the first release a few days ago and it sounded great...details to follow....
After many days of no access I am now in the relative civilization of Brisbane and on a dial up modem in a large timber home of truna. All is comfortable and blissful. The story so far:
Darwin turned into an extended stay....5 days...very nice but due to the bad typing of a travel agent I was refused a seat on a plane at 6am on Sunday and instead stayed until tuesday, sampling the fine didgeridoos of the northern capital and enjoying the company of my sister and her husband. Then, due to the unexpected ticket mix up, I flew to Cairns via Brisbane and 24 hours in the good company of Dan, a brother. I stayed in the house of Dan's partner's family and the 12 of us bedded down all over the place. I slept in the yard. Dan's partner is a tribal Aboriginal woman of the Wik people from western Cape York. Going to stay there was a nervous experience for me, not knowing quite what to expect. What I found was a bunch of friendly people who shared a small part of their lives with me.
Next was a bus to Townsville where I stayed with another dear old friend, Bernadette. Here was a visit to James Cook uni, a fine dinner with good people, catch up and planning. Fixed up a didge and read poems over wine after dinner (poems written in 1995). Fine fine.
Then a plane to Brisbane on yesterday (Thursday) and met at the airport by my mother (not seen in 18 months). A drive 1 1/2 hours to Toowoomba (the place I was born). This morning I awoke and could feel the atmosphere of my home town seep through the walls as the carrowongs sang the dawn. A walk into town and met up with old friend in the street. Lunch with my parents as it was my father's birthday (64th). Then a bus to Brisbane (very slow) and hooked up with truna...Melbourne tomorrow and Next Wave.
Singapore is a wild collision of color and image. Crowded streets filled with bright azure and the rainbow which follows hot rain.
Have been in the company of Don Bosco today as we discussed the possabilities of long distance collaboration on digital projects and theory. The new international blog on cybertext and theory Fast City should be launched tomorrow and will be linked here.
I am on my way to the land of the earliest narratives...the Australian Aboriginal people have direct cultural memory of what has been classified the pre-historic by Euro empirical authorities. They are still telling their stories on the escarpment of the Arnhem plateau. As a complex textual source there is nothing which really compares to this tradition.
As an aside I found a link today on the web for one of the best books about the didjeridu I have ever seen...Karl Neufeldt's From Arnhem Land to Internet is a good place to start if you want to contextualize the didge in the broader perspectives of it's origins. Today I saw a young Chinese guy doing a dot-style painting on a bamboo didjeridu in the markets here in Singapore. I almost took a photo as it stuck me as a great but somehow disturbing image of cultural appropriation.
Now in Singapore...It is very good to be back in Asia. I was met at the airport by Don Boscco...found the Summer Tavern and went out for food. A discussion on narrative, culture, ideology, theory, and the affordances of late 80's punk music followed over a reasonable curry laksa.
Now I'm in the lounge of the Summer Tavern and it reminds me much of my backpacking experiences early in my travels in the mid 1990's.The accomadation seems good...friendly people...relaxed atmosphere...free internet and really central. Singapore reminds me a bit of Brisbane. Open cafes, a river in the middle, bits of glass modernism interspersed with colonial blocks of solid standing. A big Dali sculpture in a highrise courtyard...really cheap food ($AUS3 for a meal),. This is going to be fun. Tomorrow is the Little India region......buying computer gear (really good prices) and planning the future of Art.........YYIIIIPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Blogging from On the Road (where are you Jack Kerouac?). This is being written from the departure lounge at Arlanda Terminal 2. Free internet access due to a system failure and me ringing the 24 hour help number and they providing me with an access code for 1 1/2 hours free time online. This trip is looking good from early signs.
Last night I took the bus from Umea to Stockholm arriving at 6am...walking the city streets while the wasted party people from the night before made their ways home...spoke to a few who seemed to be very loved up on something :)
I walked over to the beautiful Skeppsholmen...really a stunning place..and waited for the Museum of Modern and Contempory Art to open...slept in the park there beneath the new foliage upon the oaks and had dreams filled with the bird songs around me....awoke at 10am when the Museum of Modern Art opened...A great little collection they have on show..it's free and the rooms are spacious. It is not a particularly diverse collection and Pablo Picasso seems to be thought of as the highpoint in modern art (I can understand this position...but they were selling books on Mark Rothko but had none of his work in the collection)
I watched an hour of the Andy Wahol film Chelsea Girls....What can I say- It was made in 1966 and runs for three hours and fifteen minutes. Big Brother and the other doco-soaps owe more than the proverbial 15 minutes of fame to Andy Warhola...Chelsea Girls is the more intensly engaging, more sophisicated parent of doco-soaps with the added element of Art. Two screens, creative camera work, use of both color and black and white with an honesty that blows Big Brother (excuse the pun) out of the bedroom. Visit the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and see it!
The final joy of the museum was Giorgio De Chirico's Le Cerveau De L'Enfant (The Brain of the Child) painted in 1914...I read about this painting for years from Breton and Deuchamp and then last year I learnt it was actually in Sweden.....It is a piece of work I will have to think about for a while as it was really a bit of shock to see it...
After the museum I went to a once favorite haunt Saturn Return but was severely disapointed to see that the posure club culture seems to have infiltrated there to the expense of what was once a trance journey for all...irrespective of looks or orientation.
Finally I placed 5 copies of my CD in Multi Kulti music shop....a really fine establishment and really nice people. Then lunch at the Hare Krishna restaurant and to the airport where I managed to sleep 3 hours. Here is a cheap electronic copy of The Brain of the Child:
Ive just returned from a great evening at the Vita Bjornen Boat Cafe where we played a wild trance hour of didge, djembe and even Mosang (south Indian Jaw harp). Upon my return home I checked my email to find a message from one of the best (if not the best) didgeridoo shops in Europe: Melle Smit's Aboriginal Art and Instruments in Amsterdam (fond memories of 1998). He's organizing another didge festival in the beautiful squatted village of Ruigoord (must be about 25 years it has been living as an autonolmous art zone!!...more fond memories). In June there will be a huge didge fest there...how to get there is the question.
Much to do and little time. The weather is so good here at the moment!
The moving of life and belongings took five days of intense lifting and carrying (much thanks to my father-in-law for the help). Now we are in our new home and things are looking good with extra space but still not enough bookshelves. Thanks to Patrik I have come across the only other human being I have ever come across (I am not alone!!!YYYYYIIPPPPPEEEE) who is using the work of Mikhail Bakhtin to understand the processes surrounding the creation of meaning in regard to electronic reader driven or cyber texts. He goes by the name of Gavin Stewart and info about him (a biologist and a poet no less) and links to some of his interesting work can be found here. I even wrote the man a fan letter today but have not heard back...he probably gets bags of them everyday.... This week is to be spent working on two Adobe Atmosphere worlds for HUMlab, to be opened on Friday and playing a concert at the Boat cafe (Vita Bjornen...The White Bear) on Wednesday 5th May at 8pm. On Friday I am flying to Singapore and then next week to Australia......wacko! Here is pic of the duo to play The White Bear on Wednesday: