Thursday, October 23, 2014

another Lower Bar Collective event

Another Lower Bar Collective (and Safe Little World) event coming up...

Other than providing the visuals to accompany the music of the LBC (and designing the above poster), I'm doing an installation for the event called 'Pride and Refuse'. This installation has been sitting in concept stage for more than a couple of years, so it's pretty cool to be able to finally exhibit the thing.

My father-in-law has finished work on 15 cloth dummies, I've framed 24 little photographic prints, the 15 adhesive vinyl outline men arrived from the printers today ... it's all go.

Event info:

Name: (Lower Bar Collective Presents) Transitions

Date: Friday 31 October – Sunday 2 November. 6 – 10 pm Friday. 11 am – 10.45 pm Saturday. 11 am – 3 pm Sunday.

Location: Silo Six, Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter.

Blurb: The Lower Bar Collective presents Transitions, experimental music and art installations. For one weekend, the Auckland-based collective takes over the silo space, inviting fellow sound and visual artists to present their material in that unique acoustic and aesthetic environment.

Sound artists: Lower Bar Collective; Colin Woods; Paul Buckton; Panhandlers; Baby Took My Dingo; Terracotta Cat; Reverbaphon; Ben Lawrence; Kraus; DJ Popular Music; Saturnian Noise

Installation artists: Belinda Griffiths; Beau Cotton; Kristin Herman; Arthur Amon; Peace Myth; Safe Little World (Andrew Killick).

A diverse array of music and sound performances (from ambient to experimental) take place continuously over the three-day programme, with the installations concurrently open for viewing. Entry is free.

Further details: and

Sunday, October 19, 2014

safe little world in cambodia

The Safe Little World concept was always grounded in the context of a quiet suburban backwater in New Zealand, and I've always wondered what would happen to it in a different situation - one with less comfort and a different culture. As things transpired, I had the opportunity to test that question on a recent trip to Cambodia.

The contrast between Tauranga and Phnom Penh in many ways couldn't be more stark. With this shift out of a comfort zone, the comfort of western suburbia which is inherent in the Safe Little World concept was immediately destabilised and then thrown into a light that exaggerated just how obvious our western expectations of comfort are. The sarcastic phrase "first world problems" is probably the most apt way to describe this in a nutshell. But the Safe Little World concept has also always embodied a paradox. The paradox is that our safe worlds have the potential to come under threat - and Cambodia's history and our experience of it as visitors definitely bore that out (encapsulated, for example, in a visit to S-21).

Other than a critique of our western sense of a safe little world in the context of a developing nation, it could be interesting to see if the underlying concept of a safe little world was found wherever we go. The question is, is it a fundamentally human drive, no matter where humans find themselves, to try to create a safe haven? The short answer is yes. This drive may embody itself slightly differently and have unique cultural manifestations, but ultimately this is a very human trait.

No matter how much, or how little, you give a person; no matter the threats, upheavals or fragility, humans seek to create a space for themselves.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

once upon a time...

Once upon a time, before there were nasty apps and automatic one-touch filters, mankind wrestled interesting visual effects from his images by lengthy processes of hands-on experimentation.

Yesterday, while digging through my photography drawer, I came across some old b&w photography lens filters and my old Waltex magnifier.

How to make images 1 & 2: First, take a red lens filter (darkens sky in b&w photography, lightens skin tones, but not in colour photography). Look out your front windows on a rainy day. Point your digital camera at the view through the red filter. Take photo. Second, take a green lens filter (lightens foliage in b&w photography, but not in colour photography). Repeat.

How to make images 3 & 4: First get in your car (or your brother's car) and drive all the way to Whanganui. Drive up the Whanganui River road to the settlement of Jerusalem (where James K Baxter used to live). Stop and get out in the pouring rain. Wander onto the covenant grounds. Take photo with your Russian-manufactured Lomo analogue film camera (which you bought on ebay from the Ukraine) of statue of Mary looking heavenward into the overcast sky. Shoot it onto slide film. Go home and have slides developed. Over ten years later, rediscover your Waltex magnifier. Get out your old 35mm slides and select photo of Mary. In one hand, hold the magnifier and slide together. With the other hand press the lens of your digital camera up to the magnifier view-finder. Take pictures.

Tips for image 3: embrace the dust spots - they look like stars.

Tips for image 4: achieve the green tint by pointing the magnifier, slide and camera at the green foliage outside your kitchen window.

 (Click em to see em larger.) 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

stations of the cross 2014

Another little Stations of the Cross exhibition at church this year. This time I'm doing Station XIII - 'Jesus is taken down from the cross'.

My concept came from noticing the red leaves that were falling from a tree in our backyard. In the northern hemisphere, Easter coincides with Spring, which fits the resurrection motif rather nicely - new life emerging from the dead earth. But in the southern hemisphere, Easter occurs in Autumn, seasonally fitting with the death and falling motif. So fallen leaves were a material that was close at hand for this piece.

Death and resurrection are woven into the fabric of nature. Nature pays tribute to the death and resurrection of its Creator.

Trees have long been associated with the cross and Christ is often said to have been hung on a 'tree' (the tree being a metaphor for the wooden cross, relating to the Old Testament statement, 'cursed is he who is hung upon a tree').

So my piece is of a bare tree, having shed its 'life', its leaves which turn red in the process of dying and falling - a metaphor of Christ dying on the cross - where they lay scattered on the ground. I then gathered them up off the dirty ground and placed them in a pure white bowl as a kind of offering, in a way that relates to Christ's body being poured out as an offering and being gathered up for burial. The picture of the bare tree and its offering of shed blood-red leaves appear together in the station.

My 2012 and 2013 stations are here and here.