Tuesday, 24 September 2013

..viewing the art of selfies


In a previous post in commenting on not being able to pass up the opportunity of having a selfie shot taken with a local “pollie” I was having a small jibe at the ubiquity of this bit of contemporary nonsense. It then occurred to me that many of the “Core” program of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale to one degree or other was a series of “selfies”.
Shane in the studio
Shane in the studio
Chief amongst these but at opposite ends of the aesthetic spectrum were the works of Young Ho Kang and Hester Scheurwater.
Scheurwater claims, “…that I am not a victim of an imposed sexually charged visual culture”. Which is a bit like saying, I’m not into self-harm and these slash scars on my arms are proof of that. 

Hester ScheurwaterBIFB 13
Unimpressed public in front of Hester Scheurwater BIFB 13

I can’t see how replicating tawdry amateur porn and “intellectualising” about it actually elevates it to art status. Unless of course you only wish to bring “art” down to the most base level and are in the process of de-constructing the old notions of art elevating the spirit and improving humanity.
Whichever way it goes it is a nihilistic world - personal view of little point.
Young Ho Kang BIFB13
Young Ho Kang BIFB13 from YHK's website
Young Ho Kang’s on the other hand are deft and witty explorations of self, myth, culture and its contemporary process. “Selfies” on a grand scale sending up the nature of Western fashion and product advertising imposed on and appropriated by Asian culture. Kang uses himself to point elsewhere at this culture in a very wry fashion.

Kara Rasmanis BIFB 13
Kara Rasmanis BIFB 13 from redbubble
My “Best-of-Oz-Contingent” was Kara Rasmanis’ evocatively personal gravures and photomontages of objects relating to family memories. 

Lovely, meditative works.

Then last night, thinking about writing this piece, ABC’s “Australian Story” appeared. Ostensibly about Art critic, Robert Nelson’s school-girl daughter Olympia having an op-column piece published in “The Age” on “Selfies and youth culture”.
From there the program meandered off-topic and into extolling familial talents various, virtues and tribulations; Olympia’s successful but sadly seriously ill, photographer mum, mum’s shooting style and exhibition list, about how delightfully Olympia glissaded over, around and through the world’s languages by age two (or perhaps three), justification of Olympia’s writing talent from the Age editor (not to waylay any accusations of nepotism, nahhhh… dad’s the Age’s art critic) and from friends a veritable family hagiography.
Mrs Wombat and I looked at each other and slowly and simultaneously in the TV lit gloom of the burrow said, ”What-is –this-about?”
And then decided: it was One Big, Fat Selfie! One of the largest, smug and self-satisfied “selfies” I’ve seen for a while.
But it wasn’t art. Nearly a performance piece…. but not.
Oi.. gazumped!
BTA Class Lawrence winder
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Wombat Droppings or the low-down on Oz politics
Where to start?
The Age of the Aspirational Bogan has been with us for a week and just as Leigh Sales had indicated, everything is quiet. 
You know, like a child hiding under the blankets: if ya can't see it, it doesn't exist. Let's pretend the ice-caps aren't melting and the ozone layer hasn't a hole in it and the Barrier Reef isn't dying and that the forests are  not being plundered from existence and that we can all have a frakking good time and bugger the water table and farming.....let's pretend.
Sure, the boats haven’t stopped (seven, so far) but the ranting about them has. Scott “The Drone” Morrison has decided we don’t need to know how many boats come in any more. That way their plan can be a success and can’t be criticized. Let's Pretend... Gee, that’s really democratic, “Drone”! Another variation on “The Emperors’” Clothes?              
As Joe “Oh-What-a-Feeling” Hockey is holidaying in Bali atm (you should holiday when the economy is in crisis) perhaps they should go quiet on the tow-back-the-boats… Indonesians seemed very unimpressed with that policy. Let's Pretend.
here’s a summary of what Abbott said:
  • The asylum seekers should have been sent to Christmas Island.
  • To return them to Indonesia was “brutal”.
  • There would have been nothing wrong with sending them to PNG.
  • Australia needs a good relationship with Indonesia to help address this problem.
His words now imply incredible hypocrisy, beyond belief. Meanwhile, Indonesia says:
“We will reject his policy on asylum seekers and any other policy that harms the spirit of partnership and (Indonesian) sovereignty and national integrity,” Mr Natalegawa told a House or Representatives meeting on Wednesday.

The Climate Commission axed by the “Rabbott” Aspirational Bogan Liarbril Party last week has re-surfaced as a privately funded body: The Climate Council. Greg “Ozone-Hole” Hunt allegedly Environment Minister said: “See, we’re right, the taxpayer didn’t need to fund this body” and "That's the great thing about democracy, it's a free country and it proves our point …" he said. Let's Pretend. Aspirational Bogans with children in Private schools and extensive Private Health insurance, beware. That sort of logic might impinge on your lifestyle!
Malcolm “von Ribbentrop” Turnbull has told the directors for the NBN to bugger-off. He want’s Ziggy “235U” Switkowski to run the show. But it’s not jobs for the boys! “Von Ribbentrop” said, the party's election win gave it  Murdoch’s Mandate to go ahead with its silly and less than exciting NBN plan which will advantage the media interests of “The Ugly American” and cost the public more in the long run. 
So, there!   Let's Pretend.
     Watch this space: this is going to be a fine shambles.
In a move I think deliberately calculated to raise hackles, "Rabbott" decided that he will be the Minister for Women's Affairs! A single -finger salute to all who said he was a misogynist.
Let's Pretend...we've got a "grown-up " Government. Let's Pretend.

BTA Class Lawrence winder
BTA Class

And to finish up with a piece from Brit George Monbiot   news@monbiot.com  which could well be applied to our very own “Coots–With-Queer-Ideas-from–a-Parallel-Universe”, The Institute of Public Affairs…..
“I see the “free market think-tanks” as the most useful of these groups. Their purpose, I believe, is to invest corporate lobbying with authority. ……one of these think-tanks, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), has described plain packaging as “the latest ludicrous move in the unending, ceaseless, bullying war against those who choose to produce and consume tobacco”. Over the past few days, he’s been in the media repeatedly, railing against the policy. So do the IEA’s obsessions just happen to coincide with those of the cigarette firms?
The IEA refuses to say who its sponsors are and how much they pay. But as a result of persistent digging, we now know that British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International have been funding the institute – in BAT’s case since 1963. British American Tobacco has admitted that it gave the institute £20,000 last year and that it’s “planning to increase our contribution in 2013 and 2014.”
Libertarianism in the hands of these people is a racket. 
All those noble sentiments about individual liberty, limited government and economic freedom are nothing but a smokescreen, a disguised form of corporate advertising. Who-ever articulates it, it means the same thing: ideological cover for the corporations and the very rich.”    George Monbiot.
BTA Class Lawrence winder
BTA Class
Cheers Petals

PS: there's no truth in the rumour that Sophie "Pit-Bull" Mirabella is auditioning for "The Biggest Loser"!
There is truth in the rumour that Tardis State (Where-all-goes-Backward) IBAC, couldn't have laid one charge let alone the 24 Vic police have against Geoff "What's-a-Car Allowance-for" Shaw.
Pretend Premiers' (Inutilus Rusticus) breast-beating on law-and-order looks a bit tinny after this.

Let's Pretend.

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