Note to PHO2008 & DIS2601

siology is a collection of thoughts, inspirations and creative processes which have contributed to my practice in first, second, and now third year studying photomedia and art.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Margaret durow

Monday, 13 August 2012

Studio as canvas

Sculptural working space, acknowledge the space, the bricks, gas pipe, air vents, floor, ceiling... Paint a line on the wall, a big black line that continues onto the floor

Monday, 23 July 2012

Semester 2 Mock grant application

Aaaand I'm back! Kick-starting semester 2 with a mock grant application for overseas artist residency

Project description (limit 250 words):

As a part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2012, I've been collaborating with a group of young Melbournian artists on an exhibition and performance piece called 'Foreplay', which explores Melbourne's sex industry and the public perception of sex work. I am currently creating a video piece which uses documented interviews about privacy, intimacy, sex and the body with a variety of people, and disrupts these themes through a use of audio dubbing, unexpected video overlays and erratic cuts to the footage. Research into global sex trade laws has inspired me to compare Australia's sexual culture with that of Asian red-light districts, which are far less regulated than our own. In particular, I've taken an interest in Bangkok's Soi Cowboy district, where I intend to create a photographic sister work to 'Foreplay'. It's essential that the artwork does not become an oversimplified shock-tactic that exploits contentious sexual practice; this work will investigate intimacy and experience, and use sex as a platform for realising another idea of absence, and the empty spaces left over after an event has occurred. A residency in Bangkok, Thailand, will allow me to photograph these vacant spaces in Soi Cowboy, from outside of the usual context in which they are experienced. The neatly folded bedsheets of a dodgy Thai hotel room, for example, or a bar frequented by sex workers fully lit by fluorescent lighting. The final work will combine moving and still images, which question, with subtlety and humility, viewer assumptions, voyeuristic art and sexual clichés.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Artist Statement: Empty Shells

Empty Shells began as a personal revisiting of my suburban childhood homes. Though the buildings stirred homesickness in me, I ultimately came to see them as empty vessels – houses as apposed to homes.

This work picks apart the tangible from the intangible. It aims to separate the art object itself from the projected sentiments of a subjective viewer. This separation is an uncomfortable one, as it questions the connections between reality, representation and interpretation.

I criticize the high art aura with deliberate hypocrisy - elevating meaningless photographs on white walls and plinths. It is important that this dialogue comes from within a self-referent medium, and that irony, self-awareness and satire come into play.

In many ways, Empty Shells is a sculptural piece. Subject matter has taken a back seat, and I have become less concerned with the content of the photograph and more preoccupied with the physicality of the prints, books, shelves and wall space.

The still-life shell has come to stand for all objects that are, in themselves, devoid of intellect, consciousness or emotion. A deeply formal approach to presentation aligns with my fascination with the way the walls, bricks and beams of a house can somehow hold emotional significance for a person.

I believe this ‘meaning’ is projected, and often imagined. It does not come from within the house, object or artwork. Without the viewer, a photograph is reduced to ink on paper, an art object, and nothing more – just as a falling tree makes no sound in an empty forest. 

Monday, 14 May 2012


The books are hardcover, are stacked neatly on white shelves. The prints are large and neatly hung, because for some absurd reason art is only taken seriously once it has been elevated on a plinth. 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Final image

As discussed, the final page of my book will be a disruptive image which is a little obscured from the other images but still fits the overall concept of an empty shell. I've scoured the suburbs for 'the house', and this is it. At first I thought the graffiti, fencing and general tumbledownness of the house may be a problem, as I was originally intending to make a critique of the 'perfect' american dream style suburban home which is essentially soulless, despite its material charms. However I took a good look at the other images, especially the eggs, in my book. I realised they are not just fragile and empty, but also literally broken. So i felt the house I chose for the final image should also have an element of broken physicality about it, while still remotely resembling something that used to be whole and 'perfect'.

Assorted Empty Shells: The book!

I've finished and ordered 4 identical copies of my book!! The first draft was delivered a week ago and I was mostly happy with it, but decided it was a bit magaziney so I've chosen to print the final 4 with hardcovers and with the title on the spine as well as the front. Minimal adjustments were made to the pictures themselves, and mostly because the JPG file format (required by - annoying) flattened a lot of the brighter colours and the paper darkened some images too much. Fingers crossed the edited books will fix these problems - we'll find out in 2 weeks when they arrive!!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Houses and Homes

I've been hunting for that single, disrupting image to put at the end of the book, as an ode to Ruscha's glass of milk and also as a tool for altering natural viewing habits and for shock factor/confusion. Looking back on where this project started, at the shells of homes I lived in as a child, I feel a photograph of a house, a simple, physical building, would be appropriate. It is catagorically unrelated to the shells so will seem random and thus be effective as a shock, but also has conceptual integrity for what I'm looking at in terms of meaning, if you can call it that, and so it's not a cheap trick or rip off. I hope.
I'm going to take this photo right now, today. The house will have to be right but I hope, as with the rest of the book, the subject itself it less important than its place within the entire book. More importantly, how do I take the photo? The Bechers instantly come to mind.
it looks like a house. just a house, not a home. love that indexical, straight shot.
Funnily enough, the Becher's also made books!

Ed Ruscha: interview

"It was a big soup of influence,’ Ruscha says. 'I found myself being influenced by everything: things I liked and things I didn’t like; even the half-way stuff pushed me along." - Ruscha, Telegraph

NOTE for artist statement. 
I criticize the high art aura with deliberate hypocrisy, elevating meaningless photographs on white walls and plinths. It is important that this dialogue comes from within a self-referent medium, and that irony, self-awareness and satire come into play. 

The ideologies of Ed Ruscha, Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin and Marcel Duchamp have fuelled this approach, and are deliberately referenced in the final work - for example the final page of my book mimics the milk in Ruscha's Various Small Fires

Ed Ruscha, complete collection


Sculptural elements

Question. The wall arrangement will be 'random', staggered, and varied in size, style, etc. These elements, when concerned with photography, are two-dimensional. Will there be a third dimension?

  • shadow boxes
  • thick mounting
  • prints displayed flat on the floor
  • actual sculptural elements ie mandarine peel sitting on the floor
  • shelves?
  • the stack of books
  • attachment/hanging techniques such as pins, thick double sided tape...


Another shell... remember this one!

Space - Wall arrangement

I've been fiddling with composition, image selection, size, arrangement of final gallery presentation etc on the computer, and it's been really difficult to imagine the actual spacial relationships without having real prints to play with. So the next step will be printing, and then hanging, either at a mock up size or real size. So far Adobe illustrator has helped with image selection, a little arranging, and that's about it.


Monday, 16 April 2012

Cover and Typology

Ruscha was fascinated by the actual physical form of text on a page, hence his obsession with signs and lettering. The books he published all had simple, factual tities, but the words were also selected by Ruscha because he liked them as words in themselves - for example he really liked the word gasoline and that inspired his series of gasoline stations. I am drawn to the word 'empty', and I also feel it's a meaningful part of my work with shells. I also like the word 'assorted', and I feel the subject matter and photos I'm presenting are assorted - not 'collected' or 'various'. I could have used a number, like 'nineteen', but I think this is too harsh and also too close to Ruscha's books.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Other Shells

Subject matter and image selection tends toward the uncanny, and has been useful in disrupting tendencies toward a narrative or index; however it does not lead the work.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Avoiding Narrative

There will always be a 'risk' (not always a bad risk) in presenting an unexplained body of work to an uninformed viewer, who will undoubtedly form their own assumptions about such an obscure series. Some of these assumptions may involve an unintended narrative, or a sense of some deeper meaning which the artists did not specifically set out to explore.
I can help obscure this tendency by taking a leaf out of Ruscha's book - and including seemingly irrelevant photographs which have nothing to do with an eggshell, randomly scattered throughout the series. For example, a glass of milk at the end of a photobook of fire photographs or a broken glass in a book of swimming pool photos.