My fourth site to lurch livewards for the month, and the one longest coming. Thomas and I started working on this in late-2011, got mostly finished, took a long pause while he added quite a few projects in-between doing also quite a few projects, and we came back to it about a month ago and decided that we could wait forever or just arrive now.

In the last three days, I’ve done what is becoming a regular approach to the last bit before a site ceases to lurk and becomes public, which is to go through everything and make all the code coherent, add in anything new that has become standard, remove old stuff, and then completely strip the CSS before rebuilding it one section at a time. This last act usually removes a staggering amount of lines, gets rid of tiny weird problems, and generally smooths everything out so it’s not a couple of thousand lines of not really connected styles. It’s pretty methodical, like digging the garden, and fits my mania for as much cleaning up as possible.

And in eighteen months, that’s like a couple of decades in real life, so there was masses to change. One sad thing was the departure of WPAlchemy, which I’d been using as my always-use code for custom fields. It’s just not being developed as much as it used to, and the absence of repeating fields is something I can’t work with. So obviously I swapped the entire site over to Advanced Custom Fields (more digging of garden), which I feel vaguely confident will still be here in another two years. It’s actually brilliant and I can’t imagine doing a project without it.

Another big change was the rolling into Core of MediaElement.js, my favourite audio and video player (when I’m not using FlowPlayer, which doesn’t support audio anyway), which meant removing all my stuff that I’d set up to use this, and hooking into the core for all of Thomas’ audio and video — of which there is masses.

So, what else? Typography is using exlijbris’ Delicious family, which I find beautiful either for body or headlines; the M+ M Type 1 monospace, not sure when I discovered this, but it’s a very nice monospace; and a couple of occurrences of Genericons, which I find pretty useful for the slew of times icons are needed.

When I first began Thomas’ site, I was using jQuery to make images greyscale and then go colour on hover, which for some browsers (*cough*Safari) was mostly painful. Lucky in the intervening months pure CSS greyscale has become common enough to use, and it’s very nice (except in Firefox, which doesn’t animate the transition).

And then there’s all the loops for the individual projects pages, which hide sections if there’s no content (easy with ACF), and with the check of a box shift them around according to how wide the upper and lower rows (I call them ‘rooms’ …”Upper Room” harhar) are.

That’s about it. When I started it, I wasn’t doing any responsive design, and in the months since it’s become something I don’t even think about, it’s just part of the process, which means I suspect on some devices this site isn’t going to be so coherent. Maybe something to organise later, as making the horizontal layout collapse for smaller screens is fairly simple.

Fourth site for the month, then. The beautiful musician, composer, friend of dancers and choreographers who I really don’t see enough of (too much working to be hanging around in Berlin, where he doesn’t live anyway), Thomas Jeker now has a website where you can see what he’s been doing for the last several years, listen to his work and watch videos. I’d probably take an hour or so just to wander around:

Robin Fox at Footscray AV Social Club

I’ve been meaning to mention some of the things Emile is up to lately, but mostly whenever we get together, it all just degrades into mmwwuaaagh!!! destruction of language! demonic suctioning brick wall, psychedelic aura-combatting death seagulls, vampire lampposts, tiny dwarf god-slaughtering child battalions, bbbrrrrrraaappppp-double-kick-drum!!! after barely a greüzi and a haben sie brot?, that the friendly people of East St Kilda find scary when witnessing from the next table over at our regular hangout.

Emile has been running a regular audio-visual night, Tuesdays in Footscray, and this week it’s Robin Fox.

Robin Fox is a Melbourne based sound artist currently working with live digital media in improvised, composed and collaborative settings. He has submitted a PhD in composition, at Monash University focussing on the development of multi-channel performance ecologies and the design of interactive electro-acoustic situations that explore the dynamic between performer, space and computer.


FAVSC is a fortnightly meeting place for media artists, noise makers, electronics boffins, installation artists, circuit benders, DIYers, video geeks, laptop musicians, curators and those with an interest in low/hi-fi new/old-media art.

— Foostcray AV Social Club

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Iain Mott at 大山子艺术节 Dashanzi Art Festival

ANAT, The Australian Network for Art and Technology have just published the July-October issue of Filter devoted to sound. One of the articles is by Iain Mott of Reverberant, who travelled to the 大山子艺术节 Dashanzi Yishu Jie – Dashanzi Art Festival at 798 Group Factories in March to show his work Close.

There were many people with an interest in the festival – Government groups, police, artists, factory owners, funding bodies – all wanting a say on the proceedings and with motives ranging from benevolent support to bloody-minded obstruction. The director of the festival, Huang Rui and his team stood firm, weathering endless meetings with stakeholders and ultimately the festival realised most of its goals. There were many concessions however, not least the forced removal of the word “festival” from publications two days prior to the opening. A large public notice to that effect was erected by authorities at the entrance to the exhibition and hundreds of posters were modified, the tops removed to obliterate the term. The “festival” was thus run as “a series of events”. At the press conference at the opening of the festival when questioned about the ban, Huang Rui gave the terse one-sentence response, “We are not yet developed enough to call ourselves a festival”, a tacit allusion to the machinations beneath the surface. Perhaps the most besieged component of the festival was performance art. Performance art has long been viewed with suspicion by Chinese authorities due to its radical approach to politics and social mores. A number of performances were cancelled, oly to reappear at less-publicised times and with a good deal of self-censorship.

The article goes on to talk about a number of artists works and artists’ studios. The whole article is worth a read for an insight into the wild world of contemporary Chinese art and performance, Filter is free when you become a member of ANAT.

ANAT are funding me to travel to Taiwan later this year for a residency at Taipei Artist Village, to work with local dancers and computer artists on a gaming environment-based performance over 3-G phones.