VNS Matrix / Merchants of Slime

Live on June 30th, a digital archive for Australian cyberfeminist collective, VNS Matrix / Merchants of Slime.

’90s-period CRT phosphor colours, monospace fonts, highly structured and interlinked data, emerging from over a year of conversations and work with the Merchants of Slime. Deep adoration for Web 1.0 aesthetics, sliding into contemporary possibilities for accessibility, interaction, responsiveness, and clarity.

By far the largest project I’ve undertaken, handling archival data management, utterly masses of PHP, JS, and CSS, and teasing out over months the design, aesthetic, and movement through hundreds of pages and thousands of media files – all while trying to keep it properly accessible, semantic, responsive, logical, even simple, while the phosphor burns the screen.

Heaps big thanks to Virginia Barratt and VNS Matrix for going, “Yeah, Frances is what we want.” And hectic reps to research assistant Clare Bartholomaeus for all the scanning and cataloguing.


Slime is Live, Cunt

Phosphor burn digital archaeology slime archive for the 21st century, cunt.


Field Series 1

Me messing around with mediæval art, Photoshopping it until it’s far from the 3/4 of a millennium ago of its origin. It started as a visit to the Gemäldegalerie when I decided to do closeups of some of my favourite works. This is part of the Altarretabel in drei Abteilung mit dem Gnadenstuhl, from after 1250. Last night, feeling unexpectedly inspired around midnight, I realised I could mash another few score of layers into an image I was working on six months ago, and increase the density in ways that somehow appeal to my brain and eyes and emotions. I always zoom in on these images, like there’s myriad possible paintings in each. This time I took screenshots of those, and wanting to know what they might look like animated, threw them into Final Cut X and spat out 48 seconds of video.

I was asking myself if this is art. I know art and make art, but still. Maybe they’re sketches of possibilities. I like the artefacts generated from the process. I have no control over this. I have some control in which direction to push an image, but a lot of the detail is only minimally editable. Things happen, I make decisions, other things happen, possibilities open and close, I try and steer it towards a particular satisfaction, but each individual line and gradient and tone, no, that’s the software making its own decisions based on what I ask it to do. And as always, the further I get from using software as it was intended, the more interesting it becomes to me.

Emile Zile — Mining the Cloud

And another performance. You’re not in Moscow for Isabelle; you’re in Collingwood for Emile Zile and Desktops! Part of the Mining the Cloud: a series of desktop documentaries performances put on by Interval Projects.

Disembodied voices. Home Altar eternally altered. You wont believe what happens next.

Building on the recent body of work Desktops, Emile Zile’s performance creates narratives from computer screen captures, search term collages and algorithmic portraiture to explore human mediated communication and the circulation of digital images.

Emile Zile


Elton John Drifting

Wednesday night I just wanted to lie on the floor and eat comfort food; I ended up watching drifting videos and listening to Elton John. At the same time. Bloody brilliant.

The drifting bit is easy. I’ve had a long, long, quiet love affair with things that go fast. It’s good I don’t have a driver’s license, because as far as I’m concerned, the correct speed to do things at is as fast as whatever I’m in will go, and considering how I ride a bicycle … imagine if I could go eight times as fast just by pointing my foot. Yes, supernaut is a bit of a revhead, a petrolhead. I blame my dad, who’d been a mechanic and I have a distinct memories of him doing dirty work with a gas axe, racks of tools, and a mushroom of blood oozing from his thumb knuckle.

After I graduated, I went through a phase of watching top fuel drag racing, and in the intervening years have flirted with my probably greatest love, rally driving (and yes, I fucking love the WRX). Some time in the last couple of years, in truth when I went on a Vin Diesel bender and romped my way through Fast and Furious, I went all hoon again. And living in Germany with the glorious Nürburgring, the Green Hell, the Nordschleife, I’m blessed, being well-fond of that particular style of racing.

Anyway, drifting. Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift was a horrible, horrible film. But it was my introduction to throwing a car hard into a corner until the back end cuts loose in a cloud of spinning rear wheel smoke while generally pointing the front wheels where you’d like to go. Sideways. Definitely not my favourite form of racing (that’d be aforementioned rally, or 24h Nürburg), but one that I’m quite gratuitously partial to, especially of the Gymkhana variety.

As for Elton John. Ah, bad TV is to blame there. I watched Almost Human. The episode which ends with the two future-cops singing along to Benny and the Jets. And there I was lying on the floor, Dasniya beside me, and I decided that Elton John was exactly what I wanted to listen to, and drifting vids exactly what I wanted to watch. Dasniya was mesmerised, “What is that?” It’s drifting! With Elton John! And when I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues came on just as I started to watch Ken Block’s Gymkhana 6 – The 100% GoPro Edition! it was so sublime I had to blog it.

42a at EAF

Last year at Downtown, 42a was the most memorable show for me in Adelaide. Then Alison got Triennial funding and 42a is on next week at the Experimental Art Foundation. mmm… dance installation, small things, vibrating things, etc…

hello friends and lovers,

hope you can make it to 42a the show im directing and performing in along with annemarie kohn, kel mocilnik, adam synnott, alisdair macindoe, rachel fenwick, veronica shum and carlie angel. other possible friends who are involved are sol ulbrich, damo jones, michelle delaney and ade suharto.

we open this thurs 26th june AND perform live in the space for the whole of the opening hours.

thurs 26th 6-8pm, fri 27th 11am-5pm, sat 28th 2-5pm,
tues-fri 1st-4th 11am-5pm, sat 5th 2pm-5pm

come in during the day, stay for an hour or 5mins. come anytime and stay as long as you like. hope to see you there

Lion Arts Centre
North Tce
(next to the jam factory and near fowlers live)
Thurs 26th June 6-8pm
26th June 5th July
Tuesday – Friday 11-5pm
Saturday 2-5pm


42a a cameraphone recollection

A recollection of 42a from my phone, somewhat disordered.


How to write about someone I have spent much of the last couple of months hanging out with, eating too much, drinking, laughing till pain sets in? Or more pertinently if I say this is one of the best pieces of art I’ve seen this year, how much of that is derived from knowing Alison Currie and the pleasure I get from seeing their personal weirdness as an artist unfurled? I thought perhaps I tend to favour art by my friends because I have this intimacy with them, an unscrupulous duplicity born of dance world nepotism, but perhaps I like my friends because I am entranced by their intellect and passion and ideas and personal fascination and so the art they make is only this attraction made real. Of course then I’d like it.

42a + downtown artspace = ✓ is is something of an installation, performance art, and post-show party without the attenuating distraction of the show, something of a second-stage development and mostly a visit into the odd minds and home of some of Adelaide’s most sublime artists.

Downtown, located appropriately opposite the warm fire of the Grace Emily Hotel is two smallish concrete rooms, the front possessing a large, wall-opening chrome-fringed sheet glass window. The past three weeks, Alison along with programmer (and dancer and choreographer and maker of Blood Rain) Adam Synnott, video artist Annemarie Kohn, artist and performer, chainsaw collector and cardboard box enthusiast Kel Mocilnik, dancers Veronica Shum and Rachel Fenwick, and with mentor Sol Ulbrich have been inhabiting the two rooms and growing a peculiar collection of objects, movement, things that do things when you do things, food, games, an accumulation of adventures to be found during its opening hours.

This is not a dance performance. It is dance, or rather there is dance there, movement, small phrases that evolve and adapt depending on who is watching, where they are standing or sitting or lying, fragments that come and go that become something different over time. It is like a raindrop. If rain on a window holds no attraction neither will this, though if the difference and repetition of each tiny explosion profoundly stills your attention, the continual ebb and flow here can become transfixing. As a performance it is one to attend or ignore to arrive and leave and arrive again; the opposite of a narrative chained to steps and counts impelled into existence over time that demands unfaltering focus.

Then there is the minutia, for those with microscopic attention who look for dirt in the cracks and seams of tiles, or how one wall folds into another, a certain kind of attention that privileges detail and minor architecture as much as the broad scale inhabited by people, one for getting on your belly and peering. After and hour or so delighting in all these things to be found and discovered, I interrupted Adam in a game of Go with Tanja to coax maybe some more things I’d missed from him. A fake powerpoint, more fingernail sized bicycles, and yes, a chainsaw. Another hour on and still without the chainsaw, I’d increased my collection of oddities again, and when we all departed still thought about what I’d missed.

As with Adam’s in the bones of children in which Alison danced, I’m caught between a mechanical listing and describing of objects and events and an evasive, subtle and entrancing experience, like floating, eyes out of focus. A favourite pastime for me is letting my thoughts bleed to a background haze, eyes barely registering the blankness or complexity of whatever room I’m inhabiting, a comfortable abandonment as much asleep in absence of response to the world yet nowhere near drifting into oblivion. All of 42a allowed my most enjoyed diversion complete indulgence.

Things and objects. Adam has again been programming and soldering, building and coding, giving movement to Annemarie’s luminous pixel flowers sliding across Alison’s turquoise wallpaper, and Kel’s coin-operated ice cave fridge and miniature sink-side tundra. I’m really in awe of his phenomenally rapid grasp and application of the technology he’s working with, and also where his aesthetic is coming from. For me, him and Alison are by far the most interesting and accomplished independent choreographers and artists in Adelaide.

Carboard boxes growing like lichen on moist and shaded concrete, spilling out onto the streets around Downtown, a pop-up New York Story, the coin-operated freezer ice-fountain, a fridge-top plate of hundreds-and-thousands cookies and a television with dancing technicolour cookie dots. The fake powerpoint. A medicine cabinet with ginger candy and Berocca, Alison’s breakfast snacks, The lift to the crystal room, more diminutive bycycles, cars and a condom. The worktable, games, food, chairs to sit with the residents of 42a. The wallpaper growing under linoleum floor tiles, between broken and perished gaps, into the walls where tiles and skirting aren’t quite flush. How much more have I missed?

People dancing. Veronica Shum, Kel Mocilnik and Rachel Fenwick are the trio who deal with the dancing part of this installation, though all the artists by being there somehow emerge as performers or actors. Kel is the only non-dancer in the midst, though for me often he pulled my attention more than the others. Besides having a really elegant natural movement, he was playful and spontaneous in how he could respond to the people closest to him, and more than once had someone following his gaze as he repeatedly glanced at something only he saw, or straining to hear conversations with himself, Veronica, Rachel or someone near.

Rachel often slouched to the floor drunk or insensate, pulling herself inwards mid-phrase to an unconscious stop before getting up, wandering off for a drink of water a sitdown and chat then off somewhere again, maybe to terrify the patrons of the Grace Emily. Veronica was by far the most introverted of the three, barely registering another’s presence, adding a voyeuristic confusion in watching her, like peering through someone’s uncurtained window.

The complete closeness of the dancers to audience, sometimes on top, around, constricting, or just brushing past is mostly absent in dance performance where the body is seen at a distance and the choreography relies on the broadest of gestures. Like Anna Teresa De Keersmaeker in her solo Once, the audience in the first few rows have an entirely different experience to those in the rear. And here, to be able to see and feel the warmth of a dancer’s skin and breath or if you so choose to touch, to see a performance so close it loses focus.

What did I want more of? I came along to the preview or I suppose dress run, and after thought a few things that remained after seeing it at vernissage. Of course I want more things to discover, a continual growth like the forest reclaiming Chernobyl, and for this also to occur across the duration of the season, so the evolution occurs not just across the hours of one day. Yes they only had three quick weeks, and really did not have an unclaimed minute.

The ceiling and area above eye’s horizon was sadly neglected, and I would have loved to find as much fascination in lying on my back gazing skywards as I did looking at the floor. Also, as this was a play with homes to have smells and odours, potted aromas of fish soup and compost, far from the smells of a house under the hammer of an auction. And more sound.

My immediate and enduring favourite place was beside the shoebox cardboard house listening to a drugged chainsaw or farm town pissup on insulating headphones watching Rachel Kel and Veronica arrive and depart. To have more of these also or to hear the different rooms and corners of the gallery amplified like this, the spaces continuously folding in on themselves would have been magical.

The choreography also which evolved depending on who and how many were in what proximity at times had that sleepy attraction for me I am so partial to. Again though I’d have liked to seen a more complex and subtle evolution. Stealing unconscious movement from the audience, growing into something absolutely unrecognisable from what was at the beginning of the night, really to play and be set free from itself. This I think is one of the contemporary concerns in dance, how to get beyond imprisoning movement to steps and counts, to understand movement as a series of initial conditions that can change over multiple iterations the way software models of organisms, cells, life can do the same.

To grasp how this could be achieved in movement I think is what Alison is striving for. Simultaneously how to engender a conceptual involvement with the scale of individuals one step magnified, like standing too close, and where identity resides at this level. Along with her ensemble, Alison is more than capable of bringing these off.

emile zile mediakunst am berlin

Emile has been living in an old convent in Rotterdam for a while now, in residence at Het Wilde Weten, and yes I am experiencing envy and similar emotions over his being in Europe.

He has a solo exhibition at Spielraum in Berlin opening next week (yeah I know I blogged it before but here’s all the details, and anyway it’s my blog). You can watch the trailer for the show too, all fun planes crashing, protecting Australia from terrorism, Anton Enus and other famous news anchors, animated gifs, heavy metal. Bits of Apocalypse PRD 岭南启示录 too. Go to Berlin. Art.

Emile Zile: Die Kunst und die Veränderung der Massenmedien

Vom 16. März bis 1. April 2007

Eröffnung am 16. März 2007 um 20 Uhr
Performance Emile Zile um 22 Uhr

Eröffnung am 23. März 2007 um 20 Uhr
Pixel-Pirat II: Angriff des Astro Elvis Videoklon Die Abschirmung
Preview Trailer:

Dispose. contemporary in association with SpielRaum Berlin is pleased to present a pivotal guide to Australian artist Emile Zile and The Art of Mass Media Mutation. Zile’s critical relationship to the destruction and re-creation of the mass media for a spiritual renewal reinforces his potentiality to liberate minds from the notions of mass media culture.

Emile Zile is an Australian-Latvian artist working in single-channel video, live video, installation and performance. Using the mass-media as raw material to be sculpted, re-staged, mutated and shifted, Zile’s work attempts to locate the poetic in a barrage of popular culture. Embracing broadcast banalities and inhabiting the media to make comment upon it, he has appeared on Australian national television to up-stage a gameshow host, installed photographic portraits of Jerry Springer Show audience members in a gallery and performed live video for a hybrid performance work in Guangzhou, China; appropriating 15th century Chinese erotic illustrations, ‘Apocalypse Now’ the film and contemporary American death metal.

Zile’s socio-political stagings, interventions, video and installations have been receiving recognition both nationally and internationally in a diverse range of festivals and galleries including UrbanDrift Berlin, Rotterdam VHS Festival, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and the Multimedia Art Asia Pacific Triennial. He is currently resident studio artist at Het Wilde Weten, Rotterdam.

More information:

— Speilraum Berlin