Saturday, October 24, 2009

Guitar by Gabby


Please come! All welcome and it's free
Out of My Head
an exhibition at Signal
Signal @ Northbank - behind Flinders St Station, towards Sandridge Bridge, Northbank, Melbourne
OPENING: Friday 30 October 4pm
EXHIBITION: Wednesday to Saturday until 14 November 2-6 pm

Mental sparks fly as the Artful Dodgers Studios, Melbourne’s award-winning urban studios for young “at risk” artists, create installations for their new Out of My Head exhibition at Signal.

“The collaborative process is very exciting”, said Clare, 21, one of the participants. “Everyone put forward their own ideas to come up with the one theme, Out of My Head.” Together 10 resident artists on staff and around 40 young participants under 28 have been involved on some level in the development of work for the exhibition, which will also feature individual pieces and projections.

The critical battle of the growing individual to manage issues like mental illness, societal prejudices, family hardships and the misuse of drugs and alcohol inspires the work. The centerpiece installation is an outsize ganglia/neuron station representing the thunderstorms and lightning-struck inspirations of the brain. The second group-devised installation features footwear: shoes, boots and sneakers layered with the vivid and maddening detritus of life. The venue will be filled with sounds created in the Artful Dodgers music studios under the Living Music program.

Artful Dodgers Studios has mentored young artists (15 to 28) from marginalised backgrounds through the respected Gateway program of Jesuit Social Services at 1 Langridge Street, near the corner of Smith Street, Collingwood, since 1995. Professional staff include visual artists Alison Burton, Zoe Horsfall and Forest Keegel, musicians Abby Dobson (Leonardo’s Bride), Charles Jenkins (Icecream Hands), John Favaro (The Badloves), Natalie Allison (Vanessa Amarosi) and Andrew McSweeney (Kutcha Edwards) as well as dramaturge and Arts & Culture Coordinator Rebecca Lister and multi-media honchos Justin Schmidt and Tim Osborn.

Out Of My Head will be one of the first exhibitions in the City of Melbourne’s new Signal creative arts studio for young people near Sandridge Bridge, Northbank, behind Flinders Street Station. Wheelchair access is available from Banana Alley,



Thursday, October 15, 2009

A tiny tree down the wormhole of a book stack in the window of the Book Affair in Elgin Street. I did some publicity for the shop's marvellous Fringe Festival exhibition The Liminal.

Universes in transition
MELBOURNE FRINGE ART EXHIBITION in Book Affair windows (3 new locations)
161 Elgin St, CARLTON * 287 Smith St, FITZROY * 149 Sydney Rd, BRUNSWICK
Thursday 24 Sept. - Sunday 11 Oct., 10am to 8pm (& 24/7 from the street)
Opening Parade: 200 Elgin St - Wednesday 23 September 6pm for 6.30pm

A record, three-day heat wave peaked on January 30 last summer in Melbourne, when the mercury hit 45. Suddenly Book Affair, that rambling and greatly loved second hand bookshop at 200 Elgin St, near the corner of Lygon, seemed to spontaneously combust.

Sparked in an air conditioner, flames soon billowed high above Carlton and the roof of the iconic 25-year-old business was gone. This led to flooding and a mammoth relocation of over 100,000 books. Finally, after hard work, understanding bridging support from staff and vital help and solace from the local community, a three-headed phoenix of three marvelous, specialist second hand Book Affair shops has arisen.

To celebrate this, the Book Affair – perhaps the only bookshop in Melbourne with a permanent Arts Projects Coordinator (Susan Bamford Caleo) and several practicing artists-cum-booksellers on staff - presents The Liminal, a delightful Melbourne Fringe Festival exhibition. Works are sculpted primarily from recycled book paper and bindings, but also incorporating other things such as barbed wire, silk, hemp, ash, cotton, wool, string and wood. It is the second time the Book Affair have appeared in the Fringe Festival; their exhibition last year 'Bookish' was very well received (“delightfully playful yet very thoughtful” - Buzzcuts; “drenched in the same sort of charm that one finds in any great bookshop” - Beat).

Led by owner Kaya Prpic, the staff of Book Affair is working with a group of consulting artists (including Shirley Cass, Katherine Connolly, Eliza Donald, Ute Leiner and Waltraud Reiner) on the exhibition, to be displayed in the windows of the three new shops. Sculptured forms and costumes will capture moments of transformation and disorientation, reflecting their experience over the last six months.

The Liminal (from the Latin word līmen, meaning "a threshold") is inherently unstable, alive with possibility. The myth of Daphne, who morphed from a nymph into a tree and the infinite possibilities of the liminal space that readers enter when they open a book, are some of the early ideas inspiring artworks that incorporate an element that can be worn.

This is a community project for Book Affair staff and friends and is important for morale as well as a marking a tremendous new chapter in the Book Affair story. Hence, a mad and joyous parade of staff and friends will proceed on Wednesday 23rd September at 6.30pm from the old shop (200 Elgin Street) to the seductively new wood-fragranced and sculpture-draped Book Affair HQ at 161 Elgin, to launch the exhibition and celebrate the three new shops. There will be fun, colour and an opportunity to shake off the last of the ash.

The new Book Affair second hand shops are at 161 Elgin St, Carlton (academic), 287 Smith St, Fitzroy (sci-fi, occult, graphic novels) and149 Sydney Rd, Brunswick (military, sport, transport).

For interviews with key personnel and further information, contact:
Publicist: Jen Jewel Brown email
The Book Affair: Susan Bamford Caleo, Kaya Prpic or Catherine O’Dwyer
Phone 9347 3542 email