Monday, June 29, 2009

Cash Brown Courbet

L'Origine Du Monde is one of Courbet's most famous paintings. When painted 143 years ago, it was - perhaps not suprisingly - banned from public exhibition. Though there is a tendency to think that what was then was then, and that today we live in a much freer society, a society far more open minded to matters as seemingly trivial as depictions of the human body.
Though it seems that Sydney Olympic Park Authority will have none of this lewdness and have similarly censored an appropriation of Courbet's work by Sydney artist Cash Brown, deciding to display it "behind a curtain with a viewer advisory warning and eliminating it from the exhibition catalogue". (see also; Tea Tree Gully Council's decision to ban a nude painting and sculpted bust last year).

The only online source i could find for this story was the Brisbane times which unfortunatly does not have an image of the offending work, titled Fuck LeWitt. Though luckily Brown's mural seems to follow a series of approriations of Courbet's work; images which are available on her wesbite.
Perhaps Brown would have had more luck if she had instead submitted her work Monochrome (2008) to the exhibition.

As well as being an artist Courbet was an Anarchist, and fittingly, he was one of the founders of
Fédération des artistes, a federation of mostly realist artists that aimed to support the free and uncensored exhibition of art. Courbet was one of the more publicly known French artists in the second half of the 19th century, and Napolean attempted to use Courbet's popularity to increase his own appeal by nominating Courbet to the Legion of Honour, however Courbet adamantly refused. Courbet was active within the Paris Commune and argued for the destruction of the Vendome Column;

"Inasmuch as the Vendôme column is a monument devoid of all artistic value, tending to perpetuate by its expression the ideas of war and conquest of the past imperial dynasty, which are reproved by a republican nation's sentiment, citizen Courbet expresses the wish that the National Defense government will authorise him to disassemble this column."
When the scum eventually returned to power Courbet was charged and ordered to pay for the rebuilding of the monument. Instead he left for Switzerland and died the day before his first payment was due.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sick of cops. Sicks of locked out squats.

As i was typing the last blog entry about getting some photo's up of our squat and it's ad-hoc mastery; the very squat i was typing about was being evicted! This was not your normal Sydney squat eviction. Generally things will go down one of two ways.

  • The owner will show up, surprised to find someone living in their wasting house, feign some outrage and ask you to leave. Either immediately or within some time frame they see as reasonable or...
  • The owner will show up with the police and do more of less the same thing; ask you to leave or give you abit of time.

But this was not to be the case for our Stanmore squat. Unfortunately Stanmore falls within the jurisdiction of Newtown Local Area Command, if anyone has had any dealings with these unpleasant folks you'll know why this is a problem.

On Saturday morning a few hardened criminal squatters were waking up, making small talk, sharing stories and cooking some pancakes when interrupted by a knock on the door. Without delay, the police arrested everyone within the house, regardless of whether they lived there or not. Loaded them into a paddywagon and left for the station.
When they arrived at the station they were detained for 45 minutes in the back of the wagon, then moved inside where they were separated and held for four hours. They were then charged and held in solitary confinement for a further two hours before being released on bail. All were charged with trespass which is unheard of among Sydney squatters.
All this for living in a house that had been empty for a decade, and will lie empty for another.

While the police response may seem unusual - and it is - it turns out that the kind of overreaction seen is only to be expected from Newtown Cops; those arrested were told by someone giving legal advice that the arresting officer had once stopped a man who was pushing a bicycle home, breath tested him and charged him with drink driving! To know that these kind of sociopaths have been granted amazing powers over our lives is either frightening, infuriating or both.

Although not all is lost. While our little crew has been physically broken up, we're still looking after each other and taking care of each others things. I've since moved into the most breathtakingly large squat i have ever heard of, we're in negotiations with the owners to arrange a caretakers lease and if all goes ahead and we're legalised then our crew will be back again, causing all sorts of nightmares for police, such as living in an empty building.

If you know someone who is taking direct action to better their life and the lives of others, and that person is not interested in perpetuating a system of exploitation then call crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 - Pigs Need To Know.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

G20 Benefit

Help out some comrades who need it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Circuit Bending/Ad-hoc/New Band

While it may not be new to many, it is new to me, and it is certainly looks like tons of fun.

The basic premise is to mess around with the circuitry of a sound producing toy or appliance to make a new and interesting sound(s). Though sound is not the only thing that can be "bent" as the video below shows; video signals too can also be bent to produce some very interesting stuff.

Over the last few weeks i have been working on a few ad-hoc objects, making a lamp out of a kettle i found, a candle holder out of the kettle's element and so on, and now i've learnt of circuit bending, i guess i could call those works case bending or something to that effect, as i've not changed any circuitry (yet).

I suppose i enjoy the fact that making do with improvised items is a creative act that has the immediacy of practicality and purpose. At our new squat we have a kitchen sink make of a sink top and milk crates, a door as a bench top, another door as a coffee table and old planks and boards for floors and so on - all these things as well as being free have a wonderful aesthetic that i wouldn't trade for ikea furniture.

I really wish i did have a camera to get up some pictures of our squat as i didnt get many pictures of the last place up either, though we were robbed the other day and unfortunatly a housemates camera was stolen. I have been able to borrow some recording devices from Uni however to record a sound project i've been working on and you can listen to it here. There are some downloads too, coming soon however will be a downloadable .pdf that you can fold into a CD case.

Until next time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some of the brightest, sharpest, cruelest, prettiest, most interestingly dangerous words currently circulating

That is how this collection describes itself, and i think it's pretty awesome.

Humans being, human beings
—you call this life? I call it
survival—this rusty heart
pumping blood through tired muscles,
singed lungs and sore eyes, this
infusion of just enough protein, sugar
and caffeine to keep us moving (but
never at rest). But where is life?
Where are we? Everywhere walls and
cages, keeping us out, keeping others
in; everywhere the police and all the
cameras and sensors to ensure that
we do nothing but obey, work, produce,
consume… Not even commodities, but
situations and relations which make
this place a wasteland: a nowhere
that’s everywhere.
UTOPIA / / EMERGENCY aims to simply distribute a wide range of analysis and propaganda produced around (more or less) anarchist struggles over the last half decade or so. There is material on the Tarnac 9 (, "Greece's Warmest Winter", fed up Ghetto's and a bunch more.

So if you, like me, just loved reading all the communiques and manifesto's released during the Greek Rebellion, you should definitely check out this collection. The whole jazz can be downloaded from here; - If the download goes offline i'll try and mirror it, but it should be Okay for now!

Also downloadable here;

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Time Capsule

It's been a long time since a post on here, and a lot has happened. The Squat which is pictured in previous blog entries is still going strong. There are still 4 people living there, down from 7. One housemate and Me have moved into a new squat not too far away, and we've been joined by a friend.
The new place is exciting. It appears to have been empty for about 15 years (!!!), and as such has deteriorated significantly. In some parts of the house, there are holes in the roof, large parts of the interior paint are peeling off, and in some rooms as many as 1 in 5 floor boards are completely rotted through.
So far we've fixed up the rotten floor boards by laying a new flooring of plywood and whatever else we could find, and have placed rugs over the top. The kitchen has been made functional using an assortment of milk crates and a door as the new bench top. And despite how the description may make it sound, the kitchen is lovely. We've painted the fittings with striking red paint, and we have a vintage yellow lamp in the corner, which when turned on makes the whole kitchen look warm and cosy.
We've got the toilet working so we no longer need to bucket flush, though we still haven't put a new door on the toilet, which is a slight problem as it's an outside toilet with neighbours windows looking straight in.
The Lounge room and hallway are now the only rooms that really need to be cleaned out. When we first moved in, the house was packed full of the owners junk. Piles of stationary, boxes of documents from the 70's and an assortment of personal items. We decided to keep items that had an obvious personal value, and to throw the rest of the junk out. I imagine even the things to which we've assigned a personal value aren't especially important, as they have been left in this place for over a decade.
There have been pictures taken, and they will hopefully be posted soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

When boring landlords (try to) attack!

Okay obviously it's been sometime since a post on here.

We're still living in our squat that we've been in since December 26. I've had limited Internet access since then, and mostly when i get on i do whatever research I've been meaning to do, and of course check facebook!

Last Friday, 27th Feb 09, the landlords showed up. They wanted us to leave, we chatted, they said they'd come back to chat another time, they didn't show up, and now they've said they'll come by on Thursday 5th to "discuss options" for our house.

They've evicted the factory next door which was being used as a peoples kitchen (very successfully), a place to crash for radical tourists, 2009's squatfest and of course as a home.

When there is some progress i will post about it. Until then, wish us luck!