Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I spent last night workshopping some of Shakespeare's monologues with a friend who has an audition with Bell Shakespeare. Said workshopping mainly involved sitting on a darkened oval as he bellowed things from the other end of the cricket pitch like Shane Warne in an excited moment.

"What a rogue and peasant slave am IIIIIII!!!"

A very fine bottle or two of red was involved, sponsored by an unexpected double win on a $2 sweepstake (his win - I remain a loser). And thrice did the field with tall terraces bound echo with a throaty cry of "vengeance!" Most of the time he played with much more nuance, however, and it was unexpectedly thrilling to put myself back in the position of director (or, I suppose, dramaturg) as I offered comments and criticism and "do it again like this" and so on.

In honour of this occasion (which I now dub the Inaugural Annual Yell Shakespeare on the North Fitzroy Oval Festival - all invited for the 2007 event) I will today completely depart from my usual performance focus by taking a meandering, rhizomatic journey through some of my favourite art of recent times. Art, as in pictures and stuff, or at least a bit like that. I'm not really that well-versed in art, and I'm not even sure I know what I like, but I do know what makes me feel different and deserving and such; the sort of thing that has me thinking "well, I may not know why I exist, or anyone else, but I'm very very glad I do right now."


A while back I interviewed VCA grad and ACCA employee Gabrielle de Vietri about her Ideas Catalogue, and I'm really very all over it for the awesome and utterly charming idea that it is. Briefly, de Vietri assembles a catalogue of unrealised projects from people around the world, which are then put on sale, much in the style of an art catalogue. Prices range from a few bucks to a few thousand, and the Ideas themselves are in turn funny, provocative, offensive and sublime. And some are, to gurgle up the old cliche, so crazy that they just might work.

For example, I like the first issue's BREAK-UP INDICATORS, a pair of walll-mounted metres that can be used by the respective members of a couple to display "a percentage of likelihood of staying together." Useful, huh? And "at 0% and 100%, the adjustable knob could lock, as these are stages that imply unchangingness." I like it. $120.

Or, for the literarily/statistically inclined, why not pick up ALL THE POSSIBLE STORIES (also from Issue One - we're now up to Two)? The Idea calls for its owner to "Find every story that can be written in the English language in 1000 letters," and goes on to explain just how this can be accomplished. It's worth someone doing, though clearly I'm too lazy/erratic to try it myself. $620.


Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know was quite the indie hit flick a little while back, and she's an accomplished artist in all kinds of forms. She's one of the people behind the website Learning to Love You More, which my sis put me onto, and which features "work made by the general public in response to assignments given by artists." These assignments are things like "Make a portrait of your friend's desires" or "Interview someone who has experienced war" or, my favourite, "Take a picture of your parents kissing". The results are posted on the site.


Simon Hoegsberg is the guy behind the Thought Project - a photographer, he gave himself the task of stopping ordinary folk walking the streets of Copenhagen and asking them what they were thinking about at precisely that moment. The photographs themselves are gorgeous; even better, though, is the fact that most of the people he stops are sweet, complex, articulate souls who open up, just for a moment, a doorway into their minds and lives. All through a few words. Take this one:

... you can read the rest of this (and the many others) at Hoegsberg's website.

I had a lot (LOT) more written, which I've just lost. That's how the internet and me get along, I guess. I'll try to re-write it tomorrow, or not.


richardwatts said...

Count me in for the 2007 the Annual Yell Shakespeare Festival!

Mare said...

Hey John, sorry to bring down your creative tones, but I hear a certain team is back and expressing basic emotions on the netball court!

Definitely give me a buzz if you're ever a Beige Barbie short, I'm on 0414 817 184..

Born Dancin' said...

Richard: that makes three people involved so far, which officially makes it a festival as far as I'm concerned.

Mary: we had our first on Tuesday and won (with no cheating or nothin'). Expect the call. Actually, more than that, check in at our myspace page -[name of the team]. Yes, the Barbs are online and getting organised.

Manolo Blah Blah said...

Count me in for the Shakespeare Yell Festival next year if I'm in town. But only if there's some Bottom involved.