New Fiction: Caught by Karen-Anne Coleman

25 08 2009

We have started publishing serialised fiction here at the Woolf and Maus (yes, just like Charles Dickens) and to kick off our series we are very excited to launch Caught, by Karen-Anne Coleman (that’s actually me – so in some ways writing this post does feel rather like the royal ‘we’).

Caught is set in Sydney, and tells the story of a remarkable photographer and his even more remarkable camera, through the eyes of his friend and landlady, Katy. As Katy learns more about this mystical man who lives in her basement, she discovers that he has touched the lives of other people in her neighbourhood too – in more ways than she would care to know. Caught is about what we mean to one another, how we love and how we let one another live.

The first chapter of Caught is available below, free to download in pdf format. For the next instalment, please click back soon.

Please also leave a comment below if you liked this work, telling us why!

Cheers

Click here to download the first chapter of Caught:

Caught Chapter One by K A Coleman

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More from our modern JFK

12 08 2009

Since I wrote on Justin F. Kern’s photography over the weekend, the man himself responded with a small collection that shows just how the potential that I had eagerly anticipated in his increasingly sophisticated work is being realised. I had ask to see even more facets of our environment, and progressively complex ways of representing them. For the first time in this collection, sensuality genuinely bursts forth from his peach-coloured waves. Their hard, yet warm polymer surface offsets the organic tactility of his bark and tree trunks. Though they both focus on a curved surface, they juxtapose natural growth to man-made development, the adamantine and unyeilding to the brittle and crumbling, and two entirely different concepts of layering – one about decay (the revelation of new layers beneath dying others) and the other about intended revelation (where the creator only ‘lifts the skirts’ on the creation as much as s/he is willing to). The rainbow effect of lighting as it bursts through the spectrum of trees is breathtaking as it unifies some of these opposing elements. In this image, domesticated nature and artificial light come together to highlight the beauty of both human and natural forms of creation. Finally, the sailboat, so perfectly framed by it’s view from the jetty, is merely a destination at the end of the eye’s delightful meandering through an appreciation of the surfaces that have lead it there.

Bravo JFK! These are stunning.

I think it’s soon time for an exhibition.





Snapshots of an Aussie JFK

9 08 2009

Justin F. Kern (JFK) is a lanky bloke with a loud laugh and eerily spider-like limbs, which, until recently I had only seen wrapped around a camera when the man was attending weddings, ceremonious birthdays and other noteworthy occasions. Watching him during these functions, as he leapt, dived and squeezed himself into a range of necessary positions for the ‘ideal shot’, it was easy to tell that he had a good eye for framing, aesthetic and that most elusive of qualities – the human element. This final ephemeral ingredient is always the defining factor in taking a ‘technically good’ photograph into the realms of magic. Having said that, working with a bride and groom, or beaming flower girl, it often seems that anyone with a big enough lens at these ‘special occasions’ can be taking these kinds images ‘filled with meaning’ – so what is the difference between a photographer and an amateur having a good day?

The debate goes back to the beginning of photography – just ask William Henry Fox Talbot, a pioneer photographer of the 1800s, or looked at another way, a very rich man with spare time and money up his sleeve to spend on a hobby. Was our dear Talbot, now revered as one of the grandfather’s of photography, a professional or amateur? And if he did become a professional, there must have been some time when he was still practicing as an amateur, training his skill – yes? Once again we return to another age old debate: the question of the artist or creator as genius vs hardworking and persistent labourer. The institutions of the ages have perpetuated the myth that artists, for instance, occupy a space almost of sainthood – in their ability to create something worthy of ‘holy’ reverence, objects which become relics in the museum space that should be determinedly conserved over the years as some meaningful production from the ‘artist’s hand’. The conceptual, and often historical, meaning of the work often has less relationship to the work itself than it does to the contemporary reception of the work. Though it may be sensually ‘uplifting’ (or not as is the case-in-point of postmodernism) to view a beautiful artwork it does not necessarily tell us much about why it was important historically.

Returning to our modern JFK, we begin to ask ourselves, why does the work of this young Australian, at the beginning of his experimental photographic career, intrigue us? The answer is emotive, as all good answers to intriguing visual imagery should be. There is a combination of heartstrings being pulled on in these images. In those of the outback I feel the connection to Ansel Adams, and joy at my own country’s landscape bursting so in outrageously celebratory colours. In the images of the pipes, emerging man, and light drawn onto the playing fields I appreciate the humour and irreverence brought to a visual plane and it’s representation of a country’s spirit. The fire images – at once beautiful and terrifying in their meaning, and the city lights that dazzle – all add to a multi-faceted portrait of our country that encapsulates many landscapes, experiences and moods.

What would I like to see from our JFK? More. I cannot to wait to see how his work matures, most importantly as he educates himself in other photographers and artists of Australia, and the globe, and uses their work to inform his own. I want to see many more faces of our nation and how they might be represented in increasingly complex ways. Most of all I want to see how he develops this theme of humour balanced with the land and people – ephemeral spirit emerging from within that which is actually seen – what I would call the visual equivalent of ‘reading between the lines’.

And what would I like to see from the rest of Australia? JFK, and other photographers like him, not only on gallery walls – but with a crowd standing around appreciating what the images have to offer them and their story.





Anne Landa exhibition AGNSW

3 08 2009

In the recent Double Take: Anne Landa exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, there were a number of works which caught the imagination of humanists and technologists alike.

Mari Velonaki’s interactive cube installations are a particular wonder of light and movement. These little robotics react to the viewer’s touch: as you pick them up and move them around they ‘speak’ to each other by emitting sounds and slowly revealling handwriting across their lighted faces. Entitled ‘Circle D: Fragile Balances’ 2008, each of these mysterious messages was comprised of fragments from personal letters donated by Velonaki’s peers and friends, along with verse by Anna Akhmatova. Each of the cubes has a name, Bird and Fish, construsting characters in a relationship that is both loving and strained. Using bluetooth wireless connections, the spatial relation that Bird and Fish have to one another at any one time determines their ‘communication’ and thus their expression of emotion. The viewer (or perhaps user is a more appropriate term) is able to have some control over this relationship, and increasingly so, as Velonaki invites suggestions for future letters to be included in the work’s futher development. The comment here on our relationships, and our lives within the technological age, achieve both contemporaniety and timelessness. In this version however, the slowness of the media perhaps hampers the full realisation of the concept, I eagerly await Velonaki’s next instalment on the project.

The following is a video of Velonaki speaking about the project as it has developed since working with the curator’s at the Art Gallery of NSW:

Click here to see an student interview with Mari Velonaki.

Cao Fei’s film ‘What Are They Doing Here?’ 2005 uses perhaps a more traditional form of mediabut is not less touching in its ability to reach both the personal and the universal. As a commission of the Siemens Arts Program, Fei chose to intervene directly in Siemens’ OSRAM lighting factory in Foshan, Guangdong province. She entered the factory and encouraged the employees there to express their dreams, fantasies, and desires in the form of dance, song and performance. Her resulting film is separated into three parts, drawing out the reality of present day life in the factory, in contrast to dreams and hopes of the future. Fei’s greatest skill is in her ability to capture the monotony of manual labour in the same frames as lie her highly detailed and empathetic portraits of the workers. She has intimately brought both everyday experience and psychological reality to the screen.

The Double Take exhibition featured a number of artists, more that I have noted here. Check out the Art Gallery’s archived page for Double Take here.

In the recent Double Take: Anne Landa exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, there were a number of works which caught the imagination of humanists and technologists alike.

Mari Velonaki’s interactive cube installations are a particular wonder of light and movement. These little robotics react to the viewer’s touch: as you pick them up and move them around they ‘speak’ to each other by emitting sounds and slowly revealling handwriting across their lighted faces. Entitled Circle D: Fragile Balances 2008, each of these mysterious messages was comprised of fragments from personal letters donated by Velonaki’s peers and friends, along with verse by Anna Akhmatova. Each of the cubes has a name, Bird and Fish, construsting characters in a relationship that is both loving and strained. Using bluetooth wireless connections, the spatial relation that Bird and Fish have to one another at any one time determines their ‘communication’ and thus their expression of emotion. The viewer (or perhaps user is a more appropriate term) is able to have some control over this relationship, and increasingly so, as Velonaki invites suggestions for future letters to be included in the work’s futher development. The comment here on our relationships, and our lives within the technological age, achieve both contemporaniety and timelessness. In this version however, the slowness of the media perhaps hampers the full realisation of the concept, I eagerly await Velonaki’s next instalment on the project.

Cao Fei’s

Check out the Art Gallery’s archived page for Double Take here.

http://www.artnet.com/artist/156397/cao-fei.html

http://artnews.com.au/details.php?e=1561

http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/exhibitions/archived/2009/double_take

http://www.csr.acfr.usyd.edu.au/people/MariVelonaki.htmAs a commission of the Siemens Arts Program What are they doing here? in 2005, Cao Fei chose to intervene directly in Siemens’ OSRAM lighting factory in Foshan, Guangdong province. She encouraged the factory workers to express their dreams, fantasies, and desires in the form of dance, song and performance.