Contributors from WRITERESPONSE share their thoughts on the performances, exhibitions & events that make up


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Primed – New Painting in Tasmania

Academy Gallery, UTAS
Curated by Catherine Wolfhagen

By Anneliese Milk

Following the straightforward premise of Tasmanian artists and their latest journey with paint, Primed is anything but simple. Curated by Catherine Wolfhagen, Primed brings together complex new works by diverse artists: Amanda Davies, Annika Koops, Jonathan Kimberley, Richard Wastell, Catherine Woo, Neil Haddon and Megan Walch. Beyond the common ground of Tasmania and the medium of paint, these works find a symbiosis that is at once surprising, challenging, and alienating.

The Academy Gallery proves to be the perfect host to this eclectic show, incorporating a different artist into each fold of the space. Amanda Davies’ latest offering reveals a preoccupation with anonymous, fragmented limbs. It is a curious moment rendered in Clear (2010) – stretched across a seat with one leg wrapped in plastic, an individual thrusts their hand out in time to obscure their face from the viewer forever. A recurring image in other Davies paintings, limbs that look as though they have been fashioned from plaster lie discarded in industrial spaces.

Continuing the theme of fragmentation, Megan Walch detaches her subjects from their surroundings – luminous jellyfish and fungi emerge from black canvases. An oriental plant mystically spirals upwards across seven black masonite panels in What goes up (2010). A glittery plinth presents itself at each new level – upon one, a tiny house of cards has been erected.

Annika Koops’ latest work challenges the viewer in its cold, disconcerting perfection. The sense of disconnection that is embraced in Walch and Davies’ work also appears in Koops’ paintings. Sleek, disembodied hairstyles are rendered on pure white canvases – Blue Black Bob (2010) and Long Black Hair (2010) become advertisements for desirable wigs.

The subject of Koops’ Clarity Jam (2010) averts her gaze from the viewer. She stares unnervingly at dead space beyond the frame. Replete with a flawless, peachy, high- cheek-boned beauty, she looks every bit the librarian or secretary from a by-gone era, primly fastened -up with an absurd pastel bow and a bun that would make a ballerina weep.

Showing until 17 October, Primed represents one fragment of the effervescent visual arts scene unfolding in Tasmania.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arts Tasmania.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Hi all,

Just pausing for breath after the ride. Finally got around to reading your work. Great to revisit the gig so soon after. I intend to write some reflections in the next few days, once my brain function returns. We are all a bit like Zombies around here.

I especially want to write about the way that the Stompin work used a highly disciplining set of performance principles to completely undo the disciplining urge of the theatre. I also want to try and understand why the knitting on the Town Hall columns gave that building more authority, not less. I also want to think about how The Junc Room was so embraced by the locals (and really transformed a public square that is badly under-utilised), and how rock and roll is a force of nature when wielded by the Puta Madre Brothers. Lordy they are on to something!

It's been a really terrific few days and I do want to thank you all very much for the writing you have done. I'm expecting that once the delegates get home they might wish to contribute to this blog. I'd love to hear lot's and lot's of reflections on both the conference and the festival.

More soon.



By Lucy Wilson Magnus

There are a gazillion hours of YouTube. Too many for anyone to see if they devoted their life to it. Yet, Stompin’s WeTubeLIVE had me walking into a vast fantasy of live solo clips, where I felt so immersed and saturated, I had the impression I’d walked into the brain of YouTube and taken a dozen slippery slides down its pulsing cells.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Haircuts by Children

Presented by Mammalian Diving Reflex
By Lucy Wilson Magnus

“Hair cuts by kids, free of charge,” they trumpeted in their blue and yellow uniforms outside the Studio Hair and Beauty in Charles Street, Launceston. Can you imagine the incredulity on pedestrians’ faces: what? A strange child with scissors, with my hair, and near my ears?! No way.

What a crazy idea.

DRIVE and Passion

by Gai Anderson
Big hARTs DRIVE , Young men and the art of Risk Taking
Ernesto Sirroli , Passion Entrepreneurship and the Rebirth of Local Economies

Saturday morning was one of contradictions for me – contradictions and possible connections.

The impassioned, entertaining and inspired Plenary with Ernesto Sirroli was a joy to hear – the story of his creative journey, and how he finds his own passion in facilitating the passion of others. Exciting stuff indeed – seemingly a golden pill for all of us middle class arty types to swallow: follow your passion. Who doesn’t want to do that?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ernesto Sirolli: the one who gets it

What do unemployed hippies, an Italian shoemaker, a nun, Western Australian fishermen and a man who knows nothing about business have in common? Passion, creativity and the makings of powerful storytelling.

Ernesto Sirolli's plenary address, Passion, entrepreneurship and the rebirth of local economies, had one simple but profound message: do what you want to do and find someone to do what you hate.

A Map of a Dream of the Future

Lead artist: Nicholas Low
Tram Shed Function Centre, 4 Invermay Rd, Inveresk
By Anneliese Milk
Slipping behind a black curtain into the cold, dark shed, I try to adjust my eyes while simultaneously lurching forward across a narrow path of stepping stones. Strategically laid out in a cross-axis, the stones are surrounded by glistening water – an ankle-deep black pond. As I shuffle and sway my way through, I pray not to be the girl who lost her footing and ended up in the water.

Stumbling on Contraptions

It's difficult to get people out to an event on a Winter evening. My local friend Alan tells me that it's difficult to get people out to arts events in Launceston at the best of times, and given similar experiences in Hobart, I can well believe it. That's why it's great that the Junction Festival is full of art you can stumble upon.


Settling myself down on the pavement in the middle of Charles Street is not something I would normally do on a Friday afternoon but I felt I had a valid excuse. And so did the crowd gathering around me. We were there for Pane.

Herding like Penguins

Having had my fill at least temporarily of the free flowing art and performance treats of the Festival and the Junc Room , today I donned my black coat to go underground into the conference itself. Like one of the frenetic penguins in the herd of delegates , intent and focussed on getting to the venue in time for the Plenary Session I dived straight in .

Did I tell you the one about…?

Presented by Only Human Communication
Presenter: Moya Sayer-Jones
Friday 27 August, 9:00 am

By Anneliese Milk

There is something infinitely arresting about watching an unknown individual on film: imparting the quotidian, the tragic, the intimate details of their lives to the camera. It becomes both a forum for, and a record of, a person’s story – a validation of their self-worth.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Sometimes joy comes softly and at other times it screams in your face.

So it is with WeTubeLIVE, a wild dance exhibition of simultaneous and solo performances by 50 young and largely untrained dancers interpreting their favourite YouTube clip.

KP11: producing communities

The Academy Gallery at the School of Visual and Performing Arts is currently host to four outstanding exhibitions, one of which is KP11: producing communities. There is diversity here in both medium and message.

Jane Franklin: An Examined Life

Presented by Silkweed
Albert Hall, Thursday 26th August

Lady Jane Franklin serves as a figure of fascination as much as anyone in Tasmanian history. Unlike the fondly remembered bushrangers, she was a member of the establishment, but her reforming instincts have endeared her to a wide range of Tasmanians.

Zero Project

I speak to Tina, who is busy stripping leaves from lengths of Phragmites Australis, the common reed. Now that I know what they are, I see just how common they are, upright and swaying in the cool westerly wind gusting at the foot of the Tamar River. A few reeds hang from string and click away like knitting needles. Something she prepared earlier.

The amazing Ross Byers and his mercurial kinetic carts

A rain-soaked square bustling with people. A fire-engine red circus tent billowing in the winter squall, inhaling, exhaling, canvas, people, music. Ice-cream-coloured umbrellas, confetti-scattered in trees, swoop and tremble overhead. A lumbering wooden cart, wagon-wheeled, imposes its presence into the scene - its open caravan crowned with a Mad Hatter's teapot, tea cosy-knitted and towering three metres into the bristling sky. Its companion - a giant purple flower, a triffid, sprouting from the front. Is this Launceston? The 21st century? A chimera?

Dying to become men

"No young man believes he shall ever die," wrote English essayist William Hazlitt way back in the early 19th century, and watching Drive by Big hART Directors Bronwyn Purvis and Telen Rodwell, it seems nothing has changed.

A Map of a Dream of the Future

Imagine how climate change will affect our life eighty years in the future. What will happen? How will we deal with it?

In fact, the question needs to be asked, can we deal with it? Eighty years from now will see the issues being tackled by another generation. It is the children of today who will build upon ideas and formulate solutions to ensure our survival through a changing world. Having said that, how do our children feel about climate change?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sheer Pleasure

If there is one thing you should NOT miss at the Festival for the sheer pleasure of the experience it is Stompin’s WeTubeLIVE.100 performances staged by fifty young people live and simultaneously – re-enactments of their favourite YouTube clips inside metre square stages, marked out in rows on the floor, their own individual IPods pumping through little speakers.


When is the truth too hard to look at up close?
In 1915 most young men in Australia died at Gallipoli,. We all know that, we’ve heard the story, the details, seen the visceral brutality of it.


WeTube. WOW.

The world is in reverse with fifty people taking video pop-culture and turning it into live performance. Fifty young people in their own little white-bordered square acting, dancing, miming, freaking out, spacing out; completely self-initiated and composed.

rrala manta manta

Achingly beautiful.
Not managed, not contrived, not censored.

These are words used by Frank Panucci at the opening of rrala manta manta to describe the works on display by a host Tasmanian Aboriginal artists.

And it is so true.

Haircuts by Children

‘We are going to teach children basic hair cutting. On real people!’

Judy Goss, owner of Studio Hair and Beauty, approached Evon Gelekai, trainer and assessor with thirty years experience in hairdressing, with this proposition.
The result is twenty one children aged ten to twelve years who have spent two weeks learning how to snip, style, colour and clip hair.

Day one -Wednesday

Driving down the hill into Launceston, strange combination of stunning landscape, fading federation and post industrial bleak hits me intensely for a moment, but passes quickly as the rain closes in around the fluorescence of the park. Its ancient old trees and fanciful iron gates bedecked with a square of fluffy knitting hanging wistfully from the gate - and there on the path a lounge room offers me (a very squelchy) couch of faded velvet on which to sit and contemplate. It seems I’ve arrived. My portal to the world of Junction has opened and I’m off and running.

Sex, Death and a Cup of Tea

Four playwrights were immersed in four of the most regional of Tasmanian communities, - Zeehan, Swansea, Miena and King Island - and four very different plays address the dilemmas of transient populations, of people who leave and never come back, of people who settle down to die.

Poetry Wall

Six poets have reacted in wildly different ways to the phrase ‘Open Camouflage’. Tim Thorne’s bleak treatise on modern warfare; Joy Elizabeth’s chilling true account of the abuse of female international students; Ben Walter's football oval on an autumn afternoon…

A new and sweet view of the much-maligned snail by Esther Ottaway will show this humble stalwart in a whole new light:

You’re a show regardless of audience, a full house,
Your scribble of trails, morning reviews of your travels.

The commissioned works mentioned above, plus two more by Liz Winfield and Joe Frank, are tucked away on a far wall and deserve more space and exposure. But the poetry wall, painted by Laura Watts offers a flowing skirt of words with a blackboard opportunity for anyone to add their own. And through this, Launceston’s famous poetry festival has colonised a permanent corner of the CBD.

This chilly Wednesday afternoon poetry reading was a lovely start to Junction, a reminder that the beautiful economy of poetic words is a joy best enjoyed when read by the poet, with their own voice and inflection as soundtrack to the images they inspire.

The Poetry Wall is at the entrance to the Centreway Arcade between Brisbane and Paterson St

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Their Poetry

My head is plunged continuously into poetry. There's a festival in early October which demands new material and I'm repeatedly slapping the afternoons trying to get it all together.

But this week belongs to a different festival, Junction, and my attention has shifted towards it. To the theatre performances, the art exhibitions, the music, the dance. To the poetry built by others.

It's a relief, it's a pleasure and I'm looking forward to being drawn into their worlds.

Junction Twenty Ten

A junction is a place where several routes or lines meet, link or cross each other. I imagine a train horn blaring and railway lines criss-crossing over, traffic routes, motorways and canals all jumbled up together. I’d not thought of Launceston as a junction. But for five days it’s becoming a Junction of Art, with a big spoon stirring up the already small and spirited arts community with a national and international influx. Planes, puppets, cars and costumes, music, boats and bicycle wheels, installations, art art art and footsteps - are all heading to the north-east. To Tasmania’s left eye.

From remote isolated plains. From busy populated hubbubs. Everyone carrying a postcard-sized 53-page program booklet. To join and intersect. To listen and see what happens when they criss-cross over each other. And feel what happens in the junction of their hearts and minds.

A purler of an installation

Jump into the rabbit hole (aka Town Hall Reception Room) and step into the still life of 1950s suburbia in The Knitting Room.

This is Andy Warhol meets Alice in Wonderland and the CWA, and I love every woolly inch of it. Artists Robyn Carney, Gwen Egg and Shirley Johnson have worked with the residents and community of Uniting Aged Care homes to knit, stitch and crochet a life-sized recreation of a 1950s home in all its colourful and iconographic glory. Coming from an era of 'make-do and mend', these craftspeople have taken up the call to 'knit your bit' to giddy extremes, with life-sized structures, people and objects skilfully and magically - and sometimes humorously - created for a nostalgic experience which is as visually rich and whimsical as it is slightly surreal.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Between Worlds

Flying in from one island to another
From the far north to the far south
From a small grass roots community festival in Eastern Indonesia to the great National Regional Arts Conference in Launceston.
From the third to the first we say
Floating between worlds, between head spaces, between cultures and perspectives,
I am slowly landing…wondering about the ways that art infiltrates, entwines, accumulates and filters through our lives and minds in these very different places.
Bringing people together , circling , embracing , stimulating ,confronting.
Art as celebration, art as life, art as food for the soul, arts as food for thought, art as tradition, art as liberation , art as culture.
Junction 2010 seems like it might be all of these at once and more.
Can’t wait till Thursday.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Junction 2010 is sure to delight and fascinate with a smorgasbord of creative expression that will be realised by an impressive line-up of artists over five days. While Junction will offer a dazzling array of events, exhibitions, workshops and performances it will also offer something perhaps less obvious. A challenge.

This is an opportunity for people that grace the streets of this beautiful city to explore the possibilities of art and to be challenged by perceptions of artistic expression through inventive and imaginative processes. The outcomes of these interactions will certainly be touching.

Art is everywhere, from the comfort of a willow seat at the Wild Willow Café to the less public arrangement at The Outhouse. A conversation at the Mode Café is more likely to be the audible crafting of a letter to a long lost love, or perhaps a dictation requesting the return of a long overdue DVD from that friend who promised they would watch it that night.

Junction will undoubtedly offer experiences that will entertain and amuse yet it will also offer avenues for exploration that will confront and provoke further investigation. I can’t wait.

Yep, art is everywhere. Just like my hair… So, I plan to participate in experience that will live with me long after the Junc Room is disassembled. I am laying my locks to the mercy of a ten year old. Art has no boundaries and as I will discover first-hand, no age limits either! Bring it on.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

If art has the capacity to 'wake you up', as Ian Pidd, (Artistic Director for Junction 2010) suggests, Launceston is about to become a city of cultural insomniacs. Copious amounts of culture, co-mingling and conversation (not to forget coffee in the Junc Room!) will be keeping me awake as our conventional public spaces are arts-activated and Launceston is transformed into a theatre of social action.

I can't wait to see how Junction is going to disturb our mundane city spaces, and see the way we re-experience them when they are activated as flashpoints of raw art spaces. My hot spots include the big top Junc Room in Civic Square, with its cabaret, theatre, circus, food and wine, and art as cultural ballast to the political sway around it; WeTubeLIVE by Stompin in the gracious Albert Hall as technology hits tradition; and Car-cophony which validates a blockie route as culturally sound.

I'm booked and ready to go to a few of my 'favourites', but I'm also going to allow myself to be seduced by the unexpected, the whimsical, the absurd and the beautiful in this once-in-a-generation festival, so that I might be startled into experiencing Launceston in a new and more enlivening way.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Start checking out the program, become a blog follower and get involved in the discussion about the role that the arts has in regional communities throughout Australia.

Tell us what you are looking forward to experiencing at the festival.

Blog stations will be in our headquarters - see Information - and there will be a blogging station at the Grand Chancellor.

Going Home for Arts Sake

It's quite an exciting prospect returning to my birth place to participate in a national arts conference and accompanying festival. Especially as I left more than 20 years earlier in search of a more culturally diverse existence. Alot can happen in 20 years. So I am eagerly gathering notebooks and testing pens for the scrawling to come when I join fellow WriteResponsers as we gobble up as much art, theatre, music and culture as we can get our hands and heads on.