Tuesday, December 19, 2006

After the Honeymoon

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Skanky Jane's MySpace Tribute to The Artswipe, 2006

It's been one hell of a crazy year. I started in blogland as a reader (mostly reading The Art Life blog for my fix of artworld gossip) and when I decided to go global with The Artswipe, I never realised it would make me over into such an important world leader... But you know, stranger things happen all the time.

Perhaps the strangest thing to happen this year, is that I got married. And to a fan! I never thought I'd marry a fan as the whole thing just conjures a major Kathy Bates in Misery moment. But well, Skanky Jane persisted and when she made me an artwork representing our dominant culture institutionalisation I just knew it was meant to be. (After having a performance art moment early October 2006 which featured a combination of Skanky Jane and an organza blindfold, she started organising the wedding... What a BRIDEZILLA!)

Skanky J and I were meant to be... she understands me more than most, and does whatever I ask. I even asked her to take a bath before our Aspen honeymoon, because well, skank sometimes needs a clean. We never fight as most married couples tend to do after ten minutes of marriage. Before she goes to work, she leaves me a comment, and I reply. Some say marriages rarely work when the bulk of your communication consists of leaving notes for one another. But when they're really well written notes, you can fantasise that reincarnation is on your side this time, and that well, thank Christ you got the "reincarna-karma-remix" of Virginia Woolf over Virginia Andrews.

And ironically the name Virginia always makes Skanky J giggle because she's obviously thinking about vaginas. That dirty girl needs to take those dirty pillows to the laundromat immediately! Artswipe is a clean teen! As if reading Skanky J's dirty mind, another MySpace fan "Vibrator" lured me into a dark world of wall socket promiscuity by offering this beautiful visual comment (see below). Never have Double A batteries been so worthy of a Double D titfuck. And as I am a life support system for a soundtrack, I have added Lene Lovich's song New Toy as this week's http://www.myspace.com/artswipe profile song.

It's that time of year when The Artswipe must see more of the world. I have submitted my leave application form to Blogspot Dot Com and while they're hesitant to see me go, they understand that no one can stand in the way of experience. So I will be nomadic over January visiting trailer park conventions to see what I can bring home as a late wedding present for the little Mrs.

Thanks to all for reading this year. I will post a postcard or three over the holiday season and will officially re-launch late January 2007. And if you get lonely, remember that Skanky Jane will keep the home fires burning.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Wish Fulfillment

Betti Pugh of Wales is responsible for climate change

Artswipe has really been going down on the silly season, so apologies if you've been experiencing abandonment issues due to my irregular movements here at blogspot dot com. As most of you have really learnt a thing or two from my special brand of pedagogical blogness, I have been feeling real pressure to come up with something new in a world so secondhand. And all I can think about is some Christmas commentary.

I love this time of year. Christmas albums emerge and you watch middle-of-the-road American singersongwriters deep throat new arrangements of Sleigh Bells for Santa. Suburban street electricity gets amped up while neighbours war over whose fairy light studded anal rope looks best with or without climate change chic. Inhale those greenhouse gases baby! Then there's shopping for presents you want for yourself but try out on others so the novelty can wear thin before doling out the cash for a repeat purchase in the January sales. Carols by candlelight is always moving and this year I will dedicate everything I sing to Belinda Emmett.

Christmas is all about family, and this year Artswipe is going to try harder to workshop lifesize replicas of the family I want to call my own next year. They will be cut from goldleaf and glue with just a little twist of papier-mache. I'll arrange this family like a nativity scene and cradle their mild-mannered muteness. I can't decide if I want to be kin to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Of course it would be nice to let Madonna and Guy take me in but Kaballah is Jewish which means no Christmas presents. And since my art cave rebirthing experience has unleashed what my therapist calls "infantalised eggnog flavoured wish fulfillment" I may as well enjoy Christmas the way I used to when I was actually a child. Meaning, I will fucking scream if I don't get a new fucking iPod or fucking palm pilot this year you people who have taken it upon yourself to call yourselves "parents." You're not my parents! If you were, you'd cut the crap about Santa not feeling so flush this year and spill the consumer culture booty somewhere near where the world is cut in two by what is usually called an "equator", but what I call plain old fashioned self-centredness.

So what will be my new year resolution this year? As I've been negotiating newness and emergence ever since I saw the youngmeat Primavera exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art this year, I have decided that Artswipe resolves to be the next NSW young Australian of the year. As art openings are just too cool for cocaine these days I'm not sure if any art anyones have a chance of being any kind of young-anything-of-the-year.

When I think of those three words "of the year" I feel compelled to make a list itemising every goddamn good thing I witnessed in 2006. Come to think of it, journalism actually gets really clever this time of year with the writerly kind clamouring for attention in the taste stakes with their end of year best of lists.

And as I failed journalism at uni but excelled in new media, I've blogged the best things:

1. Bindi Irwin's starmaking funeral speech
2. Ian Thorpe's coming out of the water speech
3. Lindsay Lohan's Robert Altman speech (and she thinks she can play
Stevie Nicks onscreen)
4. Paris Hilton
vomits on stage while trying to sing her own song
5. Oprah episode entitled
"Oprah's Favorite Sandwich in America"
Jason Donovan announcing his 2007 comeback album
7. Tuning into
TVS and other parallel universes
8. Britney Spears' vagina falls out
9. Naomi Campbell hitting her maid on
the head with a mobile phone
10.Celebrity racism ala Mel Gibson and Michael Richards (especially as seen on YouTube)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cave Dwellers

The Wild Boys
installation at Artspace, Sydney
Photo courtesy of the Wild Boys

Artswipe was hanging in a cave last week… a cave at Artspace. No, this was not Plato's cave – Artswipe has already loitered in that dark-hole-in-the-wall and let me tell you, representation has never been so fucked up in its metaphoricality. Yes, that's right, Artswipe's been really getting into ending rather commonplace words with "-ality". Made by a pack of cave dwellers known as the Wild Boys (Trevor Fry as Trix, Richard Gurney as Sonic Yootha and Tim Hilton as La Donna Rama) this installation forms part of the exhibition It's a New Day. Curated by Sally Breen, the exhibition, which explores process-driven art practice, also features Sarah Goffman, Lisa Kelly, Josie Cavallaro, Anne Kay and numerous collaborators.

So I am experiencing this cave, waiting for my own primal moment. There wasn't even any womb or penis envy involved, just a good old fashioned art-cave more glamorous and gimcrack in flavour than Plato could have ever imagined. Having sat on the delicately positioned cushions for awhile, watching a video work about an old man, a seagull and a suitcase – enigmaticArtswipe got a little nostalgic for the old days. You know, back when we all lived in caves, spoke an obscure native tongue, celebrated the loin cloth and waited for the onset of modernity.

It wasn't until I looked at the art-cave's markings that I realised there was no dot painting to be seen. Rather these tribal configurations seemed to derive from Dotti – that girly store franchise that sells dancepartyslutskirts for the tweenywhorebrigade among us. Oh now I get it! This is a gay cave. So this is what it must be like to be inside a rectum, I thought. Those gay boys really know how to break down barriers. When I say "gay cave" I don't mean what the ten-year-olds mean when they say, "That is so gay." I mean gay as in Kylie, Madonna, Cher. The kind of gay that has its own special access to irony; if you don't get the intertextual minutia the door bitch doesn't let you in. And good on her; knowing your popular culture and knowing it well is a rare talent and it's what makes the day gay.

The Wild Boys
It's a New Day opening night, Artspace
Photo courtesy of cactusboy666

Having given up rebirthing because my psychic space hasn't been so great since the last time I tried, I decided to check out what's on the other side of the cave. Otherness is often a trumped up term for the simple fact that some of us don't like anyone but ourselves. But seeing I spent my mid20s getting into community formations and out again, Artswipe decided getting on the other side is exactly the tonic of the hour. So gathering all my strength (and realising the constant move between first and third person makes language very crowded) Artswipe decided to risk entering the white cube. Tunneling through to the other side where otherness comes gay and nubile, Artswipe entered a paradise of amylsoaked whipsmart spatial frenzy.

Some wiccan-lookin drag-chick known as La Donna Rama (Tim Hilton) hulahoops on the big screen (much like she did opening night, as pictured above). A visual alphabet of cheesy disco albums adorn the wall on one side, toy knives and machetes on the other. Silver toy blowup guitars and mallets litter the floor in that casually messy but precise manner (the gays get that balance so right with their hair as well). It's then I find I have fully rebirthed despite myself. Cavorting on the floor – what else do you do when the moment grabs you – I was back in my teenage bedroom with posters on the wall, listening to American Top 40 with Shadoe Stevens on the radio. I am in my own private music video and nobody can take that away from me.