Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes

Do you carefully consider your options before easing your way into a new venture or making big life decisions?

ORDOYOUJUSTRIPTHEFUCKINGSCABOFFANDJUMPRIGHTIN?

I used to to live exclusively in the latter camp and abhor the former. My thinking was, and experience taught me, that if Murphy was going to bite you than he would no matter what so why not just get it over and done with.  A very wise woman once spoke to me about balance, and it has plagued me the rest of my life.  Trying to find it, understand it, hold onto it, achieve it. The illusive bastard, balance.  Somewhere between to two.

Gradually, bit by bit.  Take small steps. Break off manageable chunks. Make it doable. Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timeline.   I used to wake with a coffee and a cigarette. Now I wake with a coffee, a couple pieces of Vegemite toast, a piece of fruit and some exercise.  Strangely enough I feel better for it, sort of, sometimes, maybe, kinda.

Anyway it’s raining out, just the tiniest glimmer of the new day in the sky.  Looks like ill be getting a wet arse this morning.

Have a great one.

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Man Dates, Lamb Cutlets and Unlikely Friendships

As we all do, I bitch about my job. It sucks and I would much rather be occupying my time with other pursuits, as you who have viewed a few of my posts will no doubt know.  That being said, I have to work, just like we all do.  To list a hundred reasons why my job sucks meaty balls would be all too easy.  To find ten reasons why it is actually pretty cool is another thing entirely. I say ten, because there are of course many positive aspects of mine and any one else’s job. I wish to speak about just one.

You can’t judge a book by its cover nor, I believe, can you judge a persons character the first moment you meet them. I concede that sometimes we meet people to whom we feel an instant attraction or repulsion. However it has been my experience that this is seldom the end of the story and I love a good story.

For the past six or seven years I have worked in the construction industry as a steelfixer.  I place and tie the reinforcing steel that is used in nearly all modern building as most modern buildings are made out of reinforced concrete. I am a steely. Apparently in America (I am Australian) they are called iron-workers, which I think is pretty cool. Perhaps the subject of another post could be an exploration of the cultural differences in job titles and the slang or jargon associated.

Working as I do in construction means that I travel about following the work and while I don’t travel interstate or overseas I do travel widely in the region that I live. (The state of Victoria and region of Gippsland) When I lived in the state capital, Melbourne, I could work on four or five different job site at any given time. Spending a few days here or there. This could span a period of a couple of weeks up to a year or more depending on the length of the project.  During this time you meet allot of people, all kinds of folk with all kinds of stories.

I have met teachers who trained for four years at university and who after teaching for a couple of years wanted a job without such a burden of responsibility and ended up tying steel.  Monstrous Cook Islanders who, if rumors are to be believed, once killed a man with a single punch.  The type of bloke you would not wish to meet in a dark alley.  Yet kind and gentle, a gun on the keyboard and drums forming part of the rhythm section in a christian R&B band. Classically trained musicians whose drinking far exceeds any known “safe” levels and yet whose jobs run smooth and true with none of the usual mistakes, hiccups or delays.

Along with the sharing of stories, which  is what makes my job interesting, there are the unlikely friendships that are formed. Working together with people who outside of the context of work there would be no conceivable reason for your paths to cross.  Thrown together day after day these friendships develop through the stories told.

I must run now and get to work, to hear and write the next chapter.

P.S.  Hi Cal!

The Tortoise and Achilles with some of those strange acting smart-stupids: A meta-metaphorical fugue.

 

 

 

 

When I was approached about exhibiting my work in Latrobe Regional Gallery’s revamped sculpture courtyard I was doubly excited. Not only is it a ravishing space but it’s also my hometown gallery.  I had a strong body of work from my 2006 show at the Gippsland Art Gallery and I was busting for the opportunity to revisit and ‘re-tune’ that work.  However, after discussions with the Gallery I decided to change tack.  This new space was deserving of new work, and I was interested in developing this in a more capricious and whimsical manner.

57 Variations – variation 33.

This suite of component based assemblages and spatial interventions was developed from a need for an activity that I can just grab on a sunny day, get away from other projects, gain perspective, and most importantly, play.  It has become a form of three-dimensional or sculptural doodling.   Traditional ‘back-of-the-envelope’ doodling is great to help to clear one’s mind but doesn’t stretch the physical body.  The nature of this new work allows me to challenge both.

57 Variations – variation 33. Shown here spilling out the back door and into the car park.

 

The communication of woe. Are we just going round in circles?

Can we think our way out of the mess we are in? Are we really in such a mess? Is the world really going to hell in a hand basket or are we just better at communicating our woes? I seem to be devoting a significant amount of energy to these questions and so I shall try and put some meat on their bones.

Can we think our way out of the mess we are in?

Yes. This is something I really want to believe in. Even Vanilla Ice is trying to do his bit “If there’s a problem YO! I’ll solve it, check out this hook while my DJ revolves it.” But seriously, we humans a ridiculously smart. Far too smart some may say. Whatever challenges we are faced with somebody somewhere will come up with a solution. Then, not long after this others will expand on it thinking up more and more elegant solutions, simplified processes and on and on spawning new generations of answers. Then some of us will head down those back alleys and side streets of thought processes that I hold so dear and find all manner of related answers and questions for us to solve.

Are we really in such a mess?

I am going to thrust a flag into the top of this rampart and say no. NO. We are not sliding down a slope slippery, nor plunging headlong into the fiery abyss.  I can only remember back within my own lifetime and then not even the entire time but I can listen. Listen to our elders and the voices left by our forebears. Factories closing, investment down, crime up, living costs through the roof, predators lurking on every corner. Watch out! Arm thyself and be staunch, watch thy neighbor with suspicion and contempt.  Has there ever been a time when the shit was not about to hit or was in fact hitting the fan? We are so fearful, we, yes your humble narrator included. Scared of the future, the present, ourselves. It is constantly pumped into us. But there is hope. A very dear friend of mine once told me that he and his partner had chosen not to live in fear, and they don’t. Inspiring. They both are. Not going to succumb to the fear mongering.  I am yet to master that. Although of late my sword has stayed in its scabbard more often than not lately so I am making progress.

The communication of woe.

This idea will need to be fleshed out later, the reo is calling, work beckons. Can somebody continue this post for me?

Shed Work.

Had a big day in the shed yesterday. Spent the day developing and designing some jigs to help speed up the process while still allowing for uniqueness. Worked all morning only to come back after lunch to redo everything.  Allot was learned in the process. I ended up with some good work.  When all that was done I thought it was high time for a play and had a go at a rams head for the first time.  How do you think it came out?

My Dad came down from Melbourne and turned me up this handle on his lathe. Turned (ha!) out great. Has anyone seen wooden handles on fire pokers before?

Look what they’ve done to my post, ma

My local ABC radio station 100.7FM has a segment each week called “Wedding Songs” in which a guest chooses four songs based on the theme of: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Yesterday I caught the tail end of it so I didn’t get the name of the guest, only their final song choice. Which was, “Look what they’ve done to my song,ma” by Melanie Safka.

I have always got one ear open listening for a nice turn of phrase. One of the lines of the song is “I wish I could find a good book to live in”.

Have a listen to the song I think it’s great. What do you think?

Some people call me the space cowboy

Dodecahedron in bronze. Suspended over a mica/shellac composite light-box. One of my all time favorite pieces. 3rd year at uni, circa 2005.

In the background are some early explorations into using gunpowder as a medium. Was both shattered and blown away when I found Cai Guo-Qiang about a month after I began the experiments.  I actually wrote him fan mail, and asked if I could hang out with him if I was ever in New York. His staff wrote back and said I was more than welcome.

Haven’t got there yet. One day.

With a sense of wonder.

Yesterday I wrote (albeit very briefly) about children’s farms. The reason for asking those questions is that I have been thinking allot lately about how I see the world around me.  I have been trying to step outside myself to gain an objective view through my own glasses. Is this even possible? Perhaps through some sort of philosophical process such as:

Transcendental perspectivism is a hybrid philosophy developed by German-born philosopher, Professor Werner Krieglstein. A blending of Friedrich Nietzsche‘s Perspectivism and the utopian ideals of the Transcendentalism movement, Transcendental Perspectivism challenges Nietzsche’s claim that there are no absolute truths while fully accepting his observation that all truth can only be known in the context of one’s own perception. This is accomplished through an appreciation of the emotional relationship between two perceptions (the “perceiver” and the “other”).

Thanks Wikipedia for the above quote.  This transcendental perspectivism may go some way to explaining what I am trying to achieve. Maybe, but I can see a back alley approaching and feel a strong temptation to duck down it. (Stop. Focus. Will yourself to say on target – see earlier post entitled “Just what do you think you are doing young man-don’t you know you’ll go blind?”)

I feel a sense of childlike wonder when I move through space.  A constant state of amazement.  WOW!  Curiosity about how things work, what make them tick, why? WHY?  I want to explore everything and get lost in the process.

Can this state of being be harnessed? Focused and directed? Or will that negate the very thing that makes it so enjoyable.  It’s a constant battle. Should I “go with the flow” or do I need to use some type of rudder?  I found the pine cone in the above photo while I was walking around in the pines near home, I was supposed to be taking the dogs for a quick walk then on to the renovations at home. This quick walk took about 4 hours or half the working day and what did I achieve? Well I now know I great deal about that block of pine trees, all its hidden nooks and crannies, that it has a least two clearings that get full sunlight at ground level (a rare thing in a pine plantation) and that a road drain runs into it and this turns into a small creek when it rains and this in turn has eroded the soil to the point where several trees are in danger of falling down.

Question: Is this useful information? Was it a profitable use of my time?

Answer:

Polished Concrete Trial update

Tried a new technique the other day.  Didn’t work out as I’d hoped but does anything? Still quite happy with the results. Not going be useful for the bench-top project due to the indentation.  This can easily be ground out, but the lines are far to crisp to ruin. We are going to have a heap of cool paving stones by the time this project is done.

 

The trial continues.