"In a wonderland they lie, dreaming as the days go by"

Recently landed: "In a wonderland they lie, dreaming as the days go by", a new article on Marginalia (by Gracia) takes you to Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lauren Cuthbertson in Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, 2011, © ROH (image credit: Johan Persson)

An Original Alice

Recently landed: An Original Alice, Gracia's written response to Alice Adventure's in Wonderland, for Fjord Review

The original Alice was Alice Liddel. She was ten at the time Lewis Carroll amused her with a tale of adventures underground. In history’s collective memory, she is the assured girl staring at the photographer (Carroll) in role of Beggar Girl (then aged 7). A muse in the form of a girl who requested Carroll pen the adventures he had regaled her with. And write them down he did, adding the famous grinning Cheshire Cat and a tea party with a Mad Hatter, March Hare, and sleepy Dormouse for good measure, and thus plumping, amending, growing an absurd amusement into what would become a classic. A classic where those who best adapt are those who accept new laws of logic. Live Flamingos are croquet bats. And those aforementioned Hedgehogs are balls (performed by young children in soft-spiked backpacks, and all adorable). Babies are piglets; mind the mincer. Roses can be (should be, declared the Queen of Hearts) painted red. Violets need not be violet. But, of violet as a hue, let’s dress the other original Alice, Lauren Cuthbertson of the Royal Ballet. A special guest performing two nights during the Melbourne season, Cuthbertson has performed the role of Alice since 2011. She was Christopher Wheeldon’s original Alice, like Liddel was to Carroll, and she was responsible for creating the part. To see her in this role on Wednesday night is an indescribable joy. She inhabits every inch of the role, from extended fingertips to light pointe play. And amid all of the wordplay transformed into theatrical might, she is utterly hypnotic, with Christopher Rodgers-Wilson’s Knave of Hearts beautifully smitten.

With her brown hair bobbed, like Alice Liddel, Cuthbertson has returned Alice to (perhaps) her truest form. She no longer recalls John Tenniel’s original illustrations of a long-haired Alice with an overlarge head. And she has nothing to do with the Disney musical of 1951, blonde and in blue. Cuthbertson’s Alice knows the rules on the other side of the looking glass. The rules one might adhere to ‘aboveground’ do not apply here: take the mushroom. Whether nonsensical or otherwise, she deciphers the rules and applies them, growing accordingly. When you take away the preconceptions of how things should operate, every tick-tock of Alice’s extended leg backwards and forwards is a philosophers’ dream. Cuthbertson’s Alice embraces new reality on its own terms in a playful, off-kilter world, and jumps on a sponge cake (with an inbuilt trampoline). She throws herself with abandon, safe in the knowledge she’ll be caught, and her legs make perfect right angles, mid-air. Rules to live by, above- or underground.

Lauren Cuthbertson and Christopher Rodgers-Wilson in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (image credit: Jeff Busby)

Encased, in case

Just for the fun of it, we've added four new smart phone case and skin designs to our Society6 online store, should you hanker for a green or black cat on your iPhone.

Green Cat
Green Cat, Sleeping
Black Cat (Reflection)
A Whisker of Light (detail)

New cases featuring our collages currently on display as part of Looped, at the State Library Victoria until the 26th of November, 2017

New cases featuring our collages currently on display as part of Looped, at the State Library Victoria until the 26th of November, 2017

"I am Bennelong"

Recently landed: "I am Bennelong", a new article on Marginalia (by Gracia) takes you to Bangarra Dance Theatre's Bennelong

Bangarra Dance Theatre's Bennelong (image credit: Vishal Pandey)

The Spirit of Bennelong

Recently landed: The Spirit of Bennelong, Gracia's written response to Bangarra Dance Theatre’s new work, for Fjord Review

I lie low. I nestle in the soil. Are you a fighter? A collaborator? A victim? A survivor? An idealist? A realist? Some days I feel like I am Bennelong. I am Bennelong.

At first impression, Stephen Page’s new work Bennelong is about the history and legacy of Woollarawarre Bennelong (c. 1764–1813), the man who carries five names (also Baneelon, Wogultrowey, Wolarrabarrey, Boinba, Bundebunda). Before a large suspended ring, evocative of a smoking ceremony (sensitively, economically designed by Jacob Nash), ‘The Birth of Bennelong’ is told. The women’s circle, all loose with its collective weight directed towards the floor, the men’s, by comparison, pointed, angular, and elevated. To know the story: read the bodies. Every surface, a canvas, a means of unbroken communication. With native plants in hand, burning to ward off bad spirits, the hardest terrain is life giving.

A Wangul man of the Eora Nation people, Bennelong lived during the European settlement/invasion in 1788. He was captured and shackled in 1789, along with a Cadigal man, Colebee, on Governor Arthur Phillip’s orders by Lieutenant William Bradley at Manly Cove. Lieutenant Bradly wrote of the men’s abduction as being “by far the most unpleasant service I was ever ordered to Execute…. [The] crying & screaming of the women and children together with the situation of the two miserable wretches in our possession was really a most distressing scene; they were much terrified.” Two randomly selected go-betweens to assist with the assimilation process, Colebee escaped, while Bennelong remained in the colony. In frock coats from the New World, Bennelong would later accompany Governor Phillip to London (1792–95), with Wangul man, Yemmerawanye, and four “lively and healthy” kangaroos [Lloyd’s Evening Post, 1793].

Bangarra Dance Theatre's Bennelong (image credit: Vishal Pandey)

Sticky Institute and State Library Victoria present: Tonerpalooza II zine fair

Sticky Institute’s zine fair Tonerpalooza returns to State Library Victoria with a hundred zine stalls across the weekend. And we'll be there on the Sunday with a stall full of new and existing titles.

Tonerpalooza II is taking place in the Red Rotunda, Cowen Gallery to accompany the exhibition Self-made: Zines and Artist Books (in the Blue Rotunda, Cowen Gallery).

10am–4pm
Saturday 23rd – Sunday 24th of September, 2017
Red Rotunda, Cowen Gallery
State Library Victoria

See you there.

Rachel Ang, Tonerpalooza II poster, 2017

Ballarat Foto Book Fair

As part of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, this weekend, we'll be taking part in the Ballarat Foto Book Fair, sponsored by Momento Pro at the Ballarat Art Gallery.

10am–4pm
Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of September, 2017
Art Gallery of Ballarat
40 Lydiard St North, Ballarat, Victoria

We hope to see you there.

Gracia Haby, Round, circle, dot, 2017, printed zine

Nightdance

Recently landed: Nightdance, Gracia's written response to Melanie Lane’s new work, for Fjord Review

In Edward Hopper’s painting, Night Windows (1928), a woman in her illuminated apartment goes about her private affairs unaware of my gaze. A voyeuristic composition, Hopper has made me a ‘peeping tom’ whether I wish to be or not — to view the work is to peep. Is she, too, postponing the tasks of her tomorrow? The emphasis here is not upon Tennessee Williams’ “kindness of strangers,” but rather their loneliness, a shared loneliness, one shadowed by intimacy. In a pink slip, she is bent over, spot lit against the black of night as I, the viewer, lean nonchalantly against a lamppost. And in Melanie Lane’s new choreographic work, Nightdance, she is Lilian Steiner in flesh-coloured pants rendered golden goddess by lamplight. One thing is certain: night is made of shadows and in said shadows one can lurk. The cover of darkness, the ability to conceal, magic made not by sleight of hand but by the shift change between the sun and the moon. You can watch and not be seen.

From folklore’s werewolves to the Porto Rican coarse-haired Chupacabra (“goat sucker”), come the full moon, come the descent of night, all creatures come out to play and give rise to night terrors and thrills. Ghouls and golems not detectable during the day are made manifest by night. From the margins of medieval manuscripts come men with dogs’ heads, the Cynocephali, to tap at your windowpane. As Steiner, Gregory Lorenzutti, and Lane prowl on all fours across the darkened stage, such are my thoughts. In dog pose, their collective gait is stiff (humans do not have the supple spine of canines, no matter how fit) and otherworldly. Beguiling too. Nightdance reveals this awkward-easy transition into another world distinct from day to be liberating and emboldening. Come the night, you can reinvent yourself. You can release your alter ego. You can strut. You can prowl. You can shimmy. You can seek to entrance. You can even become your own kind of werewolf. Or muscled were-mouse, as Lorenzutti, shows. You can watch and be seen.

Lilian Steiner in Melanie Lane's Nightdance (image credit: Bryony Jackson)

Tonerpalooza II

State Library Victoria and Sticky Institute present Tonerpalooza II, a zine fair to accompany the library's new exhibition, Self-made: Zines and Artist books.

10am–4pm
Saturday 23rd – Sunday 24th of September, 2017
Red Rotunda, Cowen Gallery
State Library Victoria

Louise, in flight, Tonerpalooza, 2014 (image source: SLV 'What's on')

Self-made: Zines and Artist Books, State Library Victoria

Our artists' book, A Deck of Salvaged Relatives, and two accompanying zines, are currently on display as part of Self-made: Zines and Artist Books in the Blue Rotunda, Cowen Gallery at the State Library Victoria, until the 12th of November, 2017.

 Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, A Deck of Salvaged Relatives (detail), 2015, artists' book

Looped opens in the Dome, State Library Victoria blog

Looped opens in the Dome
State Library Victoria blog
"The Dome was already one of the most beautiful rooms in Melbourne and now it’s even more so. Looped: artist books in the round, our new display by artists Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, opened on 4 August in the La Trobe Reading Room.  Gracia and Louise have turned the cabinet cases around the Reading Room’s dais into pages in a story. They’ve created five artist books that, through collage and the written word, tell a complete tale. It’ll be on display in the La Trobe Reading Room until 26 November.  To celebrate the display, Gracia and Louise took over our Instagram account on 4 August to introduce themselves and share their work."

Installing Looped in the La Trobe Reading Room, SLV, early in the morning

Looped, in the La Trobe Reading Room

We have turned State Library Victoria's dais in the heart of the Dome Reading Room into an artists' book. Not a book you hold in your palm, but a book that you walk around. One foot, after the other — left, right, left, right — turning the cabinet pages with your feet.

Treating each cabinet as a page, we are exhibiting five new artists' books upon large-scale collages, weaving a fable beneath glass.

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison
Looped
Presented in partnership with State Library Victoria
Friday 4th of August – Sunday 26th of November, 2017
La Trobe Reading Room
State Library Victoria

Come and see.

Nestled under #GraciaLouiseLooped, you can see how it all came together, from working table to early August's install.
 

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Looped, La Trobe Reading Room, State Library of Victoria, 2017

The Cold War in Australia, and the anarchic world of zines, on The Conversation Hour

Our artists' book, A Deck of Salvaged Relatives, will be exhibited as part of Self-made: Zines and Artist Books in the Blue Rotunda, Cowen Gallery at the State Library Victoria, from the 11th of August through until the 12th of November, 2017. And on Thursday, Louise was on the radio with Monica Syrette talking about zines and artists' books.

Listen to The Cold War in Australia, and the anarchic world of zines, on The Conversation Hour with Jon Faine on ABC Radio Melbourne.

Jon Faine's co-host is Emily Sexton, who is the Head of Programming at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. The Wheeler Centre, Melbourne Festival, and The City of Melbourne have joined forces to present The Festival of Questions at the Melbourne Town Hall on Sunday 15th October, 2017.

Their first guests, Mark Aarons and John Grenville, have collaborated on the new book The Show: Another Side of Santamaria's Movement (Scribe). Mark Aarons is a journalist and author, who was once a member of the Communist Party of Australia. He's a former ABC Radio National reporter, was the founding EP of Background Briefing, and went on to work as an advisor to NSW Premier Bob Carr. Mark's books include The Family File and War Criminals Welcome. John Grenville is an industrial advocate, who was once a member of the National Civic Council (The Movement). He's a former Federal Secretary of the Federated Clerks Union, and was Assistant Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council.

Then they are joined by Monica Syrette and Louise Jennison. Monica is a curator at the State Library of Victoria, and has put together the show Self-made: Zines and Artist Books which features work by Louise. Louise works with Gracia Haby as Gracia & Louise. The exhibition Self-made: zines and artist books is on at the State Library Victoria from 11th August to 12th November, 2017, and will then tour to the Mildura Arts Centre, Murray Bridge Regional Gallery, New England Regional Art Museum, Tweed Regional Gallery, Toowoomba Regional Gallery, and Latrobe Regional Gallery through 2018 and 2019.

Duration: 1hr
Broadcast: Thursday 27th July, 2017, 11:00am

Self-Made zines and artist books, coming soon to the library