Strand Ephemera 2019

Strand Ephemera 2019
Leela Chakravarti and Edward O’Brien: Coral Bleaching (photo: David Tattersall)

There is always something beautiful, something whimsical and something political in Townsville’s biennial sculpture festival, Strand Ephemera, as I said four years ago, so I try to get to it. That’s increasingly difficult because our winters are stuffed so full of big arts events that locals have to give up either work or sleep to get to everything (visitors at least have the advantage of being here on holiday) but that’s a good problem to have, and we do our best.

Here’s a small gallery, similar to the one I posted in 2017, Continue reading “Strand Ephemera 2019”

Feng Shui in the Australian tropics – does it make any sense?

Wikipedia, normally a reliable first-stop-shop for information, judges Feng Shui harshly, calling it a “pseudo-science” before going on to say, more factually, “The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. … The feng shui practice discusses architecture in terms of “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi [chi]. Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, or stars or the compass.”

Feng shui in the West has a distinctly New Age “spiritual” flavour and seems to have lost touch almost entirely with its origins; but its origins are the folk wisdom of people who observed nature closely for their very survival, and I wondered whether those foundations could be retrieved and applied here in Townsville in the twenty-first century. Continue reading “Feng Shui in the Australian tropics – does it make any sense?”

Festival 2018 Townsville

Festival 2018 seemed to come to us from nowhere and in retrospect we’re still not sure whether that was because we weren’t paying attention or because it was poorly publicised. In any case, it was a week of concerts, dance performances and public art in Queen’s Gardens and Strand Park, complementing the Townsville segment of the Commonwealth Games.

The concerts – some free, some not; some in the Spiegeltent, some in the open air – included The Idea of North (last here in 2006), the Grigoryan brothers, Archie Roach, local youth dance and circus groups, Townsville Guitar Orchestra and many more.

The Queens Gardens site was decorated with hundreds of hanging stars, very pretty at night, but the street art at Strand Park made better photos:

street art festival 2018 townsville Continue reading “Festival 2018 Townsville”

Extreme upcycling

We all know about recycling, re-using stuff which might otherwise have been thrown away (and we all know that there is no “away”, don’t we?) and “upcycling” is the next refinement of the idea. Many of my favourite examples are in the arts and crafts area – Waste to Wonder‘s inner-tube jewellery, for instance – but the National Gallery of Victoria’s Triennial (Dec 2017 – April 2018) had some extreme examples.

upcycling - cabinet
Computer cases become drawers

Dutch design studio Formafantasma exhibited several pieces of furniture created primarily from tech waste, such as the computer-case drawers at left.
Their design and construction was superlative, and I enjoyed their quirky decorative use of small items of tech junk.

The designers’ notes on the project point out that “by 2080 most remaining metals will have been extracted from the ground” and that, therefore, “the era of above-ground mining is upon us.” Continue reading “Extreme upcycling”

PUNQ: Pop-Up NQ Galleries

The week and a half from July 28 to August 6 was so full of good things that Townsville’s arty-musical people could hardly keep up. The Australian Festival of Chamber Music alone was a full-time occupation for some, with three or four events per day. It coincided with the Strand Ephemera exhibition and, as if that wasn’t enough, PUNQ.

Pop Up North Queensland, coordinated by Umbrella Studio, could also have been a full-time occupation, with exhibitions by about 40 artists in half a dozen venues around the CBD (map and list), workshops (puppet making, life drawing, petal couture, printmaking and more) and special events Continue reading “PUNQ: Pop-Up NQ Galleries”