Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Laughing Seriously

But the most general articulation of the problem of the relation of women to the law has been set out by Luce Irigaray. In Irigaray's view, women start in an impossible position. "Women are in a position of exclusion... Man's discourse, inasmuch as it sets forth the law... [knows] what there is to know about that exclusion." The exclusion of women is "internal to an order from which nothing escapes: the order of (man's) discourse." it is futile to imagine that, from a pocket within man's discourse -- for instance, from within the legal system -- women can substitute feminine power for masculine power: while seeming to be a reversal, this "phallic 'seizure of power" would leave women still "caught up in the economy of the same." "There is no simple manageable way to leap to the outside of phallogocentrism, nor any possible way to situate oneself there [on the outside], that would result from the simple fact of being a woman." Man's discourse can be taken over only via the path of "mimicry." Unless the woman's utterances are to remain "unintelligible" according to the code in force," they must be "borrowed from a model that leaves [her] sex aside."

All of which does not mean, however, that the law, as part of the discourse of the masculine imaginary, has to remain a closed and forbidden book. On the contrary, once a women has reconnoitered it and demarcated its "outside," she can situate herself with respect to it as a woman, "implicated in it and at the same time exceeding its limits." But her implication in it cannot be taken with unequivocal seriousness. To inhabit the male imaginary seriously is to commit herself to a simple reversal of power, to fall back into "the economy of the same."

To Irigaray, feminism and jurisprudence are thus not incompatible. But a feminist jurisprudence that is not ludic, that in return for access to the law concedes the claim of the law to its dignity and respects that dignity, by that concession gives up its independence. "Isn't laughter the first form of liberation from a secular oppression? Isn't the phallic tantamount to the seriousness of meaning?" "To escape from a pure and simple reversal of the masculine position means... not to forget to laugh."
Quoted from: J.M Coetzee, Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship, (Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press, 1996) pp. 27 - 8.

All quotes and references from: Luce Irigaray, This Sex which is not One, trans. Catherine Porter with Caroline Burke (Ithaca, N.Y. Cornell University Press, 1985).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keeping abreast

Although done sporadically, there are a few things we like to bring to our own, and your, attention (aka FYI):



Sunday, December 19, 2010

...special understandings of commonness...

off-the-cuff translation...

the translation of specialness and commonness... 

the words in the diagrams above here have been extracted from the racing section of a recent pamphlet...

...my poppa would say, 'I've won some money on the gee gees' and then we would go second-hand book shopping...

the etymology of gee harks back to the command 'go!'...it is a word for horse found in the midst of childhood...

...from whence are we translating and to where are we etymologically racing, fixing the odds, financing, persuading, walking, leisurely inviting the wreath to be lowered to miss the neck or coil there magnetically...?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Accurate Fictions of Self: Glimpses of Photographer J.L.Buckland

Coming Through the Rye, c. 1897. (Akaroa Museum)

Jessie Buckland at the window of her Akoroa studio. c.1907. (Macmillan Brown Library)

Jessie Buckland (1878-1939) is notable as one of the few solo and recognised woman photographers of her time in New Zealand. Taught by her aunt Bessie Hocken, she learnt photography alongside her siblings in Dunedin. Buckland continued her practice winning acclaim for her photographs in competitions in Australasia and had a successful professional studio in Akaroa for 30 years after moving there in 1902. From reading one of the few texts about her life and work, Vickie Hearnshaw locates Buckland as a feminist and an individualist within the male-dominated feild of photography. Reading between the lines of this text, I got a sense of closeted conjecture about Buckland's sexual orientation. Buckland never married, but whether she was a lesbian is a purely anecdotal speculation on my behalf. That aside, for me the most compelling aspect of Buckland's work is the strength of the gendered, humorous tongue-in-cheek content visually articulated in some of Buckland's early non-commercial photographic work (perhaps amongst her best) within the context of a male-dominated field at the turn of the century.
Jessie Buckland follows the recognised pattern of early women photographers. She was self taught, working initially in comparative isolation, in association with her family. In her choice of subject matter, she relied almost exclusively on her immediate surroundings and its people: first, the Strath Taieri region in Otago, and after 1902, Banks Peninsula in Canterbury. (p.42)
In 'Coming through the Rye' Jessie, as the man, and Ina Burnett, her friend and neighbour, as the woman, pause momentarily in a field of sun-ripened grain, before the craggy peaks. The activity of 'picture making' as opposed to 'picture taking' was an important part of the whole process, with much time spent in the planning stages of each photograph. An idea had to be thought up, then suitable costumes organised and poses rehearsed with all the camaraderie of an amateur theatrical performance. For the successful outcome, Jessie was reliant on the co-operation of her family for technical assistance. In many cases, after setting up the scene, Jessie would have a 'helper', another member of the family, to release the button, as in 'Coming through the Rye' where Jessie was also a protagonist in the scene. (p.45)
In a carefully composed study of Buckland dating from this period, we glimpse her standing at the open window of her studio, a hand some woman, one who commands our attention. She holds a wooden plate bolder in her right hand as an attribute of her chosen profession. In her dress she reveals her preference was for the less restrictive code adopted by the progressive woman of the period. Older Akaroa residents' most frequent memory of Buckland is of her cycling to and from her borne to the studio, an image consistent with the 'new woman' of the turn of the century. (p.51)

Above excerpts and images from Vickie Hearnshaw 'A Study in Black and White: The Life and Work of Photographer Jessie Buckland'. Women's Studies Journal vol. 13. no. 1 Autumn (1997). Apologies these bad photocopied images sadly don't do her work justice. The Hocken and Akaroa museums hold much of her work but McMillian Brown does have some images for viewing online here.

Rachel, despite the slight difference in age/era from what I can tell, perhaps Buckland is a little like Beatrice? Behind and in-front of the camera at the same time?

In light of Barthes, Hito, Maljkovic, Beatrice, Buckland's collaborative procedures, and our current paradigm of working collaboratively on this project, what does it take to make a picture? create an image? stage a set?

Four Stages of Construction of the Eiffel Tower. Henry Guttmann/Getty.

Clare Noonan, Portrait Card (2009)

Friday, December 10, 2010

An oddly affectionate gesture

We're all wondering what's up with the nipple pinching right? The following provides a  rundown of the provenance of this ol' painting from the curators at the Louvre:

Gabrielle d'Estrées and One of Her Sisters, unattributed, c. 1594, Oil on panel, H. 0.96 m; W. 1.25 m. Louvre, Paris.

"The candid gesture may be an allusion to Gabrielle's pregnancy and the birth in 1594 of César de Vendôme, the illegitimate son of Henry IV.

... Although very much in the style of the second school of Fontainebleau, this work remains anonymous. It shows the influence of Italian Renaissance art in the sensual contours of the bodies of the two young women, but also contains references to Flemish art, such as the intimacy of the background scene.

Italian influence: The trompe-l'oeil technique
The artist has made skillful use of the trompe-l'oeil technique, using an imitative, realistic style for on the sheet in the bath and the two curtains framing the scene. The trompe-l'oeil effect is accentuated by the view of what is taking place in the background room. Richly colored, unsettling in its presentation of two women in their bath, and mysterious in its use of symbol - the ring being shown by Gabrielle d'Estrées, for example - the sensuality of the painting made it a popular success. Sensuous yet marvelously delicate, the contours of the two naked bodies are highlighted by the lighting of the two women from the left and the contrast with the shadowy background.

An oddly affectionate gesture
The models have been identified as Gabrielle d'Estrées (1571-99), the favorite of Henry IV (1553-1610), and one of her sisters: the Duchess de Villars or Madame de Balagny. The oddly affectionate way in which the sister is pinching Gabrielle d'Estrées' right breast has often been taken as symbolizing the latter's pregnancy with the illegitimate child of Henry IV. This interpretation would seem to be confirmed by the scene of the young woman sewing - perhaps preparing a layette for the coming child - in the background. The picture was acquired by the Louvre in 1937".

The Louvre website, retrieved on 8 December 2010

And that ol' term for a picture within a picture:

Las Meninas, DiegoVelázquez. 1656, Oil on canvas, 318 cm × 276 cm (125.2 in × 108.7 in), Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Mise-en-abyme: Literally, "placement en abyme," where "en abîme" itself refers to the habit of representing a small shield inside a larger one in traditional heralds and coats-of-arms. This device is often part of the text's self-reflexivity. By extension, most any "story-within-a-story" situations can be called an example of mise-en-abyme. The device is especially common in modern literature, television and films, but it occasionally appears in art.
The Literary Link, retrieved on 8 December 2010

And while we're at it:

mise en scène |ˌmēz ˌä n ˈsen|
noun [usu. in sing. ]
the arrangement of scenery and stage properties in a play.
• the setting or surroundings of an event or action.
ORIGIN French, literally ‘putting on stage.’

Putting on stage...behind the scenes...to infinity...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

possible rib-on solution

ok Homos, it's starting to heat up and sweat down here in the cold summer of Wellington.

I have some opening celebration light-box adornment specs for you:

At a very reasonable $$$$ of 55 NZD per 300 m rolls (2x rolls reqd) we, All the Cunning Stunts could have our very own GAY SHROUD safety-as tape to enclose our boxes of light!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (spray paint of yellow (+labour) provided - some pink but more is xtra purchase)


other options include: (reqd=50m)
xmas tinsel at $2-4 per m depending on size
feather boa in gawdy colours at $3 m
acrylic lining at $8 m split in four and re-sewed for a 50 m length

SO all approx coming in @ 100+ dollars

Eve is searching for spare safety tape around WCC, but we need to move on this asap as if we go the first option safety shop need to order the tape in, 2 working days delivery

All other ideas WELCOME ASxxxx

Monday, December 6, 2010



emancipation in four dimensions

Female same-sex experience is a powerful lens through which to seek out the parameters of contemporary emancipation.

How might the practice of making art enable individuals and groups to seek out, understand or catalyse contemporary modes of emancipation? Each light box in All the Cunning Stunts is a working through and an instance of this question as art practice.

When my friend [ ] saw light box pair [14/15] she said ‘there’s a safari in Courtenay Place and I’m invited.’

A street-level safari involves hunting, hiding, looking, wearing camouflage, distracting and being distracted by the extraordinary, or something that stands out, or just the strangeness of the ordinary – the things we take for granted, that we want, or need to own, buy, sell, hold, touch, and believe in.

In these works emancipation resides in a resolve to find alternatives to all-purpose philosophies, behaviours, voices, despotic sub-clauses, even colourful and persuasive bureaucracies that substitute their own Modus operandi in place of emancipation, while still working in its name.

In fact, objects and images in these light boxes work as depots in which voices jostle for attention, sometimes in alignment, in altercation, in curiosity and more often than not in rigorous party-mode.

The traces and out-loud splashes of everyday hedonism reveal emancipation to be always up ahead, in effect celebrating without us. We can’t possibly shake emancipation’s hand, congratulate it on a good year or, as advertising would have us believe, bask in its ‘Out now’ status.

All the Cunning Stunts validates a second look at hedonism because the works readily acknowledge that emancipation is not a place, just as Courtenay Place is not strictly a safari, it merely prompts the conditions of life to make an appearance, to dance, to reveal spectacular fallibility and unbelievable nuance.

The 16 light boxes can further be read as one undulating work. All the Cunning Stunts uses the knowledge and practice of four individuals to track what it is like to ride in the wake of an emancipation that can’t be seen, or even accurately imagined, translated or put to trial, but that is a condition for the perception, declaration and artful practice of everyday extraordinary communal, if not common, life.

What can be said of All the Cunning Stunts is that emancipation is very much something that we are able to play ball with through the practice of art.

Thursday, November 25, 2010



skype recap

Hi Liz,

Just a quick recap on what we covered in the rest of the skype sesh - your feedback sought:

Labels: All our names featured on each label

And instead of individual titles for each lightbox work we would just say 'All the cunning stunts' on each label/light box Overall there didn't seem to be any compelling reason, or need from past discussions to title the works individually. We did think titles could emerge from blog posts and yet the blog postings/headings are not exactly collaborative in the same way as the works. It also felt like (unnecessary hard work coming up with titles when we didn't really want them...what do you think?)

The ministry for silly options had the following suggestions before we settled on All the cunning stunts x 16:

Each light box work could be described as:

  • 'A+' 'B-' 'F+' etc
  • A 100 footer, a 20 footer, a 0.5 footer etc
After this we talked through some of the images and possible workings, and Clare's already posted some new reworkings that elaborate on what we thought might work.

Clare and I talked about liaising with DPOD and that in terms of clear lines of communication with them Clare will be main contact for delivery of files, title and label info etc. After this I will be contact, so that you and I can be called on for any easy fixes regarding proofing/colour correction etc, while if it's in the too-hard basket they can contact Clare if they really need to.

Lastly we talked about the media promotional event and that it would be great for it to open out to a wider community, and to have a similar quality/ emancipatory hedonism as a snog mob event, maybe even as simple a gesture as holding hands, a kind of coming out day...and as you can see from my recent post I dallied with the idea of a girlfriend dance like a screensaver day event...

The gates are open and the horse is out...

The Cunning Stunt: 15th December 12 noon or 16th December just prior to launch

Wellington International Girlfriend Dance Like a Screensaver Day!

An event open to the community we have been imagining and prompting in regards to emancipatory hedonism...

Invitation goes out to all our networks!!

1/2 hour of dancing like a screensaver, spot prizes (?), holding hands (!).

hard or soft bright or broken brave or nonchalant out and three times a lady in two's or by fours - anything's possible...

All the cunning stunts...like a medal winning (screensaver, er, I mean) swim team!!!


Here's the latest

(I'll pay special attention to getting the bear more fierce! when I do the next version).
Also put a fade on Tina, so see what you think about that. In the meantime, send me an email or reply via comments with any suggestions.

Hmm, maybe I'll re-look at the angle of the rainbow on the facing lightbox???

And the latest park layout...

And some drafts (not quite finished but you get the idea) of the last boxes on the park facing side, and still to reshoot/substitute hi res images for the stage set images)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


filling a few gaps of the current layout...?

out soon


Artsville: In Bed With Anika Moa
The Artsville series returns with an intimate and frank documentary In Bed With Anika Moa in which the much-loved songwriter bares her soul about going it alone in the music industry, coming out as a lesbian, and her marriage to a female burlesque performer.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A new layout option that is on its way to meet the curators as I type:

I tried this time to pace it a little, thinking about how different proximities of looking and experiencing could happen within the series -- and how these differences could flow between the lightbox images themselves as much as with a viewer. I also thought about when we want to HOLLER and when we want to LAUGH and be SERIOUS and all that.

I hope the meeting is going well. I wish I could be there! Just remember All the Stunning Cu..... ehhem, I mean All the Cunning Stunts.

rainbow bear bar spectrum

ok ok, gettin a little closer to intentions... fluent spectrum yet you think??

Digital Print Logic 101

les pimped out safari-as gay shroud immancipatory hedonismz

Late-comers, missing in action and attractive alternatives welcome - just wanted to get the overview so far, and @#$! this %^&* is HOT

Monday, November 22, 2010

field trip safari camp ott byo...?

Err...I'm not sure...finding it hard to do group bino safari as pair...cease and desist or push through?
the other was looking a little, well, something wasn't right... I've borrowed and mashed a bit from across the aesthetic conversations, it's so difficult to get the off-kilter down...

falling and staging

Another pair, potentially hot for the night-time? I've flipped the dark matter image horizontally and inverted the black text in the middle of the lit stages to white text on black background.

Tonight, I'm going to work on Binocular Safari as I'd really like to have all of you in the jeep and get some hints of blog/digi spice in the right-hand panel - on the one hand I can see that you are already on my safari, and I'm on yours, when I look around, but it's not the same as having you there under the same savanna skies... watch this space.

I'll send through proofed text of BK texts 1 and 2; the Topp Twins text; and this line in case we want to use it (original had spelling mistake -'untill':

'she was never gay until 2 days ago when she came out on the blog' (tick).

I also feel I'm missing the hands in the black curtains by M+C...

and something for the 'odd sock' box: http://www.stuff.co.nz/oddstuff/4373183/Undertakers-offer-coffins-for-gay-market

Sport anyone?

Hey your girls rock! Thanks for all your hard work - this project has been invigorating! Like a swim in the waters of Paekakariki...

The raw sketch that is currently my essay coming tonight too. I hope you'll pull it apart and comment.


Great getting your images gals - they're like exciting gifts each morning!
Thanks for keeping them as layers. Its really helpful.

To clarify my previous posts, I'll be supplying creating the layouts as a combination of image and vector graphics (vector where ever posible to keep file size down and keep graphic elements sharp). Because of this, please also supply the all the image components used to make it in there most original format (eg. the file straight off the camera if possible!). That way I can create a graphic from scratch if I feel like there's a problem with it, knowing I have the most original file. And in some cases, it will be faster. Unfortunately given the time frame, and timezone difference, waiting for the next day for graphics to be supplied will really slow things up.

Also, don't fret about recreating hi-res versions of blocks of text or solid colour geometric graphics - I'll be recreating them as vectors. The draft size version will be fine for me to work from.
eg. Rachel, for your binocular prints, the flat brown colour grass reids of the bino print, if you want them to be sharp, I'll trace/redraw them using vector graphics. To do this I'll just need an between a 72ppi or more image to do this from. If you can supply all the photos in their orignal format, at their highest res. I can create a vector clipping mask to paste the image into in the final layout, so its not necessary to cut them out yourself. I'll try to match the way you have it in the fullsize mockup.
AND as an additional rules of thumb: 1. don't down-size resolution of any of your photographs. If they are printed smaller than the full size of the lightbox, we want to keep that resolution - its all relative to how close you view the image; and 2. avoid re-saving a jpeg or compressed tiff please.

Oh and I'm upping the email size limit - I reckon have a go to see if you can send files up to 10MB via emial. Send separate emails if you need to.

And as you know, I still need the final edits of any text we are using!
And if you want to check how we might set up the final file and what I'll need to create it drop me an email.
Ok good luck, thanks, C.

Match Making

Some of the ones I like. In a particular order:
After thinking otherwise, I actually think that the pink packaging looks great coming from above, and works as a good partner with the TT letter. The text under the dildo pack image is your Beatrice Krill 1 and 2 short texts Rachel. They are working for me with the manner in which the packaging is presented in the image.

Rachel, I could only fit four of the bone image/text panes in the lightbox format! I made a cursory decision to send one home. If you are interested in this format for the works, then let me know if you are OK with four, or I can re-think to get them all in!

One thing that is URGENT I imagine, is to get a selection of images sorted for the meeting on Tuesday. I thought the best idea would be for Clare and I to send you a file each of the images that we have been working on at a good size to print out (ie. single light boxes each A4 page). Would this be the best idea?? Perhaps in doing this we can all make mini-decisions about what our fav versions are of the things we have been working on are?

Rachel and Liz, can you let us know what format etc would be ace for you? I can get mine to you in time for your first thing Tuesday morning. I hope this is OK? I guess the other idea would be for you to pull stuff off the blog -- or even use it in the meeting? Might be a bit clumsy though.