28 December 2009

I am not a New Zealand artist

I am an intertemporal avant-garde artist.

For some reason that I am not at all sure of, I thought it important to clear that up. I am not going to go into a rant about the disgusting spectacle that is the ridiculously bombastic nationalism that makes up such a large part of what for a lack of a better term we are forced to call New Zealand culture. I do not contribute to that culture. I am not a New Zealand artist.

I went out of the house for the first time in about a week today. I've been avoiding the world, speaking of disgusting spectacles.

This is the prologue to Werner Herzog's Conquest of the useless (a title I'd like to steal), taken from the journals he kept during the filming of Fitzcarraldo:
A vision had seized hold of me, like the demented fury of a hound that had sunk its teeth into the leg of a deer carcass and is shaking and tugging at the downed game so frantically that the hunter gives up trying calm him. It was the vision of a large steamship scaling a hill under its own steam, working its way up a steep slope in the jungle, while above this natural landscape, which shatters the weak and the strong with equal ferocity, soars the voice of Caruso, silencing all the pain and all the voices of the primeval forest and drowning out all birdsong. To be more precise: bird cries, for in this setting, left unfinished and abandoned by God in wrath, the birds do not sing; they shriek in pain, and confused trees tangle with each other like battling Titans, from horizon to horizon, in a steaming creation still being formed. Fog-panting and exhausted stand in this unreal world, in unreal misery – and I, like a stanza written in an unkown foreign tongue, am shaken to the core.

In the latest Doctor Who, John Simm turns in another great performance as the Master. He has all the best lines.

19 December 2009

What the righteously dressed man is wearing

This is what I'm wearing to the Evil Ocean CD release party at Mighty Mighty tonight:
Like primordial beasts rising from the algae-blooming seas, Evil Ocean's self-titiled debut album scuttles uncertainly into existence on ill-formed flipper-like feet, rudimentary limbs that will one day take over the world after having been honed by genetic drift, random mutation and natural selection, processes which will eventually prompt this unfortunate creature to rise on its two hind legs and claim, 'I am the son of God!' and 'I think therefore I am!' – and other such expressions of wistful hubris.

17 December 2009

Next year

Today in the mail came confirmation of my acceptance into the PGDip FA programme at Massey next year.

And a challenge

If anyone would like to dispute my title to the avant-garde, they may do so in the comments.

16 December 2009

Nietzsche's criteria for warfare

Tempted though I am to go to war with some bad artist fools, they do not meet Nietzsche's criteria for warfare:
First: I only attack causes that are victorious; I may even wait until they become victorious.

Second: I only attack causes against which I would not find allies, so that I stand alone – so that I compromise myself alone. – I have never taken a step publicly that did not compromise me: that is my criterion for doing right.

Third: I never attack persons; I merely avail myself of the person as of a strong magnifying glass that allows one to make visible a general but creeping and elusive calamity. Thus I attacked David Strauss – more precisely, the success of a senile book against the 'cultured' people of Germany: I caught this culture in the act.

Thus I attacked Wagner – more precisely, the falseness, the half-couth instincts of our 'culture' which mistakes the subtle for the rich, and the late for the great.

Fourth: I only attack things when every personal quarrel is excluded, when any background of bad experiences is lacking. On the contrary, attack is in my case a proof of good will, sometimes even of gratitude.

15 December 2009

Idle thought

I have been considering having a go at writing a novel. It occurred to me that I have a good outline for one in the comic I played around with a couple of years ago, and then left on the shelf. Yes, it is somewhat self-indulgent casting myself as the main character and bossing round famous artists from history, not to mention the plot being silly and far-fetched, but so what?

I am not considering a straight novel, however. I am thinking of a mix between words and pictures, though I'm not entirely sure how that'd work. The idea is to use words for the bits that are best conveyed through words, and pictures likewise. I'm not thinking an illustrated novel, but one where pictures play an integral formal role.

I think that this approach has two main benefits. One is that getting it to work would be an interesting problem, and a good solution would be a good thing in itself. The other, and more important one, is that I find writing anything of any length an intensely boring experience, and so when I get bored with writing I can play around with some pictures.

I am far from sure that this idea will come to anything, but I've been contemplating it for a while now, and have concluded it's worth having a go. I haven't got much further than that though. I haven't even solved the first problem, which is how to go about it.

Do I write on the computer? That's obviously the best way to write, so that you can go back in and rework things without having to cross out lots of stuff and connect it back up with arrows and numbers and things. But then how to integrate the pictures? I sure as hell am not going to draw on the computer. Do I do the pictures separately and include in the text things like '[insert picture A]'? That could get very tricky very quickly.


12 December 2009

How very interesting

So, it's 3-odd in the morning, and you're quite pissed (again), but you've run out of cigarette papers, so what do you do? Your partner, roused from sleep, suggests you go to bed and get some more in the morning, but is that the proper spirit? Is that the right cigarette smoker attitude? No! You say. No, it is not.

So, you take a piece of drawing paper, which could've been a self-portrait or something, and rip off a cigarette sized paper bit, and roll your cigarette with that. Sure, the taste may be a little sullied, your lungs may burn afterwards, but even without adhesive it still smokes like a cigarette. It's not too bad at all.

I might go to bed now. I might get some cigarette papers in the morning.

11 December 2009

Who gives a shit

One thing about being a mentally unstable nihilist who drinks and smokes, well, some people would say too much, but I think not enough, fuck, where am I, oh yeah, drink and smoke a lot, should I have another now, I wonder, no, David, get back to what you were saying, that's right, the benefit of being a cunt is that you don't have to make small talk with other cunts if you don't want to.

In fact, I've alienated a whole lot of people. Some would say, and have done, 'oh no, you've alienated another erstwhile friend', and I say, 'good'.

There's a really good line talking about erstwhile friends, 'When I've smoked a cigarette, I'm not in the habit of keeping the butts.'

No points for guessing who that was.

Right, where was I? Oh, that's right, drinking and smoking some more.

You think this blog's entertaining? Fucking hell.

Ha ha fucking ha.

James Kalm's studio visit with William Powhida

These are from a couple of years ago. There's more recent Powhida here.

I don't like the trompe l'oeil aspect of his work, but I do like his sense of humour.

10 December 2009

Oh dear

I've scorned what some people consider to be the cardinal rule of blogging – never post while drunk – but there may be something in it.

I do want a pet pig and a parrot though.

Time for some drunk sentimality

I like the wind in the trees. They make good patterns. But I miss my cat Yog Sothoth. I miss him quite a lot.

A lot.

Those of you reading this who remember him, remember him. The rest of you can just fuck off.

I want a pet pig and a parrot.

Bloody gin.

09 December 2009

Stealing a self-portrait idea

The evil Barrs are on my case again. Damnit, why didn't I think of a self-portrait as Don Quixote!?! That's a really good idea.

I'm going to do it.

08 December 2009

Romantic Classicist

It was a couple of weeks or so ago now, but I was called both a Romantic and a Classicist by different people within days of each other. I thought that was pretty funny. I also thought that for different people to see what I do in diametrically opposed terms I must me doing something right (as opposed to the many things I do wrong). Admittedly, the person who made the Romantic comment is a fool, but hey.

I've also been told recently that I can churn out the paintings and drawings I do while blindfolded. If only that were true! However, rather than being offended (which was my initial response), I took it as a compliment, and one that ties in with the Classicist comment.

I'm a big fan of the Renaissance virtue sprezzatura. This term was coined by Castiglione in his book of manners for the young man about town, The book of the courtier, where he defines sprezzatura as 'a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it' – that is, appearing to do what you do with effortless ease, regardless of the actual effort that goes into it.

Unfortunately, I don't think I am a Classicist (and if I wanted to claim to have sprezzatura I really shouldn't keep this blog). Yes, as part of my preparation for painting I read both Alberti and Piero (both well worth reading), and I like centralised, unified, and cooly restrained compositions rather than those that are overtly emotional and expressive (which reminds me that Bernard Berenson's The inexpressive in art is also a great little book). But I don't have any time for idealism, especially that fucking stupid Platonic idealism, and that probably counts me out. I mean, come on, a world of ideas or essences or will behind the world of appearances? You've got to be fucking kidding me. It doesn't make any sense.

This is just a long drunken prelude to saying that I'm thinking of doing a self-portrait as a Renaissance man about town. I think it's time for some more self-portraits. Fuck they're fun, and in the final analysis that's all that counts. After I've got the Classicist one sussed, I might do a self-portrait as Romantic. Facing each other perhaps.

Update: Rose just read this post. Her response: 'That's a real narcissistic self-portrait.' No, no! 'Self-portrait as narcissist' is another good idea!

04 December 2009

Stranger in a strange land

So I had an interview for the postgraduate diploma course the other day. I don't know about you, but I find that, if a certain aspect of an event makes an impression on my mind, that aspect overshadows all other aspects of the event in my memory of that event.

I can recall the start of the interview, where I was asked about my impressions of the year just been, and I can recall talking about what I want to do in terms of using pictures to formulate and convey ideas – 'conferring plastic reality on inner states of mind' (which is a nice phrase of Picabia's I quoted in my proposal).

However, that discussion is pretty nebulous in my memory. It is completely overshadowed by the startling statement the head of the school made to me, more than once: 'You would need to conform.'

It was as if he'd suddenly reached across the table and smacked me upside the face with a dead fish. Suddenly the years fell away and it was as if I was in one of those awkward encounters I had fairly regularly with authority figures at boarding school, involving as they did such level-headed and non-hyperbolic assertions as I was the reason our seventh form was the worst in living memory and that if I carried on the way I was going I'd be dead before I was 21.

I think it fair to say that from this point on in the interview I struggled. I couldn't get over the extraordinary suggestion that the most important thing for postgraduate research in fine arts is conformity.

Oh well, apparently I'll know whether they want me in their course next year in a couple of weeks. Someone suggested I should cover my bets and apply for Elam as well. I did consider doing that – and asking one of the people on the Massey interview panel to be my referee for it – but I don't think I will.

In the interests of transparency, I'll include my proposal. There is one small section that is the token ticking of academic boxes that I shouldn't've included (namely, 'specific placement of your research within the current contemporary art context'), but I'm happy with the rest. This is what I thought we'd discuss. I expected their concerns to have been with what arrant nonsense it is:
Towards a common-sense nihilist guide to life: A research proposal


The true artists of our time are philosophers. I have no time for the sterile arguments of the professional philosophers in the universities, politicians whose axes are ground very fine indeed, who only exist to serve the status quo. I speak of the philosophers of living, those who have something to say to those who would be human, truly free and independent, and reject the tyrants both without and within.

Like most small, isolated communities, New Zealand is a conservative and conformist society. There is no nihilistic tradition here, and no art made from a nihilistic perspective – until now.


I propose a research project to investigate ways to formulate and express the common-sense nihilist philosophy through drawing.


Death – The certain prospect of death could sweeten every life with a precious and fragrant drop of levity – and now you strange apothecary souls have turned it into an ill-tasting drop of poison that makes the whole of life repulsive.’ (Nietzsche 2000: 165.)


What is common-sense nihilism and what does it want?
– Nihilism is a philosophical doctrine that holds that nothing is true or real, and that life has no intrinsic meaning, purpose, or value. Common-sense nihilism is my version of this philosophy. While it shares many characteristics with nihilism proper, there are important differences.

Nihilism is often characterised as a pessimistic philosophy. It is also often mischaracterised as being purely destructive, and so dismissed. Common-sense nihilism, on the other hand, holds that a belief in nothing forms the basis for a positive approach to life, as creative.

Is common-sense nihilism viable as philosophy, as art, as life? What are its implications and consequences? Is it possible to be meaningfully free in an advanced technological capitalist state? These are the questions this research proposal seeks to examine.

Many people seem to have a problem with the term common-sense nihilism. The ‘common-sense’ refers in part to the self-evident nature of a belief in nothing – as in Marcel Duchamp’s answer when he was asked what he believed in: ‘Nothing, of course!’ (Mundy 2008: 57.) ‘Common-sense’ also refers to how we approach the world of appearances. Although there are several good reasons for concluding that the world does not really exist, it appears to exist, and we should treat it as such, without losing sight of its meaninglessness and absurdity.

If everything is meaningless, it is we who must invest things with value. Rather than using received values from religion and politics, based as they are on a false representation of things, the common-sense nihilist creates their own values and purposes. However, the common-sense nihilist does not create consoling fantasies. The meaning and purpose they create has as its foundation the recognition that life is absurd and that the world of appearances is hostile and contingent. This can involve an antagonistic attitude to society, especially society’s institutions, and a joyful contempt for everything, including themselves.

Fundamentally, common-sense nihilism is about individual freedom, freedom through art. In this, it shares a defining characteristic of the historical avant-garde, and as such is an intertemporal avant-garde art movement. At our present time, when societal conditions have functional similarities with those of the early twentieth century, any definition of freedom that goes beyond the ability to buy and sell material goods is important.


This proposal takes the form of a manifesto, with more than a nod in the direction of the way Nietzsche structured his books. A manifesto is a programmatic declaration of a plan of action, much like a proposal is. As common-sense nihilism is conceived of as a one-person avant-garde art movement, in the vein of Picabia’s Amorphism and Instanteism and Malevich’s Suprematism, a manifesto form is doubly appropriate.


I propose to examine the questions raised in section 4 using drawing. For the purposes of this proposal, drawing is defined as a form of painting. That is, drawing is lines and colour on a flat surface that physically manifest through representation. Representation is defined as the portrayal (presenting again) of a thing by using something else in place of that thing, such as a visual metaphor or a schematic. As Francis Picabia put it in a different context, ‘Photography has been a great help in forcing art to realise its own nature, which does not consist of becoming a mirror of the external world but in conferring plastic reality on inner states of mind.’ (Borràs 1985: 98.)

Ideas, especially philosophical ideas, are usually presented through words. But are words the best way of conveying ideas? Take Descartes’ formulation ‘Cogito ergo sum’ for example. This tells us nothing about whether we exist, but rather only something about the grammatical construction of sentences. The verb ‘think’, like the verb ‘exist’, requires a subject ‘I’. Descartes’ sentence does not demonstrate that he exists, but that words go together in certain ways. (See Nietzsche 2000: 256–7.)

The physicists tend not to use words to convey the complex ideas with which they deal. They use diagrams, such as the diagrams invented in 1908 by the mathematician Herman Minkowski to represent the properties of spacetime in the special theory of relativity: ‘Whatever exists as a movement, as something happening in a space with a specific number of dimensions (n), can be represented as a form in space which has one additional dimension (n + 1).’ Similarly, the physicist Richard Feynman invented a kind of diagram to represent quantum field theory processes in terms of particle paths. (See Nahin 1993.)

To present common-sense nihilist ideas, this research project will focus on the interaction of image and text. Visual art is rich in associations, associations not just with what is represented but also with how it is represented. Is incorporating text with a picture a way of focusing those associations? Does the text limit the picture, and the picture expand the text? Can image and text be combined to convey abstract thought in all its complexity, to ‘confer plastic reality on inner states of mind’?


Art is the worship of error
– This research project proposes to begin with an in-depth study of the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, and how they have been interpreted and adapted by later thinkers such as Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, Deleuze, and Foucault.

As well as examining contemporary artists who incorporate image and text, such as William Powhida, David Shrigley, and Raymond Pettibon, the project will look at ways pre-literate societies used visual art to present abstract ideas, particularly in early Renaissance Italy and pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. How do such considerations as the relative size and placement of images affect their meaning?

In particular, the project will focus on how Francis Picabia, the living embodiment of Dada nihilism, adapted and implemented Nietzsche’s ideas in his painting, his writing, and his person. ‘An artistic temperament which demanded spontaneous self-expression was matched in [Picabia] with an intellect that could no longer see a “meaning” in this world at all. He was, at one and the same time, a creative artist, compelled to go on creating, and a sceptic, who was aware of the total pointlessness of all this creative activity, and whose Cartesian intellect ruled out all hope’ (Richter 1978: 72).


An important Dada strategy is its use of humour, and especially its mockery of ideals. Humour has no respect for self-important persons or institutions. It deflates those who are puffed up. Perhaps most importantly, it mocks itself. Can humour be used to create a space for freedom to exist? Given our current societal conditions, is the time ripe for a resurgence of a nihilistic avant-garde movement using humour as a weapon?


Nothing matters! – This research project will result in a series of drawings that combine visual metaphors and schematics with slogans and aphorisms to present the foundations of the common-sense nihilist philosophy. This series will build on Where art belongs, which was produced as part of the Adam Art Gallery’s Wall Works exhibition from 8 September to 4 October 2009, and which was the first tentative step towards ‘a common-sense nihilist guide to life’.


Borràs, Maria Lluïsa, Picabia, United States of America: Rizzoli, 1985.

Mundy, Jennifer (ed.), Duchamp Man Ray Picabia, United Kingdom: Tate Publishing, 2008.

Nahin, Paul, Time machines: Time travel in physics, metaphysics, and science fiction, United States of America: American Institute of Physics, 1993.

Nietzsche, Friedrich (trans. and ed. Walter Kaufmann), The basic writings of Nietzsche, United States of America: Modern Library, 2000.

Richter, Hans, Dada: Art and anti-art, United Kingdom: Thames and Hudson, 1965.

01 December 2009

Some results

I have finally got some results from school. There is one missing, but I think I can predict it with a reasonably high level of confidence.

Without further ado, here they are:

Critical Studies IIIB – A-
Critical Studies IIIA – A-
Fine Arts Elective E – A
Contemporary Art Studio III – A

The mark for the one paper that's missing, Introduction to Fine Arts Research Methods and Practices, is made up of three components, two of which are each worth 25% of the final mark and one of which is worth 50%. For the 25%-ers I got an A- for each, and for the 50%-er an A+. Therefore, I predict an A as a final result.

I have yet to get my clammy hands on the written feedback for the studio paper, which seems to have strangely gone missing in action. By themselves, marks tell you very little.

Even without that though, I am going to proclaim this year's experiment a success.

Tomorrow I have an interview for next year's post-graduate diploma course.

26 November 2009

Common sense

When people ask me, as they often do, why I call my intertemporal avant-garde art movement and the philosophy on which it is based common-sense nihilism, I reply that it is because believing in nothing is simple common sense.

Have a look at society for example. Society is a battleground where bogus ideas vie for supremacy. Every society goes through periods of being more or less ridiculous and stupid, during which more or less ridiculous and stupid ideas hold sway. But in every society at all times, most people are ridiculous and stupid, and believe ridiculous and stupid ideas. The particular ridiculous and stupid ideas a person will believe depends on the kind of person they are and the environment they were brought up in. Political ideas, scientific ideas, religious ideas, artistic ideas – all are a sham, nonsense to fool ourselves and others with in the vast inter-related con game we call culture.

The ideas you believe may seem self-evident to you, just feel 'right'. But that only says something about you, not the validity of the ideas. We can't know whether they are in any meaningful sense 'right' or 'true'. Reality is not just unknown, it's unknowable.

Given this situation, where certain kinds of people (say, to use a crude generalisation, 'liberals') believe certain ideas and other kinds of people (say, 'conservatives') believe other ideas and there is no objective standard to measure them against, surely the only sensible thing to do is believe in nothing. It's self-evident really. It just feels 'right'.

Have nothing to do with beliefs, whatever they may be!

19 November 2009


I have just returned from the opening of the Evil Barrs' (alleged) Gallery. I was amazed at what an amateurish effort it was. I mean, come on, I thought they'd've at least the money (if not the sense) to do better to do that, ie, clean up the floor and install proper lighting.

I won't mention the work, cos they took the cop-out option of getting Michael Lett to curate it rather than do it themselves, but they are responsible for the environment.

Piss poor, I reckon. The goddamn Massey students did better than that. That's the comparison. Worse than students.

What were they thinking?

The Fall vs Cilla Black podcast

If you missed Rose's show tonight, you can download the podcast here. The best comment about the contrast involved was something like 'It's like sitting in a comfy armchair with a barbed wire seat.'

I enjoyed it very much.

18 November 2009

The Fall vs Cilla Black

Rose has put up the tracklist for The Fall vs Cilla Black on her blog. It will be broadcast to the world from 9 till 11 tomorrow night. I haven't heard the juxtapositions, and am very much looking forward to it.

When I was putting my selection together, Rose asked if it was representative of The Fall's career. I cheerfully answered no. I've avoided a greatest hits approach. You won't be getting any 'Totally wired' or 'Hip priest' from me.

Instead, I've gone for songs such as 'Hostile' and 'Bombast' (probably the earliest songs there) and 'Systematic abuse'. Mainly cos I like being hostile, bombastic, and systematically abusive myself, and particularly enjoy it when others do it well. And Mr Smith is a master.

Oh, and I've shoved in a Von Sudenfed song as well, on the principle that it's really The Fall masquerading under another name. As Mark E Smith puts it, 'The Fall are me and your grandmother on bongos.'

16 November 2009

Contract editing

Before I quit it to go to art school, my day job was copy-editing. I am in need of some gainful employment over the summer months, and so am on the look out for contract editing work. If you know of any, I'd be very grateful if you could send me an email. The address is on the profile page for this blog.

Speaking of this blog, if all you know of me is a passing acquaintance with it, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this were cause for some reluctance. However, I am confident that none of my previous employers have had any concerns with either my professionalism or my competence.

14 November 2009

Art New Zealand on the Adam Art Gallery's Wall Works

There's a feature by Jenny Rouse in the latest Art New Zealand on the Adam Art Gallery's Wall Works show.

It has this to say about me:
Meanwhile, David Cauchi must have been privy to inside information (that the redoubtable Jenny Harper was responsible for the belated addition of lavatory facilities to the architectural plans for the gallery) when he named his site 'The Jenny Harper toilets'. Here, the self-ordained 'intertemporal avant-garde artist' produced a series of witty 'one-liners' in acrylic pen, collectively entitled Where art belongs. Contributing to a global 'series of separate spacetime events joined intertemporally by an avant-garde thought virus', and alluding none too subtly to academic scrutiny of the grand narratives underpinning western epistemology – art history included – Cauchi's witty irreverence must surely have extended many a practical visit to the site. Pencils left in situ allowed for the work's enhancement by more or less comprehending visitors ('I shat on your resentment'), producing an infinitely more interesting bathroom suite than any other on campus.

I think the biggest failure of this work was the way the drawings were overshadowed by the text. They don't even get a mention here.

13 November 2009

Fall sound!

After being subjected to repeated hassling, whining, and sulking over an extended period of months, Rose has reluctantly agreed to collaborate with me on her radio show. I had, fool that I am, admitted early on in the piece that I had no intention of playing anything other than The Fall, they being easily the best band in the world, and this proved a reasonably major stumbling block. Rose raised the not unreasonable question of what the hell she'd play to go with that. The Fall are, after all, in a league of their own.

However, after some extended consideration prompted by weary resignation, she hit upon a solution. Considering my strange obsession with the work of Mr Mark E Smith, she considered strange obsessions of her own.

And so we have, apparently next week even, The Fall vs Cilla Black.

I suppose this means I'm going to have to select some songs and arrange them in a suitable order – as they say, put my money, that mere pittance, where my big mouth is. Luckily I have the 30-odd-year career of a genius as material to work with. I suspect my biggest problem will be boiling it down to an hour.

Feel free to suggest must-have inclusions. Feel even freer to send me rarities I might not have.

12 November 2009

Oh yeah

Last night, before Rose's radio show, I went to this. I drank some nice Tuatara beer, chatted with some people, and looked at some art. It's worth a look in. Even the space itself is worth checking out. My favourite work, somewhat surprisingly, wasn't the paintings by Douglas Stitchbury, though they came a close second, but Shane McGrath's sculpture.

For a while now, when wandering past the Massey workshop, I've been intrigued by what's been happening to the old boat there. I'm a sucker for boats. Last night, all was revealed. There it was, upside down, with wings on either side and a large rocket nozzle sticking out from its arse end, sitting on a track that rose up like a launchpad. If only there's been a fuse for my itchy lighter. I wanted to see what happened when it met the large concrete pillar in the middle of the track. Boats, rockets, inbuilt failure. Great stuff.

Tonight I'm off to a presentation on their research projects by 'distinguished members of the Massey University School of Fine Arts faculty'. Maddie Leach, Simon Morris, Martin Patrick, and Ann Shelton will be presenting, and David Cross will do the introducing and moderating. It's at 6 this evening in the old museum building, theatrette 10A02. There will be questions and a discussion after the presentation.

Hmm, shall I heckle, I wonder?

11 November 2009

Gits and brilliance

Well, the last post got linked to the public address website by some arsehole (see the comments). That engendered a slightly amusing discussion, but I foolishly tried to engage with the cunts. The amusement paled. I asked for arguments. I asked for examples. Did I get them? Did I fuck.

I suppose it's just me that finds that site and its culture creepy?

I tried to be honest, up front, and non-contentious. I wanted a proper debate. Let's just say it was not my finest hour. That'll learn me.

And so one of the labels for this post refers to me, and the other to them. As I said in the comments to the previous post, I should have told the po-faced motherfuckers to fuck off. Ye gods, not my finest hour at all.

On the plus side, we've just had a great radio show from Rose and Michael (check out the amazing Futurist pic!). Michael, who I insisted on calling Malcolm through the evening (I'm hard work at the best of times), included a remix of a Popol Vuh track from the Aguirre soundtrack, so we watched that as visuals.

It's the best film ever. I remember when I first saw it, with Mr Stephen Rowe, at the Dunedin Film Society in 1993 or thereabouts. We jumped up and down in our seats in amazement. We were gobsmacked. Fuck, it's good.

A madman taking on the world? What's not to love?
I am the great traitor. There must be no other. Anyone who even thinks about deserting this mission will be cut up into 198 pieces. Those pieces will be stamped on until what is left can be used only to paint walls. Whoever takes one grain of corn or one drop of water more than his ration will be locked up for 155 years. If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees, then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the wrath of god. The earth I pass will see me and tremble.

However, even that is not the best line. The best line has to be the African slave, seeing a ship in the treetops: 'That is no ship. That is no forest. [Arrow hits him] That is no arrow. We just imagine the arrows because we fear them.'

If you haven't, you have to see it. Quotes do not do it justice. The river! The river!

10 November 2009


This thing about Witi Ihimaera ripping people off is pretty funny. Apparently, he took some things other people had done, tweaked them a little, and placed them, unattributed, in his own work.

In art, we do this all the time.* It's called appropriation. Some people think it's a postmodernist thing, but it's not. It has a long and illustrious history. I reckon the cave painters busily ripped each other off. However, the examples I'm going to use are a bit more recent than that – from the fifteenth century.

In fifteenth century Italy, it was not uncommon (to say the least) for different painters to paint the same subject. Nor was it uncommon for a painter to take some figures or a compositional device another painter had used when treating the same subject, tweak it, and use it in their own work.

Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci were contemporaries. They trained in the same bottega under Verocchio. They knew each other's work well. In 1475, Botticelli painted this version of the Adoration of the Magi:

Note the pyramidal composition of the figures, the row of receding ruins in the top left, and the standing figure in the bottom right (a self-portrait). Compare it with Leonardo's version from 1480:

The standing figure at the bottom right is also a self-portrait. Now, Leonardo's got pretty fancy with the figures, using a half circle as well as a pyramid for a much more integrated composition. And ruins in the background were pretty standard in Adorations, to signify the old pagan order of things that was swept away by the coming of Christianity.

However, I don't think I'm stretching a long bow to say that Leonardo's painting is a direct response to Botticelli's. They were pretty competitive. Leonardo is saying, 'I see what you've done, and I've done it better.'

In about 1500, Botticelli painted this version:

Note the figure kneeling in front of the virgin and child. Mentally reverse it, then compare it with the figure kneeling in front of the virgin and child in Leonardo's painting. (Click on the pic to make it bigger if necessary.) They are the same. Note as well the figure in red with a black hat that looks a lot like Leonardo (though it is also a general type). The stupid amount of figures could also be part of it: 'Outdo this!'

So I reckon Witi should tell those po-faced motherfuckers to fuck themselves. Take a leaf out of Hone Harawira's book!

*An interesting and revealing case is Picabia. When he does it with his paintings, the art historians call him a proto-postmodernist. When he does it in his writings, he gets called a plagiarist.

I should also point out that I only rip off the dead. They're my proper contemporaries anyway.

09 November 2009

Cauchi contra mundum

I reckon this'd be a good title for a book – a little book, unassuming, photocopied perhaps. It'll mostly be drawings, interspersed with bits of text. Bits and pieces.

I need a summer project.

04 November 2009


I haven't been sleeping very well recently, so last night I took one of Rose's sleeping pills. After an hour and a half, I took another. I then spent the rest of the night in a strange state in between asleep and awake, sometimes more asleep than awake and other times the opposite, but never fully one or t'other.

And today is quite strange.


02 November 2009

Some more Ferdydurke quotes

From near the beginning (and don't you believe things are any different now than when it was written):
I envied those literary men, exalted and predestined to higher things from the cradle, whose Soul – its backside prodded with an awl – strove continually upward; those writers in their Soul took themselves seriously, and who, with unborn ease and in great creative torment, dealt with matters and so high and mighty and forever hallowed that God himself would have seemed to them commonplace and less than noble. Why isn't everyone called to write yet another novel about love or to tear apart, in pain and suffering, some social ill or other, and become the Champion of the oppressed? Or to write poems, and become the Poet who believes in the 'glorious future of poetry'? To be talented, and with one's spirit to lift and nourish the wide masses of untalented spirits? Yet what pleasure is there in agonising and tormenting oneself, in burning on the altar of self-sacrifice, be it in the realm of the high and sublime and – the mature? To live vicariously through thousand-year-old cultural institutions as securely as if one were setting aside a little sum in a savings account – this could be one's own, as well as other people's, fulfillment. But I was, alas, a juvenile, and juvenility was my only cultural institution.

From sort of near the middle:
It's also possible, however, that my work was conceived out of torment from associating with an actual person, for example, with the distinctly repulsive Mr XY, or with Mr Z, whom I hold in utmost contempt, and NN, who bores and wearies me – oh, the terrible torment of associating with them! And – it's possible – that the motive and goal of writing this book is solely to show these gentlemen my disdain for them for them, to agitate, irritate, and enrage them, and to get them out of my way. In this case the motive would seem to be clear-cut, personal, and aimed at the individual.
But perhaps my work came from imitating masterworks?
From inability to create a normal work?
From dreams?
From complexes?
Or perhaps from memories of my childhood?
and perhaps because I began writing and so it happened to come out
From anxiety disorder?
From obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Perhaps from a bubble?
From a pinch of something?
From a part?
From a particle?
From thin air?
One would also need to establish, proclaim, and define whether the work is a novel, a memoir, a parody, a lampoon, a variation on a fantasy, or a study of some kind – and what prevails in it: humour, irony, or some deeper meaning, sarcasm, persiflage, invective, rubbish, pur nonsens, pur claptrapism, and more, whether it's simply a pose, pretence, make-believe, bunkum, artificiality, paucity of wit, anemia of emotion, atrophy of imagination, subversion of order, and ruination of the mind.

From the very end (and equally applicable to those who read through this post):
It's the end, what a gas,
And who's read it is an ass!


I've just picked it up again after a week-long break, but I've been enjoying Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz. The face-pulling duel that ends the first section is not only very funny but also riveting, edge of your seat stuff. It's followed by an interlude consisting of an old short story of his, which he introduces with an 18-page rant. I'd like to quote all of it, cos it's pretty good, but will settle for this gem:
These are then the basic fundamental and philosophical reasons that have induced me to build a work on a foundation of individual parts – treating the work as a particle of the work, man as a union of parts, and mankind as a composite of parts and pieces. But if anyone were to complain: this part-concept is not – if truth be known – a concept at all but sheer nonsense, a mockery and leg-pulling, and that I'm trying, instead of complying with strict rules and canons of art, to evade them by mocking them – I would reply: yes, yes indeed, these and none other are my intentions. And – so help me God – I don't hesitate to admit it – I don't want to have anything to do with your Art, gentlemen, which I can't stand, just as I don't want anything to do with you ... because I can't stand you, with your ideas, your artistic posturing, and all that artistic little world of yours.

31 October 2009

Quote of the day

Michael Jackson renewed my faith in art.

Liz Maw

29 October 2009

Life! Life is life!

22 October 2009

Some photos from Rose's radio show last night

Here's me setting up the Doctor Who visuals to accompany Rose's awesome sounds:

Here's Rose (note the Codex Borgia used as a mouse pad):

Here's Conrad looking splendid in Rose's smoking jacket:

Here's me being a drunken git (as usual):

Here's Laika, the big-nosed dog:

I've stolen these pics from Conrad.

19 October 2009

Something for the academics to ponder

In my case, every kind of reading belongs among my recreations – hence among the things that liberate me from myself, that allow me to walk about in strange sciences and souls – that I no longer take seriously. Reading is precisely my recreation from my own seriousness. During periods when I am hard at work you will not find me surrounded by books: I'd beware of letting anyone near me talk, much less think. And that is what reading would mean.

Actually, the implications of that are something for me to ponder. In the meantime, though, I'll carry on looking at Picabia pics. After all, your work is something that should never be taken seriously.

Final hand-in

I wasn't sure what to do about the final hand-in, seeing as the Adam work's been painted over and all. I was inclined to put up a note saying check out the pictures on my blog, but it was suggested to me that I stick up a selection of drawings. That seemed like a good idea, so I did. I had three selection criteria:
  1. they don't have anything to do with the Adam work
  2. they are drawings I particularly like
  3. they work together well.

And this is the result:

Behold the man

I've just started reading Nietzsche's Ecce homo, which is a kind of philosophical autobiography. The title's taken from the words Pilate spoke to Christ: 'Behold the man!' I've read extracts from it before, and even ripped them off in an artist statement, but not the whole thing.

The chapter titles are a good indication of the treat I have in store. They are 'Why I am so wise', 'Why I am so clever', 'Why I write such good books', and 'Why I am a destiny'.

Here's the first section of the preface:
Seeing that before long I must confront humanity with the most difficult demand ever made of it, it seems indispensable to me to say who I am. Really, one should know it, for I have not left myself 'without testimony'. But the disproportion between the greatness of my task and the smallness of my contemporaries has found expression in the fact that one has never heard nor even seen me. I live on my own credit; it is perhaps a mere prejudice that I live.

I only need to speak with one of the 'educated' who come to the Upper Engadine for the summer, and I am convinced that I do not live.

Under these circumstances I have a duty against which my habits, even more the pride of my instincts, revolt at bottom – namely, to say: Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else.

The irony is that he has been constantly mistaken for someone else, from proto-fascist to proto-postmodernist. As the translator, Walter Kaufmann, says, 'we should gladly trade the whole vast literature on Nietzsche for this one small book'.

18 October 2009

17 October 2009

Jesus fucking hell

I went to an opening at 6 o'clock last night and got home at 6 o'clock this morning. In the intervening time I managed to bang up my face, not, as you might expect, by getting hit for being a mouthy cunt but because my motor skills were no longer up to standing upright and walking. Rose said, 'That's the second-most drunk I've ever seen you.'

I had planned on doing things today, but might just lie on the couch and groan a lot instead. I am such a dick.

16 October 2009

Henry Flynt

119 Bank St., La Monte Young Apt., 2 of 3 from Henry Flynt in New York on Vimeo.

As it says, this is number two of a three-part video, which itself is part of a larger series of Flynt videos. I've singled this one out here because it's got so many good lines in it, but encourage you to check the others out too.

The anti-ideology

The mention of 'articulating an ideology' in the previous post's quote reminded me of a conversation I had with one of the tutors the other day. I was asked whether I'm committed to common-sense nihilism or whether it was merely 'neo-dada posturing' (which is an extremely nice phrase). I answered yes to both and quoted myself: 'I am serious about not being serious.'

I was also asked whether I wanted converts, and the answer to that is no. Common-sense nihilism is antithetical to the idea of converts or followers. It's all about constructing your own meaning and purpose for yourself. Nietzsche put it quite nicely:
Lured by my style and tendency,
you follow and come after me?
Follow your own self faithfully–

Common-sense nihilism is mine. You cannot, by definition, convert to it. Or, rather, you would do so by coming up with your own rival philosophy. As Picabia put it, 'Who is with me is against me.'

Common-sense nihilism is not an ideology. It is an anti-ideology.

Dave Hickey on Francis Picabia

During his lifetime, living in the midst of a high modernist culture that worshipped eccentricity, visual adventure, restless innovation, and willful autonomy, Picabia and his work were routinely dismissed and distrusted for exhibiting a surfeit of just these estimable values. ...

More engaged with making works of art than with constructing an oeuvre or articulating an ideology, Picabia wore out styles like a baby wears out shoes. Impressionism, fauvism, orphism, dada, surrealism, transparent palimpsests, pop appropriations and plastic abstractions all flickered by like subway stops, and there was never a moment in his long, unquiet career during which we might have caught up with him, during which his endeavour might have consolidated itself in the view of critics or jelled in the public's mind. ...

So Picabia would understand, I think, and probably appreciate the peculiar status of his reputation in the current histories of twentieth century art, where he is regarded as more legendary then legitimate. He would certainly take some pride in the extent to which his works have resisted explanation and consequently remained afloat and alive, because in the years since his death, right or wrong, prophetic or inauthentic, Picabia has become the resonant, multi-valent wild card in the hand of painters that twentieth century modernism has dealt us. His work constitutes the secret vault to which contemporary practitioners retreat for sustenance.

14 October 2009

Changes and continuities

The academic year is rapidly drawing to a close. Several people have asked me recently whether I think my practice has changed by going to Massey. I think the short answer has to be yes.

The biggest change has been a change in focus from painting to drawing. I've abandoned colour. I've been finding drawing much more immediate than painting, much more focused. It doesn't have the distractions of paintings, such as paint treatment – the idea conveyed and the way it's conveyed are much closer together.

And then there's the Adam show. There are several aspects to that work that are a change to my practice. Scaling up is one – it's easily the biggest work I've done. Working directly on the walls is another, and related to that is having to deal explicitly with both the physical and institutional context of the work. It's opened up several avenues to work through.

Then there's the getting heavily into Nietzsche, though I suspect I would've done that anyway. The time is right.

I also think I've covered more ground than I would've otherwise. Being able to focus on making art full time has been very important. Even a part-time day job is quite an imposition.

Another benefit has been having to defend my approach against a variety of people coming at me from different angles. I haven't suddenly become a contemporary-focused socially engaged video artist or anything (perish the thought!), but I have had to question several assumptions, which is always a useful exercise, and which has quite directly led to the focus on drawing.

All in all, I reckon this going to art school lark has been a very good move. Hopefully, they'll have me back next year!

And, yes, I will let you know the results of my assessment as soon as I know.

12 October 2009

Old drunk

If I had my way, I wouldn't let anyone go to art school if they were under the age of 25, perhaps 30. Yeah, yeah, I'm sounding like an old cunty mature student, but seriously there is something in what I say. I look around my class and I am not impressed. None of them have much of a clue what they're doing. There are maybe one or two who have potential, but the rest are a waste of space. The only reason they've got so far is that the institution needs the money. Ye gods, you should see the dreadful shit they come up with, and the dreadful justifications that accompany them.

Yes, you little shits, you know what I'm talking about. Like most things, it's fucking obvious.


I got the best compliment ever last week: 'Hanging out with you is like hanging out with Doctor Who.'

10 October 2009

A possible introduction

It seems to me that the true artists of our time are philosophers. I have no time for the sterile arguments of the professional philosophers in the universities, politicians whose axes are ground very fine indeed, who only exist to serve the status quo. I speak of the philosophers of living, those who have something to say to those who would be human, truly free and independent, and reject the tyrants both without and within.

09 October 2009

Art in the media

We all know how badly art is treated by the media: all braying donkeys and piles of rubbish and my five year old could do that. However, it didn't always be that way. About a hundred years ago, the media had a lively interest in contemporary art.

During the Armory Show in 1913, Francis Picabia was the representative of the French avant-garde in New York. One art historian has counted more than a thousand references to Picabia in the local media during the Armory Show and Picabia's one-man show at the 291 Gallery, which opened two days after the Armory finished.

The Armory Show opened on 17 February 1913. The day before it opened, the New York Times devoted a page to Picabia under the headline 'PICABIA, ART REBEL, HERE TO PRESENT THE NEW MOVEMENT'.

References in the press to Picabia include, but are not limited to, 21 January, New York Herald; 22 January, City New York American; 26 January, New York American; 2 February, Minneapolis Morning Tribune; 9 February, Nebraska Journal, Minneapolis Morning Tribune, World Magazine; 16 February, New York Times; 17 February, The World State; 20 February, New York American, New York Globe; 23 February, Kansas City, Chicago Tribune, New York Press, The Sun, Philadelphia Record; 1 March, Newark News; 3 March, The Sun; 8 March, Chicago Morning Post, New York Evening World; 9 March, New York Tribune; 14 March, City Tribune; 16 March, New Orleans Times, Philadelphia Inquirer; 17 March, Chicago Examiner, Hartford Daily Courant, New Bedford Mercury, Philadelphia Press; 18 March, New York Herald, New York Times, The Sun; 19 March, Chicago Examiner; 20 March, New York Edition, New York Mail; 22 March, Brooklyn Eagle, New York Post; 23 March, The World; 24 March, New York American; 25 March, Chicago Morning America, Chicago Tribune; 26 March, Nashville Democrat; 28 March, Chicago, Chicago Examiner, New York American; 30 March Atlantic Republican; 6 April, Minneapolis Tribune; 10 April, Brooklyn Eagle; 18 April, Brooklyn New York Times.

In the feature articles, Picabia sets out clearly his philosophy of totally abstract painting: Amorphism. 'Photography has been a great help in forcing art to realise its own nature, which does not consist in becoming a mirror to the external world but in conferring plastic reality on inner states of mind.'

08 October 2009

And Nietzsche again

Let the most heroic souls question themselves about this. Every smallest step on the field of free thought and the individually formed life has always been fought for with spiritual and physical torments: not only moving forward, no, above all moving, motion, change have required innumerable martyrs, all through the long path-seeking and basic millennia of which, to be sure, people don't think when they talk, as usual, about 'world history', that ridiculously small segment of human existence. And even in this so-called world history, which is at bottom much ado about the latest news, there is no really more important theme than the primordial tragedy of the martyrs who wanted to move the swamps.

Nothing has been bought more dearly than that little bit of human reason and of a feeling of freedom that now constitutes our pride. But it is this very pride that now makes it almost impossible for us to feel with those vast swathes of time characterised by the 'morality of the mores' which antedate 'world history' as the real and decisive main history that determined the character of humanity – when suffering was a virtue, cruelty a virtue, dissimulation a virtue, revenge a virtue, the slander of reason a virtue, while well-being was a danger, the craving for knowledge a danger, peace a danger, pity a danger, being pitied ignominy, work ignominy, madness divine, change immoral and pregnant with disaster.

You think all of this has changed? You who think you know man, learn to know yourselves better!

Nietzsche against contemporaries

May the living forgive me that occasionally they appear to me as shades, so pale and sombre, so restless and, alas, so lusting for life – while those men then seem so alive to me as if now, after death, they could never again grow weary of life. But eternal aliveness is what counts: what matters ‘eternal life’ or any life!

Something in Wellington to go to

Which reminds me, if you're in Auckland, do go and see Matt Hunt at the Ivan Anthony Gallery.

06 October 2009

Where art belongs, the video

Rose and I made a short video of Where art belongs on Saturday. We did it in one take without any preparation, so you'll just have to put up with the long pauses and constant ums interspersed between me blithering about something other than what the camera is pointing at.

And that's it! The show's over, and it'll soon be painted out. That is a very pleasing thought. It did get somewhat obliterated on Saturday night during Shoji Hano's awesome performance up there. I snapped Tao Wells just after he'd covered every available surface in the green loo with big loopy scrawls, and even signed it, the narcissistic bastard. I thought that was extremely funny – and that it was a good thing we'd already shot the vid.

For Rose

Here are links to CoBrA artist Karel Appel's Musique barbare from 1963: 'Paysage electronique', 'Poeme barbare', and 'Le cavalier blanc'. Appel was also involved with the situationists.

Also check out the Continuo blog.

01 October 2009

Situationist presentation

I did a presentation on the situationist idea of the spectacle at school today. I printed out a nice situationist comic for them to look at. I wrote 'Never work' on the whiteboard in large capital letters. I faced away from them, dropped my pants, and read my presentation. I even managed to get the word 'cuntish' into it.

We had quite a good discussion afterward.

30 September 2009

Just for something completely different – a Nietzsche quote

To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities – I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not – that one endures.

27 September 2009

Time for a Nietzsche video

25 September 2009


As you may have gathered, I have a fondness for the word 'idiot'. I like the connotations derived from its etymology. According to Wikipedia, 'Idiot is a word derived from the Greek ἰδιώτης, idiōtēs ("person lacking professional skill," "a private citizen," "individual"), from ἴδιος, idios ("private," "one's own").'

In the same vein, Philip K Dick wrote some interesting things about the idiocosmos, a private world, something that features in many of his books.

Quote of the day

I was feeling a bit down the other day, so I read Jean-Paul Sartre's Age of reason to cheer myself up. It's set over a few days in the summer of 1938, and follows Mathieu, a philosophy teacher, who is trying to come up with 4000 francs to pay for an abortion for his mistress, so he doesn't have to marry her and give up his freedom. It's very funny, especially in the scene where he hits his brother up for the cash.

However, the best line has to be this gorgeous quote:

'I'm sitting in my chair, believing in nothing.'

24 September 2009

Some process pics

NB If you click on the label Adam Art Gallery, you'll be able to see some other pics of the loos and read some blithering.

Werner Herzog's Rogue Film School

What a good idea!

I should've made a DVD this year. Damnit.

Oh yes

John Hurrell has reviewed the Adam show.

23 September 2009

Quote of the day

Pluralism is the properly philosophical way of thinking, the one invented by philosophy; the only guarantor of freedom in the concrete spirit, the only principle of a violent atheism. The Gods are dead but they have died of laughing, on hearing one God claim to be the only one, 'Is not precisely this godliness, that there are gods but no God?'

– Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and philosophy

22 September 2009


Yeah, the party at the Adam on Saturday was fun. I didn't quite manage to drink enough to pass out in the toilets, but I had a good go. I was hampered by the hangover from our flatmate's birthday do the night before.

I wore my suit to the party. Jeena made a very good case for ripping the 'most difficult' patch off the sleeve and giving it to her, the justice of which I could not deny. But I resisted. I was a little disappointed with the quality of the responses on the toilet wall. Writing 'I agree' next to 'David Cauchi is a crap artist' is a pretty pathetic effort, I reckon. I thought at least one person would get a good hit in. Pah!

Since Saturday, I've been trying to get over the Stockholm syndrome of the last couple of weeks and focus on what's coming up. I've got four writing projects to do in as many weeks. Three of them are for school, but one is for something else, and I'd like that one in particular to be okay.

I might put some photos I took of the other people installing their works up soon, but in the meantime there are some on the Adam website.

18 September 2009

REMINDER: Party of the decade! Tomorrow night!

The Adam Art Gallery's 10th birthday party
Doors open 8pm
Performances by Bek Coogan, Torben Tilly, and Double Ya D
Bar closes 11pm
After Party: The Watusi, 6 Edward Street
Door charge $5 (proceeds going to support the artists)

Reflecting on the toilet

It was the last day of the install yesterday. For some reason, I am exhausted. I don't really have any justification for it, especially compared with Jeena! She has put in a massive effort. As an example of how tired I am, we went out for a celebratory drink last night, and I was the first to leave! I even turned down a beer!!! Maybe my brain's been taken over by an alien parasite.

I'm really happy with my work, and I think the show as a whole is looking pretty good. I've really enjoyed the whole experience. I was a little apprehensive about it, what with doing something for the first time in public and all. I was a little unsure what I'd do if it had turned into a disaster. However, it all went very smoothly.

I started out pencilling in things first, just in case, but soon abandoned that and attacked the walls directly with my pen. The green toilet is mostly text, and I'm pretty sure I didn't make any spelling mistakes or skip any words. There is only one small smudge. There are a couple of places where I'd've liked to've shifted the placement slightly, but I'm not worried about that. They're minor.

Yesterday was funny. Faced with having to finish it, I got all nervous again and started second guessing myself. But in the end, after a bit of discussion, I just stopped, and a good move that was. I would've been the second to finish, but when we were having pizza and beer in the gallery in the evening someone made a comment that turned into the perfect finishing touch, so I was last.

Easily the best thing about the whole experience has been how social it's been. Someone called it art camp. We've all got on very well. No prima donnas and no standoffishness. If any of you are reading this, remember we've got a spare room if you need somewhere in Wellington to stay.

15 September 2009

A crap replacement

Fuck off.

14 September 2009

Crit week

It's crit week at Massey this week. They've been making a big deal of this, and saying it should be our top priority. They've even got people from outside Massey to come along and take part.

I thought I'd jacked up taking people up to the Adam for mine, but it fell through at the last moment for not very convincing reasons. I'm not very happy about it at all. Instead I showed working drawings in my studio and tried to describe what I'm doing. It was very unsatisfactory. The only good thing to come out of it was that I got a gratifyingly hostile response from one person. He seemed genuinely angry. He also came out with the classic quote 'You have nothing to say except nihilism!' Brilliant! That's going on the wall.

I'm really surprised that going elsewhere to look at a site-specific work was such a hassle in the first place. I thought they'd be used to it and be able to take it in their stride. But no, it seems they can only handle traditional studio-based work. It's been a whole lot of palaver trying to organise it, and then to have the kaibosh put on it at the last minute... No sir, I'm not happy. What a waste of time.

12 September 2009


What you are looking at here used to be a tribute to Ian Curtis and an important part of Wellington's heritage. I can remember when it first appeared. Considering all the changes to Wellington since the early 80s, it's been a nice bit of continuity.

It's been there (sort of) since soon after Curtis died, and some stupid cunt from the council has painted it over. Fucking petty officials and their narrow minds. They should be ashamed of themselves but no doubt lack the imagination to do so. Using my intertemporal avant-garde art powers, I have put a black magic curse on them.

If you look closely, you can see what was there: 'Ian Curtis 1960–1980 [sic] RIP Walk in silence'. It's even mentioned on Curtis's wikipedia page.

I am fairly confident it will reappear.

No more pics

I'm not going to put any more pics until the show is over. You don't want to have seen it all before you visit. Though as Rose said when she came up for a look today, it is quite different seeing it in the flesh than as pictures on the blog.

I reckon it's coming along nicely. I have a crit on Monday, and I'm bringing people up to the Adam for it. It'll be interesting to see what they make of it.

11 September 2009

Some more pics

I had quite a slow day today. The room is beginning to fill up, and I have to think about placement a lot more than when it was empty (and that could be my mistake right there). I want this room to be completely full, unlike the other one, which I'm quite happy to leave quite sparse. Anyway, here are the pics:

10 September 2009

More fun in the loos

I spent Wednesday at school. When I headed back up to the Adam this morning, I found this on the door to the stuff I'd already done:

I've been enjoying myself immensely. I've been getting good reactions to what I'm doing. The people at the Adam are extremely friendly and helpful, and the other artists are all good value. Here are today's efforts:

Oh yeah, also check out Paints after work. No prizes for guessing who the 'About me' section on it takes the piss of.
visitors since 29 March 2004.