Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dachshund U.N.

Honestly, I don't think art gets much better than this.

Perth-based artist Bennett Miller has created an instillation which critiques the dysfunctional nature of the U.N. using, wait for it, dachshunds. 47 of them, one for each member-nation, and a chairperson (or chairdog). 47 dachshunds. How very, very fantastic.

Because I really should continue writing my essay on Alfred, Lord Tennyson (best name ever!) and Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, I'm being a bit lazy, and will just give you the ABC's interview with Miller, as he describes what he is trying to convey through the piece:

"I think the UN does a lot of amazing things but it is an inherently difficult idea to pull off. It is hard for all these countries to give up their own sovereign interests to a broader global interest," he said.

"I'm trying to make an accurate imitation of what I see in the UN, or more so what I see is the reputation of the UN. So I had to have elements that were positive and elements that were negative."

"My sculpture is dysfunctional and that is also true of the UN but it is also quite a beautiful scene when you look at all the dogs. I hope that is what people take away from it but I can't control it completely," he said.

The instillation is on at the Museum of Victoria, and has been happening for the last three Saturdays, beginning at 2pm. This Saturday is the final sitting of the Dachshund U.N. If you're in Melbourne, go along. I'm sure it will be a spectacular celebration of the dachshund.

The photo is courtesy of one of my cousins who went and said she almost fainted from the cuteness of the cajilion dogs.

xx Esther

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Regina Regina!

Last month I had the privilege of seeing the wonderful Regina Spektor at the Sydney Opera House. She was as amazing as expected! Emerging from the darkness of stage wearing an gorgeous multi-coloured, striped dress, she radiated in front of the adoring crown. The dress was wonderful - even when she was sitting at her piano, she literally shone!

Of course there were the favorites - 'Samson', 'Radio', 'Sailor Song', amongst many others. She even played 'Dance Anthem of the 80s' on electric guitar! Despite claims of inability to play guitar, Regina got crowd going. Most of the songs were from her new album 'Far', with some tracks from 'Begin to Hope' and 'Soviet Kitsch' thrown in the mix.

I have loved Regina's music ever since my dear friend - whom I went to the concert with - brought her into my life a few years ago. Producing three wonderful, diverse albums has established her credentials as a recording artist. But as a performer, she is so endearing! She couldn't believe that the crowd encircled her, as the Opera House stage is positioned in the middle of the audience.

"I can't believe this place is real" she repeatedly stated, with humility and gratitude for the crowd's support. Several giggles and chats to the crowd made us all feel a part of her world, if only for ninety minutes. It wasn't the cliched performer-audience chit chat, Regina was genuinely excited to be at the Opera House (if only for being surrounded by her audience). It was almost like seeing a child at their birthday party - she was just so happy and lovely, but most of all, so wonderful to listen to!

Just when you think that 'real' musicians don't exist anymore, or at least, don't combine success, humility and on-stage charm, Regina is there to give hope!Even the merchandise was Regina-esque - autographed lithographs sold instead of tacky posters. I even picked up a calico bag with a beautiful print of the lithograph on it, and only $15. I like to think That Regina isn't into milking her fans with tacky souvenirs.

If you haven't listen to 'Far' yet, then I suggest you do, especially when need a little distraction from life... I know that I do at the moment!



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Body Paint, Folk-Pop and a bit of TV

Ok, I admit it. This is, without a doubt, an essay procrastination post.

And, it's also blatant advertising for Air New Zealand - with whom I have no affiliation - I just really like flying with them. One of the reasons behind my Air NZ loyalty is for their AWESOME (and believe me, I don't use caps lock lightly) safety video (by the way, if anyone knows how to embed youtube videos, rather than just giving the hyperlink, please let me know!).

The song in this clip is by Gin Wigmore. It's called "Under Your Skin". Fans of Angus and Julia Stone are likely to enjoy Gin Wigmore's music, though I think there's more "pop" in Wigmore's folk-pop songs than in A & J Stone's music. However, I think her voice sounds quite like Julia Stone's, except less quavery.

I also really like the track "S.O.S" by Wigmore. This song recently appeared at the end of a "Go Girls" episode. (Segue...) I've been loving watching "Go Girls" lately. It's a quality kiwi comedy-drama, with very unique, fresh characters. While I think "Go Girls'" writers tend to rely too heavily on mis-communication for their drama, (a topic for a different post), it's very much still a show worth watching.


xx Esther

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Apologies and the like

Sorry dear blog-readers!

The lovely Miss Grace and I have been of late, drowning under various mountains (like those confused metaphors do ya?) of university work.

So, until Grace deciphers Marxist theories and how they apply to the visual arts and I deduce whether NZ Aid's gender policies are structured within a liberal feminist framework or are simply examples of gender-mainstreaming, please excuse our blogging absence(s)!

As an apology, here are some pretty photos of charming chicken wire fence on Vivian Street (chicken wire fences can be charming, can't they?) that I took back when I still had a functioning camera and an optimistic outlook on the world (many hours in a university library (even one with a stunning view out over a city, hills and harbour like here at Vic) will kill that outlook off, no worries).


xx Esther