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e-dition august 23


delicate detritus

dan mackinlay: emily morandini & peter blamey, ican


Emily Morandini, filet électronique Emily Morandini, filet électronique
photo Kusum Normoyle
ON THE LEAFY FRINGE OF CAMPERDOWN PARK, I.C.A.N.'S (INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART NEWTOWN) NEWEST SHOW ADDS A LAYER OF ANACHRONISM TO THEIR TRADEMARK INCONGRUITY. FILET ÉLECTRONIQUE/ISLAND IS A GENTEEL COLLECTION OF POST-SUBURBAN ARTEFACTS IN THE VERY URBAN FRINGE. A CONTEMPORARY SALON APOCALYPTICISM, OR SOME FUTURE ARCHAEOLOGICAL RECONSTRUCTION UNSTUCK IN TIME—WHATEVER… THIS SHOPFRONT STANDS OUT FROM THE BROWN AND IMPERTURBABLE LINE-UP OF DECENT LIFE LIKE MAD MAX IN CRINOLINE.

Emily Morandini's piece is the filet électronique and has the virtue of a completely self-descriptive name. Round filet lace nets are threaded with copper needlework, punctuated at the ends by batteries and speakers, emitting a treble whine. Yep, networks, right angles, minute interconnected fibres—craft had 'em before mass electronics. Check, check and check. You remember the Hyperbolic Crochet Reef (created by Christine and Margaret Wertheim, http://crochetcoralreef.org) where dainty handicraft recalls raw nature? This is the yang to that yin, a stitched homage to circuitry over coral, courtly handicraft for the post-technological parlour.

Peter Blamey, Island Peter Blamey, Island
photo Kusum Normoyle
Two octaves below, Peter Blamey's Island also hums, and occasionally squeals. This originates in a different future, long after the Anthropocene. It's not needlepoint, or anything else from CRAFT magazine. Blamey liberates himself from the conventions of traditional handicraft by participating in the plastic, evolving genre of repurposing illegally dumped crap off the street.

A bouquet of found circuit boards opens leaf-wise, with machine-drilled pores and copper-etched capillaries. This is one part robotic Ikebana to two spontaneously generated silicon organisms. The surface is dusted with a faint fuzz of copper floss, moving in the air currents, and it squeals as you brush it, like an electric touch-me-not.

Peter Blamey, Island Peter Blamey, Island
photo Kusum Normoyle
The piece itself is embedded in the flows of that neo-ecology—mineral waste digesting in the urban metabolism—its body scrap accretions of once-were appliances. This assemblage of motherboards and speakers is powered parodically and circuitously: electricity is derived from a solar panel lampshade which wraps around an incandescent light bulb, a ‘detrivore’ feeding off oil in a travesty of photosynthesis. Conductive cilia wave in the ambient radio fields, recycling electromagnetic waste into mindless warbling.

Where the connectivity in Morandini's piece is punning, verbal and personal, Blamey’s work is direct, physical and inhuman, the waste fields of a million appliances made audible. The sound from those speakers is the unfiltered interference from the ad hoc antennae of the circuit-boards, performed it seems, for ears other than ours: the secret life of circuits, played out on an Earth after us.

Here are two sardonic takes on the DIY resurgence. Post-consumerist transposed into post-consumer in a world where DIY has been associated as often with fertiliser bombs as with handicraft; where survivalism and tree changing vie for fertile land; where going back to the land may lead you to an open-cut pit, or a strip mall, but you decide to stay there and till it yet.


Emily Morandini & Peter Blamey - filet électronique/island, ICAN, Sydney; July 22-Aug 7; http://interlaps-overlaces.tumblr.com/; http://icanart.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/july-2011-electronique-filet-island/

RealTime issue #104 Aug-Sept 2011 pg. web

© Dan MacKinlay; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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