Posts Tagged ‘MCA’

A second take …

In General Mish-Mash on April 5, 2012 at 11:04 am

When I posted the short piece about Christian Marclay’s The Clock, I had viewed it for about 5 minutes on the night the Museum of Contemporary Art opened their fantastic extension, including the new Mordant Wing.

Anyway, I found it interesting, thought I’d post on it and decided best to upload the BBC clip.

Yesterday, I had a good look around the MCA – it is very impressive.

The Marking Time exhibition is brilliant.

I thought I would take another look at The Clock – this time I gave myself 15 minutes.

45 minutes later, I reluctantly dragged myself out of the Level 1 Cinema where it is showing.

Hooked, totally engaged.

As the guy on the BBC report says:

It’s an artwork about time
Where you sit and forget about time
And yet … you’re reminded about time
All the time.

I found it as riveting and compelling as any film. It is cut and edited brilliantly. It has a continuity that is often deliberately discarded or unintentionally lost when artists play with film.

This is certainly a clock. Keeping the time and informing you about the time.

It is also a movie.

Don’t miss it … if only to learn how much can be done in a minute and how fleeting is an hour.

The second-hand steps, the hour hand flies.

If you are in Sydney make sure you see it … but also make sure you allow plenty of time to explore the rest of the MCA – especially the entire Marking Time Exhibition and  Volume 1 – MCA Collection.

The Clock

In Quick Mish-Mash on April 2, 2012 at 12:16 am

The Clock.

It is an extraordinary work from artist Christian Marclay.

Yet, it is just what it name indicates … A Clock!

It is on show right now at the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art).

And rather than prattling about it, here is a piece from the BBC .

This is a quick re-ignition of mishmashmax.

Hopefully I can get my brain back into gear and keep it alight

Assessing the value of a sport – example: Penrith Panthers.

In General Mish-Mash on February 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

How do you measure the value of the game, the team, the club … what do they really bring to their community? Once you measure it, how do you illustrate it, what words describe it, how do you get others to believe in it?

These are questions we asked ourselves regularly.

The first response to such an inquiry is often to look towards the bean-counters for answers, sometimes it is suggested that it is a question of brand value and it’s discoverable through market (or marketing) research. Once an answer is found (if it is), it is handed to communicators and marketers to get others to buy into the equation.

Overwhelmingly those asking this question about value seek answers that are numeric, easily understood, and easily sold.

But I remember watching Ryan Girdler signing autographs one day.

An hour after all the players had left he still had a queue in front of him. He stayed until the last person. Every single person on that queue was given the attention they needed to feel special. The very last person was a little boy … and when his poster was signed, Ryan took off his cap, patted him on the shoulder and said, “Would you like my cap? It’s yours!” . 

The look on that boy’s face was priceless … and so was the look of satisfaction that Ryan had. It was simple thing, a brief, shared moment – paying homage and respect to the effort they had each put in. A timeless moment, expressing something far too complex and precious to be assessed using the methodology of accountants or auditors. (Ryan may have forgotten that moment as he had many of these moments, I doubt the boy has, and it is indelibly stamped in my memory.)

In 2008, we decided to take a different approach to this perplexing question of assessing and expressing the value of our game, club.

We handed the question over to an artist! About as distant from econometrics as you can get.

Why? Well, artists historically have been about expressing value and values in unique and often confronting ways, ways that either engage or challenge or both. We wanted both – engagement and to have our paradigms challenged. (Well, I wanted that challenge for us … )

Craig Walsh was the artist selected for this project. The following notes on value were written for the exhibition of Craig’s work. The work was called Heads Up. To take a look at some of the images, view the promotional video, and hear the artist talk about the work – click here – or click on the image below  new window will open).

This photo gives you an idea of the scale of the images created … and further below is the article on the Panthers written for the exhibition:

An idea of scale - there were 17 images of this size in the exhibition.


The general practice, when questions of value arise, is to hand over to some sort of assessor whose fundamental metric is symbolised by the dollar sign.

Measuring the value of the Penrith Panthers Rugby League team in our community is the launching point for this work.

We have handed over to an artist!

The financial impact of our game, our club, and our team on our community is an important measure. Its importance sometimes masks a lack of depth and dimension. It is desperately inadequate for assessing the real value of anything.

Even modern accountancy’s “triple bottom line” cannot give a rounded and complete picture. This is true even for the most discrete and simple activity, let alone the game of Rugby League … or a Rugby League game!

To truly measure value we need to extend out palette beyond the red and black inks of the ledger. The assessment tools and indicators we use need to exist beyond the shadows cast by financial symbols.

What if, during a game, we monitored fans and measured the changes in heart rate, the drip rate of beads of sweat, the rate of flow of tears, the glances of unspoken camaraderie, the grieving time (this is being written after a big loss) or emotional altitude reached in celebration of an important win?

Can we measure the depth of admiration in the eyes of the young autograph-hunting fan … or the extent to which that look increases the sense of self-esteem and responsibility in the young, rookie player. Indeed, even in the “old” hard-heads on the verge of retirement and those already confined to play their game through legendary tales.

At Penrith Panthers what sort of emotional thermometer is applied to our players, administrators and educators alike when they witness the graduation ceremony of students in the Panthers on the Prowl program? We can count the number of young children who earn their membership of The Prowling Panthers fraternity. We should be able to collect and weigh the tears of joy from proud parents and the decibels emitted by the sighs from grateful teachers. These are far more valuable than the result on the screen of any imaginable calculator.

This work by Craig Walsh measures the value of our game in ways that have not been attempted before. There is certainly evidence of that stoic Aussie mask, filtering the raw emotion, camouflaging the vulnerable and uncut treasure.

Craig has found a transparency, allowing us all to enter and count for ourselves the jewels in each of these images and each of these individuals.

The scars, the pores, the imperfections, the eyes, the discolouration, the emotion, the entire collection of minutiae evident in Heads Up are all measures of the impact of the players on each other, and they allow us to project as to the impact of both the players and the game on the community.

(By the way, by “players” I mean those players who take the field and those players who take their places in grandstands and on the hills of the stadium.)

These images have an infinite number of dimensions and potential interpretations. They cannot be reduced to caricatures, they are not images of super-heroes nor are they stereotypes representing a particular class or region.

They are human. Exceptionally high in value and warranting attention.


The Art of Engagement – 3 Worlds Collide!!!

In General Mish-Mash, Mish-Mash of Books on August 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

The Art of Engagement - Lally, Eng, & Anderson

Is it possible for commercial, creative, and community interests to be in complete alignment? What happens when they are?

A new publication hits the bookstores this week. This publication has great relevance for me – it documents a project that occupied my attention for some time.

The C3 West project.

In brief, this project calls up the potential power existing in territory defined by the intersection of 3 categories of endeavour – Commerce, Creativity, & Community. The geographical focus was Western Sydney. Hence C3 West.

These areas of human effort seem to meet infrequently – and when they do it is all too often about employment rather than engagement. It is driven by more by transaction or exchange rather than by collaboration.

  • A business commissions a piece of art or offers patronage/sponsorship to a local gallery,
  • A company makes charitable contributions to community initiatives,
  • An artist is driven to articulate some expression about a community issue,
  • A community canvasses designs to enhance a public space.

The value of these connections, and others like them, are vital. Their importance should never, ever be underestimated. Nevertheless, they are exchanges that provide a momentary bridge between disparate disciplines.

What if? What if … at some time, in some space, under some conditions the drive within these 3 areas was in unison. What if the imperatives of commerce, creativity, and community were treading the same path, in the same direction, towards the same goal.  What a potent time and space that could/would be.

Could we consciously create that condition, that space, that time? Wouldn’t that be interesting and, perhaps, rewarding!

It certainly was both interesting and rewarding for me.

It is a great project. The project was, and is, being followed and documented by:

  • Elaine Lally, Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts & Social Science, UTS
  • Ien Ang, Professor of Cultural Studies, Director of Centre for Cultural Research, UWS
  • Kay Anderson, Professor of Cultural Research, UWS

They have co-authored this publication:
The Art of Engagement: Culture, Collaboration, Innovation.

Click on the cover picture above or here to get more information about the book.

Click here and you can have a look at some extracts from the book, including the Foreword by the fabulous Liz Ann Macgregor, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.  

Opera Australia, Western Sydney, & Football

In General Mish-Mash on June 27, 2011 at 10:41 pm

The artistic director of Opera Australia, Lyndon Terracini, is looking to expand Opera Australia’s audience base … and he believes Western Sydney holds the key to that ambition.

See SMH June 21, 2011 – Opera looks to footy to make its mark.

There would be many who’d say he was dreamin’!

Undoubtedly many look at the “golden” west as the host of rich fields of customers ready for harvesting. The SMH article seems to suggest Terracini has this belief.

His belief may well be spot on … and there exists plenty of evidence to support that view.

Nevertheless, before attempting to harvest it is sensible – in fact may be essential – to enrich & fertilise the fields first, seed appropriately,  and ensure sustainability.

To move out of the metaphor, Opera Australia needs to give to the region before it can expect to be supported by the region.

Now, according the SMH article, Terracini sees his way into Sydney’s West as being paved by football – the AFL variety. He identifies Andrew Demetriou (the AFL supremo) as being his trailblazer because he has a solid grip on Australian culture. Better than most people engaged in either the arts sector or the political world. Again there is plenty to support this view. However, the jury can’t yet have returned a verdict on the evidence cited, namely the AFL’s move into Western Sydney (with GWS Giants). They have yet to kick a ball in anger.

Nevertheless there are precedents for the arts sector and the sports sector to form an alliance … and there are strong precedents in Western Sydney.

In fact, the partnerships built with Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, The Penrith Regional Gallery, and The Australian Balletdelivered an array of benefits to the Penrith Panthers, the City of Penrith, and Western Sydney.

Both the MCA and Australian Ballet were fantastic partners.

The Australian Ballet delivered a free concert at Penrith Stadium in November 2010. They approached Panthers about this because they learned about the very innovative work we had done with the MCA and Penrith Regional Gallery. After the first meeting they were convinced they were in the right place and Penrith Stadium replaced Parramatta Stadium as the venue for the free concert.

Footy & Ballet @ Penrith Stadium

The C3 West project wasthe focus for the partnership between Panthers and the MCA. The project aimed at creating synergy by operating in the space where the worlds of commerce, creativity, & community intersect. The outcomes have been extraordinary and the project is the subject of a soon to be published book.

Back to opera and footy – in 2006 we also experimented with operatic drama opening Panthers footy game. A song made famous by one of the world’s great singers, Paul Robeson, was belted out pre-game by Sydney singer David Aston. The song was The Killing Song, wonderfully aggressive and powerful, eminently suited to football. Alas! The fans didn’t like it! It was a bit too bold for them … and the team lost.



Maybe Opera Australia would be well served to have a chat with the teams at the Panthers, the MCA and the Australian Ballet to guide them in their Western Sydney expedition.