Sydney Biennale 2008: Revolution – Forms that turn

Posted by jerry on June 23rd, 2008 — Posted in Journal, Travel

It turned out that we were in Sydney just in time for the opening of the Sydney Biennale at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

You could tell something was up by the way the old sandstone building was covered with graffiti – but this wasn’t just any old graffiti…


And inside it seemed that the main theme was inversions. Like indigenous artist Gordon Bennett’s rejected proposal to hang all the aboriginal art in the main galleries and relegate the European stuff to the basement – and hang everything upside down. He had to be content with an honourable mention and a model of what the hang might have looked like.

The foyer was dominated by two main works- one, a performance piece by Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov (b.1957). The work – called “A Life (Black and White)” comprised two painters – each dressed in mirror image of white tee shirt and white overalls or black tee shirt and black overalls, painting the walls of the foyer. One painted the walls white while the other overpainted in black, and vice versa – for the duration of the exhibition in an endless loop. Perhaps it is a commentary on the futility of intentionality. And it works on so many levels.


Perth artist James Angus (b.1970) installed his “Bugatti Type 35” in the foyer. Made from steel, aluminium, rubber, leather, fibre glass and automobile lacquer, his piece comments on the car’s original designer Ettore Bugatti, who trained as an artist and became an auto designer. His Type 35 in the 1920s redefined the car and the notion of speed. Angus’ exquisitely finished version is skewed by 30 degrees – referencing speed, but at the same time rendering all functionality impossible with ellipsoid wheels as though the whole car was distorted by speed, yet snap frozen never to move again.


Further in, as you get to the standard displays I enjoyed the whimsical piece that I immediately christened “Bugger” – depicting two porcelain busts on pedestals gazing down at the broken shards of a third bust scattered on the floor. The piece is by Italian artist Giulio Paolini (b. Genoa 1940), and is called ‘L’Alto figura’, and was produced in 1984.

broken fate

And I always enjoy the Canaletto painting in the European section – And although he painted many similar scenes, I love the detail in this work, as though he were trying to convey information about the culture of the time, including the technology and the economy of Venice in the 17th century.


Don’t forget to visit the Living Black exhibition downstairs – there are great kinetic works by George Ward Tjungurray, and intriguing work by Billy Thomas leading you into a kind of reading between the dots. He has painted ceremony – but under erasure, with a profusion of white dots obscuring the subject. This is a really thought provoking piece.

The Biennale brings together 180 artists from 42 countries and includes 65 new works. The exhibition is on from 18 June until 7 September. And it is well worth a visit – what do you think?


Full Circle goes recording

Posted by jerry on June 22nd, 2008 — Posted in Journal, Music

A successful foray into the recording studio – with a number of revisits planned. We accomplished a lot at Tam Lin’s studio in Sydney – some great sounds and a well equipped studio with state of the art mics running through pro gear and a large mixing desk all feeding into a large desktop mac running ProTools – very similar software to Tracktion. With this kind of gear it won’t be long before Full Circle’s debut EP is together and ready for the airwaves.

Full Circle in the recording studio

We played around with some tunes, a couple of songs and a couple of a-capella shantys to show our vocal versatility. At the very least it will be a good demo for festivals and the like. So it was a very productive session. We are booked in again in a couple of weeks time to do some overlays and possibly a couple more songs.

Full Circle in the recording studio

There is of course a great deal of work still to do – recording is just the first step, then there is post-production to get the tonal values right before a final mix down. Then there is the mastering for professional production and the design of album covers etc. But after ten years it is high time we responded to all the calls for a CD. This time it’s actually happening – and it’s a pretty exciting step for us.

Full Circle in the recording studio

More on how this story unfolds later 🙂


Sydney – a quick visit

Posted by jerry on June 21st, 2008 — Posted in Journal, Travel

In Sydney to record some music for an EP I went online and booked a bargain with finding a Waldorf apartment in Woolloomooloo at a good rate – the Woolloomooloo Waters apartments. The room is comfortable and clean and there is secure parking below ground.

It is situated right around the corner from the naval wharf and close to good coffee shops (like the one I’m in with free wifi access for customers). The coffee shop is the Sienna Marina Restaurant and bar at Woolloomooloo. They have good wifi connection (4 bars) just ask the staff for a password. This is one of the undiscovered districts of Sydney and here’s why…


Around the corner is a set of steps with a breathtaking view of the city – which makes it an easy walk to Kings Cross and from there to the main shopping and coffee shop areas.

Some parts like to play down the vibrancy of city living…


I’ll post more on the recording experience soon


Locomobile – Ottawa Science and Technology Museum, Canada

Posted by jerry on June 9th, 2008 — Posted in History, Journal, Steam, Technology

The Locomobile steam car at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa is described as “circa 1901”. I have a feeling it might be an early 1902 model. It is chassis number 555 and has the Stanhope type two body with the ogee shaped front, rather than the flat upright dashboard.

Locomobile ca1901

The Locomobile was designed and built by the Stanley Brothers from 1899-1904. In 1901 they sold the Locomobile company, and bought it back a year later – making a profit both times. They produced the most successful steam car of its day – around 4000 were built in total, before the Stanley company produced cars under its own name until 1927.

Locomobile ca1901

The cars were simple and quite fast for their day, winning several hill-climbs. They could take off with enough acceleration to lift the front wheels and were quite popular as runabouts. But they had quite a short range – 20-30 miles between water stops as they had no condenser to recycle the exhaust steam back into the boiler.

Locomobile ca1901

The early ones had a two-cylinder Masson engine, but these were not very reliable, being prone to breakdowns. But this was fixed by late 1901 when FE and FO Stanley designed their own engine.

You can read more about Stanly steam cars at the British Steam Car Club of Great Britain (page two of the locomobile specs gives chassis numbers for the type B and C), as well as at the Stanley Museum in the USA.

Locomobile ca1901

The car is currently on display in the the main museum building in Ottawa.

Henry Seth Taylor steam buggy – Canada Science and Technology Museum, Ottawa

Posted by jerry on June 2nd, 2008 — Posted in History, Journal, Steam, Technology, Travel

Henry Seth Taylor steam buggy, Canada 1867

Henry Seth Taylor (1833-1887) built Canada’s first self-propelled buggy in Stanstead, Quebec, Canada in 1867. The buggy took seven years to build. The boiler was wood-fired and operated at 60lbs pressure. The four wheeled single seat open carriage had tiller steering and carried the water tank over the front axle.

Henry Seth Taylor steam buggy, Canada 1867 Here is a view of the engine from the underside

On its second run, inventor and builder Taylor crashed it (he had neglected to install brakes), after which he abandoned automobile production and turned his attention to building a steam yacht. The buggy can be seen today in the Canada Science and Technology museum. Canada’s first car was given recognition in 1993 by being depicted on a Canada Post stamp.

Henry Seth Taylor steam buggy, Canada 1867