My Travels / 16.07.2008

As with my 2006 trip, my visit to the UK and Europe had two purposes – to further Sandrine Meats’ Whsht research as well as progressing archive spin-offs (namely video installations based on the archive) and to catch up with family and friends and tour familiar and unfamiliar places.

My trip had two purposes  . . .


Purpose One

I met with Sandrine on a number of occasions, twice with artists who took part in Whsht events, and twice with Sandrine on her own. She is doing a marvellous job of documenting and making sense of what we did. One of the meetings was at Carlyle Reedy’s flat. Carlyle is a very fine poet and artist. I had not seen her in 40 years. She looked as I remembered her, but with a beauty that I had not appreciated then. It was lovely seeing her again.

Before setting off on my travels I had emailed a number of people whom I had hoped to meet, though several had not bothered to reply. However I was determined to give my Beauty DVD to the Art &… Read Complete Text


Other / 02.07.2008

The two parcels I sent via courier, containing the DVCAM master tapes of the published archive, a set of the DVDs, the original revised script and copies of the signed interview releases, have arrived at the National Film & Sound Archive.

It’s taken a long time to reach this point, given that I thought the future of the entire archive was secure in the hands of the State Library of Queensland – even before publication at the end of 2005. A letter dated April 11 from Graham Shirley, Senior Curator, Moving Image, at the NFSA broke the logjam. I await the paperwork to formally conclude the handover of my donation.



The Brisbane Line / 24.06.2008

During the past two years I have contributed a number of articles to the Brisbane Line, the e-bulletin of the Brisbane Institute. Those on environmental topics have appeared in this blog.

Martin Leet, the editor, sent me an email accepting my latest article, Responsibility and Power, which will appear in the July edition of the Brisbane Line. I am fortunate to have this opportunity to occasionally touch on an issue close to my heart.


In an ideal world power and responsibility would go hand in hand to judiciously guide and shape society. The world is as it is precisely because this does not occur. Power, with its compelling sway over the human ego, is inherently open to abuse. The abuse of power is arguably the deadliest sin. That is why a lofty sense of responsibility needs to accompany the exercise of power.

The mis-match, both between power without responsibility and responsibility without power, is so pervasive it is barely recognised as the tragedy in human affairs that it is, other than in lawless circumstances such as war or arbitrary rule. The examples I cite are commonplace…. Read Complete Text


Other / 24.06.2008

I received confirmation that the master disc for The Beauty of Overlooked Things (see blog item: 20 March 2008) has arrived at the production company in Sydney. I am having the DVDs made from a glass master. All being well, they will be ready in time for me to take some copies with me when I leave on my overseas trip to the UK and Europe on July 16.

Steve and I spent a hairy week finalising the soundtrack and authoring – only to discover that the presentation had to be completely changed to allow a seamless transition between the 4:3 footage and the widescreen footage. Christina designed some beautiful graphics for the disc print, the insert and the video titles. I want to explore the possibility of creating a video installation of the Beauty series.



Other / 21.06.2008

Sandrine Meats, who interviewed me in London in 2006 for her dissertation on 60s and 70s performance art in the UK, wants to interview me on my next trip to Europe for an article she is writing about WHSHT (see blog 11 July 2007) for a leading French art publication. She is also interested in the essay I wrote on the Light/Sound Workshop at Hornsey College of Art, so I mailed her a copy the other day.

I am looking forward to seeing her again. The first interview was lots of fun, though my memory of events 40 years ago was rather hazy.



Other / 12.06.2008

An email has arrived from Jo Ritale, Manager, Original Materials of the Heritage Collections at the State Library of Queensland, confirming the library’s willingness to house the master edit DVCAMs of the unpublished archive. This amounts to over 40 hours, plus the associated papers. Jo will visit me when we can arrange it, to see what the archive consists of.

The main reason for the protracted negotiations on the best way to preserve the archive has been the need for The State Library to develop protocols on how to protect original digital material. The National Film & Sound Archive was suggested as a better prospect, except that the NFSA regards unedited footage as out-take material, whereas I regard it as additional, useful research material. Fortunately the State Library agrees with me.

At one point, much to my horror and that of both my editors, the library wanted to preserve the archive on analogue tape. Fortunately it has agreed to accept DVCAMs for preservation purposes and DVDs for access purposes.

The NFSA staff have no problem with DVCAMs but it was just as alarming that they insisted access should be… Read Complete Text


Other / 27.05.2008

I delivered a set of the DVDs to the Environmental Protection Agency in Brisbane with a feeling of great satisfaction, even triumph, following a meeting with the head of the Biodiversity section earlier in the month.

In March 2006 I had written to the then Director General requesting that the EPA buy the archive, only to be turned down by the Executive Director of the Parks Division citing the (to me ill-mannered) non-sequitur that the State Library already had a copy. I felt that my archive showed what was at stake in this part of the world (and still is), that biodiversity was a core concern of the EPA and that for these reasons they should have a copy. I even followed up with a tongue in cheek letter to the Minister asking her to ‘correct an apparent oversight’. It was only after phoning to request a meeting with the current Director General earlier this year that all the pieces for a successful conclusion fell into place.


My Travels / 30.04.2008

Where would we be without emails? – overlooking for a moment the annoyance caused by those people who do not bother to reply. An email has arrived from Satish Kumar whom I had contacted about six weeks ago on the strength of an article in the Guardian Weekly. He has agreed to meet me in the UK in August during my stay with Clive.


Other / 22.04.2008

Received an email from Julian Palacios, the author of Lost in the Woods about Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd, praising the essay I wrote as part of my BA degree on the Light/Sound Workshop at Hornsey College of Art, of which I was a member. He first got in touch in December 2007, having read this website’s Press page, and asked for my recollections about the Workshop, my memories of Mike Leonard and the ‘boys from the Floyd’. He requested the essay in one of his emails. I knew I had kept it and was able to dig it out.

Mike was an architect and the Workshop’s presiding genius. I shared a flat in his house with Roger Waters and Nick Mason whom he taught at architecture college. The boys from the Floyd would come into our studio at art college and improvise to our light projections.



Other / 30.03.2008

Wrote a letter to Peter Garrett, Federal Minister for the Environment, following his March 12 reply to the email and brief paper I sent him on January 8, about rectifying the lack of protection of biodiversity in Australia’s inhabited areas. These can be more biodiverse than remote or wilderness areas. I drafted the paper soon after a meeting on the Mountain in June 2007, at which Jennie George, now Peter Garrett’s Parliamentary Secretary, asked what can we do to protect Australia’s biodiversity. I thought his letter glossed over the lack of protection and wanted to tell him so. Much good may it do me.