Sunday, 19 July 2015


Whence the characteristic hysteria of our time: the hysteria of production and reproduction of the real…what society seeks through production, and overproduction, is the restoration of the real which escapes it. Jean Baudrillard – Simulations, ‘The Precession of Simulacra’, (p.44). 


I am very much attracted to the perfection of the replica – a broken or useless object replicated becomes a sublime object – it stands as an authentic presence distant from its historical tradition.

Like the recent Paleolithic Chauvet cave which has been recreated exact - so we can travel through hyperreality - to study and understand the real through a simulation. A cathedral of the replica - to be overwhelmed by - rolling our eyes over the details, knowingly acknowledging the artificial - the model is catatonic - 

There is a satisfaction when an object is replicated; its identical version is to be read in a completely different way. Kris Martin has given us a plaster duplication of the Hellenic sculpture ‘Laocoön and His Sons’, which Martin has expressed through dematerialisation. It is oblique in its imitation – taken from a practice and understanding into abstraction.

There is a fundamental problem with Counterfeit[i] in that it will never hold that which the real holds – we can only read the simulacra as ‘material’ production, as it can only resemble the values of its authentic counterpart – it becomes free from its original meaning and symbolic order. And so its interest lies not in the narrative of the physical work that it resembles but its own simulated order – one which has been created through the act of mimicry. What we are left with is a work that is read topographically – from the fragile plaster, its weight, the balance and the spaces which occur between.


Fifty stories up the Chevron Tower sits an open roofed man-made beach – an assortment of fiberglass rocks surrounding a pool, polyester resin Darwin palm tree forest and thatched seaside bar complete with a broken surfboard triptych. You can sit upon the ‘Little Willie’ post-card deck chairs; put your feet in the pool and absent yourself from not just the augmentation of chaos that descends on the ACTUAL beach but absent yourself completely from nature.  The terrarium levitated above the scape below casting a shadow over the sands of the five mile coast. I was lucky enough to see the timed pumps and pressure tubes which create the waterfall into the pool – upon the fiberglass-reinforced polyester mound of rocks. Circulating nervous system of the resort – connecting to the scenery to provide a vessel – spokes of a bike rotating fluid towards the plantations – the pools temperature maintained and doused in sodium hydrochlorite swirled by the projectile upturn of water fountains and Jacuzzi gas bubbles.    

Tropical Fruit World -

The Gold Coast is the centre of the unbearable glare – the holiday resort which is layered in soft-mall music, giant Polynesian sculptures replicated out of breezeblock, nightclubs and seven-elevens.

In fact, the districts remain in light throughout – there is never a moment where there is not a strange illuminous glow emitted from this place – spotlights and arabesques all pointing into the centre of Cavill Ave. 


We drove to Boulia – a small village which follows through to the lunar-scape that is the Simpson Desert where the giant ornamental village will be constructed. We arrive at night after driving through a huge storm (a drive which, in 2011 coincided with a chaotic flood which devastated most of Brisbane) – to see the site which is illuminated with huge floodlights. We sit about three miles or so away from the location on the newly turfed asphalt road – the occasional chirp of outback wildlife surrounds us – the air has a certain electricity, breathing feels like a static-shock to the lungs. On one side of us is Mounte la Touche and opposite Drinans Gorge Bore – in front is a Kaleidoscopic maze of scaffolding and chrome pipes. The scale is mesmerising as the attraction is set to be gigantic – yet from the distance we are at, you could almost make it ornamental – like a model sat upon a birdbath central to the garden. Like the man-made beach upon the tower – the attraction rests on its own plateau, other-worldly and alien to the harsh and distant milieu. The roaring sand across the road is brittle – there is a persistent heat which travels through the atmosphere – the desert was like an opening out of consciousness – like a cosmic-split which occurs when leaving the electric lights of the inner-city or even the off road petrol station – there is this huge tear in the mind and space which merge together to form an interactive multi-dimensionality.

A sign reads;

Followed with a three-dimensional diagram of the giant reconstruction of Surfers Paradise within the desert, its scale emphasized by the ACTUAL Surfers Paradise next to it. 

As we sit drinking, we hear thunderous roars echo from behind us – as if the storms of the north have crept up and about to consume us whole. But the sky was clear and appeared to extend three-hundred and sixty-one degrees – passing its own vertex. No wagons would let out something as beastly as this – it was almost as if the desert was about to separate between the mountain of rubble to the right and the chasm to the left. Until a huge blast of sand jets up all around us – creating a tornado of dust and growls, at first I thought I was about to spiral into the ground and fall into an abyss – until I could see the chrome of motorbike exhausts, and hear the sneering laughter of petrol-heads teasing us. We were lampooned, humiliated from all angles and they didn’t let up – they circulated us for about five minutes until they drove off into the distance – flicking cigarette butts which dissipate into the darkness like fireflies. Leaving us both disillusioned on the floor surrounded by a pentangle of tyre-marks and glittering sands settling upon us – our faces filthy with oil and dirt, our beers thickened with earth.

Thai sea-food

Fitzpatrick industrial estate in New South Wales held a small installation to conceptualise the attraction project – supported by Hoffman Engineering, B.B Imagineer have been meeting with the Australian-Japanese Foundation who are giving additional funding and in the process of this meeting, the team organised to create a replication of the village within one of the empty warehouses.

As we entered – the room was desolate and cold – it was your Laymen’s corrugated metal, rusted scaffolding and concrete floor unit B – fixed to the walls were elongated pieces of green felt – hanging from the ceiling, rafters and wire were hundreds of different coloured balls. All floating at different heights, within five minutes of gathering – a group were allocated in sets of ten and asked to proceed into the middle of the room where we were taken through fire safety.

It was made apparent to us, that when looking up – the ceiling was a curved mirror – almost like the stained glass skylight of Música Catalana – but one large sheet of Perspex which reflected the group all gazing upwards. 

The lights went out – and rain started to patter against the metal exterior. It rained every day that I was in New South Wales. I spent weeks having wet feet and staying indoors surrounded by insects and a constant smell of sewage that had bled up from the gutters. All of a sudden, the flickering of lights trying to catch the Argon – then projected was a hologram of Surfers Paradise – only its scale gigantic.

Motion sickness ran through our group like a plague had hit, there was a projection of the Simpson Desert which created a vortex around the building. This struck me firstly as the most important feature of the hologram as it was more real than the park itself – because it could be experienced without nature – without the dry air baking our eyes, or the chafing raw skin between the legs, or the illicit feeling that you cannot breathe because every inhale drains the energy straight from you. Instead – you could experience the idea of this explicit emotion with the sound, smell and dampness that the rain had caused. It could be embraced without the restrictions of the climate. More interestingly so – the projection was a fade from the rich blue skies of the desert into the orange mud-sand - it lacked horizon and distance, something which becomes more real than the area of the desert itself – the infinite expanding projection of the desert.

Then all of a sudden, it all made sense – the curvature in the ceiling was put in place to allow the three-dimensional transparent plates which hang ghostly and flickering, to extend beyond the boundaries of the prism within which it is constrained. This extension also happened laterally – a reason for the vortex of the background projection – as it seemingly increased by definition that it was an illusion. They called them invisible walls – something commonplace in computer games where a restricted area (which usually is a zone where scenery can hide the edges of the map) cannot be accessed as if a plane of glass was placed ahead. These invisible walls were the green felt which hanged against the corrugated metal – and like a two way mirror, if you close your hands and eyes towards the wall, you can see a very dull green from the intense lasers.

We wander through the crystal projection of Peninsular Drive and a strange saturation of reflections to instate the Nerang River – strange, faceless humanoids march in a light, passive tone in a giant simulation past the station – through the quietness of a giant arena – the internet café to the left leading up to the carnival of the central party life. At this point – they were constructing a Ferris wheel which is a factual semi-circle dissected into a pentagram overlooking the Chevron, Hilton and out towards the Coral Sea.

I was forced into disbelief by the silence of the replication – the pattering of average sized rain compared to the giant scale of the hologram made it far more alien to me – as we wander past the Beer Garden bar or Fiddlers Green – there is no smell of stale beer, no screaming or kitsch jig emitting from the light smoke or short skirt.

Willard Wigan

“A programme that will take the time to actually go deeper, to tell you not just what’s happening…but why” –

Six p.m. with George Negus.

“…to tell you not just what’s happening…but why”

Every station available to Australia reverts back to this programme,

“…what’s happening….but why”,

Assertive and passive,

“…happening…but why”,

As I look into the wobbling neck of Negus, his jaunty Australian expression reduced from his eyes leaving sad piss-holes, from his mouth which is a rectangle smile and fallen to the jowls leaving a sagging mask disappointed in itself as it realises that it cannot tell you “why”.

“Take the time to actually go deeper…”

I slip on magnified glasses which wrap around – my halogen lamp with the kinetic arm pulled down and animated over the face of Negus – after I remove his glasses, the intense light shuts his eyes and relaxes the bottom of the face where I will begin my work.

In a mass acne of detail, the sebum leaks from the porous mask of his aged skin which I begin to massage gently with a dry cloth to relieve the contortions of grease and oils. When I focus on the face, there are strange shifts that occur, from ear lobe to nose – identity becomes translucent, a great shock of matter is revealed. Bristles from the moustache dance under the quivering wind departed from the nostril which is warm against the back of my hand – still massaging the flesh.

“A programme that will take the time…”,

Hairs are plucked from the edge of his nose, blemishes amended – scalp hair shaved clean bald. I then examine the proportion of the face :- mapping out the geography from the scalp to eyebrows, the distance between the eyes and the nose – the peak has a very distinct altitude which plateaus above the rest of the face landscape. The nose will represent the mountain to which overlooks the valley of the mouth and chin – the horizon of the shirt collar and chest into the atmosphere of the barren void that exists outwards.

The scalp is a soft desert, heated by the coarse halogen lamp which dries the flesh to scales and dried psoriasis craters – there is little moisture and its distance is greater than the rest of the landscape.

Houses of suburbia mapped across the Philtrum accessed through a large viaduct leading from the desert to eyebrows and finally the industrial mouth and chin – circulating the crescent of the eyelid and inner city left cheek.

Maxilla Way.
Sphenoid Quarter.
The Metopic Desert.
Zygoma Junction.
Nasal Lane.

The city lights extend across the cheeks – left cheek is capital, resembling the metropolitan Canberra – its centre a globular extension of governmental, municipal and cultural vitality, the circular district surrounded by a pentagram of museums and galleries eventually spanning out towards the busy quagmire of crowds; the right cheek being its historical counterpart for trading and industrial, working-class empowerment. You can see from the blueprint a divide of ethics where left-cheek-centric Negus holds his tongue and right a far more exciting area with its own internal stomach of underground music and art – its people rule the right-cheek, politics rule the left.

One connection between the suburban nose and the reflective cities – is the sewage outlet which runs beneath the dermis and out of the Premaxilla, dripping waste into the open mouth.

“We will be discussing homo-sex-uality in animals.”

The table that Negus lay on has a damp coating of mustard oil, yellow droplets upon the bottles of Clobetasone Butyrate – the instruments of hairline brushes, needles, microscopic lenses, coatings and polyester cement glistens with the moisture of ointments which preserve and isolate any exfoliation or overactive sebaceous glands. It seems that Negus has automatic responses to the nip of the needle – shouting out quotes broken apart from previous lines in his six p.m. slot.

As the micro-landscape grew, Negus dissolved – his identity expanding as a textured surface. Keratin waterfalls, psoriasis caves and follicle campsites. Scaffolding was placed to hold up the eyelids whilst intraocular fluid is dyed to match the crystal lakes. Small clay islands floated in the retinal vein occlusion causing a sharp aggravated haemorrhage. Microfibre lights illuminating the strips of freeway, dotted up high-rise buildings across the metropolitan areas – darkness swallows the rural outback; and as my work continues and expands onto the pillow which his head lay on – I construct him into the actual – his body morphed into fragmental ornament.

Cosmology of Architecture.

The concrete under the baking Australian sun was bone-dry, it was a surreal landscape. In the distance you could see an ocean of red sands, cutting the horizon and feeling indefinitely – The concrete island caused a mirage which stretched across like a sprite which outstretches the perimeters of an AutoCAD map. Always within vision and endlessly growing, a glitch in the landscape and a perspective that cannot fit the dimensions. The site during the day had far more movement, it was populated – not just internally but also externally – tourists travelled into the area just to capture its formation.

It was a huge wildlife area of vermillion sands and dry, constant heat. A sky so rich and blue that – and mainly due to the large skeletons of scaffolding – seemed a much further distance from land. No cloud ever dared cross this area – even tourists would wait until the winter to venture out into the sands. The area of work was flat, and like much of Australia, it was deprived of its natural shapes and contortions, even though the desert is home to some of the largest sand dunes in the world, it was no exception to planning permissions or allow any kind of restraint to the project. Variations of nature had its claws deeply embedded surrounding the landfill, but man had controlled a vast circumference of the desert that any slight deviation to it would be found and then executed.

Dust and hot red sand blew over the ground; it made a delicate noise across the large slab of concrete. The whole area was alien to everyone who saw it, surrounded by a giant metal fence – but regardless of this, the attraction was a see-through structure and could be seen from miles away. In the mid-August heat, the sun was going down at three and the whole area was a dark pink.

Forty-two thousand acres, ten square miles – this island holds far over one-hundred thousand metric tonnes of concrete.

Like the hologram structure in New South Wales – you could wander past the work men whose time spent on the site meant that the hot red sand had mixed with the sweat on their faces creating a sandpaper effect when they use their bandanas to wipe away the corrosive mix – tearing away at their flesh and leaving their eyes exhausted and red beneath their filthy goggles. They let you be as though they were the humanoid animations which float past you in a walking gesture – no faces, no language – just practical and routine movement.

They had dug wells – prepared sewage pipes, constructed large scaffold anatomies, placed roads, illuminated the area with floodlights; metal buildings, land plots, metal fences, a rollercoaster, lobular temple, electrical connection. Columns appeared from the ground cracking the Earth in the order of some pig-nipple-god leading to a super-mall which was a basic foundation of blue plastic barrels, wagons, filth and large metal rope sprouting out of huge concrete slabs. Broken glass shards mixed in with dirt and spit dried to form clay – cigarette butts stuck into a sandwich which had been tampered with – some workers placed metal shards in the ham, burned holes in the bread, spat on the lettuce and placed it back in the piss-soaked container labelled BURKE. It had been buried with a dead blackbird taped to it – each negative surface area now filled with wet sand – a sharks tooth painted blue in some Mesoamerican replica – buried beneath the main fountain of the attraction. Like an omen for the country – that this will one day rule – men and women will torch their towns, raid ships, destroy buildings, rape architecture and have bacchanalian cocaine parties within the museums in hope that their towns and cities too will be created into giant ornaments. That they will carry artifices of their cities and bury them around this landsite – lay candles around their motorbike altar piece and pray to the vulgarity of Gargantua. Dragging the rusted boats, cars, pink limousines, a Ferris wheel, decomposed polyutherene constructions from MOVIE WORLD – the mechanical cogs and chain-lift from the SCOOBY DOO SPOOKY COASTER. Jars of urine collected from the toilets of mock Irish pubs, kangaroo teddies with I [HEART symbol] AUSTRALIA (replacing objects with language); that dirty comb in the gutter, the metal button received from the gentleman who lived on the boat, scratch cards – operatic voices syphoned into a huge barrel creating a hysterical avalanche of sound contained. All buried beneath the giant-megalopoli.

Kilcoy Murgon Road –

Around this time of the transmigration, rubber sharks had been placed remotely around go-to resorts to make holiday makers aware of the dangers of the open ocean. Coincidently, more people became interested in the submerging attack of foam-fish and began to venture towards them – eventually being consumed by actual sharks attracted to the shape of the dummies. The shores ran red with torn filament of muscle, cracked-bone, nylon and elastic; walls of sandcastles washed in the brown rust of human blood.        

It was along this road where we watched the colourful parade of wagons bring in gigantic scenery –

Huge monoliths of building edges.

Peru brown meters of architecture with giant neon CHEVRON RENAISSENCE.

True date palm trees in the dozens, all stacked like giant logs.

Segments of the towers all separated into huge abstract sections.

Rolls of turf and pattern tiles; wall mounts and roof tops.

Comedic sculptures from the DRACULA’S haunted house – large mouths, spider legs and theatrical scenery.

Tree branches, glass panes, sand texture, scaffolding, cranes, atlas, car wheels, boarder, pink meters, vendors, automatic doors, plant pots, pieces of sushi, park bench, Q-deck – all passing by through the small outer village – black smoke exhaust fumes turning the reservoir golden and sticky. European architects became apparent, although the attraction was not yet open to the public, you could still access a good amount which was surrounded by an eight meter tall corrugated steel fence, they would congregate and network with one and other – belittling the camera heavy tourists who photographed monuments, props and resources imported via heavy-machinery. Mounds of litter started entering the worksite, clogging up newly painted scenery with crisp packets and beer cans, obscuring the pristine nature and metropolis that was but mazes of infer-structure.


When does a miniature village stop – why is it that someone can add a finishing touch without the consideration of a continuum, I am not satisfied that the model ends just at the roof, all things considered the artist has now opened a space where the details must continue. Though the village is imaginary – some sort of schizophrenic flaneur – there needs to include a miniature realm, miniature blueprints – small cavernous details – inner stories, miniature-miniature villages – miniature tools that are operated through the use of larger but still miniature tools – systematically generating a whole miniature operation controlled by the artist – models building on top of one and other – growing immediately like an unstoppable root – direct veins from the artist, to the miniature world and into the Earth – something that once you destroy carries on growing automatically – replicating itself vertically –thousands of meters high. 

And as Durtal argues in The Cathedral (J.K.Huysmans);

"It is almost certain that it was in the forest that man found the prototype of the nave and the pointed arch. The most amazing cathedral constructed by Nature herself, with lavish outlay of the pointed aisle of branches, is at Jumiéges. There, close to the splendid ruins o the Abbey, where the two towers are still intact, while the roofless nave, carpeted with flowers, ends in a chancel of foliage shut in by an apse of trees, three vast aisles of centenary boles extended in parallel lines; one in the middle, very wide, the two others, one on each side, somewhat narrower; they exactly represent a church nave with its two side aisles, upheld by black columns and roofed with verdure..."

The discussion follows on through the Cathedral where Durtal believes that the overwhelming scale of the church - its cosmology of symbolism - the very structures of the Gothic all comes from nature.

And thus - the miniature village can be seen as an opposition to the architecture of the Cathedral (especially the medieval Gothic) in that where the magnificent height of the building is a reminder of how small we are - that separation of space and how it becomes sectioned - proves that the miniature village embodies us with a sense of the superhuman. The symbolism of the Cathedral - its creatures and saints versus the reduction of the miniature village - taking the quaint and banality of the everyday and composing it with an inverse scale of what the Cathedral may hold. Taking its source directly from the intersubjective state of contemporary life - the replication of the REAL - rather than from nature.

[i] Baudrillard arranges the order of simulation into three appearances, parallel to the mutations of the law of value, have followed one another since the Renaissance… and goes on to describe the Counterfeit as  the dominant scheme of the “classical” period, from the Renaissance to the industrial revolution…. The first order of simulacrum is based on the natural law of value, that of the second order (Production) on the commercial law of value, that of the third order (Simulation) on the structural law of value.