David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

31 December 2008

Bon chance, all!


Crumbs Swept Up
Talmage, T. De Witt (Thomas De Witt), 1832-1902
Published 1877Link

28 December 2008


There was a time, not so long ago, when A Painting re-pictured in a newspaper, journal or catalog would always and automatically be shown as completely cut away from The World.

Depending on the house style, it might also have an index number nearby or a brief description underneath. Sometimes, a more formal label: the name of the artist; the title given it by the artist; and perhaps a creation date. Additional information might include a set of measurements; names of certain of the physical materials used in the fabrication; names of previous owners of renown; a taxonomy category; certain jottings on the back (verso) and so on.

While that type of representation is still used, we are now also commonly presented with a formal projection-space framed in a theatrical archetypal tableau. bLOGOS/HA HA has commented previously on certain (likely) works of The Golden Guillotine which mimic this form ad absurdum. Also, the productions of the generalist Theatre of the Actors of Looking have been noted

The following two images accompanied (and are scanned from) the newsprint edition of an article in this weekend's The Australian. They illustrate this current fashion as performed for the top end of town and for those of the University burbs.

For the one, a stark and confronting work by ideogram (yet another of these 'infiltraitor' groups) : "What's black and white and faceless?".

For the other, same but different, all is downplayed in what appears to be a static staging of "A Stretch of the Imagination" with its Monk O'Neil university-of-hard-knocks type; its front-of-house behind-the-scenes white gloved stage hands turning their backs on the audience; and its in-your-face director in blue jeans, open shirt and hands in pockets.

25 December 2008



bLOGOS/HA HA wishes all visitors
a Merry Xmas
a Brilliant Hanukkah
Season's Greetings

21 December 2008

Theatre troupe thrills local audience


Zombies of the bLOGOSphere is a recent tableau vivant by Theatre of the Actors of Looking.

In this six hour presentation the role of the Supporters was played by the Frame brothers; the Shield by a 2:1:1 wooden casket and the letters L and S by the overhead caption. The part of The Outsider was performed by a member of the audience.

The evening was judged an outstanding success.

20 December 2008

19 December 2008

Polly want a cracker?


This image is scanned from today's THE AGE (Melbourne). Above it, the newsprint edition has the headline Gallery calls for donations to keep a 'cracker' and underneath, the caption reads Visitors admire Cornelis de Vos' Mother and Child, a painting the National Gallery of Victoria would like to own.

Visitors?_bLOGOS/HA HA wonders if this might be another farce work by The Golden Guillotine. Again, all the familiar signs are to be seen : an Actor of Looking set in appropriate pose on the INSIDE of the proscenium barrier (see detail below) and, as the formal projection-space is titled Mother and child, for a simple one-to-one the Actor of Looking is also a woman, is of similar age to the Mother depicted, and even matches her with a black dress and white collar. Aha. Oh, yes. Mmmm...

The tableau then extends into the fictional-real space OUTSIDE this No Man's Land. There, Actor of Looking with Golden Guillotine is flanked by the shadowy silhouettes of an older man with a camera, behind her , and a younger woman approaching.

Such works always have a text component:

The painting, Mother and Child by the Flemish artist Cornelis de Vos, is on loan from a London dealer while the NGV tries to raise the $1.4 million purchase price.

Director Gerard Vaughan said it was in pristine condition and described it as very well priced. "It would break my heart to have to pack it in its case and send it back," he said. "It will transform our collection and pull it all together and give it focus. This is as good as you get — it's a cracker."

18 December 2008

"Mmmm... "


Norman Rockwell, Popular Science, October 1920

17 December 2008

Michael Kirby : the most important thing that I have discovered...


THERE is nothing like the prospect of a radical life change to concentrate the mind on the things that really matter. I want to identify, if I can, the most important thing that I have discovered. I refer to love. Love for one another. Love for our community. Love for others everywhere in the world. Love transcends even scholarship, cleverness and university degrees. It is greater than pride and wealth. It endures when worldly vanities fade."_(more... )

Retiring High Court judge Michael Kirby

16 December 2008

Asleep on the job! (Hey, mate!)

This is not a middle path.

THE AGE, Editorial

Rudd fails to match words and deeds on
climate change

"A GLOBAL financial crisis was never going to provide ideal conditions in which to tackle the gravest environmental problem facing the planet. Even those who had hoped that Australia would adopt a so-called middle path in reducing carbon emissions, however, should be dismayed by the extremely modest targets that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced yesterday.
". . (more... )

THE AGE Editorial
December 16, 2008

15 December 2008


The witsom wisdom of Ben Vautier is held in high regard at bLOGOS/HA HA

Looking at the words and images that rim the window here, there's a 1985 postcard by Ben : no more Art

His contribution to Rene Block's 1990 Sydney Biennale (The Readymade Boomerang) print folio, Am I or is Australia Far Away? is another local favourite.

Shortly after the announcement of the name of the next
Sydney Biennale director, David Elliot, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article headed Biennale director sees potential of 2010, even from afar from which this extract
In it, in relation to the proposed exhibition title and theme, The Beauty Of Distance: Songs Of Survival In A Precarious Age, you are quoted as saying: "The idea of distance covers two ideas," he says. "Firstly, Australia is a long way away from anywhere else, but it's more about what art is and how art works … Art runs parallel to life.
bLOGOS/HA HA emailed the new director and referred him to_ Am I is Australia far away?

So, it was a pleasure a few days ago to receive the following forwarded newsletter (thanks Mal) from Ben Vautier honouring his recently departed Fluxus friend George Brecht.


George Brecht
(August 27, 1926. - December 5, 2008

Hello Fluxus friends
This is a small newsletter
concerning George Brecht
who just left us
George Brecht is the artist
in the world who's attitude towards art
got me thinking
and changed my mind
in other words influenced me the most.
at the time in 1962
I was interested in " the limits of art "
I had met Yves Klein (the monochrome)
Manzoni (shit in art)
and knew about Duchamp's Ready Made
So when Maciunas in 1962 in London
said to me :
There is someone in New York called George Brecht
whose work also contains a limit in art
I said : what does he do?
Maciunas answered :
He blinks or just shakes your hand or closes a door.
or even just leaves a chair in a corner
you can't tell if it is a work of art or just a chair
I remember being taken so aback
that I decided to go to New York
and meet this incredible George Brecht
that is what I did...

This is the opening section only. The full piece can be found among Ben's magnificent heap at ben-vautier.com

Once there go to IMPORTANT
(as shown here on the right)
click on that,
then click on
- 2008-12-09

12 December 2008

a word to the wise

le bLOG qui rit
a vache performance of

risus purus
"the laugh laughing at the laugh"
after Watt (1953) by Samuel Beckett

11 December 2008

10 December 2008

Olivier Messiaen : 100th anniversary today

In 1988 France's gift to the people of Australia, for our bicentenary celebrations of Captain Phillip's 1788 arrival with the First Load of Prisoners, was Olivier Messiaen. He came to attend concerts of his music, given in his honour, and for his own interest to hear and observe the Lyre bird.

On Saturday 28 May 1988, Messiaen attended a performance of his Quartet for the End of Time at Melba Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium. To get a good seat, your correspondent arrived hours early, with a book to read. Had he known there would be an on-stage interview with the composer he would also have brought drawing materials. To record the event, therefore, he had just a jotting pencil and a small white paper bag used for a bookmark. It had contained a gift from Joy: three trout flies, and their names written in blue. White Moth, Red Tag, Royal Coachman.

After the concert, the master generously also added his own name (down the left side).

There was discussion of course about the famous circumstances of the composition and first performance of Quartet for the End of Time, given by Messiaen and fellow prisoners to an audience of prison-camp companions and their Nazi guards.

Also discussed was Messiaen's relation to birds and bird song. As noted on the drawing, he said of St Francis, "As he preached to the birds, I thought he was a colleague."

When the all-sounds song of the Lyre bird was teased at by the questioner, with what seemed to me possibly a secondary shot at postmodern practitioners - the word "stealing" was used - Messiaen took offence. If not for himself then on behalf of this unique bird whose practice seems so much like his own. "No bird steals another bird's song", he protested. "It's a lie. It's a transcription!" (You, not the Lyre, are the liar.)

It is known that in the following days Messiaen did encounter Lyre birds in song and dance at Sherbrook Forest, outside Melbourne. He made notations of their songs in his journal, as he had done for many decades, and these he later incorporated into his final composition, Éclairs sur l'au-delà…. (Illuminations on the beyond…). The third movement of this 11 movement work is
L’Oiseau-lyre et la Ville-fiancée (The lyre bird and the bridal city).

For 61 years Messiaen was the titular organist at Église de la Sainte-Trinité, Paris. Shortly after Messiaen's visit to Melba Hall, your correspondent visited Paris for the first time. One Sunday morning he attended several masses at La Trinité in the hope that Messiaen might play the organ. No such luck, but some Messiaen work was played. A great thrill. (photo by PT)

In 1992 Christine and I were living in Berlin. On Good Friday we attended the service and organ recital at Alte Dorfkirche, Zelendorf.

As this drawing records, the first piece was by Mendelssohn, the second by Bach and the third by Messiaen, Combat de la mort et de la vie, part four of Les Corps glorieux (Glorious Bodies) of 1939. Ten days later, on 27 April 1992, Messiaen died.

A month after, a concert of remembrance was given in his honour at the Franzosische Friedrichstadtkirche, home of the French Reform Church. A work by Bach, then Messiaen's nine part meditation for organ La Nativité du Seigneur (The Nativity of the Lord) of 1935. As the final sustained chord ended and faded away a blackbird could clearly be heard singing, outside, in the evening light, beyond the stained glass.

That's the obvious point to end this. However, given the present plight of the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), one more recollection. Of a wonderful wintry Friday night in Melbourne earlier this year. Of leaving a packed MCG at three quarter time, with the Magpies unexpectedly thrashing the Cats, and rushing through the Fitzroy Gardens to St Patrick's Cathedral for a 10pm start of Messiaen's great piano cycle Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus (Twenty views of the child Jesus) performed on a (Southern) cross of pianos by Michael Kieran Harvey and a team of pianists from the Australian National Academy of Music. Of stepping back into the Melbourne chill at 1.15am, totally exhilarated.

09 December 2008

Paradise Lost (illustrated)

Today is the 400th birthday of John Milton
(9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674).

From the heap, these PT drawings circa 1973, spun loosely on a few lines from Paradise Lost, Books 1-4.

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view

Sat on his faded cheek, but under Browes

Drew audience and attention still as Night

In others count'nance red his own dismay

If shape it might be call'd that shape had none

Thou art my Father, thou my Author, thou
My being gav'st me; whom should I obey
But thee, whom follow?

Hail holy light, ofspring of Heav'n first-born

Presented with a Universal blanc

The radiant image of his Glory sat

The World shall burn, and from her ashes spring
New Heav'n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell

Invisible, except to God alone

O For that warning voice, which he who saw

But rather to tell how, if Art could tell

4/358 (above)
O Hell! what doe mine eyes with grief behold

4/462 (below)
Bending to look on me, I started back,
It started back, but pleasd I soon returnd