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.

04 March 2015

Image conscious ] I AM AFRAID (

iconophobia : 

fear of images
fear of images on book covers
fear of images on book covers on blogs...

theoriconophobia : 

fear of looking at images
fear of looking at images on book covers
fear of looking at images on book covers on blogs...

metatheoriconophobia : 

fear of awareness of looking at images
fear of awareness of looking at images on book covers
fear of awareness of looking at images on book covers on blogs...
 I AM AFRAID : Catholicism and Fear.
 by Dr. J. Catarinich.
 Australian CATHOLIC TRUTH SOCIETY No. 1060 (1948)

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...


03 March 2015

Image conscious (2)

Following yesterday's desperate speech bubble...
...this morning's emails brought this film screening announcement from West Space, Melbourne :

Living Museum of the West Film Screening Part 1:

Join us for the screening of two films: Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y and In Comparison, with a short film from the Living Museum archive, at the Living Museum of the West. 

SUNDAY 15 MARCH, 2015. 2-5PM

Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y  - Johan Grimonprez
Belguim, 1997, colour, 68 min.
Programmed by Jessie Scott.

Buckle-up for Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, the acclaimed hijacking documentary that eerily foreshadowed 9-11.We meet the romantic skyjackers who fought their revolutions and won air time on the passenger planes of the 1960's. By the 1990s, such characters are apperently no more, replaced on our TV screens by stories of state-sponsored suitcase bombs. Director Johan Grimonprez investigates the politics behind this change, at the same time unwrapping our own complicity in the urge for ultimate disaster. Playing on Don DeLillo's riff in the novel MAO II, What terrorist gain, novelists lose and The home is a failed idea, he blends archive hijackings with sureal and banal themes of junk food, pet statistics, disco and his quirky home movies. David Shea wrote that the suberb soundtrack to film's rollercoaster through history, best described in the words of one hijacked Pepsi executive as: “running the gamut of many emotions: from surprise to shock, to fear, to joy, to laughter and then again, fear.”

Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y addresses the mass media manipulation by, and complicity with terrorism. The gratuitous facilitation of ISIS' grotesque, sophisticated, layered propaganda across all forms of media, with its call backs to Abu Graib and Guantanamo and deployment of seductive, radical and pop-culture iconographic such as the black flag, are verily admired by the media (recognising their own offspring), but remain largely uncritiqued as media objects, by artists or others. Grimonprez's Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y deploys that old chestnut: using the medium to critique the medium. Have we in fact lost the ability to do this: as our use of media, video in particular, becomes more ubiquitous and sophisticated, has our ability to see it diminished?

Screening of Go West Yound Women1986, taken from the Living Museum  of the West archive. With interviews with director and cast the film documents the opening of a local musical that described the story of women working in the munitions industry. Programmed by Kerrie Poliness.

In Comparison – Harun Farocki
Germany, 2009, (DVD-R of) 16mm, color, 61 min

Programed by Nic Tammens.

“I wanted to make a film [In Comparison] about concomitance and contemporary production on a range of different technical levels. So I looked for an object that had not changed too much in the past few thousand years. This could have been a shoe or a knife, but a brick becomes part of a building and therefore part of our environment. So the brick appears as something of a poetic object. I follow its mode of creation and use in Africa, India, and Europe."[1]

When a film abstains from being didactic, to introduce it with wordy convictions puts one at risk of saying too much.

In lieu of this, we might prepare by thinking: what is an image? what is society? what is the relationship between film and society? what is an institution? what is the relationship between the social and environment? what is the nature of work? and what is human within any of this?

Harun Farocki (1944-2014) was born in what was German Czechoslovakia during WWII. His beginnings as a filmmaker is marked by his expulsion from the German Film and Television Academy in 1969 when Farocki and fellow classmate Hartmut Bitomsky were ejected on the grounds of their political activism. Farocki supported himself by working for the West German television service and as a film critic, serving as the editor for FilmKritik from 1974 to 1984. In addition to making over 120 films he produced work for the purpose of exhibition in museums and galleries where his work has been extensively exhibited internationally.

Location: The Living Museum of the West is located at Pipemakers Park, Van Ness Avenue, Maribyrnong. Melway Map 28 B10.

Theatre of the Actors of Regard   
 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...


02 March 2015

Image conscious

Another great image by the great Bruce Petty.   

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, leader...

The Age / Sydney Morning Herald  
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...


01 March 2015


A few days ago we visited the scene below.

Theatre of the Actors of Regard  
Being both meta- minded and keen appreciators of the disruptive French 'breakthrough' play, when we at bLOGOS/HA HA attend 'Waiting for The Times', we cannot but imagine the unseen reader there suddenly breaking through that 'fourth wall' to confront us.

Here are a few such instances, from Emile Zola's famous 13 January 1898 open letter J'accuse...! published on the front page of L'Aurore... to the 7 January 2015 shootings at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo :

13 January 1898, J'accuse...! 
     - wikipedia entry here

1900 - : the new century opens with breakthrough à la mode at The Times/Le Temps, La Libre Parole, La Liberté, Le Figaro, L'Autorité, L'Intransigeant, Le TAR, Le Grand National...
1901 - : Égalité and constant popular revolution.
Let's everyone practise the media breakthrough ...

as the meta- gets even better :

27 November 1960, Dimanche :
Yves Kline takes the newspaper breakthrough to a new level with his Leap into the Void presented to the world on the front page of his one-day Paris paper, Dimanche.

1978 : the tradition continues with the Reiser
cover of The Best Covers of Charlie Hebdo :

1978 : madder, meta-, other : a second collection of 1407 Charlie Hebdo covers we'd previously been spared. Cabu respects the breakthrough tradition, too.

Now the TAR are behind. So, back cover, rear view.

7 January 2015 : Cabu and other Charlie Hebdo personel are shot dead by Islamic extremists. This 'breakthrough' picture on the cover of Les Echos :

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...


26 February 2015

Actually, for purposes of activation...

Act One : 
Hal Foster : Lecture, Melbourne University today
2015 Dean's Lecture Series
'In praise of actuality: Questioning Art as a Process'
Why is process, like performance, so readily embraced by artists today? One reason is that it is said to activate the viewer, the assumption being that to leave an artwork undone is to prompt us to complete it.  And yet this attitude can easily become an excuse not to execute a work fully. A work that appears unfinished hardly ensures that the viewer will be engaged; indifference is as likely a result, perhaps a more likely one.

In this lecture, internationally-renowned art critic Hal Foster argues that such informality tends to discourage sustained attention, both aesthetic and critical.  We are likely to pass over the work quickly, he claims, because its maker seems to have done the same prior to us, or because quick effect seems to be what was intended in the first place.  He also challenges two further assumptions. The first is that the viewer is somehow passive to begin with, which need not be the case at all, and the second is that a finished work in the traditional sense cannot activate the viewer as effectively, which is also false.

For purposes of activation and attention, Foster argues, give us a Piet Mondrian over a George Maciunas any day!

Professor Hal Foster is Townsend Martin Class of 1917 Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University and a coeditor of the journal October. Author of The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century (MIT Press, 1996) and Design and Crime (and Other Diatribes) (Verso, 2002/2011), he recently published The Art-Architecture Complex (Verso, 2011) and The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha (Princeton University Press, 2012). His new book Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency is due out from Verso in fall 2015.
When:Thursday, 26 February 2015 | 6:30 - 7:30pm

Theatre of the Actors of Regard  
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...

Act Two :
Yves Klein : dimanche, 27 November 1960
The Diary of a Single Day
The Blue Revolution Continues


As part of the theatrical presentations of the Festival of Avant-garde Art in November-December 1960, I have decided to present the ultimate form of collective theatre : a dimanche for everybody.

I did not wish to limit myself to an afternoon or evening performance.

On dimanche (Sunday), 27 November 1960, from midnight to midnight, I thus present a full day of festival, a true spectacle of the Void, as a culminating point of my theories. However, any other day of the week could have been used.

I wish that on this day joy and wonder will reign, that no one will get stage fright, and that everyone, conscious as well as unconscious actors-spectators of this gigantesque presentation, should have a good day. 

That everyone will come and go, move about, or remain still. 

Everything I write in this diary today precedes the presentation of this historic day for the theater.

The theatre should be or at least rapidly attempt to become the pleasure of being, of living, of spending wondrous moments, and with each passing day of better understanding the beauty of each moment.

Everything I write in this dairy represents my own steps towards this glorious day of realism and truth: the field of operations of my proposed conception of theatre is not only the city, Paris, but also the countryside, the desert, the mountains, even the sky, and even the entire universe. Why not? 

I know that everything inevitably is going to work out very well for everyone, spectators, actors, stagehands, directors, et al.

I would like to thank Mr. Jacques Polieri, the director of the Avant-garde Festival, for his enthusiasm and for proposing to me that I present this “dimanche, November 27.”

Yves Klein

Dimanche on sale at a Paris news-stand  
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...

Act Three : 
bLOGOS/HA HA : Theatre of the Actors of Regard

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...


25 February 2015

The Times they are a-changin'

Tired of watching others read The Times while you wait and wait and wait your turn? 

Why not have your Gentleman's Club install wifi, then catch up on bLOGOS/HA HA while you wait.
This 1831 performance of 'Waiting for The Times' for Theatre of the Actors of Regard long precedes the artlife of Gilbert & George. It is recorded here by the artist Benjamin Robert Haydon*. 

Theatre of the Actors of Regard  
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...

*You might recall the impecunious and constantly unhappy Haydon in the film 'Mr Turner'. In one scene, we saw him upset that his 'A Sicilian Ass' has been installed in the back room of the Royal Academy. The following sequence extracts are from Mike Leigh's screenplay here :

In the ante-room we are looking at a painting of a donkey. 

PICKERSGILL : Can you explain your rendition? 
HAYDON : It needs no explanation, sir. ‘Tis our Redeemer’s conveyance into Jerusalem, plain as day. 
PICKERSGILL : Blasphemy! 
(Turner has returned.)
TURNER: You faring well, Mr. Haydon? 
HAYDON : This will be the finish of me! (He storms out.)
TURNER : Fifty pounds! 

Turner shakes his head, and shares the moment with Soane, who is adjacent. 
Haydon marches into the main gallery. He goes up to Leslie, who is standing with Eastlake and Callcott...

PICKERSGILL : Haydon, can I point out that I too hang in the inferior chamber?
HAYDON : I care not for your work, sir. I care not a fig.
PICKERSGILL : At least my work does not represent self-portrait as ass. 

SHEE : Mr. Pickersgill...! 
HAYDON Give me those... 
(Haydon knocks Pickersgill’s hat off. A general struggle ensues.)
HAYDON : Unhand me!
SHEE : Remove this man!
HAYDON (shouting) : You swines! You swines! 

Turner quietly leaves the gallery.


24 February 2015

regarding Mr. Turner

Sunday night at The Rex.
Three old artists sitting in a row 
for Mike Leigh 
Mr T
and Theatre of the Actors of Regard.

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/ 
someone looks at something...

.  .  .  .

Demonstration Day at the Royal Academy.
Three old artists standing in a row
for Charles West Cope 
Mr T
and Theatre of the Actors of Regard.

Joseph Mallord William Turner by Charles West Cope
oil on card, circa 1828
National Portrait Galley, London

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...


23 February 2015



             click image to enlarge  
  A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
  someone looks at something...



22 February 2015

LOGOS/HA HA or Who Speaks There?

The editorial WE thought we had more or less finished this run of Malevich-referencing posts, after yesterday's report that the great artist will run onto The Field for the Essendon Bombers in the 2015 pre-Season.

Then, today, we encounter this splendid photo...

Theatre of the Actors of Regard  
 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...

 ]The Red Cardigan(
... and its problematic headline ...
Kasimir Malevich's 'Black Square': 

What does it say to you? 
... accompanying a July 2014 article by Michael Glover in The (UK) Independent. It begins :

The painting itself sits in a relatively darkened room at Tate Modern, where a major retrospective of the career of its creator, Kasimir Malevich from Kiev, opens today. Given that the painting is black from top to toe and hip to hip, and that it is often said to represent a pivotal moment in the history of abstraction and the art of the 20th century, this strikes the onlooker as an odd decision. Why not be given the opportunity to see it as clearly as possible? 
                    - read full article here
Given that (one meaning of) Logos is 
The Speaking into Being of the World,
and given therefore that this Logos includes
The Speaking into Being of... say, 
Kasimir Malevich's 'Black Square'

... we at bLOGOS/HA HA 
would, with instinctive reflex, recast that headline, 
and its conceptual confusion, as :

Kasimir Malevich's 'Black Square' : 

What do you say to it?

Not that you must say anything to it. As with any other projection-space, to be silent is an option.

Salvatore Rosa's 'Self-portrait' : 

What do you say to it?

Consider another artwork, a severe favourite of ours at the National Gallery, London : Salvatore Rosa's c.1645 self-portrait :


Theatre of the Actors of Regard  
Rosa plays hard eyeball with his Actors of Regard while his hands hold firm to the dictum board :
AUT TACE, AUT LOQUERE MELIORA SILENTIO (Do not speak unless your words are better than silence).

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...


20 February 2015

Malevich to Play for Bombers in pre-Season

... as the tough times continue. 

This editorial in The Age today :

    "Any day now vast numbers of Australians will begin an annual ritual. Already the back pages of daily newspapers  have begun a familiar transformation. Progressively, sports played with round balls are being pushed inside – footy season is nearly upon us and it is cause for celebration.
Or is it? For the third consecutive year, the start of an AFL season is being tainted by the red and black stain of the Essendon Football Club... " 

Resurrection : Bombers Milk Chocolate Easter Egg Wrapper

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...