SPANDA – Verge Festival – Sydney University

Verge Festival 

Sydney University

Eastern Avenue, Camperdown

8-17 October

Everyday 11am – 3pm

Tues, Wed, Thurs – late close 9pm

 

SPANDA is #1 on the sculpture walk at this years Verge Festival brought to you by the dedicated students and graduates of the University of Sydney Union.

 

SPANDA is a Claire Munro Art and Design initiative. It is an interactive multi sensory installation by Sydney College of the Arts students Dorit Goldman (MFA), Melissa Maree (BVA) and Claire Munro (BVA). SPANDA is from Sanskrit referring to the self expressive pulse of all individual things and all things united as one. Translated as movement, vibration and an exploration into our collective consciousness. SPANDA includes work by Dorit Goldman with her plaster “accidents” a result of her study of the body. Melissa Maree explores visual vibration through geometry and pattern with her delicate cutouts. Accompanied with warped glass blown vessels, photonics fibre structures and video projection that explore human Phsycology by Claire Munro. Overall it is an experience and one is urged to sit in the work be still and enjoy the works many intricate and ever changing moments as well as identifying the works impact on you as an individual and as (like everything else) a vital part of our entire cosmos as a whole. It’s mesmerising visuals and playful string installation combined with the sculptures create a space for calm contemplation a chance to escape the stresses of the day and ponder.

 

I hope you enjoy these images.

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Existing Consciously

I have been soooo busy this year, apart from dealing with the emotional knot left by the death of my beloved grandfather and friend, I have been constantly overwhelmed by both the beauty and positive vibes i am getting from my new entanglement into university life and also the devastating state of our earth and social situations of my nation. For instance i have heard, from many people far more intelligent and researched than i, that humans as the top predator are looking at extinction in under 300 years (unless we go intergalactic and live off chemical lab food and injections). Considering the top of the food chain historically die out it shouldn’t be too ‘new’ an idea. However this shocked me, and continues to shock me, but the worst part is we are not just poisoning this earth so much so that it is becoming uninhabitable by us, we are making the earth relatively uninhabitable FULLSTOP!  Historically it has been major environmental events/shifts that have led to extinction of the likes of dinosaurs etc, only this time we are independently making significant negative influences on our environment so much so we are causing our own devastating events. WOAH!!! Then there are the continuing governmental decisions (in Australia and many other countries) that put mining before people.

I know i have already had a few rants about Coal Seem Gas (CSG) so i will be brief. For those of you who are not on top of the topic CSG is a methane gas mining method that involve fracturing the earth and flushing it with a mix of sand and 100’s of unregulated chemicals into the earth to force the gas up to be collected and then sold predominantly to China who in turn sell in back to us processed and at a much higher rate… WTF!!! One of the major problems with this method (apart from EVERYTHING) is the leakage. Methane gas as we all know is bad for the environment and is highly flammable. When processed it is half the greenhouse gas emission of oil, however when it is raw it is 20 times the greenhouse gas emissions. CSG mines have been known to leak up to 2/3 of the gas they force to be released. So there goes the ‘greener natural gas’ sell. The other major issue with the leakage is the immediate effect it has on residents, land owners (such as farms, wineries, equestrian areas etc) and the surrounding organic environments (like lagoons, water catchment areas and all the deep ground water) the mines are leaking highly flammable gas (and chemical spill) into these areas, not only contaminating the water making it undrinkable and highly dangerous, but also Australia is a naturally hot firelight country we do not need to fuel the flames. Imagine if CSG was already completely approved and already in practice in the Blue Mountains area (which has only been delayed by public interest and ‘greenies’ dedicated to save us all). The fires would be even worse!!!!! Ok so not so brief but it makes me so mad!!! (and if you have any queries please do some research – a chilled option is watching The Promised Land film or checking out ‘Lock the Gate‘ or of course ‘The Greens‘, since i first was aligned with the issue late last year at Mini Waters  and creating Butterflies Against Gas i have done quite a bit of research, it is out there and it is always more conclusive when you have read and sourced your own information.

Whooo! Take a deep breath, try and shake your now devastating view on the natural world (which includes us btw)…next issue,

I have also been working with Rose Macdonald at Oxfam who is organising (along with Recognise) the largely student run initiative into constitutional recognition of Australia’s first people – Students For Recognition. We are all aware that indigenous australians where not only here first but are the oldest active culture in the world and Australia’s constitution does not mention a thing, it does not acknowledge their existence, precedence or profound link to country. On top of that our constitution which is our ‘founding’ legal document still includes racist detail. This racism needs to be removed and our Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander population past and present need to be recognised. So i have been putting on parties for students to spread the word, YEW!!!!

On a far more positive but still slightly sad note i have joined a group called Eco Divers, which is a volunteer marine conservation group based in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Sweeeet!!! So i get to dive regularly and look after the oceans, now for that sad bit, which is in dire straits. C02 emissions are bad for global warming, yeah yeah yadda yadda, but most of the C02 is absorbed by the oceans. The C02 gets absorbed by the ocean and combines with calciums to create calcium carbonate which is what coral, plankton and skeletons are made of. So the imbalance means the increased amounts of C02 dissolve the Calcium too much making it too difficult for calcium carbonate forms to grow. Plankton is at the bottom of the food chain. Sharks are at the top of the food chain, over fishing sharks is already leading to a rapid extinction of sharks (looking at hardly any wild sharks in 50 years) which will have a detrimental affect on marine life. Sharks are at the top of the marine food chain. So we are simultaneously wiping out the bottom and top of the life cycle creating a massive break in the life cycle  = no marine life. In 100 years oceans will only provide a safe habitat for the most basic forms of life, Bacteria! URGH!!!!! Oh and our plastic waste is atrocious, and i don’t blame the individual i blame the governments that aren’t regulating plastic waste. 3 million coffee cups get used every day in Sydney, many of which end up in our oceans and kill Shearwaters and Turtled etc 1 turtle a month dies in Sydney due to plastic ingestion.

So as part of my new Eco Warrior adventures i was called down to Mona Vale Beach yesterday morning to confirm and document a Calf Humpback caught in a shark net. Unfortunately i could confirm and i spent the next 3 hours helplessly watching the calf struggle to the surface to breath before tiring too much and sinking to the bottom. Meanwhile mum was fretting pacing the shores and trying to help her calf to make her needed trips to the surface. Police where there to keep us ‘crazy activists’ out of the water, fair enough really this is not a safe task and is not something you should try at home, but the helplessness was exhausting and so sad. Silver lining – the media where on site and have been able to project the communities disproval of the use of these unsuccessful Shark Nets and i have begun campaigning receiving almost 100 likes on my ‘Residents Against Shark Nets‘ facebook page which is really surreal i am so impressed with my network and broader community and thankful for the press supporting the communities outcry it has made a huge difference to the active awareness of the community.

Peace out!

How lucky I am!

I feel so lucky to live in Australia. I start lectures this week at Sydney College of the Arts. A truly beautiful grounds to study art on. Sandstone buildings, lush greens and pandanus trees with their infinitely winding branches. This morning I woke up to make my way to Centrelink; a government faculty that (using tax dollars) provides financial support for those in times of need. This includes times when undertaking full time study. So not only do I have the opportunity to study at university, with all fees paid by an interest free government loan. I can also receive financial support while doing so, allowing complete dedication to my studies. Wow!

Two years ago when I was living in Thailand I met so many amazing bright, talented people that would never have the opportunities I have. I felt the need to make use of my opportunities, to use my smarts to move up in the world.

University is an honour and a luxury not available to everyone. With this in mind I will try to stay open minded when frustrated by work load or the dynamics which come with working within an institution.

Thank you Australia! Despite my disappointments with u politically their are still a few systems in place that really do make Australia a lucky country.