blog for Australian artist and musician Matt Warren

Brainwash – October 11, 2011

Soapbox, brainwash, overdone. Trying to take care.
There is something important to be said.

Hey wha happened?

So a lot to catch up on. Well maybe not, sort of depends on if anyone wants to know, but I have found this kind of forum useful to put things in order, promote activities and vent and rant!

The past 6 or so months have been kind of all over the place. I don’t want to get too deeply into personal stuff, suffice to say, my mental health has been somewhat lacking. I would like to say, please don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Sometimes it takes a while to realise something’s wrong. Sometimes it’s painfully obvious, but you are afraid to get help. Sometimes you worry that it’s nothing or a sign of weakness. Get help if you need it. So what happened? Excessive doubt, fear and worry in my art practice, work and life in general.

I think those in the arts may at some point consider that what they do is not important or contributing to society.
We may not bake the bread or dig in a mine. But I think we contribute to what makes life bearable, what makes it worth living. That in itself has a value.

Is this doubt some working-class hangup? In my case, yes I think so and I think a way of compensating is to overdo it,  to over commit myself. Now I want to make it clear that is not some form of what I call ‘Busy Bragging’ – you know that thing that some folks indulge in (I have in the past), listing and talking about everything they’ve done or have to do as some kind of oneupmanship? I don’t want to do that, I for the most part am please to have something to do, but it can take it’s toll if unchecked.

It seems like since about 1996 I’ve been pretty flat-out with various art projects, music, travel and study, lot of it unpaid or unrecognised. I think quite frankly I’m exhausted, but not wishing to be unemployed or twiddling my thumbs, I kept on going. Being a parent has shifted my priorities somewhat, but old habits die hard and it’s hard to let go of. So in an attempt to ‘fix’ things and get stuff into some kind of order, I had to make changes.

I know of a bunch of people around my age with mental health issues. Is it a symptom of my generation? We were on the cusp of new technology where we were expected to and had to learn a whole lot of new stuff that the previous generation just left up to us and the following generation grew up with it already in place. The web came along with it’s myriad of pros and cons, a love hate relationship with the impersonal mass-communication. We lived through a lot of formative years of either unsympathetic or conservative government. A lot has happened in our recent history. Of course, this sounds like a ‘woe is me’ rant. I’m sure all generations have their crosses to bare, but I can only really speak of my own from experience. And after all you young folks….we never had it so good!

In the end it’s not all external influences, I don’t blame anyone or anything else. I also don’t blame myself. It just is. And it’s alright. In some small gradual ways, I’m on the mend.

Steps up onto soapbox, clears throats.
“Want to clear social networking sites of homophobia, racism, sexism, over zealous organised religion? Simple, get rid of it in the real world…oh wait…
If Facebook is a microcosm of society, then of course it’s there. You can ignore it/ block it or you can call people on their shit.
Have a nice day”
Steps down, grabs coat.

You know FACEBOOK and other forms social networking are odd places to visit when you think about them objectively. I really do get a lot out of it and it’s basically habitual for me now. People use the web as they see fit which is great, but it seems we all see it’s function and potential different and that can make for strange bedfellows and queasy combinations of intent. The joys of a (somewhat) democratic platform I suppose.
Is FACEBOOK a microcosm of society? If so, should the social norms in the meat world apply? People can and do act out a version of themselves behind an online persona and it’s very difficult to know how to take it sometimes. Some folks really do forget, don’t know, or don’t care that what they say can be forever.
If you go out into the street and shout an obscenity a small amount of people might hear and might be offended and then your voice will be gone…you might be called on it, you may pay a fine. You post a picture, write something, voice an opinion…you better expect that it may well end up living on forever. Hmmm, should I be saying this? Just think about it is all I’m saying…
Should FACEBOOK and the like be some flippant place where I can post my favourite song every morning or someone posts a funny clip? Or is it a forum for serious and heavy discussion about hate crimes and politics?
And I suppose the answer is, like society it’s both things and it’s everything and it all depends on what you bring to it. It’s still new, we are all still learning about it. There’s a hell of a lot of stuff that’s said, written, shown, linked and alluded to that I don’t like and when I feel so moved I call people on it. And honestly, I’m not sure I would have the courage to always do that in the real world, but I’m trying.

Self Importance Event Denial –
One more FACEBOOK related thing before I move on. When an event is posted and someone who has been invited can’t go, it’s okay to just say nothing on the wall, it’s even quite polite I think to say, “sorry, can’t make it, have a good one!” But it’s pretty funny when someone goes out of their way to make an excuse like: “Sorry I can’t go to your event as I am already flying to the moon with Richard Branson on that day.”  Okay slight exaggeration, but do keep an eye out, they turn up all the time. Awesome!

Clear the decks.
So in an attempt to clear the decks a bit, for anyone who might be interested, I’d like to recap on some of the years activities that due to some of the above mentioned issue, I haven’t really touched on:

Jan 7, 2011 saw the second only (to my knowledge) appearance of the Hobart Improv Collective of which I and a group of Hobart improvisers of various instrumentation perform sporadically. This particular appearance was at the event that signalled the close of Hobart ARI 6a. I performed drums alongside Ben Crothers (decks), Julian Teakle (guitar), Jordan Marson (keys) and Josh Santospirito (guitar). Here is a picture of my son tapping his feet while his dad’s feet sat beneath some drums! Arthur Matt Feet

On January 28 of this year was the opening of an INFLIGHT exchange group exhibition at HELL Gallery, Melbourne called ‘(Tasmania Is An Anagram of) I AM SATAN’ that I was part of . I contributed a small canvas with Acrylic, ink, shaving foam, hair on 12cm x 12cm canvas, speaker and mp3 player. The piece was called Dog Fo Ecaf.

mumble(speak) – my solo drone also project performed at the opening event, re-soundtracking Kenneth Anger’s ‘Lucifer Rising’ ritual film.

Hobart Art trail
Between January 14 – 23, there were a series of art works exhibited in shop fronts along Elizabeth Street, Hobart as curated and organised by Nicole O’Loughlin. My contribution was a light, sound and video projection work called Alien Codex and was shown around the upper floor of Big World Imports:

February 4 opened a month long exhibition at INFLIGHT debuting my new series/body of work/research project called Sönaris. I also did a second version of this later in June at Poimena Gallery in Launceston as part of a two person show with Scot Cotterell called “Pirate Radio (and other hauntologies)”. The below documentation covers both versions. I’m excited about this new project and see it being an ongoing and evolving body of work.
Sönaris an ongoing project; research, aesthetic and ritualistic.
A personal psychdelic/dreamscape environment, a ‘hauntology’ of fears,
memories, turn ons, depictions of mental and physical sublime moments
and enveloping throught procresses and states of mind.
The visual and aural abstraction of such elements will
create an environment that will hopefully resonate with others
so they may feel empathy or a sense of familiarity. An ‘ecstatic truth’ (Werner Herzog).

Feb 4 (The Pitt – Hobart) and Feb 5 (Devonport Regional Gallery) myself and Scot Cotterell performed as DÜ0 as support (with Spheres and Oceans) for AXXONN on a national tour. Much fun was had by all. Here is DÜ0 in Devonport (image by Jordan Marson):
duo in devonport

Silence Is Golden (Adelaide)
In June I undertook my first solo exhibition in Adelaide at the fabulous ARI known as FELTspace. The title of the show was “Silence Is Golden” and contained two works, Üüüüüüüü a multi channel sound and object installation about tinitus and the single channel video The Big Reveal showing an illusionary version of the ambience of a rock gig; imagine Sunn0))) playing in a stadium, but only seeing the lights.

My drone/psych/black metal tinged improv duo with Tim Panaretos has played a variety of gigs throughout the year including an appearance at the amazing Now now Festival appearing on the 22nd of January and a few in Hobart throughout the year. We do plan on releasing an album in some form at some time, but probably out first professional release will be the upcoming DF Art (Spain) and INFLIGHT (Hobart) co-curated CD compilation due sometime in late 2011/early 2012.

Wanted to mention that at the June 24 opening of ‘Pirate Radio’ – the two person exhibition mentioned above,  Mr Cotterell and myself also performed an improvised live soundscape, in keeping with the hauntological, pirate radio thematic and some of it can be heard here:

M010 launch
After quite a few months of writing, re-writing, recording, mixing and mastering M010, my metal/industrial/sludge duo with Aaron Metcalf released and played a release gig for our second indie EP ‘0.5 – ASSUMPT10N’ on July 9, 2011, (falling between our respective 40th birthdays) at the Brisbane Hotel. We played with Thrall, Cycle and Evil Goat and had the pleasure of performing with guest apearances from old band mate and current Laura member Caz Gannell and amazing musician, artist and friend Leigh Hobba on Sax and bass clarinet. Just prior to the release we had some discussion with Tom Hall and both parties decided to work together with Hall’s label Sonoptik distributing our material as downloads and future physical releases.
Also exactly 1 month prior – June 9, saw the release of our track ‘Fatigue’ as part of the free download compilation ‘Bleak Metal’ on the New Weird Australia imprint. Good company!!! Click the image below
Sound 2 Light
On August 20, myself and Jordan Marson as Oceans presented our performance/installation collaboration called ‘Stadium’ –  a noise drone soundwork made from multiple guitars and amps and video projection of a live manipulation of miniature light show. Hope to get some documentation soon.

mumblespeak releases/gig and future releases and collaborations.
Apart from the one off gig at HELL in January, my solo drone project was pretty inactive. There was a couple of remixes I did that have yet to see release (as far as I know), but things didn’t pick up until September really. I had been on and off working on a drone cover of the Jane Wiedlin song Rush Hour as a kind of exorcism and this was finally completed as a free downloadable single with the B-Side ‘The Dark Spirit’ available from (click image):

There was also the release of the long delayed single E/E2 as a download and a downloadable version of the out of print live album Henri’s Songs (Live at 6a). These are both available at the mumble(speak) Bandcamp page.
mumble(speak) appeared at Sound Klub IV at INFLIGHT on Sept 30, 2011 playing with Flight Habits, a two piece Hobart Improv Collective and Drive West Today.

Future mumble(speak) activities include a remix of a Tom Hall track, a collaboration with Concrete/Field and an EP for Terranean records. No solid dates for any of these yet…thank goodness.

Upcoming M010:
M010 are currently in the process of writing and arranging demos for an album. The plans were for us to do a 7″ single on Sonoptik by years end. This plan has now been dropped and we are currently looking at recording a full length album for Sonoptik for 2012. Ultimately we would all like to do this as a 12″ vinyl as well as a download and possibly CD. We will see.
Coming up on Wednesday the 19th of October, we will appear at the CD launch gig for “Community 2” a Hobart compilation that we appeared on. Starts at 8:00pm at the Brisbane Hotel. $5

So, that’s it in a very large nutshell. Enough of the busy bragging. Didn’t want it to appear that way, but needed to recap. If you’ve got this far, thanks for reading. And as I say, we can all do with a little help sometimes, we also need to remember to take care of ourselves too. I’m trying to get better at that.

Cheers, be good to each other.


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