February 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Now in 2014 we both look back to EXIST-ENCE 5 as we launch documentation of the work, both in Symposium papers, images and video and
look forward to future events here in 2014 and EXIST-ENCE 6 in 2015!!


1) Download the Catalogue – complete with abstracts and papers from the Symposium


2) Photo Documentation Online – Highlights from Alan Warren

Highlights of Exist-ence 5 from Alan Warren

3) Video Documentation Online – EXIST-ENCE 5′s vimeo channel

EXIST-ENCE 5 Vimeo Channel

4) A review from Robert Lort

Exist-ence 5 International Festival and Symposium, 2013

Reviewed by Robert Lort

Beginning in 2007 as a niche festival dedicated to performance and live art, the fifth exist-ence festival has expanded it’s ambitious reputation to incorporate workshops, a 2 day symposium, international guest artists and affiliated events in Melbourne and Sydney. The festival was curated by Rebecca Cunningham and Nicola Morton. The keynote address at the symposium was Jill Orr, who elaborated on her 30 year history of performance art practice and her negotiation of the process of documentation and mediation. Pivotal works like Bleeding Trees (1979) are largely known only from the photographic images that remain. The screening of the recently restored and until recently, never widely seen video from Orr’s She Had Long Golden Hair (1980) still bore the scars of visible damage from chemical decay, but managed to redefine and recontextualise the original performance. Photographic documentation from Orr’s The Promised Land  (2012) show Orr in various poses on the skeletal white ribs of a unfinished boat’s prow. These iconic images succeed in focusing and freezing for a moment, the ongoing destruction of the environment and humanity that goes on all around us, allowing us, for once, to comprehend it’s full veracity.

An unimposing sign adorned the entrance to the Queensland College of Art performance spaces, ‘Warning works may include, images that may offend, nudity, stroboscopic effect.’ This was strategic advise that nothing was going to be lackluster. For Redress #6  – Hinc illae lacrimae (Latin for ‘hence those tears’) Julie Vulcan had laid out a framework of salt piles, red ribbons and hanging white muslin. She stood in a red gown, which she peeled back, semi-naked, with her back to the audience, as she used a red felt tip pen to redden circles under her eyes, mouth and across her back. Her framework of allegorical implements evoked ritual, blood-letting, purity and cleansing. Her intensification with tasks and duration would continue as a personal, yet collective, process of transformation.

James Cunningham, who has a partial disability of his left arm, has used his performance art practice to conduct investigations into his own body and the neurological pain he endures. In Antennae he extended his own body by attaching to it three meter long carbon-fibre rods. The performance immediately conjured in my mind, Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis,’ as Gregor Samsa felt his oversized torso and flailing limbs scrape and grapple with stability and movement. For Cunningham, the intention was to experience the modified body as an architecture and to re-map the internal and external extremities. The performance space is felt and negotiated as the ends of the rods scrape along the walls, wobbled in the air and protruded into light fittings. Through a heightened perception of his own body and the space enclosing it, he forced himself to overcome the disorientation of his new form and experience a new tactility. Another artist to explore the transforming possibilities of bodily extensions and becoming immersed within the environment, was Henrik Hedinge (Sweden). His performance entailed constructing geometric shapes with bamboo poles extending from his own body.  Hedinge’s performance was less provocative, considering his previous forays into male pregnancy and gender flux. In an earlier artist statement he wrote, ‘In today’s twitter flow of quick information; desires and conceptions change quicker and quicker. No time to change your gender. Your gender has become a constant flow of gender metamorfis. GenderFlux.’1 (sic).  More compelling was Stitch-in-Time by local artist Bonnie Hart, which explored the pathologisation of intersex bodies.  This was an expanded cinema performance utilizing two 16 mm and a super 8 projector. Wearing a white body suit and white balloons, Hart used her body as a screen onto which hand painted films were projected. Her performance was equally sonic, augmented with a distorted and throbbing soundtrack. In the shadowy style of phantasmagoria, disembodied medical hands surgically inserted and removed ‘gender’ from her body to form adherence to society’s binarism of male/female. Toward the end, the hand painted films began to melt in the projector, to which the artist responded by wrapping bandages around the projector.

For Concentric Circles on Red, Velvet Pesu graced the stage wearing an elaborate costume consisting of two shark jaws around her neck, antlers, a stethoscope, glow sticks, a corset, an African thumb piano and ninja tabi. Her dress lit up as she sung operatic shamanic tones while stroking cello bows against a dressmakers mannequin augmented inside a cone of strings attached to an old penny farthing bicycle wheel. She controlled a hand cranked projector to screen abstract handmade films made entirely out of recycled materials. The rhizomatic meshing of decomposition and renewal summoned us into an atavistic other-worldliness.

The burly and always exuberant John G Boehme (Canada) and his sidekick 10 year old son, Beauregard played-up on the entrenched role of sport in modern society, as a macho ritual of assimilation. He suggests sport promotes a culture of competitiveness, of fanatic supporters, of obedience to absurd rules, of idealized and disciplined bodies, of gendered norms and mediated distractions. In cheeky defiance of the norms, Boehme revels in the faux pas - like turning up to a baseball match wearing English soccer logos. He performs wearing a mish-mash of sporting outfits and paraphernalia. He throws balls of lard toward his son, who responds by standing in a baseball stance, holding a cricket bat. Inevitably, the gallery space becomes splattered with lumps of white sticky lard.

Ana Wojak’s austere durational performance Songline, which she has performed in numerous locations, probes deeply into the historical, environmental and spiritual traces that are ingrained into the specifics of each location. Wrapped with 200m of white rope constraining her upper arms and torso and coated in a white ochre, Wojak slowly unfurled the rope to trace out a path on the lawn of the Queensland College of Art. In the dusky light and heightened silence, she progresses on a butoh like, metaphysical journey. As she progressively unraveled the rope, her body became unburdened and released. The conclusion was marked by the rubbing off of the white ochre, which rose in ghostly white puffs.

1. Hendrik Hedinge Text, 2010, p.9.

EXIST @ Metro Friday Nights – November 2013

October 23, 2013 Leave a comment

EXIST @ Metro Friday Nights

On the first Friday night of each month Metro throws open doors and invite audiences into the Artists’ space. Each month we showcase works in development; rough, ready, and full of potential. Take the opportunity to step into studios, participate in talks, see the unseen, give feedback on new ideas and have a glass of wine with Brisbane’s artist community.

EXIST curates a performance video program for the November edition

Performance> This month you will find Eleanor Jackson performing a work “specifically created” for you!

eleanor-jackson-image credit elleni-toumpas

A Timely Act of Intimacy and is a series of poetry based, proximity focused performances that consider the qualities of closeness, forced intimacy and genuine disclosure.
The audience is invited one by one to sit for a short, individual performance. The 20 poems that form the suite have been specifically created for the EXIST @ Metro Arts program and look at issues of secrecy, disclosure, the privacy of the home, the unspoken ugliness of those we know closely, as well as the kind of cinematic beauty that comes from ungarnished view of those we love.

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer and radio broadcaster. As a poet and performer,  Eleanor has been described as capable of creating, “powerful quiet”.
Eleanor has performed at the Overload Poetry, Queensland Poetry, Sydney Writers, Melbourne Writers, Brisbane Writers, Anywhere Theatre and Woodford Folk festivals.
She is the co-creator of several extended poetry works, having collaborated with fellow poet Betsy Turcot as The Belles of Hell and with multi-disciplinary artist, Doubting Thomas. These works include the two-woman poetry dialogue, She Stole My Every Rock and Roll; an audio visual remix and tribute to Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, DJ Thought Fox vs MC Lady Lazarus; and Chosen Family, which premiered at the Anywhere Theatre Festival in 2013.  www.eleanorjjackson.com

Film>  Kaye Stuart

Kaye Stuart1 Kaye Stuart2


Recent graduate from a Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons), Brisbane-based artist Kaye Stuart works with video and new media, mixed media and 2-D art forms. Through her own personal experiences of loss and grief she has created a body of work that explores the roles of women in modern society where certain stories of pain are unseen. She investigates issues of accessibility and visibility through a feminist lens, questioning the dominant patriarchal paradigm of accepted societal norms. Using a non-subversive approach to her work, she creates a video piece that reclaims the ancient art of storytelling to expose the raw, honest narratives of her subjects that reveal a hidden side to the world of women.

Using a documentary-style approach to her filmmaking, she interviews several women, asking them to recount past traumatic experiences related specifically to taboo issues of the female body.  The women’s faces are unseen, just as the stories they tell are generally unseen or unheard outside a close circle of friends or family. The women were filmed in a domestic area seated at a table. The space opposite the speaker is open and permits the viewer to be invited into the conversation. The invisible boundary between the viewer and the viewed in breached, allowing the audience access to a very private world. Through this work, Stuart questions why these stories are invisible and thus opens a debate about the status of women and the prominence of personal female experiences in a contemporary society.

Be sure not to miss this one of a kind and FREE event!

EXIST@ ROOM60 Barbara Rosenthal (NY) in converstaion with Tara Heffernan

October 8, 2013 Leave a comment

TOMORROW 9 October 2013 6:30pm

Don’t miss Barbara Rosenthal in conversation with Tara Heffernan
As well as presentations of “BOGGLE AND OTHER PERFORMANCE VIDEO SHORTS – humorous conceptual photo-poetry-performance shorts
*** 22 videos in 45 mins, plus discussion with the artist ***
All at Room-Sixty Bar, 22 Carraway St, Kelvin Grove
Free entry
Image courtesy of the artist Barbara Rosenthal “Existential Interact, Brooklyn 2011″ photo by Jung Nam Lee
For full Room 60 Program check out BR BrisbaneRoom60VideoPROGRAM-print

NY Artist in Australia > Barbara Rosenthal

October 1, 2013 Leave a comment

-BR GraceExhibitionSpaceATT

Image courtesy of the artist Barbara Rosenthal in performance @ Grace Exhibition Space, New York 2013
“I’m Growing Up” photo by Bill Creston

Barbara Rosenthal touring in Australia Sept – Oct 2013
Having a career spanning over 40 years in Performance Art and Media, Barbara is currently an artist in residence at emedia loft in NY, currently exhibiting in three NY galleries: Stux, Central Booking, and Peanut Underground Art Projects. Her works are held at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Tate Britain Library.
Barbara will be in MELBOURNE, Sept 17-27 |SYDNEY Sept 28-Oct 3 |BRISBANE: Oct 5-12

The press is already in, please see articles below on her Australian tour.



Full dates and places follow


TODAY Thurs, Sept 19, 12:30, VCA Victorian College of Art,
Talk: “The Medium is NOT the Message, Pt 1, a Work, Career and Philosophy Overview. Video compilation: “Existential Word Play, Pt 1”:

Thurs, Sept 19, 5pm, VCA Victorian College of Art, .
Talk & Performance: “The Medium is NOT the Message, Pt 2: A Discussion with the Audience about Art in Relation to Form vs Content. Video compilation: “Existential Word Play, Pt 2”:


DLUX Media Artsscanlines: the forum
“Join us for an informal forum facilitated by Kate Richards and in conversation with visiting New York artist Barbara Rosenthal.”

DATE: ! Monday 30 September, 6.30pm
VENUE: THE MEAT & WINE CO ! DARLING HARBOUR  ! L1, 31 Wheat Road, IMAX Theatre Complex ! Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour ! Sydney NSW 2000
RSVP: ! Wednesday 25 September, 9568 1458  ! or via return email: ! scanlines@dlux.org.au


Friday, Oct 4, 6pm.
Metro Arts,109 Edward St. METRO FRIDAY NIGHTS: Panel
Sun, Oct 6. 6pm
Audiopollen Upstairs at 199,  199 Boundary. Live Performances “I’m Growing Up” and “Existential Interact with Identity Theft Masks and Provocation Cards.”

Wed, Oct 9, 6pm
Room 60, 22 Carraway St. “Boggle and Other Performance Video Shorts: 24 videos in 45 minutes”

For full Room 60 Program check out BR BrisbaneRoom60VideoPROGRAM-print


ARTIST’S WEBSITE: barbararosenthal.org

CURENT NY EXHIBITIONShttp://www.stuxgallery.com/currentExhibitions & http://centralbookingnyc.com/galleries/gallery-1-artist-books-prints/artists-work/barbara-rosenthal/

MOST RECENT SOLO PHOTO SHOW, 2012, Montreal, Canada

MOST RECENT ARTICLE, 2013: Berlin Art Link




“I’m Growing Up” at AudioPollen, Brisbane 2013 image credit: Alan Warren

BR inBrisbaneAtAudiopollen-SuzonFuksHoldingUpMaskInBRperformanceImGrowingUpPhotoByAlanWarren


September 23, 2013 Leave a comment
exist produces an audio-visual interactive experiment for audiopollen social club. media is travelling through space, in air, in bodies, in your breath.
Club 199
199 Boundary St,  Upstairs at West End
Brisbane, Australia
Our guest artist from NYC, Barbara Rosenthal presents two pieces
Barbara Rosenthal “I’m Growing Up” (2013)
a media morph performance
Barbara Rosenthal “Existential Interact with Identity Theft Masks and Provocation Cards.” (2009)
a fun interactive exercise as Barbara takes her provocation cards and masks to the streets and via Audiopollen.
Bonnie Hart (expanded cinema),
Barbara Rosenthal (mediated performance)
Leif Gifford (expanded cinema)
Rachael Archibald (installation and poster/flyer)
Velvet Pesu (sound, projection, wearable instrument/art)
(more detailed text after photos)
Image: Barbara Rosenthal “Identity Theft Masks
with Button Pins and Provocation Cards Interactive Performance”
in “Interview Performances” curated by Irina Danilova and Hiram Katz (Project 59)
SET Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
May 6, 2011 (image courtesy of the artist)
Image: Velvet Pesu “Concentric Cirles on Red” at EXIST-ENCE 5, QCA Project Gallery, Brisbane. Img Credit Alan Warren.
Image: Leif Gifford “Explosive Tendencies” at Dimanche Rouge #21 Paris, Melbourne, Sydney Brisbane. Brisbane presented by EXIST. Metro Arts Basement Gallery, Brisbane


Velvet Pesu “Concentric Circles on Red’”a framed act of conscious play, the unfolding, becoming and unveiling of self through process, chance, accident, change, temporality, rhythm, voice, light and image. The projection is handmade/drawn film made entirely of recycled materials on a modified purpose built hand cranked projector. The costume is also played as an instrument and made from recycled and organic materials.

Bonnie Hart “EBB&THROW” In a world of manifest convenience, multiplicity meets complicity. Entitlement of space and matter valued as temporal object for the individual. Collective petro-delusions and the flow of tides bury the heads in the sand. But can they hear the ocean through the waves? A prophylactic obscured perception of the natural word.  Amidst the BPA debris, life cycles as light and sound interpenetrate to a mollusc romance.
Work for 5 x 16mm film loop, sculptural installation, optical sound and live performance.


“Drawn to Experience” Exhibition curated by Kellie O’Dempsey @ POP Gallery – until 21 Sept only

September 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Kellie O’Dempsey curates “DRAWN to EXPERIENCE” an enquiry into performance Drawing – @ POP Gallery, Griffith University

Only until 21 Sept 2013

Full details on Kellie O’Dempsey’s page


Drawn from Experience

TONIGHT > EXIST @ Metro Friday Nights

August 1, 2013 1 comment

EXIST @ Metro Friday Nights

On the first Friday night of each month Metro throws open doors and invite audiences into the Artists’ space. Each month we showcase works in development; rough, ready, and full of potential. Take the opportunity to step into studios, participate in talks, see the unseen, give feedback on new ideas and have a glass of wine with Brisbane’s artist community.

EXIST member Anna Carluccio will curate a performance video program for August edition.
In the METRO Carriageway you will fined work by Leena Riethmuller + Liam O’Brien and Kiah Reading
When: 2 August 6pm – Late
Where:  Metro Arts 109 Edward St, Brisbane QLD 4000

About the art and the artist
Artist: Kiah Reading
Video Titles:
Turkish pottery (penis pottery)
Nike bikers-devils high five

Artist Statement:
Combining various documents of performance from personal studies to source collections, this work continues a look into the social dimensions of sex and physicality in relation to material.  These videos each examine the quintessential creatureliness of ‘man’ as a body that cannot free itself from its physical nature and most of the time, the tensions it is the circus of. The visual style and performative actions draw obvious links to 1970/80s, however decades later, set amongst certain contradictions they are reactive to this method/style of practise too. These are small gestures, at times humorous, obvious and guttural, but never attempting to be overly serious or self-aware.

Image credit courtesy of the artist: Riethmuller O’Brien

Artist: Riethmuller O’Brien
Video Titles: Alone Together

Artist Statement: Alone Together is a collaborative performance by Leena Riethmuller and Liam O’Brien. Both artists perform in their individual practices and both are concerned with human experience in the 21st Century. Their collaboration sees them perform each other’s work affording them the opportunity to experience the other’s work affording them the opportunity to the other’s individual response to living in contemporary society. Through this approach Riethmuller O’Brien examine the role of gender in the creation of work, and the altered experience of the work for both performer and audience.

Be sure not to miss this one of a kind and FREE event!


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