Cultural Product

Cultural Product
Serving Suggestion

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I love conversing

Talking to strangers is a buzz, I can feel their electricity and the intimate setting of the tea house is pretty close, but not cloying. I find myself at home, preparing for the day, keen to talk but also knowing I need to reserve my voice for the onslaught later. I want to call friends and chat and ruminate but need to hold off till later. This is now.

I met another 30 strangers

Victoria Hunt and Aria If not more. Everyday interactions in a recreated setting. Yesterday's guests left marks on me but they are all blending into one. The pearls of wisdom were fast and furious, I imbibed them all at the time and swallowing them whole, moved on to the next. To be present in the moment, thinking of Marina Ambromovich and her 3 months of gazes. The mynahs and rosellas love the tree near the entrance of the park, with red and orange flowers. They nibble and squeak and cluster on it's branches in waves. I have seen 2 mynahs catch insects which they devour on the ground next to me. Leaves blow through my open structure and yesterday the ground was covered by beautiful golden leaves which look like ginkgo but I'm not sure. Must ask someone. Yesterday' eyes, voices and presences penetrated me. I wanted to go home with some of the people. Quantum mechanics was discussed. A physics professor, an engineer, and architect, a lawyer, someone who worked with water, four nurses, an Englishman, 2 Scots with thick accents, a couple who brewed their own beer and were quite drunk and one woman who I said nothing that made any sense to. A couple asked me if I did fortune telling. And a sad lady who was here on a working holiday but hadn't made any friends yet. I felt myself moving into my role as Lucy, the psychiatrist once or twice, but having to re-negotiate my place and transit back to this time, this place, this hope for a tidy exit. One fellow refused the tea so I drank it, but he made quite an impression on me, with his Reject shop bags and sandals. He gave me 2 minutes, which I was grateful for and imparted wisdoms I can't recall. Some people gave, some received, every one of them connected with me on some elementary level. I loved how different people chose to sit and invariably when a couple came in the woman would sit on the tatami while the man sat on the milk crate. Many of the guests had visited Song Dong's installation at Carriageworks prior, and some wanted to discuss this work. I thought about it and how we were creating a memory, a fleeting one that may stay somewhere in the residue of each participant. I was glad that it wasn't an object that I was conveying, rather, an experience. Those clear open gazes loiter in my thoughts, how beautiful are their eyes, these gems of our bodies, a myriad different colours and spastically beautiful striations. I wish I could take photos of their eyes, record them all into a wallpaper. Today I will endeavour to photograph the scenario from my vantage point.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I met thirty strangers yesterday

And wonder how many I will meet today. I am performing a Wabi-Sabi Afternoon Tea as part of Sydney Festival in one of the Micro-Parks in my area, there are 3 other parks with actions involved and for 3 days we are occupying the parks. I am serving Australian tea in a Japanese fashion, involving a slight artistic fusion between the two ceremonies, traditional English tea ceremony and the Japanese chanoyu (茶の湯?). The work was curated by Jeff Kahn from the Performance Space. Most strikingly, in recollection I recall the eyes of my guests, the clear quality of their gaze as we interacted in this unusual get-together and meeting point I had designed. One aspect of both rituals, other than to provide rest, refreshment and contemplation of beauty, is a conversation, which I am thrilled to partake in, even at such a basic level. It is a pleasure to interact with strangers and offer a gift and have an exchange which I am so fortunate to participate in and be the receptacle of knowledge about. It was not something I had conceived of, when planning the performance, but is the main outcome which I am aware of, and which I wanted to share as there were so many kind and beautiful words exchanged, of which I was privvy. Which is why I'm writing this today. The seven seasons of weather in the North of Australia. The tattoes from around the globe, most notably a bear in the woods from Canada. That tea parties aren't played as children in China. The pinky finger, whence drinking English tea should be curved, rather than pointed and comes as a result of drinking from cups, rather than mugs. That you don't need to travel in order to enjoy what you have here. Not sure about that. That art and philosophy enrich our lives and minds so that all else is possible. I would include rituals. I met a few couples who were newly in love, and ones that didn't know they were in love with each other, and some that were together but lived far from one another. The honesty and integrity of the participants being recalled fills me with hope for today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Everything Falls Apart

Occupy Sydney Artspace 2012 following on from Cross Art earlier this year, I continued copying placards from the Wall Street movement.
images courtesy Silversalt

Friday, May 25, 2012

Art Bar

At the MCA, with Justene Williams. We made a karaoke room, it was called Karaoke Queenz.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Other people's money Photo Jamie North

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I had a Frasers studio from Jan-June this year. It was quite cold and dark, so I built a fire. This was then installed at the Appin Motel, in Appin Labyrinth a site specific exhibition curated by Lisa Andrew and Bronia Iwanczak in April. There was lots of fun to be had with all the other artists.
The work in Room 20 was called Meth Lab crime scene, as I created a small simulation of a meth lab.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Occupy Sydney

In 2011 the Wall Street protests in New York inspired me to go to Martin Place and commemorate the great placards that people were producing. I sat in on the Occupy Sydney's protest for the day and copied a whole bunch of slogans.
Cross Art Projects February 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kyoto Copy

This was reproduced in 2012 for the Panorama show at Casula Powerhouse curated by Toni Bailey. I made it in 2010 for Trashcan Dreams at The Performance Space. I don't usually exhibit the same works twice, but felt it was deserving of another airing. I included a slideshow of images of Lina Ritchie and Morita Yasuaki performing with the work in-situ.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Box Brownie

Early in January I felt a strong urge to make a Box Brownie camera. My friend, the great Vanessa Berry had given me a copy of her zine; I am a camera, which was exquisite. In return I wanted to give her a paper camera and was compelled to make one. Only weeks later, Kodak went into receivership.
It's only paper and has no capacity to even make a pinhole photo, I just thought it would be a cool gift for her.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Intercourse at Peloton 24 November 2011
A dinner party using Japanese re-cycled collected food containers, with amazing Vegan curries by Bec Dean and the most beautiful cake in the world by Mishka Borowski. Drinks served, Takara shochu; courtesy of the artist.
The installation consisted of:
1. Stolen photographs of Nishiko: 地震を直すプロジェクト Repairing earthquake project and Takuma Nakahira, a famous photographer, whose works were presented along with mine in Yokohama earlier this year.
2. Photograph of Vicky's garden in Enmore; 63 Llewellyn Street

3. Reactions, connections and collections involving Japan and Sydney's Inner West.
4. Australiana plastic maki-e laquerware series.
5. Four videos documenting wind in bamboo forests, rice fields and lotus ponds.

I called the show Intercourse because I wanted people to relate to each other, over food; thus internalising an external and externalising an internal, through relations.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Massage Artist

On my return from Japan I did a night of performance as part of 20/20 at Damien Minton's Annexe space in Surry Hills, curated by Robert Lake. I had purchased a very nice hat in Japan to wear, plus my yukata and a bottle of Takara Shochu, I made lots of friends that night and got to squeeze quite a few bums.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bank Art's Life at Shinko Pier, Shin Minatomira Yokohama Sept-Oct 2011

Work continuing from residency at Tokyo Wonder Site, Aoyama from June-August
1. Tatami drawing, pen on cardboard with video of Izumi's tea ceremony playing, kimonos, apples and blue shochu bottle.

2. Maki-e works, gold pen on PET products, with paint

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Izumi Murata hard at work within the walls of Shinko Pier.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tokyo Wonder Site

Three months in Aoyama.
Collected and converted
PET products

Saturday, December 11, 2010


This is a copy of a page of architectural features by Piranesi. Sharpie on donut box.

This is the original and the watercolour copy.
I sometimes feel that in order to truly value something, I need to make a copy of it.

I have reproduced a rendition of striking real estate advertisements. I became interested in perusing the ad pages for unusual photographs, finding that certain artworks featured in multiple homes. Primarily buddha paintings which I can only assume are installed by the real estate agent to provide a sense of 'peaceful place'.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Trashcan Dreams


October 2010
Trashcan Dreams at The Performance Space
with dancers Morisan Yasuaki and Lina Ritchie
The title comes from an Elton John song; Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters
There were many elements to this exhibition, primarily I was responding to the site with my collection and with pieces that would provide an environment to respond to. The dancers, from Japan, worked in collaboration with the materials, over a nine day intense period, where we explored a huge variety of movement.
The work consisted of vast quantities of plastic collected over the last ten years from my local neighbours and friends. Many of the plastics were re-cycled from other exhibitions, being re-fashioned for this event.
The piece I am most proud of; Kyoto copy was made entirely of plastics and is a literal copy of a piece I saw in Kyoto in 2009.

Working with colour, materials, video and objects, interacting with the space and reacting to site-specific as well as historical contexts within the site.

Rectangular dance workshops with participants

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Notebook collection

At Hazelhurst Regional Gallery 2010
Twenty years of notebooks

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fatty and Slender

This work was responding to my meeting with Takusan in Japan, 2009.
A bakers clay rendition of a Jakuchu painting.
A collection of the receipts collected whilst in the Tokyo studio at Takadanobaba for three months (which happened to fit the window at ICAN exactomondo)
Watercolour painting copy of Hokusai's "Fatty and Slender", including jewellery.
Here is the piece I wrote;

The Hanging Man at Kunitachi
TOKYO 2009

I finally made it to Kunitachi, in Tokyo, to see this famous action I had heard the Yanaka dancers I knew rave about. Takusan, an older man, had been hanging himself by the neck every night for ten years, giving public showings a couple of times a week.
I met with a couple of the dancers and we made our way there, each had seen the work numerous times
It was a bit of a walk from the station, down a modest lane with an unassuming lantern hanging at the entrance to an older style dark, wooden house. There was a box with money in it, Y1000 admission. We sat in Takusan's small yard on homemade wooden benches, after picking up a cut piece of styrofoam to provide comfort, and a tiny bit of warmth. Very cold that night. He was inside his wooden house, I could see shadows of him through the glass, and hear beautiful Japanese music playing. He came out dressed in red trousers, a red polo neck shirt with a white blouse over the top, and began his gentle silent movements through the garden area. This consisted of a few straggly bushes and trees, one tall thin bamboo, and a shrub that had gone brown and died. The dark brown earth ground had been well compacted and a few paving stones hinted at a path. The fences were lined with blue tarps, old ones, very frayed with some parts spray-painted with silver.
His presence was so sincere and delicate, minimal but exploratory. I had met him once before, where he had a metal thing, like a cigarette holder, with a block of herbs smoking out one end, and he had taken my hands and pressed them and smoked them, my friends explained that it was ‘cauterisation’. He had accurately pinpointed sources of trouble and pain on my hands, and they felt warmed afterwards.
I felt the wind in the air and watched him react. Action, reaction, honouring time and moving slowly and carefully, knowing every centimeter of the ground he was covering. He moved through the space for nearly half an hour, in a gentle and magnetic way. He seemed to pay special heed to the dried shrub, taking its energy and giving it back. Near this shrub was a square hole, not very deep, dug into the earth. At its edge stood an iron anvil, and over this was a beam, with hooks. There were lights positioned on the house to illuminate the space and we could hear the outside world operating, sirens and occasional footsteps penetrating the silence. Otherwise it was completely quiet bar the wind in the trees.
Takusan explored the space, and then he climbed back into the house, tentatively I noticed...almost as though he was uncertain about it. Perhaps, a justifiable reluctance. He came back with a woven rope, red, with a hook on one end. It was at this point that I remembered that this was what he was renowned for.
Let me say I was worried about seeing this seminal part, but also curious, as the Yanaka group had raved so much about him, and after meeting him, I was interested but still a bit scared. He stepped on to the anvil, hung the rope, and then he hung himself, under his jaw, by the neck. He hung for something like 5 minutes, maybe 10. Such tremendous strength and such power his profound agility communicating something from deep within, not limp and dead, but alive and beautiful, such unbelievable beauty, I was moved beyond. He mainly faced away from us, but swung around at one point. I felt like he was dancing throughout, using his body’s muscle to retain his own life.
I felt shame at my own physical discomfort as it was so very cold, sitting so still, hugging my shawl closer around myself, and snuggling into my scarves. I watched his pain, but also his strength. Such an older man, so thin, with these worn red trousers, sewn tightly at the back in order to keep them from falling down, hanging by his neck, in a residential neighbourhood, every day for ten years. Rain, snow, sleet... He had been doing it for more than 40 years actually, I was told, but only ten years so devotedly.
This is his concept to “bring him to paradise”.
His weakness after hanging was apparent, and he fortified himself with slow movement, energy gradually returning. To sit in such a humble yard and to see something so profound, it felt very great and momentous.
After his actions, we all went inside and sat around a heated table, a kotatsu, to warm our legs, and drank shochu with tea and ate lovely things made by his partner, Mika Kurosawa, the greatest dancer in Japan. My eyes were full of appreciation for the surrounds, but I didn’t want to take photos. We discussed his work, while drinking eating, and smoking. After more than an hour Takusan said, let us make a gift for Sarah! Then they sang for me! Old Japanese songs ringing out like a clear bell of beauty.
"Correspondence", the wise man said, in English. He knew. He said strength was what life was about. “The most important thing is to be strong”.
I said I thought he was dancing to the tune of the wind, and he said he was. I asked if the neighbors knew what went on behind the fence, that there was such a great thing going on, each night, such a powerful thing, such a thing that was so private, yet public...they said shush, don't tell them!
We came home on the train full of bliss and gratitude. I loved it there. The contrasts and the fortitude, I chanced to happen on, in the outskirts of Tokyo. It gives me hope.

A piece written by Intern Rachel Smith

Following her residency in Japan in 2009, Sarah Goffman presents Fatty and Slender: The Hanging Man’s House at the Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown. The result of some intriguing experiences during her stay, Goffman responds specifically to a powerful performance she witnessed at the ‘The Hanging Man’s House’ in Kunitachi; a suburb of Tokyo. Goffman and a group of local Yanaka dancers watched on while the aging man Takusan hung himself by the neck, a ‘death-defying’ act that he has been performing every day, sometimes for an audience, for the last ten years.

Unable to take photographs during the performance, Goffman creates a mixed media installation in the gallery space, re-producing the yard of Takusan’s traditional wooden home from memory using wood, glass, cardboard, and paper as well as the stuff of everyday life collected during her residency. In addition to serving Japanese tea and sake, Goffman re-creates some of the dishes that were eaten in the supper that followed the act at Takusan’s house.

Renowned for recycling and reinventing detritus from consumer culture, such as cartons, plastic wrappers, advertising material, and plastic bags, the artist meticulously arranges these familiar objects in the space; pieces hang from the ceiling, cover the doors, lean on walls and sit neatly on carefully arranged shelves. From the bizarre to the every-day, strange and wonderful juxtapositions are created, seemingly transforming the banal to the beautiful.

In the centre of the installation, surrounded by a collection of shoes, stands an upright structure made of old jackets and shirts piled high and topped with a black hat representing the tall figure of Takusan. An exquisite miniature Japanese landscape made of dough, strikingly lit from the side is complemented by a delicate series of wooden sculptures by Peter Jackson. Goffman’s elaborate but seemingly casual installation is typical of a sensibility described by fellow artist Nobuhiro Ishihara as like ‘Ikebana’ - the Japanese art of flower arranging - “because it looks easy, but isn’t.”

Goffman includes two video works in the installation inspired by Takusan’s profound action; one of oozing liquids played on a horizontal screen transformed into a table around which visitors sit, and the distorted video Conversation with the Peachtree projected through glass on a wall nearby. The latter shows Goffman forcibly propping up a peach tree in her back yard, attempting to “sculpt” the living trunk.

Fatty and Slender: The Hanging Man’s House attempts to capture Goffman’s feelings of bliss and gratitude felt as a result of her intense and extraordinary experiences in Japan.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Psychiatrist 7 cents AT HELL GALLERY 2010