Tag Archives: catalysts

Sunshine and Hellicopters

Inspired by a twitter post I read on the Wednesday morning of flood week, I ended up writing a song called ‘Sunshine and Hellicopters’. I feel like this kind of sums up the surreal atmosphere in Brisbane over those few days.

If you’re anything like me you’re still wishing people a happy new year despite the fact that the year is already 7.6% complete. A certain unprecedented flood event has no doubt left us all disoriented and questioning not only where January went but moreso where normal life went?

Obviously most have heard the news that the basement level of the Edge filled up like a fish tank and it’s likely we’ll be off the premises for a little while longer. In the meantime we’re all trying to power on remotely so that we’re ready to return with a bang to the building when it opens again.

So for now I’m going to share a few ideas for returning the brown things in your life back to green, ideas for creating a new kind of South East QLD ‘normal’ and a quick recap on some of the stuff I was working on before the flood.

From brown to green

I don’t claim to be a gardening expert by any means but I seem to be doing a lot of it lately. From what I have garnered through a bit of research the main issues that arise from flooding of plants and gardens is the presence of mud, salt water and bacteria. Here’s some useful online resources I’ve tracked down. Please feel free to share yours in the comments section of this post:

Rebuild and rethink

Volunteer

An overwhelming number of people joined the mud army over the last couple of weeks helping with the immediate flood cleanup. If you still have availability and enthusiasm there are still many places in need:

  • This weekend (29/01) there is a need for volunteers in ESK, Fernvale, Lockyer Waters and surrounds. To help text 0411887926
  • Brisbane Floods Volunteer Community on Facebook
  • Volunteering Queensland

From New Orleans to Brisbane

I stumbled on this recently released book of pro-bono work done by architects in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In the case of Katrina, the widespread destruction of housing and displacement of its residents lead to an unprecedented influx of architects and design thinkers coming together to rebuild the city.

Already in SEQ a similar wave of enthusiasm and optimism is evident in the co-ordinated efforts of groups such as Emergency Architects Australia, The Australian Institute of Architects, and its peak service body Archicentre. Obviously the immediate cleanup, restoration and provision of basic shelter is the key priority right now, but what about the future? Through crisis comes innovation and emerging from this crisis is an opportunity to rethink and adapt SEQ building typologies for future natural disasters as well as rising sea levels.

In conversations I’ve had with other architects and designers over the last two weeks we’ve shared practical as well as fanciful ideas for adapting our existing and new buildings for disaster. In the coming weeks we hope to facilitate an opportunity to bring together ideas in a workshop at the Edge (when it re-opens), to be later published online. Keep an eye on our website to see how this unfolds and please email me if you have ideas or would like to be involved.

Before the flood

Before the mud and the flood I was doing other stuff.

Seed bombs

On the 18 December we held the first seed bombing workshop at the Edge. This was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed getting their hands dirty. With the rain that followed the seed bombs that have been dropped around town are starting to really take off. Check out the interactive google map that is tracking the location and progress of each of our s-bombs and why not get involved by following the step by step instructions for making your own s-bombs? More photos of the seed bombs growing here.

Edge Front Garden

Meanwhile, with more seeds than we could squeeze into a few dozen seed bombs, we decided to turn our empty front planter box into somewhat of a seedling incubator. After setting up a nice DIY self-watering system our little rig was quickly re-located to higher ground just in time to see the planter box under a metre and half of water. Once we can get back into the area we’ll be setting it up again with some panels explaining the different species we’re raising.

Moss Graffiti

After the short-lived QR code on our outside wall (also recently under water), I’ve been experimenting at my place (thanks to my very supportive landlords) with a little space invader. We now have permission to moss graff the Edge wall again, so once we can get back in look forward to seeing some more moss on the wall!

After the flood

I leave you with a clip from one of my favourite Australian songwriters, Jamie Hutchings (of Bluebottle Kiss) and a song that has been rolling around in my head for the last two weeks.

Jamie Hutchings- After the Flood


Another Pro Tools workshop..

Bookings for the next Pro Tools workshop is now open! Due to demand we’ll be running the More than The Basics again, from 5:00 – 7:30 on the 11th of January. We are looking for people who missed out on the first round of workshops to register first.


The Spirit of Christmas saaaay whaaaaaat!

OK so I have been busy in Queen St Mall… performing a hip hop Christmas show for kids… I play MC Platypus and my crew are a B-boy called Ringtail the Possum, another dancer and MC called Lady S the Snake and a DJ/MC called Wisdom the Owl. We run a dance contest with kids from the crowd and the medium age is about 5 years old. It’s pretty gorgeous! Sue Loveday created the illustrations and we came up with the characters together. Now I thought I had a pretty good handle on how to write a hip hop comedy/ xmas pantomime for children, but i gotta say as usual from the page to the stage the developments/ adjustments and re-writes were great. So here’s some quick tips on writing street theatre for kids:
1/ They wanna dance dance dance
2/ They wanna laugh laugh laugh
3/ They wanna participate
4/ When it comes to rhymes… slow that beat down
5/ It’s gotta make sense and it can be silly but not dumbed down
6/ Make the characters distinct and one track…. what I mean (and particularly when the show is 20min long) is the character’s objective must be simple and they must go for that objective every time they open their mouth.
Anyone wanna start a chat about writing for children… ?


Cute Stuff and Nano Technology – Winning Combination

ThreadTech1

Last week I had a great time running my first ThreadTech workshop here at The Edge.  Armed with a garment, some fabric remnants, conductive thread and LEDs everyone was quick to design their own soft circuits and in no time the room was stitching up a storm. Everyone had their own take on how they wanted LEDs to add a little extra to their garments.  Some ladies used lace overlay to diffuse the light from the LEDs to make a soft glow while others wanted to used them for shock factor, turning a cute teddy into an evil bear with glowing red and green eyes!

Thank you to all of the ladies that came along to the workshop.  I look forward to seeing all of the experiments you continue to make in the future.  For those of you who missed the workshop, never fear I will be running two more introductory workshops and some more advanced ones for those who want to go one step further and learn how to program LEDs (don’t worry no previous programming experience is required).  Check out the Threadtech post for more details and to book your spot.

Speaking of future experiments, for a while now I have been keen to explore the use of press-studs and zippers as components of soft circuits.  Because they are conductive materials, press-studs and zippers can be used as switches to complete or break circuits. In particular, I think press-studs are a niffty tool that allow for the reuse of  electrical components.  Micro-processors can cost around $50 a pop, so I figure with the use of press-studs you might be able to use one micro-processor with any number of detachable garment decals.  I am thinking I will create a series of felt brooches that are embedded with LEDs that can attached with press-studs.  I have recently been inspired by the great little DIY book Cute Stuff so watch out for some little animal characters.

One of my biggest gripes when it comes to sewable electronics is the bulkiness of the power supply or battery you have to use to power your electronics.  Luckily there are a number of big brains out there working on amazing new ways of generating power from fabric.  When recently reading talk to my shirt (a great wearable electronics blog) I came across a very interesting article about a new form of power supply called Power Flex that has been developed by Professor Zhong Win Lang, director of the Center for Nanostructure Characterization at Georgia Tech.  Power Flex is a piezoelectric nano wire generator. In other words it is a flexible material that generates power when it is flexed. This form of technology opens up some pretty awesome avenues for powering wearable electronics, bring on the nano technology I say.


Its (a)LIVE!

Abelton Live is probably the most adaptable and creative music software around. Used by everyone from Justice to Mogwai to deadmau5, now Ableton Live is on all the computers in Lab 1!  There are some workshops coming up in the new year, but in the meantime why not book a mac and go through the intro already built-in to Live? Then you check out some of the bazillion tips and tricks out there for this awesome program.


I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Ho ho!

This latest update brings with it a touch of festivity. If you haven’t already been smothered by Christmas cheer I’m here to remind you that the silly season is well and truly upon us. If, like me, you’re already a little overwhelmed (i.e. fed up…) with the constant commercial onslaught of buy! buy! buy! and useless crap that changes hands during this time of year.. there is a ray of hope. You can have a happy Christmas without STUFF! Check out a little group called Life Squared’s free guide called How to Have a Better Xmas. Reduce your environmental hoofprint with a guaranteed better Christmas!

Now on to my my recent Catalyst shenanigans..

Moss Code

While I was in San Francisco earlier in the year I picked up a fantastic little book called The Guerilla Art Kit by Keri Smith. One of the neat little activities in this book is to create Moss Graffiti. We were talking amongst ourselves here at the Edge and Mick told me about an idea he had to design t-shirts with a QR (quick response) code on them that linked to a webpage containing a generic t-shirt design (like the good old Che Guevera face). So.. we thought, why not create Moss Code? That is.. a QR code made of moss that takes users to a webpage explaining the project!

So as a trial, I went out into the jungle and gathered some moss, brought it back to the Edge, cleaned it up, combined it with buttermilk and sugar in the blender and voila; moss paint! With Brett’s help we generated our own QR code and then armed with the horrible smelling moss goo, a ladder and a projector I painted our QR code onto the outside wall of the Edge building. After about 3 hours of painstaking brushwork and countless passerby enquiries the piece was complete. I whipped out my iPhone and to my great delight my QR scanner picked up the code and took me straight to the webpage we had created for the project! Check out all of the photos here.

Sadly, this is where the story ends. In true guerilla style we didn’t exactly go through the right avenues to gain permission to paint onto the side of the building (woops). So Moss Code (Beta) disappeared quicker than you can say ‘quick response’. But the experiment worked and with some proper planning and collaboration between the other Catalysts, we aim to have something bigger and better adorning the walls of our building in the early new year. Stay tuned!




Seed Bomb Workshop Next Saturday 18 December!

Here it is! My first public workshop as a Catalyst!  Ever notice those ugly pockets of your neighbourhood that need some love? This is your chance to paint the town green one seed bomb at a time. With the help of Greening Australia’s Seed Bank we have access to a collection of local native wattle and tea tree seeds to create our own self-propagating plant in a ball. In this one hour workshop you’ll be given all of the ingredients to make your very own seed bombs and you will be asked to drop them into abandoned pockets of your neighbourhood, photograph them and add their location to our shared interactive map. Our plan is to create a greener city and watch these local natives grow both online and in our neighbourhoods. Be a part of the action and book your spot by emailing book.it@edgeqld.org.au. Places are limited. Just bring yourself and be prepared to get your hands dirty!

Cool stuff

So before I go here’s three things that have entertained me in the last couple of  weeks:

A car that’s grown from seeds (the ultimate seed bomb)

Something something…wikileaks… something…wikileaks…something…Julian Assange…

In celebration of Back to the Future’s 25th anniversary here’s some vintage Crispin Glover (aka. George McFly)..clowny clown clown. Don’t play this to your kids before they go to bed.

Oh and if you want more regular ball by ball action (uggh don’t mention the cricket) of my catalyst and other adventures follow me on twitter.

Over and out.


I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Ho ho!

This latest update brings with it a touch of festivity. If you haven’t already been smothered by Christmas cheer I’m here to remind you that the silly season is well and truly upon us. If, like me, you’re already a little overwhelmed (i.e. fed up…) with the constant commercial onslaught of buy! buy! buy! and useless crap that changes hands during this time of year.. there is a ray of hope. You can have a happy Christmas without STUFF! Check out a little group called Life Squared’s free guide called How to Have a Better Xmas. Reduce your environmental hoofprint with a guaranteed better Christmas!

Now on to my my recent Catalyst shenanigans..

Moss Code

While I was in San Francisco earlier in the year I picked up a fantastic little book called The Guerilla Art Kit by Keri Smith. One of the neat little activities in this book is to create Moss Graffiti. We were talking amongst ourselves here at the Edge and Mick told me about an idea he had to design t-shirts with a QR (quick response) code on them that linked to a webpage containing a generic t-shirt design (like the good old Che Guevera face). So.. we thought, why not create Moss Code? That is.. a QR code made of moss that takes users to a webpage explaining the project!

So as a trial, I went out into the jungle and gathered some moss, brought it back to the Edge, cleaned it up, combined it with buttermilk and sugar in the blender and voila; moss paint! With Brett’s help we generated our own QR code and then armed with the horrible smelling moss goo, a ladder and a projector I painted our QR code onto the outside wall of the Edge building. After about 3 hours of painstaking brushwork and countless passerby enquiries the piece was complete. I whipped out my iPhone and to my great delight my QR scanner picked up the code and took me straight to the webpage we had created for the project! Check out all of the photos here.

Sadly, this is where the story ends. In true guerilla style we didn’t exactly go through the right avenues to gain permission to paint onto the side of the building (woops). So Moss Code (Beta) disappeared quicker than you can say ‘quick response’. But the experiment worked and with some proper planning and collaboration between the other Catalysts, we aim to have something bigger and better adorning the walls of our building in the early new year. Stay tuned!

Seed Bomb Workshop Next Saturday 18 December!

Here it is! My first public workshop as a Catalyst!  Ever notice those ugly pockets of your neighbourhood that need some love? This is your chance to paint the town green one seed bomb at a time. With the help of Greening Australia’s Seed Bank we have access to a collection of local native wattle and tea tree seeds to create our own self-propagating plant in a ball. In this one hour workshop you’ll be given all of the ingredients to make your very own seed bombs and you will be asked to drop them into abandoned pockets of your neighbourhood, photograph them and add their location to our shared interactive map. Our plan is to create a greener city and watch these local natives grow both online and in our neighbourhoods. Be a part of the action and book your spot by emailing book.it@edgeqld.org.au. Places are limited. Just bring yourself and be prepared to get your hands dirty!

Cool stuff

So before I go here’s three things that have entertained me in the last couple of  weeks:

A car that’s grown from seeds (the ultimate seed bomb)

Something something…wikileaks… something…wikileaks…something…Julian Assange…

In celebration of Back to the Future’s 25th anniversary here’s some vintage Crispin Glover (aka. George McFly)..clowny clown clown. Don’t play this to your kids before they go to bed.

Oh and if you want more regular ball by ball action (uggh don’t mention the cricket) of my catalyst and other adventures follow me on twitter.

Over and out.


More from Christian…

So I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now and as I fight back the tears at the news of the demise of yet another of Brisbane’s great musical institutions I thought I would drop y’all a line.

On the environmental sustainability front, the lifecycle assessment project that I’m working on and will eventually turn into a workshop is progressing nicely. I’ve come across a organisation in London called ‘Julie’s Bicycle’ who have developed some great tools and methods for measuring and managing the environmental impact of theatre, music festivals and other events. Spewing I missed Catherine Bottrill’s appearance at Big Sound earlier in the year. Did anyone else catch this?

Right now I’m in the process of contacting creative organisations across Brisbane to see if and how they measure the environmental impacts of their projects. If you’d like to provide some feedback as part of this research please get in touch. I’m also running my first workshop here in a couple of weeks (nervous!) which will be a DIY seed-bombing session thoughtfully entitled ‘The S-Bomb’.

I’ll leave you with 2 things that have blown my mind in the last two weeks:

# 1- Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti- ‘Scared Famous’  Whoah! This album is blowing my mind. It makes me feel a little scared when I listen to it and seasick for some reason. I find the music at times irritating yet contagious. Its been a while since music has moved me like this.

# 2- The work of Vanessa Harden. Some fantastic projects based on the environment and identity. I particularly love the Future Tents project.

Til next time….


Candy B is rocking The Edge!

Hello to The Edge community! I thought I’d give y’all some context, let you know where I’m from and my roots, and what guides my practice.

I am an Australian artist of South African heritage. My dominant bloodlines are Xhosa: Black African and Chinese Malaysian. I have some Portuguese, Indian and maybe German in there too; both of my parents are mixed. To keep things simple I like to say I’m BLASIAN…part Black and part Asian with a little Caucasian (seems to cover the gamut.) Growing up with the cultural politics of South Africa in my background and the cultural politics of Australia in my foreground has made for some steady contemplation on the themes of identity and colour. Over the past few years I have begun to really focus on my experience and how the two countries have shaped my world. I was born in a small town called Dandenong in Victoria. My parents arrived to the country in the early 70’s. Dandenong is a mix of bogans and migrants. My street was pretty amazing, there were Italians on the left, an old Dutch couple on the right, another South African family down the road and the rest was a mash up of Anglo-Celts and Scots… We were all Australians and all the kids played together. My sisters and I were very creative and our mother supported our talents, signing us up for dance class and art competitions, public speaking and guitar lessons. Frankly my mum really needs to stop complaining that her all daughters became artists, because she set the ball rolling during our childhood. Mum would argue that she was just trying to give us a range of experiences that were not available to her growing up in South Africa, adding “only the really light skinned girls were allowed to take ballet class back home.” These kind of comments always gave me a chill. I never felt colour got in my way as a young person, Sure some kids said rude things or called me names, but I just shrugged their words off or gave them a lesson on equality.

It was much later that racism would grow into any obstacle that could block my path. Im 2001 I graduated from drama school (NIDA) and did not receive an acting agent. Oh hell I thought, I must be bad, in fact I thought I must be really terrible, because there were some pretty poor actors in my year and they all walked away with a reasonable list of people to call. (Oh wait, did I mention I was the only brown girl in my class?) Well, there was only one way to find out what the problem was for sure, so I started calling agents and they began to explain that there just wasn’t work for black actors in the Australian industry. One agent said point blank, “we already have one black girl and she doesn’t get any work, what’s the point of taking on another?”

Now I’m not saying the industry is easy for any actor- it’s killer, but what I learned was that the TV and theatre industry was not a place where artists of colour in particular were called upon very often. So that was it! The front door of the industry was not open to me and I quickly learned that the windows and back door were also bolted shut. OMG I’d spent all that time training for a workplace that didn’t have an EEO policy or any real desire to represent the people of Australia.

My entry into the scene can be likened to smashing through the skylight and once you make a mess like that, you really have to keep blowing things up! I simply wouldn’t have it- I wrote myself on to the stage, created original work and produced it. Nine years later and I have worked as a writer, performer, and director across the commercial theatre, comedy, music, youth and community arts sectors. I have taken my shows to Edinburgh Fringe Festival, produced a hip hop comedy show for Australian and New Zealand pay-television (SHE TV: Channel V Foxtel) starred in breakthrough productions of black theatre and continue to be a very loud protest voice on the lack of colour on the Australian stage, page and screen.

So, what shall we get up to at The Edge together????


Welcome to The Edge – Christian Duell

Greetings! My name is Christian Duell and I will be working for the next six months as a Catalyst at The Edge in the business of environmental sustainability. My background is in architecture but I am also a musician and more recently I’ve established my own business White Light working on public art and architecture.

How did I end up here? I think it has something to do with a volcano. I was planning to gallivant around Iceland and Scandinavia for a few months earlier in the year until a certain volcano changed my plans. With all flights to Europe cancelled indefinately I spontaneously found myself in Egypt and then later stumbled on a short residency opportunity at a digital media centre in Madrid, Spain called Medialab Prado. This was an amazing experience for me, working with creative people from all around the world in disciplines I previously didn’t even know existed! We worked hard, partied hard and the project I collaborated on VirtualUrban got me very excited about a new direction combining digital media and architecture. I left Madrid thinking ‘wouldn’t it be great if there was a place like this in Brisbane’.

During my first week home in Brisbane in August I got involved in a workshop run by former Edge resident Beh Wattenburg that involved hacking old kids’ toys to make new kinds of machines. Fun! Turns out there was a place like this in Brisbane and I had found myself a new home.

So my time at The Edge is about bringing people together. I’m passionate about chance encounters and the beautiful things that happen when likeminded people cross paths. To me this is the greatest potential about The Edge; a central place for people from different backgrounds to come together, share ideas and make things happen!

I’ll be sharing my knowledge in environmental sustainability gained in my practice as an architect but I also hope to act as a facilitator of different perspectives on sustainability. Hopefully we can all learn from each other!

So keep an eye out shortly for some workshops I will be facilitating. Firstly a fun guerrilla art project (involving guerrilla gardening, seed bombing and moss graffiti) and later a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) project that allows designers to quickly and simply measure the environmental impact of their design decisions.

In the meantime, check out the upcoming Tipping Point conference happening nationally and being hosted right here in Brisbane at the Edge from 11 – 13 November.

That’s all for now. You’ll be hearing more from me and my fellow catalysts over the next few months and I look forward to getting to know a few of you during my time here. If you want to get in touch or share some ideas on environmental sustainability please comment below or contact me via The Edge.