Diego Ramírez/ We are all bad people/
A response to Woke in Fright. Words by Diego Ramírez.
You are the newest diaspora artist in so-called Australia, sitting on a zebra print couch wearing a pair of little Uggies, reading with a cuppa of Argentinian mate. The hippies in St Kilda taught you how to make it. It is real exotic. Your fingers—stained with smashed avocado—are scrolling on a screen with traces from your studio practice, which is gaining momentum at the earliest stages of your career. You are reading about a top-tier figure, a very important ‘CALD Millennial’ in Magazinator: a major arts publication based in Naarm. You met them last week and they warned you that institutions were extractive and eating ice cream too fast would give you head freeze. However, they failed to mention care culture has a problem of abuse. They skipped that part because they noticed the KPI on your back, which they were planning to exploit through impression management strategies later—once you become an unwilling part of their ‘community’.
Woah, things escalated fast in the opening paragraph to emphasise how jarring the truth is: this person you are reading about sucks so hard. They behave like the institutions they claim to critique, which makes them creepy and psychologically dubious, by suggesting a form of projection aligned with manipulation. But if it was not them, someone else would be occupying their place. The writer in Magazinator should have touched on the sinister aspects of communality to make you less vulnerable. They should have warned you that the goody-goody gosh discourse attracts corrupt personalities, since it is a perfect cover-up for self-serving behaviour. That ladder climbers will see your bi-nationality as an opportunity to become international, something they will try to exploit in a one-way street. That diaspora does not equal morality and upholding this condescending fantasy enables deceivers to thrive. But they omitted the fine print because the writer did not know this at the time. It takes a sequence of bitter encounters, intense disappointments, and formative experiences to learn this. Unfortunately, the system encourages a state of naivety, where you can accept mediatised ‘leaders’—with an embarrassingly self-righteous social media presence—as your heroes. Your Personal Jesus, someone who hears your prayers, someone who cares.
Now you begin to appreciate how the infrastructure of the sector fabricates generic figures like this to stand for your interests, issues, and community in Parliament. I mean, The Art World. The process is a bit esoteric since you did not vote for them and it is hard to understand what they actually do. Either way, their blanket existence offers a standardised pathway for you—goals and aspirations (please do not). Unfortunately, they got there by using and discarding others in a quest for grandiosity. You are simply a brick in their weird pyramid scheme.
Right now, you think they are advocating for your deepest wants and needs. Yes, they talk like everything is an intimate relationship, which is an alarming red flag in broad daylight. It is so creepy to hear a stranger say they will care for you, that your body releases a shot of adrenaline (to run at high speed). But institutions confuse the flight response with enthusiasm. Their political campaign—I mean, “prophecy”—sounds like BuzzFeed via derivations of The White Pube and embodies the originality of the Tumblr research function.
It sounds like someone you know because it is an ethereal description of an archetype, something you may call a Diaspora Politiciart. It is a cringey word, like hearing curator nails on a community hall chalkboard. SCREEEEEEE, it hurts so much. Since everything they do is clichéd and art is a means to an end for them, the vaguest critique sounds incredibly personal and specific to them, a phenomenon that fascinates you in a patronising way. You remember this text by Tara Heffernan called Double the care: Philosophy of Care and Care Ethics and Art, where she names ‘a homogeneous set of smug though cowardly creative elites who perpetuate dogmatic rhetoric—curating exhibitions, editing books, and writing reviews that all follow a formula and promote a tactically vague liberal worldview.’ Although she is referring to a wider Professional Managerial Class, it hilariously encapsulates the Diaspora Politiciart. They hurt more than institutions and bureaucracy because they wear a ‘friend’ costume, only to step over your head later. These are the kind of people that will make you want to bitterly quit art. And quit it fast. Even though they sell themselves as inspirational figures.
It does not make sense, you tell yourself while nodding your head in compulsive denial. They are culturally diverse, hence surely moral. Just like you. They are linguistically diverse, thus conscientious. Just like you. No, no, no, it cannot be! Panic sets in and you look at the name of the writer who typed the article in your hands, searching for answers. Diego Ramírez wrote it. Wait, isn’t that the ArtistWorkeRiter-wanna-be who died earlier this year?
Yeah, after he published a listicle called 10 Reasons Why U Should Try Da New Drug Called Justice @ Woke-a-palooze. It was about chasing that self-righteous high on artist and organisational statements. But it rubbed everyone who uses the word justice the wrong way. Little did he know that power drives politicians, hence they get powerful. The punch line is that people who talk about justice in the arts tend to be wildly unjust. It was a death wish.
Mhmm. One clean job. A quiet murder. Very woke. They smashed his head with a copy of We Will Not Cancel Us (2020) by adrienne maree brown, until his brain splattered on their faces—it was hilarious. They tried to dissolve the body in acid and pour the mix on the toilet to get rid of the evidence. But they were making all sorts of weird mistakes. Like, touching the acid. Their alibi was the best part: he turned into a zombie.
I know all of this because I was there. I am Diego. Yes, I am a ghost now. Look up, I am floating above your head: peek-a-fucking-boo.
*record scratch* (freeze frame) Yep, that is me. You are probably wondering how I ended up in this situation...well,I just told you.
 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Millennial
 Heffernan, T. (no date) Double the care: Philosophy of care and care ethics and art, Artlink Magazine. Available at: https://www.artlink.com.au/articles/5003/double-the-care-philosophy-of-care-and-care-ethics/ (Accessed: November 8, 2022).
The Apocalypse is here and we are doing busy work. Our days are spent staying awake/afloat, thriving to remain hopeful. Where liberalism persists; there is no spiritual reprise.
Woke in Fright brings together artists who challenge a myriad of dystopian functions of our absurdist society.
Thriving in slippages of the pervasive cultural and political divides, the exhibition explores our ideological blind spots at a time of unprecedented circumstances.
A hyper/hypo-critical project curated by Nikki Lam and Mat Spisbah, the exhibition invites local and international artists to break down permission structures and decipher conformance from intent.
Enter these artistic and corporate institutional realms where ideologies and KPIs collide.
Stay woke, don’t fright. Give into the contradictions and be sedated by hopeful retreats, where spiritual, sensory and capitalist stimulants may fill you up with critical thoughts, or healing, or whatever… we are thirsty.
Join us for free drinks to celebrate the opening night of Woke in Fright from 6pm–8pm, Thursday 10 November 2022. All welcome!
This exhibition is wheelchair accessible and gender neutral accessible toilets are available.
Please be advised that this exhibition contains nudity, sex scenes, violence and flashing imagery.
Artists: Veeeky, EJ Son, Ip Wai Lung, April Lin 林森, Li Hanwei, Jaime Emily Powell and Ari Tampubolon
Curator: Nikki Lam
Curator: Mat Spisbah
In the context of internet of the things, algorithm, cyborgism, post- Anthropocene, bio-art and robotics, Wei Chia Wu is developing her stories based on the thinking of contemporary society and the current social disclosure, discussing internet capitalism/gender/information/channels/globalization-localization content.
Rooted in the culture of Asia, especially Taiwan, her works are mainly created with 3d softwares, coding and open framework algorithm to present a high saturation utopia, where we often see flexibility between subtle culture symbols and stories, collage of digital/ offline visual and auditory pieces.
EJ Son is a multi-disciplinary artist, working across new media, sculptural installations, video and ceramics. They utilise provocation and humour as a tool to interrogate the complexity of power in the construction of gender, sexuality and race.
Their practice is oftentimes paradoxical, arousing the tension created by our subconscious tendencies to binaries. They hope to deconstruct and create space for new feelings to be considered.
They completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (First class Honours) at Sydney College of the Arts in 2018; they are a recent recipient of the Parramatta artist studios on-site residency at the Powerhouse Museum, winner of the 2020 Emerging Artist prize from the Gosford Regional Art gallery and was commissioned by MAMA Albury to make titty tower (2021) to exhibit for SIMMER 2021.
They have exhibited at the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Bus Projects, Cool Change contemporary, Verge gallery and PARI and will be showing at Firstdraft, OZAsia Festival at the LEXUS gallery, The Lock-up and The Substation in 2022.
Ip Wai Lung
Ip Wai Lung is a meditation enthusiast who embraces impermanence, as conventional religious beliefs are static, yet the world is constantly in flux.
He intervenes with life by mediation in an attempt to process all the impermanence, queerness, and ambiguity the world throws at him.
Through art Ip stages meditation, he detaches and engages with the consciousness and unconscious. This constantly shifting of roles, modes, and discipline is the backbone of his art works.
His works might be plain and dry at first glance, yet there is a never-ending restlessness bursting from the seams.
April Lin 林森
April Lin 林森 (b. 1996, Stockholm — they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator investigating image-making and world-building as sites for the construction, sustenance, and dissemination of co-existent yet conflicting truths.
Working across moving image, performance, creative computing and installation, they dream & explore & critique & fret & catastrophise & imagine & play — for a collective remembering of forgotten pasts, for a critical examination of normalised presents, and for a visualising of freer futures as, of course, imagined from the periphery.
Interweaving strands of auto-biography, documentary, queer ecology, and new media, April Lin 林森’s works are topped off with an inevitable garnish consisting of the other matters dialoguing with their brain and heart during the making process of each piece.
Uniting their genre-fluid body of work is a commitment to centring oppressed knowledges, building an ethics of collaboration around reciprocal care, and exploring the linkages between history, memory, and interpersonal and structural trauma.
Their work has been shown at the Museum of the Moving Image New York, Sheffield DocFest, Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, the V&A Museum, HOME, Malmö Konstmuseum, LA Filmforum, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Manchester Art Galley, MADATAC, Arebyte Gallery, Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival, NOWNESS Asia, and 4:3 Boiler Room.
Born in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province in 1994, Li Hanwei graduated from Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts in 2018, and currently lives and works in Shanghai. Li’s practice is based on adapting the forms of commercial advertisements and films as metaphors. Through the study of communication methods, the artist uses CG images to establish a worldview in the fictional world where counterfeit of the real world and science-fiction coexist, as a way to present the intersection of contemporary culture forms and individual identities.
Jaime Emily Powell
Jaime Powell is an Indian-Australian artist who uses lithography and mark-making to investigate what our mind does when the body extends into space.
The examination of belonging is at the heart of Jaime’s practice.
Ari Tampubolon is a filmmaker, writer, and performer with a vested interest in the endlessly repetitive formal mutations of pop culture. Working across film, installation, and theatre, her artistic practice takes cues from practitioners such as Andrea Fraser, Adrian Piper, Ari Aster, if the three of them were polyamorous and had a baby via IVF who would later be named Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, otherwise known as Lady Gaga.
Ari has shown recent works with Running Dog Journal, Miscellania, Gertrude Contemporary, and Composite, with an upcoming short film ‘BLEACH’ commissioned by Multicultural Arts Victoria currently in pre-production.
Nikki Lam is an artist, curator and producer based in Naarm. Working primarily with moving images, her work explores hybridity and memory through the contemplation on time, space and impermanence.
Born in Hong Kong, her work deals with the complexity of migratory expressions. Her current research focuses on the artistic agency during cultural, social and political transitions, particularly within the context of moving image and screen cultures. With an expanded practice in writing, exhibition and festival making, she is interested in exploring anti-colonial methods in artistic and curatorial practice.
Nikki is co-director of Hyphenated Projects and Hyphenated Biennial. She is previously the curator-at-large at The Substation, Artistic Director of Channels video art festival, alongside many hybrid roles in the arts including at ACMI, Next Wave and Footscray Community Arts Centre. She is a current PhD (Art) candidate at RMIT University.
Mat Spisbah is an Artistic Director and curator focusing on New Media work. Spisbah has an extensive portfolio of commissioned and curated digital and sound performances, plus experience working with leading Australian and Asian cultural organisations.
He is currently Artistic Director of digital arts organisation Exhibitionist and also provides curatorial, consultancy and creative producing work for many of Australia’s leading arts festivals, museums and institutions such as Sydney Opera House, Rising, MONA and Powerhouse Museum (Sydney).
His work focuses on contemporary new media practices in north Asia and building connections between Australia and the region. By integrating non-traditional artistic methods with emerging technologies, Spisbah's curatorial projects offer new modes of creative expression and engagement for the 21st century.
Spisbah has worked across a variety of roles and positions - Digital Strategist in residence for Australia Council, Associate Curator for Liquid Architecture, plus an extensive portfolio of commissioned and curated works with: Lu Yang, Howie Lee, Rui Ho, Meuko Meuko, Pan Daijing, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Tzusing and Gabber Modus Operandi.
A vanguard experiment in untethered performance for digital morphologies.
Body Crysis/身體災變 is a choreographic work with (re)animated bodies, stretching the bounds of our newfound digital corporeality. It transmutes dance, motion capture and CG animation into a simultaneous, shared performance between Newport and Taipei, in the flesh and online.
Long time collaborators Harrison Hall and Sam Mcgilp have teamed up with NAXS FUTURE, a Taipei-based media art collective to present a hybrid live/digital dance work of impossible choreography, biomimicry and techno-morphology.
Performed simultaneously at The Substation and online, Body Crysis/身體災變 is the culmination of two years of experiments in motion capture and digital choreography by two artists who are fast gaining a reputation for their visionary approach to genre fluid performance.
The Substation Main Space will be transformed into an animated environment enveloped by projection. Embracing the glitch, dancers move in states of shared embodiment with digital forms and each other.
Body Crysis/身體災變 is decentralised and untethered. It will be performed synchronously in an online, purpose-built, digital environment created by NAXS FUTURE, available to view here worldwide, while formidable quintet Prairie WWWW transmit both audio and 3D depth data live from Taipei directly to The Substation.
This event is wheelchair accessible and gender neutral accessible toilets are available. The seating provided for this performance will be mats on the floor. There will be a limited amount of seats with backs available.
The Substation galleries, bar and bookshop will open one hour prior to the performance.
Latecomers may not be admitted.
Please be advised that this performance contains haze.
Lead Artists: Harrison Hall, Sam Mcgilp & NAXS FUTURE
Creative & Art Director: Han Yu-Feng
Project Manager: Chun-Ting Chen
Scene Design, Player Character Design & Web UI Design: Eg.lio
System & Interactive Development: KP Wong & YJ Huang
Technical Art: Wei Huang
Sound Design & Live Performance: Prairie WWWW
Performer & Collaborator: Cody Lavery, Imanuel Dado, Samuel Harnett-Welk
Lead Avatar Design: Luca Dante
Lighting Design: Jenny Hector
Set Design: Lotus Hall
Costume: Sez Brez
Producers: Erin Milne and Xavier O’Shannessy
Composer Lisa Lerkenfeldt presents the world premiere of new work With Water Up To Her Knees.
In collaboration with video artist and film director, Tristan Jalleh, a densely detailed hyper reality of hidden rooms and resonances will be revealed.
Set in present day Naarm, within an amphitheater of abandoned infrastructure, With Water Up to Her Knees blends performance, animation and sound.
Drawing from the artist’s field work and electroacoustic practices, piano and tape arrangements light up lost chambers and underground histories in a patchwork of reflective musique concrète, instrumental composition and surreal cinema.
With Water Up To Her Knees spotlights underground networks opening questions of reality, virtuality and perception through oral traditions, experimental AV composition and diary-like vignettes.
With Water Up To Her Knees is performed in two variations:
Lisa will launch a single on piano in association with French arts publisher Shelter Press.
Lisa will be joined by cellists Emile Frankel, Abby Sundborn and poet Panda Wong for a hybrid ensemble performance and film.
Composer: Lisa Lerkenfeldt
Visual Artist: Tristan Jalleh
Cellists (25 Nov): Emile Frankel, Abby Sundborn
Poet (25 Nov): Panda Wong
Please note there will be low lighting and haze used during this performance.
This event is wheelchair accessible and gender neutral accessible toilets are available. The seating provided for this event is mats on the floor.
The Substation galleries, bar and bookshop will open one hour prior to the performance.
Between us is a public art and community engagement project that considers ‘the space between’. Encompassing the micro and macro; personal and public; and the local and universal; the project engages audiences in a poetic consideration of the spaces that exist between the structures and systems that shape our lives.
Responding to the prompt ‘Between us…’ the audience will be asked to consider that which exists in a singular or plural interpretation of this phrase, addressing the intimacy and complexity of the space between 'you and I', or 'us'. A dedicated webpage will collect the growing archive of responses, text accumulating and building over time to form the collaborated poem at the centre of the work.
This collaborative poem will then be translated into the Morse code language of pulses and pauses, to be beamed up into the sky as light signals over two nights at the beginning and end of the festival.
Operating between the sites of the Substation and Footscray Community Arts Centre, the light installation will comprise 24-30 individual beams of light, pulsing up into the night sky in unison in a powerful and evocative expression of community, neighbourhoods coming together to create the work and then witness it beam out into the universe.
Created by visual artist Michaela Gleave and lighting designer Fausto Brusamolino, the project is a love letter to the people of the city in which it’s presented - and beyond. It is conceived as a timely and poetic response to the strange reality of the present moment and encourages messages of love, hope, resilience, strength and compassion.
Between Us is a multi-venue program presented at The Substation and Footscray Community Arts.
Between Us will also be on display at Footscray Community Arts on 26 November 2022 from 9pm–12am.
The public outdoor installation at The Substation will be able to be viewed from Market Street. The Substation is wheelchair accessible and gender neutral accessible toilets are available.
Open / Station invites you to an afternoon of new music, performance and visual arts culminating in the Neighbourhood festival closing night party.
Programmed from the ground breaking work of artists and companies who have worked at The Substation as residents or guests, Open / Station will activate the entire building, including the parts that are usually hidden from view.
Explore experiments in performance, sound and projection as well as site-responsive works by Jo Lloyd, Australian Art Orchestra and more.
After dark, see the final showing of Michaela Gleave's Between Us, a collaborative poem translated into morse code and beamed into the night sky.
Then DJs curated by Studio Slur will lead us into a celebration of the ending of 18 days of art, performance and community at Neighbourhood festival.
Open / Station is a curated spotlight on Melbourne's most exciting artists and companies, and their practice, who just so happen to call the West home.
This opportunity to showcase artists and bring the community together has been made possible by The Westgate Neighbourhood Fund, Hobson’s Bay City Council and the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund.
This event is part of the Neighbourhood Festival, co-presented by Footscray Community Arts and The Substation.
OPEN / STATION (from 2pm)
2pm–2:30pm – Adrian Sherriff / Instrumental Performance / Curated by Australian Art Orchestra / Mezzanine
2.30pm – Jo Lloyd / Performance / Featuring Harrison Ritchie-Jones, Rebecca Jensen, Thomas Woodman, Sheridan Gerrard, Deanne M Butterworth, Sophie Gargan, David Leupolu, Andrew Treloar (costume) and Duane Morrison (music) / Main Space
4pm–4:15pm – kori in collaboration with Sean Miles / Trick and/or Treat / Performance / Level 1 Corridor
An experimental piece that plays with notions of revealing and concealing.
4.30pm–5pm – The Rabble (Mary Helen Sassman and Dana Miltins) / Art for Our Sake / Performance / Main Space
Join them as they desperately try to render themselves 'essential artists'. This is 30 minutes of cut throat performance making: who will survive? It’s dog eat dog. Do or die. It’s Survivor on stage.
5pm–5:30pm – Georgie Darvidis / Edie Centric / Drag and Mime Performance / Curated by Australian Art Orchestra / AAO Office (Level 2)
5:30pm–6pm – Jasmin Wing-Yin Leung 梁詠然 / Instrumental Performance / Curated by Australian Art Orchestra / Studio 7
2pm–6pm – Slippage (Phuong Ngo and Hwafern Quach) / Mooncake Decorating Workshop / Studio 6 (Level 1)
2pm–12am – Shae Rooke, Jess Dubblu and Garth Sheridan / Material Halo / Installation / Dance Studio
A live, interactive, video and sound installation exploring Dark Matter.
2pm–12am – kori in collaboration with Sean Miles / Killing Time / Video / Level 1 Corridor
2pm–12am – Leon Rice-Whetton / Street Lights / Video / Mezzanine Window
Also showing Electric Man by Diego Pizarro and Woke in Fright curated by Nikki Lam and Mat Spisbah
CLOSING PARTY (from 7pm)
7pm–8:30pm – Studio Slur / DJ
8.30pm–9pm – Welcome to Country, Smoking Ceremony and speeches (Auslan interpreted)
9pm onwards – Michaela Gleave / Between Us / Installation
9pm–10:30pm – NayNay / DJ / Curated by Studio Slur / Main Space
10:30pm–12am – KSMBA / DJ / Curated by Studio Slur / Main Space
This event is wheelchair accessible and gender neutral accessible toilets are available.
The Welcome to Country and speeches (from 8.30pm) will be Auslan interpreted.
There will be limited free beer and wine supplied by our local partners Hop Nation and Site Wine from 7pm. Local restaurants Pango and Junction Hotel are open late, please ask our friendly staff for more information.
Inspired by the qualities of Superman, Batman and Spiderman, Electric Man is a tracks worker who becomes a superhero when he encounters an electric fuse box at Footscray Station.
Electric Man is the brainchild of Diego Pizarro, a comic-book artist who is currently undertaking an ArtLife Residency at Footscray Community Arts.
Loosely based on the narrative of Robin Hood, Electric Man first came to Diego as a solution to social issues after witnessing homelessness in the streets of Melbourne and Santiago. The narrative focuses on electricity and light, addressing global imbalances of power and the unequal distribution of resources in the world.
The project will be the stepping stone for a future comic book – to explore and share the narrative of Electric Man.
VENUES AND EXHIBITION LAUNCH
Electric Man is a multi-venue program presented at The Substation, Footscray Community Arts, Gabriel Gallery, Footscray Station, Seddon Station, Yarraville Station, Spotswood Station and Newport Station.
Electric Man will have a combined exhibition launch with House of Mother Tongue on Saturday, 19th November from 4–6pm.
The installation at The Substation will be able to be viewed from The Substation's Foyer during opening hours. The Substation is wheelchair accessible and gender neutral accessible toilets are available.
Clay is from the earth, transformation of this material from ‘natural’ to ‘man made’, performs an alchemy that’s one of the earliest forms of human expression and utility. Referencing the long and intimate history between ceramics and food, But First We Eat celebrates the historic importance of feasting through staged ceremonial dinners showcasing the ancient method of clay baked food.
The project explores the foods of different cultures as well as the shared rituals surrounding the act of creating and sharing meals; a language of its own.
Fluff Group are collaborating with 3 guest artists across the NEIGHBOURHOOD program to present 3 different and unique dining experiences. The guest artists will help select a palette of flavours for the menu, inspired by their own cultural backgrounds, artistic practice and favourite foods.
DATES AND LOCATIONS
Guest Artist: Michaela Gleave
Location: The Substation
Date: 13 November 2022
Gastro-biology inspired by “bubbles, glitter, science, and the interaction between macro and micro.”
Guest Artist: Girma Yifreshewa
Location: Footscray Community Arts
Date: 14 November 2022
A dinner inspired by the influences and sounds of Ethiopia.
Guest Artist: Hoang Tran Nguyen
Location: Footscray Community Arts
Date: 26 November 2022
An outdoor, twilight dinner with Vietnamese inspired street-food.
Fluff Corp is the creative partnership of ceramic artists Claire Lehmann and Jia Jia Chen. Using the material’s history to inform their ceramic activities, they aim to promote the connective and social potential of the medium whilst exploring its intimacy and ubiquity in daily life and its relationship to food and design culture.
Alongside immersive catering events and an object based practice, Fluff Corp has curated exhibitions for Melbourne Design Week, including an exhibition and series of clay baked dinners
But First We Eat in 2019 and The Talking Ornament in 2021, an exhibition which investigated how objects speak and the role of public space and monuments in urban life.
Fluff Corp. continues to look at new ways of engaging with ceramic materials and the public.
Influences include; Peter Greenaway, 1980’s sci-fi set design, 1970s interior design, Gordon Matta Clark’s FOOD, the writings of M.F.K Fisher, food history, and the work of Marije Vogelzang.
This event is wheelchair accessible and gender neutral accessible toilets are available.