Sunday, June 26, 2011

Destination 90s & Please keep Studio A open after-hours!

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on set for Destination 90s- filmed at RMIT's Studio A after-hours
Dear RMIT,

This is a post to support a community group and service that I derived a lot of value from last year.  I have been alerted to the fact that RMIT is shutting down access to Studio A outside of normal working hours. As such, I'd like to share the wonderful experience I had when I worked on a Destination 90s, a show made by members of RMITV in RMIT's Studio A, after-hours. It is my hope that RMIT will resource Studio A to continue to operate as it has been in order to enable others to have rewarding experiences like I got to!

For those who are unfamiiliar, RMITV is a not-for-profit independent media production group and community access television production facility based at RMIT University City Campus. Destination 90s was a tribute show to music, news and lifestyle of the 90s and the brainchild of one Caitlin Jolly who both produced and hosted the show. Destination 90s was filmed after work hours which meant that after my dayjob as an auditor, I could zip over to Studio A and make tv.
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In make-up ~ yeah baby!
Caitlin gave me the opportunity to act as both stylist and show presenter from Episode 4. As the presenter of the 90s Child segment, it was my role to re-introduce and reminisce about the toys from our childhood, here's my debut with one of my favourite toys, GRIP BALL:

eeek! But truly I loved every moment of my Destination 90s experience and like to think that I learnt and improved over the course of the series! Being able to juggle a full-time job and build up my portfolio as stylist for the show meant a lot to me. If the show was not filmed outside of work hours, there is no way that I'd be able to have been a part of it - and I know that I'd feel poorer without this experience.
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Some of the fun I got up to as stylist and presenter of the 90s Child segment...

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The crew with James Sherry from 90s kids' show, A*mazing!
Without Destination 90s, I would not have met a whole lot of inspiring people who I have no doubt are the bright future of Australian TV.

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Serious shit, please keep Studio A open after-hours!

After the experience of Destination 90s, I have been inspired to work on creating my own shows which I hope to have made at Studio A. So dear RMIT, please keep Studio A open after hours so that both I and a wider section of our community can take part to connect to build relationships and wonderful experiences in making Australian television.

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Destination 90s on YouTube | Facebook |Twitter
RMITV | Twitter |
All photos by Fernando de Sousa

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hurt is Hairy

A slightly longer post today as this story is about six years in the making. This is the story of how a piece I made six years ago ended up being photographed in the Sydney Morning Herald having inspired scenes in The Griffin Theatre Company's Heartbreak Hotel - a series of performances about relationship break-ups.
The Making of the Piece
Six years ago, I was living in creative and vibrant Berlin whilst going through my first proper break-up. I wasn't quite sure what to do. But I was in Berlin and facing returning home in a few months to commence a career in a conservative environment, so I pre-occupied myself with creative distractions. One of the very many things that I got up to was to get a hair cut. Nothing drastic but a trim to fix my unruly hair. I'll admit that throughout the haircut I willed every bit of hurt/pain/emotion in to the very tips of the hairs being snipped off. I wanted to be free of hurting, of being hurt.

I can't remember exactly what had given me the idea to make this piece. Around this time I'd just finished working at a film festival where one of the things I did was collage a series of boxes which were used to hold the votes of film attendees for their favourite films. I'd mosaiced the colourful boxes and can re-call feeling like a Pandora of sorts as I cris-crossed the city to deliver the various boxes to their home cinemas. Maybe "hurt" was one of those sorrows which I wanted to put back in Pandora's box...

I do remember that the hairdresser was not fazed by my request to keep my hair and proceeded to sweep and package it as if it was the most normal request. I'd found the clear plastic box on an earlier trip to Zurich which had been waiting for the perfect project and PVA glue was a prior purchase when I'd wanted to relive the childhood joys of peeling the glue off my fingers. I remember how easy the piece was to make, my thick coarse hair falling into place easily. One of the loopy bits happened naturally and it was easy to fashion the others to neaten off the ends.
Random shit, Chez!
The flipside of "Hurt" is something "True"...
I felt like I needed to show the piece to people. I brought it along to Art Basel where it was quite the conversation starter. I befriended an artist from New Zealand who made intricately embroidered art pieces using her own hair.

The middle

I shipped the box back home to Melbourne where for five years it languished at the bottom of my cupboard. I showed it to family, friends, a new boyfriend. Some thought it was cool, most however found it disturbing and advised that I throw it away. I always had a feeling that it was important that I hold on to the piece, even though I will admit that over the years I became more unnerved by the sight of it.

Things changed and I decided to shift pace so that I had the time to pursue my creative interests. I chose not to follow my then partner on his overseas adventures; I was going to have my own! For the first time in years, I was free. I changed jobs, started a website and in the same week even started presenting a segment on a community television program. Then one day I met Allie.

The Theatre

I was at the bar of one of my favourite restaurants when I struck up a conversation with the girls sitting next to me - beautifully-plated food facilitates that. Allie's friend mentioned an interesting project that Allie was starting in her work for the Griffin Theatre Company, the curation of one Museum of Broken Relationships. A collection of items, loaned by the public, to share stories of their relationship break-ups. Naturally I had to tell Allie about the hairy hurt.

A week or so later Allie sent me an email, telling me that she had told everyone at work about the hairy hurt and could I please loan it to them. A friend of mine happened to be driving up to Sydney so off it went! The theatre company published a piece about the hairy hurt in their newsletter, here it is below:
The Performances
I forgot about the hairy hurt until six months later I received an email telling me that the hairy hurt had inspired scenes in performances that the Griffin Theatre company was performing for ONE NIGHT ONLY!

I tried in vain to find friends in the state to cover the event for me. In hindsight it seems fitting that I went alone.
The performances were amazing. Attendees had to check in to the Heartbreak Hotel where we were each given a hotel room key and assigned a beautifully-uniformed bell-hop who escorted us to locations around the theatre where we were presented performances on different types of break-ups. Afterwards I mingled with the crowd and introduced myself as the owner of the hairy hurt, which was on display:
My Hurt Hair strung up for all to see!
I offered to take back the hairy hurt and my friend's piece which was also being displayed - to save the company the hassle of having to send back the pieces to us by mail. Kindly, it was suggested to me that I visit the evening's agony aunt who was counselling people on matters of heartbreak. I waited in line for 50 minutes before being kicked out of the session after the first question. Funnily enough, my answer to the question released something inside of me and I felt lighter. Leaving the theatre, I gifted the hairy hurt to one of the actors, Simon. Here's Simon with the piece:

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The moral of this random shit is to harness hurt to find the truth for yourself and enjoy the journey it takes you on. x

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fun Felt Food Accessories for Destination 90s

A sample of felt doughnuts from Lisa Johnson's etsy shop
I like food. I like crazy accessories and I love etsy. One of my favourite shops belongs to a lady from New Zealand named Lisa who combines all my loves into her etsy shop. Lisa makes "fun felt food" and for some reason when browsing her range of doughnuts, I got the idea that they would make ace accessories, so I bought them.

Truth be told, they stayed in my craft box for some time. One of those crazy random projects that I didn't have the time or dare I say it - necessity - to put together.

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Cupcake dolls
Then one day the necessity to turn these doughnuts into EXCESS-ories came around. As the presenter of the 90s child segment on community television show Destination 90s, I'd dress up each week in tribute to the week's toy. So faced with the prospect of presenting a piece about Cupcake dolls, I decided to make my food accessories! So are you ready to see them?

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Getting into costume
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The necklace

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Headband & cuff
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Close-up of the doughnut cuff

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Princess Tina sweettooth earrings complete the ensemble!

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On set with Destination 90s show host, Caitlin Jolly.

And there you have it from Random shit, Chez! Fun felt food is all the sweetness without the calories or guilt! 

All photos: Fernando de Sousa

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Birds (in Camberwell/Hawthorn)

A Random-shit-Chez-crafted YouTube clip for you this evening:

Those who follow my regular tweets may have seen me tweet about The Birds that fill the air outside of my office at hometime. Loitering in the trees and on lightpoles in the carpark, these beaked bandits also take time to cling to office buildings, squawking 'Go Home! to the inhabitants working back late' - or so I like to think. Take a gander at this clip to experience the cacophony of Cocktaoos and Crows that I'm talking about.