November, 2018

Capital Life: What’s on in Canberra’s arts scene from March 4

Chrissie Shaw in Bijou. Jennifer Hawkins, in memory of, 2015, installation view.
Nanjing Night Net

Scribbles and lines at CCAS

Clare Thackway has a loopy new show at CCAS in the city – a series of drawings that “mimic the craft of knitting where a single thread weaves and knots to create a fabric. This work is a contemplation of connectedness and the complexities of interlaced human relationships.

As the eye follows the tangled thread, looping repeatedly, the pattern gives the illusion of a continuous line. Derived from an initial spontaneous scribble each drawing follows the same interlocking system.” Over & Over, by Clare Thackway, is showing at Canberra Contemporary Art Space City, Canberra City Framing, corner of Hobart Place and London Circuit, until April 9. And in Manuka, Joel Arthur is showing paintings that use line and pattern to create an “optical event”.

“Opposed to the flat, precise delivery of ’60s Op Art, these works are more painterly, physical, gestural with a range of spatial situations. The drive of this body of work is hand of the maker being present while delivering a perceptually charged experience.” All Line Up, by Joel Arthur, is showing at Canberra Contemporary Art Space Manuka, 19 Furneaux Street, Manuka, until March 13. All happening at Belconnen

Jennifer Hawkins is an artist preoccupied with stars – or rather, with the physics of the universe. In a show that contrasts man-made material with fragile feathers and bones, she explores the matter that connects us all. “Physicists tell us that matter and energy are two forms of the same thing and that they are the raw material of everything in the universe. That raw material doesn’t go away, it just changes form. That foundation of physics seems to me to link evolution and extinction, to complete the circle, and to address the big questions: Where do we come from? Where do we go? As the stuff of stars we are all connected – to each other, to the earth, to the universe.” Hawkins will conduct a workshop on working with acrylic sheet on Saturday, March 19, from 10am-3pm – “a day for experimentation; you will cut, snap, file, sand, polish, clean; drill, glue, weld, stich, screw, bolt; soften, mould, bend, twist, emboss; engrave, burn, paint and print.” Cost $90, with materials provided. Bookings essential. Visit belconnenartscentre南京夜网419论坛 for more information.

Next door, a group of artists has explored the notion of coveting things – desiring an object that is not theirs. “The fascinating thing about this theme is that it not only implicates objects but social relationships. As well, notions of self-control and self-regulation are necessary to avoid acting upon yearnings. There is the facet of danger, risk or, in the past, an ingredient of sinfulness. Coveting could lead to criminal behaviour.” There will be a conversation with the artists, led by Dr Sharon Peoples, on Sunday, March 6, at 2pm.

And finally, Jen Fullerton is continuing her ongoing examination of human-digital interactions. “Through the physicality of the sculptural object, Jen considers today’s constant engagement with, and reliance upon, a virtual, digital environment. Non-representational book and paper sculptures form the core of Jen’s recent practice, exploring the tension created when palpable, physical objects are juxtaposed with the ethereal, virtual world of the internet and social media.”

We are Made of Star Stuff –Carl Sagan, by Jennifer Hawkins, Covet, by Networks and False Readings, by Jen Fullerton, are showing at Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen, until March 28.Autumn lectures at Drill Hall

While undergoing major refurbishments, the Drill Hall Gallery (scheduled to reopen mid-year equipped with state-of-the-art climate control, insulation and lighting) is running a series of Sunday afternoon lectures throughout autumn, to be held from 3pm-4.30pm at the School of Art. The series kicks off March 6 with gallery director Terence Maloon discussing 19th-century Paris, the City of Spectacle. On Sunday, April 3, Mary Eagle will talk about Augustus Earle in a Darwinian detective story, and on May 8, Ian McLean will discuss How Aborigines invented the idea of Contemporary Art. Tickets at the door, $10/$5, or free for Friends of the Drill Hall Gallery. Flute and piano at the High Court

The highest court in the land is continuing its popular free Sunday concert series this year with a recital by the internationally acclaimed Chatterton-McCright Duo on flute and piano, who will present a lively repertoire of contemporary works. “The duo, Chatterton on flute and McCright on piano, is renowned for engaging listeners with understated technical prowess that results in enthralling and intelligent performances.” Chatterton-McCright Duo will perform at the High Court of Australia in Parkes on Sunday, March 13, at 1.30pm. Entry is free but bookings are advisable. Visit hcourt.gov419论坛/about/concerts for more details. New Beaver shows

Over in Deakin, Beaver Galleries has opened two new shows this week. Rona Green has hand-coloured linocuts, monotypes and drawings that “explore the creation of identity through non-verbal communication such as body language, adornment and decoration. By transforming familiar domestic pets with tattoos, clothing and accessories, Rona creates human-like thugs and punks reflecting underground, suburban street culture.” And Shannon Garson is showing hand-thrown porcelain vessels that are “hand-painted with imagery of the infinite variety of nature’s patterns, from eucalyptus leaves to an owl’s plumage”. While the going is good, by Rona Green and Infinite variety, by Shannon Garson, are showing until March 20 at Beaver Galleries, 81 Denison Street, Deakin. Playing Field residency

Applications are now open for Playing Field Studio’s 2016 Community Arts Residency Program, with sessions open in the second half of the year. “We are looking for Canberra-based individuals or community groups who want to explore or develop work using film, music, performing arts, photography, visual art, digital media or art therapies,” says the studio. The residencies include unlimited access to a studio space for seven days or a term block, and a budget of up to $500 for materials and equipment. Email [email protected]南京夜网 or call 0468 749 711 for an application form and more information. Submissions close 5pm, Friday, May 2. Bijou in the Tent

We loved this show when it first came to Canberra – the story of an aging former Queen of the Demi-Monde in 1930s Paris. Chrissie Shaw, who wrote the show, just owns the ravaged Bijou who, “shocked by a perceived insult, unleashes a string of intimate, colourful memories, taking us backwards in time to the shadows of her youth. Through seductions, wars, betrayal and loss, Madame Bijou survives by constantly reinventing herself. She’s the Madam of a high-class brothel, the wife of a German General, a semi-naked beauty on a Parisian stage, a wealthy courtesan, the young lover of a symbolist poet, and more besides.” The Famous Spiegeltent is the perfect place for Bijou’s reappearance. Bijou, A Cabaret of Secrets and Seduction by Chrissie Shaw, with Alan Hicks on piano, is at the Famous Spiegeltent, Civic Square, Canberra, on Tuesday, March 8, at 6.30pm. Bookings: canberratheatrecentre南京夜网419论坛, or 6275 2700.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Fashion Spree outlet centre gets a fresh start at Liverpool

Designer outlets are the new darlings of the retail sector. Photo: Fiona MorrisThe family-owned Gazcorp, run by the Gazal group, is set to open the new-look Fashion Spree centre at Liverpool on the site of the former Orange Grove designer outlet centre.
Nanjing Night Net

Having sat dormant after some controversy a few years ago, the Gazal family has resurrected the 14,500 square metre site to cater for shoppers in greater Western Sydney.

Designer outlets are the new darlings of the retail sector and are a favourite of overseas travellers.

Vicinity Centres owns the Direct Factory Outlets (DFO) and says business has been bricks, particularly from Asian-based inbound tourists.

Local shoppers are also keen on a bargain and sales for these centres have, at times, started to outstrip traditional malls, according to the landlords.

Vicinity’s chief executive Angus McNaughton said at the interim results that apparel retailers at the DFO outlets assets are tracking very strongly, up 10 per cent to the end of December.

Gazcorp director Nicholas Gazal says the new Fashion Spree centre will target all shoppers who have been starved of outlet sites in the western suburbs.

In Sydney, the main ones are DFO at Homebush, Mirvac’s Birkenhead Point and now Fashion Spree.

“We will offer up to 70 per cent off in high quality brands, 13 of which are new to Liverpool,” Mr Gazal said.

Located on Orange Grove Road Liverpool, the Luchetti Krelle designed shopping destination will initially offer 14,500 sqm with room for a further 5000 sqm expansion.

Gazcorp director, Nabil Gazal Jnr said brands will include Mimco, Country Road, Asics and Glue opening their first stores to the area.

Joining them are Vans, Bonds Outlet, Smiggle and womens wear store Bardot. Many more fashion and homewares brands will be revealed over the coming weeks.

Mr Gazal said Fashion Spree is designed with a turn of the century industrial feel – polished concrete floors, recycled brick and plenty of natural light.

The new site comes as the retail sector is enjoying a day in the sun.

This has not been lost on the international brands, which continue to come into Australia.

According to CBRE’s retail agents, Australia has strengthened on the list of markets where international retailers want to expand and is now sitting at 11th place globally, with 19 per cent of retailers looking to grow their presence here.

A new survey by CBRE’s global retail team shows that 83 per cent of brands do not expect their physical store expansion plans to be affected by the growth in e-commerce in 2016, with only 22 per cent of brands concerned that stiff competition from online retailing will be a threat to the market in 2016.

Tim Starling, Pacific head of retail tenant representation for CBRE, said that despite the popularity of online shopping growing year on year, a physical store presence in key locations is still seen as critical for maintaining a strong brand presence.

“Shoppers still feel a need to go into a store, physically touch a product and enjoy the brand experience. The store is integral to the shopping journey and can be used in a number of different ways, such as to click and collect, research a product or brand or to test the product. It isn’t solely about the transactional side,” Mr Starling said.

CBRE’s national retail director, Alistair Palmer, said the firm is witnessing the strongest levels of international retailer inquiry in Australia to date and “we believe we are only part way through this cycle. The two stand-outs are the luxury and the premium fashion sectors”.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Parramatta Road renewal sparks developer demand

The New Parramatta Road project aims to reduce congestion for the local residents. Photo: Isabella LettiniDevelopers are honing in on residential development opportunities, known sometimes as “superlots”, ahead of the implementation of the NSW government’s New Parramatta Road project.
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The New Parramatta Road is a NSW state government project to regenerate the Parramatta Road Corridor, which is defined as the land adjoining and at least one block back from the 22-kilometre Parramatta Road, as well as eight identified growth precincts.

It proposes that the majority of the residential development arising from the project will be concentrated in Auburn, Homebush, Burwood and Five Dock and facilitated by land use zoning changes.

The NSW Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes, said the new Parramatta Road project was part of the government’s plan to link Sydney from east to west and eradicate the congestion along the busy road. It comes as the government and local councils identify western Sydney as the growth sector.

Parramatta’s office vacancy is one of the lowest in the state at about 5.9 per cent.

By bundling up residential lots, the owners can get more economies of scale.

Deals already completed along Parramatta Road have raised a total of $17.25 million for the parties involved.

Recent acquisitions include the purchase of collection of individual properties in Burwood for a total of $9.65 million. This comprised 2, 4, 8 and 10 Hornsey Street, 2-4 Stanley Street and 7-13 Conder Street.

Another significant sale involved 9-13 Gloucester Avenue, Burwood, which sold for $7.6 million.

According to CBRE, which completed the sales, developers have been buying up houses in one line with a view to capitalising on future rezoning opportunities that will arise from the project.

CBRE’s manager, capital markets, Nick Tuxworth said developers were moving ahead of the project’s implementation to secure a foothold in the market.

“Off market deals are occurring, with developers buying up houses in a line or offering options to home owners to purchase their properties subject to rezonings occurring as part of the New Parramatta Road urban renewal,” Mr Tuxworth said.

“The majority of the transactions that have occurred in the past 12 months have involved local developers. However, with the Australian currency underperforming we are likely to see more foreign capital, particularly from China, looking at these types of development opportunities.”

Mr Tuxworth said that developers were showing a particular interest in sites without development applications, believing they could acquire these more cost effectively and add value.

“Whilst the market’s perception may be that development site acquisitions are slowing down, from the conversations that we have been having with developers, there is still significant activity,” Mr Tuxworth said.

However CBRE’s Victor Sheu said the firm’s review included a note of caution for property owners and highlighted that further clarity on the government’s New Parramatta Road strategy was required to ensure that vendors and purchasers could compose deals that resulted in win-win outcomes.

“Home owners likely to benefit from the New Parramatta Road uplift should be prepared in terms of understanding the procedure of selling amalgamated sites,” Mr Sheu​ said.

“They also need to recognise that, until there are any public exhibitions or official announcements, it is extremely difficult to provide definitive advice on site values because of the potential pricing fluctuations and demand changes that could occur in the market for residential developments.”

Urban Growth NSW is presently considering feedback and submissions received following public consultation on the draft Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy, which was held between October and December last year.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Book review: Blood Year, by David Kilcullen

Nanjing Night Net

By David Kilcullen.

Black Inc. $29.99.

David Kilcullen’s Blood Year offers far more than just a simple reworking of his Quarterly Essay of the same name. Lying at the heart of that earlier piece was a simple, albeit unwritten, accusation: President Obama had thrown away all of the good accomplished by the surge of US troops into Iraq in his rush for a precipitate withdrawal. Now, Kilcullen has extended his range of focus to examine the most recent developments in the war in detail. This is an up-to-the-minute analysis, right up to the most recent insertion of Russian troops in the Middle East together with detail of the the slow, grinding battles to retake the cities of Iraq from the insurgents. In doing so, Kilcullen has not so much grabbed at the chance to serve up a counter-narrative of what should have been done, as pointed out the missed opportunities and flaws in execution that have bedevilled and complicated the fight against ISIS.

His analysis offers personal insight and anecdote together with a virtuoso, extensive knowledge of operational detail. This is to be expected as the author, who began his military career as a simple Australian infantry officer before researching (well before the attack on the World Trade Centre) Islamic insurgency in Indonesia, has a long and close acquaintance with his subject. He’s worked as a senior counterinsurgency adviser with US military commander David Petraeus in Iraq and later Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington. He’s written books on this subject already (these feature on staff college reading lists). As such, it’s no surprise to discover that Kilcullen brings his research together cogently and effectively. It also seems fair to ask, “what’s new, and why should I bother buying yet another book?” What does this work add that isn’t already available elsewhere? The answer depends on how desperately the reader wants to understand the subject.

The book does offer a definitive snapshot of where the so-called “war on terror” has us left us stranded today. By focusing relentlessly on the operational level of the conflict, Kilcullen fashions a key that can be used to unlock a deeper understanding of not just Islamic State, but why this insurgency is ripping across the world. The reader becomes quickly convinced the author is a sure guide, capable of not merely charting a path through this amorphous war but also of drawing credible conclusions about exactly why things have turned out the way they have. What he won’t do, however, is sheet home the blame for the current failure. Perhaps this is because he’s been a participant in much of the strategic decision-making. This provides both the great strength, and weakness, of the book.

For those prepared to think things through his strategic snapshot provides an implicit and devastating critique of current policy. A reader doesn’t need to be particularly astute to discern exactly where things went wrong. Kilcullen’s analysis is, however, rarely explicit. A journalist might be far more ready to share out blame and identify the culprits and those who are responsible for the blunders than Kilcullen: then again, a journalist would lack the inside knowledge and understanding he possesses. His restraint contributes significantly to making each chapter a precise, easy to understand contribution to understanding why the war developed as it has.

Although he describes how a real chance of victory in Iraq was thrown away in 2008, Kilcullen eschews attributing blame. He pulls his punches. This is a detailed and factual analysis, rather than a soaring polemic of what might have been and chances missed. His thesis is strong, cogent, and tightly worked. In other hands this might be used to make a Republican political point. But that’s not Kilcullen’s aim, and he resists the opportunity to posit simplistic solutions. Even strategists need to work, and for as long as a Democrat administration remains in office I suspect Kilcullen’s indictment will remain implicit rather than spelt out overtly. Nevertheless, for both those wanting a straightforward account of how we’ve reached this point today and those prepared to read between the lines, this book offers a remarkably detailed guide to the current prosecution of the so-called “war on terror”.

By concentrating on the diaphanous shape-changing nature of this threat to civilised society and examining the specific reasons that have led to the conflict taking the shape it has, Kilcullen demonstrates there is no simple path to success. Indeed, the very notion of “victory” itself becomes problematised, and perhaps this is the biggest contribution the book makes to our understanding of the broader theme of counter-insurgency.

Victory in this fight will not be imposed from outside. Even in Afghanistan, creating a genuine peace will depend on engaging civilians and sharing power. Unfortunately this book suggests such an end-state is as far away as ever.

Nicholas Stuart is a Canberra journalist who has spent time in the Middle East both independently and embedded with Australian forces.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Book review: Public Library and Other Stories, by Ali Smith.

Public library and other stories, by Ali Smith. Photo: Supplied
Nanjing Night Net


By Ali Smith.

Hamish Hamilton.


Award-winning British author Ali Smith frames her latest collection of short stories around the crisis of the public library system in Britain. Smith writes: “The statistics suggest that by the time this book is published there will be 1000 fewer libraries in the UK than there were at the time I began writing the first of the stories.” A recent statistical review revealed that there are now 14 million fewer books in British public libraries since the Conservatives took power in 2010.

While only one of the 12 stories directly refers to a library, each one is buttressed by short essays or poems contributed by leading authors like Kate Atkinson and Jackie Kay which stress the importance of libraries, a space where both the advantaged and disadvantaged can access information and culture.

Smith mixes fact and fiction in many of the stories . Smith’s opening piece, Library, which is printed with the title crossed out, documents a visit that Smith and her editor made to a building near Covent Garden, which formerly had been a library and now has transformed into a luxury private members club, although the receptionist proclaims, “We do some books as a feature”.

Smith weaves real characters, such as Virginia Woolf, Wilfred Owen and Katherine Mansfield, into her stories, who interact with her contemporary fictional characters. Many stories reflect on death and the loss of family, a reflection perhaps on the death of the familial library.

In The Ex-Wife, Katherine Mansfield is the third party in a marriage break-up, as one partner’s obsession with Mansfield, her life and her writings, causes unreconcilable tensions. Another juxtaposition of past and present comes in The Human Claim, which begins with Smith following the fate of the ashes of D. H. Lawrence but then soon refocuses around Smith’s frustrations in dealing with soulless call centres. Smith, a victim of a credit-card fraud, must grapple with the “matey automatons” of Lufthansa and Barclays Bank, although during her virtual peregrinations she takes comfort in arriving at Harmondsworth, the home of her beloved Penguin paperbacks.

The increasing lack of societal personal contact is physically embodied in Last when a wheelchair-bound woman is left locked in a railway carriage in a siding. In that context, Smith and her fellow writers would extrapolate that the physical library as a community resource is essential in a world of disembodied internet access and faceless bureaucracies.

Do buy this book, but, if not, recommend its purchase by your local library. In Australia, you probably have a better chance of success than in Britain.

Colin Steele is a Canberra reviewer.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.