getting to know the enemy: Pip & Pop

There’s something Very Extremely Special on in Adelaide this week and next (until the 12th of June, 2013). Australian installation artist Tanya Schultz who exhibits her work under the pseudonym Pip & Pop has installed a glittery, magical world inside a little shop on Gawler Place in the city.

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These photographs, hastily snapped with my phone in the wee small hours of the morning, are a slight reflection of the magic instilled into the little olde Shop 7, 38 Gawler Place, Adelaide. Think of this as a present to yourself, because it is. You are going to love it like nothing else you’ve seen this year, or maybe ever. You can view the work through the shop window anytime day or night, and visitors will be invited at random into the space for a closer look. It is entirely worth a pilgrimage to the city, even if you’ve no other reason to go.

I had a very special opportunity to “get to know the enemy” this time. Carclew Youth Arts put out a call for 5 Adelaide artists to assist Tanya with the creation of this project, I was lucky to be one of the extremely fortunate 5. I’ve had a girl crush on Tanya since I met her briefly when she exhibited at SASA gallery in 2012, and after getting the opportunity to work with and learn from her over the epic 2 week install of “supernatural tasks and magic objects” I now have an Extreme Girl Crush. It’s ok, she knows. :bunny:

Not only is Tanya Schultz crush-worthy and adorable, she’s extremely generous with her techniques and methods. She also works very, very hard, with enthusiasm, grace and an earnestness that shines through in her work. In this example the shining happens quite literally as we embedded each sugar island with twinkling, colour changing crystals and small mechanical marvels – spinning geodes, pirouetting flowers, magic objects.

Tanya often references old folk tales and creation stories from around the world when building a concept for a space. The words that flew around with the most animation in our ongoing installation discussions were “cosmic egg” “floating island” and “rotating” and extremely “rainbow”. It was joyous being part of building new worlds with such a delightful group of people under Tanya’s guidance.

The good people at the thousands also gave this installation a little wrap, its a great website to find out about other Fun Things to do in Adelaide.

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The New & Greatly Improved Analogue Laboratory

The universe has a perverse sense of humour sometimes. Almost immediately after my last blog entry things went very poorly for The Analogue Laboratory and we found ourselves without a home for our dear little Lab. After a sickening emotional roller coaster ride we found a new (and dare I say better) home for The Analogue Laboratory as part of a brand new Adelaide arts hub called The Mill. We’ve spent the last few weeks fundraising, planning and building the new facility, which will be able to hold many more darkroom enthusiasts at once, and will be able to take advantage of The Mill’s inner city location and the *enormous*, light filled loft workshop space. We hope to be able to have regular weekend access for people who like to do their own black and white enlargements and semi-regular ‘wet plate weekends’ during which collodion enthusiasts can bring their props to the Lab and we will enjoy a weekend long making session. It’s going to be incredible!
We’ve found a lot of support from the photographic community and the wider arts community – recently we’ve received a grant from the Helpmann Academy to put towards our rent, and the very generous folks from Ductware have donated all the exposed ducting we will need to make the darkroom a super safe place to Get Excited & Make Things.
There’s a few more days of our online fundraising campaign to go and we can use all the help we can muster. There are some very generous rewards available for those interested in using the Lab when we are done, and some tidy little thank you’s for folks who’d just like to lend a hand.

We are so grateful for all the support we’ve received so far. It’s fair to say without the incredible experience we had being part of Fontanelle and the community backing behind us this Lab would have never have been reincarnated.

The Analogue Laboratory

A little over a year ago now, a superlative young man by the name of Alex Bishop-Thorpe and I began plotting how we might install a photographic darkroom inside the fledgeling Fontanelle Gallery and Studios. It was exciting – watching the old factory transform into artist’s studios while we busily hunted around Adelaide for all the invisible bits and pieces that go into making a truly winning darkroom.

Welcome to The Analogue Laboratory

According to Legend, Alex had been hoarding photography equipment for the last six years waiting for an opportunity just like this one. We had a darkroom sink, a drying cabinet, loads of enlargers, trays, tanks, beakers, filters and lenses – but most of all we had lots and lots and lots of enthusiasm. We were able to salvage an enormous revolving darkroom door and re-purpose some industrial extraction fans we found in the roof. The City of Charles Sturt kindly supported our endeavour with the funds to build and install brand new enlarger benches. I cheekily took off to New York City on a 3 month residency right at that point – but Alex and his dad Kim completed the darkroom fit-out just in time for the first series of alternative photography workshops.

That’s how it started, and thanks to Alex’s very hard work we are still going strong. Over January and February 2013 we have a series of workshops aimed at novice photographers on pinhole cameras, creative polaroids and Holga plastic lens cameras. Later this year we intend to run more workshops on more advanced subjects such as wet plate collodion. We are thrilled by the response to the workshops – which are mostly completely full – and the enthusiasm of the workshop participants. I had no idea Adelaide was replete with analogue photography enthusiasts, but I’m very pleased that it is and that they are coming to play our lab :D

The Analogue Laboratory website is growing, but I think it already gives a pretty good idea about what we do. Have a read – maybe we can work on something together!

Echo Tunnel

Sunny weather is on, so we took advantage of a lazy afternoon to pack a picnic & go stomping around Belair National Park.

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There’s more coolfun stuff to do in Belair than a single afternoon allows, assuming you’re not just after a hike through the trees of course. This time, we did have a goal in mind: Echo Tunnel! It’s the perfect time of year for this particularly butterfly-infested area of Belair, & the boys had never been, so it seemed like just the thing.

Oh yes, junk words on the walls & much darker once you’re inside. Just the thing for exciting the blood of young explorers.

On the far side of the tunnel, we found the path quite overgrown with blackberries, grass & wildflowers, so we didn’t get too much farther, which is ok. Short legs & all. Still, we managed to pick a good spot – as we enjoyed some fruit & the boys gibbered happily, some nearby koalas let us know that, yes, we were being quite loud. 99 points for sighting a drop bear taking lunch!

Orlando has taken great strides in following his mother’s photographic footsteps, as revealed by this clever group photo;