Photofile 85 - Post Punk




Editor: Ashley Crawford

I must say that I have had an interesting few months since the last Photofile appeared. First off there was a long lunch with the infamous performance artist Stelarc, whose latest endeavour has seen a third ear grow on his left arm. It was a warm day in a moderately crowded restaurant and when Stelarc removed his jacket a gradual hush filled the room. It's not every day that you dine with a man with three ears.

That led to talking with Stelarc's partner, photographer Nina Sellars who had been on hand to document the operation. The somewhat gory results are featured in this issue and seem strangely in tune with our CSI culture at the current moment.

Then it was off to Tokyo for eight days courtesy of Asialink to see two curated exhibitions of Japanese and Australian artists. Trace Elements at the Tokyo Opera City Gallery was co-curated by Bec Dean from Sydney's Performance Space and Shihoko Iida from Tokyo Opera City while Diorama of the City: between site and space at the Tokyo Wonder Site was co-curated by Reuben Keehan from Artspace, Sydney, and Hisako Hara of Wonder Site. Trace Elements will tour to Performance Space while Diorama will tour to Artspace in Sydney in 2009. In this issue we speak to four of the Australian artists involved - Jane Burton, Philip Brophy, Sophie Kahn and Tim Silver about their experiences.

The Asian focus continued as Maurice O'Riordan travelled through the various concurrent art events, taking in the Singapore, Taipei, Kwangju and Shanghai Biennales, finding particularly striking photographic work in Singapore with its aptly titled theme, Wonder.

Back in Australia the Melbourne Festival was in full flight and gave us an opportunity to talk to two international stars about their photographic and mixed media work - the poet laureate of punk, Patti Smith and the high-tech hip-hop maestro Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky. In many respects they could not be more extreme - Smith's work is essentially romantic in the 19th Century amateur style while Miller embraces new technologies with technofeverishness. Miller's Terra Nova Sinfonia Antarctica highlights the perils facing the icy continent while Smith's work, at heart, is a homage to her former lover and long-term collaborator Robert Mapplethorpe.

Meanwhile intrepid reporter Darren Tofts donned an Elvis Presley hair-piece and attended a debauched bacchanalia on Photofile's behalf. Hand to Mouth was a one-off art-event-happening conceived by Melbourne based artists Boo Chapple and Adele Varcoe ñ the only thing missing was Stelarc and Nina Sellars in attendance.


  • Editorial
  • Debut: Let it slide: Mia Salsjo by Phip Murray
  • Previews: Upcoming shows
  • Rant: Pseudo Zeitgeist by Philip Brophy


  • Visiting the Infirmary: Patti Smith pays homage to Robert Mapplethorpe by Ashley Crawford
  • Digital Debauch by Darren Tofts
  • Found In Translation: Australian art in Tokyo by Ashley Crawford
  • Why a kiss is an X? An Asian round-up by Maurice O‚ÄôRiordan
  • The Sound of Ice: DJ Spooky in the Antarctic by Ashley Crawford


  • Oblique Strategies: Nina Sellars by Ashley Crawford
  • Faustian Fantasies: Chantal Faust by Melissa Amore
  • Muscular Memories: Simon Terrill by Kirsten Rann

Exhibition Reviews:

  • Picture Paradise
  • Huang Xu
  • Victor Erice & Abbas Kiarostami: Correspondences
  • Derek Hart: fro and to
  • Chris Fortescue: naturalism08

Book Reviews:

  • Heide Smith: Portrait of a people: the Tiwi of Northern Australia
  • David Campany: The Cinematic

IMAGE © Carla Gottgens Patti Smith 2008

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