20 November 2007

some beauty

At the moment I am editing my images from India - compiling them into a small book of the Sripuram Temple in Tamil Nadu (sripuram.org)...

These lotus flowers sit in a pond walking distance from the temple. These photos were taken at dawn - I was surrounded by so much beauty, and so present that no surface surrounding me had been forgotten by the dew...

19 November 2007

Albert Camus quote

"One either serves the whole of mankind or one does not serve him at all.

And if man needs bread and justice - what has to be done, must be done, to serve this need.

He also needs pure beauty which is the bread of his heart, courage in one's life and talent in one's work."

Albert Camus

18 November 2007

100 x 100 project supports Women's Stories

100 x 100 is about 100 women from around the world supporting the archive and book of interviews of 100 women whom were imprisoned in Argentina in the early 1970s.

Paula Luttringer, Argentinian based in Paris created the foundation this year. We exhibited together last year at the Fotofest Biennale in the USA and more recently in Germany.

A.M.A.R. Art Memory and Recovery will be a collective of workshops with university students extending out of this foundation.

If you want to be one of the 100 women supporting this work - leave me a message below and I can send you the PDF of the foundation.

Her exhibition can be seen on :

And radio programme can be heard on:

website of the foundation (under construction)

Her exhibition can be seen on :

And radio programme can be heard on:

website of the foundation (under construction)

17 November 2007

snow in berlin

Here in Berlin it snowed.

Mum was in town with her friend so we did lots of museums... and hot chocolates / schnapps in between... two concerts at the Berlin Philharmonie - where Simon Rattle presented a fabulous first movement of Mahler - the notes suspended in the air... and the silence between movements was delicious.

The Berlin Phil didn't get Mum becoming a lover of German composers... She told me she's very French in that respect... and loves
the melodies of Ravel, Debussy, Messiaen...

The following day, returned to the Berlin Phil where my friend Stanley Dodds (he's in the Australia's Creative Diaspora book) conducted the Schoneberg Orchestra with lovely Horn Concerto by American composer SLEEPER (great name ...).

Mr Sleeper gave me his flowers as he and his wife were travelling to the USA the following day. The flowers are up on my altar. http://www.stanleydodds.com/index.html

do you vote? series article in the Australian

This went to print before I delivered the Australian part of the Do you Vote? series... can you believe that??? + i am misquoted/ words place out of context... but that seems to be a recurring experience with overworked journalists... all the same I am grateful to have this work talked about ...

The experience at the Tenterfield pub was moving - after being asked his opinion of what he thought the priorities of the present government were, what he'd like the priorities of the next government to be and the image he would like to have of Australia, Jo, an Indigenous Australian told me that he had waited his whole life for someone to listen to his opinion. He didn't vote as there is no political representation of his people.


Candid camera ballot box

Rosemary Sorensen | November 16, 2007

IN a pub in Tenterfield, NSW, Nathalie Latham is hugged by an indigenous Australian for asking a few simple questions.


Texan pest controller Wanda wants terrorism eliminated

"I've been waiting all my life," the fellow says to her over a game of pool in the front bar, "for someone to ask me that."

The questions are about politics, but not of the kind we are endlessly hearing asked and answered in the drawn out lead-up to next week's federal election. Instead of asking which party or leader people will vote for, Latham asked, "Do you vote?"

She was disturbed to find that whenever she asked the question of indigenous Australians, the answer was, more often than not, no. Latham finds that heartbreaking.

Latham was born in Brisbane, and went to university there and in Sydney before going to Japan to do a masters degree in Japanese. Soon after, she began making documentaries on film and video, then developed a name for herself as a still photographer.

Earlier this year, an exhibition of photographs of artists called Australia's Creative Diaspora was shown at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.

From her base in Paris, Latham set out to document what photography historian Geoffrey Batchen calls the "double-edged" situation of "courageous Australians going out there into the unknown", which is also the "loss of another generation of young Australian talent drawn to the lure of elsewhere".

Latham is now working in Berlin where she plans to show a version of her Do You Vote? project in parliament.

The project began in 2003, prompted by a dinner party conversation about politics, during which Latham expressed her disbelief that the American people would elect George W.Bush for a second term. "I just wasn't convinced by what I was being told in the media, and I was shocked by the American people's acceptance of Bush," Latham says. One of her fellow diners listened to her concern, then suggested: "Well, why don't you go around America and speak to people and find out what they really think?"

"The media doesn't do that," Latham says. "They have different agendas, so I did go to America, and I took a Greyhound bus starting in New York and did a road trip."

Latham approached people on the bus, in the bus stations and on the streets of the places she visited, and asked them if they'd co-operate with her. When she later expanded the project to include people in European cities, and then Australians, she discovered a marked difference in willingness to take part.

In Europe, she says, she was turned down endlessly by people suspicious of a wandering woman with a camera. In England, people were downright hostile.

Australians were much more accommodating, but at the same time their responses were much less thoughtful. Despite the vote being compulsory, questions about what people wanted out of politicians elicited "homogeneous responses".

"It didn't matter where I was talking to people, in Tasmania or Brisbane, there's no great difference between right or left wing. You can see it in the newspapers too."

In that first road trip across the US, she established parameters for what has become a huge project involving hundreds of mini-interviews. She asked what she says is a series of innocuous questions, beginning with: "Do you vote?" She then asked what her subjects think are the priorities of the administration, what they would like the priorities of the next administration to be, and then a question specific to the country she is in.

In the US she asked: "How would you like the rest of the world to perceive the USA?" and received answers such as, "It would be nice to see the US practise what it preaches", "A giving people", and "That we are the policeman of the world" (this last from a fellow who appeared to be living illegally in Alabama, and who also wanted the next administration to "stop homosexuality, murder and police brutality").

The idea was to ask a question openly

and without any expectations about the answer, and then listen and transcribe exactly what is said.

"I wasn't interested in who people voted for," Latham says, "but what interested them, how they wanted their country run, what their priorities were. I wanted to see how they saw their own country.

"I wanted to break the link between politics and the media. Journalists never spend the time to ask a lot of people, they only ask a very small number and about very narrow issues."

Bowling up to people on the street was tiring and Latham says she had to develop a thick skin to cope with the frequent rejection. She describes the process of interviewing as a "performance piece" and says it was important to establish a relationship with the subject before she asked whether she could take a photograph. "It's important to gain their trust," she says.

"The person in front of me is always gauging me on the integrity of my work, so I keep talking, trying to create a relationship, and you can see the look on their faces when they will co-operate.

"It is more or less a dare that got me going, and I never imagined I'd be doing this for so long when I started.

"And it can be very hard work when you've been rejected over and over.

"In the States it was easy, because everyone thinks they've got the chance to be famous, so they're very friendly, but the further north in England I went, the harder it was to get people to talk."

Nevertheless, she did get a show out of her photographs and interviews in England, and the parliamentarian who opened it was impressed. "He said, as a politician, people never speak to him like that, never tell him what they really think," Latham says. "People do like to feel heard, and I don't think people ask these questions enough.

"Everything is personal. If you ask an old person, they'll tell you about pensions; young couples are interested in interest rates. I did find that global warming, which is very much on the agenda in Australia, wasn't much on the radar elsewhere." Despite that, Latham found her interviews in Australia depressing. "The level of political debate is very low and the pattern of discussion is very narrow. I don't think there's the same distribution of information as in Europe."

Latham is working towards a publication based on her Do You Vote? series, and also working with a sound designer to create a video work. It's not exactly art, she says, and the photographs are snaps, grabbing the moment in time when the person voiced their opinion, rather than social portraits.

When she finishes the project, it will have taken her more than five years from the moment she stepped on the bus in New York, to document a huge range of reactions to her questions about politics.

"I don't actually think of myself as political," Latham says, "but all my work has an undertow, quietly political."

29 September 2007

istanbul light

The very majestic St Sophie, she's been church and mosque in her long life and now she's under construction, not celebrating any faith in particular and being visited by lots of tourists each day. A magnificent experience to walk through her doors.

favourites at istanbul biennale

just realised i never posted theses images from the Istanbul Biennale ... this was a favourite work about the museum pieces from the Baghdad National Museum after it was destroyed... the replicas made from recycled objects and a great sound track accompanies the work.

2. Fotofestival Mannheim Ludwigshafen Heidelberg

Last weekend the 2. Fotofestival took place in
in the three cities of
Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg -
it was an enormous gig : over 100 photographers/ video+ers exhibited.

The wonderful Paula Luttringer and Celina Lunsford
at the entrance where Paula and I were exhibiting.

Me feeling a little weary from a short night, background:
my video of Sleeping Angels.

Paula Luttringer and Celina Lunsford in the museum gift store.


Two favourites at documenta IIIII IIIIII II was
Amar Kanwar's lightning testimonies 2007.

Angels Painting 2007
painted with a white clay on blue painted wall (here it appears more grey than blue)

19 September 2007

Eating Up Beijing @ KodakEastmanHouseNY

The Kodak-Eastman House in Rochester, New York's Vital Signs is showing my video on pollution in Beijing, which I filmed in 2005.

The show is up until 30 September.

And this is the slowest moving video I've made to date. It sprung out of my rage towards the heavy pollution I was inhaling each day while in Beijing (I arrived in the week when there was the highest level of pollution in the city for that year... and literally couldn't see more than a block down the street.)


I'm sorting out how to my work up online again... so will keep you posted.

Stuart McDonald's tv gig

Lovely friend, Stuart McDonald - film director based in Melbourne gave me this link of a series he recently worked on.

I think you need to understand the Australian paradigm to enjoy it - I watched it on my ipod last night in bed and thought it was hilarious... (would be interested to see what my friends from elsewhere think of it). Requires a strong handle of fairly unsophisticated coarse English language.

The main three characters (Ja'mie a snobby grade 11 girl, the ambitious gay drama teacher - Mr G and Jonah, a year 8 polynesian boy) are all played by Chris Lilley, the writer and associate producer.

You can download Summer Heights High :


Image of the month

Here is for the MOST beautiful image found this month.

From Khajuraho Temple, India.

17 September 2007


The Berliner-kunst-kontakter is a guy who goes to openings around Berlin (and other German cities) and documents his visits by filming with a camera planted on his yellow-hard-hat (portrait of him on his webpage).

He then loads the snippets of his visit on to his website.

While I was in India in August, he visited the Bethanien Kunstlerhaus Open Studios.

My studio is about half - way through the clip, the one with lots of photographic portraits+text stuck up on the wall. It also gives you a chance to see the other studios down the corridor (briefly).

Go to :

on the fourteenth line down is :
Open Studios + Ateliers | Künstlerhaus Bethanien | 08/07

16 September 2007

Sleeping Angels at 2nd Photo Festival Mannheim

Next weekend, my video of :
(music by Dan Parry, vocals by Sir Willard White)
will be exhibited along with lovely friends :

Paula Luttringer's El Lamento de los Muros - her extraordinary work on illegal prisons in Argentina

EJ MAJOR's Marie Claire RIP

and Nicolai Howalt's work on boxers

for more info on the festival :

2nd Photo Festival Mannheim_Ludwigshafen_Heidelberg

Ali Kepenek, Aus der Serie "Tattoo / Phoenix", 2006
"Tattoo-Snallows on Kristin Back"
C-Print in verschiedenen Größen
Copyright: Ali Kepenek
Courtesy duvekleemann berlin

2nd Photo Festival Mannheim_Ludwigshafen_Heidelberg
Reality Crossings

22 September to 21 October 2007


The 2nd Photo Festival Mannheim_Ludwigshafen_Heidelberg opens on 21 September. The three venue cities will be presenting the Festival until 21 October 2007 under the title Reality Crossings, which is also the subject matter of the exhibitions. The curator this year is Christoph Tannert, director of Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin and acclaimed exhibition organiser in the fields of the visual arts and photography.

Reality Crossings will show international photo and video art by eighty-two artists from thirty countries. A quarter of the listed artists are German while three quarters of the contributions are from abroad. Participating artists include Tacita Dean (GB), Peter Friedl (A) and Walter Niedermayr (I). They are joined by numerous young talents, some of whom are on the brink of discovery, such as Inês d’Orey (P), Nezaket Ekici (TR), Sadaf Rassoul Cameron (USA) and Juliane Eirich (D). Three artists from three different countries lived and worked in the three cities conurbation while preparing for the 2nd Photo Festival: Beth Yarnelle Edwards (USA), Michelle Sank (GB) and Kim Yunho (ROK) have realised exciting projects here, that will also be seen at the Festival. About a quarter of the participating artists will be presenting new works or works that are being shown for the first time in Germany. This group includes projects by Juliana Beasley (USA), Via Lewandowsky (D), Mar iele Neudecker (D) and Frank Rothe (D).

With Reality Crossings Christoph Tannert has undertaken a relaunch of what used to be the Internationale Fototage, which moved from Herten into the Rhine-Neckar Triangle two years ago. Reality Crossings designates content converging on the media planes of cutting-edge photography with the realities of life surrounding us with both beauty and danger, often close to the abyss. The photographs and video works deal media-specifically with phenomena that are being currently discussed. They confront us with subjects and images that are usually -- more or less consciously -- screened out, overlooked or ignored. This year’s Festival will be more closely tied in with current trends in contemporary art than has previously been the case.

Unlike 2005, there will be no country quotas for participating artists. National bias was no longer an option for the curator.

Themed workshops and guided tours will also take place under the auspices of the Festival. Another Festival highlight will be the ceremony at which the DGPh (German Society for Photography) will award the Dr.-Erich-Salomon-Prize on 29 September 2007. This year’s prize winner is Letizia Battaglia from Sicily. She is to receive this distinction for her fight against the Mafia, in which the camera is her weapon and constant companion. Selected works by Letizia Battaglia will be shown at the Ernst Bloch Centre (Ludwigshafen).

The exhibits will be shown at thirteen different venues. This year the Festival is collaborating with various institutions in the three cities. Exhibition venues include the Kunsthalle Mannheim and the University of Mannheim, Schloss. Other exhibitions will be presented at the Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum (Ludwigshafen), the Ernst Bloch Centre (Ludwigshafen), the Palatinate Museum of the City of Heidelberg (Heidelberg), the Heidelberger Kunstverein and the Prinzhorn-Collection (Heidelberg). More works will be shown at selected venues in public spaces (for instance, Engelhorn, a department store, and the passage below the Ludwigshafen Mitte S-Bahn). A selection of video contributions will be shown at Cinema Quadrat (Mannheim), Karlstor Kino (Heidelberg) and Halle_02 (Heidelberg).

You will find more information at: http://www.fotofestival-ma-lu-hd.de

Press contact:
Goldmann Public Relations, Andrea Schmidt,
Zimmerstraße 11, 10969 Berlin, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)30-259 357 10, Fax: +49 (0)30-259 357 29,
e-mail: andrea.schmidt@goldmannpr.de

intricate home-building

If you look very carefully, to the left of my window, a spider has created a most intricate home across the whole window space. This spider gets great morning sunlight and stunning sunsets.

I've had a very magical weekend full of connectedness and am reading A Vision of a Living World (from series The Nature of Order : An Essay of the Art of Building and The Nature of the Universe) so this spider's visit seemed appropriate. By the way, I HIGHLY suggest the book.

For more info :

Close up of the master of intricate home building.

wheels for berlin

I have wheels !

Today I bought a second hand bicycle from the flea markets near Prenzlauerberg (still need to find a name for her).

11 September 2007

lotus and OM hands

Here is a lotus that Jenny, my roomie found while sweeping the temple and while I was in bed feeling extremely miserable (I got bitten by a spider on my elbow and my body reacted madly - I still feel some swelling...).

OM hands
this henna stuff is soo fun to play around with.
(not my design although i played around with lots of designs) The Indian women were intrigued at the design I had put on my feet. Usually they'd flip out the way I wore my saree and re-dress me at any possible given moment... but with my wacky henna covered feet, they let that one be...

09 September 2007

Hisham Matar's book in INDIA !!!!

This is a hommage to my lovely friend Hisham !

I found his book in a store in Chennai - and of course, bought it.

As a gift to Hisham ... had his book photographed with Vishnuvi, the holy elephant who hangs out at the temple to bless visitors... even blessed the book !!

The book is the story of a nine year old growing up in Libya in the late 70s under the Qaddafi regime.

It was short listed for the Booker Prize last year and won the Guardian First Book prize. I highly recommend it. IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN by HISHAM MATAR (at last count translated into 22 languages.)

Vishnuvi, the carer and the book.

Vishnuvi takes the book in her trunk (when she dunks her trunk on you like this, it's considered a blessing...)

A lovely profile of Vishnuvi - and Hisham Matar's booooook....

independence day in India

Mother Theresa, Madana Mohan Malaviya and Mahatma Ghandi

Nehru, Indira Ghandi (I love her smile...) and Tippu Sultan.

I attended independence day at the local Sri Narayani school, where the children dressed up as great Indian leaders and gave speeches of their roles in Indian history.

I photographed the children in front of the blackboard before they headed out for their performances in front of the school. The miniature leaders delighted me.

more sri puram

Another shot of Sri Puram at dawn... I am SOOO not an early person but the beauty of this place got me up to catch sunrise almost everyday. For those who don't know, Sri Puram is a spiritual park which has an extraordinary hand-crafted, golden temple situated within the middle of it dedicated to the goddess Maha-Lakshmi.

I was there for the consecration (which was the most extraordinary experience of my life), and the day after, the images of the temple were on the front of every Indian newspaper.

When asked how the temple differed from the Taj Mahal, Sri Amma Narayani replied "The Taj Mahal was made by one person for one other person. This has been made by one person for the world."

Check out http://www.sripuram.org for more info.

Sri Puram early morning shots at lake

These were taken one morning in Sri Puram - I was lucky enough to be able to photograph inside the spiritual park before it opened, and got my bro David to come with me and experience this incredible place.

I really got into the lilies and lotus flowers during this trip as there were lots of fire puja rituals performed into the lead up of the Sri Puram's Temple consecration.

In the fire pujas, lotus flower petals were individually dipped in honey and thrown into the fire by the priests as they chanted from the vedas. All as an offering to the gods.

For more info about the Sri Puram spiritual park : http://www.sripuram.org

brother david in india

Okay -
I'm back from India - and have no idea where to start with describing the experience (overwhelming would be one word).

My gorgeous younger brother was with me for the first two weeks of the trip. It has become our annual tradition to travel together during the European summer. Last year I took him to Denmark where I had a show and I discovered what a great travel partner he is.

He blossomed in India and had a great connection to Sri Amma Narayani. He got dressed up in a dhoti by the first day and attended the afternoon and evening pujas (he managed to never get out of bed before midday which I admired).

Here he is mucking about in our room in the wee hours of the morning... his creative energy got more and more pumped and his song writing flourished. It was amazing to witness.

27 July 2007

Photo by Mirjam Siefert

Here is a photo by HILS FOUNDATION founding member, Mirjam Siefert taken the following day of the 150 year party at Claudio's place.

We were tidying up the barn. Kalaman, the mirror sculptor who had set up the super sculptures and disco balls was bringing down the installation - with the shining sun, Mirjam started snapping the reflection and I jumped in the image and got the mirror ball swirling... this was the effect... magical eh?

And... now I am the proud owner of a disco ball - it's hanging in my berlin studio.

Thanks Mirjam for the photo ! (I have the extraordinary luck of having Mirjam and her bloke, Ede as neighbours down the road, also in Kreuzberg... I feel like they are my home base here in Berlin, they know the city really well and I can call them up anytime. My Berlin guardian angels...)