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 makeshift journal |

David Cross on ‘Kauri-oke!’

posted by on 2013.06.12, under Kauri-oke!, MAKESHIFT NEWS, PROJECTS

New Zealand-based artist and writer David Cross has written a very fine essay on Kauri-oke! for the catalogue of the 5th Auckland Triennial. You can read the PDF text here, or buy the book here.

Kauri-oke! in New Zealand

posted by on 2013.05.14, under Kauri-oke!, MAKESHIFT NEWS, PROJECTS

After some months in development our newest project, Kauri-oke! has just hit Otara, S0uth Auckland, as part of the 5th Auckland Triennial curated by Hou Hanru. We set up shop in the local market just outside Fresh Gallery on Saturday, and will be back for a second round this coming Saturday 18 May. If you’re in Auckland, drop by!

in gall

Kauri-oke! is a portable solar-powered karaoke machine built in Sydney from repurposed NZ Kauri pine, long ago shipped over the seas for use in Australian domestic interiors. On selected Saturdays during the Triennial, Kauri-oke! will appear at the Otara Markets, offering punters the chance to sing along to an expanding collection of folk songs whose lyrics deal with home, or with landscapes loved and lost. During the week it lives quietly at Fresh Gallery (between some incredible work by Keg de Souza, Emory Douglas/Wayne Youle/Rigo 23, and Mounir Fatmi).

Underpinning the work is a concern for how nostalgia shapes our readings of the past and the places we once knew. At the same time it looks forward towards new forms of social imagining, dwelling and remembering. Incorporating handcrafted objects and songs suggested by people in Otara, Kauri-oke! acts as a kind of responsive micro-museum of displacement and cultural drift.

Jar Swap for Making Time

posted by on 2013.03.07, under MAKESHIFT NEWS, Making Time, PROJECTS

Anyone feel like picking up a jar of pickles or jam from the Making Time cart?
This Saturday is our final day, and it’s a Jar Swap for all and sundry. Bring along your homemade preserves to swap for ours.

Sat 9 March
8am – 1pm
Eveleigh Farmer’s Market














Making Time: A Matter of Life and Death

posted by on 2013.01.27, under MAKESHIFT NEWS, Making Time, PROJECTS

Making Time is coming to Sydney! As part of Performance Space’s upcoming ‘Matters of Life and Death’ program, Making Time will be in residence at Carriageworks and the Eveleigh Farmers’ Market from Feb 23 – Mar 9, 2013. Each Saturday between 8am – 1pm we’ll be setting up a temporary experimental kitchen amongst the market, offering a platform for participants to share strategies for preserving food, and human life.

More info here

Making Time project blog

posted by on 2012.09.26, under MAKESHIFT NEWS, Making Time, PROJECTS

Makeshift is in Finland this week presenting ‘Making Time’ at ANTI festival, and the project now has a blog!

Visit http://making-time.net/ to see what we’re pickling here.

En route to ANTI

posted by on 2012.08.22, under MAKESHIFT NEWS, Making Time, PROJECTS

Next up on the cards for Makeshift is ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival, which takes place in Kuopio, Finland, in less than a month!! We’re presenting a new version of our work Making Time, devised as part of p4pilot in 2010, with Performance Space/Perth Institute for Contemporary Art. Fellow live artist extraordinaire Sarah Rodigari has joined the Makeshift team for this exciting caper.

Infos below:

Making Time
Tessa Zettel (makeshift) with Sarah Rodigari
ANTI Contemporary Live Art Festival, Kuopio, Finland
25-30 Sept, 2012

Making Time is an unfolding exercise in redirective practice, beginning with the crafts of pickling, jam making, bottling and otherwise preserving food. Participants are invited to share strategies for preserving a variety of native or backyard surplus foods. In exchange, the artist will provide micro-seminars on key concepts relating to design futures. At the conclusion of each session, those present will collectively decide upon a title with which to label their filled jars, a miniature poetic manifesto indicating both conversational and material contents. All jars will be collected by participants (and given away to passers-by) at a market stall at the end of the festival.

There are 6 preserving sessions, and you can either come and teach your specific recipe or technique to others, or come and learn from others. The festival provides the ingredients used. The working language is English.

A leaf from the book of cities


Our new project just opened at Taylor Square in the old toilets. It’s part of We Make This City, the City of Sydney Public Art Program co-presented by the National Institute for Experimental Art, which also included work by David Cross, Lynette Wallworth and the Magnificent Revolution.

OPEN: 8am – 1pm, Saturdays in March, 2012
*only 2 more Saturdays to go..!!

leaf citiespic

An unusual craft finds its way into a forgotten, subterranean space, making itself at home and crafting an experimental publication on re-crafting the city. Part mobile printing press, part think tank, part underground society, A Leaf from The Book of Cities explores the possibilities of a quality-based economy within the context of Taylor Square and the Sydney Sustainable Markets. Temporarily occupying the old men’s and women’s conveniences, Makeshift transforms the ruins of a once carefully crafted pocket of the city into a platform for rethinking craft politics and futures.

On the edges of an organic farmer’s market in the thick of the city, a curatorium of thinkers, activists and dreamers is assembled to catalyse another space of exchange, a subterranean ‘dark market’ trading instead in radical economies, growing cultures and craft futures. Every Saturday morning in March, members of the curatorium will meet in the women’s toilet block (used outside these hours to store market infrastructure) for a series of tactical gatherings, making time for sharing old and new strategies – across disciplines, ways of thinking and practices – for rethinking and redirecting how we collectively sustain ourselves in this city, beyond the feel-good rhetoric of sustainability and eco-consumption.

From week to week, traces of these conversations will be made public in the underground men’s toilets, taking shape as an abandoned trade fair where market-goers may encounter such exotic offerings as a jar swap gang, a fermentation club, a radical reading room, an unreal estate agency and a nu-craft think tank. Making use of an antiquated hobby letterpress, the curatorium will also produce a collection of handmade communiqués advertising – and theorising – such emergent (or forgotten) practices.

Weekly conversations are directed by invited guests with expertise in a particular area. Week One was led by design theorist and educator Matthew Kiem, with guests John von Sturmer, Rebecca Conroy, Zanny Begg and David McNeill. Other participants have included Lara Thoms and James Arvanitakis. Future weeks’ attendees to be advised.

Buy me! I am local produce!

posted by on 2012.02.11, under MAKESHIFT NEWS

Oops, super late notice, but Makeshift is participating in an all-in studio garage sale at Bill & George TODAY (Saturday 11 Feb) 10am -4pm. We are selling lots of wondrous things, including components of past works, books, equipment, kitchenalia, collectibles and so much more. There will also be a plethora of entertainments on hand, including Teik-Kim’s karaoke massage and Dan’s delicious hot gorengan (Indonesian style fried food).

If you’re interested in anything in particular post-event, email us as we might still have it. Second-chance Sunday visitors by appointment.

Official spruik below:

Bill & George Studios
Level 1, 10-16 William St.
“Didn’t know we had an annual fair? Neither did we! In keeping with the global financial crisis everywhere, Bill+George is holding a sale day at our warehouse on Saturday 11th February from 10am – 4pm. On this day we will be selling ourselves. (Hello, business opportunity!)
Featuring: Grandma’s bric-a-brac & collectibles, third hand clothing, tarot card readings, karaoke massage, cheap haircuts, cupcakes, and genuine and original artworks.
Business is the art of extracting money from another man’s pocket without resorting to violence. (Max Amsterdam)”
Even MORE details here:

Eating with Intent

posted by on 2012.01.17, under PROJECTS, Sojourn in Espérance Bay, WRITING

Tessa Zettel
[Published in Das 500, December 2011]

In recent years, much of the work I’ve made in collaboration with Karl Khoe has been eaten. Not by us (the host rarely gets a chance), but by people who’ve been invited into an unusual space of exchange facilitated by the presence of food – dawn breakfast on a dry salt lake, nighttime afternoon tea in a 19th century basement, pikelets and sugarbag honey on the grass at Circular Quay. Of course all these situations have also produced conversation, often a particular kind of semi-directed discussion around where we are and by what circumstances we have arrived there. Food in this instance is an offering given to induce engagement; more than that, it is a point of entry into the parameters of the conversation: what do you need to sustain yourself, where can you find that in the place you’re in, what kinds of located knowledge have been overlooked or erased?

Earlier this month the place we were in was the dry salt lake, in Esperance, WA. Our journey there had something of Werner Herzog’s 1982 film Fitzcarraldo about it – weeks of persistent enquiry into the edibility of the landscape, in archives of photographs taken when the town was young (ladies with starched collars taking tea on the verandah, men picnicking with camel under the tasty mooja or Christmas tree), and negotiating to borrow articles of furniture and tableware that were once old grocer Daw’s or great-aunt Annie’s. Tramping over the salty mud with bentwood chairs and lace tablecloths and jars of pickled bloodroot or wattleseed-flecked madeleines, we were as knowingly out of place, and time, as those early settlers and indeed today’s residents whose food is trucked down from Perth. The meal itself, for guests who had given time to the foraging of its ingredients, was filmed as a series of frozen long-exposure poses, tablecloth flapping in the Esperance wind. In attendance were the feisty secretary of the wildflower society, the Indigenous pastor and community gardener, the renegade commercial plant hunter and the local high school art teacher. The imagined audience of their repast (alongside the more prosaic gallery-goer) was one Claude-Antoine-Gaspard Riche, naturalist with the d’Entrecasteaux expedition who found himself lost and disoriented on the shores of Pink Lake this very day 219 years ago, thirsty and hungry and surrounded by food he could not recognise.

On another level, the collaborative doing entailed by making and sharing food with such ad hoc and provisional participant ‘communities’ is a way of practicing practices that aren’t so familiar anymore, and that could perhaps be useful in the development of futuring (sustain-able) modes of living. Our first deployment of food preservation was Making Time (2010), an experimental gallery-kitchen at PICA where ideas drawn from design philosophy were swapped for help making street-gleaned mulberry jam. This came close on the heels of Gwago patabagun ___ We will eat presently (2010), a mobile pikelet cart with native bees producing honey to sweeten a program of site-based picnic discussions on the MCA’s front lawn. Most recently food and dialogue were key ingredients in The Delirious Bakery (2011), home to the Sweet Damper and Gossip Society whose weekly meetings teased out darker histories of how the Rocks have been lived, in relationship to broader geographies and timescales.

The trajectory of these projects – marking time to slow down and be attentive, accounting for pre-existing cultural knowledge – maps out a new kind of quality economy in which place, and our own (dis)placement within it, is a source of redirective potential. That is, by enacting other ways of feeding ourselves within specific micro-fabulist scenarios, we can begin to (bodily) reimagine our collective understanding of the worlds we inhabit, industrialised and elaborately designed but largely dysfunctional in any long-term sense, that in turn design our daily lives and the politicised spaces we eat in.



Sojourn in Esperance Bay was exhibited as part of the IASKA spaced: art out of place exhibition & symposium at Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth, 4 Feb – 11 Mar 2012.


Sojourn in Espérance Bay, Tessa Zettel & Karl Khoe, 2011. Production still.

SMAC awards

posted by on 2011.12.20, under MAKESHIFT NEWS

Makeshift has been nominated for an Fbi SMAC award – ‘Best Collective’. You can vote for us here


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