Thursday, September 11, 2014

Palimpsest zine and Exhibition

The zine is done! It looks like this:

Yesterday we had a rather frantic time putting it all together. The exhibition is in the niche cabinets at the City Library - there are drawings, photos, assemblages, cut-outs, cut-ups and a teapot. Also included is out map of (mostly) true Melbourne stories. 

The exhibition will be up until the end of September, and the zine until all the copies get taken away. You can find it at the City Library, Sticky and Signal

And here we are post-hang and pre-dumplings!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Palimpsest 4 - Books, Nouns, Buildings

This week we meandered to the City Library to check out their niche cabinets for the exhibition. There are lots of nooks and crannies and the library has a lively buzz and everyman feeling. What would we do without libraries?! We each selected a book from their Melbourne section and chose a picture to write a postcard scene/poem.

The book I found selected was Ola Cohn's Fairies Tree. But I was too absorbed in it to write from it so that will have to come later. The lines I found most arresting:

"It is believed a magpie that lived in its branches carried a lit cigarette there, and so started the blaze soon to light up the sky ..."

Following on from last week's homework - to write about our days in nouns - we each chose three nouns, put them in a pot and then attempted to write something that incorporated all three. There was some complaint of the sameness of our days, and I think from now on I'm going to stretch my brain to find the most interesting noun of my day (surely there must be one) ...

My three words were: container, tunnel and children.
Here is a snippet:

"I promised I would not show them or tell people. But, but, but. You would not think they would be so hard to look after. I grew to hate their little faces, their high, pinging voices..."

Our workshops are relatively short (2 hours), and looking through my notebook I seem to have collected a lot of beginnings. I will save them for a 'stuck' day.

The homework was to select a building - either from the lovely Collins St Sketchbook or from our own wanderings and create a story from it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Palimpsest 3 - Writing from photography/poetry with restrictions

For week three we talked about Ekphrasic poetry - writing from a work of art - specifically photography with a glimpse at the work of Australian photographers Sue Ford,  Rennie Ellis and Carol Jerrems. We read Edward Hopper's Nighthawks by Joyce Carol Oates and Photograph of my Father in his 22nd year by Raymond Carver. And further to our witnessing of State Library realia, we wrote a noku (haiku with no syllable count) about an object we'd seen recently. 

Some quotes:

A photograph is a secret about a secret - the more it tells you the less you know - Diane Arbus

Joyce Carol Oates: “it is the very skeletal nature of the newspaper, I think, that attracts me to it, the need it inspires in me to give flesh to such neatly and thinly-told tales, to resurrect this event that has already become history and will never be understood unless it is relived, redramatised.”

Some links: 

Girl sitting at window writing by Rennie Ellis

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Palimpsest 2 - State Library Visit

It was exciting. It was after hours! The lovely Tim Hogan took us on a Mythish Melbourne-ised personal tour of the State Library of Victoria's collections. We saw cannonballs and muskets, read the diary entries of 'mashing' 'smooging' gal-about-town May Stewart, learned the story behind the acquisition of Ned Kelly's Jerilderie Letter and went behind the scenes to see (but not always touch) some realia including stabby hat-pins, the illustrated diary of Edward Snell, the first newspaper published in Melbourne, a Gunner's helmet and the compass used to find Burke and Wills. (Lisa subsequently found out that the 'term' Berk does not derive from the aforementioned packhorse explorer.) We were also intrigued to learn about Anne Drysdale and Caroline Newcomb, who sustained a farm without men! And we were entertained by Garryowen's Chronicles of Early Melbourne. To finish the visit Tim talked us through how to research using the Library collections. I went home with the story-hum in my head.

Kaz Cooke's blog (Kaz Cooke is a creative fellow of the State Library blogging about frockery and finery from the collections.

Edward Snell - Diary

Friday, August 15, 2014

Palimpsest 1

Palimpsest - Re-Writing The City is a short course/collaboration facilitated by Simmone Howell and Lisa D'Onofrio via Signal Youth Arts.

Seven intrepid participants climbed the Signal stairs on August 6 at 5pm to find out about Palimpsest. This is Lisa and my third Signal project (following from 2012's Creative Journalling and 2013's Mapping Melbourne) - and we're thrilled to have returnees and new participants. As always our aim is to explore 'place' through text, illustration and collage, and find a collaborative way to present our material. I love the creative hum that happens when the group 'clicks'. For the first class, we introduced ourselves, did a version of an Exquisite Corpse and talked about words and layering, how stories are built, the human desire to put form to everything we encounter. We discussed the criteria of urban legends (that it happened to you or someone you know, that it's not SO unbelievable, the element of horror, the cautionary tale), and shared our own. We went for a brief wander down to the site of Harry Houdini's Queen's Bridge leap. When we returned to Signal we did some writing. Finally, we had a look at some pages of old copies of The Truth, The Trading Post and The Age - searching for stories within - and each participant took a page home to work on something until next we met.

Some links:
Houdini's dive into the Yarra - an interactive poetry website from UK

“Thus memory writes itself indelibly on the literal surfaces of the city.”

Palimpsest - Re-writing the City


palimpsest def: something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form 

A city is built from stories. Humans are in a continual process of documenting, discovering and rewriting the layers of the city. Stories can be found in newspapers, or tagged on lane-way walls or whispered into the ether only to rise again as urban myths. Over six weeks, participants will create stories from stories. We will ‘read the city’ and research Melbourne’s past and present using the State Library’s collection. Then we will build on what we’ve found to make our own myths and stories. Creative responses from Palimpsest will be exhibited around the city and published in a zine.

Tutors: Lisa D’Onofrio and Simmone Howell

Wednesdays 5-7 pm at Signal (except August 13 is at State Library of Victoria)
August 6,13,20,27
September 3, 10