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Had a nice moment at life drawing last night

We were listening to music and Elton John's 'Song for Guy' came on, which normally seems a bit overdone.

Usually I hear the drum machine and the flanger effect and the percussion and think the song is overcooked.

Last night though, I was able to feel more absorbed in my drawing and for a brief moment forgot where I was.

Interesting to read just now that Elton wrote in the liner notes for the single:
"... As I was writing this song one Sunday, I imagined myself floating into space and looking down at my own body."

Last night I had a dream about having an out of body experience.

Life drawing

Last time I attended a life drawing class was in 1991

So I took the opportunity to join in when a class was run in Leeton last week.

I have almost no art supplies, so I raided the kids crayons and found the colours produced a good result.

A woman named Carol took pity on me too, offering a piece of charcoal.

I'm looking forward to the next class.

Promoting climate change

I've read the job of a newspaper editor is to reflect the biases of the community, which leads me to despair for Leeton

Your editorial in Friday's edition of The Irrigator, that kids should stay in school to understand the science of climate change rather than protest against the lack of action to address it, conflates two separate issues.

The first point is that science is largely conclusive: temperatures are rising and climate change is a fact.

Some might argue about the causes but it needs to be recognised that the fossil fuel industry is actively supporting dissenting opinions, including organisations such as the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) -- who are shaping Liberal Party policies.

Just look at how many members of the government are also members of the IPA.

These opinions from so-called "think-tanks" aim to muddy the waters of debate and further delay actions to address a looming disaster.

It is heartening to see NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair recently said the "sands were shifting" in the climate change debate, while acknowledging his views differ from "many of my colleagues".

Farmers are already seeing the impact of rising temperatures and The Nationals need to act.

The second point is that protest is an established method of putting pressure on governments.

For a disenfranchised group like teenagers, who are seeing their future threatened by climate change, protest is perhaps the most civil method available to effect an outcome.

Non-violent protest has a long history of promoting change and is clearly needed to correct our ineffective government.

Back to the Futura

Everyone knows what a difference the tone makes when making a statement

Which is why I've been thinking that all road signs should use Futura font.

Just look at how much nicer it is to read the "Activate Signals" sign compared to the one above with "STOP HERE" in all capitals.

Changing fonts could change lives!

My music videos

Video isn't the obvious medium for a musician

Sure, it has been argued that "video killed the radio star" and that's a catchy line in a catchy song.

And, admittedly, I initially studied video production to broaden my skills in marketing.

However I ended up shifting to publishing my music in videos as a result of necessity.

The first prompt came in 2011, when I started a project remixing playgrounds and initial feedback from friends was that they couldn't link the sounds to the locations.

At first I began editing video to match the remixed results, which was a laborious process.

Within months I discovered that Ableton Live could handle video, and began preparing the material by exporting the videos to contain the contact microphone recordings.

The loops I made in Live would be exported (at a lower resolution) and then composited together in video editing software, such as Motion and Final Cut.

(In recent years Apple disabled Motion and I've been steadfast in refusing to be blackmailed into upgrading.)

The second prompt came when Soundcloud disabled the groups functionality.

I was sensitive to the destruction of online communities after Ninja Tune removed the forum from their website, which had been a part of my life since moving to regional Australia near the start of this century.

It led me to make the decision to no longer use Soundcloud, and the obvious alternative at the time was Youtube.

These days I find more traffic on Facebook, although both services have been playing games with smalltime producers like me.

Anyway, the result is that I publish on both platforms and have built a huge collection of videos.

This body of work will contribute an exhibition later this year.

Case study

The Disquiet Junto is a regular activity and one that prompts me to develop most of my material.

In fact, I'm surprised to see this is my 174th video for the Junto and you can find my Disquiet Junto playlist here.

This week I've sampled a video that I shot outside Canberra's Questacon of my son playing a concrete xylophone/marimba-style instrument.

I used a small Panasonic camera and the audio was recorded using the onboard microphone, so it sounds a little brittle but the levels are good.

For the Junto this week I've used a number of loops from that source video to create a piece of music that reflects the idea of concrete wallpaper.

Each loop was individually exported from Ableton Live, then composited together in Final Cut.

For a Junto project last year using a single tone to create a piece of music, I used the same source material in a different way.

You can see that visually it has a different look, with the individual loops treated with duotone effects in Final Cut and then layered on top of each other with transparency.

Rendering the video takes a while but otherwise I move fairly quickly.

Sometimes the track and the video can be created in a single day, although often the video takes longer than the composition of the track -- which is something I feel is a weakness in the result.

I'm trying to remind myself that it's good to have a day or two and return to a piece with fresh ears.

Sometimes I will revisit a track, usually before it goes on Bandcamp, but more often I will develop new music using older material.

Response to Leeton's mobility plan

Thanks for the opportunity to comment on Council’s policies regarding cycling in the Shire at the January meeting

As mentioned, the focus outlined in the Delivery Program Operational Plan (DPOP) to promote “active leisure” fails to recognise cycling has been primarily a form of transport for over 200 years.

The policy to keep bicycles off roads misses an opportunity to promote an activity that improves health and results in Council seeking additional funding to duplicate existing infrastructure.

Leeton Shire is a great location for cyclists with many wide roads and a mostly flat landscape, as well as good weather.

It would be good to see Council’s policies recognise the value of cycling and work to create a safer environment for the community to pursue this activity.

An early draft of the 2012 Bicycle Plan contained a proposal for a bike lane on Oak Street.

Bike lanes would be cheaper to paint on roads than building bike paths and provide a faster surface for traveling on.

It would also contribute to improving safety through raising awareness of cyclists.

(Incidentally, at Council’s January meeting I asked why that 2012 document is still referred to as a draft in the draft PAMP and my question was misunderstood. My memory is that it went before Council.)

The draft PAMP presented clearly is limited in scope in discussing cycling due to Council’s DPOP.

Furthermore, it is disappointing the PAMP does not address the need to make the Childcare Centre and Preschool in Valencia St accessible to pedestrians.

This seems an oversight and I would welcome an explanation why they are not considered as important as other educational facilities.

It would also be good if Council could explain why my comment on the footpath at the junction of Railway St and Brady Way is also absent.

In addition to the PAMP questionnaire I have raised the issue of that missing footpath crossing the rail tracks outside the Rice Coop in emails on 7 June 2017, 24 February 2015, 10 September 2014 and 14 September 2012.

I am still awaiting an answer.

I would like to provide further comment on the draft PAMP, however much of the document is difficult to read.

Are you able to provide a higher resolution PDF?

It does seem a fruitless exercise, given Council’s acknowledgment there is limited funding to meet the proposals in the draft PAMP.

As a result it would be good to see Council adopt a more sensible approach that works within the limited means available to ensure a safe environment within the Shire.


By Tomi Ungerer

We All Have Wings

For the next fortnight I have an art installation at the Leeton Community Op Shop

This developed after I met Narelle at the Western Riverina Arts networking event in Leeton last year.

She'd outlined her ideas to develop a mural and I offered to assist with writing a grant.

Later I visited the Shop and she gave me a tour, pointing out the windows and how they host displays from local organisations.

Then she asked if I was interested in displaying something and I couldn't pass the opportunity, although I wasn't sure what it would look like.

While considering ideas I remembered the butterfly brooches I'd started collecting at the Op Shop when I noticed they had a few.

I'm now up to six butterflies.

In another conversation she'd mentioned it would be great to develop a public art piece that would make people want to take a selfie.

Around the same time I'd seen Council's draft graffiti policy and the ideas began to coalesce.

The final piece was when I found a friend on Facebook who is living in Prague and we'd discussed INXS' film clips, particularly 'Never Tear Us Apart'

The line "we all have wings" spoke to me of the potential for personal transformation.

After that I started seeing butterflies everywhere, particularly in memes and places I hadn't considered (such as a symbol for transgender expression).

I recognised the rich symbol they provided but wanted to keep the meaning ambiguous, so that it might mean a variety of things to viewers.

The window display features the words "We all have wings" with a picture of INXS' Michael Hutchence.

These were cut from reclaimed cardboard and sewn onto an old sheet, as I'd decided the Op Shop display should use recycled materials -- both as a nod to the nature of the business and because I didn't have a budget and am currently not earning an income.