Dispatch Review respectfully acknowledges the Whadjuk people as the traditional owners and custodians of the lands upon which we live, work and enjoy. We pay deep respect to Elders past and present. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

Reviews:

  1. Death Metal Summer by Sam Beard.
  2. Players, Places: Reprised, Renewed, Reviewed by Aimee Dodds.
  3. Scholtz: Two Worlds Apart by  Corderoy, Fisher, Flaherty, Wilson, Fletcher,  Jorgensen, & Glover.
  4. Partial Sightings by Sam Beard.
  5. True! Crime. by Aimee Dodds.
  6. The Human Condition by Rex Butler.
  7. Light Event by Sam Beard.
  8. Rejoinder: Archival / Activism by Max Vickery.
  9. Access and Denial in The Purple Shall Govern by Jess van Heerden.
  10. 4Spells by Sam Beard.
  11. Abstract art, DMT capitalism and the ugliness of David Attwood’s paintings
    by Darren Jorgensen.
  12. Unearthing new epistemologies of extraction by Samuel Beilby.
  13. Seek Wisdom by Max Vickery.
  14. Something for Everyone by Sam Beard.
  15. Violent Sludge by Aimee Dodds.
  16. State of Abstraction by Francis Russell.
  17. Double Histories: Special Issue, with texts by Ian McLean, Terry Smith, and Darren Jorgensen & Sam Beard.
  18. Six Missing Shows by Sam Beard.
  19. What We Memorialise by Max Vickery.
  20. At the End of the Land by Amelia Birch.
  21. The beautiful is useful by Sam Beard.
  22. ām / ammā / mā maram by Zali Morgan.
  23. Making Ground, Breaking Ground by Maraya Takoniatis.
  24. Art as Asset by Sam Beard.
  25. Cactus Malpractice by Aimee Dodds.
  26. Sweet sweet pea by Sam Beard.
  27. COBRA by Francis Russell.
  28. PICA Barn by Sam Beard .
  29. Gallery Hotel Metro by Aimee Dodds.
  30. A Stroll Through the Sacred, Profane, and Bizarre by Samuel Beilby.
  31. Filling in the Gaps at Spacingout by Maraya Takoniatis.
  32. Disneyland Cosmoplitanism by Sam Beard.
  33. Discovering Revenue by Anonymous.
  34. Uncomfortable Borrowing by Jess van Heerden.
  35. It’s Not That Strange by Stirling Kain.
  36. Hatched Dispatched by Sam Beard & Aimee Dodds.
  37. Fuck the Class System by Jess van Heerden, Jacinta Posik, Darren Jorgensen, et al.
  38. Wild About Nothing by Sam Beard.
  39. Paranoiac, Peripatetic: Pet Projects by Aimee Dodds.
  40. An Odd Moment for Women’s Art by Maraya Takoniatis.
  41. Transmutations by Sam Beard.
  42. The Post-Vandal by Sam Beard.
  43. Art Thugs and Humbugs by Max Vickery.
  44. Disneyland, Paris, Ardross and the artworld by Darren Jorgensen.
  45. Bizarrely, A Biennale by Aimee Dodds.
  46. Venus in Tullamarine by Sam Beard.
  47. Weird Rituals by Sam Beard.
  48. Random Cube by Francis Russell.
  49. Yeah, Nah, Rockpool by Aimee Dodds.
  50. Towards a Blind Horizon by Kieron Broadhurst.
  51. Being Realistic by Sam Beard.




Sigil (noun)
a sign or image supposedly having magical power.

Has Tom Rogers’s work varied greatly over the years? Perhaps the opposite is true: the years have varied, and Rogers has simply remained consistently responsive to them. Regardless, one key ingredient for all the variety has been regular and revolving collaborations—be it with long-time co-conspirators Ellen Broadhurst and Jaxon Waterhouse, or working on projects with bands like POND, Myriad Sun, and Nerve Quakes. Through it all, Rogers’s particular aesthetics have flavoured these endeavours.
        Travelling back to Walyalup/Fremantle from Naarm/Melbourne for the summer, Rogers was invited by Cool Change Contemporary to partake in a “residency” as part of Cool Change’s takeover of the FORM Gallery in Claremont. During this residency, Rogers produced 4Spells, consisting of a series of drawn glyphs and a short film. The film follows Tom as he laments to a friend—musician, and co-writer/collaborator on 4Spells, Georgia Martin—about the struggles of the creative process. But the “film” is not a documentary. Nor is it really a film, according to Rogers. Instead, it is what he describes as a ‘Media Sigil or a Media Glyph’. Much like DC comic book artist Grant Morrison’s “hypersigil”, Rogers’s film is a spell through which he manifests a greater creative output—a work that is ‘going to change everything’. Morrison explains, in relation to his own hypersigil, the comic book The Invisibles:

The “hypersigil” or “supersigil” develops the sigil concept beyond the static image and incorporates elements such as characterization, drama, and plot. The hypersigil is a sigil extended through the fourth dimension. My own comic book series The Invisibles was a six-year long sigil in the form of an occult adventure story which consumed and recreated my life during the period of its composition and execution. The hypersigil is an immensely powerful and sometimes dangerous method for actually altering reality in accordance with intent.[1]

In FORM’s dark theatrette we see Georgia playing Bloons on a Macbook. Interrupted by a call from a contact named “Tom don’t Answer”—Georgia inevitably answers—the two begin conversing about Tom’s forthcoming project. But Tom is not Tom. It is the voice of Joy Divizn that we hear, a fashion designer and filmmaker. Joy Divizn has produced video content for rappers like Playboi Cardi and Maxo Kream. As to Joy Divizn’s currency, if reddit is to be believed:

[2]

        At the zenith of their banter about Tom’s upcoming film within the “film”, Georgia asks when it will drop. ‘I don’t really know’, replies Tom, ‘honestly just… but for some reason I haven’t done it. And if I haven’t done it then it means I guess I don’t really give a fuck about it that much…’. After further back and forth, Georgia presses Tom, ‘you just have to start thinking about what you really, really, really want to do. You just have to think about what you really want to do…’ Tom—silent, frozen—gazes into the middle distance. Georgia returns to Bloons. The film breaks. Tom begins to manifest a film so great, it will change everything. A montage of footage found and created begins: snippets of Brett Whiteley painting, remixed YouTube clips, as Tom recites what his film will be—a movie he can ‘retire on;, one that is simply ‘really good’, that ‘has over a thousand easter eggs hidden for power, meaning and symbolism’, that sees him ‘add to the conversation with subtlety and with nuance’.
        And so 4Spells is cast. The “purpose” of the enterprise has been realised. As Rogers recounts in an Instagram post about the work:

The main or initial spell was for the next movie I make to be really really good. I think I was pretty successful tbh and I am already feeling the effects of this even if it's just from feeling good about trying really hard, having an idea and seeing it through as well as knowing that I can make my own reality. And I believe this is true for everyone.

As one delves deeper into this curious world of video spellcasting, a strange interconnectedness between theory and conspiracy, the academic and the occult, irony and sincerity quickly becomes obvious. I corresponded with Rogers to gain a little more insight. He puts me onto synchromysticism, a weird mix of Jung, McLuhan, Orwell, mysticism, and internet conspiracies. In all, this is an understandably alluring gumbo stew of obscurantism for any artist. For Rogers, it results in a film/spell that is humorous and oddly satisfying.
        4Spells’s central concern is the pressures of artistic production. As part of Cool Change’s return to an exhibition program the film presents a fabulous irony. Cool Change itself has been gridlocked in much the same way as Rogers’s character: frozen between ambition and stifling circumstances.  During the heyday of their Bon Marche location—an art deco paradise that would have had even the most snobbish Melbourne art school kid creaming their second-hand oversized trousers—Cool Change was coordinating a steady program of exhibitions. Shows were on high rotation. The pace was fast. Openings were packed. The temperature was anything but cool. This was an enriching and productive period. Not only was Cool Change a place for young artists to cut their teeth, but it was also a venue to see exciting work. Since moving to the King’s Complex building in Hay St, Cool Change has been committed to “slow work” or “slow productivity”. Exhibitions have slowed to a standstill, with the King’s Complex transitioning to a makerspace model of sorts.
        Part of the pressure that Artist Run Initiatives (ARIs) like Cool Change find themselves up against is the art world’s chronic burnout culture. Hence the appeal for slow work. Determined to ensure that their program is manageable and ongoing, the pace of activities has been slowed to reflect a sustainable practice. The question being, presumably, “can we continue a particular pace of production for three or more years? If so/if not, what would this output look like?” Certainly, Cool Change has delivered a series of interesting community and cultural events, but the FORM Gallery takeover is a long-awaited return to what once was Cool Change’s core function: exhibitions.
        The counterfactual is to say, of course, that Cool Change should not be sustainable (so much as totally responsive), but instead that the conditions that allow a “Cool Change” to exist must be sustainable. In other words, the Perth art world does not need any one particular ARI to exist. Instead, it is the economic conditions which allow ARIs, broadly, to exist that must be cultivated. It is the conditions that must be sustainable.
        Priorities change. Individuals' careers and ambitions change too. Whether Cool Change continues as a site for exhibitions or not is perhaps by the by—what matters is that Perth has the conditions for young artists to show exciting and experimental work. As funding becomes ever tighter and rents higher, these conditions appear more like austerity measures against art production itself. Yet, younger artists seek methods regardless. And then there is the King’s Complex, which appears as a diamond, raw and ready, awaiting someone’s touch. Must we wait for another show? In the words of Tom’s confidante in 4Spells: ‘Pain and challenge are not synonymous with an ending … but really, they’re an opportunity’.



Footnotes:

1. Richard Metzger, ed., Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult. https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/22446

2. Screenshot of comments on the post “Does anyone remember how Joy Divizn got into the scene?” in the r/playboicarti subreddit.



Images courtesy of Tom Rogers.