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By the Sea, Freedom, day 2, FODI 2012

September 30, 2012 Leave a comment



Greetings, humans! I am writing to you from the midst of FODI 2012, where we are smack bang in the middle of our series of secessions from the Commonwealth of Australia. Thus far, we have created three new countries: Astropos, Utopia, and Gwandanaland, each with their own flag (Utopia’s bold design shown above), anthem, culture, and Declaration of Independence. At 4pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm today we will again declare our small portion of the Sydney Opera House independent from Australia, and see what unpredictable nation arises from the minds of Opera House audiences. Par exemple:


Declaration of Independence
October 29, 2012


We the people of Utopia hereby secede from the Commonwealth of Australia on the grounds of:


  • No equal representation
  • Shopping trolleys in the streets
  • Monopoly of big business (Woolies and Coles)


As Utopia we aspire to provide our citizens with:


  • Decency
  • Secular education
  • Mutual regard and respect
  • House parties


In the name of freedom, Utopia declares itself a nation independent from Australia and the British Crown.

Oh, through this freedom may we all find fulfillment and unending happiness.


We must run and prepare for our next secession, so I will bid you adieu, and leave you with this, the flag of Astropos, which is most impressive indeed:



– Joe


Underbelly Arts 2010: Public Lab & Festival retrospective

So here it goes, a reflection on producing Snail Piece at Underbelly Arts: Public Lab and Festival 2010.

We began by intending to develop a piece I had performed at an Appleloft late last year where I essentially implied that I was going to kill this snail but, lacking an ending, I asked the audience whether I should. Once we’d started work during the Lab period we also began a two-week process of negotiating our position and finding out exactly how we would create this piece, and what it would look like by the Festival. We tried various discussion/decision making models, and by the second week had settled in to a plan and a way of working with the Lab format, which invites audiences in twice a day to observe/work with artists, to produce the final piece. It was a rewarding and educational experience professionally, and a great experience personally.

One of the most valuable experiences we had over the course of the project was negotiating, as a team, our changing understanding of the opportunity we were working with. Snail Piece began during our work on Sexy New Urban Design Team… Erskineville at the Tiny Stadiums Festival. This was the first major project Applespiel had undertaken, and bolstered by our perceived success, we looked around for the next opportunity. Submitting Snail Piece to Underbelly Arts was a move to keep producing more Applespiel work, and most importantly, to show the public more of our work. Read more…

Halfway through festival…

We’ve reached our halfway break up here in Serial Space, three performances so far and another three to go. We rode straight through first half, performing, talking and then heading out to the festival. I Can Draw You A Picture have their magazines complete, which I’m very excited to pick up, and we’ve particularly enjoyed finding the In The Cracks stuff, some of it very tiny and hidden. The Co-op is plying a successful and delicious soup trade. As well as the pieces we’ve seen, we’ve had a very friendly and educational experience, with lots of people eager to share their impressions and engage us in conversation about our piece.

As for the piece itself, the large audience sizes gave us a lot to work with for the first two pieces. The last audience was smaller, and the different size produced a very different dynamic, between themselves and in regards to our own role. Following the piece we discussed recognizing when and how to take a more pro-active role.

One standout moment has been a small girl stepping on stage to take the snail home as Duffy hovered a hammer over it.

– Joe

“But maybe it’s better to die knowing love…” Underbelly Arts Lab, Monday and Tuesday

Over the last two days at Underbelly Arts we’ve been developing a new, and thus far final, model for Snail Piece. We kept it under raps for Monday’s public tours and tried it out on Tuesday, with very positive results. It is a simple, workable model that focuses on and exercises audience discussion and decision making, and in the remaining three days leading up to the festival we expect to have a lot of fun tweaking, creating and refining. Read more…

Lab Saturday!

Yesterday at Underbelly Arts was Lab Saturday, with tours spread over the afternoon and a talks session at The Clare Hotel to discuss the role an audience can play in creative development. Nathan and I took part in the talks on behalf of Applespiel, and got to witness the other artists discussing their past and current works. Several ideas, I wish I had thought of. At the end of the first week, we have a chance to reflect on our experience so far. Read more…

Underbelly Arts Lab – first public tour!

We’ve all just arrived for the second day of the Lab, this time with an abundance of snails thanks to my dad (thanks dad!). Yesterday we worked with the public for the first time, an excellent experience: for the first tour we tweaked the original Snail Piece model, re-distributing text between us in an attempt to open out the space, and nervously proposed the kill/don’t kill decision, to a resounding “don’t kill! Why would you kill?”
Before our second run we discussed techniques to invite the audience into discussion, spending time sharing personal animal related stories and working towards creating an invitational, as opposed to a coercive, dialogue. Once the audience arrived they were keen to join in, and after hearing a lot of interesting animal stories, we turned to the kill/don’t kill question. The decision was still unanimously don’t kill, but just… conversations afterwards revealed that some audience members were close to proposing a more oppositional stance. Indeed, later at the pub, conversation continued along amongst a few of the audience and, encouragingly, opened up. The desired discussion was at least arrived at, only in a sort of time lag way.
End report. Now to form today’s battle plan.

Underbelly Arts: Public Lab & Festival 2010

There is less than a week left before Applespiel head on up to Chippendale to take part in Underbelly Arts: Public Lab & Festival 2010! Here are some bare deets (details):
Underbelly Arts: Public Lab and Festival 2010 (8-17 July).

During the Lab period, the public are invited on free public tours which depart from FraserStudios (10-14 Kensington St., Chippendale) and run for an hour, during which the tour visits the venues of participating artists to witness, get involved in an collaborate on new work.
Tour dates and times:
Thursday July 8: 6pm and 7.30pm
Friday July 9: 6pm and 7.30pm
Saturday July 10 (Lab Saturday): 2pm, 4pm, 5pm and 6pm. There is also a talks program at the Clare from 3pm-4pm where various artists will discuss the question ‘what kind of role can the audience play in artistic development?’ Applespiel will be among those artists, and afterwards, will conduct a session.
Monday July 12: 6pm and 7.30pm
Tuesday July 13: 6pm and 7.30pm
Wednesday July 14: 6pm and 7.30pm
The Festival itself will take place on Saturday July 17 from 2pm-10pm. Audience members are invited to purchase tickets (which are apparently extremely limited and pre-buying is recommended) and after arriving at the Festival, registering to see some of the performances and otherwise spending the afternoon and evening enjoying the work taking place in Kensington St. and surrounds.
For further details, including a run-down of our project and the other artists involved, visit