the tour

 Cairns - Sydney - Perth - Alice Springs

The days when 'Territory Time' in Sydney

It was really unfortunate that Territory Time opened without Simon's work at MOP Project on last Thursday 20 Jan 2011 because COPE transport lost his Luggage Limit during the freight from Cairns to Sydney. To mourn this loss, we wrote 'Simon Cooper'on a wall in the gallery along with 'lost in transit' message. 'It's such a Territory Time, isn't it?' Simon replyed my email.

MOP Project has a neat white commercial gallery space. Compare with the last two exhibition spaces in

HeadQuarter, Melbourne - a performance space and Crate59, Cairns - a space in a warehouse, MOP space inputs a lots of institutional or "musume" look to Territory Time. The flat smooth white walls of the gallery casted beautiful and moody shallows of cornshape flyscreens and wires in Rebecca's work and also the layers of brighte arches from the mirror reflection in Amina's work.

At the opening, 'Simon Cooper'on the wall became the center of discussion among people. Is this the art work? Who's Simon? Is Simon really lost? ... Once the truth was revealed, they showed surprise,sympathy then laugh.

"It was good turn-out!",both George and Domnique commended on the opening.

I said 'good-bye' to the exhibition today and returned Darwin. Territory Time will open till 6 Feb 2011.

Other activities in Sydney:
FBI (94.5fm)interview by Nell Greco on Sun 16 Jan at 11:30am.
Artist Talk on Sat 22 Jan at MOP Project.

NOTE: Another work of Simon "One Size Fits All" will replace his lost work and put in the exhibition later.

Listing in Artnotes 235 Nov Art Monthly Australian

opening in raining Cairns

Rain, cold rain. When we arrived at Cairns, the sky was full of the dark thick clouds. The cold dense rain hit us with the gentle wind. It was Great! It was like having a refreshing cold shower after a long hot steamy run.

Territory Time opened at 7pm on Friday 19 Nov in a dark and wet night. We set up the table with the nibbles and filled bottles in the fridge. Now, all we did was to wait. The darkness outdoor set a very perfect moody and intimate atmosphere in the space. It was spot on that I intended to achieve in the exhibition. The passby-ers on the streets curiously peeked inside Crate59 through almost 5 meter long glass window and right open door.

30mins passed 7pm. People started to come in. My nerves were stretched like a sharp steel line when I watched people who walked through the works. I kept asking the questions to them silently inside me head. Do you like the exhibition? what do you think about the work that you are looking at? My hand couldn't help reaching the chips in front of me and putting into my mouth.

Olivia came up to me and introduced herself. She is a backpacker from UK and also studied visual art at the school. Wanting to travel differently from other backpackers, Olivia searches events organized by local communities so that she could gain an insight view on the place she has been to. I had quite a long chat with her as I felt responsible to educate her with my knowledge on the Aussies.

My thirsty mouth was recovered by a cup of water. Then I moved on to two young boys who were standing at the door and drinking coopers. Sorry. I don't remember both of their names. But, I do remember the similar scenario I got from them as I had at the Territory Time opening in Melbourne. One of the boy grow up in Darwin and moved to Cairns with his family when he was in high school. He enthusiastically checked few famous locations in Darwin with me.

I always have a warm feeling to see people who can find reconnection to Darwin through Territory Time. Many people have left Darwin. But very little of them could forget their lives in Darwin. The unique geographic and cultural characteristics empower Darwin and the Territory. No matter the memory of the Territory embedded more pain than happiness or the other way, I think, there is no regret to experience the Territory and live in the Territory Time.

The opening was cozy and intimate. The exhibition will be open until Dec 3 2010.

Humid, wet, hot, tropical and different

The first thing I have noticed in Cairns is the humid air. Getting out of Jetstar, I didn’t feel like I had travelled that far – a different state. The thick and dark grey clouds floated in layers slowly above me head. A tiny wet smell in the air sent the hint of the coming storm. To someone from Darwin in the middle of November, it couldn’t be more familiar than others.
I am taking Territory Time exhibition to Cairns. The exhibition opens on the Friday 19 Nov 2010 at Crate59. Four Darwin based artists: Rebecca Arbon, Catherine McAvoy, Simon Cooper and Siying Zhou (me) have their works in this exhibition.
Kylie, the manager of Crate59, picked me up at the airport. Following Kylie’s suggestion, I headed to the town for a cup of coffee and straight went to install at Crate59. It’s not far from the airport to the town. The closer I was to the town, more different to Darwin I picked in Cairns. Cairns is a much bigger town than Darwin. The historic buildings are still seen on the streets. The surrounded blue color mountains with the hovering smoky and blurry clouds on the top make Cairns like a volcano town.
Crate59 is pretty spacious gallery. Sharing with Billy’s Caf√© in half in the street front space, Crate59 has a huge studio space at the back. It’s a slightly dilapidated warehouse and has more than 5 individual studios and a big public space. For an artist from Darwin, this is a dream infrastructure and community.
The installing went very sweaty, which was nothing strange to me who has installed numerous exhibitions during the “build-up time in” Darwin. With Kylie’s help, it didn’t take really long to have the exhibition ready.
I snapped few shots of the exhibition on my digital camera. Will Cairns audience accept the exhibition? What will they think about these works? I started to get nervous. The opening is on Friday 19 Nov. I shall return on that day. What will I find out by then? I won’t dare to think about it right now.

Territory Time
“Territory time” is a motto for life in the Northern Territory. It’s a modus operandi for the way people live every day. It draws a boundary around daily achievements. As a result, “Territory time” becomes an attitude towards life held by Territory dwellers and a philosophy for surviving difficult conditions.

“Territory time”, like the puppet masters’ hands, controls people’s lives in the Northern Territory. It co-opts everything into its own timetable. In Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory, people come to understand that things can only be done in line with the seasons. During the ‘build-up’, which is the season between the dry and the wet starting around September and finishing in January, the pace of life slows down dramatically. The desert region of Alice Springs too has its unique timetable. One that exits for the town centre and a ‘timeless time’; a slowing down and giving over, that exits only ten minutes drive away in the open expanse of the ancient desert landscape.

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