Our recent recipients for February are working on the first episode of a gothic play/audio tour that will explore the Chinese heritage of Surry Hills, an inner-city suburb in Sydney now pretty well gentrified, with a great selection of restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and designer retail. But it wasn’t always this way. As Mei Tsering, one of the writers/developers from the project explains, “The setting of the sound walk will be in contemporary Surry Hills but will go back in time to the early 1900s of plague quarantines, (when) rat catching was a lucrative job and the war was seen as a ‘restricted holiday’ out of the Surry Hills slums. The streets were run by fashionable young gang members and the Chinese living in the area were a dying community following restrictive immigration policies and problems with gambling and opium dens.” “The walk will follow two cousins of Chinese descent as they try and find the home of their ancestors. They hope to make an offering to be rid of a hungry ghost troubling their families. Hungry ghosts are spirits that return to take what they can if sufficient offerings haven’t been made by their living relatives.” We can’t wait… read more →
Back in June we funded a project that we’d love to share with you (yes, the Awesome Foundation Sydney folks are busy…better late than never, right?!). It’s all about shredin’ sustainably, and by shredin’ we’re talking high performance surfing. Our recipient Chris Anderson is a keen surfer from a scenic coastal town called Minnamurra, known for its ‘devilish’ reef breaks, “I have a passion for design and high performance surfing as it is pretty dam awesome – big airs, gnarly waves, fast spins, shredding turns and of course, insane wipeouts. High performance surfboards need to cope with many bashings whilst also needing to be very lightweight. The result is that they often snap straight in half when under high pressure. As surfers churn through multiple boards a year they are also churning through many nasty resources. Just one board uses around 2L of petroleum, which is combined with other toxic chemicals to create EPS (expanded polystyrene) a horrible pollutant that takes decades to rot in land fill – stuff that is ultimately ruining the environment we love to play in.” His solution to this problem is to prototype a new kind of surfboard, one that uses sustainable materials but doesn’t trade off… read more →
Are you willing to admit that you remember this thing called ‘aerobics’? It was so hot in the 80s, with instructors like Jane Fonda reaching epic fame. Well Sydney, “are you ready to do the workout?!” because the September AF Sydney recipient, Physique Aerobics, is going to provide the ultimate opportunity. Inspired by Jamie Lee Curtis’s immaculate display in 1985’s aerobics flick ‘Perfect’, Physique intends to capture what they knew back then – mirrors, sweat & spandex accompanied by an appropriately cheesy soundtrack. There will be awards for the best dressed, hot pink workout mats and tasty low-carb drinks to cool off afterwards. If you’re not too embarrassed at the idea of getting physical, then the organisers welcome you to sign up. It’s open to anyone, “but particularly those who like to let loose on the weekend and are keen to get active early in the week, are aware that summer is right round the corner but are turned off or daunted by gyms & zumba. The classes will be cheeky but make you sweat. No-one gets shoved out the door at the end of the class, you actually stick around & have a chat & a laugh.” Note that there will… read more →
AF Sydney August recipient, Aras Vaichas, is creating something teeny, that packs a whole bunch of awesome…the world’s smallest, and cheapest, patch synthesiser. Sounds fandangled and fine, but what exactly is a ‘patch synthesiser’? Aras explains, “it’s one of those audio synths where you can plug in lots of cables between different parts and there are loads of knobs that make crazy sounds!” For the visually inclined, here’s a picture of a regular patch synthesiser… Not so easy to lug around to gigs and galleries is it? Now imagine all of that functionality distilled into something roughly the size of two business cards. With $1000 as extra incentive, Aras is not only making this a reality, he’s also releasing the designs under an open source license. Here’s the work in progress… We love the idea, as well as the spirit of tinkering and sharing, and will be vying for a front row seat at the demo once this little baby learns to sing!
PAN Magazine is a cultural biannual with a literary bent which includes the work of emerging and established writers. The whole production is pulled together on a shoestring budget, a driving passion for the arts and a whole lotta late nights. Emma Dallas tells the story of PAN Magazine to date, “There are twenty of us working very hard to make this little arts magazine a success. We love magazines but rarely see the kind of content we would like to read. We don’t want to compete with established magazines that focus on ‘how to look good and conform’. We want to offer a magazine with some depth as well as interest, some arts as well as fiction, poetry and essays presented beautifully. We’re on a mission to reintroduce thinking about our culture and specifically our arts in a broad and accessible way. As well as giving new writers and artists a platform to be heard in a way that does not commodify or belittle them. There is so much going on here in Australia, in all our cities. We aim to show people just how good it can be when you engage with what’s being created around you.” With a little help from the contents of… read more →