| Article By adam on Oct 14, 2002 |
Event: This Is Not Art
Venue: Newcastle (Central)
Date: 02 - 07 October 2002
Music: Electronic, Hip Hop + More
This Is Not Art is an annual festival held in Newcastle for the past five years, it combines a number of different media festivals to create a feast of information and entertainment. Included is 'Sound Summit' which is all about independent electronic and hip hop music, workshops focusing on the needs of the artists and labels; the 'National Young Writers Festival', workshops ranging from getting a novel published to creating a small zine, forums with people from all aspects of writing and spoken word performances; the 'New Media Conference' that I am now confusing with part of the writers festival, these forums cover non-traditional forms of publishing and is all for discussion, debate and meeting new people with common interests; 'Electrofringe' which I believe started it all is all about new media artists, workshops and forums of course, lots of technology and theres always been something I havent seen before; the 'National Student Media Conference' is all about student newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, on-line media and more, the best bit is you dont have to be a student to take part and you can enjoy all the info they are paying the big bucks to learn; and finally 'Radioactive' a national radio industry conference, this is the second year of the conference and the first time its been open to more then just the independent stations.
Okay that was the intro now down to business, this was my fourth year at the festival and it keeps getting better no disappointments so far. Missed the first few days this year due to werk and drove up saturday morning missing the Bloody Fist party which has always been great, the Fist website days that it was a record turnout and people were being turned away by midnight. Went to a few forums on saturday the highlight for me being 'Bootlegs/Mashups: Where To Now?', up the front were Adrian Bertram, James Kirby (UK), Luke Collison, Rik Rue and Sean Baxter. Luke is the man behind Dsico whose cd I reviewed recently, Rik Rue has been into music and experimenting for many many years now 52 he said he is and is also part of the group 'Machines For Making Sense', James Kirby is V/Vm and has the label V/Vm Test Records the other guys didnt introduce themselves much more then they make these kinds of tunes. Rik had a lot of interesting things to say about the history of the sport, Luke talked about cashing in on the craze, James mentioned how hard it used to be to get his records pressed however now that its in he has no problem, Adrian didnt say much at all and Sean was a self confessed show stealer. There was more to it then that but that gets the general drift of it across, might try to look more into these tunes at a later date. On saturday afternoon in the gallery space next to the main festival building was the trade-o-rama-a-thon which brought together all the zinesters attending the festival to sell there wares, mostly inexpensive some interesting titles I came away with are 'get mad at it'(masturbation zine), 'I hate don burke'(obvious), 'no frills' (informative, comedic and confronting), 'crash course in extreme couch surfing' (tales of happy and some unhappy homelessness) and a comic zine 'buckets of bile #2: the killer foetus'.
Heres where the only let down of the event happens, I wanted to attend the MC workshop but you have to pay and because I live in poverty no can do. Last year was the first year I noticed workshops that had to be paid for, its only the sound summit that charges and last year I was told it was so they could bring over international artists. Fair enough but if thats what has to happen to get them here I can live without them, theres enough home grown talent to pass on the info. There was a free System Corrupt party on saturday night but a bit of rain earlier on scared me away and I didnt even hear anything about it on sunday, anyone for a review? The main party was on saturday night also but for 25 dollars I wasnt attending, lots of great artists though. The camgirls forum was on sunday which involved a number of australian girls that run websites with cams of themselves running, none of them were into nudity, all of them had alot of fun, some of them made small profits and the general consensus was that they were all just doing it because they can and one of the girls produced some really great digital art. 'Editorial Philosophies' I found a bit uninteresting but I went to see Alex Burns who edits www.disinfo.com, have seen him speak there for the past few years and he always has something interesting to say, the presentation he did on monday was excellent more on that later. 'You Talkin To Me?: Interviewing Techniques' was interesting with a good variety of experience on the panel, many great tales of success and disaster to be told and they also fielded alot of good questions from the audience. 'One Market Under God' was presented by Thomas Frank the editor of a US publication called 'the baffler', he discussed the rise of capitalism and how it is beginning to self destruct grab a copy of his book 'One Market Under God' to learn more, I will be. There were a number of open mic sessions over the course of the festival, the last on sunday night brought some excellent talent out and ended with the final participant being escorted out of the venue.
Sunday evening for those of us that couldnt or didnt want to afford the closing party was a presentation of a dvd from the 'Guerrilla News Network' an activist/alternate news website, it was basically a documentary that was mostly about what the usa does that is so wrong and some other vital information from around the world, the highlight being a remix of hours of media coverage of 9/11 exposing alot of the contradictory information. On monday it seemed most had deserted Newcastle and the place was alot quieter even though the Newcastle Show which had been on all weekend was still in full swing. 'This Panel Also Comes On Vinyl' discussed the worthiness of music journalism as a profession, in the end I think everyone agreed that it was worthy but pretty damn hard to live off of it. The finale for me was Alex Burns' presentation on 'information Psychology & Film Scanning', dvd clips were used to make the points being presented clearer. Apparently information psychology is a term coined by timothy leary, I would have gotten a lot more out of it I feel if this was introduced with a bit more history. I was a bit confused in some parts but I think that may have just been because of my lack of sleep and lack of air conditioning in the building. Still fantastic information and Alex said that he would be putting the information up on the disinformation site.
In conclusion once again a fantastic festival, the activism seemed to be much more prominent this year which I enjoyed muchly. this is a music website but the only performance I attended on the weekend was the sunday open mic night, the music in that was diverse and interesting, a couple of guys on guitar performed some nice tunes and two "skinny whiteboy nerds from the suburbs" performed beatbox and mc very interesting to say the least. Great festival I shall be there again next year.