Beyond the Wall of Sleep

Melbourne-based digital artist Peter Miller, who featured in last month’s Library as Incubator piece on the links between libraries and musicians, has released a new piece: Beyond the Wall of Sleep.

The piece blends H.P. Lovecraft, NASA recordings, and a reading of the rules and regulations of the Insane Asylum of California, drawing on material from Librivox and Prelinger Archives.

You can read more about the history of Beyond the Wall of Sleep at Peter’s website, and read about how libraries, archives, and multimedia artists might work together in Library as Incubator’“Sing Me A Library”.

Or just enjoy the spooky video, above.

Tabletop Superheroes Revisited

Here’s a blast from the past – the all-ages Tabletop Superheroes game devised during my Reader-in-Residence placement at Parkes Shire in New South Wales.

The game is Creative Commons licensed and adapted from the work of Cory Doctorow – so please feel free to remix it as per the terms of a CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.

Our version needs dice, Lego bricks, and a tape measure – plus our print-and-cut-out paper figures and somewhere to play the game (back in Parkes, we took it down the pub).

The paper figures and rules for the Tabletop Superheroes game can be downloaded as a PDF here.

Sing Me A Library

My latest column for Library as Incubator explores the links between libraries and musicians, from Glenn Gould’s radio documentaries to English community choirs and digital experiments in today’s Australia.

Read “Sing Me A Library” at Library as Incubator.

Happy Holidays

Hard even to know what to say about a year like 2016. So much upset and upheaval in the world, but I’m still hopeful for the shape of things to come.

It’s been hectic, but productively so, for us here at the State Library of Queensland. I worked with teams on public projects like Human Library and the Scrub Turkey sessions, adding oral histories from TV chef Bernard King and Doctor Who‘s Janet Fielding to our digital collections, and encouraging digital experiments like the State Library’s remixable comic maker and Ozofarm game.

I also got to partner with a number of outside organisations, including healthcare agencies and allied health professionals across Queensland, from Metro South Health Board to the occupational therapy students of Griffith University. A long-held desire to explore the difficult field of ‘death literacy’ came to fruition with a panel discussion for Brisbane’s inaugural ‘Deathfest’ last month.

I also got to work with the Brisbane Writers Festival and various other events across Australia on devising alternatives to the usual conference formats of panels and presentations.

There was even time to interview some personal heroes like the Kransky Sisters, Matti Bunzl of the Vienna Museum, and the makers of Danger 5. This was part of exploring a different corner of Queensland life every week at Marvellous, Electrical, a project that will return in 2017.

Until then, have a good break.

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Marvellous, Electrical: Vienna in Canberra

What values have migrants brought to Australia over the years? How have they changed the nation’s culture? Have they broken laws in an attempt to impose foreign ways of life on the population?

Letter to Gus Petersilka from Canberra government

Gus Petersilka of Canberra did. By putting out tables and chairs on the sidewalks of Australia’s capital, he forced the uptight city government to acknowledge, accept, and ultimately embrace convivial traditions of outdoor dining.

Gus' Cafe, abandoned in Canberra CBD, 2016

Now Gus’ Cafe is gone.

Read its story at Marvellous, Electrical.

Commence festivitization sequence…

The State Library of Queensland has a staff Christmas video competition – as I found out when I returned from my regional travels to be told I’d “volunteered” to shoot an entry for my new colleagues at the Regional Partnerships team…

Half an hour running around with a camera, and a bit of editing time later, Rogue One RAPL was born. It’s good for a laugh, and features some of the great people I’ll be teaming up with in the new year:

Of course, this is only the second best Star Wars related activity I’ve ever been involved with.

A hongi with the Rebel Alliance
A hongi with the Rebel Alliance

Or maybe even the third.

Becoming death literate – panel discussion

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After Brisbane’s first Deathfest – a microfestival which explores, challenges, and celebrates our understanding of death, dying, and bereavement – I’m pleased to share a panel discussion which addressed grief, death, and end-of-life care in modern-day Queensland.

Joining me were Fiona Hawthorne, general manager at Hummingbird House, Queensland’s first children’s hospice; Ian Mellor, who manages body bequests for Queensland University of Technology; and Dr Sarah Winch, healthcare ethicist at the University of Queensland and author of Best Death Possible.

In an age when literacy has come to mean so many things – always with a sense of empowering people to read or make sense of some new terrain, topic, or experience – what would it mean for us to become truly “death literate”?

You can listen to the panel discussion now by clicking on this link or visit the State Library website.

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For more on healthcare and wellbeing work during my 2016 Queensland residency, read  “On Health and Wellbeing” and “Giant Robots Need Therapy Too“.

For more on Deathfest, visit the Metro Arts website.