The Digital Salon

The Digital Salon is an initiative of Country Arts SA & Australia Council for the Arts through the 2010 Geek in Residence program.

Digital Salon is a series of events designed to showcase and network digital media makers in regional South Australia…Digital Salon defines “digital media” as all forms of digital content and data production, from graphic design through to music making, web programming, software development and online collaboration. Digital Salon is open to anyone working with or learning digital media regardless of skill level.

You can read more about the Digital Salon here/ follow them on facebook here which I recommend doing especially if you are from regional/rural South Australia who uses digital media/means as a part of, or throughout their artwork.

From being involved in this, on different levels, including being profiled on their website, to attending their sessions in person, as well as presenting as an artist and attending via web conference. I’ve been able to find out about other regional people, from a variety of skill levels doing their thing. Also being in the loop with cool resources and opportunities.

I think I am also very much into this project, as its very in chune with my generation, and their ability to adapt to growing technology with excitement opposed to fear. I think the Y’ers have the special ability of being quite computer literate, and are very able to learn things technology related/multi task/scan and take in lots of small bits of information. And its nice to be recognized as a young person for these skills in digital media in a context that is positive (and art related!) and doesn’t go into a 60 minutes esque rant about how young people are apathetic, and spend all their time socializing on facebook (tumblr), without saying/doing anything useful.

This was played as an intro to all of the artists during the session that I did my artist presentation. Recent examples of Digital Media sent to the Digital Salon by Digital Media Makers around regional SA. This sampler includes work by Jessica FosterStuart NankivellDetlef Baumer and Shaylee Leach.

During my first ever(!) presentation of an artist, I spoke what its like to be creating art in rural area, and how using technology has effected that, with the opportunity to speak about my work, projects that I have been a part of in the Riverland, programs I have used, and have access to. How I gained my skills, limitations etc. From what I can remember (and this may be elaborating a little on train of thoughts).

I spoke about how online community gives you access to finding people that are similar, your birds of a feather. As, doing art in rural areas sometimes it can feel like you are a little ostracized, as sport (footy) is the stereotypical and done activity done in country areas, lest all the teenage sex, drugs, hooning and rock n roll action that happens. So essentially, if you are into art chances are, you might be the only one, so understanding what your benchmark is a little hard. By comparing yourself to the locals every over saturised fuzzy photoshopped picture of a flower is awesome, but in comparison to the artists that you see in books you suck.

So either way, it kind of seems that you have an unrealistic sense of comparison. The other thing is that jamming out in your bedroom, making stuff, can be kind of un-motivating with the idea that no one is going to see this. So with the magic of the internet, I’m able to share and compare my artwork/methods/techniques/ideas to hundreds of other people, young people, teenage girls who make art in their bedrooms. Suddenly you have this sense of community, and motivation to keep making stuff to share with people. The internet also holds so much potential of self teaching, sharing and inspiration, there are tutorials that you can find on youtube, from the basic to the complex. It just really feels like that old cliche is that its what you make of it, its so easy to take advantage of all this knowledge and abilities to make contacts and collaborate using technology (even if it is limited).

I also showed a heap of images, some as a ‘before’ and ‘after’, showing how you can use tools like Photoshop to manipulate, enhance and repair images. Sadly, I didn’t get enough time to show a quick step through of a typical way that I would edit an image, as it was something that was requested. This also brought up the topic of that, technology is something that I have access too. At first it wasn’t great, I was editing photos in fireworks by mucking about with the contrast etc. But it was something that was free, and I didn’t have to go out of my way to source materials, and through this, my skills, and aesthetics evolved very organically. As learning new things, grew to having new and different concepts to play with, which would grow again as I got access to better technology/software/digital cameras.

In between all of my ranting I almost forgot to speak about my mentorship; I spoke about how I had been directly inspired by other regional people putting in applications to JUMP and other mentor/grant programs, and decided to give it a go so that I would have the opportunity to practice writing grants and being rejected. In saying that, I think its important to not assume that just because you are young/don’t have a degree or certification in your art form/from a small regional area, don’t let that put you off applying and trying for these things if you really want them. Because it can actually happen, it can work and be successful. Because so much of it is how hard you work, and how innovative and resourceful you can be, making the most, out of what you have. And its also really about giving you access to things that you need in order to grow whether that be income to make projects possible, or insight and advice from a professional working your dream career, or just the reassurance that the work that you do is worthwhile, that you aren’t crap and there are always new and exciting ways that you can grow, learn and better yourself.

That being the main gist (from what I can remember) of my artist talk, and from what I heard back in text messages, emails in person, I was relieved to get positive feedback.

Some other artists that you should check out are JUMP alumni (Team regional arts!)

Below I have copy pasted some of content thats featured on my profile on their website:

What does your Digital Media involve?

I am a young visual artist, an ‘art/drama kid’, with a niche (and a bit of a crush) on photography. I’m in the process of emerging with my first big leap forward; being a part of the 2011 JUMP mentorship program, being mentored by the very successful photo-based artist Deborah Paauwe. I use a few different D/SLR’s, whatever I can get my hands on, I use Photoshop & other software to edit & manipulate my images. I create photographs, stop motion films, to explore places, to tell stories or to project ideas about identity, feelings, themes, ideas, & to capture pretty or ugly things, or people sometimes, re-creating memories with a gloss of fantasy, nostalgia or blurred dreams. I like the idea of using a camera to re-explore the world, looking upon like seeing it for the first time, and this process lets you discover things that you wouldn’t normally see, it has changed the way that I view the world.

I’ve designed, created & managed websites before, using Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Pegboard & now Joomla. I am currently working on a group project for a website ‘Riverland Youth Connect’, as part of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition’s ‘Online Community Youth Spaces’. Where I am going to put some of my skills to use, and come up with useful & cool looking website design. I’ve also done some in kind design work, & made lots of promotional material using InDesign, Photoshop & word for online distribution.

On top of that I shoot, blog, tweet, tumblr, youtube, facebook, stumble around the internet using social media to connect with people, broadcasting ideas & work, experimenting with the digital media available to me.  While lusting over equipment/skills I don’t have (yet!). I’ve seen some great projection stuff, where graffiti was projected onto buildings, & I’ve seen some great sound/images/projection mashups as part of theatre productions & art installations, which I would love to learn so that I can build upon my own art practise.

What does the term “Digital Media” mean to you?

I think its pretty broad, & maybe even vague, to me its something that has been created, edited, processed or even sometimes presented via some kind of digital means, i.e. computers, projectors, etc. I think this is because technology is encroaching on our lives every day, and leaking into how we process  information about the world, and how we communicate & express ourselves to each other.

How do you present your Digital Media?

I use digital media alot in a professional, personal and creative context. In creating slideshow presentations for projects, promotional means for work, communicating with friends, blogging seeking and creating opportunities on a personal level.

I do alot of projects from my bedroom, working with friends or family when their available, this stuff which has to be quite innovative & motivated, because your only really doing it for yourself, can be frustrating. But the motivation of knowing that you can share your stuff on the internet, in my experience, keeps me inspired to work harder & to experiment further.  I use various websites to present my work, but I’m currently trying to find ‘safer’ & smarter ways to do this, so that I can protect my work from being stolen or used without my permission.

What medium do you work in?

Visual arts and  photography, with touches of photo manipulation, sometimes animation and film.

How did you learn your skills?

School has my generation brought up on computers, as I got older alot of the work transferred from handwriting, to using computers in some capacity in every subject. I’ve formally completed two TAFE courses in dealing with digital media one creative (Cert II in Multimedia) & one in a business context (Cert III in Business arts admin). But alot of the stuff I do is self taught, either from tinkering around figuring out how things work for myself, or from online tutorials.

This year I have been lucky enough to be selected to be a MEGA participant, so I am anticipating having a bit of a leap forward in terms of my skills.

Do you see yourself as a hobbyist, emerging or professional?

In terms of being an artist, I started out as a passionate hobbyist as being mostly self taught, finally giving in to this passion to follow my he(art) so currently emerging, and hopefully continuing into a professional.

I’m not really sure what my benchmark is for how skilled I am yet, in some of my skills comparing myself to an older generation there is quite a gap, because they didn’t grow up using computers in everyday life activities. In this context I have a bit of an advantage, but I know I have alot more to learn & I always want to strive to be better and improve my skills and knowledge.

I started off using a really dodgy digital camera & editing them in Fireworks (which is supposed to be used moreso for making websites), because that was the technology available to me, and it was cheaper than going out and buying tangible art supplies, or cameras with film. From there I just kept going.

What are the skills you use in making your work?

The capacity to conceptualise ideas, develop them and then trying to learn/find/experiment skills & resources to make these ideas work.

Is your digital media something you have been drawn to do, or has it been a survival skill ?

Both, I like digital media  because it opens up so many more opportunities, and I think its always being necessary, and soon even inevitable I think in a professional sense, to learn at least basic skills which is part of staying up to date. Even with really simple procedures, in boarding school we had to sign in and out with a thumb scanner! Learning new skills to keep up to date is really easy for me, but being able to get your hands on the latest gadgets & resources is the hard part, due to financial, & also availability, especially in a regional context.

Does being familiar with digital media and the tools you use give you any edge in your work or life?

Definitely! I’m known as the ‘tech head’ in my office; I manage the majority of our online content on our website, and got us onto the different & new streams of social media to catch us up to other companies. I’m the one called over to troubleshoot whenever someone is having a technical issue; this includes my father when the remote control for the television is involved.

Where do you see these skills taking you in the future?

Gosh, I don’t really know, I think it will be handy, because I think It will keep me travelling down this stream of where arts, community, technology, learning, sharing, creating all overlap.

What do others think of you and your work?

Artistic, because I don’t think I have the integrity to be geeky, or the enough fluency to be techie. Being artistic leads me to learn more geeky/technical skills, and learning more skills inspires me into thinking of more artistic ideas that I didn’t think would be possible.

Right now I am pretty amazed & infatuated at using Twitter for social networking, keeping up to date with news, having a presence for yourself and the Riverland as a region sharing and finding out about opportunities. Through twitter I have been able to connect with people and professionals that I admire, connect and get to know with likeminded people from Adelaide & I have been alerted to opportunities/prizes/gigs that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Its also really easy to sift through to follow on things that interest you, by using hashtags to connect to people having conversations about the same things, i.e. watching the same doco & commenting on it, cyclone yasi, the Qld floods. (I’m trying to promote Riverlanders to use #RiverlandSA). I also like how easy it is to link things to Twitter, blogs, videos you’ve watched and recommended articles in the newspaper, causes that you support.

I’m also aware of the impact that Facebook can have, it can be really good, because its a social network that the majority of my friends use, but it is very easy to negatively affect your professional image, which is something that alot of 18-19 year olds like myself don’t really think about because its a carefree age, but the things you upload are going to forever be on the internet, & could potentially impact you in your professional context, (employers Facebook stalk too!). Simple precautions like editing your privacy settings & being mindful of the things that you upload or write on there help. But you can go further, by contributing to it in a positive sense. i.e. posting about causes you care about, opportunities for people, promoting yourself as an artist/bands whatever.


A letter of hope, from Sacia Cholneg

Who said that Gen Y is apathetic?!

Here is a kick-ass example of a young person going out of their way, to challange the currently status quo in their current school environment. I hope the school listens. In fact I hope that all schools listen, there is so much bad stuff that goes down in highschool that is never really properly dealt with or brought to light, until years later maybe.

Hopefully this is the beginnings of some social change, this is a letter that has been written by a current student in the Riverland to their school, and hopefully its going to go viral. It was inspired by a video, that I cannot for life of me, find on Tumblr, but if it ever pops up again I’ll link it to this.

I think it’s special and needs to shared, originally the letter was signed anonymous so that the letter could be by, and for every student there, but now the writer has chosen to go under the pseudonym of Sacia Cholneg. I’ve blotted out the school name for the time being, which I might go back to and change.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am sixteen years young and have attended XXXXX High School for four years. I have been born and nurtured in the Riverland and I have the determination to prove I am a passionate and capable member of our community. I envisage the youth of the Riverland to have the most upheld quality of citizenship and this is why I am writing this letter today. I feel my level of faith is slowly dropping.

Just recently it has come to my attention the amount of derogatory terms and phrases used by the vast number of youth culture. I am utterly disgraced when I hear someone say “that’s gay!” or “what a faggot!” and even hearing someone call him or her a “retard”. I know people that have been emotionally and even physically abused because of the way they were born; the way they just are. I believe people simply don’t understand and that they need to be informed that liking the same sex or needing a little more tutoring than others is not abnormal or strange. People are afraid of things they don’t comprehend and I believe this is why it’s become such an obstacle. In the context of which these people use these words are creating a closed, homophobic and unaccepting environment for themselves and others.

I plead on an emotional level for these obscenities to cease. I propose visions of posters, video contests, assignments and art themed competitions all based around this hiccup in youth culture. Anything to oblige people to think about how these unsavory words may affect others unknowingly.

I want to clearly state I am not criticizing XXXXXXX High or the youth as a whole, I do not mean to offend. I’m just a common teenager looking for a secure and pleasant environment to learn and thrive in. I also want you to recognize this letter not as a complaint but as an idea for improvement and development. I want you to see this as cry for help. I need, not so much as want, people to have an understanding of the environment that their almost habitual expressions are creating for themselves and others.

I understand that this is a large proposal and I also understand my ideas may not go forward but I feel better knowing that I have brought this to your attention.




Regional Arts, Have your say!

As per usual I am plugging the things that I am passionate about, and this is no different, having access to high quality arts experiences in a rural area has deeply effected me and shaped the person I am, and the way that I see the world. So I encourage everyone that has an interest, to go and have your voice heard.

Have Your Say…. and help shape the future of the arts in regional South Australia. Go to the web link below to fill in the survey

This March, Country Arts SA invites you to contribute to the development of its three year strategic plan spanning July 2011 to June 2014 by attending one of seven forums scheduled around the state, setting up a one-on-one meeting with a member of staff or Board of Trustees and completing an online survey.

Everyone with an interest in the arts and regional development is encouraged to have their say, to help ensure Country Arts SA continues to be a relevant and effective provider of arts opportunities for all South Australians living in regional communities.

To get the conversation started, a discussion paper has already been developed. This paper, ‘Country Arts SA Priorities and Directions’, is available online at a hard copy can be requested by calling 08 8444 0400.

Your nearest public forum will be held at:

  • Clare – 17 March 11am, Town Hall Function Room, 4 Gleeson Street
  • Port Augusta – 18 March 10.30am, Institute Theatre, Yarta Purtli, 52 Commercial Road
  • Kangaroo Island – 22 March 11am, Kingscote Town Hall, 43 Dauncey Street
  • Mannum – 25 March 10am, Mannum Leisure Centre Senior Citizens Room, 51 Adelaide Road
  • Renmark – 25 March 4.30pm, Chaffey Theatre Drama Studio
  • Mount Gambier – 29 March 11am, Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre
  • Ceduna – 30 March 10.30am, Ceduna Memorial Hall, 33 Poynton Street (Western Entrance via car park)

Each forum is expected to last approximately 2 hours and will be followed by refreshments and one-on one-meetings with Country Arts SA staff and Board members.

Please contact Country Arts SA on 8444 0400 or email to confirm your attendance and assist with catering or to organise a time to meet with our staff. Artists and arts volunteers should contact their local Arts Officer as they may be eligible for travel assistance to a forum.

Country Arts SA is keen to listen to your views and wants everyone to have a say.

Riverlanders: Connect with the Chaffey Theatre – Country Arts SA on facebook here

What I know about Leaving

In this time of transition I wanted to reflect upon the first that I made my first big leap on independence, when I moved out of home, to attend boarding school in Adelaide when I was 15. This I wrote as a blog, in my myspace days when I was 15. I have also published this particular post on Heywire. Its kind of a mix of what the Riverland means to me, what home means to me and trying to prepare for the unknown.

As most of you do or do not know. I am leaving my beloved little suck town and am heading off to the bright shiny lights of the smutty city.

Think back to your childhood. Do you remember the joy of playing alone?

I used to have this game. My bed would be the ship, the wooden floor was a open blue sea. Anything that I wanted to take with me on the adventure had to be on the bed. So I would first rush about. Choosing. Grabbing things. Chucking them on the bed. So that they wouldn’t get ‘wet’ in the sea that is the wooden floor boards and dusty old carpet.

Toys, My favourite dress, the little red shoes, drawings, dolls, umbrella, torch.

Everthing that I needed.

My number one priority was my favourite bunny rabbit. It always had to come.

So that I would never ever be lonely.

And then out onto the ocean we would go. Without a look back, the wish for adventure strong, to find what was beyond the horizon. The little ship would take me far away. To islands, countries, places people have never heard of.

Doing this for real is doing my head in. Everything thats coming goes on the bed.

Anything on there gets to come. Anything thats not is left behind.
Underwear, letters,  photos, music, soap, books, favourite things, special things.
The bunny rabbit
So I’ll never ever be lonely.

In a strange new place all you have is your idenity. Lets hope i remember mine.

“The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you’re moving”

All I can do is remember and make the most of what i have left.

These thoughts erupt my mind. Landed quotes slip in and out of memories.

I remember the wine and food festivals. Having water fights in the street, taking cover in the toilets, getting drenched wearing my favourite top. Dipping my feet into the river, waving to the houseboats, dancing in the hot summer breeze, surrounded by a human wave of movement.

“There is something about the way the leaves smell in the summer, that holds me here, but at night I can hear the wind calling me….”

I remember the weekends. Walking barefoot down the empty roads on a Sunday afternoon, playing in the shopping trolleys, camping on the round-a-bout. Coming home after the holidays, gazing out at the transformed grape vines, which were once shriveled, nasty, scratchy things explode into life, luscious green leaves and huge juicy grapes, dangling down.

“It sucks here! I wish I could pack up all my friends and leave”

I remember hating this place because of the boredom and how it stripped me of all my original friends. Knowing that I will lose my friends to the city, wanting to fly away, crying in the arms of my best friends, splattering them with tears, not wanting them to go and leave me by myself.

“I am a part of the Riverland, I am the embers in the fire…..”

I remember playing fairies on the grass, exploring ‘The great Aus bush’, hiding away in my room, under the bed, waiting to be seeked and caught. Sneaking into the swimming pool, my back being sprayed with a water bottle in dance class, squashing my feet into the mud. Covered in the red earth, feeling like part of the land around me.

“… But one day I guess I will have to leave the Riverland, to do what I want to do, to be who I want to be….”

I remember rehearsing Landed.

With people I was getting to know in the process. Learning lines, buying food and hanging out in the kitchen. Sleeping in-between performances, on the itchy carpet underneath the chairs which the audience sat. The bus rides to and from rehersals. Standing in front of the air conditioner, icy air blasting our skin.

The excitement and laughter we shared at the Fringe festival, exploring the nightlife at the Garden of Unearthly Delights. Yelling at buskers to do backflips or to make us bicycles. Being paid to go inside a freakshow and scream, because it made more people come inside.

Late nights out on the balcony, gazing out at the dirty air and lights.

The actual realistic thought of leaving is hideously scary, wonders and exciting.
I will be wandering out into the darkness of the unknowing.With the feeling of moving away and leaving all my toys behind.With the hope of bigger and better toys ahead.

Even though it breaks my heart to leave my scraggly teddy bear behind. I will be reunited with old and new friends. Walking the streets I doubt to see anyone I know.

I will just be one faceless person in a sea full of names.

All aboard!   The little bed boat.

* Landed was a collaborative performance created with Riverland Youth Theatre  that toured around the Riverland and went to the Adelaide Fringe festival that i was involved with in ’06. The play, explored what it meant to move from one place to another, to be multi-cultured, to be a migrant, and to be a Riverlander.  I still think that it was the best experience that i have had with theatre.

ABC OPEN ‘A Road Less Travelled’ – ABC Riverland SA

Earlier in 2010 I made this little ditty, as part of ABC OPEN, I quite enjoyed messing around with the equipment in the process. This tells the tale of my highschool years, with my ‘Change’ story, Heywire seems to like it, so they have been posting it everywhere (:

A Road Less Travelled – ABC Riverland SA – Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

So I have come to a recent self realization that I can be quite cheesy. But, hey, what can I say, I like cheese, especially when its Brie. The point being that although the title of this piece may be a bit lame, but it means alot to me. Kind of a reference to Robert Frost’s poem, ‘A Road not Taken’. He was the first poet that I had ever studied in any capacity, & it was when we we’re analyzing his words that I gained the self belief that I could be more then a smart-ass in my under-ripe year 9 english class.


The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Street Theatre Workshops (a shameless plug)

Born in a Taxi Intensive Street Theatre Workshops! – Only in the Riverland!

24 -28 January
$30 Per day or $125 For five days
For ages 13 and over.

Riverland Youth Theatre
54 Ral Ral Ave Renmark

Come and learn ensemble improvisation and how to create outdoor performance!
This street performance workshops will support the development of our new RYT Street Ensemble, that will be taking arts into the streets, by performing at the Riverland’s many outdoor community events, with fun, quirky, ironic, & satirical performances.

About Born in a Taxi
Born in a Taxi is an independent physical theatre ensemble established in Melbourne in 1989 that has been creating physical, visual and street theatre for over 20 years. Over this time, they have produced many award winning performances in theatres, art festivals, in the streets, galleries, stadiums, rubbish bins etc. These include at the Adelaide Fringe & Womadelaide.

There are limited places, so book soon to secure a place & to avoid disappointment!

08 8586 3437

RSVP to the event on facebook
Join the ‘Born in a Taxi’ facebook page
Read more about ‘Born in a Taxi’ here
Watch Born in a Taxi in action here

Call us up, and talk to the (friendly folk, aka mwah), poster design also done by yours truely. The Riverland would be a perfect location to have street performances, because the majority of our community events are hosted in an outdoor setting, plus its more interesting then bouncy castles surely.