As Quadrant readers know, the Australia Council recently denied us every single penny of a funding application that was no large sum to begin with. In the first of an ongoing series, we present some of the applicants deemed more worthy of taxpayer support than our Les Murray and his poets
Who but an artist’s peers can understand the torment of the creative soul, not to mention the musical uses to which a barbed-wire fence might be put? Jon Rose, a violinist with a quite striking technique, certainly gets it, as he left a 2012 audience at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre in no doubt when lamenting the philistinism that makes it so very difficult for the modern aesthete to go about his or her business while also paying the rent.
Consumerism, the insurance industry, security guards, inner-city real estate — they all place their burdens on those who, as Rose complains, wish only to gift the world with their vision. It is such a battle.
“The music that interests me is not the sort of music that the majority of citizens care to listen to or enjoy,” Rose told his Wheeler Centre audience, which enjoyed a little giggle when, further into his address, he mentioned that he has been questioned, presumably by knuckle-dragging sorts, “whether what I did was actually music.”
Of course it is music! The Australia Council has said as much over and over again, contributing very nearly $250,000 since 2008 to the comfortable betterment of Rose’s muse.
Since he plays mostly to small audiences, as he admits, Quadrant Online is delighted to present some of his work to the taxpayers who have funded so much of it. Below, the entries in the Australia Council’s ledger of funds dispersed, punctuated by examples of the beauty it helped to purchase and the artist’s explorations of its various meanings.
“Australia, it’s a frustrating place,” sighs Rose in the second of the video clips below, “a disaster, culturally.”
Funny that he would say that.
“Part of Sound Circus 2012 which was modeled on the idea of a traveling circus, taking traditional, new and experimental music to White Cliffs and the extreme western areas of NSW, plus one off visits to Queensland, & South Australia – the area known as ‘Corner Country’ “
“A chainsaw orchestra, a singing dog, an aboriginal women’s choir, a woman who makes music from DOT Matrix printers, and a man who screams into (and chews on) amplified glass are just some of the musical innovators Jon Rose met on both sides of the 40,000 kilometers of fences he turned into musical instruments throughout Australia.”
“Pursuit Instruments. A selection from the bicycle powered instruments that have been built for the Pursuit Project in Australia by Paul Bryant, Rod Cooper, Robin Fox, Harry Vatiliotis, and Jon Rose.”
“The film is the last documentation of the Triple neck, Double Piston, Wheeling violin built by Jon Rose. Apart from two bows, It had sympathetic strings as well as on board battery powered electronics. The instrument was built to prove that music could be measured in distance as well as time.”
“Apart from The Data Violin’s function performing “The Sound of Money” (the data of stock exchange traders becoming the player of this machine), Jon Rose is setting out to explore the full potential of this new mechanical musical instrument – which was a collaboration with Martin Riches and Sukandar Kartadinata”