Monthly Archives: October 2008

Migration Museum Destroying Art

Today’s story actually came from one of our collegues who was horrified by the process…


From October 2006-December 2006, a local Melbourne artist by the name of Flossie Peitsch exhibited community art in the South Australian Migration Museum. Besides thirty (30) large paintings, audio/visual and 3D productions , the exhibition ‘Chisholm’s Homes’ included three (3) scaled constructions of ‘shakedowns’ or ‘shelter sheds’. The grand project itself involved over 700 participants creating art outcomes. The reduced scale hostels were based on the design by Caroline Chisholm. These houses were built by a local catholic college wood-work class. This class invested at least 3 hours labour on each section. The art project celebrated the 150th anniversary of the humanitarian work of Caroline Chisholm (late of Australian five dollar notoriety) in providing safe lodging for women and children immigrants travelling to and from the Victorian goldfields. A website of the remarkable project is found at:

At the Opening of Chisholm’s Homes alone, Peitsch raised awareness and publicity for the exhibition and the Migration Museum herself as is so often the case for visual artists. She organised school workshops that brought in (200) school children and community participants to experience the art at the museum as well as utilizing her own contacts to drum up support for the museum and its exhibitions.


All this hard work was thoroughly negated though by two senseless actions. Despite advertising to the contrary, the curator forced the exhibition to close one month early to accommodate the ‘transporting issue’ of a ‘more important’ exhibition from Sydney. This, though demoralizing enough, happens all too often in the field of visual art.

What happened next, however was outrageously unthinkable! In order to accommodate the new exhibition, Peitsch’s work needed to be stored on-site.

To fit the shakedowns under a small, open stairwell, the museum Director, Viv Szekeres, authorized the roofs of all the shakedowns to be ripped off, shattering the frames, collapsing some buildings completely and rendering the shakedowns looking like matchsticks and firewood. This action was freely admitted to over the phone. But no responsibility for the resulting disaster was taken. Though the houses were insured, like all the work exhibited at the Migration Museum, the Museum at first has refused to pay out on the insurance policy suggesting that the art must have been “damaged” during the return transport –an impossibility given the nature of the transporter. They finally decided that the houses should be repaired but only that the specific repair expenses be covered – never mind the fact that this artwork is now severely compromised, its structural integrity having been vandalised by the people who had the primary responsibility, should have known better and given the artwork the respect it deserves. Never mind that their neglect has caused major delays for future exhibitions involving the works, never mind that it is impossible now for the students that had such a completely unique and personal involvement with this project to feel anything but frustration with the museum’s handling of their work.


Carpenters quoting on the repairs and reconstruction of the shakedowns said that the buildings had to have been thoroughly mistreated to have sustained such significant damage. Previously, these houses travelled to exhibitions around Melbourne and regional Victoria with only MINOR wear to the structures. It is with disgust and despair that I am sending this letter to try to provoke a response from an uninterested, rude and disrespectful museum director.


Many more commitments and permanent displays were scheduled for the Shakedowns but thanks to the disdainful management of the Migration Museum staff , this unique community-engaged display is now, as yet, trashed.


editor’s note: We have since found out the insurance was paid out after 6months.

Record Labels Love Rock Stars

Here it is in a nutshell.

The record companies have shafted artists for years. Now as the online world starts to make the independent artist more viable, they are running scared. Let me spell it out for you, for some of the non-reading in between the line readers, the recording industry has made money on artists. The artists have gone broke.

Best example I have is the band called – Extreme. Remember them? Late 80’s, early 90’s band. Had that hit – “More Then Words“. Big time crossover #1 hit. Well when they signed their contract, they yes,screwed themselves. In defense of the band, when you have been out there for years busting your a$$ to make it – and some major label comes calling, your forget allot of what you learned on the road on your own time. Now of the 2.5 million albums they sold, the didn’t make a dime. It’s a fact. Research it if you must. They were (personally) playing music and having a great time and on top of the world. They were in fact (personally) though – broke. The record company was making all the money.

Yes, the were able to make money on the touring, and merchandising, but basically that was the last hurrah for the record industry. The last rape so to speak. Artists have now gotten wiser. Smarter. Bands have one or two “Rex Dixon’s” in them now. That have learned from the mistakes made already.Technically Speaking, if you are a musician in a band, you need to go it on your own. You really need to be independent. It does work as long as you have your band’s version of “Rex Dixon” handling your business.


thanks to for today’s post.

An Open letter to DRM creators

STOP. IT. NOW!!!Here is an open letter on the DRM open letters that have been flying around lately.When I was 15 and buying about 2 albums a week the music industry introduced the first of their many attempts at DRM – 8 track.  Guess what!  Didn’t work.

The cassette players / recorders became prevalent.  And the response from the recording industry was, “This is going to kill the recording industry!  No one will buy records anymore because they can just copy them from their friends!!”Guess what happened?  The recording industry made a bazillion dollars over the next 10 years.Then CD players came out and that was going to be the saviour of the industry.

Clean sound, virtually indestructible media and the end to copying (again, except to tape, which had none of these features – how many of you remember pulling a whole spool of a tape out of the machine when it got sucked into there??)But guess what??  The media was certainly destructible (I have about 17 discs that are unplayable because of scratches) and then CD recorders came out.  And the response from the recording industry was “This is going to kill the recording industry!  No one will buy CD’s anymore because they can just copy them from their friends!!”

Guess what actually happened?

The recording industry made a bazillion dollars over the next 10 years.  But it did allow me to make copies of the disc so that I could store the original and play the copy.  That way, when it got scratched and was unplayable, I could make another copy and continue to enjoy the music that I paid the right to listen to.Then the Internet exploded.  And P2P was born.  And the response from the recording industry was, “It’s too easy to copy music and send it all around the world.  No one will by CD’s or movies anymore because they can just copy it from an anonymous person in *pick your favorite 3rd world country*”Guess what continues to happen?

The recording industry makes billions of dollars a year.  Now, here is what I know to be true

  1. It is easier to get illegal music and I did get some that way several years ago,
  2. It was a pain in the butt to get illegal music, plus I didn’t like the thought of other people having access to the stuff on my machine so I shut it off,
  3. I  deleted all the illegal tracks I downloaded ’cause the thought of the Rolling Stones not having enough money to live on after they stop touring (which will likely be when they die) made me sad,
  4. People slowed down buying music, not because they can copy it, but because a lot of music really, really stinks!

But all this DRM stuff did make me come to the following conclusions –

  1. I will only buy music off the Internet from sites that provide that music in a non-DRM MP3 or Ogg Vorbis format
  2. If a recording is not available from a site that accomplishes #1 then I will buy it on a CD
  3. I will continue to make backup copies of the music in my collection onto a media of my choosing in a format of my choosing so that in the event that the media is damaged or destroyed, I will have the original to use to make another backup copy

Thank you,


This was an open letter found at