On the Road Again

Visual sociology for December 2015 is another whirlwind around multiple cities, from regional New South Wales to Sydney. There’s beautiful glass art from artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello and a stroll through the Friendship Garden.

Regional New South Wales

Proud of our elders. 1 December

Wagga Wagga Art Gallery. 5 December

“Furnance Weave” Indigenous Australian (Arrente) glass artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello is inspired by the traditional art of weaving. She’s now speaking about her work! 5 December

“The big pieces take a team of seven.” Glass artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello talks about how to stretch small pieces of cane into 12 metres and then cut up into smaller works and why she needs assistants to create her art. Two people work with blow torches, two people at the end shaping, two people opening doors to move the art which cools quickly after being removed from heat, someone shields another artist’s legs from the extreme heat, while Kemarre Martiniello blows glass or directs the work. Takes around 20 hours to make one cane.


The Garden of Friendship is a gift from the Chinese-Australian community of Sydney to the City, commemorating the Bicentenary of Australia and the sister relationship between Guangdong and New South Wales. 6 December

Traversals through small country towns in Australia. 28 December

Image: Sign reads “BAR-B-Q” in foreground of a playground. In the background, a family is having a picnic.

Sociology of hotel art

Hotel rooms are mostly glum places for me as I travel often for work. Even if the room is modern and tastefully furnished, there’s no getting around the fact that you’re in a space that’s not your own, where countless strangers have stayed before you and will do so long after you check out. Art is supposed to bring artificial warmth and intimacy into these impersonal spaces, evoking images of tranquility (the sea, trees, flowers) or aspirations (a “fancy” painting of an outdoors scene). As I’ve been travelling the past couple of months nonstop I am endlessly amused at how bad the art is and what it might represent to those who decorated. I am in a country town in New South Wales. Here is a picture of a cactus. While it might be symbolic of the dry and hot local climate, as you’ll see in my next post, this painting is a companion to two other scientific art prints that were gifted to British royals. So actually this art evokes Australia’s ties to the monarchy; in a town that has a relatively high Anglo-Australian population.

On the left is a hideously delightful illustration of a tree, gifted to the Duke of Chaulnes (French nobility who belonged to the British system) with an inscription of his status as Prefident of the the Royal Academy of Sciences, Paris. On the right is yet another horrendously drawn tree, dedicated to Frederick Prince of Wales. As a reminder: I’m in country New South Wales, Australia in 2015. (5 December)

Dear Lismore you were beautiful, super hot. Your motel art was slightly better than most. 16 December

Sociology of Trolleys

Meanwhile, somewhere in Sydney… a lovely addition to the Sociology of Trolleys! The tales this trolley could tell: of alienation of the proletariat, having had its labour exploited by the owners of the means of production. Playing into its own oppression by hiding behind this suburban tree, maintaining false consciousness. Rise up young comrade, rise up. 3 December

This episode of the Sociology of Trolleys features a trolley that decided to protest the capitalism of Christmas by moving to Lismore and making everyone’s gifts instead of buying more stuff they don’t need. 16 December