First blog

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Every blogger must have their first post! Here goes. My story, as you’ll see from the background to this site, and my biodata, is that I’m an artist and writer and academic with too many interests. However, interactivity and collaborative art forms has always been an element which is integral to my practice, and here we are, with the weblog, the definitive interactive medium!

The appeal of the weblog is, of course, to find people like you (presuming someone is reading this) and to open up a multi-directional network so that knowledge, experience, and personal stories of discovery can be concentrated in one place – like one of those signposts in a remote location with so many pointers to distant places that the experience of being there is almost beyond credibility.

This site comes out of a process of exploration here at the Australian National University where a group of colleagues with academic interests in new media arts, and other things, are engaging with the possibilities of using this medium as a new kind of research tool.

My interest in war rugs (I use this term for convenience, even though it’s extremely inadequate to describe the genre) dates from 1988 when artist friends Olive and Tony Bishop showed me two war rugs they had bought from a rug dealer in Adelaide, South Australia. I was able to buy a couple from the same source, and one from Ray Hughes in 1993. Since then, my interest has been intermittent, and what few rugs I’d seen seemed repetitious and overpriced. Until three years ago when a local find in Canberra by Tim rekindled our interest. Encouraged by each other’s enthusiasm, we went on a search.

The difference, of course, was the decade of the internet, and so discovering dealer websites like (the now defunct) junkbiz.com and warrugs.com proved to us that the genre was much more complex than we had ever imagined. One thing led to another, and we discovered that an extraordinary collection of rugs had found their way to Australia, and the first of our exhibitions as part of the Fusions conference here at the ANU was the result.

What I hope to achieve, through the medium of the weblog, is a focus for the interests of all of us who find the genre of the war rug to be one of the most inspiring medium of late 20th century contemporary art.

Please indicate your interests, and stay in touch. Over the months ahead I hope to build a unique interactive database (which, technology permitting, will post and receive visuals) which develops our understanding of the categories, themes and narratives which these works embody, to link to existing sites, to explore unknown dimensions of these works, the authors of which may remain forever anonymous. This will be, in a sense, a dedication to those amazing people.

My thanks to Sharon Boggon for enabling us to get from A to B, and beyond.

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