'Netwurks' and the 'NETS' Project

The world of devices that screen flows - of light or sound, of water or information - their attraction, their impact, their strengths & vulnerabilities

NETS Project Coordinators

Valerie Kirk
Annie Trevillian
Sharon Peoples


Up to 100 participating artists/students can dialogue here about Nets - with their posts and comments - by joining Netwurks.

A post doesn't need to be too polished in the first instance. It is a simple matter to return to radically edit it later if desired.

It is a simple process to add images and videos, however, to avoid clogging the blog, an accessible image gallery can also be maintained on a personal website, the link to which can be included in a relevant post.

Ongoing help
with using Netwurks can be provided. Difficulties encountered and general queries can be posted to the blog.


The function of any net is to separate defined items of interest from a specific flow. They are intrinsically mysterious.

Is the function of a facial veil to screen out or to invite the external gaze?

Blinds and net curtains are covert street surveillance systems, sometimes revealing pretty images, other times odd behaviour. If insiders leave the light on, they are exposed and the outsider hidden from view.

When do those nets that are being strung across the flows of cyberspace - the 'firewalls' - change over from being defensive (stopping 'incoming') to being aggressive? How can the misdeeds of their creators be detected by the outsider?

Nets of lies and half-truths are woven
over events, winding up as 'history'. Before becoming spoken words, means of expression are continually modified by a host of personal and institutional restraints.

Micro-nets block contagions. Fishing nets haul in 'by-catch'
(marine 'collateral damage') with their targeted prey. Good nets, bad nets?

October 16, 2011

Nets - Finland

During the program we gave lectures and Petcha Kutcha presentations and worked practically together in a workshop using recycled materials.


Nancy Tingey and Valerie Kirk represented the Australian Nets Project in Turku, Finland. Aly De Groot from the Ghostnets project also participated in the program at Novia University.

August 2, 2009

Turku 2011 logo

Last Thursday, 30 July, I went in to ANU to meet Dr Megan Poore, Educational Designer, at Arts and Social Sciences, to get her guidance on exporting Netwurks to Wordpress. That is where the blog can now be found ( I will try to sort out invitations to join, for all those on the Netwurks participant list. Farewell

Wordpress is ANU's adopted blogging service. Comparative reviews and descriptions of Wordpress features can be found at 'Top Ten Reviews'.

"This blog service is fitting for amateur and prolific bloggers alike and is so uncomplicated to use that it easily earns our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award."

The date for a follow-up workshop is being considered. The core objectives would be to get those interested actually started on their own blogs or websites, to develop individual project ideas and to discuss the eventual setting for all proposed works, as part of the festival of Turku 2011 - that year's 'European Capital of Culture' - with its web-based thematic element. I hope we might get some better idea of how we are going to be included - without going unnoticed among the 'total of 150-200 projects and numerous individual events'.

July 30, 2009

Hello everyone:
I just came back from my research trip in Nanjing. It is very interesting that I can see one of the topmost craftsmanship of Chinese Brocade (Yun Jin).

The big platform jacquard loom operate by two people, one on the top called (Thread Puller) and the other sit on the bottom called (Weaver). They are able to produce no more than a 5-6 cm length in one day. There is no machine has yet been devised to replace this manual technique.

There are some pictures I have taken inside the production workshop.

And I've got a few simple pieces on hands if you are interested, pls dont be hesitated to contact me.

July 28, 2009

Battle 2011

Watch Accordion Wrestling.

"Battle 2011 brings to stage also other forms of combat sports, such as budo, kick boxing and ultimate fighting."

Perhaps there'll be Sumo.

"The music composed by Kimmo Pohjonen will form the framework for the performance."

The Finnish for accordion is 'hanuri'.

"The new concept will be utilised as a Finnish cultural export product … Discussions have already been conducted for including parts of Battle 2011 in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games"

Next, by popular demand, 'Saxophone Wrestling".

July 27, 2009


I'm into the advertising-net world now (where there are 40 words for 'deceit'). Smoking and dressing are related - top-hats and ball gowns, cowboy outfits, military uniform, the golfer look, the debutante, the pretty wife, Spencer Tracey and Father Christmas.

Of all product placement advertising in the millenium to date, BAT Germany's intentional exploitation of the 9/11 event, must be the most audaciously offensive, at least in its own history of unethical, prosecutable, net-casting practices. And the strange thing is that it has never drawn attention - until now.

You'll get the idea from this 'Project 1' link.

July 26, 2009


First Workshop

The weekend workshop in June 2009 was run by Valerie Kirk, Head of Textiles at the ANU School of Art, with myself as a secondary facilitator, explored types of nets, their uses and the participants’ associations.

It was difficult to avoid the close textile connections and textile metaphors that are use in nets. The overwhelming older female majority … Those whose arts practices, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, are outside textiles were a little concerned at the point of departure. Networking skills physical, intellectual and web-based were on the agenda. What we are trying to achieve in the long term is to build skills in both familiar and new technologies that would enable to cast our nets much further.

Valerie Kirk led a brain-storming session, followed by discussion that captured ideas on the possibilities of nets and netlike structures, both real and virtual, and the infrastructures that support them. This was followed by some participants generously teaching their net-making skills in informal groups. Hands were dexterously knotting, knitting, looping and thinking.

Weaving Threads

Before the workshop I began to hunt out reading material for the participants. I enjoy chasing material on the net. I found it difficult not to provide textile based reading. I sourced older anthropological and archeological papers to highlight the importance of nets in indigenous societies and the formation of communities, hoping to spark creative visual processes. I worked my way through the web on databases, often finding material that was biased towards my own arts practice and intellectual interest in the histories of embroidery and a more recent fascination in lace-making.

On the afternoon of the second day, there was in a deeper discussion on nets between a small number of participants. We used the material from the brainstorming session of the previous day and we came to the understanding that for nets to function there needs to be a dynamic force at play. This ranged from the dynamism warm air/water to cool air; water flows to catch fish; the dynamism of tides; blood flowing through the body; through to firewalls that inhibit freedom of speech towards a wider audience in countries like China. Discussion then followed on the size of the net structure or holes – the parameters set by the netmakers. Michael referred to the Munk Institute (see blog entry below)


In reflecting on this discussion I began to think about nets as boundary mechanisms. Using cell biology, boundaries can be thought of as permeable, selectively permeable and nonpermeable. The permeable boundary is one that allows ready passage from one side to another; a non-permeable prevents passage. A selective boundary, in contrast, would allow some to pass and prevent others in doing so.

The relationship between my own work on fashion theory and nets initially seemed to be two distinct arenas. While I did have appreciation of the aesthetic potential of nets as an expression of various media used with in the visual arts, I did not connect it with the issues I had been working on in fashion theory.

An area I have been looking at is the invention of national costumes in the 18th century which coincides with rise of the nation state and the demise of the divine right of kings. This process which has continued since then has now manifested in the use of national flags wrapped around the body. It raises the question of how does a community imagine itself? Werner Sollors in Beyond Ethnicity (1988) articulates two ways of imaging communities: one based on immutable ‘facts’ of biology, genetics and inheritance and the other based on desire, volition and choice. He suggests the terms ‘descent’ and ‘consent’. One must be born into a community of descent, while one may choose to join a community of consent (however, there are selective permeable structures or nets in place).

Dressing the body in a particular way is one to indicate nationalism. Religious affiliation, class, ethnicity, birth place can also be used to indicate nationalism. Dress often is tied in with these notions. Dress can be viewed like a net – sometimes only those who are of ‘descent’ can wear traditional dress. In Australia, association with country of origin, has moved towards ‘consent’ as ethnicity is watered down because small numbers of migrants from home countries and through intermarriage.

Jennifer Michael’s paper (Ad)Dressing Shibboleth; Costume and Community in the South of France (1998) explores how a person can become a member of a community and how mechanisms are used as a filter. Indigenous Australians, those who identify as indigenous, can’t be identified by dress, religious affiliation, social class, not necessarily by region or birthplace but by the strong association to country and by community agreement as to who belongs. Communities throughout the world have these network systems which are never transparent to those who are outside the community. Seeking and maintaining ‘authenticity’ can be paramount and can cause conflict.

July 25, 2009

TURKU 2011

University of Turku …with a department for the Science of Well-being

2011: celebrate the end of the first decade in turku ('one view town'), epicentre of happening euroculture

If anyone already knows what I just stumbled on, how come it didn't get out at Workshop One?

Sorry, then to be the one to break the news that Turku 2011 is a big forthcoming European cultural event.

To get an idea of the scale of this thing, you can see the amount of effort and investment that went into preparing the winning bid, by checking the beautiful, Flash-created bidding document, 'Turku on Fire: Turku for the European Capital of Culture 2011' (178 pages).

I really find it hard to imagine all the connections that have quickly taken this to the stage where 'Netwurkers' are presumably also preparing for what must be up among the top ten
exposure opportunities in our tiny lifetimes. Not to mention that the same thing's supposed to be going on in the University of Cumbria - another story.

This is how quickly these waves travel. Next stop Turku - exhibitions, performances, be-ins, music in wooded parks on very long summer evenings. Who's in? Communication is the key.

Ideas and their Implementers are Still Welcome

You may announce your interest in participating in the implementation of any of the projects in the Capital of Culture programme by contacting partners(a) You may also submit your ideas to the Idea Market, which will continue to be open on the Capital of Culture Web-site at

The Turku 2011 Programme is an important element of the European Capital Culture − however, as a whole, the project is much larger.

- Everyone’s contribution is needed to build an unforgettable year of the European Capital Culture


The founder of Linux operating system, Linus Torvalds is to be the official patron.

Turku, the European Capital of Culture, Initiates the World’s Largest Media Art Competition Grand Prix invites artists and content producers working in the digital format to enter the competition in eight different categories, with a combined total value of prizes worth more than 140,000 euro.


Accordion Wrestling, 'with performances which combine accordion playing with wrestling, will culminate in a large-scale production called Battle 2011 at the Paavo Nurmi Stadium in Turku'.

See what I'm saying?



July 23, 2009

The NETS weekend workshop.

A group of artists from Canberra and the wider region, associated with ANU, came together to kickstart work on the theme of "Nets". There was great excitement as people relished the opportunity to come together for discussion, practical experimentation and viewing of work relating to the theme. People were very supportive of each other and generous in sharing information, making for a reaxed working atmosphere. The two days provided enough time to scope the ideas, meanings and associations of nets to get brains twinkling with ideas and inspirations. We look forward to viewing works in progress later in the year.


In semester 1 2009 the BA year 1 students began work on the "Nets" project, an international(inter-university) textile project spanning countries and continents
- DEVELOPING IDEAS, EXPERIMENTING WITH TECHNIQUES and producing small works for a web/selected live “net” exhibition.

The project involved thinking about nets – in the widest sense. What are they? What are they used for? What do they suggest or symbolise? How can net making techniques be used in creative works? Netting, Knotting, Knitting and Crochet were explored in relation to personal ideas. Finished works developed through experimental and critical processes and will be showcased in the web/live exhibition in 2010.

July 3, 2009


From Gabrielle Heyges:

Shows some interesting nets, history, songs, oral history of my birth country

Upper Tisza riverside ecosystem Hungary natural values

In 2000 an Australian gold mining company released cyanide into the upper Tisza River (link) causing mass poisoning of flora and fauna down stream.

I come from the lower Tisza region.

The paper talks about natural values and sustainable development

June 24, 2009


'Google has suffered intensive disruption in China, just days after it was warned to scale back its search operations.
Chinese bloggers, who believe the move is intended to distract attention away from the domestic controversy over the Green Dam software, have called for a boycott of the internet on 1 July, the start date for its installation on all new computers.

June 23, 2009


According to the report on the implementation of 'Green Dam' by the Open Net Initiative at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies:

"If implemented as proposed, the effect would be to increase the reach of Internet censorship to the edges of the network, adding a new and powerful control mechanism to the existing filtering system."

Language tricks can get around censors and mock them at the same time. Chinese activists have become masters of satire and symbolism. This drawing by a Chinese blogger uses the visual language of Japanese anime.

Green Dam Girl is an internet avatar figure. She’s holding a rabbit, which is the software’s logo, and carrying a bucket of paint. On her cap is an image of the river crab, a homonym for the word “harmony” in Chinese (the Chinese government calls censorship 'harmonization').

June 14, 2009

first of the reading material

Here is some of the reading material. The anthropology-archeology papers are a little old, but nonetheless intersting. The first can be found on this hyperlink: chromomanual craft this one takes a little time to download. If you can't access this please email me I can email it as an attachment.

June 13, 2009

Notes from Nets Workshop (13th June 2009)

At the brainstorming session three headings were put up on the board:


Kinds of nets: fishing nets, hair nets, fly nets, shark nets, mosquito nets, submarine nets, cargo nets, net petticoats, speed cameras, safety nets, internet, butterfly nets, colander/sieve, firewall, vegetable steamer, tripe, arteries, spider webs, shopping bags, string bas, dilly bags, billums, lace curtains, lace veils (bridal, scarves, decorative), hat veils, scrim, bandages, bird nets, silk screens, weed mats, inhibitions, retaining nets, camouflage, gabian nets, cages, turf nets, fences (chicken, wire, rabbit proof fence, plastic), reinforcing, arc mesh, cyclone fencing, locust nests, radiator nets, louvers, architectural fretwork screen, screen doors, security doors, stockings, fish-net stockings, besser brick walls, woven fabrics, croc sandals, ghost nets, hammocks, bee-keeper nets, string vests, seaweed- kelp, sporting nets (tennis nets, tennis racquet, brillo pads, collecting nets, textile techniques (netting, knitting, knotting, crochet), lavender bags (smell), chain mail, chain wire structures

What are nets used for: filtering, catching, hunting, hiding, separating, protecting, collecting, supporting, containing, decorating, stiffening, attracting, alluring, controlling, excluding, including, provoking (see through), intriguing, allusion, building, communicating, distributing, linking, conducting, gathering, structuring, interlocking

What do they make you think of (associations): dirt, camouflaging/ obscuring, hiding behind net curtains, fire walls, censoring filter, theatre lighting, slipping through the net (homelessness, mainstream, social), by catch- collateral damage, keepers, entrapped, cocooning (cultural readings), insecurities, inhibitions, health (mosquito nets), display/fa├žade, religious divisions, milk jug (great aunts, historic, nostalgic, making-do (wagga quilts, being creative, decorative, other traditions), safety nets, comfort, string art (cats cradle), dream catcher (eye of the gods), ambiguity (hiding and attracting the gaze)

June 11, 2009

Walking at Threadbo on the weekend I noticed a network used to control erosion. It was made of heavy duty plastic. Soem of the readings I have been looking at can be found in Google Scholar. In the last couple of years I have used this database to find many articles and books on various subjects. However, the problem is with books you cannot print entire slabs; but at least it is a starting point to then go to libraries.
If you have acces to ANU's JSTOR database there is a font of reading there. Later today I will post some readings.
There are many fascinating anthropological and archeological papers on net making. Some of the search words I have used are knotting, knitting, netmaking. Actually many patents come up and these are quite interesting on the application on netting in industrial and commercial situations.

June 9, 2009


China's authorities currently block overseas-based sites they disapprove of, such as those relating to Tibetan independence, or the Falun Gong spiritual movement, with a mesh of filters and keyword restrictions, widely known as the 'Great Firewall'. Control over domestic servers is applied through instructions to content providers and search engines, which must self-censor to stay in business.

Computer makers in China have now been instructed to pre-install blocking software on every PC hard drive from next month, under a government push to control access to the internet. A new software – called 'Green Dam Youth Escort' – potentially adds a powerful new tool at the level of the individual computer. It updates a list of forbidden sites from an online database, much as network security programs automatically download the latest defences against new worms, trojans and viruses.

The related software developing companies have long-term working relationships with the Public Security Bureau and the People's Liberation Army.

For more, see:

My 'Nets' project work includes control and prevention of the flow of information by various surveillance systems - including the above. More generally, I'm intrigued with
metaphors and analogies that derive from connections between all types of working nets.

'Nets' web-site:

June 7, 2009


8th of June is World Oceans Day. In the UK, it is also the day of the premiere of The End of the Line, the first major documentary about the devastation of the world’s overfishing.

The world's oceans were very different 200 years ago.

Imagine 27,000 southern right whales teeming in the waters off New Zealand, 30 times what we find there now. Or blue and thresher sharks darkening the waters off Cornwall, England. Or even herds of harbour porpoises pursuing fish up British rivers. These are just some of the revelations that will come out of the 'Census of Marine Life - Oceans Past', a conference bringing together the results of a 10 year project by environmental marine biologists around the globe (80 nations, 3,000 scientists), currently underway in Vancouver, Canada.

A discussion of the project's findings with Ian Poiner, Director of the Australian Institute Of Marine Science, was broadcast on ABC Radio National's 'Breakfast' program on 26th of May, and is available for download:

Nets Archive