Le Phem Era

Le Phem Era operates on the unceded lands of the Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation.

Le Phem Era is an interdisciplinary practice that critically examines ephemera in all its forms through unconventional methods of archive and publication.

Le Phem Era researches through creative analysis, datafication, disruption, re-assemblage and speculation using democratic modes of production.

Le Phem Era is currently located at Studio 5, Level 1 River Studios 41–59 Sims Street, West Melbourne.

An exploration of hyper-personalisation through a series of bookshelves. Taking the customisation of an object to the point where it only works for one person or one specific purpose often leads to absurd but much more meaningful products.

The bookshelves were customised for particular books to differing degrees, relying on the physical attributes of the books in different ways. Some were tailored so specifically that they do not work without the books they were created to hold. The accompanying catalogue focused on the measurements of the books used and explained the research behind each bookshelf form.

Developed with teaching by Paul Fuog and Uriah Gray. Photography by Tobias Titz.

A bookshelf made up of pieces that connect books together to create structure. A close up of a connecting bookshelf piece and the books it is attached to. A see-saw style bookshelf where the combined weight of the books on either side balance each other. Two images of a bookshelf that holds books by pressure from both sides so that they are suspended. An experiemental bookshelf where the books are stacked on top of each other with their spines open. An inverse of the previous bookshelf where books are stacked on top of each other laid open All five hyper-personalised bookshelves placed in a group. A close up of tabs marking each book accompanying the series of bookshelves. Four catalogues with brown covers that read 'catalogue' on the front. One of the catalogues lays open. A spread from the accompanying catalogue depicting the measurements of the books used for one bookshelf. A spread from the accompanying catalogue depicting thumbnails of the books used for one bookshelf. A detail shot of a spread from the accompanying catalogue depicting the research behind two of the bookshelf forms.

A month long creative development residency at Testing Grounds used to research and experiment with the relationship between disposable and enduring materials.

Clothing items were created by combining different re-purposed materials (cotton, linen, plastic) with ephemeral receipts (thermal printed paper). They were attached to one another using various methods including secure stitching, loose decorative stitching, melting and masking tape. The participants who tested the items were left to decide what was temporary or removable, and what was permanent or adaptable.

Developed with mentorship from Debris Facility.

Three receipts against a black background depicting clothing life cycle research. Four receipts against a black background. One is particularly yellow and aged. Front and back view of a woman trying out an experimental vest / bag.
Thanks to Phuong Lam for testing this piece.
A detail shot of an experimental vest / bag hanging on display.
Thanks to Georgia Townley, Jacquie Poon and Matthew Glico for testing this piece.
Long receipts containing research are weighed down by a brick on top of a grey metal plinth.
Creative Development Program showing installation detail. Photo courtesy of Testing Grounds.
People seated at the outdoor space at Testing Grounds in Southbank.
Creative Development Program showing, Testing Nights. Photo courtesy of Testing Grounds.

A change of scenery and a day to focus on a project during a residency at Tree Paper Gallery, based at The Pavilion from 23 November, 2022 to 5 January, 2023. The exploration involves playing with printing and collage using a growing collection of phone photos that have been taken over the past few years.

The currently untitled project is an ongoing parody archive that consists of ephemeral signage extracted from public environments and reassembled into absurd prose. It is an exploration of the complex layers and conflicting narratives of collection through a playful and curious approach. Disregarding the context of the captured signs, fragments are brought together through linguistic collage to fabricate new meanings. The work pokes fun at the notion of an objective record of a time and place by magnifying the impact of chance, limited information and the recorder’s perspective.

A four month long residency at the Centre for Projection Art from 22 November, 2022 to 30 April, 2023.

The program will be used to develop a forthcoming exhibition that is an unconventional hybrid of documentary, narrative and publication. Additionally, the opportunity will be taken to expand film and digital projects beyond the boundaries of screens and into activations in three-dimensional space, as well as exploring ways to integrate projected imagery into traditionally non-digital works.

Link to residency profile

(More coming soon)

Distributed Goods is an ongoing project where personal relationships with friends and family are marked by a transaction of customised goods. Although the gifts are only given, not received, each object is a representation of an ongoing bond that has involved many unquantifiable interactions. The works act as material demonstration of what has already been gained or what will be taken from the interpersonal exchange in the future. Sentiment and mutual advantage are expressed and archived through creation and distribution.

A small white blanket with black distorted, pixelated text reading 'max' is taped to a white wall. Two images side by side of a white sequin pillow with experimental text in black that reads 'access'.

(More coming soon)

‘Afa‘afakasi

‘Afa‘afakasi is an ongoing project initiated as motivation to learn gagana Sāmoa (Samoan language) and reconnect to fa‘asāmoa (Samoan culture).

A play on the term ‘afakasi (half Samoan), ‘Afa‘afakasi essentially means half of a half Samoan. This new term was created to raise questions around racial classifications and connection to, or disconnection from heritage. My grandpa was born and raised in Samoa but I am mostly of European ethnicity and removed from Samoan culture. The knowledge that I have has been gained through interactions with family, as a tourist in Samoa and through my own research.

Rather than observing an organised system of language learning, publications are formed through a critical, collaborative and playful approach. This project explores how volumes can be interpreted in a variety of forms that are more public, accessible and immersive, where equal value is given to the process of making as to the finished outcomes.

An old photo of a child reaching up towards a bunch of coconuts in Samoa. An old photo of a toddler sitting in the lap of her grandfather.

Lomiga Tasi: Folasaga Lona Lua, translating to 'Issue One: Second Introduction', is a basic introduction to language and culture. The webpage also playfully employs collaboration and digital filters to investigate feelings of cultural disconnection, as well as the lack of representation on the web (and elsewhere).

Made alongside a series of discussions and featuring collaborations with Denise Roberts, Moira Roberts and Tacy Fatu, who were born in Samoa but live on Komburmerri Country (Gold Coast) and in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland).

Link to publication
Link to screen reader-friendly version

Typographic arrangements illustrate Samoan pronunciation. Speech bubbles with Samoan greetings. A screenshot of four people on zoom.

Rainy day install at Twosixty of posters promoting Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa (Samoan Language Week) and the first issue of ‘Afa‘afakasi, a free online publication called Lomiga Tasi: Folasaga Lona Lua.

Created in collaboration with Denise Roberts, Moira Roberts and Tacy Fatu. Installation assistance by Oliver Moir. Photography by Emma Byrnes.

A brush sweeping away glue from a poster installed on the ground promoting Samoan Language Week. A poster being installed on the ground by two people. A poster being installed on the ground depicting Samoan pronunciation concrete poetry. A poster being installed on the ground depicting basic Samoan phrases. A poster installed on the ground promoting Samoan Language Week depicting colours in Samoan. A woman carries a large poster filled with colourful emojis representing Samoa. One person holds a poster in place on the ground while the other person sweeps glue over it. An installed poster depicting the Samoan alphabet. Two people placing installing a poster on the ground while smiling. An installed poster depicting ways to say hello and goodbye in Samoan. Two people placing installing a poster on the ground amongst other installed posters. A wet poster being partially scrunched by a hand.

Lomiga Tasi: Folasaga Lona Lua Ata Tifaga is an audiovisual work about reconnecting to language, culture and family. This exhibition both documents the making of Lomiga Tasi: Folasaga Lona Lua and is a further extension of the project.

Featuring Denise Roberts, Moira Roberts and Tacy Fatu. In development with support from the Centre for Projection Art through their Artist-in-Residence program.

Upcoming at RM Gallery in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), 13 September to 7 October, 2023.

Lomiga Lua: i Luga ‘o le Moana uses digital interpretations of the ocean as a backdrop to ponder space, distance, memory and the future in relation to Samoan language and culture. This issue of ‘Afa‘afakasi  is a representation of the link that exists between family members across geographies despite physical distance from each other, and from Samoa.

The word ‘sami’ is used to describe the sea or ocean in gagana Sāmoa, but the word ‘moana’ can also be used. It can also means the colour blue, as in ‘lanumoana’. In the context of the internet, blue is the default colour used to denote connection to other destinations in the form of hyperlinks. Lomiga Lua uses the colour blue and digital reproductions of the ocean as the context for a chorus of words, thoughts and conversations.

Created in collaboration with by Tacy Fatu, Moira Roberts, Denise Roberts and Adrian Tuitama.

Iterations of this publication volume will be shown at Testing Grounds Public Art Park for Melbourne Fringe Festival (6–23 October, 2022) and at the West Space Window (27 May to 18 June, 2023). More to be announced.

Experimental type made up of different sized, blue gradient arches that read: Lomiga Lua: i Luga ‘o le Moana.

The first iteration of Lomiga Lua: i Luga ‘o le Moana is a moving image work installed at Testing Grounds Public Art Park for Melbourne Fringe Festival, running 6–23 October, 2022. Public Art Park consists of a site-wide program supporting the development of works specifically developed for and in relation to the public realm.

This work combines digitally constructed interpretations of the ocean with text formed through familial connection, memory and shared interactions by ‘āiga (family) in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), on Komburmerri Country (Gold Coast) and in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton). The artificial backgrounds were created in Naarm using a mixture of illustration, code, three dimensional digital modelling and reconstructed footage taken in Samoa.

Created in collaboration with Tacy Fatu, Moira Roberts, Denise Roberts and Adrian Tuitama.

Link to event website

Over a dark blue background covered in rows of wave emojis, white text reads: ocean. sami/moana. we were known to be great navigators of the ocean. the ocean is our... highway. supermarket. playground. weakness. life. the ocean... gives us courage. connects and separates us from other islands. is where it all started. On a dark blue background are white, roughly drawn shapes of different sizes resembling different interpretations of waves. On the wave in the top-left, blue text reads: navigating through the Oceans of present past and future... A bright blue background is broken up in one section by a mouse arrow, revealings small parts of a darker blue beneath. Over the top white text, set in a cascading zigzag depicts a long personal message. Against a blue background of repeating rows of giant, geometric waves white text reads: tātou. we, us all. On the side of a shipping container painted an olive green, large white banners depict the details of Public Art Park.
Public Art Park opening event. Photo courtesy of Testing Grounds.

The second iteration of Lomiga Lua: i Luga ‘o le Moana is a moving image installation created in collaboration with Tacy Fatu, Moira Roberts, Denise Roberts and Adrian Tuitama.

Upcoming at the West Space Window, 27 May to 18 June, 2023.

The third iteration of Lomiga Lua: i Luga ‘o le Moana will be an installation that takes the form of an enlarged and expanded publication. Included will be an array of prints and moving image works. Acting as both a resource and learning process, this work aims to provide exposure to language without formality. Instead, the focus will be on humour, play and organic interaction.

Created in collaboration with Tacy Fatu, Moira Roberts, Denise Roberts and Adrian Tuitama. Upcoming at Incinerator Gallery from 30 June to 3 September, 2023.