Le Phem Era

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

Le Phem Era is an experimental practice that seeks to critically examine ephemera in all its forms through alternative 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.

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.

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.

(More coming soon)

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.

Ⓓⓘⓢⓣⓡⓘⓑⓤⓣⓔⓓ Ⓖⓞⓞⓓ ①

< Well, what does it do?
> It’s a gift for you.
< Oh, thank you.
> It’s 100% polyester.
< Ooo, that’s beautiful. Yeah, it’s nice. Is this for the knees or something?
> Whatever you want it for. You can put it on your head, if you want.
< I like black and white because it’s a good neutral combo. It goes with everything.

Two images side by side of a white sequin pillow with experimental text in black that reads 'access'.

Ⓓⓘⓢⓣⓡⓘⓑⓤⓣⓔⓓ Ⓖⓞⓞⓓ ②

> I've got a gift for you.
< Oh, I’m happy.
> Well, are you going to take it or not?
< Yeah, I’m going to take it. I’m just going to dry my hands. What is it? Has it got sequins on it? I love that.
> I mean, you have to supply your own cushion insert but…
< I love that. I really love that.
> Why?
< I just think it’s gorgeous. Look, it’s got two way sequins and everything. Oh, thank you.
> Yeah, there you go.

(More coming soon)


‘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 (Issue One: Second Introduction) is a basic introduction to language and culture. It playfully explores distance and memory through collaboration and digital filters that investigate feelings of physical and cultural disconnection, as well as the lack of representation on the web (and elsewhere).

This work was made alongside a series of discussions with Denise Roberts, Moira Roberts and Tacy Fatu who were born in Samoa but live on Yugambeh 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 Lomiga Tasi: Folasaga Lona Lua (Issue One: Second Introduction).

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 (Issue One: Second Introduction Film) is an audiovisual work about reconnecting to language, culture and family. This exhibition both documents the making of Lomiga Tasi and is a further extension of the project.

Featuring Denise Roberts, Moira Roberts and Tacy Fatu. Upcoming at RM Gallery, 13 September7 October, 2023.

Lomiga Lua: i Luga ‘o le Moana (Issue Two: Over the Ocean) 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.

Featuring contributions by Tacy Fatu, Moira Roberts, Denise Roberts and Adrian Tuitama.

Upcoming 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 – 18 June, 2023). More to be announced.

Stills from the Lomiga Lua: i Luga ‘o le Moana (Issue Two: Over the Ocean) titles. Stills from the Lomiga Lua: i Luga ‘o le Moana (Issue Two: Over the Ocean) titles.