Going out is good. Like swimming in the sea, you almost never regret it. Perhaps it's because there's that subtle spice of danger. The risk of the ocean being that you might remain there forever, or you could get stung by a jellyfish. In New Zealand you can rely on returning home from your average outing, providing the traffic isn't too disastrous. The jeopardy outside your living room generally revolves around managing how much you spend or drink.
One man who encouraged many Aucklanders to walk out of their front doors and experience brilliantly experimental forms of sound is Chris Cudby, who for the past four and a half years publicised the ambitious calendar of events and exhibitions at the Audio Foundation in central Auckland. He tells me he put in an even longer stint at Pizza Pizza before then. Some will know Cudby as half of the dance-tinged art-pop duo Golden Axe, who are set to perform and record again next year. He's also working on new material for his solo act, Power Nap, and plays live tonight on a bill with Disasteradio at a concert put on by the venue-hopping Wellington collective Eyegum.
Cudby has a new job at Depot Artspace in Devonport, spreading the word about the happenings and exhibitions at the gallery that celebrates its 20th birthday next year. While Depot Artspace is grand and pristine, the Audio Foundation is gritty and intimate, but Cudby says they have a lot in common: "They're both community centres serving the local audience and, of course, both organisations have a multi-disciplinary approach to supporting their artistic communities which definitely appeals to me."
At the Audio Foundation Cudby brought new people to hear performances from a range of sound artists. "That stuff isn't really that extreme or crazy, it's just people doing their art, correctly or incorrectly considered as extreme."
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Now Cudby's behind a desk at Depot Artspace rustling up a crowd for the opening today, featuring a dozen artists exhibiting sculpture, painting and jewellery. "He's like a cartoon character, he's a lovely person with a bright smile," says painter and curator Robyn Gibson, who has a handful of works in the opening at 2pm. "When we met Chris we immediately thought he was such a sincere person. He seemed quite shy initially, but he's just a hellishly interesting fellow."
Head out and enjoy some art today in Devonport. If you're reading this on Sunday, even better, as Depot Artspace install a couple of their artists to run the gallery from 11am, so punters can spend time getting to know the characters behind the artworks.
Remember to take your togs and towels because the high tide on the Waitemata is at 3.45pm. Why not push the boat out and experience wonderful art and the finest urban body of water in the world in the same afternoon. Who knows, at this time of year you might even meet a jellyfish.