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Stanley Donwood at the Panic Office

Stanley Donwood at the Panic Office, the Carriageworks, Sydney

Stanley Donwood at the Panic Office - The "Lair of the Bear"

"In Los Angeles, we’re driving a lot. I had my little notebook and I was writing down what all the signs said. Writing, writing, writing. Then the first sort of sketchy paintings I did were just those signs, because I wrote down what colours they were. I realised in LA that because everyone is driving, all of the signs have got to go Bam! You’ve got to read them straight away, so there’s no subtly. There’s these bright plastic colours, so I went and bought bright acrylic Liquitex paint. So I bought that and used the brightest colours straight out of the tub. Then I got all these words and cut them up and that’s what the cover was. Again, completely different to how I had intended it to turn out."

And then with the next one, we kind of wanted to do the opposite, because that’s the kind of packaging that will last forever. I’d left a newspaper out on a bench and forgotten about it, and gone and done something else – painting or something. And I came back to it at the end of the day, and already in a day it had wrinkled and started going curly and yellow and was like, ‘that’s it! I’m going to wrap a record in something so shit that it will fall to bits!’ Then I was in San Francisco. There are lots of newspapers, you know you pick one up, they’re free and they’re square. I think, fucking hell, this is good, and they’re the size of a 10” record. So we could print a load of newspapers that fold around a ten-inch record. So we did that. And the record sleeve was printed on this plastic, this biodegradable plastic that if you leave it out it will start to disintegrate. Also, you had to tear open the front cover to get to the inside. I kind of like that. So if you really look after it, it will last.

Yeah, there are loads of record sleeves framed in the exhibition. But it won’t be like ‘preliminary sketch’, ‘working diagram’; it’s a lot more random than that. Hopefully, if people want to spend time, they can work it out and see earlier versions of record sleeves and stuff like that.

It took about a week and then I went home for the weekend and went ‘fuck, what have I put in the throw away box?’ So the next week I had to go through the throw away box again.

And there goes the Sydney Opera House . . .

The exhibit is soundscaped by Thom Yorke, in layers. Described as:

"An eerie mix of ambient textures, experimental sounds, and field recordings titled 'Subterranea', Yorke's soundtrack makes use of the cavernous exhibition space, playing out over three levels of speaker systems; "subs will boom from the floor, mids will echo through the walls, while the highs rain down from the ceiling," according to a press release.

Being a Thom Yorke solo piece, 'Subterranea' is closest in tone and style to the more ambient moments of Tomorrow's Modern Boxes or the music for Radiohead's 'Polyfauna' app than anything else in the band's catalogue, though from last night's exhibition, there were a few digitally spoken sections in the vein of 'Fitter, Happier' as well."