Luck without magic in Sydney 22 August 2012

Speculations on luck in our sometimes cursed world…



Is luck still important in our lives, even when we no longer believe in superstitions? If so, is it possible to design for good fortune or to increase our confidence in the future?  Previously, the placebo was a method of detecting error in medical research, now scientists are taking the sugar pill seriously as a health measure.

Join us for the panel discussion to accompany the Joyaviva exhibition which will bring together diverse ideas about the influence of hope in human affairs. With Dr TOM MORTON (Associate Professor of Journalism, Director of Australian Centre for Independent Journalism), Dr LIZZIE MULLER (Senior Lecture, Interdisciplinary Design, UTS School of Design),  KEVIN MURRAY (curator, Joyaviva) and ALICE WHISH (jeweller, Joyaviva). Download the flyer for more information (pdf)




About Joyaviva: Live Jewellery from across the Pacific
Joyaviva presents diverse works by a new wave of jewellers from Australia, New Zealand and Chile – each piece is ‘alive’ as a device for sharing hopes and responding to our fears – ranging from threat of earthquakes to success in a school exam.

Created from a wide range of materials from 24ct gold to fabric, these objects link people together – transforming private wishes into shared stories. Presented alongside the documentation and ephemera of their use out in the world, Joyaviva is an opportunity to re-imagine the role of jewellery in our daily lives – traditional answers for modern questions. Visit to learn more about the project or view the exhibition guide online.
Until 31 August

Level 4, Peter Johnson Building, 702 Harris Street, Ultimo, NSW, Australia
Open Monday – Friday 12-6pm


IMAGES CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Jacqui Chan Brooch from Host a Brooch in action, Christchurch. Caz Guiney Charm-ID Card plastic ID card, leather lanyard, gold 24ct gold leaf. Matthew M Wilson Price of change, found coins. Carolina Hornauer in conversation for Re-knot / Reanudar.

Joyaviva: Live Jewellery from across the Pacific was shown at RMIT in Feb 2012. It will be touring to Objectspace Auckland (NZ), Santiago and Valparaiso (Chile), Jalsuri Foundation (Bolivia) and Mexico City (Mexico).

Joyaviva is a project associated with the Ethical Design Laboratory, a research area of RMIT Centre for Design. Supported by the Council on Australia Latin America Relations and Creative NZ

UTS Gallery supported by Oyster Bay Wines and Coopers. Media Partner: 2ser

Susan Cohn’s opening remarks

Susan Cohn opening Joyaviva at RMIT GalleryMelbourne jewellery Susan Cohn opening Joyaviva at RMIT Gallery, Melbourne 9 February 2012


Live jewellery across the Pacific

First of all, I want to apologise. There’s a very good chance this opening talk is going to be full of contradictions …

Life is so strange.

We all become concerned at some stage with our social skills, I can feel totally inept, scared of making a fool of myself. And on those occasions, such as now, depending on what insecurities I am feeling at the time I will call on whatever forces – gods, goddesses, obi-wan Kenobi, Cat woman, tinker bell –– to help me live through the moment.

Here is where the contradiction kicks in.

I don’t believe in the power of outside forces, especially illusionary ones,

I don’t believe in luck or miracles.

Shit just happens.

And yet the contradictions bounce back again.

I do think that people can endow objects with their emotional desires and beliefs, and then use them effectively to reinforce the difficulties they face in their lives. But, to be truthful, I don’t quite understand how this transformation happens, but I have seen it in action.

I am immensely curious, as a jeweller, about how jewellery will talk to,

and for people. I am always attuned to the ways jewellery is lived,

co-opted as part of our daily routines, conversations, displays and transgressions.

We live in a time when societies are designing new languages for living.

I have always believed jewellery to be a dynamic force for survival,

it talks about belonging, it attracts a mate, it is a promise traded through personal exchange, all of which will drive community spirit.

It is through all our experiences that belonging is reinforced,

and it is through belonging that we learn about ourselves.

Contemporary jewellers voice ideas about belonging through the objects they make. These ideas are founded in a shared creative landscape that reaches beyond the group.

In Joyaviva – live jewellery – the focus lies in the power of the jewellery charm. You don’t have to believe that objects are lucky to understand

how a charm can give hope, or power to face reality.

Each of the works in this exhibition responds to a moment in time, and its ongoing story. Jewellers from Australia, New Zealand and Chile

have considered the world around them with its daily challenges, and unexpected catastrophes. Using common everyday features

with readily recognised materials these jewellers are exploring the feelings

associated with wearing jewellery and everyday life, and how the wearing of these jewellery pieces may help us to cope with difficult experiences.

And if we look close enough, they are also offering us an insight into the similarities and differences within cultures, all of which suggests that jewellery may be approaching something like a universal language for belonging.

Joyaviva is a multi-layered exhibition,it is a conversation between makers and wearers and onlookers. Under the expert gaze of Kevin Murray, who carries an ever-lasting passion for the language of contemporary jewellery, this exhibition presents us with the thinking and stories, which inspired the jewellery object. And in addition to this exhibition presentation – which will be travelling in a suitcase to many cities –

there is an interactive website for following stories about the objects, for

participating in the journey of a charm, or to simply contribute to the conversation about what jewellery is.

So I invite you to take a look, and join in.

After all, life is so strange.