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Grassroots Words: New Planes

Hayley Morgan and Lisa Lerkenfeldt are two women after our own hearts. Both writers and creative types, the friends and housemates have set up indie press New Planes as a platform to support the talent in our city that too often goes under the radar. From their involvement with Creative Sydney to the launch of their newspaper, the ladies are certainly a fine addition to Sydney’s flourishing underground scene.

Noticing the abundance of both independent businesses and neglected spaces from their home in Redfern, Haylery and Lisa initially created New Planes to support the suburb's arts community and fill its unused venues with exciting events. With access to a private laneway, the first New Planes event saw local businesses peddling their wares and a host of emerging bands play to a like-minded crowd. "I guess we had this idea of supporting the doers and things that were positive and happening around us; connecting disparate entities to generate a community. Overlapping interests - even if only for a day," the pair say.

Since then, New Planes has been involved in the Even Books' Readers' Festival as well as Creative Sydney, and has also had a book and record cart stocked with a plentiful supply of independent goods. The launch of the pilot issue of the New Planes Public Press, however, has been the girls' standout achievement. "We knew we wanted a publication from the start. When we thought about the origins of public press, the need for freedom in a current context, and the critical issues/ideas of our age group which weren't getting aired, we sent out a pretty open brief, encouraging people to submit their wildest work," they explain. "We asked them what they wanted to read, and we printed it." This resulted in a newspaper filled with experimental images and text, including contributions by Marcus Rechsteiner from UV Race, Misha Hollenbach from PAM, Jack Jeweller, the curator of Black & Blue gallery, as well as stories with titles such as 'Your Fanzine's Keeper' and 'Heavy Metal Minimalism'.

"The last night that we had to work on the paper before the 9am print deadline, we were sitting in the lounge room in mountain jackets, holding crystals to our minds because it was 6am and we were trying to edit it," Hayley and Lisa tell us, recalling the arduous process of putting together a piece of print. "We were cold and sick but giggling despite this because our designer Margaux is French and everything she says is funny/sexy." The hard paid off when they were handed back their creation in paper format, and Hayley and Lisa say that having people they look up to support the newspaper has made it all worthwhile.

The passion behind New Planes is evident, particularly when Hayley and Lisa speak about the lack of recognition most creative people get within mainstream contexts. "It's 2010. This 'struggling artist' stigma shouldn't exist but it does. There's limited support via public systems. We're very aware of that." This is where New Planes comes in and its importance is highlighted. "Grassroots art and words, books and records are part of documenting our generation and deserve attention and a platform... We're interested in connecting great things/ new ideas which often fall outside of the mainstream, with a curious general public."

Although they are already able to look back, New Planes is really only just beginning. We wonder where Hayley and Lisa see it headed in the future? "On Thurston Moore's night stand, being bigger and reaching more humans and fronting an underground newspaper syndicate," they reply.

words: Ingrid Kesa


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