Wednesday, July 2, 2008


On June 18th I took the train to Preston to meet with Elaine Speight, Rebecca Chesney and Robina Llewellyn to talk about the PEST publication on domestic spaces that they have invited me to work with them on.
"PEST is a series of three limited-edition publications which will explore how artists appropriate, intervene and work within different places, spaces and contexts. The publications are the outcome of a 6-month international research project by Preston-based artists Rebecca Chesney, Robina Llewellyn and Elaine Speight, who became interested in how artists can work within alternative spaces after organising Prestival (, a public exhibition and artist networking event which took place across Preston city centre in July 2007."
I was asked to instigate a project about artists using domestic space as a result of the residency at the Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent of Home.
Jennie Syson, curator for the Hinterland Project, Nottingham, will be writing a piece of text for the domestic publication, while I create a new piece of work for it...very exciting plans were set out over tea and biscuits - but I will not reveal all the juicy bits just yet...
Foucalt's Pendulum, The Harris, Preston.
We met up at Preston station. On arrival Elaine and Rebecca took me to the Harris Museum and Art gallery, where Elaine works, to have a look around. I was quite impressed to see Foucalt's pendulum, which I have never seen before. We discussed the book of the same name and how we had all found it an impossible read.
'Static' at the Harris, Preston.
On the second floor gallery of the Museum there was a very interesting show on called 'Static' which had two fascinating bodies of work, that really made me stop. The first was a series of photographs by Denis Darzacq entitled 'La Chute'- Large scale images of people captured 'falling' in mid air. The stillness of these photographs evoke the spiritual moment just before the falling body hits the ground. Then there were Ori Gerscht's moving paintings, they are still life videos, that, in ultra-slow motion, show the fruits being blown to pieces. The exhibition means to question traditional notions of the portrait and still-life as inherently fixed or 'Static'- this was certainly challenged by Gerscht and Damacq's work.
On the way to Rebecca's house, to talk about the publication, we passed what used to be Preston's post office, but is now in the process of being turned into the new PAD (Preston Art and Design) gallery. I am very interested in following what happens there, which got me thinking...the Hanley Post Office building is currently empty, having recently been relocated to inside the shopping centre, I wonder if...
Plaited Fog Meeting, in UCLAN Enterprise space.
In the evening we went across to UCLAN, as the PEST team had invited me to attend the monthly Plaited Fog meeting. Plaited Fog are a group of artists from Preston from a variety of disciplines. On their website it states that the purposes of Plaited Fog are:
To act as a space in which to share information about exhibitions and other events in the local area and further afield, and to organise trips to such events.
To act as a space for critical discussion and for members to present their work for feedback.
To act as a mutually supportive network where skill-sharing can happen.
To make connections with other artists and artist groups nationally and internationally.
I found the group to be very relaxed and welcoming, the meeting acts as a forum for things to happen - on this particular evening this involved, amongst other things, two of the members showing films and photographs and talking about their recent trip to Berlin. The plaited fog meeting was not pre-planned, there was no agenda. It works in the way that if one of the artists has something to show, discuss or suggest, they do. The space (both physically and mentally) to allow a conversation, between a group of artists to evolve naturally, stuck out as something which we do not yet have in Stoke - so to me it seemed like a real luxury.
It was an enjoyable and eye-opening day. Preston appears to be thriving, in terms of a coherent, visible artistic community.

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