Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WLTM flyers and posters complete.

Above: WLTM poster.
Design genius Phil Rawle has stepped in to help the floundering dating agency DIRECTOR in the design of the posters and flyers for WLTM - the curatorial residency I am currently doing at Harrington Mill Studios.
Phil designs all of the AirSpace posters/flyers and catalogues and is an absolute joy to work with - and I must say endlessly patient with scatty artists who forget to put logos/addresses and other important information on posters and flyers.
The flyers and posters are hopefully being printed now - so a massive thank you to Phil Rawle for his input.
Above: Flyer for WLTM - front and back.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Residency at HMS gets Underway.

This week has been my first week at Harrington Mill Studios, Long Eaton, where I am carrying out the curatorial project WLTM.
So far 68 people have requested application packs, but only 20 have returned the application materials. I am not actually worried about that though - as most of the submissions are of a very high quality, and as I have been working out today; if I had 10 applicants it would mean 45 possible combinations of pairs of artists - so with 20 applicants there are actually 190 possible combinations of pairings of artists - and each of these 190 possible combinations have to be processed in order to generate a percentage mark of how well each pair fits together. This could potentially take a lot of time.
Harrington Mills is a great space - the standing room, where I am carrying out my residency is light and airy. The studio artists that I have met so far have all been very welcoming and interested - so looking forward to a productive couple of months.
Part of the excitement for me is the fact that i will be trying out a new area of practice; creating the character THE DIRECTOR [of the dating agency] over the two months. So far I know that THE DIRECTOR wears Maybelline Water Shine Nail varnish in Flamboyant coral. The ritual which I have set up on arrival each day at HMS is to take off the nail varnish from the day before and reapply a fresh coat. This gets me ready to carry out my duties as THE DIRECTOR.
To follow my progress during the residency go to the WLTM Blog.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Demonstration on the African Queen

Over the weekend of 21st June I went on a voyage - to Lincoln - to visit Heather Buckley on the African Queen. We decided to make a banner - and take to the high seas to demonstrate (or at least sail up and down the River Witham flying the banner).
Because the banner gives voice to the individual - the banner is the traditional method for the everyman to have their say.
Because having a voice is important.
Because it is too easy to sit back and do nothing.
Because demonstrating is cathartic.
Because active is better than passive.
The issue does not have to be negative, but could be celebratory.
So, armed with a big piece of canvas, some PVA and some other fabrics, Heather and I climbed aboard to think about what we should demonstrate about.
We came up with a number of possibilities - thinking about things we feel strongly about, what we really like and the things that really bug us. But it was Heather's friend Joe that came up with our slogan - people asked us; Why are you doing it? Why make a banner? What's the point? Joe's answer was: Why Not? So that is what we decided on.
It is quite hard work making a banner on a boat, because there isn't very much space - but it just goes to show that anything can be done, anywhere.Unfortunately, the voyage had to be postponed due to freak winds - so we hung the banner inside the boat, and some of the boat neighbours came over to have a look.
The Voyage of Protest has been rescheduled for later in the summer. If you don't like it, why not make a banner and protest against it?

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.