Tuesday, 11 December 2018


While cycling back to Liverpool St Station I came across this fine example of smoking architecture (an architectural intervention developed expressly for the purposes for smoking). I will add it to my collection. OCA this week has been the start of Testing Boundaries - the assignment that is creating new work for new spaces - all within an incredibly short timeframe. It's a real challenge but one that everyone rises to and goes on to succeed. As we embark on this year's iteration I think we have a strong possibility of doing something especially challenging after the first session threw up many issues around culturally specific locations. A day of group crits at NUA means 4 sessions of 8-9 students for an hour and a half each back to back - it's a full day, but there are some very strong bodies of thought emerging. Camberwell continues to be a long celebratory wake as the course is taught out and I run two more sessions for the very last time - writing reading and presenting problems. I think the relaxed atmosphere is bringing out some of the most extraordinary conversations, again the group consists of individuals from many corners of the world with multiple culturally specific knowledge - it really is a privilege.    
So far halfway through Good Girls - it's a Netflix winner that started out as an interesting portrayal of strong women doing it for themselves has now added jeopardy and turned into a worry - will they be okay? Watching They shall not grow old was an incredibly odd experience - getting beyond the 'unnatural naturalness' - the 'it's a little like a war movie' feeling was a challenge - the everyday footage of German and British soldiers 'hanging around' in the same place somehow symbolised the seeming pointlessness of it all. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7905466/?ref_=rvi_tt

Friday, 7 December 2018


OCA was fascinating this week - I supported/hosted Karl Foster looking at the idea of creative academic writing with year 3 students - The reading for the session was the critical writing of Benson and Conners and the poetry of Francis Ponge. There were many lessons in Benson and Conners, especially the idea of the self, the I within and the wrestling bout that is writing. I was drawn to Ponge - a little like a surreal version of Perec - it's all in the detail. http://www.cbeditions.com/userfiles/file/ponge-unfinished-ode-to-mud.pdf
men actually rain - oh yes they do - its Pantomime time again and the Wolsey theatre has Cinderella - it is truly a wonderful night out - some acid wincing terrible jokes, 'bad taste' characters and a splendid set with dazzling lighting - you have to be there to get it - I was surrounded by families having a great time  https://www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/shows/cinderella/ During a workshop at Camberwell I found myself explaining the concept of Pantomime to  a room of International students which was a feat of linguistic juggling - I think I may of learnt something myself - and when the idea of camp was thrown up we digressed into another cul-de-sac. Meanwhile Pete Holmes on Hot ones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXp-oWBF5x0 gave us wisdom on experiences that change us - it's not about knowing something it's about becoming something - it's not about learning something it's about forgetting everything.  

Sunday, 2 December 2018


The exhibition of year 3 textile design students from NUA in St Margarets is over and has been a great success. Lots of learning took place and the route to the final show seems to of started. A weekend in London with a huge gallery trawl - Serpentine Gallery had Pierre Huyghe - last seen in Berlin where the show was awesome, the whole building controlled by an algorithm linked to yeast. The highlight in London was huge live bluebottle flies in the gallery, the shop, the entrance, the toilets........The Sacker building had atelier a.b the fashion art collective with, depending how you read it - interesting ideas at the cross over or just highlighted a point where fashion and art eat each other. A quick jaunt to the V&A is always a winner and I popped into check out the textiles, both real and imaged in the Gothic gallery. Meanwhile BlainSouthern had Chiharu Shiota with her theatrical thread work, Hauser&Wirth's two spaces had Zoe Leonard's beautiful haunting aerial photographs in one and Martin Creed in the other. David Ostrowski's the thin red line was a gorgeous collection of digital tapestry rugs, prints and painting all looking at the found and the red. The hang at Spruth Magers was stunningly considered, especially the paintings floating in the middle of the room. Brent Wadden's tapestries at PACE were bold and monumental as ever. Michele Abeles collection of bits and pieces at Sadie Coles was okay but I mainly go to look at the space which is awesome and then drop into the Adidas shop around the corner to stroke trainers. Fiona Tan's video work at Frith Street Gallery was stunning. The work flowed as a aesthetic visual but also said something about us as humans at this point in history. And finally the video structural apparatus excess that was Dara Birnbaum at Marian Goodman - so much kit. Upstairs was the thoughtfully funny brain-delayed-video-work by John Baldessari which always makes me inwardly chuckle. Tried to get to see The Clock as part of Tate's 24 hour thing but the queues at 12:00, 1:30am 2:30am and 3:00am were so huge that each time we just walked away back to a bar. #mostexpensiveroundofdrinksever. Managed to see it at 11:00pm - 1:30am the next day which was a great time as high noon featured. On the Netflix front after wading through the bloodbath that was Narcos Mexico (why did they get involved with coke?) I have 'discovered' the Danish Nazi Biker Gang series Warrior. It is truly bizarre - I am now watching it for the overt expressions of tasteful design the bikers exhibit - IKEA light fittings in their garage and contemporary art sculptures in their den, let's not even talk about the cars and clothes! Springs to mind the role of Hugo Boss in designing Nazi uniforms.
The Synthetic Anatomy project at Kings has started up again - an initial meeting was a real solid good - it's great to be amongst interesting people who value what you do and share great ideas creatively. Lots of thoughts around developing problem solving workshops and reflective thinking which looks at how to support individuals to develop the skills needed to engage in the act of creating a reflective journal. Also we looked at how to build a set of learning outcomes that covers creative reflection, aesthetic concerns and empirical givens.

Sunday, 25 November 2018


a stroll through E London Galleries - Ginte Regina at Gao had a sweet film, next door Carlos had no history in a room filled with people with funny names 5, a bean-bag-immersive three screen installation by Korakrit Arunanondchai - some great images creating multiple narratives - Korakrit keeps cropping up on my radar - last seen at Berlin Biennale and Palais de Tokyo. The approach, with 2 shows - the oppressive/obsessive Manga/Bruegel hybrid drawings by Hun Kyu Kim and the paper collage by Peter Davies - really interesting work but maybe too many in the room to be able to see them.  Chisenhale had a sound piece and installation of objects by Lawrence Abu Hamden. A fascinating show that introduced the idea of oppression and violence in a prison measured by the released men's relationship to silence - powerful stuff.
meanwhile Year 3 Textile Design students at nua have an exhibition called - Can you give me some attention please? at St Margarets Church of Art on St Benedicts Street in Norwich. It's Free entry November 27 - December 1 10am - 5pm there will be some excellent work to view - if you are in the area come along.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018


Arriving in Marseille the first thing to do is head to the marina to our favourite restaurant xxx for soup d poisson. After that the day was all about the wonderful space that is la Friche one of my top 10 places to see stuff. The spaces held 3 shows - Planetoyenes - some interesting video work, Biomorphisme - a show that had as its core intention to show work influenced by the organic. Some beautiful pieces exploring the maths of nature. Finally Chroniques a digital arts biennale - it’s always a good selection of work and the standout pieces this time were a video by Renata Poljak where Croatian women walked to be reunited with their men who had left for South America but with the water between them it’s a journey of pain. The beautiful footage of floating clothes took you straight to refugees. There was also an extraordinary piece where  scale models of decimated cities were created using imagery derived from drone footage. This footage was then shows on screens and inserted into ‘breaking news’ feeds - truth and lies were all around us. 
Bernar Venet at MAC in Lyon was a mixed bag. A huge retrospective of his entire life but it was obvious that very little editing had taken place as it was so full of work. You could of taken away 1/2 and still cover all the different ideas he has worked in. The last floor of his monumental steel ‘line’ sculptures had the best work and these alone could of filled the whole 3 floors of the building. Imprints-Galerie in Crest had Assemblages - a beautiful body of work by Herman Ardila Delgado. It was a luxury to spend 3 days with them. 
I have waited 20 years to see Courbusiers masterpiece La Tourette. The visit to the monastery has left a tremendous impression on me. The building is a real triumph. There is a calm stillness that is embedded in every decision. From the detail which include ‘floating’ surfaces and modular rhythmic lines to the overall use of shuttering and huge walls enabling moments of revelation. The body is both stimulated and restful. you are channelled by the materials yet able to find deep inner peace. Grounded and elevated. It was so wonderful to be introduced by Matthew and Isobel to Frere Marc who was a graceful host allowing us to see spaces closed to the general public beyond and within the walls. My many questions were entertained and answered with lightness enabling a rich understanding. Just the material choices themselves were truly thrilling. I could of spent days in the chapel watching the light change but we had to leave to buy boudain noir for the next days breakfast. 
Reply All podcast 130 has stunningly disturbing information about OG Snapchat accounts and cyber hacking - you will be angry and fearful whilst considering your own engagement with social media security.

Sunday, 11 November 2018


Year 3 Textile Design students at Norwich have an exhibition coming up. It's a self organised opportunity for the students to share new work and test exhibition ideas. It will be most excellent and everyone is invited. A lot of the work will be for sale and would make superb presents.
I've received a copy of the exhibition catalogue Telling Tales by Debjani Bhardwaj of her exhibition at Tashkeel in Dubai. There are texts and images of mine within it as I wrote a piece and had a conversation with Debjani as part of my mentoring role. I love the Arabic typeface and it's really interesting to see my name and text printed in a language that is totally impenetrable to me - the publication also operates in a way unfamiliar to myself - with right to left opening one becomes conscious of form. I've become a little obsessed with Michael Kiwanuka's haunting some Cold Little Heart  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOubjLM9Cbc it is actually possible to play it on repeat for  a whole morning.

Friday, 9 November 2018


A very busy and full on 'breathing in' day in London on Tuesday - Tate to see Anni Albers a truly glorious exhibition https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/anni-albers It is a totally rigerous experience - the instagram festival that was Yayo Kasumi at Victoria Miro and the more thoughtful experience displayed next door at Parasol unit https://parasol-unit.org/ by Hedi Bucher. The display of the work is particularly interesting with it defining the work in so many ways. Looking at the treasures at The British Library with Book Art students gave us conversations rich and varied, especially around translation and languages. A thoughtful visit to the bookart bookshop https://bookartbookshop.com/ was thoughtfully wonderful - tea in a china cup complimented the atmosphere and underpinned a wide ranging discussion informed and illustrated by the amazing books for sale in the shop - I also managed to see Chris Burden at Gagosian - it’s actually quite mesmerising as well as beautiful. thank you for a really positive session today - thought that you might be interested to hear 
Freakonomics podcast 335 Where Does Creativity Come From (and Why Do Schools Kill It Off)? was an excellent listen. It went some way to describe and explain intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations, how education places value assessments, but don't assess the things we value. http://freakonomics.com/ Meanwhile I had to see season 6 of House of Cards in 2 sittings https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1856010/ There are some stunning images within the filming that stop your breath and make you consider what is established practice - when Claire reveals her new cabinet is one.