Friday, 8 December 2017


a mixed bag of films - looking for narratives where women's stories are told, or at least they are close to the centre (ish) - Marjory Prime asked questions about memory, its value and explored why and how we tell stories
Holiday joy another film to add to the what if - playing with the timeline can ruin your life but lessons are learnt genre. Queen of the desert a strangely stilted film, but maybe that's the point, different times etc  with Nicole Kidman strutting endlessly even when on a camel
isthisitisthisit held the launch for the third edition of the magazine the platform runs. It doesn't take long to find new targets focuses on violence in video games the magazine is suitably unpleasant, in a good way. Managed to get the last copy in the edition The work in the exhibition was really interesting - highlights include Eva and Franco Mattes Freedom and the wonderfully thoughtful and disturbing Fair Game (Run like a girl) by Georgie Roxby Smith . The work is really important and the concerns within the practice is something that the gaming industry has to fully engage in.
A great afternoon running a heat press, bonding workshop at NUA - no PowerPoint, no testing, no Learning Outcomes - a session exploring the potential of materials with students who have enquiring minds. Excellent learning and innovation all round.

Sunday, 3 December 2017


How small is nano? Was a question I was constantly asked when working at The Maxwell Centre in Cambridge. The answer was always contextualised with something from the real world as nano scale is almost beyond comprehension. This was usually human hair which is approximately 100,000 nanometers wide. As a reminder of this fact I grew my hair for the duration of the project. It is now over and I am left with a giant hair ball which in some ways explores the idea of scale. There were many outcomes from the project including a number of artists books. It was really great that Sarah Bodman chose using a known to make an unknown to be in her top ten artist books of the year - thank you.
The Synthetic anatomy project at Kings is moving along - lots of thoughts around reflective thinking and how to support individuals who don't supposedly engage in the process. The aim is to develop the skills needed to create a reflective journal as part of a 'changing classrooms' initiative. But most individuals engage in the act of reflection when making choices based on experience so the challenge shouldn't be too great.

Finally looking at the range of upcoming booked leisure activities in the diary - The Berlin Art Biennale, tickets to flight of the conchords at the O2 and Titus Andronicus at The Barbican and then the glorious pantomime at The Wolsey in Ipswich, this year Red riding hood....nothing but eclectic.


A couple of days in London - some 'just not interesting shows' but interspersed by some truly marvellous ones. Monika Sosnowska at Hauser and Wirth is truly sublime. It really is a beautiful display of work in its steady use of materials. T, Rebar 12 and Pipe are stunning.
Zach Blas at Gasworks has some interesting video work which seeks to enable us to critique the internet which is never a bad thing. 
Just a thought - if you think Rachel Whiteread is interesting look at two pieces of work by other artists - both predating this exploration of this negative space malarky - Bruce Nauman - a cast of the space under my chair 1965-8 and Joseph Beuys piece Unschlitt - 1977, 20 tonnes of beef fat which casts the underneath of a pedestrian walkway. Both fundamentally more interesting than the room full of stuff at Tate Britain and both artists have many approaches to making within their practice. 
The work to see at the Tate is Marguerite Humeau where paint is infused with artificial breast milk and snake venom is pumped around the room.
The Jerwood Space has 3-phase an exhibition which has a new piece by Mark Essen supported by an excellent gallery text by Angels Miralda. The display includes a cabinet of alternative currencies and defaced coins which are fascinating. Ilya and Emilia Kabakov at the Tate was a tour de force. Highlights include the obvious (The Man Who Flew Into Space from His Apartment) and the not so - model for healing with paintings and my highlight of the show - model for where is the place. Both simultaneously dark and humorous while commenting on hierarchy, value and access. A wonderful piece.

At the ICA their new front of house set up means that there is more space for what is one of the most exciting and relevant to the current economic and social climate book shops in London but also they have kiosk. I last saw its iteration in New York at the Cooper Hewitt museum but couldn't bring anything back due to bag size but that's not a problem now so purchases from their curated shop included pegs from Japan and lottery tickets from America.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017


It's been a busy 6 days of student exhibitions and teaching. After assessing on the MA Book Art Course at Camberwell, lots of mapping of practice with post-it notes, I went to see the final Year Fine Art midterm exhibition at Chelsea which was full of ideas and on the moment thinking around critiquing all things social media. The NUA Textile Design final year midterm exhibition in St Margaret's church was a hugely eclectic success, the work looked good and lots of learning took place and with 6 months to go the tone felt about right.
I also managed to drop into Laurence Edwards studio to see the wonderful madness that is a 25ft man - it is going to be truly extraordinary - well it is already.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


Kill All Normies - online culture wars from 4chan and tumblr to Trump and the Alt-right by Angela Nagle is a full on deconstruction of what has actually been going on with society online behind the instagram sheen of the selfie. It is importantly disturbing and a must read to understand how we got here. Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue is a hilarious time travelling fractured romp that uses real tennis as a spine to talk about so many glorious things including using Anne Boleyn's hair in the stuffing of tennis balls. Managed to read these books on a recent trip to Marseille. There is an interesting video exhibition at the Friche - which is an old tobacco factory with a great vibe. I always gravitate to the MuCEM a truly extraordinary building down by the docks. Meanwhile in a visit to French Markets in the countryside it felt like I had found myself in a kind of meta-Frenchness.

Sunday, 12 November 2017


so a couple of things - at Snape Maltings we saw the results of a week's residency - three witches - unsure what was added to the genre/issue of exploring how we as a society marginalise and oppress outsiders and those deemed different that shows like Black Mirror and the artist Rachael Maclean have already brought to the table, although the voices were superb. Maybe we need more reminders of our history of violence towards women - so the idea of it becoming a huge community play where the audience get to boo and cheer as women are hung (maybe the crowd could be incentivised to do this, the more you cheer the less you pay) is something that we would pay to watch - maybe do this in areas where people voted to leave the EU - maybe not, the whole idea just got very dark. I can remember shouting with glee 'crucify him' at a community mummers play in Lincolnshire in the late 80s and feeling very odd!!

Caught up with and watched two seasons of Stranger things some great acting and an interesting spin on the value of early game playing - you never know when rethinking dungeons and dragons will help you out with dealing with dark evil things. Have safely got my ticket to flight of the conchords at the O2 - it will be odd to see them there but maybe it will feel warm to be in amongst people who love them 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


a great day in London with the Book Arts students at Camberwell - we were out and about
looking at work and making connections with the project proposals and ideas of
research and developing practice. The British Library treasures gallery had some interesting rethinking around the objects unearthed from this year's cohort. The value of getting out and seeing stuff should never be underestimated - I got to re-see the objects which was itself a treasure. There was also a really nice little show called Listen about 140 years of recorded history - lots of headphones - I got to hear the first (in theory) Dub Reggae track -
Pick a Dub by Keith Hudson 1974. Took me back to Big Youth and aggressive school
discos with skinheads and the generally tense time that was the 70s. The site has some extraordinary material. The afternoon was at White Cube which has 2 excellent exhibitions by Ann Veronica Jassens and Damien Ortega
There are some interesting uses of materials and iterations of ideas through different mediums - a fantastically illuminating day of conversations. How does the materiality of an artwork inform and be informed by its content?