Thursday, 28 December 2017


I've posted all the videos that I created during the residency in Cambridge at NanoDTC. Find them at my website - Within the work there are some great collaborations with the scientists at Cambridge; Sarwat Baig, Duncan Johnstone, Giorgio Divitini, Carmen Berraquero, Dr Malcolm Longair, James Xiao, Girish Rughoobur, Diana Vulpe, Heather Goodwin, Richard Howe, David Wharton, and Dr Deepak Venkateshvaranand. There is a suite of 4 with some excellent sounds developed by Aidan Johnson
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is just awesome - so many points of wonderfulness - it has a room with the essence of the most evilness ever, with Supreme Leader Snoke and costumes from Hell with his Praetorian red guard and an excellent soundtrack and some clever meta references into and through the Star Wars Universe.
Within the universe that has been built for Bright to exist within everything makes sense but some wooden dialogue pulls you out of the world of belief. The Levelling portrays the somewhat isolated nature of rural life with a gloomy, oppressive look at family farming. Geostorm is nonsense but end of the evening take your brain out nonsense.

Thursday, 21 December 2017


I enjoyed being disturbed by the latest film from Yorgos Lanthimos.  Dogtooth was a triumph and Lobster wonderfully strange - The Killing of a Sacred Deer lingers in the mind - the distanced dialogue and otherness of place contribute to the 'wrongness' and are just the start of the tone created which enables the viewer to see and be changed when judging those around you. And then there was What happened to Monday where because there are multiple leading characters at any point anybody can die (brutally) whilst the plot can veer off to any point.

The work created by exploring the process of microscopy within unfoldingthinking has two iterations - the prints within the corridors of the building around the large electron microscopes that inspired their creation and a bookwork. The bookwork was chosen as one of the top ten this year in Sarah Bodman's an list and now in a circular fashion recognised within the Department of Material Science and Metallurgy.

Sunday, 17 December 2017


The work for Essex continues - Goldlay Sq is rising from the empty space, although as we know it was never empty. I have been looking closely at the designs and considering them within the context of the build and the budget. The work is developing into a focused intense experience, the pieces clustering so that they can be viewed as if a narrative. They are in themselves becoming more intense, more decorative. There will be more cutting which means that there will be less metal in the pieces but more space for interpretation. Thinking about a title for the piece - I'm interesting in the title linking in some way to an instagram account. I like the idea that I can put all the research that has informed the piece in a place that can be found by individuals if they want and also it will date the piece as instagram will obviously fall by the digital wayside as so many platforms have in the past.

there is to be a sign, a plaque - wordage to follow.

Saturday, 16 December 2017


3 hours in London so what to do? - popped into The British Museum - always a treat - after the obvious visit to the mummies - I checked out a truly stunning  exhibition of prints about printmaking. There are some truly stunning examples. On the way I found myself drawn to an extraordinary uniform made for the Qing army which 'performed' at the Forbidden City - rich in pattern and use of materials - one on its own is extraordinary and to think that these were worn by thousands moving in unison. There is also a great piece in a show that looks at war. Fariden Lashai has recreated Goya's disasters of war without the figures - the stark spaces are disturbing without a focus in themselves but the then the figures are projected back into the images. Blaine Southern has Sophie Jung downstairs which seems wildly out of place but good to see her work there.
Edel Assanti has an excellent show by Yoshinori Niwa which explores quietly yet forcefully the spaces between cultures. my first time in the space but I will be back.  Rosenfeld Porcini has a beautiful show full of beautiful objects titled combining materials. 

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?

Wednesday, 1 November 2017


an excellent 2 days in London - yesterday at Camberwell was all about making and thinking with year 2 and work-shopping  an idea I have been working with 'science' people on - diagramming and visualising in 3D ones thinking. It was an interesting session and like the best teaching I learnt a lot about how a project can be re-imagined through the creation of new tools. The afternoon was the crit of the first project with the new year 1 - there was some great starting points and wonderfully creative thinking that will support the development of their practice.
today was all about creative thinking at Kings with excellent science (medical) people and artists working on developing the 3D synthetic teaching module. it really is such a fantastic pleasure to be in the room with thinking people surrounded by gloriously splendid stuff such as ape skeletons and octopus - if only I could document the vast shelves of body parts to show!
managed to see Everything at once - the Lisson show at 180 Strand - a mixed bag but there are some gems - we obviously love most if not all of the Lisson artists, the gallery has been a go-to space since I was a student. so we have Cory Arcangel, Lawrence Weiner and Dan Graham. Anish Kapoor pulls off a beautiful illusion of space, Rodney Grapham's film Vexation Island is just very oddly bizarrely darkly funny but highlights are Ryoji Ikeda - the room is just digitally alive, Susan Hiller's hypnotic room of TV's and then there is the tightly edited film by Arthur Jafa on the roof, the experience of which is itself a gem - the view is eclectic. 
I then found myself in the middle of the incident at Covent Garden - very strange - I turned around to see a black cab travelling around road works colliding with a white van which  hits a pedestrian and crosses the road and ploughs into more people on pavement, sort of within more road works. so it's all fairly calm and people are tending to those knocked over until a film unit with lights starts filming then people watch that and a lot of police arrive and shouting then more police then more arrive running now police cars and a lot of sirens then you appear to be surrounded by police as people sort of get on with getting home or going out the area around the crash is cordoned off and then the anti-terrorist police arrive then the helicopter then the cordon gets wider lots more shouting and which point I decide to cycle off. any other time it would of passed off as an accident and we would of gone on about our business  but I guess we live in 'other' times.

Thursday, 26 October 2017


Family history - book as performance- documentation as document - importance of text - private public spaces - representing the everyday - artist as detective - distorting language - learning from failure - concepts of collection - collection as material - using book to frame the world - slow reading - cyphers and codes - text/textile - making landscapes - landscape of identity - repurpose wellbeing - graphic inclusivity - notions of truths - book as architecture - material matters - systems to cope - knowing not knowing. My notes from the first symposium at camberwell - it's a great day of sharing where the room swirls with possibilities and the past is used as a starting point for new possibilities. This year it was particularly beautiful to see that the course had been so beneficial to the fist years, their presentations were full of examples where they had taken opportunities and made the best of them - excellent.  
managed to finally see Blade Runner which was superb - thoughtfully referencing the first instalment with being referential , plot, acting and textile activity was all excellent. This alongside a special mention for the interiors (the room where you emerge from a hole under the water) and sounds which were just awesome. The experience made me go back to the original, I hadn't remembered the slightly overbearing Hans Zimmer soundtrack and actually maybe we had gone a little backwards when it comes to the representation of women as the 2049 has women as empty vessels, disposable or precious specimens.
the jungle - my scouting experience tells me to be prepared so this is just a little annoying - don't go into the woods! somehow everything is there but just doesn't gel together enough.
the house - Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler riffing off each other - silly madness but in an okay way.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017


I ran a lateral thinking, problem solving workshop with a group of science students as part of encouraging wide thinking skills at the Maxwell Centre today. It was a challenging one involving touch, silence, instructions and sign language but as ever I was struck by the 'can do' attitude in the room. There were some exciting outcomes of activity and process which I will be taking back into my own practice...Meanwhile there is a small but very intense and exquisite exhibition of samplers at the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge the work is so detailed and precise it's important to remember that it was undertaken by hand and often by very young girls. 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


another great day at Camberwell - it's that time of year within the College calendar when all is possible. A folding workshop focusing on exploring the structure of book - what more could one ask for - folding paper with thoughtful people all morning! Then a presentation exploring the possibility of book through the lenses of bookness, a concept I first came across whilst in dialogue with the wonderful Ivor Robinson.
I was helping to write the document that was to become the MA Book Art Course at Camberwell with Alex Lumley and I came across a book art module that Ivor had been running in Oxford Poly which allowed students to explore the possibility of book. He was wonderfully generous and incredibly supportive in helping to develop my thinking around the building of a course and it goes without saying sowing the seeds of my understanding of what was possible with the book. The concept of bookness was just my thing, I enjoyed the slippage of language - the space between things - not quite book but maybe more so - the essence of book..... and I have talked about it and built a career around it since then, 1990 seems a long time ago. I really enjoy coming across its use, that it is now a thing and has becoming its own idea for people to make of it what it is for them. Even though Ivor was a binder of the highest quality I am sure he would love this spreading of the word where the book is only limited by the imagination. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017


a busy week of teaching with the deadline for planning on the Goldlay Sq commission mixed in. family history- book as performance- documentation as document - importance of text - private public spaces- representing the everyday - artist as detective - distorting language - learning from failure - concepts of collection - collection as material - using book to frame the world - slow reading - ciphers and codes - text/textile - making landscapes - landscape of identity - repurpose wellbeing - graphic inclusivity - notions of truths - book as architecture - material matters - systems to cope - knowing not knowing. these are my notes from the first symposium on the Book Art Course at Camberwell - it's always a great day of sharing where the room swirls with possibilities and the past is used as a starting point for new possibilities. This year at the symposium  it was particularly beautiful to see that the course had been so beneficial to the first years who also present their practice, their presentations were full of examples where they had taken opportunities and made the best of them - excellent the course is only as good as its students and this course is excellent. some talk of reflective thinking and lots of individual tutorials at NUA. managed to get year 1 out on a day trip which took in the broads and the excellent museum that is Time and Tide in Great Yarmouth.