I have a new job. It's a great project working with Commission Projects http://www.commissionprojects.co.uk/ on a new housing development for Essex County Council on the site of the former Essex County Council Libraries Headquarters and storage facility in Chelmsford. The site has an intriguing history which I am just starting to uncover. My first foray into the archives has thrown up a link to a Mercury Press on the site around 1930-40 which has provided a strand of research. It was also a space of 'knowledge storage' for all you psycho geography people out there. Books ordered in, held there before being disseminated within Essex library service. This flow of stories is another strand, thinking about words and how we use them. Finally walking around the site, the work is beginning and seeing the buildings rising from the ground one connects to the making process. The plans have mirrored formats within the design and the process of building involves moulds so an inside and outside or negative and positive. I'm interested in how this relates to the idea of the puzzle and how good public art makes you think but you can also ignore it until one day you engage. The work begins here......
Friday, 28 July 2017
Tuesday, 25 July 2017
A war against forgetting - on a plane returning from Documenta14 and I can't remember where I picked this up from but it has felt like that from the first day in Kassel to the last. The role of the artist at Documenta14 is firmly one of pointing stuff out that is going on in the world - almost all of it bad, in fact actually all the work has acted as a form of testimony, the artist performing duties on the front line and reporting back. Sergio Zevallos - A War Machine examined and repurposed the use of eugenics on the evil people of the world, including various bankers, despots from Golden Lion and Theresa May. This display used measuring devices and various display tools and diagrams to create a number shrunken heads that sum up evilness. http://www.documenta14.de/en/artists/948/sergio-zevallos On the historical front pieces like the body of work by Marilou Schultz highlighted a protest of American Sioux indians, connecting weaving skills, land rights, capitalist corporations and the computer chip. http://www.documenta14.de/en/artists/22610/marilou-schultz Treading a middle ground, using both archive and the new, a work by Maria Eichhorn Some of the places where Jews were robbed in combination with Sarah Gensburger's book Witnessing the robbing of the Jews was just astounding. The piece highlighted the archive work around the appropriation and repatriation of books from individual and national libraries - just stunning. http://www.rosevallandinstitut.org/documenta14_en.html
Other highlights include Prinz Gholam - speaking of pictures explores images of the body, poses and statues. Koken Ergun - I soldier - a video of a rally - presenting the preposterous poverty of military aspiration. http://www.vdb.org/titles/ben-askerim-i-soldier George Hadjimichalis piece - crossroad crossroad where Oedipus Killed Laius, images and film of a landscape created from a huge metal sheet covered in black pigment and resin. http://www.documenta14.de/en/artists/22262/george-hadjimichalis Allan Sekula - middle passage 3 - a documentary piece that presents elements of the ship building and fishing industry. Britta Marakatt-Labba stitched piece of Finish history - a kind of cooler better designed Bayeux Tapestry. Thanassis Totsikas - silent journey - a stoic man carries a stoic man on his back as if a donkey through a wood. Nikos Navridis - looking for a place - extraordinary film of balloons and masks and masks as balloons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJDW6Lpsfe8
Andreas Angelidakis - walking buildings - a video deconstructing ideas around artists using decommissioned buildings. Bill Viola - the raft - with all its connotations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypdZ_7xw79Y The spare and stunningly moving film I had nowhere to go by Douglas Gordon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63vYnf3ap7E
One of the true delights of a festival of this nature is access to spaces usually unavailable to the general public; a former underground station, factories, offices and a flat were all explored as well as the more formal spaces of museums where the work is interestingly contextualised by the collection.
Just remembered where the words A war against forgetting comes from, it was in the excellent film by Naeem Mohaiemen Two meetings and a Funeral, re-presenting the many issues around the nonaligned nations in the 70s at various congresses' and the subsequent interference in the nation states by factions within and associated with America. The past is a foreign country. http://sharjahart.org/sharjah-art-foundation/projects/two-meetings-and-a-funeral
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
two extraordinary films - for different reasons the handmaiden - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4016934/ full of planning and plotting - it will be okay - wait for the 3rd 'version' and notes on blindness - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5117222/ a stunningly visual film about not seeing - I love the strapline "a film about losing sight but gaining vision",and then there is Alien: Covenant - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2316204/ it feels like the franchise has turned some kind of corner and moved into a fright-fest-splurge-horror-space but Fassbender is excellent as two robots underpinning the roots of everything. Attended a fascinating meet up as part of the incollusion organisation/network https://www.meetup.com/in_collusion-Bury-St-Edmunds-arts-technology-meetup/ - Sherry Dobbin talking about her impressive work with Times Square http://www.timessquarenyc.org/times-square-arts/projects/midnight-moment/index.aspx - Dan Clarke from smart Cambridge talking about how much data Cambridge Council is collected and thinking about how to use it for betterment! they appear to be involved in good work but there was an air of 'data questioning' in the room - http://www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk/smartcamb/ There was also some interesting thoughts around data and ownership - two sites - https://myaccount.google.com/ and https://locationhistoryvisualizer.com/
Monday, 17 July 2017
The MA private view at Camberwell was a great night - so many Book Art alumni conversations amongst the thoughtful work. The excellent catalogue explores the book and presents the students in an intelligent publication.
Latitude - volunteering to introduce Suffolk primary children to a music festival is such a great call. this years experience was even better than last - in the light of how the world feels it was a joy to introduce the idea of fun! once the job of chaperoning children and supporting teachers was over it was off to engage in the experience that is Latitude - some recommendations from the mass of eclectic cultural activity - Sheffield Documentary Festival https://www.sheffdocfest.com/ had immersive VR - the most extraordinary film was step to the line about transformation in an American maximum security prison, I was so effected I 'steamed up' the goggles. Martin Creed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUz77tOOFOA was just punk at its best - I loved his word play and his dedication of a song to terrorists set just the right tone. Mark Thomas was ferociously on the button - I almost died with laughter at his description of the DUP going to buy bread!!! Mark Kermode talking with Paul Greengrass was a consummate interview, I was moved by Pauls description of Setright’s thoughts on Senna's flow as well as where to stand when making a film. I never fail to be astonished and moved by Linton Kwesi Johnson's strong, respectful stance. Max and Ivan had gentle narrative comedy sketches with a neat twist. In terms of dancing late night disco shed was a winner as always but if you wanted something harder DJ Semtext, was the answer, Kurupt FM is confusing - so knowing that it becomes the thing it is questioning - or is it! FatboySlim was a hoot - big beat with all encompassing visuals - and finally - Dave a winner - very cool, intelligent danceable beats. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N7V2fkpJqk