Wednesday, 15 August 2018


Working on some initial book/folding ideas that have their starting point within the one-sheet-of-paper rule and informed by the meditation space within the Yoga class I take (I know that one is supposed to empty the mind but it's a great space to 'explore and solve, meditate 360 degrees on' an issue). Meanwhile - the film of the beautiful book by Ian Mcewan On Chesil beach is mainly oppressive until it becomes sad - but it looks beautiful. Extinction has a great 10 minute film deeply hidden somewhere within the very long 95 minute experience. Late to the party but am deep in Atlanta at the moment - truly disturbing heart wrenching watching.

Monday, 6 August 2018


I've been thinking about next years teaching and the importance of reflective thinking in the learning process - I think that it's essential and without it there is no development or actual learning - so I have decided to photograph some pages of my notebooks to illustrate the process.
Deadpool 2 continues with its tongue in cheek slightly mawkish tone but is only really laugh out loud with Dice and her luck.  Swiss Army Man is truly odd but/and you will be talking about it for days after. I've started to fold and use thread with a view to developing a bookwork of some kind. And finally Radicals outsiders changing the world by Jamie Bartlett is stunning a real must read...."The one constant of history is that everything changes. We should not assume that liberal democracies are the natural order of things.........if they fail, it won't be because of the existence of radical ideas, but rather their absence".

Tuesday, 31 July 2018


weeks into my Annual Leave and working on timetables for next year - in-between I continue to read books that explain that we have little hope in terms of technology. Marcus Gilroy-Ware details the psychology behind social media in his book Filling the Void. It's a must read if you want to know why we really use social media, who gets to win and what it's doing to us while we do it - plot spoiler - it's all about rich and powerful people using capitalism to continue to be richer and more powerful - who knew! but his argument goes beyond the usual conspiracy theorist - the page gives you a flavour of the tone. Well - some films.... combine every scenario about immediate danger even including I am Spartacus and you have The Commuter,  Dark Crimes - who cares and Tully - cares too much and that ending......anyway working on creating covers for books made in a reflective mood after working at NanoDTC exploring sequence and handling of objects.  

Thursday, 19 July 2018


well - into the first week of my annual leave and so far read two books that explain why and how we are screwed. Evolution of the learning brain by Paul Howard Jones sets out how we get to be here biologically, the nature version of the what, how and why.  The People Vs Tech by Jamie Bartlett lays out many of the issues on nurture side of the equation, but of course its fuelled by the pernicious nature of human behaviour. I have been banging on about the forthcoming civil war brought on by tech disparity for ages (early 'signs' are food distribution after a disruption) but Bartlett sets out the blueprint. The only hope is the 20 ideas set out in the last chapter. well worth a read, especially the bit where tech billionaires are stocking up on tinned goods and ammunition in faraway places.
meanwhile some films - Lean on Pete a thoughtful portrayal of how one gets to be homeless then there is Tomb Raider - the latest Lara Croft outing unfortunately you can actually see the tasks in the video game that it will become and was obviously a large part of the script meetings.

Monday, 16 July 2018


some images from the 2018 MA Book Art Degree show - it has one of the most interesting catalogues produced by the students in the courses long history. a link to the presentation I gave at Making Materials Matter conference for science teachers on friday.   I'm already looking forward to Spill Festival - I have got the 2018 program in my hands and highlights have to be Shared Saliva, David Hoyle, Le Gateau Chocolat, Kernschmelze II, Jodee Mundy Collaborations and of course you cannot go without seeing Forced Entertainment - Complete Works: table top Shakespeare. I saw them last doing it at the Barbican and was mesmerised. Latitude was Latitude - a real highlight for me was John Hopkins whose sound and visuals always blow me away (how does he get from one set of sounds to another?) alongside a fantastic glitchy version of  open eye signal he played the glorious new work I only know as trailer  Also came across Jimothy Lacoste which was fun. The program was a little thin and the heat and dust meant a lot of sitting around hanging out with people so a nice time was had by all.

Friday, 13 July 2018


oh my god - I am a teacher! - I've realised that I really am interested in entry points to learning. The last several projects have been looking at how to access information and how to support people to navigate it for themselves -  the fold within costume and textiles project, working with robotics in Kings, NanoDTC in Cambridge, and the latest synthetic anatomy project at Kings. I had this revelation whilst talking to science teachers at The Making Materials Matter conference today in the brain storming session, talking about how using icing sugar could be a way into 3D printing or how listening to a coat hanger gives access sound waves. My session was about lateral thinking and problem solving - using a couple of workshops that have developed out of the experience of working in a lab to talking about the image of science. I think it went down well. Last night was all about the MA Book Art graduation private view. It was great to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the students. The work looked great and again there were so many positive comments. and onto Trump - what to say but just had to be there to register my position.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018


So 4 days in Berlin - it still feels like London in the 80s - whole areas wonderfully lost and left alone but others full of cranes and in development. A short walk can encompasses tightly politicised areas around embassies, through currywurst tourist spots and back out to neighbourhood shared spaces. Went for the 10th Berlin Biennale but saw lots of other work in both private and government spaces - much of which was better, the 10th biennale was not a patch on the 9th. 
So much was seen but the real treasure was often the building the work was in, something that is always a pleasure - artists carving out access to interesting spaces.. 
The cavernous Hamburger Bahnhof has a wonderfully all encompassing complex show using work from their collection. It’s always a real joy to check out the permanent Beuys and Newman piece my soul left out, room that does not care. as part of their education work they have a room full of work contextualise within speech bubbles - I feel a visual research projection coming on at some point. Philip Parreno at Gropius Bau was stunning. It was a series of spaces and events all controlled by the data collected from yeast. no words could really describe it but the image of a shoal of floating fish reflected in a dark pool rippling from sound waves will stay with me for a long time. 
wolfgang georgsdorf had an extraordinary smell machine which was as very powerfully firing smaller that took you to a number of spaces Proustian like. 
 Some Biennale 10 highlights - 1 from each space. At Akademie der Künste Lynette yiadom-Blakey Victoria video piece recon-deconstruction of an incident in a supermarket halted you in your tracks - acting as a mirror to one's own inherent prejudice.
At KW institute Cinthia Marcelle had an uplifting video of a choreographed band at a crossroad - lovely.
Tony Cokes overwhelming text-speech-music-videos in the basement of ZK/U felt like being punched in the face with obvious bad news. excellent.
The private view at Tanya Leighton threw up a smirkingly excellent video piece in the cellar by John Smith a real highlight. FORTS video the shining at Wedding was spookily disturbing- worth a look and also great to get out that way. 
The total all encompassing most excellent experience was going out to Kindl. The space is totally awesome, an old brewery, the stills are in place within the magnificent brutal industrial cathedral like architecture. The show Defying Gravity by Tanya Onorato and Nico Krebs was thoughtful, well crafted, conceptually tight with stunning use of materials- it is a space which also has a great view back into Berlin - it’s a must go to place.
I’ve missed out Spruth Magers, Berlinische Gallery, Neuer Berliner, the art bunker  and many more as I thought that I would mention just the amazing!!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018


more building, curating and assessing - the MA Book Art show at Camberwell looks fantastic. There is some really considered work that is underpinned by exceptional research and has at its core conceptual thinking around personal notions of book. meanwhile 2 films with 'interesting' premise's at their root that should of been funnier  I Feel Pretty and Blockers do not watch these. back at The Bridge season 4 all is dark and menacing I am obviously very late to the party but have become interested in Daniil Kharms and am wading through the wonderfully obsessive book - I am a phenomenon quite out of the ordinary by Anthony Anemone and Peter Scotto. it's the notebooks, diaries and letter and is a fantastic insight into the man.
There was a red-haired man who had no eyes or ears.
Neither did he have any hair, so he was called red-haired theoretically.
He couldn't speak, since he didn't have a mouth. Neither did he have a nose.

He didn't even have any arms or legs. He had no stomach and he had no back and he had no spine and he had no innards whatsoever. He had nothing at all!
Therefore there's no knowing whom we are even talking about.
In fact it's better that we don't say any more about him.

Saturday, 30 June 2018


So after the private view at NUA, which I think went well. I thought the space was excellent but I had little feedback and you never know if you are pleasing everybody/anybody - students/parents/family/staff/academics/industry and past/present/future/prospective/proto students, it has been a week in London - Tuesday hanging work at the Business Design Centre for the BA Textile Design students at New Designers and then Friday was being in the space at the show talking with 'independent designers' rather than students, although the transition is awkward for both sides, watching individuals taking responsibility is always interesting to observe. The work and stand look ok and as ever New Designers is gloriously overwhelming and every second or first year student who is serious about being a designer should go to experience the awe and fear that is seeing the work of people who have worked harder, make more work and will try and are setting out to try and take your job. I'm always a little stunned when a persons first time at New Designers is when they exhibit.
Wednesday and Thursday was all about curating and supporting the students work for the MA Book Art Exhibition at Camberwell. The show is very specific and focused with each student developing a truly individual body of work that they own from initial research to the final pieces. Whilst supporting the hanging of the Book Art I noticed some interesting printmaking worth seeing. The shows will look great - the private view for the MA is on the 12th put it in your diaries, its always a roadblock so maybe come the following day to see the work, although that is the day of the Anti Trump march so you might be busy. 
Saw the textiles and sculpture degree shows at The Royal College - textiles had lots of interesting material exploration well displayed and sculpture was full of stuff. 
Went to the Barbican to see the truly fabulous Taylor Mac: a 24 decade History of Popular Music. It was chaotically beautiful, engaging, great fun with full-on gently serious politics - I loved Taylor's take on fear and disgust and the general desire of the audience to get on with each other, to support and share. A marvellous great night out - cant wait for the 24 hour version.
Read this at a friends house in a book about Pompeii - seems apt.
Now the crickets pierce the thickets with their repetitive cry, now even the speckled lizard takes shelter in the coolness. If you are wise, lie back and make a libation with summer-weight glassware, or, if you wish, we'll bring out the new goblets of crystal. Come, you are weary, rest in the grape and bind your heavy head with a chaplet of roses. Cull kisses from a tender maid. Forget about those who raise old-fashioned eyebrows! Why keep fragrant garlands for ungrateful ashes? Do you want your bones to lie under a garland-carved stone? Set out the wine and the dice. To hell with him who cares for the morrow. Death plucks your ear and says 'Live now, for I am on my way!'

Friday, 22 June 2018


the textile design degree show at Norwich is up and looks good - we created a pulley system that enabled us to work with the full height of the room. this has meant that some of the students full ambitions have been realised by taking up the opportunity to create work 5m in height. there is some stunning work within a system of walls and tables that have been designed and created in an attempt to be invisible, thus celebrating the work itself. come see - Tues 25 - Sunday 1. Next week is the continuation of the mountain - private view at NUA, building the space and hanging work for NUA at New Designers (stand  T43) and hanging work at Camberwell for the MA Book Art final show. The Berlin Biennale beckons - can't wait and have started the planning  . I'm speaking/running a workshop at Making Materials Matter Conference for teachers - looking at the role of art practice within a science context. I'm building the presentation today.  meanwhile Rampage is great when the rock and the gorilla are on screen, I could watch an hour of that but the rest is truly banal.  

Sunday, 17 June 2018


well a busy couple of weeks and we are still in it - assessments on the Textile Design at nua was smooth with some wonderful work -  the show at nua is almost up - we have built an extraordinary series of structures, creating an environment  to show off the work to its best - I've been north working on the assessment for OCA on the MA Fine Art Course and staying in the Premier Inn in Barnsley, there was some really excellent thinking underpinning great work. The next two years graduation shows could potentially be wondrous. The Degree Show Private View at Chelsea was gloriously old school - a packed space of randomly dressed individuals all enjoying being there - some excellent textiles and of course fine art - highlight was a #proundparent moment - Bob Bicknell-Knight. meanwhile A very English Scandal was tragically funny but I spent most of the time marvelling over Hugh Grants stunning performance. I got to see Solo - wonderfully geeky - with something for everyone - great back story infilling alongside swashbuckling set pieces. Christopher Brett Bailey  was the standout session at Pulse 18 last weekend - I cannot recommend him enough - I think this was my 5th outing and he just gets better. Meanwhile Snape Festival had a new opera - a kind of brutalist Jacques Tati set in a Kafkaesque modern space with a nod to the Truman show aesthetics. The Appalachian Spring session by the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Huw Watkins on the piano and conducted by Oliver Knussen was viseral. Playing Coplands Music for a Great City, The world premiere of The Book of Ingenious Devices by Philip Cashian, Feldman Structures and Coplands joyous Appalachian Spring one was swept away. On the way to see the Pavillion next to the Serpentine Gallery ..............I bumped into Christon next to the Christo in the Serpentine which was and which is fantastic and worth seeing offline.

Sunday, 3 June 2018


a fabulous 2 days and one night at Pulse Festival in Ipswich - the opening night and then Suitcase day and Testing Ground - my two favourite sessions where experimental work is experimented. It saw me watching 23 pieces of theatre. Highlights were Nikki's extraordinary strength in KNOT, the disco energy of Dan Watson in Venus, The storytelling in Sophie Woolley's Augmented and Not Now collective's Pepper and Honey. The deconstruction of Invisible Flash's The blind traveller, Fig's in wigs production values is always excellent and Brick Wall's Henry 5th was just storming good. Meanwhile I'm watching the pattern and chaos conversation that is happening in my garden as the work for Chelmsford is rusting nicely and been taken over by random growth.

Thursday, 31 May 2018


it's been a busy few days but full of really interesting moments - Book Art Symposium 2 at Camberwell was so extraordinarily profession, the students truly owned their practice and presented a fully engaging morning of ideas and work, so much so that my timing was almost a full 45 minutes off and as students had only 7 mins to present and 3 minutes for questions you can see how interesting it was. In the afternoon we went to Kingsland Projects to see the work of and talk with Fox Irving & Katarina Kelsey. They have been collaborating and evidence of this can be seen in the thoughtful billboard that can be viewed from the surrounding street and park.
Turn the page -  the wonderful Book Art Fair organised by equally wonderful Rosie Sherwood, Alumni of The Book Art MA at Camberwell at The Form Norwich was really interesting, full of excellent work and committed makers. I missed the symposium, assessments and marking had overtaken my life. But the work at NUA is some of the most professional I have seen in my years of teaching. The students practice submitted for assessment leads me to believe that this year could be one of the most exciting final shows I have been involved in.

Thursday, 24 May 2018


our blue heaven - the story of Ipswich Towns FA Cup Victory at the New Wolsey is a triumph - it's a complete sell out so you will have to wait for its revival in 60 years time!! will the whole squad turn up on Saturday? still deep into assessments - by the end of the whole thing I will of written over 7,000 words and checked numerous boxes - every word from my team is carefully considered, I hope the students manage to read the comments.
The CSM final year show felt like you were at the epicentre of people engaging with what it is to be cool alongside slightly confused parents - it was full of the most excellently beautiful looking individuals - the work was also interesting - full of collaborative groups working together - the future is bright. You still have till Saturday to go see it - make sure you check out the basement and The Sculpture Garden  Turn the Page - the fantastic Book Art Fair is on in Norwich on Friday and Saturday - it's a must see Looking forward to PhotoEast at the weekend. Meanwhile its back to assessments and then building a presentation for PALs for Wednesday. Undergraduate courses have a system of peer support known as Peer Assisted Learning or PAL. This means that Year One students have ready access to trained Year Two students from their course, from before they arrive through to the end of the first year. The advice and support given by the PALs is directly relevant to first year students and is delivered by Year Two or Three students who have had similar experiences themselves. This extra layer of support for first year students has been found to be very effective in helping to smooth the transition to higher education. Looking forward to the symposium on Tuesday at Camberwell. Its a point where the students journey is really captured as one is able to reflect on their first symposium in year 1.

Sunday, 20 May 2018


assessment, assessment, assessment - yes it's still that time of year - but meanwhile I have managed to be enthralled by Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli. It is quite beautiful with a great set of drawings which detail our relationship to where we are - wonderful. late to the party but I am deep into Westworld season 1 - it really is brilliant and asks some excellent questions about existence. Who are we, are we real, what is it to exist???? Game night was almost good - some interesting moments almost is harsh but.....

Sunday, 13 May 2018


The work for Chelmsford is rusting nicely in the back garden - the colour is quite beautiful. Meanwhile ....I had to go back to see Ed Atkins at Cabinet - and on second viewing it just gets better - it's still head swivellingly odd but then when spending more time you see the interlinked nature of the films - the baby from one frame wandering into another the boy in the field moving across to play the piano etc etc . The Tate has the extraordinarily bleak coloured sculpture by Jordan Wolfson - this is also starkly eye wateringly cruel and a truly must see - after the last Tate mess having this in the tanks has resurrected my faith in them a little. Age of Terror at the War Museum was okay - but most of the work was not about terror but war and most of it seen elsewhere so £15.00 seemed a little steep (maybe that was the terror?) - the two stand out pieces were Francis Alys video work of soldiers from both 'sides' stripping and rebuilding weapons and the very raw footage by Tony Oursler at the 'ground zero' site days afterwards as he prowled around the site videoing the carnage and the human fair that arrived - so many stalls selling prayer as the answer. The real terror is laid out in the Holocaust exhibit on the 4th floor - it is very clever, starting off with a little bit of nationalistic pride and snappy sloganeering and ending with war trials World just after harrowing images of concentration camps and testimony from survivors. World without us at Battersea Arts Centre was just that a one person show that explored the before and after of our existence on earth. Some nice ideas and the narrative visualised what it would look like when we are gone. quieter with a lot of plastic.

Friday, 11 May 2018


5 days away 3 books - Commonwealth by Ann Patchett deconstructs the idea of family, the details of everyday change bringing fresh hierarchy's and alliances is painfully picked over. A single defining moment revealing what was already there. The Underground Railway by Colson Whitehead is relentless cruelty, the truly and mostly matter of fact unfathomable depths of cruelty - a challenging and difficult but essential read if you want to begin to understand America. and onto the question I have often asked myself - when do you leave? with All For Nothing by Walter Kempowski the slow process of attrition is laid out. How do you judge that it's time to go? Why do you stay? Is it that it's impossible to conceive the levels of human wickedness that is about to engulf you? All 3 books are wonderful. Black Panther - what to say - I loved it - some of the best costumes ever deployed in conjunction with astute comments in the exploration of voices we don't often hear - it's also very funny .
The Cork Museum in Palafrugell was a highlight - Packed with cork facts you never knew alongside glorious images of smoking beret wearing workers, its next to the rather poorly curated, but with some interesting work The Museu Can Mario.
A day in London - great to pop into Chelsea and feel the atmosphere building as final shows are being constructed. Some interesting and some excellent shows to see - The Highlight is Ed Atkins at Cabinet - head stingingly mesmerising . Jerwood Space has a great video by Maeve Brenna about bats! All Too Human at the Tate Britain has work by the gloriously fastidious Euan Uglow. There is some work by 3 students from the MA Book Arts Course at Camberwell in xhibit 2018. White Cube at Masons Yard has a Brazilian decorative comment on Capitalism by Beatriz Milhazez Covering the Main Gallery at Tate Britian with tiles is the best element of the piece by Anthea Hamilton

Tuesday, 1 May 2018


working life continues to be consumed by organising and setting up exhibitions within the educational contexts I work in, although I have been looking through the images that I have from Glasgow other than the art and thinking about possibilities.
late to the game but have just moved through the first 3 series of the complex and beautiful Grace and Frankie two films - the unsure if it was 'well meaning' but it is warm Please stand by and the crash bang wallop, although the monsters are very big that is Pacific Rim Uprising

Saturday, 28 April 2018


my headphones have arrived and I can't wait for my next session with OCA so I can show them off, I mean use them and be more effective in my online teaching. I've been chosen to be profiled in the new publicity - really proud. Also working on a catalogue text for Debjani Bhardwaj's upcoming show at Tashkeel as part of The Critical Practice Program. I am thinking about moments of creative activity. So far the title is observing a gap and filling it with connections - Where does creativity come from and where does one go to encounter it?
At the moment evenings have been spent failing to engage in a worthwhile series all have been abandoned - we have the unpleasant Westworld, the truly dull Lost in Space, the 2nd series of Money Heist which is unravelling veeeeeeerrry slowly, the 2nd series of Scorpion which is fully engaged with the jumping the shark concept. films include the gloriously uncomfortable spinning man the joyous Paddington 2 and the stunningly brutal Hostiles  meanwhile Lena Wurzs an ex student from Camberwell Book Art MA has been in residence at London Centre for Book Arts - check out her blog

Monday, 23 April 2018


It's that time of year in the 'art school calendar' when final year shows are being conceived and that means the organisation that supports the students kicks in - which is where I come in.
Just returned from Glasgow International which was a whirl of art and parties - some interesting work and some interesting spaces - sometimes those two things came together - sometimes the space was truly awesome - highlights for me have to be Urs Fisher's mechanical snails, Sol Le Witts black boxes under a magnificent skylight, Augustas Serapinas's piece blue pen at David Dale Gallery - I loved the highly specific story (whether true of not) that informed its making, it was just pitch perfect, Mark Lecky at Tramway rethinking thinking and Corin Sworn had created an interesting movement work within the space and showed the video of the work in the altered space....wonderful.
Just finished reading - Do no harm by Henry Marsh it will blow you away with his honesty - what is it to be a neurosurgeon? - a 5% failure rate is okay for us but for a patient its 100% fatal.