Saturday, 13 October 2018


what is society? what is insanity? and if a person transgresses societies moral structures does that make them insane? 22 July prompts some of these questions this conundrum leads to all kinds of questioning about where we are now. I had a meeting in Diss the other day to talk face to face about OCA and managed to walk past a piece of public work I created for a space just outside Morrisons on the main road going through the town - it still looks good. Meanwhile I've been randomly walking past Southwold lighthouse for 28 years and on Sunday I went up - wonderful. The view is obviously fabulous when you look out over the marshes, out to sea and the bays either side. When you look down on the town It's all about being nosey - you are in peoples back gardens - it's  a must see.  On Netflix the ending of Maniac was fairly traumatic with the C pill leading us deeper into what it is to be human. Leave no Trace is a beautiful film which in oblique ways gives us a lenses on the modern world  Eighth Grade gives an insight into the ways screens engage with a thirteen year old but maybe that angst was always there.... Doris Salcedo at White Cube is intriguing but unsure if it's interesting. The latest hot ones is a stunner with Tenacious D sweating it out over the wings.

Friday, 12 October 2018


On my way to symposium 1 at Camberwell - the last one with two cohorts! it's traditionally a great day of possibilities where we see what has been and project into the future what could be. 27ish years ago I can remember contacting Ivor Robinson at Oxford Poly for help after being invited to support the writing of the documents for the first MA dedicated to Book Arts within Camberwell College, in fact the whole country. The Course was developed out of Graphic Design thinking but was taught within a Fine Art context - for me this was perfect and symbolises something about the interdisciplinary nature of the book and the teaching on the course. Over the years the course has responded to academic, political, economic and social concerns. Its content evolved to encompass the current thinking of the times it has moved through whilst always responding to the needs of students. Deconstruction and what it is to learn were always at the centre of the course methodology, often students responded to this and went on to establish the teaching of book art after returning to the places they came from. Its academic teaching structure subsequently evolved to become a pathway within the MA offer. After its existence as a beacon of good practice with connections throughout the world the University of The Arts has now decided to discontinue a dedicated approach to the teaching of Book Art at an MA level. After 26 years as a Course Tutor supporting Susan Johanknecht as Course Leader I now find myself sharing a Course Leader post with Tanya Peixoto as we teach the course out. Ending something is different to beginning something. It's going to be a wild ride and I'm looking forward to the challenge of supporting the students and finding meaning in an ending. In the whole history of the course it appears that I'm the only person to of experienced the whole journey of Book Art within Camberwell - from its initial conception to its proposed demise (I literally have a copy of the final essay/dissertation every student has written!) so reflecting on this has been/is a thing. forward.

Saturday, 6 October 2018


A busy teaching week - watching some great Pecka Kucha's at NUA with the year 3 group, day one back at Camberwell after the break and OCA continues to grow and becomes more relevant with its professional structure and comprehensive use of technology. A day of tutorials with students from all over the world was mind blowingly transformative. I love Zoom (the system we use as a place to meet). Deep into Maniac and its either wonderful or just random. I love the visual tone of the work - it looks great and the actors are believable in the kooky, cartoon, unreality world they inhabit. Tuesday night I went to The Place to Seeta Patel in an interesting performance. American Animals is a very clever story where the retelling of truths and finding meaning are at its core,

Sunday, 30 September 2018


a full-on two weeks of an academic whirlwind - I think that there was some breathing in there - somewhere. lateral thinking workshops, introductions to course, days out..... timetravel letters and tutorials. From the initial conversations I feel Year 3 students at NUA are going to be excellent. I have posted a few of the presentations on slideshare - a link to day 1 Teaching at Camberwell is a longer story and I will return to this later. On the Netflix front deep in Maniac  with its excellent cast/acting and the question of what is real, where is reality and truth at the core, Killing Eve  was a winner. Outside of the screen I managed to get to see the stunning Clocks by Christian Marclay at the Tate - oddly I was watching a piece actually about time showing time but I forgot the time and was late for a meeting!! - its that good. Even though I have seen it several times in different places I plan to go back - meanwhile here's a link to Telephone - another piece of his Storm - James Wilton Dance at Dance East - some wonderful movement from the soloists Norikzazu, Ihsaan De Banya and Sarah Jane Taylor. The choreography flowed and I became acuity aware of the dances relationship to the floor! just enough hip hop. Finally got my Spill tickets - can't wait as there is so much to see especially a return to Forced Entertainment's Shakespeare  and Shared Saliva looking forward to Dance at The Place next week and then another evening at Dance East.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018


a good morning in Essex where we located the work at Goldlay Sq in Chelmsford. The Guys were super helpful and brought their understanding of scale and alignment to the problem.
But couldn't help but think of intergalactic video by the Beastie Boys when looking at the documentation.

Sunday, 16 September 2018


a full on week of back to reality - NUA has been about timetables - which are now ready and waiting OCA had its first session - I am now year 1 tutor and looking forward to guiding the 2018 cohort. Camberwell is the process of deconstructing its relationship to MA teaching and Book Arts in particular. We shall see what happens. The work for Goldlay Sq has gone from my space and is now in their space. I get to site the work next week. Next week is the first week with year 1 students at NUA - we have loads of excellent activities planned including a visit to Cromer. Finished the devastating Ozark - it was such a trip and towards the end just a catalogue of trauma. I am now in season 2 of Atypical it really is quite beautiful between the pain and tears. In terms of podcasts its been mostly repeats and best ofs whilst they take a break over Summer. Like most I have become slightly obsessed with Trump so Pod save America has become a key feature of my listening alongside the wonderfully funny Stephen Colbert on The Late Show and the inciteful Anderson Cooper and disturbingly fair Chris Cuomo from CNN.

Monday, 10 September 2018


after 7 days swimming, breathing and reading in Carry-le- Rouet just outside Marseille it's a brutal return. I managed to read some books which  I would recommend. In descending order - The Only Story by Julian Barnes is a tale of love, loss and regret beautifully written with passages that will stay with you, haunting your soul for what is and what could of been. In A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler the stillness and heart retching experience of one man's life as he exists in time, embedded in a place will move you. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North is a glorious rambling story where Ground Hog Day meets Momento with wonderful subterfuge thrown in. Kamila Shamrie's Home Fire is a searing indictment of how we choose to live with a truly wonderful pointless ending, (in a good way). Lullaby by Leila Slimani is a stunningly head slamming awful story well written, the reality of the first pages come to a terrible conclusion on the last page. The Helium Kids by D. J. Taylor is a rollicking ride of a pastiche documenting the rise and downfall of a mythical band running parallel to recent history, weaving truth and known events; clever and witty. The Adulterants by Joe Dunthorne charts a insular self important group of people where the central character was annoying. Returning to a day at NUA addressing the timetable, building spaces and creating the admin systems which will support the teaching and the initial session with OCA. I am now Year 1 Tutor and we had a wonderfully supportive session with the new cohort - really looking forward to the year ahead. I wrote a blog post about my practice for the OCA site - here is a link This week we are delivering the work created for Goldlay Square. The work has been 'developing' a wonderful patina in my garden over 3 months and gets to go tonight and delivered tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing it in the space over the following week.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018


via the Action Bronson episode on Sound Exploder my YouTube 'research' has thrown up my latest obsession - shadow music of Thailand - a combination of western pop music of the 60s and 70s filtered through 'traditional' sensibility of the music of Thailand. It has a kind of funky otherness and sounds a little like the amazing Ethiopian Funk music of the 70s but a little more generic, maybe as the audience started off as American GIs
films recently have been eclectic - Oceans 8 clever but maybe not quite sharp enough, First Reformed is a begrudgingly sparse experience which will stay with you. To all the boys I've loved before is a sweet rom-com experience. Ideal Home has some really funny moments but needs more and Steve Coogans portrayal of a gay man was difficult to watch - it tread a stereotypical line, and for me often crossed it. Rhett and Link appearance on the wonderful hot ones has led me to their playfully serious YouTube channel - check out I am a thoughtful guy and go from there...Rap Battele of Manliness is also a winner.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018


The folding and printing continues...with a view to thinking about editioning.
A day out in Newmarket to take part in garden of curious A'MUSE'ment - a project set up by  - it was a kind of immersive interactive theatre piece - if you have young children I recommend getting to see one of their events - while there I dropped into The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art.  which was really intriguing - alongside the really interesting objects connected to the sport of racing they have real horses which you can stroke, which was cool. The art collection does document the wealthy, privileged and questionable activity of the horse racing fraternity through the ages. Meanwhile a link to the Pattern and Chaos research page at Norwich University of the Arts  - recently uploaded my answers to a set of questions -
Les describes his  practice and research as‘…searching for opportunities to be in a place of not knowing’ Les sees Pattern and Chaos as‘…finding the overwhelmingly extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary’ Les ‘s next big idea is‘…combining the experience of working in the crystallography department in the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy, Cambridge with what was learnt in synthetic anatomy at Kings, London to create public artwork for a housing estate in Chelmsford with Essex CC and inspire a series of handheld bookworks – it’s all about folding’ There is a symposium coming up and the line-up looks interesting and worth checking out.
so now to some films - do not watch the self indulgent possibly dubious (choose your ism) Lost in London - Woody Harrelson - the technical issue of one take is not interesting enough and apart from a 7 minute segment where Woody riffs with Owen Wilson which is funny it is bad. Meanwhile Orange is the New Black is just too oppressive, maybe it always was. I quite enjoyed The Giver - although a lot of the ideas are retreads from previous sci-fi tropes and actual films but it does look good.

Thursday, 16 August 2018


so you have The Rock and a giant building - if you want to see some extended dangle moments check out skyscraper but apart from that stay clear....I got to the private view of the latest show at Annka Kulty gallery it finishes on the 18th - it's your last chance to see Terms and conditions may apply - the exhibition concerns the current state of surveillance and is curated by the director of is this it there's also a great book that accompanies the exhibition - I love the work of Shamus Clisset New Empire, 2017 a Computer simulation #proudparentmoment

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.