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. https://www.tes.com/news/book-review-evolution-learning-brain  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. https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1116305/the-people-vs-tech/
meanwhile some films - Lean on Pete https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5340300/ 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. https://www.slideshare.net/l.bicknell/presentation-for-making-materials-matter-with-video-links   I'm already looking forward to Spill Festival - https://spillfestival.com/spill-2016-brochure/ 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q04ILDXe3QE he played the glorious new work I only know as trailer https://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=41150  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 http://www.berlinbiennale.de/ 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 https://www.smb.museum/en/museums-institutions/hamburger-bahnhof/home.html 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. https://www.museumsportal-berlin.de/en/museums/martin-gropius-bau/ 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. https://www.adk.de/en/academy/index.htm
At KW institute Cinthia Marcelle had an uplifting video of a choreographed band at a crossroad - lovely.  https://www.kw-berlin.de/en/
Tony Cokes overwhelming text-speech-music-videos in the basement of ZK/U felt like being punched in the face with obvious bad news. http://www.berlinbiennale.de/artists/T/tony-cokes excellent.
The private view at Tanya Leighton threw up a smirkingly excellent video piece in the cellar by John Smith https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Bm2UZN4NDI 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. http://www.kindl-berlin.com/ 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 https://www.sammlung-boros.de/boros-collection.html?L=1  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 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09m2k24 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.