Friday, 28 December 2018


 my aunt flossie's house
 the house I was born in 
 the house I grew up in 

a visit back to what used to be Coventry - my past has changed - part of the ongoing documentation of psychogeographical erosion.

Monday, 17 December 2018


The Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry has an artist room from Kiefer which had some interesting early work - mainly him giving a Nazi salute which is still a chilling image. The highlight was going to the wonderful Cathedral - it is a very special space crammed with stunning artworks from the mighty Sutherland tapestry to the pennies embedded within the floor - all under a beautiful roof held up with the slenderest of columns.  crossing London getting home took in the problematic (not in a good way) work of Martin Elder at Newport Street Gallery luckily the show at Cabinet around the corner was wonderful - a curated show by James Richards has the stunningly thoughtful gif novels by Dennis Cooper
meanwhile the glorious Roma is a stunning film  - the camerawork and soundscape are all encompassing and the deeply personal storyline connects with the politics of a country in a way that is deeply moving. A recent winning podcast is broken record - unlike the usual music-talk from old-men-sitting-around-reminiscing-about-their debauchery-experience - the presence of Malcolm Gladwell makes this a nerd winner check out Rick Rubin. another example of smoking architecture..

Tuesday, 11 December 2018


While cycling back to Liverpool St Station I came across this fine example of smoking architecture (an architectural intervention developed expressly for the purposes for smoking). I will add it to my collection. OCA this week has been the start of Testing Boundaries - the assignment that is creating new work for new spaces - all within an incredibly short timeframe. It's a real challenge but one that everyone rises to and goes on to succeed. As we embark on this year's iteration I think we have a strong possibility of doing something especially challenging after the first session threw up many issues around culturally specific locations. A day of group crits at NUA means 4 sessions of 8-9 students for an hour and a half each back to back - it's a full day, but there are some very strong bodies of thought emerging. Camberwell continues to be a long celebratory wake as the course is taught out and I run two more sessions for the very last time - writing reading and presenting problems. I think the relaxed atmosphere is bringing out some of the most extraordinary conversations, again the group consists of individuals from many corners of the world with multiple culturally specific knowledge - it really is a privilege.    
So far halfway through Good Girls - it's a Netflix winner that started out as an interesting portrayal of strong women doing it for themselves has now added jeopardy and turned into a worry - will they be okay? Watching They shall not grow old was an incredibly odd experience - getting beyond the 'unnatural naturalness' - the 'it's a little like a war movie' feeling was a challenge - the everyday footage of German and British soldiers 'hanging around' in the same place somehow symbolised the seeming pointlessness of it all.

Friday, 7 December 2018


OCA was fascinating this week - I supported/hosted Karl Foster looking at the idea of creative academic writing with year 3 students - The reading for the session was the critical writing of Benson and Conners and the poetry of Francis Ponge. There were many lessons in Benson and Conners, especially the idea of the self, the I within and the wrestling bout that is writing. I was drawn to Ponge - a little like a surreal version of Perec - it's all in the detail.
men actually rain - oh yes they do - its Pantomime time again and the Wolsey theatre has Cinderella - it is truly a wonderful night out - some acid wincing terrible jokes, 'bad taste' characters and a splendid set with dazzling lighting - you have to be there to get it - I was surrounded by families having a great time During a workshop at Camberwell I found myself explaining the concept of Pantomime to  a room of International students which was a feat of linguistic juggling - I think I may of learnt something myself - and when the idea of camp was thrown up we digressed into another cul-de-sac. Meanwhile Pete Holmes on Hot ones gave us wisdom on experiences that change us - it's not about knowing something it's about becoming something - it's not about learning something it's about forgetting everything.  

Sunday, 2 December 2018


The exhibition of year 3 textile design students from NUA in St Margarets is over and has been a great success. Lots of learning took place and the route to the final show seems to of started. A weekend in London with a huge gallery trawl - Serpentine Gallery had Pierre Huyghe - last seen in Berlin where the show was awesome, the whole building controlled by an algorithm linked to yeast. The highlight in London was huge live bluebottle flies in the gallery, the shop, the entrance, the toilets........The Sacker building had atelier a.b the fashion art collective with, depending how you read it - interesting ideas at the cross over or just highlighted a point where fashion and art eat each other. A quick jaunt to the V&A is always a winner and I popped into check out the textiles, both real and imaged in the Gothic gallery. Meanwhile BlainSouthern had Chiharu Shiota with her theatrical thread work, Hauser&Wirth's two spaces had Zoe Leonard's beautiful haunting aerial photographs in one and Martin Creed in the other. David Ostrowski's the thin red line was a gorgeous collection of digital tapestry rugs, prints and painting all looking at the found and the red. The hang at Spruth Magers was stunningly considered, especially the paintings floating in the middle of the room. Brent Wadden's tapestries at PACE were bold and monumental as ever. Michele Abeles collection of bits and pieces at Sadie Coles was okay but I mainly go to look at the space which is awesome and then drop into the Adidas shop around the corner to stroke trainers. Fiona Tan's video work at Frith Street Gallery was stunning. The work flowed as a aesthetic visual but also said something about us as humans at this point in history. And finally the video structural apparatus excess that was Dara Birnbaum at Marian Goodman - so much kit. Upstairs was the thoughtfully funny brain-delayed-video-work by John Baldessari which always makes me inwardly chuckle. Tried to get to see The Clock as part of Tate's 24 hour thing but the queues at 12:00, 1:30am 2:30am and 3:00am were so huge that each time we just walked away back to a bar. #mostexpensiveroundofdrinksever. Managed to see it at 11:00pm - 1:30am the next day which was a great time as high noon featured. On the Netflix front after wading through the bloodbath that was Narcos Mexico (why did they get involved with coke?) I have 'discovered' the Danish Nazi Biker Gang series Warrior. It is truly bizarre - I am now watching it for the overt expressions of tasteful design the bikers exhibit - IKEA light fittings in their garage and contemporary art sculptures in their den, let's not even talk about the cars and clothes! Springs to mind the role of Hugo Boss in designing Nazi uniforms.
The Synthetic Anatomy project at Kings has started up again - an initial meeting was a real solid good - it's great to be amongst interesting people who value what you do and share great ideas creatively. Lots of thoughts around developing problem solving workshops and reflective thinking which looks at how to support individuals to develop the skills needed to engage in the act of creating a reflective journal. Also we looked at how to build a set of learning outcomes that covers creative reflection, aesthetic concerns and empirical givens.