Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Infamous Brogues

Simone Rocha A/W 13

To Hand

Really like the look of this:

"Siobhan Davies Dance and dance artist Matthias Sperling present To hand. Where Carl Andre invites you to move around objects, here you are invited to follow the performer’s precarious movement across the space balancing on a set of everyday objects."


Turner Contemporary
22nd Feb 2013

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Wild Pansy Press and COPY

Wild Pansy Press is based in the school of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. Its a collective arts practice and publishing house that I think is really cool, especially since its based in my school at uni.

At the moment, COPY are in residence in the WPP project Space working towards a publication based on the idea of a 'writers retreat'. I'm interested, since in the last few months I've really started to think about and develop my own writing style. This has meant that I've been exploring different places around my university campus to work, and its been interesting.

I met Charlotte from COPY (who are a Yorkshire based publishing platform) yesterday, and I'm hoping to get involved in their project. I really like the sound of it.

Wild Pansy Press

"How the web is influencing and changing the world of art"

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Pavilion: Follies of Youth

I've kindly been accepted as member of the Follies of Youth team, which is Pavilion's participatory Projects for young people. Pavilion is a commissioning organisation that deals with contemporary art and its politics in Leeds - its a brilliant organisation that I've wanted to work with for a while, and the Follies of Youth are a really cool group of interested art students in the city.

We're working with artist Harold Offeh on a co-authored project in an attempt to create a young person's partnership between Pavilion and Temple Newsam, which is a beautiful Country House situated to the east of Leeds.

More info to come.

Liberty and Anarchy

On Tuesday evening (12th Feb), I headed down with Rosa (http://ahdiscourse.blogspot.co.uk/) to Leeds Art Gallery to listen to artist Nike Savvas talk about her exhibition entitled Liberty and Anarchy. The format of the evening was an informal, conversational discussion between Savvas and Patricia Ellis, a freelance critic who also wrote for the the artist's monograph. Introduced and curated by Sarah Brown, the evening was a great way to round up the successful show, which will close on the 24th of this month (opened 7th December).

The show was split into two separate exhibitions: Sliding Ladders, which consists of eight three-dimensional geometric shapes integrating interlaced neon yarn structures, and Liberty and Anarchy, the central installation I'd like to think about in this post.

Walking through the installation is a unique and immersive experience. The fantastic colour of the alternating screens seems inviting at first, but quickly becomes chaotic, stressful and confusing. An understanding of space gets lost in the mesmerising effect that the linear colourways induce - some visitors felt sea-sick, and had to leave as soon as they had entered the installation. The production of this animated, vibrating effect is vital to Savvas' work, which she explained using the term moiré. After having researched this technique extensively in New York, Savvas set to work attempting to meticulously reproduce the effect during the two years leading up to Liberty and Anarchy. Painstaking mathematical planning and understanding has gone into this work, as well as endless combinations and materials logistics with which there is no room for error. I love this element of the piece: the tension between the precision of the production and the visual chaos that the work produces makes this an extremely effective installation for me.
The principal idea behind the moirĂ© is a simple metaphor, using the disorientating effect to represent themes of  general distopia. The overwhelming visual transmission has a direct link to media, yet there remains a satisfying contrast between the man-made nature of the work and its generated, pixelated quality. When I asked Savvas if she had ever considered investigating the possibilities of virtual space as a medium, her answer surprised me. She confessed to not even owning a mobile telephone - that for her, the work has to be directly experienced and individually interpreted for it to be defined as art. Whilst she uses 3D visualiers for the planning of her work, she insisted that the digital should be used and understood as an aid, and nothing more.

Admittedly, I was disappointed by her response - my passion and interest for digital and new media art works meant that I could only disagree. However, I had to appreciate her view; for the art to function in the way Savvas needs it to, the physicality involved in exploring the spaces she manipulates is vital. An aspect of her work that really made me happy was the meditative quality present. Whilst getting lost and confused in the space is a possibility, she acknowledges and encourages another kind of calming suspension. Again, Savvas brings binaries into direct relationships (as suggested in the installation's title), giving me more reason to enjoy her work.

The immersive quality of Liberty and Anarchy can be recognised throughout Savvas' practice. Atomix - Full of Love, Full of Wonder, consisted of 50,000 colour co-ordinated balls strung in sequence in a gallery space, and a series of fans made them all vibrate.

The 3D grid structure of this installation reminded me of a very similar, yet altogether totally different kind of innovative work. Using the same basis of immersing the viewer in a regulated, overwhelmingly colourful space, the following works develop the work of Savvas by introducing sound and individually controlled LED lights.

Submergence by Squidsoup

Deep Screen by Muti Randolph

Both of these beautiful works employ similar themes to that of Nike Savvas' Liberty and Anarchy here in Leeds.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A story from Dad

I remember once somewhere on the Med coast there was a dark coloured rock pool and there must have been air trapped beneath it. When the sun shone the air expanded and bubbled out from one small hole at the bottom of the pool. The result was that the pool got covered with a raft of absolutely identical sized bubbles and they assumed a uniform mathematically arranged raft which just looked so un-natural.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Danger of Curatorial Regression

I've been getting into some more dissertation research this afternoon (thank you twitter), and it continues to amaze me just how much information is held within social media and networks. I know that this is a very, very obvious point. But seriously, the amount I'm learning through a series of never-ending links is outrageous.

Picking up on hashtag trend #artsdigital, I've been following the days discussion prompted by Nesta's Digital R&D in the Arts forums held in Manchester (info here) happening right now.

"Nesta, in partnership with the Arts Council England and Arts and Humanities Research Council, has launched a £7 million Digital R&D Fund for the Arts. This will support research and development projects that use digital technology to enhance audience reach and/or explore new business models in the arts."

From a pilot fund which began in 2011, there are a couple of interesting case studies that I've been having a look into. Reading through some examples of successful collaborations between art and technology has helped me understand what a huge category of practice this really is: there are many different ways in which art can engage with technology, and indeed, how technology can engage with art. Whilst innovation and arts strategy progression are fascinating, changes in how we see/value art and technology (separately and together) surely induce some problematic situations for a number of roles in the arts.

This case study in particular has raised some concerns for me:

CultureCloud – pioneering new ways of curating exhibitions and engaging with artists and audiences online

New Art Exchange with Artfinder and Birmingham City University

(Link here)

The above documentation of the project certainly illustrates multiple benefits that the scheme produced: 'widening horizons'  was mentioned, as was an experience of developing and understanding the relationship between art and technology. (I really liked the idea of a 'resident technologist' found in another case study: Happenstance - I thought it was a brilliant and boldly experimental role that really worked for that project). Another point that I appreciated was that this kind of scheme really concerns itself with inverse power play; and it is true that with ever-developing accessible forms of media and creative technology, more people have more options in terms of making and what is made.
Having said this, for me the real focus of this project seemed blurred: the technological medium for the strategy of the show seemed more important than the art. A democratic facebook vote for the public's favorite piece is certainly a way of letting people interact with the art world, but that does not make the art interactive - nor is this a revolutionary concept. Whilst arts competitions are brilliant opportunities for creative workers, they do not result in an effective art exhibition within the gallery space. It was said that the scheme resulted in a 'chaotic' mix of random works, and thus as someone who places importance on the art of curation, the resulting exhibition shown on the above video did absolutely nothing for me.

Thinking about and acting upon progressive technological advances in the arts (and in particular in the galleries) signifies exciting new possibilities for our experience of art, and it is brilliant that organisations like Nesta exist. But let's hope that one technological step forward will not have to mean taking two curatorial steps back.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project

This evening saw another review meeting for the REcreative Yorkshire project I'm working on, as previously mentioned on gear talk the other week. I'm really happy with the brief as well as our plans for the project, which I have no doubt will be a success.
But as we were discussing our arts events today, I started to wonder about how and why such a brief has been predominantly funded by Louis Vuitton. Backing from such an internationally renowned corporation has certainly given our project a lot more credibility, but what interest does an established fashion house have in art for young people in regional Leeds? I was curious to learn more about how the project that I'm currently involved with came to be, so did some research.

The Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project was originally set up in 2010 to celebrate the opening of the New Bond Street Louis Vuitton Maison. Its aim was (and still is) to open up opportunities to young people across the art world, and as a result of the project, REcreative was devised in the same year. As an online platform and community for young people to share their work and events, REcreative is a brilliantly useful website that has certainly informed me a lot over the last few months. 
Both the Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project and REcreative have thus far been securely set in the art scene of London, mostly working in partnership with a great list of institutions (Hayward Gallery, South London Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, Whitechapel, Tate) . However, the REcreative Yorkshire project (which hasn't yet been documented on the REcreative website) acts as an initial outreach by the online platform, as an investigation into how such a project might work in the regional areas of the UK. The reason Leeds has been chosen for the project lies most predominantly in the fact that there is a Louis Vuitton store in the retail heart of the city. 

Despite learning a little bit about what I'm involved in, I remain curious as to Louis Vuitton's engagement with art development in this way. The Young Arts Project press release (found here) claims that such a scheme 'embodies the brand's creative spirit and its long tradition of arts patronage, as well as its ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility'. I cannot and do not argue with such a claim; the involvement of a fashion institution in the arts makes sense in many ways. I do however, find it interesting that Louis Vuitton as a brand are interested in investing a lot of money into art for young people and by young people. The positive implications that must arise for the brand as a result of supporting the arts must be very highly valued by Louis Vuitton - as indeed they are highly appreciated by people like me. LV's supportive and committed participation in major exhibitions (Kusama at Tate Modern - and everything that went with it - springs to mind) illustrates an awareness for the importance of cultural funding, which I certainly think is worth acknowledging. 

More information about REcreative: here
More information about Louis Vuitton YoungArts Project: here

Hair n there

So much love for bits of braid. Here.