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Friday, 30 January 2009

Pick of the week 30.01.2009

As you may have noticed, we had more sunny than rainy days last week - Spring is in the air!
Bury your winter blues in a deep hole, grab your sun glasses and wear your fanciest summer frock for next week's events . I am ready to fight the remaining cold and to celebrate sunshine- ARE YOU WITH ME!

Exhibition - Chosen by Joanne
Indian Highway
Serpentine Gallery
until 22nd February
Following the remarkable and rapid economic, social and cultural developments in India in recent years, Indian Highway is a timely presentation of the pioneering work being made in the country today. The culmination of extensive research across India, this group exhibition is a snapshot of a vibrant generation of artists working across a range of media.

Exhibition - Chosen by Eleanor
Hussein Chalayan at the Design Museum until 17 May.
Leading the forefront of contemporary fashion design, the twice named 'British Designer of the Year,' Hussein Chalayan, is renowned for his innovative use of materials, meticulous pattern cutting and progressive attitudes to new technology.
This exhibition is the first comprehensive presentation of Hussein Chalayan’s work in the UK. Spanning fifteen years of experimental projects, the exhibition explores Hussein Chalayan's creative approach, his inspirations and the many themes which influence his work such as cultural identity, displacement and migration.

Exhibition - Chosen by Marion
Zineb Sedira - Floating Coffins
The New Art Exchange Gallery, Nottingham
Preview: Friday 6 Feb, 6pm till 11pm
Exibition Dates: Sat 7 Feb to Sun 19 Feb
Admission FREE
A stunning new multi screen installation about the world's largest ship graveyard in Mauretania.
This installation explores the metaphor between ships left to rot along the coast and the escape from African citizens dreaming of a better future in Europe.

Exhibition - Chosen by Mark
Private View Live Performance: Thursday 5th Feb 6p.m-10p.m
The project has called upon a group of artist's who specialise in an eclectic range of areas including painting, sound, Urban art, sculpture, performance, photography, film and installation to interpret and respond to the space in there own unique way whilst drawing influences from its distinctive character.
Section6 Art Projects is a new, non-profit art organisation, founded by two newly graduated artists. Section 6 Art Projects works to organise art exhibitions in reclaimed spaces within the East London area.

Performance - Chosen by Sam
30 January 2009 - 31 January 2009, 19:30
Pay What You Can
Come and explore the four corners of BAC and witness the culmination of our biggest ever residency programme. Encounter short Scratch* performances, installations, ongoing rehearsals, and artists talking about their work. BAC is opening the rehearsal room doors, allowing you to peek behind the scenes of the whole building for one weekend only.

Project - Chosen by João
iOpera - an exciting project by Swedish composer Fredrik Hogberg has just been announced and it wants to be the "Second Life" of the Opera world: "Monteverdi defined the art-form known as opera and Wagner turned it into an integrated form of art. Blomdhal brought opera to television and Bergman made a motion picture out of The Magic Flute. Now it is time for opera to take another giant leap into a greater world - the internet.
A virtual opera will constantly be developed by user contributions and offers many interactive features. Control opera-avatars and interact via webcam, choose performers, create scenography, mix the orchestra and much more.
The Woman of Cain, the first opera designed solely for the Internet, will combine film, video, graphic design, photo, animation, game design, virtual worlds, interactivity and more.

Exhibition - Chosen by Jennifer
Site Gallery, Sheffield
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story
22 Nov 2008 - 31 Jan 2009
Series of films and video which tackle the tension between language and image. The exhibition subverts a regime of consciousness that privileges sight over sound.

Performance - Chosen by Richard
Propeller Island / an evolving artspace
29 Thurloe Place, South Kensington, London SW7
5th January - 1st Febuary 2009
open 12- 6pm everyday
Extravaganza of Art and Performance
Thursday 29th January - Sunday 1st February

Festival - Chosen by Giles
'Events Day' - 3rd February from 10:30am onward
An annual, one-day festival of performance, film, video and live art held at Cat Hill campus, Middlesex University. This year will see two students getting married as part of their work alongside film and video screenings from students around London, Performances taking place throughout the day and what is shaping up to be great wedding reception/party in the evening. So If you would like to crash a wedding or simply see some work and have a little dance in the evening then head to Middlesex Uni next week.


Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Fearless Filmmaker

In light of him receiving the BBC FOUR World Cinema Achievement Award Werner Herzog gave a Guardian interview at the BFI along with a screening of his documentary Encounters at the End of the World.

Herzog has been nominated for an Academy Award for the first time ever, with 45 years of film making behind him it is probably about time. Herzog has a loyal following, with the event being sold out as fanatics came to see the don of world cinema.

Encounters at the End of the World is an enjoyable film. Werner's curiosity turns to Antarctica where he encounters ''professional dreamers'', mainly travelers and hippies with a PhD who seem to find themselves working or researching at the vast South Pole where all time and space is lost. There is a comic spin on all of these characters, with Herzog's narration anchoring their stories. One fascinating man in particular, who had escaped from incarceration in the past in some way or another was ready to travel at anytime, he carried a 20kg rucksack with everything he needed to survive.

The film shifts from one group of people or person to the other. However the central character is Antarctica, the film is about how the Continent effects and fascinates it's inhabitants. The film made this frozen land rather attractive. Three biologists lying on the frozen sea, ears to the ground, listening to seals communicating across the vast Ocean seemed at peace. There were endless scenes with operatic and choir music played over them, beautiful shots beneath the frozen land as shrunken Sci-fi species were being discovered. The beautiful and haunting soundtrack chosen by Herzog, gave a spirituality to the place.

The music was terrifically powerful and in some murky underwater scenes over-powered the misc-en-scene. However these long sequences of music with scenes under the frozen sea were rather soothing, scenes of bubbles congregating at the underside of the ice. The audience was given time to reflect on the discoveries made in the movie during these arrangements.

Human's obsession with discovery and conquering was an overarching theme of Encounters. Herzog slotted in footage of the first expedition to Antarctica and looked on in distaste at the flags and plaques commemorating representatives of countries landing on the Continent. The film itself was a quest of discovery as Herzog had no idea about who or what he was going to meet on his journey. The obsession highlighted when interviewing scientists who state that is the first time we have used this equipment to measure such and such a particle. And that we have found three new species today. Herzog both understands this need and condemns it. The overall feel is that, these studies do help to understand the way life works, but also this place is so at peace, why do humans have to spoil it?

The film was however, overall quite jolly. One scene in particular, a group of people had to go through survival training. To create a terrible snow storm and therefore loss of visibility they had to guide one another to find some one in their lost party, with a bucket on their head. It was a disaster and really funny to watch. It highlighted that humans are at mercy to this frozen and unpredictable land of Antarctica.

After the film, Mark Kermode conducted the interview with Werner. Herzog gave in depth, matter of fact, (and long) answers and held the crowd well. He is a professional and good at what he does and knows it. His slight arrogant but charming knowingness of himself was quite inspirational as he gave some words of wisdom to the crowd. He said that he is success is due to him knowing what he wanted, knowing his dream and doing everything to fulfill it. In Fitzcarraldo the characters haul a steam river boat in the Amazon over a small mountain from one river to the other, which famously was actually done in 'real life'. When asked about why he had done this Werner replied that it was only way to do it because of the dangerous waterfall at the end of one of the rivers. So for Werner the success of a film is in the production and what happens on camera, this was his message to young filmmakers in the crowd. He commented that too many filmmakers, especially in Hollywood leave things to post production.

Werner explained that he had no fear, he was done with that. Perhaps this is becuase he has persued his dream and gone to tremendous legnths to get it. And the characters in his films are dreamers, out to obtain the unobtainable. In Encounters a biologist performed his last dive. He was stopping simply becuase he had done just what he wanted to do. Herzog, however said that he will keep on making his films, without fear.

See the transcript of the interview here.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Pick of the week(end) 23.01.09

What a week! what a warm feeling we all have, this week anything is possible!
Now go forth and take your newly found spirit of change,
Yes, we can- Fight the rain and the cold
Yes, we can - Afford it
Yes, we can - Justify spending all of Sunday in bed
Are you ready for this week's potpourri of picks... Yes you are!

Night Out - Chosen by Carly
Madame Zingara's Theatre of Dreams

Spiegeltent by Battersea Power Station
Golden Circle - £85
Private Booths - £75
Outer Ring - £65
Looks like a really fun and interesting evening out, although
because a four course dinner is included, it's very expensive! Not one for the students, but it's nice to 'dream'...

Exhibition - Chosen by Richard
Embedded Art, 24.01. - 22.03.09
Berlin Academy of Art, Pariser Platz, Berlin
Art in the Name of Security
Installations, Performances, Lectures, Film programme

In the interests of full disclosure, Richard will be artist in residence at this exhibition, and hopefully streaming footage live on .

Exhibition - Chosen by Alison
Henry VIII's Wives
Pump House Gallery
28 January 2009 - 15 March 2009
Henry VIII's Wives (The Wives) are a collective of artists founded in
1997, and include Rachel Dagnall, Bob Grieve, Sirko Knupfer, Simon
Polli, Per Sander and Lucy Skaer. For their first exhibition in a
London gallery they will present two time-based installations; Mr
Hysteria, 2005 and The Returning Officer, 2007. Although both projects
are very different in approach Mr Hysteria informed and inspired the
development of The Returning Officer, paving the way to an
experimental use of narrative.
You can hear the artists in conversation on 27th 5.30-6.30pm

Exhibition - Chosen by Frank
This Is War! Robert Capa at Work
Gerda Taro
On the Subject of War
Barbican Gallery
17 October 2008 - 25 January 2009
An exhibition that reflects on conflict and its visual representation.
Seven years after the West’s ‘War on Terror’ began in Afghanistan, the Barbican reflects on conflict and its visual representation, in a series of interrelated exhibitions.

From Kabul to Kandahar - 1833 to 1933
Royal Geographical Society
London SW7
Continues until 26 Feb 2009

Rare photographs and documentary materials revealing the unique and
largely undocumented history of Afghanistan and the British presence
there, accompanied by contemporary commentary from members of London
based Afghani groups.

Film - Chosen by João
Gus Van Sant's "MILK"
Premier's today at the Barbican.
General release
'Milk' is Gus Van Sant's biography of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to the public office in California (to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors).

Film Trailers by

Film - Chosen by Marion
The Reader
General Release
Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Burk re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial.
Adaptation from the novel 'The Reader' by Bernhard Schlink

Friday, 16 January 2009

First day at Artsadmin

Hi there!
I'm Marion, the new ArtsAdmin intern. Raised in the far south of Germany I've been living in fabulous Berlin for the last five years and moved to London just recently. I am taking over 'Pick of the Week' from Sam and I'm hoping your picks gonna help me to learn more about London's buzzing art scene...

I've just handed in an essay for my Masters on Monday - thank god it's over - dealing with cultural policy issues, mainly related to cultural policy in Germany. Now I can almost hear you shouting: "Oh, it is so good to be an artist in Germany or run a cultural institution there - like being in the land of milk an honey!" Well, in a country where still 90% of the arts are governmental funded, the cultural sector is in a comparable lucky situation. However, since I came to London, I got the impression that quite big parts of the German arts scene are far behind. Especially in terms of marketing, audience development and arts education and participation programs.

The term "art for art's sake" is still present in many cultural organizations and it is therefore sometimes difficult to persuade them to break new grounds.
That's the other side of high governmental subsidies - the need to be inventive and to rethink old-fashioned structure is maybe not big enough...

Anyway, In my opinion, there is no realistic reason for a sudden end of governmental funding and the German arts scene should see this as a chance for a reorganization process without strong financial pressures.

I'm happy about any comments on this very short excursion in the tradition of supporting the arts in Germany and would be interested to hear what you guys, from your point of view, think about it...

Thursday, 15 January 2009

The top 40 illustrated guide to 2008

For all you nostalgic pop pickers here's the Artsadmin Artblogs illustrated guide to all that was great and good in 2008.
In no particular order, as it is just too hard to place.
Please let us know if we have missed anything!
what did you see?
what changed your life?
what inspired you?
and if you can't think of anything then heres hoping for exceptional 2009.

Cornelia Parker - Chomskian Abstract - Whitechapel

Pina Bausch - Rite of Spring - Sadler's Wells

National Theatre of Scotland - Black Watch - Barbican

Leonard Cohen - Albert Hall

Heiner Goebbels - Stifter's Dinge - A co-commission by Artangel and Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne

Karlheinz Stockhausen Concert - Wilton’s Music Hall

DV8 -To Be Straight With You - National Theatre

Doran George - Dancing with a Dead Man’s Things - Chisenhale Dance Space

Franko B - Don’t Leave Me This Way - ICA

The Golden Age of Couture - V&A

Viktor & Rolf - Barbican

You Me Bum Bum Train - Cordy House

Dare to Dance – South Bank Centre

Folk Day - the Proms

Rosemary Butcher - WinLab - Siobhan Davies Dance Centre

Marcela Levi - In-organic' - La Caldera, Barcelona

Bjork - Hammersmith Apollo

Klang - A Tribute to Karlheinz Stockhausen - Southbank Centre

Merce Cunningham Dance Company - Barbican Centre

Punchdrunk - Masque of the Red Death - BAC

Francis Bacon - Tate Modern

Steve Mcqueen - Hunger

Supremes - V&A

Dangalnama - Theatre Royal Stratford East

Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art at Barbican

Duotard - Blame it on the Burgers

Helena Hunter - Tracing Shadows - NRLA in 2008

Roger Hiorns - Seizure'

All the people who tried extinguish the flame as the Olympic Torch rally

Guillermo Gomez-Pena - La Pocha Nostra - NRLA 2008

Roy Peters - End Of Story - NRLA 2008

Julia Bardsley - Almost The Same - Chelsea Theatre

Sheila Ghelani's Grafting and Budding at BAC

Photomonth 2008

Check out the blog here
Inder Salim’s ‘Mochi-ki-Dukan, ART AUCTION in support of Suraj & his family’ at the Palette Gallery, Delhi

And While London Burns - Platform

Super Night Shot - Gob Squad


Tuesday, 13 January 2009

2012 Prospects

I recently went to a British Library event at Goodenough College called 2012 PROSPECTS.

Here is some blurb:
A valuable seminar for cultural venues and organisations that run cultural programmes. A panel of speakers will:
talk through the concept of the Cultural Olympiad and the Inspire Mark;
Demystify the process and identify opportunities for participation in the cultural countdown; Look at the impact of 2012 on cultural tourism in Camden and Islington.

There was also free tea and cake, which, in the current economic climate, shouldn't be scoffed at.

Below are my key findings:

Sarah, Cultural Opportunities Manager, London Development Agency
  • 'Locog lawyers are fierce'
  • Excellence respect and friendship
  • Empower achieve inspire involve!
  • Inspire mark is logo *without rings*
  • 'There is no monetary value attached to the inspire mark'
  • 'No commercial support allowed, so as not to compromise sponsorship packages'
  • 'Bottom smacked'
  • 'Can encompass almost any art'
  • 'Generate a positive legacy'
  • Animating and humanizing public spaces
  • 'My Sky Plus is red hot'
  • Creative industries fastest growing revenue generator
  • 'Especially now the banks aren't doing too well'
  • 'Second lastly'
  • 'What do we want to use the park for after the games?'

John, Olympic Officer, Islington Council
  • 'Team of one'
  • Looks like Billy-Bob Thornton
  • Boxing in the Business Design Centre!
  • 'O-Space' project, one of ten Camden projects.
  • O-face
  • Camden will be journalistic hub, operating out of Senate House and Goodenough College. 90 countries represented across 600 people.
  • Cultural Bloomsbury!

Amy, Strategic Olympic Officer, Camden Council
  • 'I do tend to use the word opportunity a lot'
  • 'We like to think, and I think we do'
  • 'Just to break it down'
  • Maximize economic benefits!
  • Because this is all a bit high level, just to break it down'
  • Cross-sector partnerships.
  • 'Building aspirations into our core activity'
  • 'How can we make existing events 2012 related?'
  • 'To capture excitement'
  • 'Mapping out key milestones'
  • Forecasting
  • 'E-alerts'
  • Central London arts partnership making it east to cooperate across boroughs
  • 'There's almost no new money!'
  • 'Certain people in the borough are going to be feeling a bit negative about it'


After some more cake, my ears pricked up when they mentioned 12 regional Arts Council England awards of £500,000 for individual projects, the open call for which is supposedly this month.

There's another Olympic event coming up, How London Works: London 2012, on Thursday February the 26th.

I can't guarantee the quality of the refreshments, but if anyone fancies making notes, here's the invitation, draft programme, and booking form.

Art or entertainment and the joy of queueing for it!

Still slightly hungover from the festivities of Christmas and New Year, my friends and I found ourselves late at Tate last weekend in search of something more 'wholesome'! We were there to catch the Cildo Meireles exhibition before it closed.

Meireles' work is grounded in the social and political history of Brazil, he was part of the Neo-Concretism movement, which emerged during the late 1950s, taking inspiration from Merleau-Ponty's philosophies about art and life, it embraced embodiment and participation in art, opposing the 'extreme rationalism of the geometric abstraction' of the time. The exhibition was made up of some objects and a series of immersive installations, that stimulated the emotions before knowing much at all about the work. We (and the many other visitors) trampled over broken glass in 'Through' whilst weaving around barriers made up of various familiar objects such as shower curtains, fencing and fishing nets. Parents and their children played with rubber balls of varying weights, rolling them across the floor like a game of bowls in 'Eureka/Blindhotland' in an area masked off with red netting. I became tangled up and felt a little bit 'crazy' when I wound my way through the 6,000 rulers, 1,000 ticking clocks and 500,000 vinyl numbers that hung in the small room that was 'Fontes', it really did feel quite psychotic in there! From the tick-tock madness to a cosmic tower of 800 radios of varying ages stacked up high and all tuned into different channels, another manic experience. More children, this time in a tranquil 'magical' space, were sat round a rectangle filled with 600,000 coins, mesmerized by the treasure before them, above the ceiling was made up of 2,000 bones. The piece was called 'Mission/Missions (How to build cathedrals)' and is a comment on 'the human cost of missionary work and its connection with the exploitation of wealth in the colonies...' there was also a symbolic column of 800 communion wafers joining the bones and coins.

Finally the ultimate in 'duration' pieces - the queue to 'Volatile', a good hours wait, in which we and the hoards of fellow 'culture vultures' all politely stood in line so that we could have some kind of 'enlightening' experience that night! I have to admit, it was actually quite spiritual, once inside the talcum powder filled room. We chose to go barefoot rather than don the wellies and dust-masks that were on offer, the fact that only 4 people were allowed in at a time did make it a more powerful experience, detached from the rabble of other gallery-goers. Once the door shut behind us, we were immersed in the powder, that became kind of squidgy beneath our feet, it was dark and misty in there, a candle light glowering around the corner, it felt like we were somewhere else dreamlike, like Narnia. Although brief in comparison to the waiting time to get in there, the experience was intense and memorable and I hesitate to say this but i think it was worth the wait! However, we did miss 'Red Shift', a domestic environment where everything is red, due to the fact that we had lost the will as far as getting into another queue was concerned!

Queueing up to see art in big institutions is something that I have come to expect when visiting on a weekend, that and viewing it through gaps in the crowds of people that swarm to these 'blockbuster' shows. Why did art have to become so popular?! Of course it's a good thing that more people want to see art, but it has changed the way we experience it, sometimes making it feel more like a trip to the zoo or an amusement arcade! Does it matter how well if at all the audience understands the work, if they are having an enjoyable time? The children rolling the rubber balls for example were fully involved with the installation but it was more like a playground to them than something to contemplate... Participatory art like this has been criticized for being mere entertainment or a cheap trick to pull in the punters, one thinks of Holler's slides that dominated the Turbine hall in 2006/7. Personally I enjoy this type of artwork and find that the more I am allowed to interact with the art, the longer I will spend with it mulling over the ideas and making connections...

As art becomes more mainstream, the lines between art and entertainment are becoming more blurred, is this a problem or is it par for the course in a society that demands to be instantly stimulated by what it consumes in this 'fast-food-techno' age?!

And what with the broken glass, crowds of people and general hubbub, our evening of culture wasn't that dissimilar to a night down the pub!