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Saturday, 28 March 2009


I’m just beginning my Final Major Project… YESS! The last stretch of my Foundation year! I’m writing my Statement of Intent… I want to do a project about the city, and everything that goes on within it!
“This is far too broad” my tutors tell me when they read it. “Narrow it down, think about what it is that you’re trying to say.”

Okay, so I rewrite it… I want to do a project about the life of one person living in the city.
“Whose life? Your life?”
“Uhh… no… I guess it could be like a collection of EVERYONE’S life…”
My tutors were far from convinced.
The problem with my work, they say, is I try awfully hard to remain distant and objective, to show all sides of the story rather than to give my opinion on it. I want to be a voyeur, like Samuel Pepys or William Hogarth, seeing the city and taking in what goes on and then reporting it back to the world.
“Samuel Pepys had an opinion,” my tutor points out. “‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’. And William Hogarth was VERY cynical about the city…”
I have to concede, he is right. What point is there of making a drawing of London? Of showing a man standing at a bus stop here, a woman drinking coffee here and a kid going to school here? Does it say anything? Not really. So who cares? No matter how nice a drawing it is, who really cares?
Artists make statements. They make points and they express opinions. Sometimes they’re controversial statements, sometimes they’re opinions that everyone can relate to, either way, they create interest in viewers, a desire to interact with and understand the piece. They communicate.
If I’m going to make art with an impact, I have to stop being such a wuss about putting my opinions forward…

Friday, 27 March 2009

Pick of the week 27.03.2009

If you are not too busy this week with the G20 protests why not consume a bit of London's Cultural offer...

Comedy - Chosen by Carly
The Pajama Men - Versus vs Versus
27th/28th of March
Soho Theatre

The Pajama Men are performing their well-received show 'Versus vs Versus' at the Soho Theatre til the 28th, so you've got to be quick! If "time-travelling camels, feuding Roman warriors, wisecracking newsreaders, surly shop assistants and a bat who plays chess" sounds like your idea of a good night, well, you're my kind of people. Who wouldn't want an evening full of obscure physical comedy mixed with stand-up? These guys are supposed to be incredibly funny, so if you fancy a bit of a laugh for £15, these are your go-to guys! Unlike any other comedy duo this would make a great Friday night out!

Event - Chosen by Richard
'The Role of the Village Idiot' exhibition
Date and time: Friday March 28th, 2-6
Location: Peckham Square
Cost: free

"This work is based on ideas and suggestions by the artist and writer Paul O'Kane concerning the question of a necessary expulsion that may lie at the heart of the formation of any community."
The theme of the afternoon is performance and the role of the village idiot. Obviously we have the holy fools, shakespears court jester, the dada art movement, but the village idiot is something else he/she is something other, something familiar, somebody we all know and recognise in our local communities. Here we will attempt to investigate, the role of the village idiot, the question of a necessary expulsion, the emotion of shame and how that relates to modern day life, street theatre and public art. Mainly using gesture and small props the artists will attempt to engage with the everyday happenings in peckham square. There will be a reception in the Bunhouse Pub opposite Peckham square in the evening.

Campaign - Chosen by Richard
8:30PM local time, wherever you live on planet earth. Saturday 28 March 2009
Visit there website for more information!

This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.
For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.
There is also the global light switch off on Saturday night at 8pm, but I don't think it qualifies as art:

Exhibition - Chosen by Joanne
'Art in Mind' at Brick Lane gallery
1st - 13th April

The Brick Lane Gallery is pleased to present the group exhibition " Art in Mind " featuring a mix of Urban, Street, Graphic and Contemporary artists.
The exhibition will feature new paintings and stencil works by the sensational artist The Art Tart, presenting her larger than life stencil works through her alter-ego. The Art Tart took the Banksy Cans Festival by storm with her shocking stencil paintings and a performance which was definitely one to remember ... Through her use of various costumes to create the ultimate tarty look with high heels, big red lips, leopard stockings, French knickers and open shirt, she in fact reveals a larger than life character - which, coupled with a few spray cans, takes street art to a whole new level. Combining the genres of performance and art, she crosses into controversial grounds by voluntarily exhibiting her naughty side... Bending over riding a spray can and farting roses reveals a playful side to her light-hearted and tongue in cheek approach to her practice.

Exhibition - Chosen by Holly
Huang Xu at the October Gallery
12 February 2009 to 18 April 2009

In his London debut exhibition, Chinese artist Huang Xu presents a series of ethereal oversize C-prints exploring the fragile nature of the contemporary global economy. The tattered remains of plastic bags from rubbish heaps in China are collected and digitally remodeled in the 3D scanners normally used by archaeologists, to produce images of haunting luminosity. Evoking the aesthetic of the sublime, Huang Xu’s vast prints capture freeze-frame shots of decay in a maelstrom of economic change.

Theatre - Chosen by Marion
Burnt by the Sun @ National Theatre
by Peter Flannery
from the screenplay by Nikita Mikhalkov and Rustam Ibragimbekov

Burnt By The Sun is an outstanding attempt to make sense of the carnage that occurred in the USSR. Communism fell in Moscow at the end of 1991. Subsequent rulers have tried in their own ways to heal the wounds of the past. President Boris Yeltsin described the seven decades of the communist party dictatorship as “a totalitarian nightmare”. Boisterous and unpredictable, he consolidated a rough-and-ready system based on electoral politics and market economics. His successors Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev have been more circumspect. Putin in particular has urged the need to celebrate the positive side of communism’s past; he points to the achievements in education, industrial development and the military victory over Nazism. But it is the artists – the dramatists, novelists, poets, painters and film-makers – who have deeply touched the minds of fellow citizens by depicting the complexities of life in the pre-war years. Avoiding generalities, they have looked at how people coped with the terrifying pressure of the 1930s.

Concert - Chosen by Violeta
Music is for Life @ Royal Albert Hall
Monday, 30 March, 2009
Tickets are £8 to £25

Experience the power and joy of music-making by 1,450 young musicians from the London Borough of Merton in a dazzling display of music and performance from around the world.
Witness the world premiere of an important new work – 'The Journey' – composed by Pete Churchill for mass primary choir, youth harmony choir, instrumental and vocal soloists and a cross-genre 'fusion' band. This work explores the history of immigration in Britain over the past 1,000 years to create a musical pathway through the many multi-cultural influences which have played a part in the development of our nation.
An evening of musical inspiration reminding us all that Music is for Life.

Installation - Chosen by Katrina
Wed 25 to Sat 4

'Are moths afraid of the dark?'
SDNA will take over the cavernous corridor of SHUNT, transforming it into the both beautiful and grotesque: the fascinating and unsettling world of CINETAXIS. Cinetaxis is a unique personal insight into the world of insects. Giant projections, kinetic sculptures, high voltage lighting and interactive installations with live interventions -- think electronic music, offbeat performance, origami costumes and magnified insects crawling out of the walls. This 'live' audio/visual installation will transform over the two weeks, so plan more than one visit. You'll find something new to discover every time.


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Like A Virgin… Lucy Azubuike & Zanele Muholi

A look back at the 'Like a Virgin' exhibition held at the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos.

We have just closed an exciting but very controversial photographic exhibition at my art gallery called 'Like a Virgin'. The exhibition featured work by two (African) female artists; Lucy Azubuike & Zanele Muholi. 'Like a Virgin' was curated around the theme of gender issues, in relation to women on the continent and sexuality.

At first glimpse of the images I must say I was shocked, many of them had been constructed in such a way as to incite some sort of strong emotional reaction, however after the initial getting use to I found the images very powerful and true to the issues being discussed. Zanele Muholi's depiction of the female body was contrary to the images I was use to seeing, the romantic or eroticized woman. The images captured real women taking a bath or relaxing with partners(other women). Muholi's work however was received with mixed reviews and not for the quality of the images but for the subject she raised. Reading through the visitors book one comment read 'Now sin is art' a newspaper article described lesbianism as a strange(pg version) act. Hmmm!!??!!

Lucy Azubuike is an artists who works with mixed media. She showed two photographic series, the first using trees to depict the female body and the sub themes of Female Genetic Mutilation (FGM), widowhood rites and girl/child marriages. The second entitled the 'Menstruation cycle' consisted of a series of images of blood stained tissues made by the artists natural cycle. I have too say I was not too shocked by these images, I found the red on the white background very powerful! The artists described the images as a personal diary, which served as a visual narratives containing insights into personal reflections and experiences such as love, hope, disappointment and friendship.
Again (and perhaps more so) her work faced mixed reviews. Openly I heard visitors outraged by the menstrual cycle series with one critic saying 'isn't it unhygienic' *I had to laugh at this point*

The exhibition made me question where we the arts professionals where in terms of accepting and reviewing contemporary issues like those raised within this exhibition.
How far had contemporary Africa come when critically examining modern work and could it be done without culture or religion? Personally I don't think anything can be done outside of the two, at least in Nigeria.

Monday, 23 March 2009

At the end of ‘Star Trek: First Contact’ the first extraterrestrial life comes to earth following the successful test run of a spacecraft using warp-drive, its also the first time in this fictional future that the human race come into contact with the Vulcan race.

Laura told me yesterday that the Vulcan’s policy was to only make contact with races that have developed faster than light travel, they (according to Star Trek: Enterprise) subsequently monitor earth for the next eighty years, keeping check on their technological and cultural advancements. I know comparatively little about Star Trek but I find this really interesting, that technological advancement would make a people deserving of being contacted by another, ‘species’, that having ‘warp’ capacity is somehow a yardstick of how civilised a race are and a good indicator of whether or not they should be sought out in the first place.

But what would make us deserving? Most of us realise that to view human activity as heading towards some state of perfection is naïve and that attempts at engineering this is fraught with danger.

A few weeks ago I read about the Voyager II mission, the craft, which is still potentially hurtling through the universe, was installed with 116 images intended to show alien life-forms what life on Earth is like yet the sequence that is loosely based around birth, life and death is devoid of depictions of war, poverty, disease, religion and other things we’d rather ignore.

I was reminded of this again when I went to the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize this week. Taryn Simon’s entry ‘An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar’ presents a series of images, accompanied by a text documenting such diverse subject matter as selective breeding, cryogenic freezing, nuclear waste storage and plastic surgery. I’m not entirely sure why Simon’s ‘Index’ reminded me of the Voyager II probe, perhaps it’s how on first looking they simply appear as incredibly beautiful images, yet once you unpick these you realise they allude to something flawed and often very dark (yet one is intentional, the other is not). ‘White Tiger’ (that’s used on the exhibition poster) is an image of a Tiger whose colour has come about as a result of selective breeding. The caged animal looks slightly odd, there is something not quite right about it and you soon realise from the text accompanying the image that the tiger is malformed and ‘mentally retarded’ as a result of this inbreeding. What need is there for a white tiger? The image is alarming because it depicts an animal brought into existence by artificial means and despite having the desired white fur its far from being the object of attraction it was intended to be. What’s worse is that the animal’s suffering is brought about by its genetic weakness; the very material that makes it what it is.

Taryn’s entry for the photography prize is disorienting; it was hard to decipher many of the images – or rather what they signified, and this is what I liked about them. I scoured the Internet for interviews with her and with one I found she’d described the photos as being an ‘exploration, of discovering a new American landscape-politically, ethically, and religiously’.

Perhaps it’s the relationship between images of vessels used for cryogenic freezing for instance or the ominous blue glow of nuclear waste storage and our place in time that makes these so compelling; that these (alarmingly) better represent our place in history – so much more accurately than the images aboard the Voyager probe, still waiting to be picked up by whatever life is out there.
I’m not entirely sure why I started the post with Star Trek, perhaps I felt there was a relationship between the way in which the Vulcan’s are said to observe the human race following ‘first contact’ and the observational quality to ‘An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar’, I think this is very tenuous but I felt that Taryn’s images were so powerful because they captured things very much at the periphery yet at the same time alluded to proclivities, aspirations and conventions very much at the centre of our lives. If you were to show an outsider some of the more frustrating and troubling aspects of our world this might be a good place to start.

Inanimate Live Objects

My visit to Glasgow a couple of weeks ago happened to coincide with New Territories, The International Festival of Live Art. I chose to see ‘Technological Phantasmagorias I, II, II’ by UBU (Quebec) at Tramway.

The peice was en promenade and three separate works were shown. As we were led behind a large black curtain I did not expect what came next, as my eyes were fooled and brain baffled. And when I re-emerged I was at a loss at how to define it. How do I talk about something like this? Well here’s my best...

When entering the first space you were faced with three tiny figures dressed in white sat atop a high ledge in front of a bright translucent white screen. The bodies were made of plastic and each head had a video projection of a human face cast onto a mannequin head. The preciseness of the projection was very deceptive; I thought that I was watching real people’s heads protruding out of a screen. I even imagined the actors standing on a block behind the screen, and then I realised that the screen was almost see-through! The projectors were well hidden and the lighting very crisp to outline the 3D figures.

The script for the peice was John Fosse’s play called ‘Sleep My Baby Sleep’. The characters sat chatting, staring into bleakness, their blank faces stayed forward and wide-eyed. They were talking of nothing and everything, of understanding everything and knowing nothing! They were asking existential questions about the state of being and nothingness. The use of ‘dead’ plastic objects with ‘real’ faces with pre-recorded script created a cold atmosphere. There was no live action but the objects existed in the present time and space. The peice felt endless as the characters went round in circles not knowing if they had just arrived there or had been there all their lives. The peice could physically be never ending; the technology allows for this and could carry on (pending power supply) without wavering.

The second peice was Samuel Beckett’s ‘Play’; the seated theatre space had three large terracotta pots with mannequin heads sticking out of them. The heads looked as if they too were made of terracotta. Darkness remained until one of the characters spoke and a bright light (from a hidden projector) transmitted a face onto the mannequin. The peice gave me a bit of a headache because we were sitting in near total darkness and according to my eyes I was seeing real people talking in the present. But my brain did not believe my eyes, as there was something not quite right about what was happening. I could not feel the energy of living, breathing human beings and as with the first peice, the work and performance space felt cold.

The actors spoke in French and the subtitles did not appear until half way through the peice. The three characters were in a love triangle, each talking about their experience; the light shining on the talking head highlighted the self-importance that each character possessed. But I did not enjoy ‘Play’, the words were spoken very quickly and the subtitles went by too fast to read. Sitting in the dark trying to work out if these faces were 'real' or not strained my eyes and overall I felt that the piece really isolated its audience.

The third piece ‘Blind’ was absolutely entrancing. Sitting again, in near darkness, 12 heads emerged. There were 6 males and 6 females but only 2 actors who had been recycled to create each individual. These projected images of hologram beings were suspended on stage, behind a clear screen. The ensemble were blind, they had been left alone by their minder from the hospice where they resided. The image of these heads in mid-air was rather haunting but incredibly beautiful. Each character talked about what they could hear and where they thought they were. The group were physically together but completely isolated from one another.

The coldness that I felt in the previous two installations was now replaced with peace, stillness but also a feeling of being lost. I felt for these technologically fabricated characters, which were lost in darkness. Using only the head of each character brought the focus onto the mind. Was I hearing their thoughts? Or their actual speech? The characters looked vulnerable in the blank space that surrounded them. 'Blind' came to a chilling climax when one of them realises that their minder has not abandoned them, but had been for some time sitting next to them, dead! I was submerged in this incomparable peice and the images presented and conjured by language will not be forgotten anytime soon.

The technology used by UBU gave life to the dead objects physically present onstage. It was a test for the brain. ‘Technological Phantasmagorias I, II, II’ did lack something and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. But I now realise that it was missing a certain energy. The energy that is created between a live performer and their audience was absent. There was no sweat, muck ups, or adrenalin. This is not a draw back or negative but an unusual feeling, something that I was not used to. The brilliance and preciseness of the technology overrides this lack. When using pre-recorded material I think that one has to sacrifice the live factor. I was however suprised and pleased that I really felt something for the characters in the first and last installations. People that I have seen but will never meet, people that potentially coule be dead in real life. I do not know when these real people acted out the scenes for the first time in the past, that were then re-presented in the time and space in which I saw them. This technology appealed to my senses and I was amazed by this.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Pick of the week 20.03.2009

I am hoping that you're all well prepared for Mother's Day on Mother's Day in Germany is in May I have plenty of time left to eventually forget it...
Any way, thanks to our loyal bloggers for this' weeks choice!

Theatre - Chosen by Joanne
Punchcut at Etcetera Theatre, Camden (above the Oxford Arms Pub)
24-29 March

In a blackly comic one-act piece, two obsolete former actors, ashamed at the toothlessness of their 1950s heyday, are stranded in their detested high-rise bedsit. Completely isolated, save for carol singers and sporadic hooliganisam, they ruminate scornfully on careers which accomplished nothing. To complicate things further, the condemned performers are about to share knowledge which will only reafirm to them how awful it all is...

Gig - Chosen by Frank
Auto Italia says YES WAY!
Record label collective Upset the Rhythm challenges Auto Italia resident artists to respond to a curatorial approach that amalgamates grass roots artists and musicians and their audiences, creating a context in which to develop alternatives.
Where: auto-italia south east, London, SE15
When: Sat 28 - Sun 29 Mar 2009

Exhibition - Chosen by Marion
Affluenza Exhibition
Times: Daily 10am-6pm
Price: exhibition £2, talks £8
Travel: Farringdon

Based on psychologist Oliver James's definition of affleunza as 'a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more', this timely exhibition (held in a temporary gallery space in Farringdon) features work by 30 multidisciplinary artists, plus a series of talks on subjects such as 'How to de-brand your life'. The exhibition is the brainchild of photographer and Samaritans volunteer Hege Sæbjørnsen, who reached burn-out in 2007 due to excessive working and other challenging life events. The Samaritans will work with teens aged 15 to 19 on ten seminars exploring the significance of the artworks.

Upcoming event - Chosen by João
London April 12th - Easter Sunday at Shunt
Tickets on sale now
Curated by Ron Athey & Lee Adams
Tickets: £25
Booking: +44 (0)20 7478 0100

Hosted by David Hoyle and featuring live performances, installations, film screenings and DJs,
Visions of Excess is a non-stop, 12 hour voyage into the heart of darkness,
a communion with the ragged spirit of philosopher Georges Bataille.
Featuring live performances from an array of internationally renowned artists
including Franko B, Julie Tolentino, Bruce LaBruce, Kembra Pfahler, Suka Off,
Kira O'Reilly, Gio Black Peter, Ashley Ryder, Samantha Sweeting, Fiona McGregor,
Veenus Vortex, Mouse, Lazlo Pearlman, Dominic Johnson and Nicole Blackman.

Plus video screenings; including the UK premiere of Homoccult and other Esoterotica
curated by Daniel McKernan & Richie Rennt,
featuring films by Genesis P Orridge, Peter Christopherson, SUPERM and Terence Koh plus many more.

DJs: Dale Cornish, David TG, Phil Able, Dr Mu, Franko B
Step inside. Let your eyes adjust, we've got all night, so take your time...
“One of the most unmissable events of the year”
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Exhibition - Chosen by Holly
Haunch of venison - Burlington: 'Mythologies'
6 Burlington Gardens
12 March - 25 April 2009

Haunch of Venison will launch its new London exhibition programme at 6 Burlington Gardens this spring with a group exhibition acknowledging the building's previous role as the Museum of Mankind.
Turning the 21,500 square feet gallery into a giant cabinet of curiosities, 'Mythologies' will feature work by over 40 international artists, including major figures such as Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Sophie Calle, Christian Boltanski, Tony Cragg, Kiki Smith, Bill Viola, Keith Tyson, Simon Patterson and Damien Hirst, alongside emerging talents such as Carlos Amorales, Jamie Shovlin and Nicholas Hlobo.

Exhibition - Chosen by Lisa
Takashi Murakami at Gagosian Davies St, 17-19 St, W1K 3DE
until 8th of April
Open Tuesday - Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 12pm-5pm
Okay, so the gallery is tiny, but Murakami's brightly coloured cute characters could really brighten up your day. That or greatly disturb you with their mutated faces and sharp teeth. Murakami takes the cliches of modern Japanese pop culture and uses it to turn round.

Exhibition - Chosen by Giles
Deutsche Borse Photography prize on at the Photographer's gallery on Ramilies Street.
20 February - 12 April 2009

Now in its 13th year, this annual prize of £30,000 rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, who has made the most significant contribution to photography in Europe, through either an exhibition or publication, over the past year. The winner will be announced on 25 March 2009.

Night out - Chosen by Eva
Lost & Found @ Madame Jojo's
Every Saturday
Doors: 10.00pm- 3.00am
£8 (cash on the door or tickets)
Tickets: Click me to buy (Tickets holders get reserved and priority entry)

Pure rhythm and blues, jump blues, Northern soul and rockabilly: Lost & Found celebrates music with an attitude – sounds that defy hype, image, and over-production.
DJs Keb Darge & Andy Smith showcase the original & defining genres of which the industry has been making inferior copies for the past 25 years. Lost & Found gets back to the raw purity of the original tracks from the ‘50s & ‘60s, bringing the sounds together in a unique fusion.

Permanent collection - Chosen by Carly
Theatre & Performance Collection at V&A
The V&A's Theatre Collections hold the UK's national collection of material about live
performance in the UK since Shakespeare's day, covering drama, dance, musical theatre,
circus, music hall, rock and pop, and other forms of live entertainment.

Another V&A note from me - what can I say?! I'm all about museums. Here's your first chance to see all those theatrical treasures relocated from Covent Garden into the V&A. All sorts of bits and bobs from wind machines and tutus to Pete Townshend's infamous smashed guitar - something for everyone you might say...

Outside activity - Chosen by Marion
Great London walks
By Time Out editors
Updated: Wed Mar 11 2009
Get on Shank's pony and explore the capital on foot. Here are some great suggestions for London walks, whether you fancy a stroll by the river, a tour of the City or a Victorian pub crawl in south London

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Sydney Thursday

Thursday night, as Thursday nights tend to do, hosted a couple of interesting openings in Sydney. The first I attended was Artspace's Between Site & Space exhibition of six artists from Australia and Japan. The second, at the Australian Centre for Photography (ACP), showed Sandy Nicholson's 2nd Place and Denis Darzacq's Hyper, below.
Between Site & Space is a collaboration between the Tokyo Wonder Site (TWS) and Artspace, Sydney. Three Australian artists, Alex Gawronski, Gail Priest and Tim Silver completed residencies in Tokyo in 2008, and were exhibited with Japan's chosen artists, Exonemo, Paramodel and Hiraku Suzuki, at TWS's Diorama of the City show. This year, the exhibit comes to Artspace to symbolise an ongoing relationship between Tokyo and Sydney.

The works are different here than they were in Tokyo, as the brochure and Artspace website reveals, and the space itself suggests; they have been "elaborated". I wondered as I wandered through the space if they felt more cohesive in Tokyo. Because there is a certain sense of ad hoc-ness, perhaps even a sense of dislocation, here in Sydney. Maybe this was the intention, the paradigms of location/dislocation in relation to place were mentioned in opening speeches, but I felt overall a little lost by the lack of cohesion between works and the way they had been displayed.

This is not to say the works themselves aren't interesting. I found Hiraku Suzuki's silver wall-painted 'Road Sign' truly beautiful and Tim Silver's 'Shooting tadpoles at the moon', three screens playing slideshows of a series of Manga-esque horror-movie-like stills, a fascinating way to depict still image while imparting a montage-like effect upon the viewer (see install-shot below).

Exonemo's wonderful installation 'Supernatural' explores the concept of time as a construct and subverts the restrictions it has placed upon us all by live-feeding footage of themselves (Kensuke Sembo and Yae Akaiwa) at home in Tokyo alongside live-feed of the Artspace gallery in Sydney. The two screens are bisected horizontally (that is, through both countries) by a large spoon. I very much like this notion of spooning with people who are in another country. This work lifted the exhibition with its literal embodiment of the concept, claimed by the organisers, of "facilitating contact" between Tokyo and Sydney.

Though, I must note, this contact was achieved rather hilariously when I accidentally kicked one of Paramodel's installation pieces, a toy truck, and it went driving across the room. This certainly fascilitated conversation when I had to apologise to Paramodel's Yasuhiko Hayashi and Yusuke Nakano for my clumsiness.

A still of Exonemo's 'Supernatural' installation:

Sandy Nicholson's 2nd Place at ACP was a lot of fun. His works show lightly ironic portraits of second-place getters beside images of them in action or close-up and large still-lifes of their trophies. The secondary 'portraits' contain printed text of a quote from the subject describing how they feel about coming second. These quotes shed insight onto the photo itself, which isn't often enough to decipher what the competition in fact was. For example, Bryan Bennett (pictured below), who came second in the Rock Paper Scissors World Series, says, "I knew I had lost before the final throw".

The juxtaposition of humorous competitions such as world gaming championships (that is, video gaming), hot-dog eating and nail-painting championships, with the serious demeanours of many of Nicholson's subjects creates an amusing and affirming exhibit of the people who aren't winners, something I think we can all relate to in one way or another.

Denis Darzacq's Hyper is a much more concise exhibit. It depicts young people hovering mid-air in public spaces such as supermarkets. Their bodies seem to hang as if by invisible string or by superimposition. But a video documenting Darzacq's process reveals it is all 'real', these young men and women are experts of the sport called Parkour or Free Running. Their immense physical skills, the ability to throw themselves into the air, flip, land in unusual ways and live to tell the tale, is diverted in Darzacq's photos, however. His images show only one moment in the intricate parkour move. So what we see, more than examples of astounding physical ability, is what looks like human helplessness in front of bright, shiny consumerism.

This reading is perhaps deep, but for me these limp, seemingly out-of-control bodies, hanging lifeless or possessed in shopping aisles, is representational of our overall lack of control, lack of escape-route, when it comes to consumerism. As a result, these images are incredibly powerful.

Three exhibits, three very different approaches. Another Thursday.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Pick of the week 13.03.09

Here we go with this week's pick!
I have not much more to say today.It's again Friday the 13th but I hope your're still all fine! My pick for the next week is - SPRING!

Event - Chosen by Sam and others
St Patrick's Day in London
The Pope may have brought St Patrick's day forward to Saturday 15 March to avoid Holy Week but that just means a longer period of revelry. Here's our guide to the best Paddy parties in town
Join the capital’s expats have already begun celebrating their culture in a festival that culminates this Sunday with London’s traditional parade. Celtic events you can still catch this week include a performance by the London Irish Symphony Orchestra which, uniquely, plays only classical music of Irish origin (Thur at City Hall); Tom O’Brien’s play ‘Money from America’ (until Mar 20 at the Broadway Theatre); and the Irish Film Festival (Thur-Sun, various venues including the Tricycle Cinema, Barbican and London Irish Centre). For more info see website!

Night out - Chosen by Joanne
SUPPER CLUB Sat 21st March, 7pm £7
AT the Basement, Brighton

The Basement's Supported Artists present a night of art chaos. See music, film art, performance art, installation art, visial art, invisible art, shit art, good art, explosive art...expect to indulge yourself in a frenzy of art intoxication, expect to pay, expect it all and possibly nothing at all.

Website - Chosen by Holy

At PixelPress our intent is to encourage documentary photographers, writers, filmmakers, artists, human rights workers and students to explore the world in ways that take advantage of the new possibilities provided by digital media. We seek a new paradigm of journalism, one that encourages an active dialogue between the author and reader and, also, the subject.

Comic - Chosen by Lisa
Graphic Novel: The Watchmen
Big fans of the comic have insisted that the new film does it absolutely no justice at all. Read it, don't watch it. (It always seems to be the way, doesn't it, that the book is far better than the film...)

Exhibition - Chosen by Jennifer
A Picture of You?
Identity in Contemporary British Art
Graves Gallery Sheffield
18 Feb - 2 May 2009
A Picture of You? is the first in a series of exhibitions at Museums Sheffield devoted to the exploration of identity and nationality through British art. Over the next four years, Museums Sheffield will turn the spotlight on the British nation as a whole, in order to ask what its historic and contemporary art reveals about the people who live in it.

Film festival - Chosen by Violeta
15th London Australian Film Festival
The London Australian Film Festival takes place
this year from Thu 12 to Sun 22 Mar

To celebrate this landmark expect a bumper selection of new features, shorts and docs from down under, alongside a host of special events. Tickets for this year's festival are now on sale.
Highlights this year include the powerful coming-of-age drama and must see for all surfing enthusiasts Newcastle, the compelling psychological drama Ten Empty with a Q&A with writer/director Anthony Hayes, plus Black Balloon starring the fabulous Toni Collette.
Just announced – Dickie Beau the renowned performer and drag fabulist will be showcasing his latest work at a special performance prior to a screening of The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. Feel free to dress up for this event – a prize awaits the most dazzling Diva!

Festival - Chosen by Sam
SPILL - Festival of Performance
2-16 April
Various Locations
London's premiere festival of performance, live art and experimental theatre.
Built on the ethos that only the best will do SPILL is packed full of exciting international events, all aimed at serving you the finest in contemporary experimental arts. Launched in 2007 the SPILL Festival has rapidly established itself worldwide as one of the UK’s most exciting festivals of new and experimental work. Pacitti Company proudly presents to you SPILL 2009 – the second edition.

Book - Chosen by Marion
The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
Born in a village in heartland India, the son of a rickshaw puller, Balram is taken out of school by his family and put to work in a teashop. As he crushes coals and wipes tables, he nurses a dream of escape - of breaking away from the banks of Mother Ganga, into whose depths have seeped the remains of a hundred generations.

The White Tiger is a tale of two Indias. Balram’s journey from darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success is utterly amoral, brilliantly irreverent, deeply endearing and altogether unforgettable.

Call out - Chosen by Sam
Labofii call out for C.R.A.S.H: A postcapitalist A to Z
C.R.A.S.H - A Postcapitalist A to Z brings permaculturists and activists, artists and young precarious/unemployed workers together to share skills for resistance and self-resilience in a time of economic and ecological collapse. Taking place in June 2009, C.R.A.S.H will involve a fortnight long course merging art activism and permaculture, a series of commissioned street interventions and performances exploring alternatives to a life dictated by markets. Comissioned by Artsadmin through the 2020 Network
To Download more information and an application go to their website. You can apply for both the course and the commissions Deadline for applications is Friday April 3rd

Exhibition - Chosen by Marion
John Gay: England Observed
Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, London NW3 7JR
Until 29th March
Retrospective exhibition of the work of a photographer who was born in Germany and lived in Highgate from 1935 until his death in 1999. He was noted for pictures of everyday English people, buildings, animals and landscapes.


Friday, 6 March 2009

Pick of the week 06.03.09

It's Friday, it's sunny and I am nearly off to Berlin for this weekend...
Thanks to all our bloggers for sharing there picks, I quite like this week's choice because it's very multifaceted and ranges from mysterious action adventures to philanthropic pursuits. I am sure you will find what you need!

Film - Chosen by João
6th March - premiere of "WATCHMEN" at the BFI IMAX and other screens all over the world.

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, the film is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the 'Doomsday Clock' - which charts the USA's tension with the Soviet Union - is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion - a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers - Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity...but who is watching the Watchmen?

Exhibition - chosen by Carly
'Hats: An Anthology' at the V & A.
From the top hat to the bowler, the courtier to the burlesque dancer, there's something slightly whimsical and tranformative about hats. As Mr. Jones says himself, "Everyone from showgirls to dictators knows that by wearing a hat they will be centre of attention," so luxuriate in the millinery action at this lovely museum and revel in being a 'mad hatter' for an hour or so!

Performance - Chosen by Joanne
Technological Phantasmagorias I,II,II by UBU
at Tramway, Glasgow until 7th March part of New Territories

I: 'The Blind' by Maurice Maeterlinck - Twelve faces suddenly appear out of the darkness, their gazed is aimless, directionless, unfocusses. All twelve are blind
II: 'Sleep my baby sleep' by Jon Fosse - Three small creatures talk quietly. In the the white light of limbo, they wonder where they are. Do they themselves even exist?
III: 'Play' by Samual Beckett - A husband, his wife, his mistress. A vaudiville with no trap doors of pratfalls, instead we see huge jars where each person can take refuge and hide, leaving only the head exposed, to tell the truth.

Performance - Chosen by Richard
FIONA'S SHOE @ South London Gallery
7th March '09; 7.30pm
A restaging of John Latham's 'play without words' Juliet and Romeo, performed by Tom Marshman and Clare Thornton, with a special evening event curated by Stewart Home.
Tickets 5 pounds, to book contact or call 020 7703 6120.

Exhibition - Chosen by Tim
Cristina Roca: Shaking Idiosyncrasies
Hold & Freight Gallery; 6-8 March
Cristina Roca: Shaking Idiosyncrasies presents a compilation of Cristina Roca’s trajectory showing her most recent and matured productions. Her works reflect a physical lecture upon the conceptual trend using pictorial materialism as an essential way of expression; a fusion of her cultural background mixing the intuitive Peruvian folklore (Chicha culture) and her deconstructive idea of contemporary European artistic enlightenment.

Exhibition - Chosen by Frank
IMPROMPTU @ the Schwartz Gallery
5-22 March 2009,Fri-Sun 12-5pm - New exhibition at the Schwartz gallery investigating the dynamic of the group show as the result of the gallery being used as the artists studio for the last month. There is no fixed theme, but expect free and exciting artistic investigation.

Festival - Chosen by Marion
East Festival
6-day festival that celebrates the uniquely rich creative mix of East London.
The festival features more than 300 events covering performance, art, history, fashion and design, film and food.
East is curated by the Mayor of London and delivered in partnership with key cultural organisations across East London. It takes place across three main hubs including Central East (The City, Shoreditch, Hoxton, Whitechapel, Spitalfields), Hackney and Stratford.
During the festival, check out the BBC radio East Festival audio companion featuring previews, reviews and interviews highlighting some of the events taking place.

Exhibition - Chosen by Tim
Tate Triennial: ALTERMODERN at Tate Britain
Till 26 April 2009
Tickets: £7.80, Over 60s £6.90, Concessions £4.90, Family ticket £19.50.
Gallery hours:10.00 to 17.00 every day with late opening until 21.00 at Tate Modern on Friday and Saturday.
Want to know what's happening in contemporary art now? Then visit Altermodern, the fourth Tate Triennial at Tate Britain. This selection of new contemporary art presents some of the best that current British art has to offer, alongside international artists who are working with similar themes. This year's Triennial has been curated by Nicolas Bourriaud who co-founded the influential contemporary gallery Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

A ruddy good time - Chosen by Tim and Sam
Bourgeois & Maurice - Social Work at Soho Theatre
'Do whatever you have to do to get a ticket: sell your gran, your body, your soul.'
Time Out
The darlings of London’s neo-cabaret scene present a fabulous homage to this century we live in, featuring a whistle-stop tour through the peculiarities of a nation on the edge and a truly astonishing collection of outfits. Part cabaret, part theatre, part irreverent self-help group, this new show covers socially vital issues such as eroto-manic stalking, clandestine body mutilation and the fatal curse of nu rave.
So pack up your troubles in your Prada bag and join the twisted duo in their philanthropic pursuits. Their superficial smiles might just save your life.


Thursday, 5 March 2009

Detroit is the new Hoxton

I was reading about how, thanks to the credit crash, it's now possible to purchase a house in Detroit for less than a thousand bucks.

Thus, following Frank's recent post about galvanising the organisational power of the internet, I have set up a Facebook group entitled Detroit SubPrime-TimeShare Challenge where I am inviting people to pledge £100 dollars for a stake in a MotorCity property. When the group amasses 10 or more members, I will start phoning estate agents.

This could be your only chance to own property, So join now!

NB: It's a secret group at the moment, as I thought it would be prudent to be choosy about my prospective housemates. So, if you want to join, befriend me on Facebook first, and I'll invite you in.