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Friday, 28 August 2009

Pick of the Week 28th August 2009

This week's must-see selection has more exciting events from Edinburgh, an exhibition at the Design Museum, the chance to make some knitted wares whilst learning about the technology of string at the Whitechapel, Climate Camp and of course this weekend's infamous Notting Hill Carnival. Sadly this is my last week editing the Artsblog Pick of the Week but no doubt one of my fantastic fellow bloggers will take up responsibility and loving compile next week's mouthwatering selection of the week's happenings for you lucky readers.

Frank - Climate Camp 2009
Somewhere in London - Wed 26th August - Wed 2nd September.

'Thousands of people will by now have descended on a green site somewhere in London to build a self sustaining eco town, run in a entirely non-hierarchical, carbon neutral way to give the government a glimpse of the future that they want and are building for themselves. Join them and become part of the most fun, radical and free experiment in living in this country, if not the world.'

Priyesh - Richard Wentworth's Knot Night at Whitechapel Gallery
Thursday 3rd September 7pm.

'So ever since I learnt to knit, made a scarf and then started a knitting circle, people started looking at me in a very peculiar way.
Those who don't stare and gawk may find this interesting. Richard
has been commissioned to curate the gallery's Cabinet of
Curiosities on the theme of string, where members of the public are invited to contribute different types of string from around the world.
The Knot Night is an evening for string geeks, knot obsessives and sceptics alike. Exchange yarns, unravel string theory and join a knitting circle.

The evening will feature talks from Andrew Jaffe, astrophysicist,
Imperial College London, and Mark Miodownik, Materials Engineer, Kings
College London. There will also be a chance to learn to knit! The event is free but ticketed. For more information click here.'

Carly – Nik Green’s ‘Trilogy
St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 5AA - Until 31st Aug, 7.30pm, £12 (£9).

'Say the dreaded 'F word' (feminism...) and most of us are liable to run a mile, let alone want to spend around 4 hours going over the ins and outs of the history (herstory) of it. Yet, there is something in Nik Green's 'Trilogy' that makes you (or me as the case was) want to strip your (my) clothes off and sing Jerusalem loudly (...badly).

Set in the cavernous and beautiful church, St Stephen's, the audience are taken on a journey through liberating the women's body, Germaine Greer, misogyny, some beautiful and awe-inspiring dance pieces, a little bit of audience participation, and a final dictum on how to 'make your own herstory'.

I must say, for those of us who spend many hours of the day contemplating what feminism is, how it affects us, and have wasted/spent many hours writing about the subject, 'Trilogy' is preaching to the choir. However, just talking to some of the male audience members after the piece convinced me this is a journey worth taking, and let's face it, this is a message that continues to be relevent and important. The fight isn't over and Jerusalem will never mean the same thing to me again.

Watch out for more ponderings on this and other fringe related nonsense later!

In the meantime, if you are up in Edinburgh, check this out!'

Lisa – Mariscal Drawing Life
Design Museum, 1st July – 1st November, £8.50 adults, £6.50 concessions, £5 students, Free for under 12s.

'I sort of just popped into this exhibition because I'd already paid the entrance fee in order to see Super Contemporary, another exhibition going on at the Design Museum at the moment. Mariscal's strong graphic style is captivating and enjoyably creative in its execution. As well as posters, book covers and leaflets, there are tiny video installations set inside stationary 3D models plus bigger, explorable ones. There was many a young'un there, enjoying themselves amongst the cartoons, so it could be something to take your kids too, also.'

Joanne – Noting Hill Carnival
Sun 30th – Mon 31st August

'I have been two years in a row, it is a very cheerful, colourful, loud, rowdy event! Each corner that you turn you chance running into Soca, drum n bass, Samba and hip hop. Jerk chicken, rice and peas are the dish of the day!'

Rosalie - Iris Brunette by Melanie Wilson
Henry Little John Suite, University of Edinburgh Medical School, Teviot Place, 22nd to 30th August, 6pm and 9pm, £10 (£7.50 concessions).

'This immersive performance takes its audience to an apocalyptic world on the trace of a mysterious stranger. With moments of complete darkness, and beautiful soundscapes, this piece will absorb you entirely, throwing you out afterwards blinking into the light wondering who, when and where you are. Melanie Wilson is a masterful performer, drawing the audience in and out of her story, with moments of participation that are so seamless that you’ll forget that the whale watchers and the barman were moments before innocent audience members you and Wilson had never met.'

Friday, 21 August 2009

Pick of the Week 21.08.09

Hello my name is Giles and I will be accompanying you on our regular exploration of the week's essential happenings on the Artsblog. We have the exclusive guide to Edinburgh events from Rosalie, an online piece asking of the possibility of keeping secrets the web from Holly, a performance in an East-End pub by two Australian artists by Eleanor currently living all the way in sunny Sydney and a bargain solution for getting to the BBC Proms. I will be with you lovely people for the next week but afterwards I will be starting some new work experience and will sadly have to relinquish control to another of our esteemed bloggers. But who will it be?

Edinburgh happenings chosen by Rosalie

'My pick of this year’s Edinburgh Festival so far is undoubtedly the dark yet beautiful ‘Accidental Nostalgia’ at the Traverse Theatre. I saw this last night, and was beguiled by its sick charm and its gentle evocation of the American Deep South – and the music is terrific. Journey with the deranged Cameron Seymour (New York artist Cynthia Hopkins) as she goes home to Georgia to find out why she can’t remember most of her childhood. On her trip she’s aided by two highly disturbing male assistants (who - when they’re not joining in her detached country-and-western dance routines – are busy pulling off some spellbinding technical feats with projections of live manipulations of text, sound and images) and accompanied by an excellent folky honky-tonkesque band. The whole thing’s hard to explain, and sounds downright awful when written about, but I can assure you, if you go along and see it for yourself, you’ll spend the rest of the festival trying to sum it up in a way that’ll adequately convince others to follow suit.'

Precious Little Talent – Ella Hickson
Bedlam Theatre, 2.30pm, daily until 29th

'Last years’ ‘Eight’ by Ella Hickson got top-notch reviews, and according to Lyn Gardner, this year Hickson has surpassed her debut with this ‘more interesting and mature piece of writing.’

Power Plant – Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, 9.30pm, daily until 30th

'Enter the Botanic Gardens at night for a spectacular trail of light and sound amongst the foliage.'

Plane Food CafeRichard DiDomenici
New Town Theatre, 12.00, 12.40, 1.20, 2.00pm (30 mins), daily until 30th

'Enter the Plane Food Cafe – where inflight meals are served in the shell of a real plane – on the ground. Learn what happens to your tastebuds when you fly, discover the strange connection between geese and radioactivity and become an expert on the gruesome ‘snarge’.'

Performance chosen by Eleanor
X-ray at the Perseverance by Brian Fuata and Michael Moran
Sunday 23 August, Perseverance Pub, 112 Pritchards Road (Broadway Market), London E2 9AP, from 6pm.

'Since December 2008, the weekly X-Ray nights at the Perseverance Pub have been a great platform for emerging video, film and performance artists to show their work. This Sunday, London-based Australian artists Michael Moran and Brian Fuata will present a performance situation of an engagement party. Incorporating installation and text performance, the artists will explore this 'engagement' within the context of a pub. This environment, right in the heart of Hackney, is perhaps unusual for performance art, but it firmly places the artists, the engagement party and the pub itself in brilliant juxtaposition.'

Festival chosen by Lisa
BBC Proms 2009, 17th – 12th September

'Has anyone been going to these this summer? If you're not picky about your seat you can turn up on the night and get in for just £5. On every night until the 12th of September, pop down any time you're stuck for something to do and get some culture.
Click here for what's on when and where.'

I’ve just noticed that the Michael Nyman Band make their debut to the Proms this year on Tuesday 25th August, I think this could be really exciting to go and see, I’ll give the £5 ticket a try Lisa. (Giles)

Online work chosen by Holly
London artist asks: can the Internet be a place for silence and secrets?

'The Internet is an increasingly noisy, hectic and important part of our lives. In his innovative new online artwork VTC2.0 (messages for the future), London artist Justin Allen asks whether the World Wide Web can also be a space where secrets and silence are shared. Allen invites us to consider privacy in the globally-connected age. In doing so the artist turns our expectations of the Internet upside-down: creating a space for longevity rather than immediacy, for secrecy rather than self-promotion, for silence rather than endless twittering babble.
To “seal” the virtual capsule the artist will perform a ceremony in which his mouth is sewn together and he invites a global audience to join him for an hour of silence – live, online...'

Check out the link to find out more and take the opportunity to be 1 of the 100 contributers!

Radio chosen by me
Ergo Phizmiz on Soundart Radio Thursday 2-3pm
Listen online or if you're in Devon with a 'proper' radio tune in to 102.5 FM

Ergo will be doing a show dedicated to music made during the Tranymusic project in Transylvania, Romania in 2007 this coming thursday. The Transymusic project was a collaborative project by Iuliana Varodi and Ergo Phizmiz. A group of artists were given a selection of traditional Romanian music and made a number of pieces inspired by this experience, many of which can be listened to here.

And now a bit of ugly self promotion. Myself and Simon French have been making a series of radio/podcast shows exploring music from different parts of the world. You can listen to our lengthy ramblings along with music from North-West Africa, Norway, Romania and Hungary.

The Radiolo Show Podcast - # 3 Romanian & Hungarian by The Radiolo Show


Friday, 14 August 2009

Pick of the Week - 14.08.09

Having lovingly compiled the Artsblogger’s recommendations each week since April, I’m sad to announce that my tenure as editor of Pick of the Week has come to an end on this muggy Friday. I’m off to pastures new (and shall be missing Artsadmin hugely!). Never fear though, POTW – your vital guide to the best places to get your weekly culture dose – will live on, with a new editor, Mr Giles Bunch. Welcome to Giles – I know (and so will you if you’re a follower of his always-interesting blog posts) he’ll do a sterling job. So it is that with a film, two performances, an exhibition, and lots of treehouses, I bid you adieu.

Film – Chosen by Giles
It Felt Like a Kiss by Adam Curtis

My pick of the week is an online find, the film 'It Felt Like a Kiss' by Adam Curtis. It was part of the show he did with Punchdrunk in Manchester quihte recently. You can see the entire film by clicking here, or on the link at the top. The film is a compelling and often unsettling portrayal of how 'America set out to remake the world' during the last 50 years and recounts some of the country's cultural and military endeavors during the period. The film's made entirely from archive footage and feels more like a visual essay yet this strangely makes it far more emotionally involving than so much other documentary making, this probably being down to the way the audience is expected to work much harder to draw meaning from the images.

Exhibition – Chosen by Lisa
JEFF MCMILLAN: The Possibility of an Island
Peer (99 Hoxton Street, N1), 1st July - 22nd August, FREE.

I've always been a bit suspicious of artists who use found objects as a main focus of their art... especially those who use other people's art in their art. I was a bit annoyed to find that the lovely, richly coloured landscapes in McMillan's work weren't actually painted by said artist, but I still have to admit the installation itself was rather breathtaking. Peer is tiny and out of the way but if you're in the Hoxton area, pop in to view the bewildering composition that spans two walls and a sprinkling of other works. Made me feel a little seasick, but it's lovely.

Performance – Chosen by Rosalie
STAY! by Stacy Makishi
The Zoo (Venue 124 : Grid Ref F6), 140 The Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9RR
Monday 24 – Saturday 29 August, 8.25 – 9.10pm

The mischievous Stacy Makishi will be doing just 6 performances during Edinburgh. Spotted as ‘exquisitely talented’ (The List) last year, Makishi now brings the darkly comic STAY! to the ZOO. The performance draws inspiration from 'Lassie Come Home', 'Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?’, and the paintings of Paula Rego, with the result lying somewhere between Film Noir and ‘Pet Rescue’. Stacy Makishi is a Hawaii-born, London-based artist who works in a variety of media including visual theatre, film, and public interventions. She makes intelligent, challenging, and often humorous works that have been called literate and uncanny. Whether she takes on a horror film, fashion show, immigration border, or psychic intervention, her work is infused with surreal humour. For more information on STAY! and Stacy Makishi, email Nikki Tomlinson.

Event – Chosen by Frank
Live Musicology at The Treehouse Gallery
Sunday 16th August, Regents Park

Your chance to experiment with whatever you can find that makes a noise, bring it along and take part in an all-inclusive live improvised musical jam, and it's all hosted up in tree! The Treehouse Gallery is an innovative public project featuring a free daily program of events, arts, music and activities. Open from 19th July until 6th September, Mon - Thurs 10am - 4pm and Fri - Sun 10am - 8pm. Find them by the boating lake. Click here for a full schedule of daily activities, talks and workshops.

Theatre – Chosen by Carly
Your Number's Up, Roundhouse Theatre Company
Until 23 Aug (exculding 18th), noon, Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh.
£8-£9 (concessions £6-£7).

Exploring the controversial topics of illegal immigration, rape, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy amid scenes of adolescent confusion, this production also aims to raise awareness of the sensitive issue of knife crime, a widespread problem on the streets of north London. Slick scene integration, some audience interaction and a youthful cast bring humour to the serious subject matter, injecting a lighter tone to what could otherwise become an all-too-gritty experience. Go along and see what you think.


Wednesday, 12 August 2009

This one's beautiful, no?
Drawn during Artsblog Live Week in May.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Art is Fun

Yes it is.

I had the chance to go home to the North-West for a few days last week. I was tired and unhappy and I wanted to go home so I did just that.
I live quite close to Liverpool and I went for a day out...the city has changed a lot in the last few years, every time I go it seems different. I like Liverpool very much.

The Fact centre (Foundation for Arts and Creative Technologies) has an exhibition of work by Bernie Lubell at the moment....A mechanised knitting machine powered by gallery visitors and someone sitting on a sofa, a coffin where you get in and talk to the rest of the gallery through a basic amplifier, a machine mimicking the musical rhythms of the heart, a pedal powered seismograph recording the movements of a couple on a bench...

The piece from which the exhibition takes its name - 'A Theory of Entanglement' - sits in the main atrium of the centre looking like some unwieldy Victorian design of a beautiful, elaborately constructed, yet ultimately useless machine. I sat down on a seat facing a set of pedals, which were connected to a series of gears and rubber bands powering other bands and gears. These gears were in turn connected to a giant mechanised knitting-machine/cable maker. I pedaled hard along with some encouragement from a man from Cornwall who later upstairs questioned whether this was ‘Art’ or not – I didn’t understand what he meant by this so I walked away from the conversation we were having with a gallery assistant.

What I really liked about this was that I could be pedaling all I liked to contribute a few millimetres to the length of knitted cable - now reaching to the floor since the exhibition’s opening in June - but the power from the pedals only linked to the knitting machine if there was the weight of someone sitting on a sofa in the cafĂ© to connect the two parts of the mechanism by a clever system of pulleys and weights. What interested me so much about this was that those sitting on the sofa had little idea their presence in that spot was helping to produce this ever-growing piece of fabric, they weren't aware of the collaboration they were taking part in.

It was unfortunate that I went on a Wednesday (FACT is a cinema also and seemingly the pull of 'Orange Wednesdays' drew many of the visitors away from the gallery) since many of the sculpture couldn't be worked on your own. I sheepishly asked one of the gallery assistants if they would help me with the pedal powered seismograph, he sat on a bench connected by tubes and wires linked to an apparatus whilst I pedaled to power the paper feed and hey presto before soon I was getting a readout of this guy's movements on the bench. This is a really exciting show, one of the few that I've been to where to make the pieces 'work' you have to ask others in the gallery to help you out. At first the show just seems really fun but it goes much deeper than that.

The...what might you call it...'heart pump' of the piece 'Etiology of Innocence' also needed at least two people to complete it; you pumped a rubber mechanical heart that in turn was connected to a wind up drawing machine, whilst someone the other side of the room could listen to the replicated music of a heart beat powered by the whole thing. Brilliant.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Pick of the Week - 07/08/09

This week in Pick of the Week:
• Learn Japanese just by pretending you can
• Go to Camden and see some art
• Watch interviews with ordinary people by the extraordinary David Lynch
• See an illustrator demonstrate their craft to some good live music
• Be a zombie film extra for Noel Fielding and break a world record

Go on…

Exhibition – Chosen by Oyinda
We cannot say what we cannot think, 22 Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AG

Celebrating the creative energy in and around the area, Camden Town Unlimited, in partnership with the London Borough of Camden are please to present an exhibition in their 'pop up' gallery by artists Jessica Holmes, Sinta Tantra and Samuel Williams. Exhibition runs from 13 - 23 August. You can also visit the artists installing their work from 10 - 12 August. Opening hours 11am - 7pm.

Film Project – Chosen by Alison
Interview Project by David Lynch

David Lynch's Interview Project is a film crew traveling across the US interviewing the people they find as they go from place to place. For a year an interview will be released every 3 days (they've got to number 24 so far) -Each interview begins with a slightly eerie Introduction from David Lynch that reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but the interviews themselves are strange and often quite heartwarming.

Event – Chosen by Holly
Be an extra in I Spit on Your Rave film with Noel Fielding!

Calling all 'Zombies', If you're going to The Big Chill this weekend look out for the deliciously funny Noel Fielding and join him in his attempt to break "mass participation zombie movie" records. He needs you as an extra in his upcoming apocalyptic film, 'I Spit on Your Rave'!

Event – Chosen by Alison
Heavy Pencil at the ICA

Heavy Pencil is a free night at the ICA bar where an illustrator draws live along to music of their own choosing while their process is projected onto a large screen for us to watch. This Friday at 8pm, it's Sac Magique who describes himself as liking 'to draw grotesques with lumps and protuberances'.

Website – Chosen by Lisa
All Japanese All The Time

A friend of mine recently found this blog and it has changed his life. Written by multi-linguist Khatzumoto it describes how the blogger learned Japanese in 18 months by playing a personal game where he acted as if he had to pretend he was Japanese because if secret services found out he wasn't they would kill him. My friend insists that it is wonderful for learning hints and tips in being more motivated about your goals... if your goals include learning Japanese then it'll be even more of a helpful read.


Tuesday, 4 August 2009


The quandaries of Facebook. And a nice ginger cat.
Artsblog Live Week ran from 25-29 May, celebrating all things art/internet related, and the good work so far of our wonderful Artsbloggers. Read more...

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Did you know?

I thought everyone learns the basic colour wheel in primary school but even at Foundation Art and Design level we had to go over colour theory… and many people weren’t sure what primary colours make what secondary colours. Also, our teacher insisted that opposite colours make grey. THEY DON’T, but they do make interesting neutral shades of one or the other colour. Which makes sense as opposite colours make brown in the right amount… which is the most neutral non-grey colour you can get… I mean, who’s ever heard of bright brown? Bright neon brown? Naaaaah.
ANYWAY. There are a lot of things in life that we really ought to know a lot earlier than we tend to find them out. I have a friend who’s been living on his own for a year who doesn’t know how to switch on a grill. My dad broke his kettle the other day trying to scrub out the scale because he doesn’t know the trick of boiling up vinegar in a kettle and leaving it overnight. Isn’t it supposed to be our parents who teach us all these things? What happens if they don’t know about them themselves?
How about a book, or a website, full of things we all need to know, not just household tips like 101 uses of vinegar but things like how to tell if a mole is getting unhealthy or things not to say when breaking up with someone. Just small but very necessary things… I have a book that tells you things like how to survive quicksand or how to battle a shark and I don’t think those things are entirely important to know unless you’re going someplace risky… although the “What to do if someone takes a gun out on the street” section might be handy for me as I live in East London…
So I looked around for a website that could offer such a service but the most promising looking site was, which, unfortunately, I could not investigate as the site is down for maintenance. Or was, at the very least, at the time of me writing this here blog. Maybe the makers just couldn’t handle the pressure of such a task! … if the site in question did actually serve the function that I was looking for.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a task for one person, or even a few people. How about a website where viewers of the site contribute their own hints and tips, entering their ideas into various sections of the ever growing databases, with users rating or confirming the entries of others?
Well, that’s kind of the point of Google, isn’t it? But no one cruises Google just reading random tips to store up for use later in their life, there has to be more of a lure, something that makes people WANT to read all of these very useful facts, so no father will ever break a kettle again!
Well, once a huge database is constructed of every thing a person really ought to know if they’re going to competently take care of themselves, a book or series thereof… perhaps a magazine? … could be published, making for a far nicer reading experience than a Yahoo Answers type website of random facts about living.

So, yes, that’s something I’d like to see, anyone know something like that they can recommend to me? If not, does anyone want to go do that? Well, just make sure you give me some royalties for coming up with the idea, yes? *goes to bed*