Project 'Cabin Fever' is well underway.This first week was spent collecting some interesting positive lockdown stories from some local artists. (you don't have to be an artist to take part in the project). They kindly created work for the project inspired by their stories. It feels great to be part of an actual person to person, tea drinking, creative community again. All of the work will be A6 or smaller, to fit on display in the cabin at the end of the residency. I can't wait to see what comes out of the next weeks. I am also looking forward to receiving some stories and art from way up in Orkney (along with some wool to weave with!) So, there is the option of posting work as long as they come with a story, just let me know at email@example.com and I will send info. Heres some images from last week. Thanks to Stevie Davies, Jenny Seals and Avalon Elizabeth Oakes.
the pigeon’s cüüüs curdle in my ear
their wings flap the warm, too warm, musty-aroma of the space in my direction
and it fills my mouth
I SIT on a bench and conduct a little audit of the space’s usages
MAN SORTS ‘VIDEO CARDS’ (looks like football or pokemon cards but he tells me when i ask that they are, ‘video cards’)
MAN WATCHES VIDEO ON SMARTPHONE, HEADPHONES IN, KNEES SPREAD, PHONE BETWEEN KNEES, HUNCHED IN (but not quite falling in) WITH INTENT
MAN EATS SANDWICH THEN SITS FOR HOURS IN WHAT COULD BE DESCRIBED AS CONTEMPLATION: HIS EYES WASH OVER THE BUILDINGS, THE LINES, CURVATURES OF THE BUILDING. DOES HE TAKE PLEASURE FROM THIS?Throughout the day i love to spot micro twinning efforts in and around the square-not-square: A perfectly placed farm foods, in sight from the square, waves the german flag in red-yellow-black, thank you very much an ornate doomed corner building over looking the square takes me to Bavaria. Munich perhaps. The arriva bus company’s internet, DB sponsored (the one perhaps deliberate effort in my noticings, a corporate result of the twinning town initiative), that doesn't let me connect as the bus moves ON The B1 bus stop sign that looks uncannily like the U5 line Old-kent-road-brown Blocky-font Neglected feel. Berlin, not Osnabrück, but I’ll take it. Ryan joins in my game when we buy our picnic later in the day from germany’s
The beautiful gallery space at Artcore seems to have been made for this installation of 'Small Promethean Acts'. The circular room has a very high ceiling from which a circular glass mobile hangs in the centre. Eight small speakers hang from the ceiling in the middle at head height so that you can place them to your ear to hear recorded stories about small acts of care collected from the public in Derby. It is lit with a warm light from spots on the wall and there is light enough to see 20 or more small assemblage sculptures made from tiny stoneware figures that have been made to fit around found domestic objects.
Not all the work was made for this installation. Some existing work sits next to new work made from things found, mostly on the streets, during the residency - like a serving platter, a Ruskin bowl, a child's hoover toy, plates, and a teapot. Others are older items that were found and kept over the years, like the singer sewing machine, an old typewriter, some taps, a string pot and a dustpan.
The sculptures are displayed on old white furniture of different sizes, used as plinths and arranged in a semi-circle ending in a snail shape that you enter to listen to the stories. They do not illustrate the stories, that are told quietly in a small hum that emanates from the speakers
The magic of encounter, the constellations and points of arrival and departure when you weave things together in conversation
I’ve been reflecting and reading about 'creative engagement'. For all the years that I have been able to call myself an artist I have wanted to engage people – take them on a tour or talk to them in the street. In the early 90s I made a lots of street performances that were about talking to people – about things. They would ask what I was doing - usually something strange – and the conversations that ensued would be the real ‘art work’. It was never possible to really capture this process although you could sometimes see glimpses in video documentation or ‘vox pops’ .
Visiting the Hepworth with my granddaughter, we were really taken with the materials they provided for ‘creative engagement’. Together we played with the wood, metal, soft ‘holed’ material that had been carefully designed and provided. The physical engagement with tactile and physical objects that related to the work on show, created conversations and a joint experience and exploration between us.
I also visited Manchester Art Fair and galleries and loved the Promethean vase on display. (Minton vase, 1875-1878) with captives hanging from the top of its beautiful blue Celeste glaze. It reminded me why my small sculpture for Small Promethean Acts reference this classic story: Prometheus stole the secret of fire for mankind. As punishment the gods chained him to a rock and commanded an eagle to peck
Salt and Water. Water and Salt.Salt and Water. Water and Salt. One is born from the other. Each can be separated from the other. Once called White Gold, a currency, the rise of wealth, the cause of war and exploitation. Sacred, holy it wards of evil. Its spillage is sinful and can bring bad luck. A sign of hospitality, loyalty and treachery. The more I research salt the more connections it seems to have with the human condition, culture and identity. I wanted to use the residency as an opportunity to really consider the medium I work with. To explore its properties, to play with it, to learn about it, to understand its benefits and limitations. Playing with materials is such a vital part of my artistic process; it allows me to experiment and expand my thoughts, seeing the materials move, change and react allow me to visually transfer text-based research and ideas through symbolism. I will not adopt a masterly tone and bore you, rather allow me to take you on a visual journey Both salt and water are essential and detrimental to our existence. The first part of this process was seeing what would happen to a chunk of Himalayan salt under a running tap within a few minutes the water created a hole within the salt. What was dry on the surface was now glistening and part translucent. Read More