2014 Open Longlist (F–L)

By artist surname or name of collective:

William Fairbrother – Pipes

It exploits the changing properties of the fluid flowing through the building creating a dynamic and subtly changing environment. As the fluid heats or cools it will alter the temperature and cause pipes to expand and contract. The fluid is not visible but its presence is manifested in sound and temperature. The flow of the fluid may come and go as the plumbing is turned on an off throughout the day. Events like emptying a sink may cause a rush of activity etc.

williamfairbrother.co.uk

Jon Fawcett – Ciri

This project, as with much of my recent work, is located in, and developed in relation to, the context of the entire planet, rather than a single site. It works with contemporary, engineering-based materials and technologies, and it’s form references military, intelligence, political and economic activities. A de-romanticised and realised sci-fi thriller, it exists in an undisclosed position on the scale of malevolence-to-benevolence-to-impotence. It embodies a negotiation and transcendence of territory, both spatially and in the claiming of high-level materials and technologies. A physical manifestation of a complex network of collaboration and negotiation, it’s network continues through media, experience and exchange.

A series of roughly spherical devices with undisclosed functionalities plot an elliptical form above and through the planet. Together, they infer a vast entity with uncertain qualities. Each device is held in an exact, GPS-defined position using its own complex, engineered mechanism. Air-based devices are sited using tethered balloons and drone technologies (ref. Blessor (2010), a quadracopter-drone which could deploy a cloud of tangerine flavoured icing sugar to any location). Locations close to the ground are sited within larger engineered structures, gently referencing Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International (ref. Whum (2012), a highly engineered, torsional field generating structure). Devices below ground will be buried and viewed using drilling/coring technologies (referencing the giant underground bases and smaller survival shelters of conspiracy theorists).

The spheres are obtuse and impenetrable, emanating and attractive, (ref. In Terms of Cognition, Pan-Dimensionality Is Not Best Accessed Through Mathematics (2010), a pan-dimensional object whose materials included ginseng and a serotonin stimulant; Wheel (Items) (2007), a matt pink, carbon-fibre device operated in eight different locations in the highlands of Ecuador; and Whum, described above, whose pods contained undisclosed ‘mystical’ materials).

The locations of the devices are mapped using 3D software and GIS (Geographic Information Software) (ref. Common Star (2005), an enormous, non-physical object, mapped/manifested above Whitehall; Cuboid (2004) a detailed description of the exact position of a 10,000km long cuboid passing through the planet; and Radiance (2011), a group of women, located across West London, hypnotised by walkie-talkie to become broadcasting energy nodes).

While many of the devices are sited in remote locations, some lie in urban centres, making them easier to access. More remote locations can be visited independently, as part of organised trips, or can be viewed online. All locations are documented and significant energy is put into the project’s dissemination online and in local and national media. Such representation maintains a somewhat obtuse or obscured aesthetic (which is neither fictionalised or dramatised), echoing the aesthetics of a conspiracy event such as a UFO sighting. This can be achieved both in the way the material is disseminated and with the collaboration of the journalists involved.

The engineering of this project, as well as the negotiations needed to carry it out, may seem like a substantial undertaking. I hope that as you look at documentation of projects I have already completed, you will get a sense that I/we have the experience necessary to complete it successfully. All of the communications, collaborations, networks, systems and technologies behind the project, inferred through its very existence, are an important part of how the work operates. The negotiations within the work relate to several earlier works, such as Guard (2010) – a mercenary posted on the street outside a gallery holding a replica machine gun – which involved a lot of negotiation to realise; EIR (2012) – a collaboration with the London School of Psychic Studies, who interviewed members of the public about joining a secret organisation – which also took some sensitivity to organise; Common Star (already mentioned), which involved collaborations with 3D modellers, and discussions with police as laser measuring tools were used on several government buildings; and several projects involving dialogues such as CLa (2003), in which companies on a line through the City were cold-called by trained volunteers in an attempt to get plaques installed in their offices, marking the line, Caught in a Trap (2002), in which homeowners on a line were asked if holes could be drilled through their houses (thirty-five doors knocked, twenty-three recorded conversations, three agreements to drill). In terms of the engineering side of the project, I hope that my descriptions and documentation of existing works included with this proposal, along with further documentation available online, should provide enough of a sense of what I and my network are capable of.

It is important that my work operates independently of extraneous material, simply through an image glanced in a newspaper or in a gallery, but I also enjoy the textual and narrative material - the myth - which surrounds a project. Material lists, locations, possible insider knowledge, the networks I have already mentioned, all play their part in developing the dynamic of a work. The opacity/simplicity with which I present my projects demands an active engagement from a viewer, and I believe that this commitment leads to a more heightened, integrated experience. I enjoy the near total dysfunctionality of epically complex projects with little viewable outcome. I am interested in ‘multiplicity’ – an artwork existing in more than one paradigm, making it complicate and hover, as opposed to resolve, and ‘mentalism’ – a too-muchness or a going-beyond what is acceptable in terms of what an artwork is and how it operates.

jonfawcett.com

Russell Finch – Hope In Another

This piece is about the way headphones shape modern life.

In 2001, Janet Cardiff made Forty Part Motet by playing Spem In Alium through forty speakers positioned around a space. Hope in Another is a response to that piece for the digital age, looking at the way headphones and smart technology have affected how we relate to other people and the spaces around us.

To do this, we need a darkened room, forty people, their phones, some headphones and a specially designed digital app.

We also need a special recording of Spem In Alium, the Tallis Scholars, and Arundel House, the vacant concrete office block on the Strand.

The Experience: On arrival, participants receive an audio app and headphones but no guidance. They enter the large space in near darkness. As they get used to moving slowly through the gloom, each person will begin to hear one of the 40 choral parts of the motet in their headphones. When they are close to another participant (I mean pretty close, actually in another's personal space..), they begin to hear the other's part. The more people they stay close to, the more parts of the piece they hear. The shifting proximities of each person in range changes the volume of the corresponding musical part. The result is in an ever-shifting polyphony, determined by the group's movement. When eventually everyone is close enough that all 40 parts of the choir are heard, the Tallis Scholars, who have been mingling incognito, begin to sing the climax of the piece aloud, surrounding everyone in the middle of an intensely moving sound-world as the lights swell.

Title: The title takes the motet's latin title out of context suggesting a different interpretation of the piece. On their own, the three words Spem In Alium mean ‘hope in another’. It runs counter to the full meaning of the motet’s words Spem in alium nunquam habui praeter in te: I have never put my hope in any other but you o God.

Venue: The piece will be staged in the disused office block on Arundel Street just off the Strand. In the 16th century it was the site of Arundel House, where Spem In Alium may have first been performed. Thomas Tallis composed the motet for the Earl of Arundel. Sources suggest it was performed at the long gallery of Arundel House. The palace was demolished in the 19th century. Today part of the site is occupied by a sixties concrete office block (where I once had a job). It is currently a disused empty shell, awaiting demolition.

Music: Spem In Alium is a forty-part Renaissance motet by Thomas Tallis, composed in 1570 for eight choirs of five voices each. It is about ten minutes long.

Technology: The app will use relatively simple technology, sensing proximity using bluetooth and a cutting edge new device: the iBeacon.

App:  The app will be made available for free download for others to stage subsequently. A version of the piece can be made for a virtual online space as well.

Doug Fishbone – Knock Off

In the extraordinary Chinese village of Dafen, thousands of workers are devoted to replicating well-known Western oil paintings for export by the container load, in conditions more generally associated with the manufacture of inexpensive gadgets and toys. This bizarre offshoot of globalisation offers an unusual and compelling departure point for an exhibition project.

Many interesting issues are raised by the production of art works in such a strange context - the role of the artwork as commodity and questions of originality, value and reproduction; the centrality of informal economies and the precarity of labor in contemporary manufacturing; the implications of outsourcing Western production to Asia and the developing world; and anxiety over China’s position as both the ascendant economic power and the scourge of the global intellectual property community, to name just a few.

I am interested in using this phenomenon to investigate a slightly different question – how the authority of the museum context turns artworks into sacred objects.

Proposal:

Working in the tradition of artists who intervene in museum collections to re-frame the viewers’ experience, I would like to reproduce an iconic masterwork from a prestigious permanent collection in London in one of China’s replica studios. This replicated work would then be shown in place of the original work, in its original frame, in its customary location in the museum collection, unbeknownst to the public for a short period.

Thousands of viewers would interact with the painting unaware of the switch, and would engage in an otherwise normal gallery-going experience, replete with the sense of awe and respect that they commonly display in front of iconic works of art.

Presenting work in this manner makes the process of viewing art in a museum environment suddenly open to question, challenging not only the validity of the masterpieces themselves, but the whole museum-going experience itself.

I am in discussion with one of Europe’s most important Old Master collections, which would be a uniquely challenging venue for this experiment, and I am working in close collaboration with the curatorial team to develop the project.

Clearly, there is much public interest in the subject of forgeries and fakeries, as the popularity of recent exhibitions of fakes and forgeries at both the Victoria & Albert Museum and The National Gallery in London, and of programmes like BBC’s Fake or Fortune attests. However, given the institutional sensitivities involved, these shows have tended towards a very cautious and guarded presentation of inauthentic material, with absolutely no uncertainty as to provenance.

Knock Off would propose to be much more challenging, destabilising the act of viewing art in an institutional context, and questioning the authority that museums and galleries have in presenting and canonising work – an authority that goes largely unquestioned by the public. We simply trust that the work on view is what it is stated to be – we’ve seen it reproduced and it looks like we remember it’s supposed to look, and like the postcard of it we may have bought in the shop – so why we would ever doubt that it was authentic?

This project depends on the use of decent-enough replicas to be credible. However, even with fakes of a slightly lesser quality, the sheer authority of the museum context, and the gravitas behind it, would override any suspicions in the vast majority of individuals.

As part of the research, a test order has already been done with a Chinese studio on an Old Master painting to determine the quality of the reproduction studio, and the initial result is excellent.

With the announcement made that the museum, was exhibiting a replica as part of a contemporary art project, the gesture would quietly and invisibly go to work, questioning much of the traditional experience of viewing art in a museum context.

A game of identification thereby is offered to viewers, challenging their ability to decide which work had been swapped, and which others, then, are genuine. With this slight, yet radical gesture, the entire museum collection would suddenly be made open to question.

The publicity surrounding this could well be significant, and it might be a welcome way to introduce some humour into the institution while maintaining a sophisticated critical stance about the mechanics of cultural production and current anxieties about China.

In turn, the project would illustrate China’s own fascination for Western culture and its desire to emulate it in many different forms. Celebrated heritage sights such as Dorchester, Dorset, Hallstat, Austria and Venice have all been painstakingly reconstructed in southern China.

As such, the project moves beyond the simpler idea of the replica as such, to see how a Chinese painter replicates a Western European painting - is it just a copy or is their a sense of cultural exchange between two continents that have a decidedly different view on what art is and used for?

Follow-up

The project could form the basis of a conference or colloqium at the institution in question on the issue of replicas, with invited historians and legal authorities. It would also form the basis of a range of projects for London school children to enable them to challenge ideas of how they look at and interact with art.

Finally, we would be keen to make a related publication and a documentary for TV broadcast, that would record the process of such a commission and intervention with collection from beginning to end.

Given that the project would bestow a respectable provenance on the replica, it could well becoming a touring exhibition, and attraction, in its own right.

dougfishbone.com

Rebecca French / Andrew Mottershead – Low Wind Rising (working title)

Our joint practice examines the conventions of social exchange within the public and private realms, and incorporates performance, site-specific interventions, photography, film and sound. Previous projects have involved us working over a period of time with a particular group, or groups of people, to create performative interventions (Microperformances at art museums and social clubs) and large-scale photographic projects (Over the Threshold with residents of Soho, London). Our proposal stems from this trajectory/body of work and also specifically from a research residency undertook in Japan in 2013.

Low Wind Rising

How might sadness sound?

Ah the sad wind blows. – Joan Baez

How might fear sound?

Babylon's burning, You're burning the street, You're burning your houses, With anxiety. – The Ruts

How might contentment sound?

Come, warm yourselves by the fire
Environmental sounds like water can produce a feeling of cleansing, change and reawakening, while wind can provoke a sense of lack of direction, perhaps a place, or moment not to be trusted. – David Sonnenschein - Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema p 205

We’re interested in how on the one hand archetypal sound can stir our ancestral or collective memories, bringing us into a space through an emotional response, such as wind blowing through the grass. And on the other hand, how moments of collective action/performance can bring about its own unexpected soundscape, with an understood social and political message. Recently, in the Ukraine, protesters hammered overturned cars with found metal objects. In 2002, Argentineans performed their anger at the economic crisis by en masse, banging pots and pans to create a monumental soundscape. After the UK riots in 2011, the public brought out their brooms onto the streets to sweep up the broken glass.

Sound is all-encompassing, epic, enormous and biblical, and intimate. It can usher in a change of consciousness, or a state of being. It also forms part of the cinematic canon, with sound designers creating emotive responses in their viewers from a vast palette of sounds. For example, wind is used to great emotional effect in The Ice Storm, Scott of the Antarctic and Key Largo. The relationship between sound and the epic, the cinematic, and in turn the emotions sound evokes is the starting point for this work. Our soundscapes will present sadness, fear, anger and happiness. Sadness, for example, could be a mix of various elements: solitude, disorientation, futility, blindness, helplessness, uselessness, destruction, void, impermanence.

Low Wind Rising will appropriate and bastardise Foley and sound designer’s techniques in an attempt to evoke big emotions through the use of everyday objects, and by the means of collective action/performance. Within this process there’s a slippage between the emotion we’re intending to perform, how we try to sincerely enact it, and the inherently humorous nature of using readily-available domestic and found objects to make noise. Many tricks-of-the-trade traditionally used by Foley artists are simple to recreate and have a DIY aesthetic. It is this aesthetic, its accessibility, and transformative and potentially poetic nature that excites us.

The proposal is comprised of three interrelated parts

  1. A research and knowledge-gathering stage in which, through individual meetings and collaborative workshops, we collaborate with experts such as aural psychologists, composers, sound engineers and Foley experts, and begin building our production network. Conceptually we’ll clarify the emotions, sounds, and techniques we want to concentrate on, and who the participants might be and what place they occupy in our society. Our starting point for this will be to investigate meaning, noise, and memory to gauge what people’s own experience of sound is, and how this is related to their social identity and geographical location.
  2. Led by the research, an emotionally-evocative epic score will be composed, bringing together large numbers of people from across the country to perform group actions with everyday objects to create soundscapes. As with our working process to date, the participants are critical to the development of the work. So we intend to invite socially-specific groups from particular sections of society to perform an emotion within a particular site, or nearby sound/film studio setting. Examples we envisage working with at this stage include: the teenage EMOs who occupy Cathedral Gardens in Manchester spinning bamboo sticks through the air, combining to creating ‘a sad wind’; a team of players of survival horror computer games building a fear soundscape at London’s Abbey Road Studios; or an assemblage of Somerset gardeners on a village green, collectively agitating rainwater from their water butts into an anxiety-inducing flood of noise and action. These actions may be lend themselves to be presented as live performances as well as being performed for camera.
  3. The resulting exhibition-quality film and soundscapes of these actions will be installed to create an immersive environment. This filmmaking is intimate and epic, in which emotions are performed in a variety of ways and volumes, with the intention to evoke emotional responses in the gallery viewer. These films could be akin to perfect three-minute music videos, but ultimately the form will be dictated by the research. We can envisage a series of vignettes filmed and sound-recorded by a professional sound and camera crew, directed by us, and focusing on the performers’ emotional engagement in performing the score, and the interplay between their bodies and the objects.

The film installation would benefit from claiming a space within an existing building (redundant or used) that embodies an emotional character. The core location of the project could be resource-driven. Manchester, for example, has the people, the buildings, and the technical resources and knowhow at BBC’s Media City. However, the installation’s emotional universality means it can circulate nationally and internationally, whilst the soundscapes, or ‘a making of’ programme is also suitable for radio broadcast.

frenchmottershead.com

Jack Furness / Nikki Parrott – L’enfant et les Sortliges (The Child and the Spells), a film

This project is an expansion of and follow up to Jack Furness’ (director) and Nikki Parrott’s (producer) recent Tigerlily / Shadwell Opera collaboration for Channel 4 Random Acts. Those short films, Serenade and Cherubino, both shot on the Lockner Estate in Hackney, attempted to prove, on a small scale, that opera could translate well onto film in a site-specific, contemporary way, as opposed to either the lush period-drama mode of filming opera or the simple filming of a stage event. We also used this project to explore technically how opera could be brought to the screen, in terms of sound / music etc. An important part of what we did with the Shadwell Opera Random Acts was to establish that, if opera is the spectacle that occurs when several art forms are mashed together with music, and none given precedence, opera can exist on film, if the camera has as active a role in shaping the narrative as the music. That project has given us the confidence to move on to something altogether more ambitious and challenging, which is outlined below.

The Opera

Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges (1917 – 1925), tells the story of a child who destroys things in his room in a rage, after his mother confines him for not doing his homework. The destroyed objects, such as a Louis XV chair, a teapot, a grandfather clock, a fairytale princess torn from a storybook, come to life and nightmarishly torment the child. In the second part, the child’s room dissolves into a garden heaving with talking animals, which berate the child for hurting, catching or maiming them previously. The animals become a raging mob, intent on teaching the child a lesson. As the child calls out for his mother, a squirrel is injured, and the child, almost fainting, bandages the squirrel’s paw. The animals recognise the child’s goodness and call for his mother, carrying him back towards the house.

Often viewed as a child-like cry by Ravel in longing for his dead mother, and an expression of the lost innocence of the generation that fought in the Great War, this fantastical opera is infused with the avant-garde atmosphere of the Ballet Russes. Musically, it is filled with pastiche, adopting and parodying elements from across the spectrum of French and international music history, including jazz.

The Estate

Situated on the Kingsland Road, Lockner Estate has particular features that make it a perfect site for this project. The first is the extraordinary enthusiasm of the residents for using the estate in new ways, evidenced by an active Tenants’ Association, and the incredibly exciting way that the community responded to the shooting of Serenade. The second is that the estate forms a series of courtyards where windows from all of the flats and houses face in towards each other. This means that the environment can be controlled easily but also it invites the residents to engage with each other and with whatever is happening in the courtyard. When we shot Serenade, a large number of residents, knowing that the shooting was taking place, came outside onto balconies or looked out of their windows for some free opera! We want to encourage this and take it much further.

The Film

Our aim is to push the meeting of opera and film as far as we can towards its limits, the Lockner Estate providing the collision site. We hope to create a tension within the film between the theatrical and the digital. We will do this in several ways: by situating the opera in the Lockner Estate as a normal, everyday reality; by transforming that normal, everyday reality into a surrealist, virtual, operatic, garden landscape through the key uniting idea of the video game; by realising the different objects and animals through a mix of puppetry, animation, circus performance, projection, 3D projection mapping, CGI, and actors and singers; and by putting all of that on people’s screens! The use of huge puppets will allow us to create the child’s perspective on the events he witnesses, as well as contributing to the question of the status of what we are watching – is it virtual, tangible, fictional or real, especially when you watch it on a screen? By mixing these with the other techniques mentioned above, we will create a Wonderland-like play with scale.

We will also create, “a Normandy house; old, or rather old-fashioned” (une maison normande, ancienne, ou mieux: démodée) as Collete’s libretto specifies, as a place to film the first part of the opera. Beginning the film inside this house would allow us, at a later point in the film, to reveal the artificiality of the house and its place within the general installation of the surreal garden landscape in the courtyards of Lockner, foregrounding questions of authenticity in site-specific performance, in Ravel’s music, in opera in general and in the process of bringing opera to film.

Opera is inherently non-naturalistic. It is an artificial, impure, representative, art. Ravel’s L’enfant is a limit case of this impulse, to the extent that it is almost unrealisable on a stage. It presents so many practical challenges of such extraordinary difficulty, that bringing it onto film will open up the possibility of producing the opera with a degree of extravagance that has simply not yet been possible. Crucially, film offers a level of supposed realism that the stage cannot offer in terms of realising the different design challenges of the opera. This project is centred on promblematising that supposition of realism and reasserting the common artificiality of opera and film. Lockner Estate is the site of that transformation from the supposed filmic naturalism to the surreal and serene operatic artificiality. We want people to watch it and think, at first, “opera on a housing estate can be contemporary and like real life”, and use that thought to lead them down the rabbit-hole into the madness, grandeur and strangeness of operatic reality, and to see the everyday transfigured into the out-of-this-world. Perhaps opera is about restoring that childish sense of wonder? Once we accept a talking clock or dragonfly, can we accept a singing one?

Through this we will question the basic nature of operatic reality, and ask the questions: can opera exist on film?, and, can opera exist on the Lockner estate?, as well as: can the Lockner estate exist in an opera? If you watch an opera online filmed on a housing estate, where does the opera exist? On the estate? On the screen?

Community Involvement

We will seek to involve the community in the project in four ways.

  1. The first and most obvious way is that the estate will be transformed into a crazy garden, complete with: bizarrely shaped topiary as at Levens Hall or the Francisco Alvarado Park in Costa Rica; a mock Norman house; and a whole host of different sorts of puppetry. Achieving this will require the community to get behind the project and hopefully enjoy, and interact with the installation. Perhaps we will be able to leave it there for a while after filming for the community to enjoy.
  2. L’enfant requires a chorus of children to be walking, talking numbers from an arithmetic book. We will seek to cast as many local children as possible in these small but fun-filled roles.
  3. We will put on a semi-staged performance of 'L’enfant' for the residents of the estate, in the courtyards of the estate, and will use this to record the sound for the film.
  4. We will hold a screening of the finished film on the estate, in the courtyards where it was filmed.

The combination of these four things will involve the community in the project from start to finish, making the site of Lockner Estate about much more than the literal space used.

Kerry Morrison (artist) / Paul Fyles (engineer) – rain sheds light

our climate has changed

we live in insecure financial climates

low rates of growth

turbulent weather conditions

economic and environmental unrest

natural disasters and economic crisis’ flood our screens

so how can art transform what appear to be negatives into something positive? In-situ have been collaborating with a local engineer to design a system that channels rain water run off through a series of water wheels on the outside of an empty mill in Pendle, Lancashire. The mill roof area is 3800 sq meters. On an average day of rain – of which we have 10 a month – one downspout generates 3 tons of water per hour. There are currently 10 downspouts from the mill roof. We know we could channel this water, run it over water wheels, and generate electricity. On the outside of the building, a series of waterwheels would look spectacular. But beyond that, the electricity banked in power storage systems could be channelled through DC/AC invertors: ready to use to power up a derelict situation.

In addition, the water wheels could function as wind turbines. On dry breezy days, the wheels would continue to turn, and continue to generate electricity. And, for those occasional dry, calm, sunny Lancashire days, solar units in the centre of each wheel would also produce electricity – and sparkle like reflectors on a bicycle wheel.

The electricity generated could be put to a number of uses. The mill, owned by the local authority and managed by a Council joint venture partnership, is in an interim state. Gutted, and without power, it awaits investment from developers to be regenerated into a housing and leisure complex. It is agreed that this may take years. In the interim, the local authority and venture partnership wish to see the mill used as a cultural venue: exhibitions, installations, cultural conferences, live music, and events. Although like most local authorities they have no money. And the mill has no power. "Rain sheds light" could spectacularly bring life back into the mill, and into the town.

A few specifics

The mill façade overlooks the Leeds Liverpool canal,

And is overlooked by the M65

It is clearly visible to boaters and motorists

It is also clearly visible within the town.

It was the cornerstone of the town’s development.

It is the reason the town grew.

It is the reason why the town has a multi cultural community.

It is a locally significant building

It is an iconic building

That now stands empty.

The town has high rates of unemployment.

The mill roof is 3800 sq meters

On an average wet day – of which there are (on average) 10 + a month – we get (on average) of 3.5 mm per day

For every square meter of horizontal surface area, 1 millimeter of rainfall will produce 1 liter of water.

Volume of rainwater on an average wet day = horizontal area (4400) x depth of rainfall (3.5mm)

That’s a lot of rainwater

Beyond keeping the mill alive during its interim phase and shining a spotlighting a deserved corner of Lancashire, "rain sheds light" also illuminates local climate, and climate change issues: nationally and globally.

rain sheds light could be a zero carbon build: created from reclaimed cotton mill equipment. Lancashire has many salvage yards selling old mill equipment from dust extractors to looms – all of which could be utilized to create a spectacular kinetic feature that generates electricity. And of course, the electricity generated will be zero carbon energy: green energy. This could influence how the mill is developed in terms of sustainable and renewable resources.

rain sheds light, as a concept, came about through a social engaged practice. In-situ, a new art initiative and artist collective, are based in the town and for the past 12 months have been working in public and developing relationships with people who live in the town. Paul Fyles, the engineer, is a local man. The concept came about through on-going conversations as part of a socially engaged art practice. In-situ’s way of working has also captured the imagination of the local authority. The local authority is supporting in-situ by allowing an international conference: International Networks, Local Landscapes to take place in the mill. The conference has attracted international speakers from Pakistan and the USA, including, Rick Low from Project Row Houses, Houston, Texas. (The council is so strapped that they cannot support us financially, though as an organisation we are in receipt of a G4A from ACE. This award has funded the past 12 months of activity in the town, but does not extend beyond the summer 2014). For more information about in-situ, and to get a flavour of how we work and the projects we are working in collaboration on, please visit:

in-situ.org.uk
insitu-uk.blogspot.co.uk
facebook.com/save.brierfield.signalbox
facebook.com/insitupendle
facebook.com/pages/Recorded-Soul/609152512462191
natureexposed.tumblr.com

Deborah Galloway – Home

A time travelling immersive experience for children, which fuses dance, theatre, technology and live music.

How can two worlds exist in the same place at the same time? Possible in mental time travel but what about reality?

In the bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Biggs, the young hero is on a quest to uncover his grandfather’s secretive past. He finds Miss Peregrine’s abandoned orphanage and discovers children, (the peculiars) trapped in a time loop. In truth, the children are octogenarians living in their child bodies.

Without telling the narrative of the book I’ve set the immersive experience Home in a repeated day.

The location is an orphanage/children’s industrial home. The young audience become time travellers and enter the (digital/technology based)Time Machine experiencing sensors, noise activation from physical activity, space restrictions, (i.e labyrinth,) optical illusions,projections and activities that challenge their perception of reality and the concept of time.

The children pass through the portal into the magical space of Sep 3 1940. They are met by the orphans and a live band, 'The Peculiars', who perform. Inspired by the coney island freak shows and Victoriana photography, the peculiars have unusual gifts revealed through dance, theatre and projection.

The time-travellers use a survival kit to navigate their way through the building back home. What’s reality? When taken into alternate rooms, adults (over 60) are revealed as the children in 1940 (through costume and character ) but living a different reality.

The process allows for creativity, imagination and team work from the young people interacting with cutting edge technology and surreal dance theatre.

The set combines the 1940s and modern day with areas neglected, as if left untouched until 2014.

I’ve contacted the author Ransom Riggs who has given me his blessing to create the production and will help promote it.

The storyline delves into the concept of ‘living each day exactly like your last’ and then ‘living each day as if it’s your last’.

Working with writer and poet Sarah Hehir the roaming piece will be structured creatively to include a performance element and the young audience actively navigating their return to 2014.

This bold immersive experience will change the landscape for children's theatre. Home challenges children’s perception of their own reality and inspires a mindset to imagine a creative future.

Target age 8–13

Possible Locations: The Ragged Museum, Museum of childhood, Wellcome Trust, BAC, Science Museum.Ideally I’d like to find a disused orphanage or space that has a history with housing children in the UK i.e Queen Elizabeth Hospital for children (closed down)

The Cast

  • 8 performers and the band The Peculiars (Young professionals and children)
  • 8 performers aged 60+

Creative Team

  • Choreography/Direction: Deborah Galloway (most recently Assistant choreographer to Rambert’s Artistic Director, Mark Baldwin for a new production for Ballett de Stattstheater, Saarbrucken, Germany and INALA: Zulu Ballet, a collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Edinburgh Festival, Sadlers Wells and Tour) and Director/choreographer of Vintage Rambert: A dance theatrical revealing the life of Rambert’s founder Marie Rambert.
  • Writer: Sarah Hehir (winner BBC writers prize 2013)
  • Digital Projection Mapping: Department of Brilliant
  • Scientist and Consultant: Professor Nicky Clayton, Cambridge University
  • Set design, Composer, Technology of Time Machine - company to be found.
  • Nicola Clayton, who is the Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Psychology Department at the University of Cambridge and Scientist in Residence at Rambert, will be the scientific consultant. She will provide advice about the psychology of time, particularly the self's perception of time, and young peoples' development in understanding these concepts about time. Although physical time travel is the stuff of fiction, we spend much of our time engaged in mental time travel, thinking about the past and the future, yet we struggle to truly transcend the self in the present. This leads us to make a number of fundamental errors in perspective taking, both about what we think our future selves will want, and what we think others see and know when their view point is different from ours. We assume that these other times and other minds are more similar to our present self than they ever really are.

I’m a choreographer who has also developed many education projects for Rambert and want to develop an education project around the devising process of Home.

My aim is to engage non dancers in the education work to increase interest in dance.

Working with companies like Ministry of Stories and poetry/writing groups and schools, mentor, Sarah Hehir and myself would like to host a competition for young writers, poets and artists.

Brief: Read the book and create their own peculiar.

They can submit text, poetry, art work or photograph about their Peculiar. The winning profile will feature in an aspect of the performance.
I’d also like to use the writing submissions, drawings etc in the set or wallpaper design for the production. I have contacts (Keats House, The poetry School, Anna Selby: South Bank Centre, Bow Arts ) through my creative movement workshops with writers to initiate this education strand.

Dance techniques: contemporary, ballet, physical theatre.There will be live and recorded music, song and text.

The choreography is inspired by the skills of the peculiars. i.e
The Levitator: never touches ground, constantly lifted throughout space and placed on turrets and piles of stuff off ground including overlarge chairs/piles of books. Huge iron shoes are placed on the floor by an assistant so she step into them and dance.

School Scene.
The performers have a lesson on how to beat time and time travel.The monotony of a school lesson is repeated increasing in speed. Miss Peregrine morphs into a bird, (everything in bird world goes at twice the speed).

Millard – The invisible: He’s always there and part of every scene but no-one sees him. The only time the camerscopic visualator can catch his form is when he dances and the audience can see a hologram of Millard. The peculiars set up props to create the stunt i.e mirror, umbrellas, frames, stuffed rabbits etc as if its a magic trick.

Mark Goddard / Daniel Goddard – Aerial

Suspicionless surveillance does not become okay simply because it's only victimising 95% of the world instead of 100%. – Edward Snowden

The UK is being watched by a network of 4.9m CCTV cameras, this translates to one camera for every 14 UK citizens, the vast majority are run by private companies who capture, store and own your image.

We are surrounded by CCTV technology, our journeys can be logged from camera to camera across any city or Town Centre, along roads, on transport systems. We have no say in the placing of these cameras, their content or the use of their images.

Openness and participation are antidotes to surveillance and control. – Howard Rheingold

Aerial allows us to take some control of how we view ourselves, where we live, to own our image of our land and also look at our view of the future as we move away from the planet towards space.

The project maps the country by showing a view of the UK over the course of a year. Cameras will be attached to helium balloons and released, one a day for 365 consecutive days.

The balloons will be released from 365 different locations to form a grid that covers the whole of the UK. 365 different people/organisations will be invited to release the balloons, each from a different area of the UK, they will be local to the launch point and will decide where and at what time of the given day they will release their balloon.

The balloons will be tracked on their route by GPS and collected once they land, there is a deliberate random factor to the project, we control only the launch area, terrain, weather conditions and battery life means that each film will be unique, varying in length, distance covered, quality of footage. All footage will be included there will be no selection process on the final footage.

The Footage will be accessed in two forms:

Online: Each days film is uploaded to a website, starting with a single screen on day one and adding more images as they are filmed, the site will will be a flowing motion tapestry of images which will be shown online as a growing interactive video piece where you can press any small video clip to make it full screen or watch the tapestry of clips as they grow daily. Ending with 365 images running concurrently, giving the appearance of a living organism.

After the first film has been online for a year, it will be deleted leaving a black hole in the piece as will each film in turn over the next year until all the films are deleted.

Installation:

As near to the location of the exact geographic centre of UK as possible. Potentially Ribble Valley, Clitheroe, Lancaster, or Skipton Lancashire, England.

As with the online piece, the installation will start with one monitor, housed in a box, showing the first days film with a new monitor added each day for a year. As with the launching of the balloons, each boxed monitor is positioned by a different person who will decide where to place the box in the space until there is a random bank of 365 monitors, all showing the continuous loop of a days film.

honeybrothers.com

Paloma Gormley / Lettice Drake / Matthew Herbert – museum of sound (working title)

The proposal is a collaboration between design collective Practice Architecture and musician / producer Matthew Herbert.

Matthew Herbert:

First launched in 2007, the museum of sound is a free place to listen. it is designed to be somewhere to listen to 1982, or paris on a crisp winter’s morning, or a lemon being squeezed, or the conflict in syria, or 10,000 babies being born at the same time. it is a place to remember, to catalogue, to compare, study, investigate, and to hear the world in a new way. it is also a place to compose. sound is too interesting a phenomonen to simply play in isolated clips, however engaging the source material. so the museum of sound is designed to allow us to listen in new ways too, to compose how we want to hear the exhibits. every sound should sit within a collection and any person uploading a new sound is a curator.

Whilst at its heart, it is a giant love song to sound, the museum is most interested in hearing sounds in context. this means putting them alongside other sounds of similar origin, or grouping them together around a particular place, time, theme, or date. when our technology allows, in the future, you will be able to listen to multiples of sound playing at the same time, layering up events, recordings or accidents to discover ways of listening we haven’t been able to explore before. it’s not as if, in the past, we’ve been able to easily sync up 25,000 tape machines to play at the same time. we’ve had the recorded image since cave painting, but recorded sound just over 100 years. the majority of our recordings though have been of music and talking. in that sense, sound is a new frontier and here at the museum we believe we are entering the age of sound: a chance to hear the world in all sorts of new and engaging ways. it’s only when we can put these sounds all together in one place though and allow them to coexist side by side, on top or beneath each other that we can start to build our understanding, piece by piece, noise by noise, of this peculiar, brilliant, noisy, endangered place we call home.

Practice Architecture:

A purpose built building dedicated to the observance of recorded sound - a permanent space carved into the city, engulfed in its mass. It is a space that holds and contains its occupants and in doing so provides a different kind of space - of absorption, internalisation and projection. It belongs to the streets - the public realm, but once inside the city is removed, edited out visually and acoustically.

The idea is in part prompted by the Meikyoku Kissa – Japanese cafés where people gather in silence to listen to music. Somewhere where it is possible to be alone together, to listen, to soak, to think. A man-made cave. A cathedral / a monastery / a museum; somewhere to be - consuming like the sea. This kind of space is rare in the city; somewhere where you can be without event, without having paid to enter and without any expectation of you as audience.

Architecturally it is prescriptive, defining your relationship with it and the others - orientating each listener to the source of the sound rather than each other. It is accommodating, of sitting, resting, standing, nestling. In the tradition of the echo chamber the physics of sound would formally sculpt the space, aiding its trajectory from loudspeakers to earholes. The speakers are very good and probably very big – they are the altar. The sounds they amplify transforms this concrete architecture, creating alternative landscapes for each listener.

Constantine Gras – The Elephant in the Haunted Castle

This is an arts project exploring the film and theatre history of the Elephant and Castle in South London. It’s a site-specific installation, film and community project. The project is born out of several years research into the creative links between theatre and film, melodrama and horror. It will focus on the Coronet Club, 28 New Kent Road, which is the location for the former theatre and cinema.

I want to reconstruct scenes from the archive, specifically revolving around the theatrical and cinematic careers of Marie Henderson and Tod Slaughter. Pathé and BFI archive footage will also be used. I will link these melodramatic traditions to the European and British 1970s exploitation cinema, including the work of Mario Bava and Pete Walker.

Detailed research blogs can be read on my website under the following headings:

  • The 1970s: smut, slash, awfully good.(04/02/14)
  • Monster mashup at Elephant and Castle. (11/02/14)
  • Marie Henderson: Victorian Actress of Melodrama 20/02/14).

I am still mapping out artistic possibilities and maintain an open line regarding the development of this project. It might be art based (showing in a gallery or staged as a live event at the Coronet) or more community focused (a Secret Cinema type event staged at Elefest), or possibly a combination of the two. I value the input and collaboration of other project partners. The resulting art work should connect the historic and cultural conventions of melodrama and horror in a new and exciting way for modern audiences.

I am currently compiling a detailed social history of the Elephant and Castle Theatre (1872–1928) and also the buildings subsequent use as an ABC Cinema (1932–1999) and The Coronet (2003–present day). This will consider how “melodrama” and “horror” was produced by directors and actors and how it was received by primarily working class audiences and more middle class critics. On an academic level, I am working with the Melodrama Research Group at the University of Kent.

I’ve already started work on a series of narrative (storyboard) drawings and a thriller-horror screenplay based on Tod Slaughter’s landmark performance of Maria Marten at the Elephant and Castle Theatre in 1927; this was scheduled to run for one week and was a smash hit running to over 100 performances and bringing West End audiences to the E&C.

Please note that I often work in this multi-media format in the development of a project.

Community input to the project could be realised by running a reminiscence workshop or connecting with an older community in the Lambeth and Southwark area; this could tap into the Picture Palace project about lost cinemas of the Kennington and the E&C area. They might share memories of early cinema and theatrical traditions and be invited to recreate performances from horror and melodrama. This could be contrasted with younger and more ethnically diverse audiences. Recent immigrant communities will have a differing perception of theatre and cinema and emotions connected with horror and melodrama. This element of the project could be facilitated by tapping into online communities. Ideally the community element should be incorporated into the art work or presented as related displays.

Theatrical and cinematic performances in melodrama and horror are noted for their extremes of emotion. The characters are often “mad” in a stereotypical way. Marie Henderson in real life suffered from the undiagnosed symptoms of syphilis and died in 1882 as a patient at Bedlam hospital. A potential community arts project could relate the art of melodrama and horror to mental health issues. A local theatre group could be utilised for a performance element of the project. They might explore the acting conventions of melodrama: strong emotions, exaggerated gestures and extreme behaviour.

Potential collaboration might be forged with the following partners: Mind, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, SGDP Centre art exhibitions, CoolTans arts.

I also also want to collaborate with film professionals and local actors and non-actors from the community.

This work will build on my previous art projects and films in North Kensington that have used archive material, memory, history and artistic collaborations.

The completed film and project will be screened at the Coronet Club venue and at select gallery and film festivals, both nationally and internationally.

grasart.com

Mary Griffiths / Sophia Crilly – Wall Drawing for the National Graphene Institute

Made of the same matter as is being created within, a vast graphite wall drawing will link the four floors of the new National Graphene Institute in Manchester. At the heart of production and research into this revolutionary material, the drawing will speak of graphite's past, and literally reflect the men and women who work on its future. Artist Mary Griffiths will work with a small team comprising Professor Sir Konstantin Novoselov (awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for his pioneering work on graphene), Architect Tony Ling from Jestico + Whiles, and Sophia Crilly, Director/Curator of Bureau.

Mary Griffiths makes black drawings from dense layers of graphite, on walls, board, and A4 paper, inscribed with architectural and geographical abstractions. With the paper or plaster surface of the wall acting as a dark mirror, recalling the tarnished silver of the daguerreotype, an axis of further and closer is added to the two-dimensional co-ordinates of height and width. When approached by the viewer these ‘still’ drawings become activated, the inscribed lines and mirrored surfaces refusing a single viewpoint, compelling the body and eye to shift.

The images created, scratched into these dark surfaces, owe their existence to Griffiths’ pre-occupation with the architectural, although they have no immediate clear, ‘recognisable’ visual connection, and exist as purely spatial drawings. Some of the architectural references, drawn on by Griffiths hold a personal significance for her, and we see this through the repetition of line and depth created in the drawings; the re-tracing of a well-worn path, the familiar room, inscriptions that map a history, life and resonance of a space, alongside its structure.

Inscribing lines on these graphite covered planes, the incisions cut through the blackness, catch the light and take on, at times, a silvery whiteness, a luminosity born of darkness. The works can appear to be made by a machine when in reality they are scratched singly and uniquely over many days with basic hand tools. Mistakes can’t be covered up or taken away from these drawings; their lines are always raw, on permanent view.

National Graphene Institute Permanent Wall Drawing:

Seathwaite in Borrowdale, not far from Keswick in the Lake District, is the first place of graphite. Found there in the thirteenth century, graphite - or wad, plumbago, black lead - was mined and used for the making of pencils, casting cannonballs, and later steel making and foundry casting. The material was so precious that this first mine was fortified and protected by the Crown, with Britain remaining the sole source of graphite for some centuries. In time, other deposits were found outside of this country and the exhausted Seathwaite seam was abandoned in the nineteenth century.

Graphene had been theorised since the 1940s, but it wasn't until 2004 that Professors Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov isolated the material at Manchester, the first place of graphene. Graphene is the thinnest and strongest material ever known. One atom thick, it exists in only two dimensions and will revolutionise electronics and engineering. Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery in 2010 and knighted in 2012. Novoselov (and the University of Manchester estates) have asked Mary Griffiths to make a large-scale permanent graphite wall drawing in the new National Graphene Institute in Manchester, which will be completed in early 2015.

The wall selected for the drawing is part of the entrance atrium of the new building, and will be publicly accessible. A void links the four floors of the building, its most prominent wall (Height 13m x Width 1.8m) meeting each floor's glass balcony on its right and the full height window of the building on its left. The floors of the building house the 'clean rooms' for isolating and experimenting on graphene, and the 'furnace rooms' for manufacturing graphene in larger quantities. There is also a 'break-out area' for the scientists, where ideas can be written on large black perspex chalkboards. 

Tall and narrow, like northern England, the wall of the drawing will be covered with a dense and reflective layer of graphite, into which several abstract drawings will be inscribed. All of the drawings will be concerned with the geology, geography, and architecture of graphite/graphene in the North West of England. Right next to where the everyday work of the laboratories is being done, it is a drawing about the actual matter they are working with, the material of graphite. 

Layered in its structure, visible from the ground floor and more closely from each balcony, the drawing will be map-like - with the Borrowdale abstract at the top and most northerly point, moving down to the abstract based on the southerly city of Manchester and its history of innovation and production. The drawing will recall geological stratigraphy, the cleavable nature of graphite, separated to its finest version through the exfoliation process pioneered by Geim and Novoselov.

Unique in its placement at the heart of production and research into this revolutionary material, the drawing will speak of graphite's past and literally reflect the men and women who work on its future.  Once completed, the drawing will be viewable from street level and lit at night, as well as being fully publicly accessible during working hours.


Thanks to direct support from Council England and The University of Manchester, this work was produced and is on permanent display at The University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute.

marygriffiths.com / sophiacrilly.com

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva – [W]HOLE

elpihv.co.uk

Kathleen Herbert – A History of the Receding Horizon

A History Of The Receding Horizon will be a poetic film and installation, exploring time through concepts of history, place and memory. Although based upon an actual site and my research into the site, this will be a fictional film that will weave past, present and future time and histories, with locations above and below the horizon.

Kielder in Northumberland has the clearest skies in the UK and houses the Kielder Observatory. It also is home to the largest manmade lake in the UK, which is surrounded by Europe’s largest manmade woodland. The film will follow astronomers in their hill top observatory as they try to unfold the universe, searching beyond the dim horizon for the origins of time itself. Further down the hillside below the observatory is Kielder Water a flooded valley a manmade reservoir and an environmental historian searching for the areas drowned past.

I wish to develop the film through a period of research in which I hope to work alongside environmental historians who have worked in the area, social historians, film and photographic archives of the now submerged villages and communities, individuals who have memories before and during the flooding of the valley, and the astronomers at Kielder observatory.

How does a large governmental infrastructure project, a manmade intervention in the landscape, which is forced upon a community, affect the areas history, identity and relationships?

kathleenherbert.com

Jonathan Hogg / Stephanie Rubin – Perfect Storm

Perfect Storm begins with my father’s barograph and images from childhood of barometric readings in red cochineal ink, barometers, thermometers and rain gauges.

As a child I had no interest in these activities, they blended into the background, along with the sound of the Shipping Forecast, but on his death, their absence became a clamour.

On inheriting 40 years’ worth of my father’s barometric readings I turned to his notebooks of forecasts and records and began to study patterns of flooding and storms, seeing the subtle and complex stories they told. I framed selections of these readings and produced a series of sculptures relating to the records taken in ‘His Last Year’. They translate effortlessly as drawings.

Working with weather data follows a theme in my work, which concentrates on details that appear as landscapes. In the past I have referenced paintings, prints, souvenir images to form architectural type models. This has led to finding details in overseen/mundane surroundings and using these to create abstracted landscapes. I have been looking at weather data as a method to encourage this way of seeing.

More recently, re-locating to the East Sussex Coast in 2012 brought me into direct, physical contact with the wind. Lying awake at night, staring into the dark as the storms raged, it felt as if there was only an umbrella separating us from the sky and the ideas for Perfect Storm began to form.

My thoughts and my notebook filled with images in pen and ink, images of the Heath Robinson kind: a complicated Steam Punk contraption that could transcribe the wind onto paper. Conversations with digital artist, engineer and long time colleague Jonathan Hogg began to see the project take shape. He is a founding member of collective Output Arts, who specialise in technical site-specific installations and participatory artworks. Jonathan says of Perfect Storm:

“Coming from a background as a scientist and engineer, I am drawn to projects involving translating information and process into artistic objects and experiences. I am excited to be working with Stephanie as she has come to a similar place, but from the other side, so our practices complement one another. This particular project represents a development for me of previous work done with translating wind into sound and colour with Output Arts. I hope that through this work we can inspire people to engage in a different way with the landscape and climate – a particularly timely intervention as our relationship to both is becoming increasingly uncertain and important.”

How and Where

Collaborating with Jonathan Hogg, the project will have two stages. The first stage will involve building the Wind Drawing Machine, a device with two functions, mechanical and digital. The first of these functions is to directly trace wind movements into a series of metal disks with a titanium needle fixed on to an arm moving according to the speed and direction of the wind through a purely mechanical process creating ‘wind roses’. This physical recording allows the gathering process to be seen and understood, and will help to relate the wind to the final Cyclone Sculpture. In itself, this machine will be a sculptural object. The design and choice of materials will resonate with traditional maritime equipment.

The second function of the Wind Drawing Machine is to take accurate, moment-by-moment, digital readings of the wind speed and direction. These will be uploaded automatically to a website accompanying the project where the data will be publically accessible.

During the course of a year, the Wind Drawing Machine will inhabit a position in a natural and undeveloped coastal area. It will be part of the landscape and members of the local community will be invited to participate in the process of collecting the metal discs, which will be changed monthly, along with personal observations about the weather and their relationship to it. These 12 discs can be displayed locally throughout the year with accompanying prints made through inking up the plates.

The digitally collected wind data will be transformed computationally into a series of 365 smoothed digital outlines representing the average wind speed and direction throughout each day of the year. These digital outlines will then be used to laser-cut keyed plywood discs. These discs will be stacked onto a spindle to form a three dimensional structure. This in turn will be moulded in silicone rubber and cast into bronze following the lost wax tradition to make the Cyclone Sculpture. Writing would be stamped into the bronze edges of the slices in the sculpture recording specific dates, wind data and weather events, along with the observations of the community.

The final piece, with base, will be 3.5–4m tall and will stand in the same position as the Wind Drawing Machine, aligned correctly to North so that visitors can see how the sculptures’ form is a response to the prevailing wind (in much the same way as a tree is blown and shaped over time). The mechanical data on discs will be embedded into the base of the sculpture, forming a tactile surface. The Cyclone Sculpture therefore is an exchange for information given by the wind and the sea.

Site

We propose that the project take place at the nature reserve Winchelsea Beach, a significant wildfowl habitat and a place that I have spent much time at with my children since moving to the area. We anticipate that the metal discs and community observations, along with short films and interviews taken during the year and of the process of casting the sculpture, would all be archived at Rye Library for future generations.

Research

We have drawn some possible designs for the Wind Drawing Machine along with consulting with a mechanical engineer on its construction and operation. In addition we have digitally processed real wind data from another location to produce a 3D digital model of what a Cyclone Sculpture might look like(see attached picture).

JonathanHogg.com / stephrubin.com

Graham Hudson – Soundcheck

2011: I produced a project in Austin, Texas, where a rehearsal venue was created for musicians, one of the hindsight questions the project posed was how to delineate a rehearsal from a performance, as some bands would be rehearsing for a show the next day, so their sound was polished – bar some conversation between tracks – others chose to learn an instrument that day or write fresh material from scratch, this was the methodology I found more inspiring, the tools of production were in process, it required repetition, mistakes, scientific method and adaptability. Of the bands who used the opportunity to run through their set list, the documentation I found most interesting was their soundcheck, as this too was work-in-progress and utilitarian in its aim.

During the soundcheck, free from the psychological grip of ‘performance’, the potential for an otherness is unlocked via the process of the specific job at hand: getting sound levels right, tuning instruments, setting mic’s and monitors. It is a particular science pertaining to acoustic, location and performers. These variables dictate a bespoke equation for the performers to work with, applying the science of this in concentrated focus, rather than thinking about creativity (in making music) or emotion (in rendering it for a crowd) give a freedom which is psychologically revealing.

2012/13: I had a studio opposite the venue KOKO by Mornington Crescent Underground. I had a great meeting with the director there about the idea of documenting soundchecks, creating perhaps an archive, a release of some kind. He was very keen, loved the idea and gave me valuable feedback. We discussed copyright, recording technicalities and logistics of a collaboration between myself, a venue and its performers. Unfortunately, I think without a business incentive behind our conversation it became too difficult to maintain his initial keenness on the project, into action.

2013: September 12th, a recording appeared on the internet of a soundcheck by the Sex Pistols at Winterland, San Francisco. An immediate internet sensation as aficionado’s got to here a new version of an old favourite as Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious argue in words and notes:

we’re so pretty oh so pretty. Turn Sid down on the monitors, we’re so pretty oh so pretty, its putting me off, we’re so pretty oh so pretty ahhhhh, ENGLAND, now. And we don’t care.

The performance that night was the band’s last, adding myth to this recording, but its delicate tones, beats and loops sound nothing like their 'real' music which make it so poignant. The soundcheck is full of poetry, pathos, tempo and sensitivity peppering the twenty minutes, giving us new insights into a story we thought we knew.

2014: The Artangel commission opens the possibility to commence the project Soundcheck with an open mind. Its span could be across multiple venues and time. It should incorporate as wide a range of soundchecks as possible. From Camden indie nights to Shoreditch break beats; from classical to operatic. it could include spoken word and private events, with ambition equally aiming at The 02 and The Albert Hall. Showing an indifference to style, genre, or taste should be a hallmark of the project. Collaborative partners become key, as do professional production methods. The dissemination of theses sound recordings can also be approached with an open mind. A twelve-track album, a podcast, radio broadcasts, all these could be possible with the right framing and logistical application.

grahamhudson.com

Des Hughes – A Colour Fade in a Forest

I propose to plant a forest of beech trees that gradually changes from copper to green as you travel through it.

Continuing my longstanding interest in combining influences from the medieval and the modern, I have been looking at the planting of the 400-year-old Spanish Chestnuts at Croft Castle, Herefordshire. The story says that sweet chestnuts were taken from captured Spanish vessels and planted at Croft between 1580 and 1680 to represent the formal battle plan of the ships of the Armada. Although planted for their aesthetic qualities I particularly liked the way the trees have been planted to a formal plan or a map of something other. Although viewed from within, always imagined from above.

The idea has roots in the eccentric experiments of Jean des Esseintes in Joris-Karl Huysmans' À rebours (1884) – an attempt in a way to create something more natural than nature allows. From looking at mathematical systems to make a colour fade in a hedge, I developed the idea further in a large-scale watercolour (now in the collection of Deutsche Bank), a plan for a planting scheme that tried to visualise the exact mix of copper and green beech trees and which expanded it into a space that could be travelled through.

Although based on mature trees, the system would be visible at every stage of the trees’ lives. As a plantation of small shrubs, it would be seen from above, the small trees appearing as patches of changing colour extending into the distance, like walking through a formal garden. As young trees, the rows would be open to daylight and the colour seen along the avenues in all directions. As they achieve maturity, they would become aisles supporting an illuminated roof. This is in contrast to the natural tendency of beech forests which is to be very dark, where few plants survive under the canopy as the sun barely reaches the ground. The largest known beech forest is in Romania, where wolves and bears still live in the wild.

Although this project would be very carefully planned, there is an unpredictability in the work that will only be revealed in the future.

The life span of a native beech tree can be up to 150–200 years even though a tree can reach full maturity at thirty years.

At ten years old, the trees can be four metres, at full maturity they can be as large as twenty-five to thirty metres.

I propose to plant a minimum of twenty trees by twenty trees at a distance of ten metres apart. This could either be planted within an existing forest or wooded area, or isolated in an empty space with a path around the edges so that it can be entered from any direction.

IOU – Bower

Bower is about time. Fleeting human thoughts, ideas, hopes, obsessions and life-long loves are set against the inexorable pace of the natural world. Bower will be a place to visit and revisit, perhaps over many generations.

The Bower is an architectural form grown from beech-tree hedging. It is a place to visit as a growing sculptural landmark or meeting point; a waypoint to aim for, a place to sit and look at the view, look to the future or contemplate the past. Over time, it will form an enclosed structure in which to share private moments or leave thoughts.

Bower is also a place where visitors can attach an inscribed padlock - a message to the future. Inscribed on each padlock will be their name, date and title. Significantly, rather than simply carving initials, participants can use film, photography, music or sound to record a message and upload it to the ‘cloud’. Messages are then linked to a digital code such as a unique QR code etched onto each padlock which, when scanned using widely accessible apps on smart phones, will reveal the message - a personal time capsule to future visitors.

At the start of the project, residents, visitors, schools, and artists will be invited to create a message padlock through workshops, the Bower website and information packs. Each padlock will have its own inscription engraved into it as well as a unique QR code. The finished padlocks can then be clipped to a steel framework, which will form the shape of the Bower for the beech hedging to grow into. Padlock kits will be available after this time through a website and at a local shop or visitor centre.

The installations can remain a place for generations to come; for people to visit, to experience other messages, or to hang new padlocks. The intention is for the appearance and nature of the installation to change over time. Eventually the beech hedging will take the shape of the mesh frames and then the thickening branches will envelop the frameworks and padlocks. Perhaps, after many years, the technology to access the messages may also be lost; but this too is part of the concept of change, decay and growth.

A number of Bowers can be installed in an area each designed to respond to the particular features of the location. They can create a trail, each one a focal point for people to converge and journey between.

Engagement
The audience over the lifetime of the Bowers is likely to be in the hundreds of thousands depending on chosen locations. It is also envisage that people will continue hanging locks, adding content and investigating the content for many years, meaning that the number of those who actively participate in adding to or accessing the content is likely to be tens of thousands over their lifetimes. The unusual coming together of the natural and digital world is a unique way to engage participants from all walks of life, drawing out creativity from participants, producing a lasting memory and shared archive both during and beyond the project, leaving a potent legacy.

Sites
Encouraging early discussions with the National Trust have already taken place regarding a number of sites, and enquiries have been made with a number of others including Yorkshire Water (for Holm Moss) and Harewood Estates (for Harewood House). A positive meeting has taken place with National Trust (for sites such as Hardcastle Crags, Redmire Woods, and Rievaulx Terrace) and it has indicated an enthusiasm for Bower. The National Trust has indicated that if we develop the project on their land or property it would take responsibility for maintenance, additional publicity and advise us on planning and other site related issues. We envisage similar agreements being formed with other partners.

Bower is created by IOU, iInnovators of site-specific outdoor theatre, making original work across art-forms for thirty-eight years. The company is recognised for creating work with a distinctive style, a collision of the familiar and the mysterious, both intimate and large scale.

ioutheatre.org

Alana Jelinek – Encyclopaedia ab Indigenis (A Locals’ Encyclopaedia)

The Encyclopaedia ab Indigenis will start with the opportunity to meet as many people as possible from a given local area or many areas and the initial participatory methodology will revolve around making time to eat, drink tea and chat together. Trust must be at the basis of this project so that people are happy to talk about what they know even when these knowledges have been ignored or debased as ‘folk’ or ‘ignorant’ or ‘not relevant’. The aim is to compile actual knowledge, as distinct from hearsay or prejudice, and it may take time to find where the sources of knowledge lie in each encounter. It will work best if many hundreds or thousands of people are involved. Sometimes, meetings will be one-to-one, where that type of encounter is preferred. Sometimes meetings will be in small groups so that ideas and memories can be sparked off each other. The type of knowledge I imagine I will include in the Encyclopaedia ab Indigenis is the type of knowledge that, for example, immigrant communities bring with them about food and medicine or the type of knowledge that some communities learn about how to deal with the police or different types of cosmology or maths.

After a year-long process of meeting people and learning from them, the knowledge will be made succinct and categorised so that a person may use the encyclopaedia to find out many things about the world.

Unlike the authoritative encyclopaedias of my childhood, these will not be categorised alphabetically but instead in a more evocative taxonomy, which is also useful and true. The inspiration for this is Jorge Luis Borges’s famous lines in Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, which are quoted by Michel Foucault in The Order of Things:

The unknown (or false) Chinese encyclopaedia writer divides all animals into one of 14 categories: 1)Those that belong to the emperor, 2) Embalmed ones, 3) Those that are trained, 4) Suckling pigs, 5) Mermaids (or Sirens), 6) Fabulous ones, 7) Stray dogs, 8) Those that are included in this classification, 9) Those that tremble as if they were mad, 10) Innumerable ones, 11) Those drawn with a very fine camel hair brush, 12) Et cetera, 13) Those that have just broken the flower vase and 14) Those that, at a distance, resemble flies.

I used a similarly idiosyncratic yet true form of taxonomy in my recent work, an artists' book called The Fork’s Tale, as narrated by Itself, in order to explore the idea of categories of humans and human knowledge from the point of view of a nineteenth century Fijian ‘cannibal fork’ in the collection of the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Cambridge. The idea of using this type of counter-logical taxonomy is in order to produce new types of thinking and connections, not to ridicule or undermine the validity of the knowledge within. The different entries will not be authored, just as happens with a traditional encyclopaedia so that the knowledge appears bald and neutral, but all contributors will be acknowledged in the publication. The encyclopaedia will be distributed among everyone who contributed. It may also be available more widely. It is important the final publication is beautifully designed and of high quality in order to underline the value of this knowledge.

Esther Johnson – Journey Through A Fog (working title)

I knew for certain from my earliest childhood that only in painting lay all eternal joy…The boy’s sneering, the girls lethargy tear at my heart strings…Yet I do not hate the death-like state of their souls, because I can feel the causes in myself. It’s rebellion and I sympathize with it … I am determined to straighten the distorted picture of them…to make them feel, observe and express new experience of this world’s uniqueness. – Margareta Berger, Hamerschlag, 1955

Journey Through a Fog is a film project that mixes fact and fiction, and takes as starting point the autobiographical writings of Margareta Berger-Hamerschlag (1902–58), a largely forgotten Austrian émigré artist and educator. Unable to make ends meet in London in the 1950s, she developed and led evening youth club art classes for 14–20-year-olds. For the local youth, these classes fostered self-expression and provided an escape from social poverty and exclusion. Most students confessed that they chose art because they thought it an “easy option”. As a child in Vienna, Margareta attended classes run by Franz Cizek, known as ‘the father of creative art teaching’; her own work as a teacher set out to destroy her pupils’ preconceptions and instead inspire them through art. Returning home exhausted after each class, she would work into the early hours on her own art, drawing and painting scenes she had witnessed at the youth club.

The film will take the viewer through a series of reimagined episodes inspired by Margareta’s artwork and her best-selling 1955 book Journey into a Fog. These vignettes will be ‘workshopped’ with non-professional actors from London youth community groups, and will mix improvisation and personal experience with scripted elements. The film will compare contemporary ideas about art education with Margareta's progressive approach and will include a parallel subtext of access to art education as vital to society. Research will be undertaken into novel theatrical and participatory approaches such as the ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, as a means of incorporating personal stories to effect change and provide social and political commentary. Contributions will also be made by Margareta's former students. These include Peter Young, who later became Head of Conservation at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Production will take place in youth clubs in the London boroughs of Paddington and Kilburn, where Margareta originally taught. Raymond Berger, Margareta’s son, will be consultant for the film and has already been interviewed for the project and granted access to his archive. Additional research has been undertaken with art galleries, archives, collectors, and experts who have studied Margareta’s work in the UK and Austria.

blanchepictures.com / shu.ac.uk/research/c3ri/people/esther-johnson

Wijnand de Jonge – A Fighters' Archive

The proposed site-specific artwork, A Fighters' Archive, takes the form of an archive that commemorates the Black Women’s Movement in Brixton when it was a grass-roots organisation in the 1970s and 1980s, active within the context of social and racial tensions of this period. The work consists of thirteen casts of the clenched fists (taken from life) of women who were involved in the movement. These will be enlarged by 20% (to make them slightly larger than an average man’s fist) and cast in bronze. They will then be painted according to the skin colour of each individual. These casts will be displayed alongside each other in a vitrine. The cast fists will be labelled with name plaques, together with an information panel with a short account of the Black Women’s Movement in Brixton.

The work will record this fragment of relatively recent social history specific to Brixton, in a permanent, visual form in Windrush Square, at the heart of Brixton. It departs from the tradition of commemorative public sculpture in Britain, that has tended to commemorate dead, white, males, to record instead, the achievements of living, black, females, filling a significant cultural gap. Against the backdrop of rapid gentrification of the area (and inner city London generally), the work also raises wider questions about the role of the individual, community, and collective memory in the narration of identity and place.

The site of the work in Windrush square – the recently pedestrianised open space in Brixton – is both geographically and symbolically appropriate for this work. It is a meeting place in the centre of Brixton, at the intersection of several main roads, echoing the diversity and plurality of the lives of the women who form the archive – the anatomy of the city is retraced in the creases and veins mapped out on the surface of the fists. The specificity of the place emphasises the character of the work as an open archive, bringing together a diverse group of people who represent different strands of the movement, holding different viewpoints. The work presents an archive of a moment in which these women’s’ lives intercepted with one another before continuing on different trajectories. The archive in this sense, is not presented as something fixed and objective, but as a subjective juncture that extends to the past, present and future.

The work weaves a layer of social history into the physical fabric of the square, linking and intercepting with the other social and historical associations. The diversity of the institutions which flank the square (including, the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Library, The New Heritage Centre of the Black Cultural Archives – to open in May 2014 –, St Mathew’s Church and Lambeth Town Hall) and the history of the buildings in which they are housed, reinforce the diversity within the archive and the significance of the work within this context.

The work also relates to the trajectory of immigration and the legacy of Brixton’s African and Caribbean community, particularly as the square was named after the Empire Windrush, a ship which docked at Tilbury from the Caribbean on 22 June 1948 that carried 492 immigrants to Britain. Without making any overt political statement, by focusing on the Black Women's Movement, the work alludes to the strength of minority groups and their potential to contribute to community cohesion and coming to terms with uncomfortable aspects of the past.

The clenched fist, synonymous with the black power movement is a significant aspect of the work. This also relates to boxers archives, consisting of the cast fists of famous fighters, collected and displayed in boxing academies. The subversion of a traditionally macho archive, the boxer’s archive, to document a women’s movement, combined with the enlargement of the fists (to a size larger than that of an average man’s fist), alludes to the power of the women’s movement, as well as questioning gender stereotypes.

This proposal is underpinned by extensive research that I have undertaken over the past year and a half, into black women’s groups that were active in Brixton. During this time I have learnt about the women’s organisations such as; Woman of African and Asian Decent (OWAAD), Race Today (RA), The United Black Women’s Group (UBWAG) Black Lesbian Group (BLG) and the Brixton Black Panthers Movement (BBPM). Despite the fact that several activists involved in these movements have become distinguished figures in the worlds of academia and politics, the roots of these groups remain largely unknown to the wider public. I have spent a significant amount of time reading and listening to the sound archives at the British Library, the Black Cultural Archives as well as at the Lambeth archives. At present various documents and oral archives of the Black Women’s Movement in London do exist, but are held in different archives and organisations. This work would commemorate the Movement in one permanent, visual, public visual archive, in the location where it took place, making this aspect of social history more widely accessible to the community.

I have managed to contact and meet with 13 influential women from the Movement (see below for a short biography about each of them) and have taken moulds and made plaster casts of their fists (see images). All women have been enthusiastic and highly supportive of the proposed work. The project is therefore ready to take to the next stage of production (enlarging and casting the fists in bronze, manufacturing the vitrine and installing the work).

The casts fists that will form A Fighters’ Archive belong to the following women who come from a range of backgrounds and represent a range of different perspectives and views within the movement. They have all followed different career paths, some staying within grass-roots activism and others entering into politics and academia. This work, will commemorate a transient social movement, specific to Brixton, as yet undocumented, that until now has remained largely hidden. Its strong sculptural presence, will resonate powerfully on many different levels, generating dialogue and discussion within contemporary Brixton, a monument to the living.

Elizabeth Anionwu Phd CBE FRCN is professor of nursing at Thames Valley University and Honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is an authority in sickle-cell treatment and voluntarily educated many different women’s groups about the risks and treatment of this disease.

Gerlin Bean is a life time activist and founder of Brixton Black Women’s Centre. After many years of community work in South London, Gerlin Bean moved to Jamaica where she currently runs an educational centre.

Linda Bellos OBE was elected as Labour councillor for Lambeth in 1985 and became leader of the council in 1986. She was vice-chair of the successful Black Sections campaign to select African Caribbean and Asian parliamentary and local candidates within the Labour Party. On 9 December 2002, she was presented (together with Stephen Bourne) with the Metropolitan Police Volunteer Awards "in recognition of outstanding contribution in supporting the local community."

Beverly Bryan is co-author of The Heart of the Race and is a community activist in the women's rights movement. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Arts in Language and Literature in Education and a Doctor of Philosophy in Language Education from the University of London.

Stella Dadzie was part of the Brixton Black Women’s Group, and founder of OWAAD. She is a writer and historian best known for The Heart of the race and Women’s lives in Britain for which she received the Marin Luther King award in 1985.

Ama Gueye, after becoming a member of OWAAD, initiated Sankofa: a Saturday school for children of colour. She also co-founded ELBWO, a sister organisation of the Brixton Black Women’s Group based in north London.

Judith Lockhart was a member of Brixton Black Women’s group as well as OWAAD. She worked as an independent Health and social care consultant specialising in mental health.

Mia Morris is initiator of the websites, Black History Month and International Women’s Month as well as author of the award winning publication History 365. She co-ordinated the oral history of the Black Women’s Movement as part of the Black Cultural Archives.

Suzanne Scafe was co-author of Heart of the Race. Dr Scafe is a Reader in Caribbean and Post-colonial Literature in the Department of Culture, Writing and Performance. She has published several essays on Black British writing and culture and Caribbean women's fiction. Her most recent work includes essays on Black British Women's autobiographical writing, and the Caribbean short story.

Jocelyn Wolfe was a prolific writer for Speak Out magazine and she was also a member of BBWG & OWAAD. She currently works for the Women’s Centre and the Mary Seacole House.

Barbara Beese was part of the Black Eagle Movement, the British Black Panther Movement (she was one of the "Mangrove Nine" trial and was arrested on charges that included conspiracy to incite a riot). Their celebrated trial in 1971 ended in an acquittal of all nine. She has also written for Race Today Magazine.

Leila Howe is an activist who worked in the Institute of Race Relations and was part of the Black Unity and Freedom party. She wrote for Black Voice Magazine.

Martha Osamor is a community activist, who for more than forty years was an active grassroots leader. She campaigned against police abuse and supported community organisations on the Broadwater Farm estate, where police and local youth clashed violently in October 1985. 

wijnanddejonge.com

Andrew Kötting – A Walk Home

Roadside Picnic? – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

The kid was walking lightly, cheerfully, as if she hadn’t spent two agonising hours inside the damp forest on the bare hill in restless sleep, huddling with her father for warmth, waiting out the torrent of green slide that was flowing around the hill and disappearing into the ravine.

Why Eden?

Eden is my anima, adjunct and inspirator. With her, I have journeyed to the Otherside. She loves to dress up and I love to walk beside her. Dorothy as a precursor to the revolution and cypher for fantasy and time travel.

Why The Folkloricists?

Spectacular, pagan and secular, they are metaphor for both The Pre-religious and The Post-modern. A clumsy snake of celebration and quiet ambition, a compelling reflex against the pull of the Up-to-date. A human river, curious in its reaction to the drudge of deep greenery. Whatever their particular interests, Folklorists recognise the value of experience-based knowledge and the artfulness of everyday life. The cultural, educational, historical, and political questions Folklorists raise place the ground at the heart of contemporary life. Folklore is the primary field of all of humanity. It loves dressing up.

Why the forest?

Because it is not all birdsong, wild honey and bluebells. The forest is more than just poetry and does not need to speak. The forest is nature and nature becomes landscape by fixing a gaze. Placing it within the frame it becomes a cultural space. A place that resonates. (Somewhere like Kings Wood near Canterbury or Bedgebury Forest in Kent.) The chosen location might be regarded as outside of time. The landscape is its own metaphor. Woodlands are managed and controlled and thus is the procession of celebrants. So that the arboreal ethnicity might loom above the city.

Why the city?

Charged site of consequence. Major business and financial hub, invariably established by merchants and the melting pot for all things cultural and significant. Besides, Arcadia was imagined in both Greece and Rome as a wooded, rocky place, the haunt of satyrs and the realm of Pan. The city springs from the motherwood of Rhea Silvia, where wild men and jack-in-the-greens issue forth from the trunks of old oaks. Tin shacks hurtle overhead. I have never been to Kansas but I have spent most of my life living in a city and the forest. This is an invasion. Heads up towards the skies as the Lady and Toto pass by.

Why the procession?

The procession is a day of judgment; away from the pox of settled existence and towards the gleam of the unknown. The serpentine amble of costumed humans is a celebration of fallibility; we don’t know why they are doing it but they are doing it nonetheless. Eden will lead the procession in a sensual, ritualistic performance. An immense rabble and locomotion without a goal.

How the projection?

Outdoor laser image configurator. For eighteen minutes twice a year. Eighteen minutes before midnight on the summer solstice and eighteen minutes before midnight on the winter solstice. Onto a cloud of shift, a cloud of magnificence, vapour displays over the cityscape. Ephemeral apparition and ghost-like specter. A man-made enigma burnt into the night skies. Urban alchemy and digital jiggery pokery. Helicopters and smoke canons.

What of the ambition?

Upwards towards the sublime, ever-tending and mindful of the universal yet local and pragmatic in its vision, almost level with the ground. What’s more Mikhail Bakhtin believes that this type of happening is a theatrical expression of life experience and he should know, because like Michel de Montaigne he went all round the houses.

Landscape and memory?

Landscapes are culture before they are nature; constructs of the imagination projected as a vision onto water, mortar and city. Once the smoke clears we are left with what we never had before; the memory.

Why the app?

The app would contain the sound design for the spectacle. Multi-layered and radiophonically mixed. A complicated mulch of native dialects, field recordings, scratchy archive and mangled information. (Much might be mulled, culled or curated from the beautiful Saydisc Record Series). The soundtrack would be free to download and would escort all projections of the work.

Simultaneous broadcast?

There would also be a live Radio 4 broadcast, designed to accompany the projection. (The collaboration between Channel 4 and Radio 3 when they presented Derek Jarman’s Blue remains branded on the brain).

The End of Faith? – Sam Harris

This universe is shot through with mystery. The very fact of its being, and of our own, is a mystery absolute, and the only miracle worthy of the name. The consciousness that animates us is itself central to this mystery and the ground for any experience we might wish to call ‘spiritual’. No myths need be embraced for us to commune with the profundity of our circumstance. Follow the yellow brick road and all will be revealed.

andrewkotting.com

Jessica Latowicki – The Artless World

Art is all around us, woven so tightly into the fabric of society that to cut it out seems nearly impossible. So, I am confused when politicians, education officials and citizens deny the importance of arts and public subsidy towards arts.

It is, perhaps, impossible to see something that is everywhere, especially when we are not looking. I would like people to start looking.

I propose an Artless World. A day with no music, television, websites linked to culture, video or radio, cinemas, museums, theatres, signs on the tubes or tube maps. No singing in school, photos in textbooks. No magazines or even shop logos. A dry day, and an empty day.

Art is political. As cuts continue to be made across the public sectors, it’s convenient for policy makers that large sections of the population believe art isn’t for them, that it’s elite, pointless, frivolous.

We live in a crucial moment for arts. Cuts in 2010 saw the Arts Council lose 30% of its funding, with more coming, and many municipal councils cut art funding completely. Schools, often in lower-economic constituencies, are cutting art programmes from their curriculum, test scores trumping actual education. The lack of art in children’s lives means they cannot recognise acts of art in their surroundings. It polarises communities, creating a homogenised art workforce. We just need to look at the heads of most arts organisations to see that.

I propose the project as a radius: local, citywide and national, ending with a national manifesto. The Artless World epicentre will be Hackney, London, where I live. Leading up to the Artless World, I will work with a selection of people from various social demographics in Hackney to identify local, citywide and nationwide targets for the project. They will champion the project across Hackney, acting as liaisons for smaller businesses/organisations, fostering communication, shared purpose and identity across disparate parts of the community. The day may be characterised by a satirical mock-authoritarianism, but its true identity as a positive, hopeful act of togetherness will be embodied, experienced by those who help make it happen.

The project will have test days inside controlled, closed, environments such as schools and workplaces. By testing the idea, I might better identify problems and ‘art’ I may have missed, allowing crucial feedback from diverse sources.

During this research, the manifesto will be written. At the end of the Artless Day, austerity will give way to celebration. An army of people will wallpaper the manifesto across the country, It will be broadcast across radio, TV, social media, printed on newspaper front pages, posted in every gallery, screened in each cinema, performed on every stage, shouted, read and sung across the country- in schools, outside local and national government buildings.

Artangel backing would provide appropriate management and planning for the project’s scale. It needs perhaps-unprecedented cooperation from large organisations and institutions, extensive research into and expert management of legal issues. Much of the activity challenges laws, deeply entrenched values and practices surrounding censorship, advertising, money/revenue and livelihood for smaller businesses. Careful planning, sensitive approach work and mutual respect in all dealings is essential. Compensating small local business for financial losses may be needed to ensure fairness and cooperation.

I believe the project must be motored by the question ‘how far can we go?’ to serve its true purpose. Hackney-wide participation might turn out to be the most realistic end goal within this award, but I believe this should be tested and discovered during the project.

Research and planning would include speaking to community/mass movement organisers: from Trade Union and protest leaders e.g. organisers of anti-austerity marches, Occupy movement and Egyptian revolution (where I have contacts), as well as artists with relevant experience such as Jeremy Deller. I’d want to develop contingencies for social unrest on the day- e.g. social workers/CSOs supporting Art Police ticketing people, training/use of professional police for those doing ticketing.

Big business cooperation would be needed e.g. internet service providers, BBC. I’d aim to carefully select one or two high-profile CEOs/policy-makers to approach, develop a strong relationship with, gaining leverage for cooperation from other companies and government. I’d work with CSR departments of businesses to ensure businesses feel the project will benefit their stakeholders/brand.

The Artless World Day:

Nationwide

  • All television/radio stations cancel all programming/ advertising but for fact reading news, traffic, weather, and if necessary, names of sponsors/advertisers
  • All national broadsheets print/publish in plain format, in agreed font: no photographs, logos or news related to arts, lifestyle, sport.
  • All arts/culture websites blocked HTML (including, but not limited to, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, EBay all broadcast websites, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, all theatre and museum and music sites, etc.). Non-blocked sites displayed in plain text.
  • All network service providers block data roaming.
  • All major retailers hide and block sales of magazines/books.
  • All theatres, large music venues, galleries museums, cinema chains, bookshops chains and art based retail chains close (including iTunes).

London

  • All nationwide artlessness
  • All images inside TFL, including advertisements, covered/removed. Maps replaced with plain text descriptions. All voice-overs replaced with digital voices and statements pared down to bare-minimum facts.
  • All magazine stalls/newsagents join magazine/book ban.
  • All major retailers, restaurant and pub chains cover/remove images/photographs/artworks, cover shopfront logos with plain text, play no music/voiceovers, and use plain print menus.
  • All public artworks hidden/covered up.
  • All design shops, graphic design firms, art dealers, smaller arts-based retailers, independent music venues and cinemas close.

Hackney

  • All nationwide and citywide artlessness.
  • Art Police on all streets, ticketing people publically wearing listening to music from phones/mp3 players, singing and dancing.
  • All street art, logos, graffiti, paintings, advertising images, ornate lamps, phone booths, etc., covered. All municipal signage covered with plain text signs.
  • No businesses play music. All cover/hide images and artworks in shops. Restaurants use undesigned menus.  Retailers/restaurants/pubs that are deemed too design-heavy remain shut.
  • Schools remove/cover all art from its property. No textbooks with images used. All arts/culture classes cancelled and no references to art in history lessons. English classes will be solely about grammar.

madeinchinatheatre.com

Kristin Luke – The Employee Workshop Where Objects of Utmost Utility are Fabricated

The Employee Workshop Where Objects of Utmost Utility are Fabricated attempts to reincorporate and redefine the usefulness of material culture, pushing it into a more tangled, tighter-knit bond with the subject, as its producer and distributor. This comes from my concern with contemporary art’s isolation from other areas of life, a constructed divide which hasn’t always existed. The Arts and Crafts movement attempted to bridge this gap by framing craftwork as part of everyday life, a utopian attempt at uniting people with the fruits of their labor. I propose a project which re-investigates this pre-modern, idealism-laced desire for a unified subject-object through reconfiguring the roles that architecture, crafts, advertising, pedagogical museum collections, and the manufacture of material goods (namely soap) play, and have played, in ‘everyday’ life. The project will also consider how these aspects of material culture have been co-opted into facades of themselves, a distinctly alienating, biopolitical, theatrical feat attempted by a multinational soap manufacturer. I am interested in these slippery moments of vast fluctuation from an object embodying radical utopian aspiration to an object being commandeered and forcefully imbued with a performative artifice of utopia, exposing the mechanisms by which material culture is assigned meaning.

For the past year, I have been researching connections between two locations: Port Sunlight Garden Village (home to Unilever), and a palm oil plantation in the Kinshasa area of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The material cultures, the objects, that construct and connect each place have been instrumentalised by their designers to perform a utopia, the radicality or conservatism of which remains under question. Unexpected similarities arise through a study of Arts and Crafts and Congolese architecture and town planning methodologies, artefacts, art collections, craftwork, commercial products, raw materials, and models, as they are all examined in both historical and contemporary context.

I propose to build two huts as twinned environments, stages, or loci; one will be built in Port Sunlight, the other will be built on the palm oil plantation. Through projection mapping, the huts will echo the performative, theatrical set qualities of Arts and Crafts architecture as it is used in both Port Sunlight and in the DR Congo; this will allow the huts to visually fluctuate between architectural styles. Each hut will present its surrounding communities with a constellation of projects and programmes of events which concretise how objects constitute a dialectical connection between these two seemingly disparate places. In these huts, we will examine how objects, from virtual data to a hot home-cooked meal to a historical lecture to a museum artefact to a 3D printed model, articulate the social, political, and philosophical state of the contemporary subject. Historical outlooks on the self-conscious construction of material culture will permeate present-day technologies, crafts, and communities, in an artificial, miniature material culture, microcosmically examined and deconstructed under two roofs.

The project will entail a trip to the DR Congo, specifically to the palm oil plantation which houses the Institute for Human Activities, Renzo Martens’ five-year artist gentrification project. I have been invited to develop a project and programme of events there, using my UK-based research to illuminate historical and contemporary links between the two sites, and activate new ways of utilising this research as a live tool. One of the huts will be built within the Institute.

For the series of activities to take place in the huts, formats such as the social platform and the network will be combined with overt and bluntly physical, sensual objects (soap, the smell of soap, palm oil, pottery, sketchup models, 3D printers, an ivory chest, baskets, forgotten paintings, expired margarine and shampoo, mud, raffia, bricks, projectors) to rejoin the artist, producer, product, process, and audience. For example, through its function in different workshops and events, palm oil turns from political symbol (plantation product) to material mass (vat of distilled oil) to manufactured product (bar of soap) to digital information (3D printable model of soap) to culinary delight (an ingredient in Congolese peanut soup). The following is a proposed events programme for the huts:

  1. Presentations by artists, cooks, craft practitioners, curators, and art historians, on topics which would provide an enriched framework and contextualization for the objects above, such as:
    1. The art collections of the Walker Museum and the Lady Lever Gallery, their function as pedagogical tools, and their instrumentalisation in Sunlight Soap’s advertising and promotional strategies.
    2. The history of craft and the social significance of craft workshops, such as raffia weaving and pottery, in Port Sunlight and the DR Congo.
    3. The contemporary and historical philosophical positionings of the object in pre-industrial, industrial, and post-industrial societies. The role of town planning and architecture in Arts and Crafts, Gothic, Beaux Arts, and megaslum structures.
    4. Palm oil from a food-anthropological perspective.
  2. Skill-exchange workshops: a series of events which emphasize the exchange of different types of craft knowledge in a contemporary repositioning of that term as one that denotes utility. For example, a Google SketchUp workshop in which participants would learn to create, upload, edit, and print virtual open-source objects.
  3. The construction of a 3D printer, built with the money I earn from working at Port Sunlight’s Employee Purchase Facility (an economic barnacle encrusted onto the periphery of Unilever’s financial hull: a shop which repackages and resells near-expiring or damaged Unilever products). The 3D printer will act as a transporter, a virtual reworking of how the movements of objects illuminate the dispersed networks which they navigate and constitute. Workshops will be held in which the printer is used to connect different locations via objects – models floating in virtual space can be instantly made physical, given a new form of utility. Files sent from the Congo can be printed in Port Sunlight. The 3D printer adds a whole new layer of use-value of object making.
  4. A Congolese and Liverpudlian cookery class and banquet, following the rivulets along which palm oil seeps away from industrial manufacture and into the culinary traditions of both locations. All tableware would be 3D printed from designs sent by the other hut’s participants. For this, I would facilitate a collaboration with a food anthropologist and local knowledge offered by participants.

My role within these two huts would be the gatherer of intersecting lines of activities: working with people in the surrounding localities of both Port Sunlight and the plantation, facilitating exchanges of local skill and knowledge, disseminating information.

Through these activities, the definition and role of material culture become dispersed and fluid: virtual, written, and data-based objects, which operate according to a digital-era understanding of distance and geography, cohabit the huts with overtly physical objects, such as 3D printed tableware. The huts would accumulate archives of themselves - an alternative microcosm of material culture which is exceptionally self-conscious about its own construction. The communicability and accessibility of the project’s afterlife will depend on its containment in the form of a multi-disciplinary publication, compiled as the project progresses. This would include documentation of workshops and presentations, Congolese and Liverpudlian recipes, instructions for how to build and operate a 3D printer, an account of working for the Employee Purchase Facility, archival materials, and ways to access the skills contributed and objects created during the project.

I intend for this project to deconstruct the unilateral relationship between the concept of an authority which produces a (knowledge)object, and that object’s intended and applied use and message, instead, identifying blind spots and unknown territories of fragmented, incomplete, mutable knowledge that objects can gain and lose.

theairinnvenice.com / kristinluke.com