Thursday, 30 June 2011

In A Bubble

My advise to those who live in a bubble is get in a bubble and try walking about. let our bubbles overlap like ven diagrams in eleven dimensions. Don't panic or you will run out of air and return to three dimensions.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Picadilly Community Centre - Spoiler alert

After the Summer Show I popped over to the Hauser and (wot's it) Wirth for the Christoph Büchel installation. Various friends had said what a fun experience it was. Nothing, however, had prepared me for the complete transformation he has affected. Upon arriving my first thought was "oh well the show must have finished and they've finally turned the gallery space over to some other kind of business." I stood in the entrance hall asking another visitor if this was art. Many people, myself included, are interested in disolving the barrier between art and life and Büchel has managed this, though not effortlessly. There are problematic questions such as "where will all the people who have taken succour from this new venue, right in the middle of town, go when it closes at the end of the exhibition?" I had a fleeting feeling that they were mere colours on the artist's palette as I glimpsed them through a newly constructed interior window wall. But! This is the least ironic show I can remember seeing. I have never had such a giddy feeling of walls and boundaries physically and metaphorically disolving at an art exhibition (now I come to think of it The Kids Co show in porta cabins behind the Tate Modern actually had a very similar affect and packed a heftier emotional punch.)
I read recently that narrative installations were all the rage in college shows and the squat at the top of the gallery certainly pandered to that audience. I was genuinely frightening to climb the cast iron ladder and squeeze through the small opening into the eaves where a recently evacuated squat awaited. It did not smell like a squat. The non denominational prayer room, however, did. Smell like a prayer room not a squat. I took off my shoes as requested and muttered the 10th 13th and 15th Psalms. You think I'm joking but this was a narrative installation.
As I ambled into the dance studio where spanish singing lessons were taking place I felt like an unwanted guest. And as I left the instructor pointedly closed the doors after me.
I intend to return for the laughter session on Thursday. This is a brilliant installation that makes a mockery of the confines of gallery semiotics because it has become a real functioning place. I have never seen gallery attendants so busy as they got involved with genuine help in the community. Gallery's often lend a knowing sense of detachment to the proceedings but the Old Bank space on Picadilly habitually escapes this and never more entirely than the current contribution to big society.




stasis

Michael Craig Martin has selected the work for a room in the Summer Show. I really like Humphrey Oceans painting called windscreen in there. The Richard Wilson homage to the Italian Job is nice too. I particularly like it as he sets the coach atop the Delaware pavilion and I was born in Bexhill-on Sea which is my own Eden from which I was expelled at the tender age of four. This room is nice enough and Bill Woodrowe has a brilliant sculpture on display. However the overall effect I found was stasis. Like a Batsman playing forward defence ad infinitum. THunk thunk. All thunk up. Michael Craig Martin says he wants to combine words and images in startling ways (or words to that effect) but his fate/gate is nice like a funny postcard on a retro fridge. It's all on the surface. No depth i.e. profundity. He talks the talk and presents a good case but it left me feeling hollow. My face set to drool.  Martin Creed's chairstack is more minimal and yet more resonant. He is somehow not asking for a medal. He's not trying to be clever in an overtly "left brain goes whacky" kind of way.
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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Comic Strips

One of the highlights of my year was being commissioned by Art Brut to draw a comic for a comic book accompanying their new album Brilliant! Tragic! Drawing a comic strip takes discipline and forward planing. These are qualities I seem to reveal more often when I am asked to do something. I think the reason is I don't like knowing what something is going to look like before I've finished it. Something has to happen in the process. What I've been failing to see is that any process will lead to something unexpected. Just the act of drawing begins the metamorphosis. Of course this probably won't happen unless you let the drawing lead you. In a comic this is a more refined experience. The framework is much more defined. The diversions caused by the "flawed" movement of the pen are harder to spot.
I once drew a comic for our band Glam Chops which I hoped would be included in an annual which we all still hope will see the light of day. In the mean time this morning, as a test of my self-discipline,  I drew one to go with one of my own new songs called "Bringing Rocks Back From The Moon". In this I have attempted to capture the simplicity manifested within The Beano. Once I started to draw it the grammar of these comics started to leak into my conciousness. There is something Zen-like about a classic Dennis The Mennis strip. Anyhow here's mine. I think it looks more Psychotic than Dandyesque.
Here too is my Glam Chops strip...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Sam and Son

 
Son: I wonder can I do that?
Sam: Fix it? Yes there’s a bucket over there. There’s some grass over the hill. Please cut it.
Son: The wind will blow your hat if you hold your face up like a flower. Your face will get a lift for free. For free yes? No yes.
Sam: What make your mind up please. Words are useless in the face of such flagrant disrespect.
Son: We must keep silent. I’m not saying anymore. I’ve said enough.
Sam: Why? Is someone else coming?
Son: Other than who exactly?
Sam: I dunno? You said someone was coming.
Son: No I didn’t I said we must remain here until someone comes
Sam: Really that sounds exciting. Can I bring my friend?
Son: Only if he’s over the hill.
Sam: Why?
Son: Why Not?
Sam: Because I like the grass. It reminds me of being a rabbit in a former job.
Son: Surely you mean life?
Sam: What do you mean you idiot?
Son: You are mean not me! I’ve seen the way you count your blessings. There is something pernicious in the way you hold your lips when you spell the words out in your mind's eye.
Sam: Well are you going to wait here or over there?
Son: I can’t see what you’re pointing to.
Sam: You won’t unless you know what I’m getting at.
Son: Do you know what I mean?
Sam: Don’t start that!
Son:What do you think I mean? It’s obvious isn’t it?
Sam: You want to kill me and pretend you wrote this.
Son: Really I did not see that coming.
Sam: Well it hasn’t happened yet has it?
Son: I don’t know you tell me.
Sam: Why should I tell you anything after all these years of pain?
Son: Pain is like gain only it starts with a p
Sam: It does at that. I can’t fight on a full bladder
Son: You should try it. It somehow focuses the mind.
Sam: On peeing?
Son: Yes that’s exactly what I mean.
Sam: What’s the use eh?
Son: What’s the you A? Do you see what I did there?
Sam:Whose the what? How are you?
Son: I’m okay are you okay?
Sam: Yes if you are I’m also okay.
Son: That’s settled then if I kill you you won’t mind because I’m okay and we are friends aren’t we?
Sam: You mean are we not?
Son: No I mean innit innit? Do you see wori mean geezer?
Sam: I’m glad that’s out of the way. I hate that withered deceptive mild mannered passive aggressive control freaking.
Son: That’s a relief. Let's have a meeting.

Friday, 17 June 2011

round one

Yes the art cage. In this artists are free to explore ideas of "insert topic". This work they then hold aloft and patter softly around the ring. The crowd bay. Outside the auditorium a country of starving lepers bakes in the sun. Men paste fly posters for the next big fight onto the calcified hippo carcasses dotted through the landscape.
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Thursday, 9 June 2011

meetingists

I recently began painting people in meetings. The ones who phuck it up for everyone else. It feels like holding up my shiney shield to the gorgon's stone inducing stare.
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left and right brain view and perception

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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Networks

It's a funny old world. One minute we have a documentary explaining how the idea of an Eco-System is a myth the next Stephen Fry and Brian Cox are on Radio Four explaining the nature of complex networks that link us all. There was also a lady on the program who liked to use the word "cluster" a lot. In one particularly unsettling sentence she used it about four times. The long and short of it is that obese people cluster and scientists are trying to map this particular phenomenon. Social scientists she explained are duty bound to go a bit further with their investigations. She didn't get the chance to say how. Perhaps she meant "find out why?". They all chortled at the idea that perhaps they all live near a KFC. Brian cox noted that it might be non-causal and therefore understanding the clustering phenomenon would help. Someone pointed out that seeing everything as connected could lead to paranoia at which point Stephen Fry drew our attention to how in fact the modern novel often demonstrates how we are all connected. He took the example of Dickens' Bleak House which uses money and disease to link people together. Today we have Linked In I mused archly as I sat at my car wheel transfixed.
This program (citation needed) seems to me to be a particularly strong manifestation of the left-brains inability to embrace the realm of metaphor. Stephen Fry quoted from the Bible and said it would be good to treat everyone as your brother. We only need to look at the human genome to see we are connected he went on. There it is. Science as a validation of metaphysical ineffable feelings of being part of a greater whole. If we could all interact on a non competitive level perhaps there would be no more clusters of obese people. Still some overweight people though but no clusters. My point here is that by continually seeing ourselves as a system of networks in a machine-based sense this is what we will become. The act of observing changes the nature of the subject.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

the meetingists


I love my Job, Hazvarg cajoled himself. I mean all those talented students who respond and in turn teach me so much about my own limitations - my own grounding in a sense of order. But there are also the meetings. The meetings where afterwards I am feeling like I need a shower. There is something almost obscene about them. Something against nature. What is it? He thought scratching his head behind his right ear. They are abominations against human creative endeavour. At the last one the comrade next to him had had the parmesan breath of a man who doesn't sleep or drink enough water because he is up all night devising new and more intricate frameworks to replace the practical experience students have forgotten they paid to experience. This man was delighted in discovering a fleet footed way of incorporating an unmarked essay into the module. Hazvarg felt no desire to tell him that this "unmarked" piece of work would serve no purpose other than further train students to forget the practical training they had once, long ago paid to experience. It was he felt just further indoctrination into the realm of "thinking stuff up". This is an illusion where upon the student creates "research" which purports to show how they arrived at their new and exciting discoveries about their "passions". Sometimes, very definitely, in spite of this system someone would stumble upon a genuine idea and this would be held up for the next decade as proof of the university's undoubted progressive educational methods. Then there was the man who had attempted to lampoon Hazvarg's own programme guide in which he referred to students "standing in front of" works of art. This he had inserted in direct response to the growing custom for students to visit deviantart.com in search of the "uncanny". This is a well-known symptom he reasoned, of the left-brain struggling to find a way out of its self-created hall of mirrors when no genuinely imaginative route is available. He felt sure that none of the art on there would be available to experience in the flesh. The proud portly lampooner had scoffed that he "had stood in front of the Mona Lisa" and asked Hazvarg if he could tell. Thus revealing his own status as being trapped in a veritable Versailles of his own rationality. This Lampooner had managed to fox himself into a fixed state of stasis due to his belief in the brains ability to rationalise everything. The idea that actually walking and moving might affect perception was something that did not even enter the mind of the Lampooner who felt certain he could experience everything in his head.

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