Saturday, 23 May 2015

Your Voice is You

Some photos from the opening night of HIDDEN DOOR in Edinburgh, which is a non profit arts festival which takes place in abandoned or hidden places in Edinburgh. This year it is at the old street lighting depot on King's Stables Road, right in Edinburgh's old town, near the Grassmarket. On until Saturday 30 May.


















Friday, 15 May 2015

You are still here






















These photos were taken at the Miro Foundation in Barcelona designed by Josep Lluis Serp. The title of the post is borrowed from a piece by one of my favourite artists Mona Hatoum which was exhibited in one of the rooms in the collection.

The piece is a mirror that catches your reflection and asserts that YOU ARE STILL HERE with etched text. As in many examples of Hatoum's artwork, the piece works on your senses first leaving your thought processes to catch up. The text is refracted twice, and is also open to interpretation.

You are still here - a positive meaning, as in you are still here, alive, you matter.
You are still here - as in negative meaning, you don't belong here, move on please
You are still here - you are still, unmoving.

It was refreshing to come across this piece unexpectedly in one of the many museums of Barcelona we visited dedicated to great men (Miro, Picasso, Gaudi and Tapies).


Friday, 10 April 2015

Charging the Void


I took these series of photos for the last photo theme of "Personal" at the Democratic Camera Club here in Edinburgh. The vase in the photos was made by my dad who taught ceramics and was an art lecturer. 

I first wrote about the vase in a blog post called Forget Me Not three years ago. Unfortunately, the vase had just broken which prompted me to write about it. I also wrote about the other objects I had inherited from my dad and how, although I was sorry this particular piece had broken, I wasn't even sure if I had really liked it. Although I love some of his other works, I wasn't really sure what to think of this one. Then, I wrote about it as if I had made peace with the fact that the vase was broken, saying that memories of a person shouldn't have to be preserved through objects, especially if you don't find that object particularly attractive. I may have written that, but I didn't throw it away. 

When we moved to Edinburgh from Germany in 2013 I took the two heavy pieces of the broken vase (it broke at the "neck" so to speak) with me and eventually found a restorer. (It must have been one of the few moves where things get mended rather than break). I must admit when it was away at the restorers, I didn't miss it much and only remembered where it was when they called me a few months later. When I picked it up I was amazed as I couldn't see the break at all. 

I still don't really know if I like the vase. The project gave me the opportunity to find a way of photographing it now it was mended.  In these photos I wanted to show a process of relating to it, not just showing the object itself. Maybe because the vase dates from the 70s, the artist Rosemary Trockel popped into my head and I began to think about how she addresses feminism and politics in her work, and how she mixes the distinctions between craftsmanship and high art, all themes in her work at that time. I then conducted rather functionary arbitrary actions on the vase, like a performance. I used the vase as a pillow and also as a rolling pin. (as far as I could see there was no functional use to the vase, so I gave it one.) In another I used it for target practice, throwing screwed up pieces of paper to see if I could get one in the opening at the top. (Quite a futile game, but an interesting way to map failure.) I shook out its contents onto a piece of white paper (the vase became almost corporeal, dust and debris reminiscent of ashes). 

At the meeting the main feedback I received was to film it as a performance. The term "(positively) Charging the Void" was used by artist and lecturer David Grinly in his introduction to the theme of "Personal" on why we take photographs today. 











Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Ticket Collector

In 1997, I travelled from Prague, Moscow, St Petersburg overland on the Transiberian Express to China and then Thailand, Laos and finally Indonesia. On the way I collected scraps of paper, tickets, cigarette and match box packets, stamps, and anything that caught my eye. Below is a selection from that. I remembered this scrapbook after Benjamin Pollock's Toy Shop asked people to share their collections on their mini social gallery in celebration of the current Barbican exhibition, Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector.  If you want to see other people's collections and find out more about the Pollock's competition and how to share your own collections, see my last post or check out their Facebook page.

Mongolian money, stamps and maps

Moscow and ticket for Transiberian perhaps

Prague

The stamps on the left feature the Thai King Bhumbibol Adulyadej, rather coolly holding a camera here. 


China, water bottle, cigarette pack and ticket for Great Wall

Laos

Mongolia

China
Aeroflot mints, cigarettes? I am not sure.





Saturday, 14 March 2015

More is More


To celebrate the current Barbican exhibition Magnificent Obsessions: The artist as Collector, Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop are asking people to share images of their collections in a mini gallery. 

"You can win a pair of tickets to Magnificent Obsessions: The artist as Collector at the Barbican and tickets to the Unicorn Theatre but really just to share the love and show how collecting inspires. Don't be shy. Please share."

I love the collections I have already seen there. This is a collection of Kokeshi Dolls belonging to illustrator Geoffrey Coupland.



And this is a collection of Multicultural Dolls belonging to Simon Seddon, artist and manager at Benjamin Pollock's toyshop.




My collection is much more modest I am afraid. 





Here is the collection of a rolling stone (small caps) (me). 


Dumpster truck owned for 20 years, acquired in Tokyo on visit and tour of incinerator plant.
"Flohspiel" tiddlywinks game owned for 10 years, acquired in Berlin; neighbours put out things they didn't want in the hall for others to take.
Knitted figure (newly acquired) Edinburgh originally belonged on a card. Now just hangs out and turns up in unexpected places around the flat.

I LOVE my dumpster truck and could never ever part with it. It even tips up and has a neat compartment for tiny amounts of rubbish at the rear, and reminds me of Japan, a country I love and once visited. 


So if you have a collection, don't keep it to yourself, share it here. 






















Sunday, 22 February 2015

I Wish This Place


Sand has formed itself to shell
Impossibility within which to dwell

Good luck, fair weather, another year
For the place that stays on here

My wish is more selfish than that
I want to take it, wrap it up

I pick up the corners of loose bricks
And fold them slowly, light as air

I slip the windows into my bag
And into my pocket goes the door

I find a compass of zigzag tracks
A ballet of heavy machinery

Scaffolding falls into a telescope
Now thin lines are holding up the sky

I wish this place well, and I wish it ill
But it takes off alone, and I haven’t the will