Sunday, 18 December 2011

barcode generator

As the linocuts are for a collaborative magazine that includes drawing and markmarking based on works at the Whitworth nand I have been given the task to focus on the Hiroshima Cyanotypes..I have decided to design lino cuts that symbolise the decimation of the towns of Hiroshima ans Nagasaki. As stated below, the designs are becoming to look like barcodes and I have now began the cutting of the new and finalised lino.

Shown above are renditions of the towns in barcode form and will be the final designs..

Need to point out that the above are [Code 128 Barcodes]

I will need to find a Code 128 reader in order for the viewer to make out what is being said with the art piece.

This is the website for barcode generation..

Dissertation [2011]

So..the dissertation is now in and here it is..I have been told that it doesn't make any sense but hey ho..let's go:

A Study in the Act of Collecting

Within this essay, I will attempt to understand the machination of the collector and why as a species, need to collect. I will try to formulate an answer that will prove we as a species feel an affinity with objects and possessions that surround us.

As an artist and a collector, I often delve in this act of collecting and I consider myself an avid collector of Ladybird books. I have a library of these books that at the moment number about 250 in total. I started this collection with Learning with Mother Number Three and eventually got caught up with the continuity of this project. Alas, I am still involved with this endeavour of collecting the Learning with Mother series and still seeking other titles in this series. (Fig 1)

I started this collection because as a child I couldn’t afford the books and they always hold a certain amount of nostalgia. As an adult, I appreciate these little books through an aesthetic state of mind. I adore the graphic design, the art and the typography of the early seventies editions.

As pointed out by Baudrillard in The System of Objects, I am a serial collector. Inasmuch as that I am in the process of collecting specific items and objects in a disjointed fashion. My collection of children books is a collection and not an accumulation in that in is an incomplete series but my ever growing collection of vinyl records are an accumulation as I see no ending in sight and that I am not in search for the final absent object.

Baudrillard’s book mentioned above is such an important addition to this essay and so is the essay that Walter Benjamin wrote on the collection of Fuch. The former book explains the aspects of objects and the systems that are attached to their relative being. I have concentrated on the act of collecting as this has a special and quite important aspect to my creative and intellectual practise.

The subchapter within Part B entitled A Marginal System: Collecting in Baudrillard’s was important in a sense that it attempts to explain the roles that such objects play on society and how they are collected. This has been essential in my reasoning with the selection that I read on Fuch. Benjamin comes to a different conclusion on the role of the collector. Benjamin comes to different conclusions on what he suspects the role of collecting has on society. This standpoint may come from his political leanings.

This fascination with humanity’s propulsion with the need for collecting has interested me for sometime. The art of archiving and the archive has been part of my being for so long that it has entered my creative psyche, as stated previously.

I have another collection that is quite surreal that involves the retrieval of nuts and bolts that have been left by the roadside. I have collected these items quite feverishly for what appears to be years and now have formulated a nom de plume that I have adopted for this venture. This avatar that I have created is called Lucien Fellowes and is completely fictious. He only exists to fulfil a role that needed to be filled where I was allowed to step back and view what was happening, in way disassociate myself from this almost schizophrenic project. (Fig 2 and 3)

This collection has become an accumulation, as I can’t see an ending in sight. As I have dislodged my personality from the actions of collecting, I am not the one who is collecting, I am observing, I am free from the restraints of the collection.

This essay will explain that collections can become an all consuming past time and in turn become an accumulation in such a way that it maybe hard to control. Part two will speak of the phenomena that I have called anthropological collecting.

Anthropological collecting concerns it self with humans collecting other humans in their living form, as body parts and in contemporary social networking. This part of the essay will focus on the objectification of humans and the abstraction of such objects from their original state.

Facebook is an important tool in the actions of the anthropological collector in that society is. He is free to create new identities, as in the character that I have created in Lucien Fellowes, and to collect strangers and then elevate them to positions of acquaintances.

So, hopefully through my investigation into the differences between accumulation and collecting I will begin my to understand my particular affliction. What is the need for my collecting and is it detrimental to my mental wellbeing? Am I really a serial collector who grazes from one subject to another, one kind of object to another object when the pleasure principle is exhausted? These and other question should be answered and eventually the ghost will be given up.

Part One:
Accumulation and the Collection

The fine line between collecting and accumulation is a fine line to tread. There must be a stand off point when a collection is over and a new one can be started again. As stated by Rheims in La Vie Etrange des Objects and cited by Baudrillard, ‘A phenomenon that often goes hand in hand with the passion for collecting is the loss of any sense of the present time’ . This statement may refer to the controlled life cycle that epitomises the continual absorption of the collector. Also, time has stopped for the person involved in such endeavours. Baudrillard also makes a point that a collection must remain a pastime, that to collect ‘abolishes time’ . Therefore the actions of collecting and the collector serves to create a hole in the space and time continuum, a place where one can escape and feel in control.

When a collection has been started the actions of the collector is only valid until the stand off point has been achieved. There must be an eventual ending to this collection. The life cycle that has been projected onto such objects must reach death, and only then has the game of life and death been achieved and a new collection can begin afresh.

To collect and to reject memorabilia is the other aspect that belongs to the cult of collecting. The praxis of creating a collection and the concept of collecting can be describes in several ways.

Walter Benjamin writes that critic Fuch uses his collection of caricatures as a source as cultural history. He describes that Fuch’s collection is an outlet, almost like an avatar to his inner core. This act of collecting mirrors a hidden personality that allows Fuch to lose steam .

In this sense is there a correlation between what is collected and why it is collected. Does this allow others to see the projected self of the collector? In reality, this act of collecting and the showing of said collection allows the outlet for pent up emotions and frees the subconscious of its accumulated fluff. So by offloading inner emotions and clutter, we create peripheral clutter instead.

In his essay on collecting, Benjamin explains historical materialism as the conceiver of historical understanding. He goes on to say that the pulse of the past can still be felt in the present. This means that the act of collecting antique objects or other ephemera creates a disregard for the finality of the past.

So with the practise of collecting and the creation of historical materialism, cultural history is born. Cultural history has a different form from that of intellectual history in that it creates it’s own agendas. Intellectual history has a more concrete basis and is concerned with actuality whereby cultural history is more adaptive.

This adaptive element is advantageous to one who collects. The past can be rewritten and then be given a photoshop styled makeover. The reification of objects from the abstract and useless to the more concrete and functional can be a fulfilling excercise.

Is the materialist able to differentiate between what is classed as the intellectual and the historical and are these two able to survive on the same level of understanding. As an example, Fuch was regarded as an intellectual materialist as alluded by Benjamin. He collected works of art that had a basis in intellectual history. The historical materialist/collector is governed by the abstract, in the tracing of artistic vision and the elementary .

Hazel Jones, lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University is a prime example of the historical materialist. In this respect the historical materialist is a collector of ephemera that has a relationship with the abstract. Value for such items is not the primary focus for this collector. The collection of old rusty boxes, bike lamps and locks are fundamental to this collector. (fig 4 and 5)

She is an artist whose creative practise involves creating what can be considered useless metal objects such as raisin hydrators and pocket fluff collectors. (fig 6) She can be classed as an inventor of useless objects. What is surprising is that her creative practise is encompassed with her past time of collecting metal objects.

Her blog A1 Scrapmetal on the website holds photographic evidence to her collecting endeavours. It is interesting seeing online collections and the objects that they contain. There is an almost chimerical aspect to the unattainability of the objects on the screen. The viewer sees the flatten image as if the object is held within a book and this in itself becomes historical. This sentiment holds sway with a publication entitled Eccentric Contraptions by Maurice Collins. Within this book a collector has gathered together a catalogue of gadgets through the ages in an almost Sears like fashion. (fig 7)

In order to fully understand an object the viewer needs to be in control of whatever is being viewed and this means sensory feelings. To behold an object is an all-important aspect in assessing value both aesthetically and in the sense of monetary provenance. The machinations of the senses such as touch, smell and also auditory experiences are key in this assessment, an old rusty box is just what it appears to be but when it is assimilated into a tangible and worthwhile object it has passed all the requirements that allows this act of elevation to take place.

Jones has an obvious desire to collect such rudimentary items. Such items that are considered trash to some members of the collecting community but this practise of collection are integral to her creative practise. As alluded to earlier, Benjamin passes a comment about Fuch’s collection as an extension of his persona. This persona could well be buried deep within the subconscious but the simple act of collecting or making a collection may help form an outlet, an almost outpouring from the soul.

What is interesting is the state of accumulation versus the state of the collection. Does an object create sufficient influence upon society when it chooses to label what is an accumulation and can we be somewhat flippant in our understanding on such matters? Again this maybe classed as a rhetorical question but it should be approached with some caution.

There is an interesting but slightly odd collection within Manchester Art Gallery. (fig: 8) This collection does not contain fine art paintings or works of sublime beauty, it hasn’t even anything to do with modern art in general. Where this collection differs from the aforementioned variety is in it’s slightly absurd and bathos aspect of accumulated ephemera.

Mary Greg (fig 9) collected pre industrial handmade objects during the late 1880’s and the early 1900’s of which such donated to the Manchester Art Gallery. She was prolific in this venture and would send parcels to the Gallery on quite numerous occasions. These items would range from keys to shoes and clothes to children’s toys. Her activities would sometimes border on the ridiculous but always beguiling .

What separates this collection from Jones’s collection is the accumulation aspect of what is now considered as artefacts. (fig 10) The time of Mary Greg sending these parcels to the people at the Gallery and the time that we live in is very similar in that technology and culture is fast paced. Greg was creating a requiem for the old when she began her conversation with the gallery inasmuch as we have created an industry that focuses on what is classed as vintage today. We hark back to what we think as a more steady and a rose-tinted memory of the past.

This vintage title is applied loosely as it is very broad in genre. Fashion and technology is moving so fast that we create, as did Greg an idealised dream of the past. We are able to supplant history and project our own version of what has transpired with the items that we chose to place around us. Possessions have become malleable in this respect. Cultural history is a fickle practise.

As written within the introduction of The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag in her novel on collecting and romance where she is describing an adventure through a flea market in Manhattan (fig 11):

I’m seeing, I’m checking on what’s in the world. What’s left. What’s discarded. What’s no longer cherished. What had to be sacrificed… But it is all rubbish… But there may be something valuable, there. Not something valuable, exactly. But something I would want. Want to rescue .

This passage all too clearly visualises the act of rummaging and the commodity influence on the collector in a clever and poetic way. She encapsulates the trawl through a flea market such a way that the reader is brought to a rose tinted view of this often nefarious activity. She writes about the virtue of objects that nobody has any use for and the concept of collecting with this short passage.

But as the opening gambit must be addressed here. What is an accumulation and how does it differ from a collection. One answer is that a collection becomes a collection and not an accumulation only by virtue of the incompleteness. There must be that special object that will complete the life cycle for the collector.

Part Two:
Anthropological Collection

Soft Cell Memorabilia
(Marc Almond/David Ball)

Everywhere I go, I take a little piece of you
I collect, I reject, photographs I took of you
The towns that I passed through, I got to have a memory
Or I have never been there,

Key chains and snow storms
Give me a reminder, give me a reminder
I collect, I reject memorabilia
Key chains and snow storms
Give me a reminder.

The above is the opening gambit of a popular song from an eighties chart-topping electronic group, Soft Cell. This particular group focused on the somewhat seedier elements of modern life and this is represented within the lyrics of the above piece of music. Their lyrical output usually involved the use of the kitchen sink drama and the hyper real with a poetic twist. (fig 12)

Memorabilia was an early release form this two-piece group and was quite an ambitious and unsavoury to have come out in the late seventies/early eighties. The context is somewhat ambiguous to say the least and hides a dark psychological undertone that isn’t as prevalent as one would think. The subject matter may advertise an element of stalking behind the facade of memories and trinkets but there are an allusion of anthropological collecting that predates the phenomenon of the social media explosion. The concentration on collecting friends and taking photographs and the almost perpetual state of archiving whatever is happening or what has already happened. Is this constant reassurance and evidence of participation another form of collecting?

The two refrains from this particular popular song contain dual elements that concern itself with the act of collecting and the action of the collector. The latter refrain is what connects the whole dynamic of collecting with what is found in souvenir shops and other establishments where society is propelled into buying their memorabilia. Memorabilia within this aspect then connects to the photographic element of the former refrain with the almost distressed and emotional cry of forgetting.

Memories in this instant then become somewhat metaphysical but extraordinarily fickle and left to their own devices, they become tangled and then eventually fade. As Susan Sontag alludes to in On Photography, as a race the Germans and the Japanese are prolific in their activity of taking photographs. Because their work ethic is so strong, they take photographs as a physical reminder as opposed to the metaphysical sense. They, in the process of taking pictures, allows friends and family see that they have been to places and have the evidence that they have in actual fact, been on holiday .
This particular aspect to the act of anthropological collecting is relevant to the arena of memorabilia and Sontag writes cleverly on how photography has a grasp in both the historical and in the contemporary worlds. In the context of Facebook and other social network media photography is a tool in which one can be collect and in some cases our images can be assimilated and distorted. (fig 13)

In Fowles’s book The Collector of which the opening verse alluded towards, the protagonist becomes involved with a plan to kidnap/collect a girl that he has become obsessed with. He has a past time that is filled with the collection and the mounting of butterflies and these mounted Lepidus are shielded from view. They are for the viewing pleasure of him only .

He becomes embroiled in photography after a win on the pools and begins a somewhat nefarious journey into stalking couples in parks and other public places. These photographs take over from hiss previous preoccupation of butterfly collecting and with having enough money not to have to work, he begins to formulate a plan to collect the victim of the story . (fig14)

What has now become an objectification of a human being? He has projected his desires of collecting onto one element in his life and this becomes all consuming. The act of anthropological collecting has been something of a human misdemeanour through the ages and has been the subject matter for the film industry of late.

The Gary Felder directed film Kiss The Girls from 1997 concerns itself with a serial killer who is dubbed the Casanova Killer. He kidnaps a variety of girls and keeps them captive within a subterranean holding pen. What eventually transpires towards the final scenes of the movie is that there is a greater being that has taken charge of the collection girls and is the fuhrer of the Casanova Killer .

Another genre of film that has become popular is the torture flick. The instigator of which was the first in a series, the James Wan film, Saw. This film is now passed into film folklore and as stated earlier, spanned over four more editions and many, many facsimiles. This film in particular is important for the subject of objectification and collecting.

The basis in this film and its offspring is the collecting of individuals and the incarceration of said characters. The collector in this instance becomes creator and commandant of a series of deadly games that borders upon the psychological element of fear and the fear of death.

Saw is noteworthy in the phenomena of what is have called anthropological collecting as the proprietor of the movie collects individuals and places them within a totemistic box and watches them play. He finds the fact that he can compose and construct mind games and urge others to act his whims fascinating.

The overall justification for his collection isn’t sexual or perverse but is seen as a grand exploration into what he perceives as the downright plague of society. Antipathy, drug abuse and other ails of society is his focus of correcting and in a bitter and unwholesome way.

The film Kiss The Girls has basis in with fact such as the Leonard Lake and Charles Ng case. (fig 15) These people where two sociopaths who by some demonic twist of serendipity became a double act in a series unimaginable and downright pitiless kidnap and eventual murder of families and in particular women.

Their deeds are not really the subject matter for the act of collection but their need to record on V-HS and on tape needs to be addressed. In their twisted acts of power and subjugation, they began to propel the very essence of objectification. They have created a collection, an albeit sociopathic one but a collection nevertheless .

Ed Gein was a farm hand from Plainfield, Wisconsin who was brought up by a domineering mother. She held dominance within her family set up with a rod of iron and she proved to be an almighty influence upon her sons. (fig 16)

When she eventually died and Gein was left with the farm, he became exclusively isolated and as the character in Fowles novels started to fantasy about a singular element in his life and this was the female body. As he was lectured and brutalized by his mother on sex and women in general, he nurtured an offbeat alliance with the only women he could achieve. He started to raid graveyards and rob the freshly dug graves of the recently deceased. When his fascination became all consuming, murder was the only option.

Within his lean to and farmhouse the police found a macabre collection of interior d├ęcor that included:
Human skin lightshades
Skull bowls
Human boned mobiles
Viscera on the stove
and other grisly remains .

This man was left with his surreal and ghoulish absorption for so long that he became enthralled with anatomy and his anthology. His collection of human body parts became his only focus in his almost hermit existence and of course, his collection was only brought to a sudden close because of outside influence. Without this outside influence, his extreme source of collecting and collection would have just carried on until another source stopped the process.

What must be pointed here is that this figure has been the inspiration for so many horror films and thrillers that include Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (where I must add that the three characters within the film are based on the one man) and countless imitators.

The act of anthropological collecting may have other elements such as slavery but slavery is more of a business affair. People are bought and then dehumanized with intention of becoming wretched creatures of toil. Obviously, the intention is to work and carry out acts of utter humiliation. Do they become objectified?

The answer is simple, of course they do. The dehumanizing process alters the perception of individual and this demolishes the ego in the slave person. The question that must be asked though is, do they become part of the collection. Is the master a collector and what is the point of the collection. A collection is only valuable to the one who collects.

In the popular animated series The Simpsons, the act of collecting is played out to comic effect. In series eleven the occasional episodes of Tree House Terrors, of which are anthologies within the whole Simpsons oeuvre, the tenth edition concerns itself with The Collector .

The Collector is in actual fact the Comic Book Guy and he kidnaps real or imagined superheroes and seals them away in hermetically sealed bags just like he was collecting toys and other comic book styled paraphernalia. His newest acquisition is Xena, the3 Warrior Princess and the crux of the story is Bart and Lisa, the children of the series become empowered with atomic energy and are able to free Xena and the other captive superheroes. (fig 17)

The comic effect is happened upon when the Collector reaches for a sealed item from his collection and when he acknowledges this fact, he is distraught and then the episode is brought to a close when he is encased within a polymer and becomes the last addition to his collection. This is a twist in irony and with the act of encasement and sudden stoppage of the Collector, puts an end to this materialist game .

In all these case studies the most prevalent emotion that is evident is one of power. The power of owning another may be a strand of activity that is as old as civilization so must it be ingrained within the psyche. Again this is a rhetorical question must be addressed.

As Baudrillard states in The System of Objects , the object is abstracted from its function…what is possessed is always an object. Does the ownership of another render the collectee less concrete and more in line with a toaster or a television? The sequestered person now has been transformed into a product for the viewing pleasure of the collector or in some cases, collectors.

By destabilishling the individual and creating its confinement the value of the object has become a lesser aspect to the collector’s process of disillusionment. Baudrillard adds; ‘(its) attraction lies in its confinement’.

But is the act of collecting humanity and their eventual confinement of such people a valid form of a collection. What function does the victims play in the game of life and death that encapsulates this particular passion. To be a lonely individual does breed a sense of contempt but this feeling doesn’t have to include kidnap.

As stated earlier, Facebook is a modern equivalent of anthropological collecting. Facebook allows the individual to accumulate ‘friends’ and create a social circle that is otherwise impossible to achieve pre-Internet. This era of social networking is quite narcissistic and is open to abuse. (fig 18)

In the documentary series on More4, True Stories an episode was devoted to this dilemma of collecting and social networking. This particular episode called Catfish concentrated on New York photographer, Nev Schulman and his investigation into an online relationship with a child painter from Michigan called Abby.

What transpired through this documentary was that a mother called ‘Angela’ with several severely handicapped children became disillusioned with her life and began to create a new identity through Facebook. She picked Schuman from an article that she read in a newspaper and then like Mary Greg, began to ship boxes of paintings and other objects from her hometown to New York.

There is a syndrome entitled the Paradise Syndrome with isn’t officially recognized by mental health professionals. This syndrome refers to an individual who are disaffected with their lives. It is normally attributed to people of great wealth who feel that that they have achieved too much in their life.

As cited by Dr Yong Wah Goh, “Everyone around them they see as people who will bolster themselves, they don’t like to be around people who make them feel bad.” “The Paradise Syndrome is a consequence of…having a very high expectation about yourself…and not being able to…let your mind relax”.

The obverse side to this is the Catfish documentary where the real persona was finally uncovered as a disaffected individual who needed to ‘bolster her life with new and exciting people’ as cited within the documentary Catfish. This act of deception opened up a set of methodised actions that proved too much for ‘Angela’ to control. Her control over the collection of Facebook friends began to wane quite considerably when her deception became all too consuming.

The act of accumulation and the art of collecting have a fine line that separates them. To accumulate is to collect; to collect is to accumulate. And as the Oxford English Dictionary states:

Collection [noun]

1 [mass noun] the action or process of collecting someone or something
2 a group of things or people:
a group of accumulated things or people


So am I a serial collector or am I just an accumulator? I just don’t know. I do enjoy a good rummage through a jumble sale, flea market or a box of discarded bits and bobs and I also like to collect original abstract fine art. The collection of Ladybird books that I have accumulated has waned quite a bit due to the scarcity of titles that I prefer to concentrate on but my other passion for fine Georgian silver cutlery has yet to begin. This is partly down to the monetary aspects of what is involved in this venture. I have my eye on a pair of grape scissors and that illustrious fruit knife that will start my collection in earnest.

The nuts and bolts side to my collecting is also starting to wane a little but this is partly due (again) to the availability of such items. Whenever I do spot a particular object I do sense the excitement that Fuch must have felt when he spotted a favourable painting. It is all just different horses for courses when taste is involved.

When I was researching and planning this essay a peculiar piece of news became available via the Manchester Evening News. On Friday 4th November 2011 it was reported, under the headline ‘In the cart: Man who stole 54 supermarket trolleys. It transpired that a man from Stockport began to collect shopping trolleys and milk trolleys and these items began to take over his backyard. This gentleman would go to local supermarkets and stock up his van with the trolleys and then speed away.

He claimed that he found these items in the street and would take them home. He then blamed his diabetes and depression on his hoarding of the trolleys but obviously with the aluminium content of the items, they are worth a considerable amount of money. He had over £5000 worth of scrapmetal within his back yard. Whilst passing sentence, Chairman Paul Walsh said that had embarked on a type of unusual hoarding activity. (fig 19)

This story made quite an impression on me and was an influence on the addition of the Paradise Syndrome and what effect mental health can do to an individual. I too had a relative with mental difficulties who managed several odd collections of broken objects and bottle tops. The research that I carried out did lay some ghosts to rest and I now can understand what I thought of odd behaviour before my enlightenment.

As with the anthropological side of collecting, this still remains a mystery but with the advent of social networking, it may prove to be a detrimental state of affairs. There is already a backlash towards this sort of social interaction that might revert back to face to face humanity.

Road-Side Markings (new series)

I have begun the road-side markings series again after a lengthy break and now feel it is time to continue. This time I will be concerning my=self with black and white analogue photography and possibly begin the Lucien Fellowes movie.

Lino Cut as a diptych

This is possibly the most successful pressing of the series to date and it lends itself well into the concept that I am formulating..

Lino-Cut-Preliminary pressing

I have recut this lino to abolish the incline..I thought caused a distraction from the series.

I have now started to use the Lino Press/stamping machine and here are several examples that I have done using found papers and different paper weights. I have since broken up form Uni for several weeks and have to either buy in inks and do the 'spooning' method or wait until I get back to class. I may have to bite the bullet and do some work over the holidays.

Lino-Cut Rubbings

I have now accumulated five different lino designs and now trying to asemble a panoramic scene. They are becoming quite barcodelike and DNAish in appearance and I may roll with that idea.

Lino-Cut Photographs

Here are several photos that I took from the back of a bus, they are inspiring my lino series. I am interested in the shadows and ambiences of wooded areas such as Beacon Fell and Pendle Hill..and also films such as The Blair Witch Project, these areas have always been play areas for me as a child and as an adult. I am trying to recreate a panoramic scene that involves the printing process. I haven't used the lino process for several years but after a strange tutorial, I began to do a sort of artistic life laundry and threw away maquettes and other art and start afresh.


This is the chair that was put on hold for a few months. The wood had already been cut to size and had been left on the shelf and after I finished the Echo Chamber/box..I decided to assemble the parts. It doesn't look right at the moment and I can either work on it or just leave the idea to fester. I'd like to make a version that does properly look like the drawing though.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

preliminaries for lino cutting

I've been given a place within a DIY artists catalogue for a subverted version of the Dark Matters exhibition at the Whitworth and this is the first stage of the development for my piece. It is my response to a piece of work that involves irridation and nuclear fallout.. I am proposing to make one negative and one positive print using either cyan and black or black and white, respectively.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

new work

I have started work on the Lucien Fellowes movie and here is the set that will be used and the chair that I am constructing..more to follow later..


Chair is constructed and looks a little stiff but will be worked upon on due course.

Piece for the Link Gallery

The Link Gallery is a Manchester School of Art gallery that is curated by is located at the non-place that connects the School with the University, it is a non-place inasmuch as it doesn't belomg anywhere and anyone can exhibit there..within reason of course. We have an open day on Wednesday and the 3rd years are presenting some of their ongoing projects here, some are good and some, well..not so good.

There is a consensus that we do too much art but being on an art course, I find that quite absurd. We are supposed to be involved within an creative practise environment and therefore be classed as creative practitioners. How does somebody get any better with what they do if you don't practise. A complete standstill is what is the answer is.

So, my rant is over but it still niggles me when fellow students complain to me when they are supposed to do some artwork and moan that a dissertation of just 6,600 (max) words on [art] gets in the way of life... I think that is what you sign up for when you think about and knowledge and the obligatory party segued at specific moments..

I decided to change my piece as I thought it wasn't good enough and began on my maquette. After a few weeks of woodwork and sound collage gathering, I devised what I have called [A Model for a Proposed Echo Chamber]. It contains several figurines to bring scale to the equation and I have inserted a dictaphone to convey the sounds from within. I want to transport the viewer into the model and to perceive themselves within the structure. I would like to build this at the relevant dimensions but it needs slight attention.

I have this on show at the Link where I painted my space white, the plinth that I have used and the surrounding area to make it as slick and clean as possible but due to shoddy works, I have to move the exhibit and get the portion of the Link where I am situated rejigged so it will look good for this Wednesday.


Just an update really on the Foyer/Link dilemma..

After being moved from the original position to another part of the gallery, I have acquired either a tech hitch that only happens at uni or somebody is saboutaging my work. I have a dictaphone placed within the piece to act as ambience and as a sound source for the [proposed echo chamber] and it keeps getting put on pause at random times. I have worked on the piece using the Roland 101 and my 4-Track and it took several days to achieve and I am not happy..I need to do some slueth work. The piece does look good and is effective WHEN the sound is on play.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

up to date

I've been super busy with writing my dissertation that I have neglected portions of my creative practise recently. My dissertation took a while to formulate and eventually it began to take shape. It has a very angular and symmetrical aspect to it and I will upload the document as soon as it is printed, bound and delivered to the receipting office of the university.

We have to put the third year show up tomorrow and the deadline is 12pm. I have rejected the idea of showing my [Renal System] as shown below because after talking to a few friends, I've decided to concentrate with the sculpture idea that I have been working with for the last two months.

I quite like what I ahve done with the piece and it has evolved into a model for a proposed echo chamber. I am planning on building a life sized version for my degree show and 8 feet in height and 14 feet in length. There is also a recorded piece of music that what used for another project being supplanted for the sculpture to create an impression of scale and depth.

After the show I will develop my ideas further but in the meantime, work on the chair design that I started at the beginning of the term. I have the piecesv all cut out but need to sand them down and construct the bloody thing. The work was halted as I was trying out new ideas and I went with the sculptural one instead.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Exhibit for Link Exhibition 29 November 2011

As I'm going for minor heart surgery in two weeks time I have had to conceive and construct my exhibit for the up and coming exhibition at the Link at the end of the month.

This is based on the renal system and involves found objects and a nod to Victorian taxidermy and the collections of surgically removed body parts that are pickled in formalahyde.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

new collages

These are two collages that I have made to suggest kinetic sculpture and material feeling.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

ceramics IV and possible glass sculpture

After leaving the ceramics to dry out for a few days (over the weekend) and because the kilns aren't fired up everyday, the most successful pieceas have been put into the oven. They are going to be bisqued and because they are just test pieces, They won't be fired twice or have a glaze put on them. I just want to have some practise with the medium and then when I am more advanced..I'll begin with glazing etc...

As there is another exhibition in the pipeline for the the Link that incorporates the whole third year, I am thinking of trying glass instead of wood for the material for my two new sculptural pieces. I am working on architectural maquettes for proposed living quarters. I am interested in architecture and the models for conceptual buildings and been looking into Gordon Matta-Clark and other more contemporary sculptors/architects.

I have been making and experimenting paperboard spatial sculptures and after discounting a whole bunch of them, I have finally decided on just concentrating on two. I think using glass would be a hard process and such a process that will be fraught with many difficulties. It may be something to think about for my end of year/degree show.

Review in The Mancunion

Free for All (Part 1) showcased the best of the festival’s open submissions. The varied and eclectic works were pieced carefully together by curator Emily Songhurst, comprising an Aladdin’s Cave of viewing. There was video installation, painted portrait, photography, sculpture, interactive sound-art. And all in one barren, concrete vacuum; divided into a complex of almost-rooms, maze-like that encaved the works and created a semi-private capsule for each artist. There were nooks to be discovered, perfect for the deeply personal pieces that were on display. If there was an overarching theme this was it – soul-bearing. Some of it was confusing, some of it bad (in my opinion) and some of it funny – which is rare. I craned to read the small print of a ‘sculpture’s title – the miniature pram with tubes coming out of it feeding into big bourbon bottles – ‘Wet Nurse’, and laughed. Apart from small titles, the smallest photographs overtook the whole rest of the show. Ines Elsa Delal’s photographs: personal, beautiful, and almost missable – the man handing us our beers hit it in one – ‘they got me’.

We had heard tell of the polystyrene balls before we entered room 2. But fortunately the anticipation did not breed disappoint when we finally peeled back the curtains on Child’s Play and skated off in our polythene shoes, tiny, packaging filler balls underfeet. I laughed for the second time, and raced off like a kid in a candy shop. That is, until I ran into the sweet shop installation which presented a disconcerting choice: to take a sweet out of the jar or not. What kind of person am I that I didn’t take a sweet? I think it says more about what kind of child I was, but that child is clearly still master puppeteer of at least some of my actions. From exciting, to contemplative this room threw up a whole load of sweet nuggets for the audience to chew over whilst moonwalking on polyballs. The tone of the exhibition was reset when the monkey-bar on tree trunks installation in the centre of the room, a piece by Sonny J. Barker entitled Gemini, was explained to us. It charted the death of the artist’s twin in his childhood, and just like that the fantasy of being a child splintered away from us. So much of childhood is about loss. And childhood in hindsight can often be seen only in negatives; landmarks thrown into relief by the pain they caused. But childhood is really the least of the issues facing you in Child’s Play. The use of a theme is a jumping off point for exploring how different artists, and therefore different people, interpret the same thing. And this itself is a jumping-off plank for how art documents the human experience. Is art itself child’s play? And if so does the exhibition subvert or add to this notion of art? Like most ‘good’ art, the room created more questions than it answered. And, much like childhood, the more I reflect on Child’s Play, the more disturbing it appears to be.

A wise man once said that art ‘is supposed to make us confront things’. And a lot of the stuff that needs confronting isn’t palatable, or fun to look at it. Some of it is. The Piccadilly Place free for all presented us with a wide scope of reality, as much of it from the art as from the people looking at the art. We were bumped up cheek to wall with people of all brush-strokes and veins of art but the thing we really looked at was ourselves.

This was the review of the show that I was involved in for the Free For Arts Festival 2011..the reporter/reviewer was Phoebe Chambre.

Exhibition in the Link

I happened upon a call out for work to be exhibited at the Link Gallery between Manchester School of Art and the Chatham Building for the dates of 21st and 28th October. As I was fine-tuning the log installation and redsigning the constellation, I decided to submit this and wait if the work was accepted, it was.

For two weeks I filled a sketchbook with floor plans and other designs and felt that I should move away from the Gemini constellation that was used for Piccadilly Place and came up with a new version in response to my brother's death. My brother died when he was three by a drunk driver, a fact that has caused waves through the famikly since it hapened. This installation is based on what I perceived the family dynamic was like at such a fraught time. It was a little cathartic working on this particular piece of work.

I brought my mother to the exhibition and waited for response to the piece and then over scones and tea, I awaited her feedback. What she said was that she understood my loss and that she thought the monument was in tune with her own grief. She liked it, or that is what she said to me. This piece is the most personal and emotional work that I have carried out and is symbolic of what is to come. I think this is a great endpoint for the monument and will look fabulous on top of a hill.

In conversation with another artist, I am going to plant these logs on the moors of Darwen between 10 December to 14th December in honour of both installation art and the lunar cycle of the Winter Solstice. Stonehenge is usually perceived as a solar circle but in reality it is based on the lunar concept. It is based on the passage of the full moon and the re-birth of the seasons.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Transparent Process-Untitled Gallery

There is another exhibition at the Untitled Gallery at the back of the Quaker's Meeting House in Manchester. It is lodged somewhere up a back alley in the middle of Albert Square and the Midland Hotel. It is hard to find but worth a visit to experience what a 'non-scene' gallery looks like. The Metallicaesque branding is a little crap to say the least and it belies the quaint and titchiness aspect of the gallery. The gallery is what I assume what used to be a storage room that is about 20 feet in length and 5 foot in width. The room is stark and is painted in the usual and obligatory whitewash. There is no natural daylight with having no windows and is light adequately enough with strip lights.

I have been in here before sometime at the the beginning of summer to see a non-descript illustration exhibition that I have almost forgotten but was taken in by the ambience of the room. That was what made me go to the place on a very autumnal night with the wind and rain drenching the street. I peeked into the gallery and went straight to the bar for the complimentry white wine, smiled and nodded to the extras and went back to the show.

The artist that was showing is Namhee Kwon, a Seoul installation artist who works with light and site specific ideas. She previously had a show in London with the same work in 2010 and now ahd the chance to travel up here and have a go in Manchester. She is pleasant enough and I had quite a good chat with her and I asked about the process and costings of the pieces that she had made.

As you can see, the light installations are very minimal and in the vein of Naumann and of course, Tracey Emin. I think Kwon's work is very subtle, and not in a patronising way and very ethereal. They have an almost dreamlike-papery aspect to them and are very effective. This gallery would look abysmal if it was presented with salon style paintings and with being so small, these lights looked perfect. with the work being minimal, it opened the gallery up and made the viewer focus on whatever perceptions entered the subconscious. It made the room a piece of art instead of having art on a wall and the room being an avatar for the work.

I am interested in neon work and would love to make just one piece to show that I have been able to fulfil the process. As stated by the artist, the process in much cheaper in South Korea than it is over here with quotes starting at £200- for one word.. I will do some neon work though but in just time.

There was three more pieces of work which included photocopies of tickets from some shows but they seemed to be fillers for the room. They did gel I suppose but the only drawback is that she should've kept with her instinct and just show the light-work. Too much fluff in a show can be distracting and with the light-work being refined and minimal, that should have been enough. In all though it was a fine way to distract me from the pouring run on a wet Friday night.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Ceramics III

Here is phase three of my pet project using clay. After a chat with some other students, I found out that I maybe doing something wrong and being a little light-fingered with the pressing and slipping so I was shown a new way to form my work. This involves using lomger pieces of slab in a way that it stops cracks at joints etc.. The main image above shows one of the wraparound formations..

Also, I have been in correspondence with a graffiti artist who works with elevated designs and he is interested in setting up collaborations with like minded artists and after a few messages, I have entered the group with a potential exhibition at the end of the month..

The other phottographs show the reationships and dimensions that my models will have with life-sized people.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Ceramics II

So my first foray into ceramics wasn't exactly successful.. The maquettes weren't even fired yet and was only drying out before being fired. The fell apart at each junction. What I didn't do was not make/use any slip and not enough 'worms' to gel the pieces together and this was the reason for the cracking and falling apart.

It is a learning curve and this is my first attempt at ceramics in some time and we can't all find success at the first hurdle. I stuck around the workshop for a few hours and made two more maquettes, one about the same size as the last and another smaller one. Hopefully this time they will stick and become kiln ready.

I have started some research but hands-on is the best way forward. You can read Wikipedia and other sites until you're blue in the face but getting the sleeves rolled up and having clay under your fingernails (and having 'some' knowledge) is the key.

new Road-Side Marking

This is a more refined and retuned aspect to my ongoing archive of road-side markings. I think this photography has more of a minimal edge to it and is alot more defined.


I have started my new project which is now going to be ceramics based. I've bought a large block of earthenware/red clay from the ceramics department and the project is now well under way. The hands-on part is the accumulation of work that was started way back in April this year and has filled up at least five work books and I have procrastinated for so long, well I did do three exhibitions since the inception and now the creative process has now begun.

Maquettes have been made out of stiff card, I am staying away from cardboard for now due to technical difficulties, and after deliberation are now being used a moulds. I am quite happy with the two that constructed but they are un-fired as of yet and will be keeping a close eye on the process.

I am thinking of using clay as a process due to pliability, cheapness and general aesthetics of the medium. I haven't used this material since college and only as a sideline when I needed to refill the batteries. So as stated above, If my excursions in the ceramics department become fruitful I may venture into the porcelain world. This stuff IS expensive put still, it is cheaper then wood and will look fantastic as sculptural pieces/architectural models.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Carsten Holler 2009-The Swinging Curve

(Polystyrene Panels, Wood and Metal Wire)

As by accident I have found a contemporary artist who builds large installation sculpture that is both Minimal and Structural. I have started a project where I draw geometrical shapes from a simple square and then build card maquettes. I have built several clunky versions but now, my maquettes are reducing and entering a more fluid state. This was in response to seeing Richard Serra's work and now in reading into Land Art and in particular, Carl Andre and Richard Long.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Lucien Fellowes - Road Movie [lines]

The is the slightly rough version of the Road-Side Markings animation that I have been working on.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

NOI-Child's Play 2011 Exhibition [map and synopsis]

Various photographs from recent NOI collaboration..

Free Sweets | Runa Begum and Katie Lynch
No Ball Games | Ryan Higgins
Im-Immortal | Sonny J. Barker
To Be Born Again | Marcin Wozniak
Interview with Mum and Dad | Kay Woodley
2:2 Radar | Adam Renshaw
Screen Test | Edwina McEachran