Thursday, 27 January 2011

The end to a very long series of events involving helping people...

Our crit was today, and lucky me got to go first. It was really unfirtunate actually because i had asked Dave to do a seminar a while ago and he had planned it for that morning and i was asked to speak about my work just as i was supposed to be leaving. I don't feel like i put myself accross very well in explanation and i recieved responses like "I don't think your piece worked because we felt responsible for you" which is actually something that i felt my work adressed- well obviously if they felt that. I didn't feel that i could really address my work either without people previously talking about theres or being in such a large group as we were. It was a little unfortunate i didn't get round to talking to many of the tutors last night, i think it may have all clicked together if they had seen the performance. I'm still thinking that the proposition of helping was more the work than the performance but i can't deny that the group chose for me to do an artwork for thier show.

Anyway, on leaving the crit i ran off to Daves seminar which was terribly crowded. I didn't feel i really got enough out of the seminar, there were alot of people asking very simple questions and changeing the subject. What dave did address in Ethics was very interesting but i would've liked to hear more about participation as an artform as opposed to it just being a use of social art therapy (again, repeated questions). I'm hoping that he may do another- otherwise a tutorial wouldn't go a miss. I'll have too remember to ask.

The third part of my day was going to Susie Wrights leaving party (Susie was our ambassador boss) It's a real shame thats she's leaving because she is such an interesting person to talk about your work, and she is very good at relating your work to getting a job in the outside world. Very down to earth as well, also, i've been working for her for three years- it's going to be odd having a new boss. Me and Joe popped over to the Tate and bought her a present- a mug with a rabbits face on the bottom, so when you drink out of it you look like a rabbit (It is actually hillarious) She was very greatful, and gave us her card. I think Camden working mens college is the first place i'm going to send my CV when i leave college.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Day 2 of set up and the private view

Day 2 has been very stressful for Clive and although i managed to get him a coffee this morning  the lighting was  taken out of my hands (I'm not tall enough to hang them)- Jacob was a better choice for this, he's probably about 6ft (that is 6ft taller than me...). Everything came together in the end though- it was very difficult not putting my oar in during curation but i think i was successful. The performance was good- my role in the end was to talk to people about the work but in a humorously obvious way. to be honest, the only way i could find to make it funny and not just seem like i was patronising people was to list numerous ways things could break if health and safety was challenged. I also had my favourite line for when people asked real questions about the theory of the work "I'm sorry i couldn't possibly tell you that, i wouldn't want to mis-represent the artist" I got some really excellent feedback (i.e. laughter) and I've prompted somebody to want to work with me in a collaboration. Hooray! I did manage to upset a couple of people that didn't speak English very well though- I think they were really looking for some insight into the work and i wasn't giving them any information that they didn't already know. I also got some very negative remarks from people that presumed that i was just a tour guide and instantly brushed me off through not wanting to know anything about the work. A lot of the people i spoke to actually got it straight away and went along with it. one couple asked me to give them a tour at least three times because they enjoyed the remarks.
I think the overall piece of work ended in a crescendo however I'm not sure whether or not the work would have been more effective if it had been in an exhibition with different people that didn't know me or feel responsible for me at all. I think the idea that in an exhibiting situation outside of a college institution there are often people that create systems and i think placed in an exhibition outside of college i probably would have been given a more systematic role that was needed as opposed to the 'nice' piece of work role that i can be graded on. However again, i suppose it depends entirely on the people you are working with and obviously always the first impressions as an artist that i give.
The Crit is tomorrow, photos of the PV to come...

Monday, 24 January 2011

Day 1 of Exhibition set up

I helped Clive all day today with the lights. I bolted lights cable tied until i was blue in the face. As well as going and paying for some materials and sending technicians receipts. Oh and i got lunch. It doesn't sound like much but i was pretty busy and i think he was glad for the help. Unfortunately we didn't get as far as we wanted today with the lights. one of the bulbs blew and we had to wait for an electrician to come to make sure everything was being wired correctly. It turned out that it was fine, which was good but at the same time annoying because there was so much more time that could have been used productively. Clive said that he's going to have to be in by 8am tomorrow to try and get it all done.

My role was chosen for tomorrow evening- I am going to be a tour guide, with a twist- the students don't want me to mis-represent their work. It's a little odd that i have been given a role that seems a lot like a piece of work that i would do anyway. a performance that is out of context and participatory. This is probably to do with peoples consciousnesses though, not wanting to give me anything too terrible to do- also i think there is an aspect of people not wanting to decide on anything in particular to do with me, or maybe again, people not knowing what i can do because they don't know me too well- therefore they choose a task they've seen me do before.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

An ask for help, no 2

I got an out of the blue series of text messages asking for my advice on a situation. theres not too much information to disclose on this, but at least that is a second person i have helped this week. On Wednesday in the seminar i was discussed a little bit and Clive said he may need a helper on Monday and Tuesday with the light installation in the show, so i left him a note today to say that i definitely will- although I'd be better at getting lunch and Tea- my electricianing skills aren't what they used to be...
Joe said that if i don't get booked for help tomorrow i have to be booked out as a stress reliever. This means just accompanying him to Brighton to forget all about college for the day.

Rollerskates and Government Cuts

We have our half of interim show coming up next week and to celebrate the meeting of the other seminar group yesterday, myself and Joe went to buy Roller skates- the intention was to commute to college on them everyday but actually- i'm not very good. I fell over and now hurt all over, especially my right arm. I think my confussion  was that i can skate at Roller discos and  actually at roller discos there isnt the issue of all of the bumpy pavements and pedestrians walking in the opposite direction. I think that when you rollerskate people actually try to get in your way aswell "ooo look, people on rollerskates that are obviously finding it quite difficult to stand up, let alone stop- perhaps i will ride my bike into them...?" I wont be skating in a while...
We did get to college within an hour of buying the skates which was good, even though it may have been quicker to walk. The rush was to get back for a Hitchi meeting, unfortunately it is a handover to the next year of participants. It was quite sad talking about the project for the last time, but exciting just the same to hear from the second years. Surprisingly not that many people turned up, maybe it wasn't as well advertised as last year but i can remember the whole of the blue room being full with people, questions and ideas, To only pick 10 pieces of work was difficult because there was so much interest. Jeff has said that he is going to call another meeting so hopefully there will be more interest next time.

There was also a very interesting lecture last night. It is the first in a programme of talks in the college and last nights was about the recent Government cuts, education and global warming. It was opened out to the lecture theatre but i was a little too intimidated to ask any questions- i felt a little out of my depth being surrounded by post-grads. It was a conversation between David Cross and Hayley Newman- David's part of the lecture mainly consisted of facts and figures and Hayleys more of the personal experience of the cuts. It was very interesting and will help tenfold with my dissertation as i've decided to open up my writing a little. I'm definately going to look out on the internet for the notes of the discussiona and i look forward to next week.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Interim Show- Translations part 1

The other half of the year had their interim Show tonight and i must say, they did very well- to the point where one has to worry that ours next week wont be as good. I'm also stuck in this dilemma as to whether or not i should be thinking about curation of the show or whether i have to disregard that as any business of mine unless it is chosen that i do that. This lack of free will thing is confusing, especially when I've put it upon myself. I think I'm going to have to stay out of it, although i do feel that people will ask my opinion or advice which i am totally fine with- because then they are asking for something. Due to the lack of response i have had to the e-mails i have sent I'm leaning more towards the idea that actually people are just as controlling with their work as i usually am and wouldn't let me near it. I don't think i come across as an unable person- so this must be the case.
No one else has booked me out for the rest of the week. I feel that i am going to be really bored until Tuesday. 

Monday, 17 January 2011

First ask of help...

Joe has asked me for some help tomorrow to set up his Lecture that he is staging for the interim Show- my duties involve listening to the lecture before the Lecture and then filming throughout and clearing up afterwards. Its not much to help with and i'm feeling a little disappointed that i got up early to go to college and nobody has asked for my help, but it's a start- also, once I've spoken about what i am doing a little more in our seminar on Wednesday, perhaps people will be more inclined to ask for help?

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Second Hands


Do you feel strained by the thought of making work for the coming interim Show? Or feel as if you need a break to focus on other work, such as your dissertation?

Perhaps I can help?

For my input into the our week of the Interim Show i am lending my services to anyone participating- as a second pair of hands. Whether you need help constructing your work, thinking about and researching concepts, a second opinion on aesthetics or even just someone to run down to the shop for you to buy tea- I am on hand to be your second pair of hands!

If you would like help next week, i have a timetable of when i will be available where you will be able to book up to 2 hour sessions at a time (see below). Please e-mail or text and i will respond asap to try to suit all of your needs!*


Monday 10am- 5pm
Tuesday 10am-5pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am -5pm

I am also on hand to help by e-mail, so do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions or concerns.

I hope I can Help!
Kind Regards


*Please note that i can only help to the best of my ability, physically and morally and although i will aim to give you the time that you desire for me to help, I may have to adjust your time if it clashes with another's booking.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Inside the Clink

I took a day out of dissertation today to go for a little bit of sight seeing in London. With nothing going on it town at the moment- exhibitions all seem to be finishing and it only seems shopping is in full swing- we  dropped into 'The clink prison' museum to re-read what i had vaguely remembered from my visit two years ago; this time i bought the guide so i wouldn't feel the need to visit again anytime soon. A couple of my favourite facts from the museum are:

- Women that were bought into the Clink that had children often would never leave, and neither would the children
-A way of escaping imprisonment and hanging was to accept a prostitutes hand in marriage- although often the prisoner would refuse.
- A method of proving innocence in the middle ages by fire would be: holding a burning rod whilst walking over hot coals- if you gained wounds on your hands and feet you were guilty, if not you were innocent. The classic method by Water: You are thrown in a river, if you float you are guilty, if you sink and die you are innocent.
- Women were not honorable enough to be executed with their heads on the block- only Anne Boleyn was this lucky- although, women could often be privileged with the death of being torn apart by two horses riding away from each other.
- The cells in the Clink were twice the size of those that we have in England now, and at the time they were described as 'The size of a room any man could bare to live in without going mad'.

Lots more amazing facts if you visit the museum!
-Click to visit the Clink Website-

I'm not sure how to explain this too much in terms of my practise- although i did seek enjoyment in the manikins in the museum- one in some stocks- another one begging- to be honest they didn't really need to be there, there was no demonstration by manikin that needed to be explained. There was also a fantastic audio sequence in the museum of someone screaming followed by someone pleading not to be killed. You could also try on all of the torture equipment; ball and chain, iron boot etc.
For a museum of such cruel content it was actually quite fun!

After the clink, we popped over to St Paul's cathedral. I've never been inside before, so i was quite excited- It is after all one of London's prize possessions. It was quite a strange experience, but one where you get that sense of whenever you go into a large touristy church; It's as if everyone that walks in becomes deeply religious all of a sudden. Everyone wants to light a candle, despite needing a reason, it just looks fun and they are on holiday. It was also very crowded. Also everyone was sat down for a service- but behind the rope of where the 'real service' would take place- not very hospitable to its guests, it made you feel very lowly. It was grand though- The painted ceiling was amazing, and all of the gilded detail in-bedded in pretty much everything in the cathedral. I also really enjoyed the doors that are about 14 meters high (Why would you ever need doors that tall?!).
In Paris, the Notre Dame cathedral didn't make me feel lowly- you were welcomed in, tours only cost 2 Euros and you could go anywhere- even on the roof! This is why i am in two minds about St Paul's, structurally it is beautiful, but i think its ethos puts a bit of a downer on its main purpose, i suppose that's typical of London tourist attractions though.

Interim Show idea

For the up and coming interim show, for the week leading up to (next week) the show and during, as my piece of work i will be offering my help to anyone who needs it whom is already participating in the show.  The idea came from helping Rob out last week with his alter piece and realising how busy everyone in our year is at the moment. The idea of the work is that the artist (myself) participates wholly with the show as situation specific piece; my aim is to take away the notion of the artists 'self indulgance' - taking away my control, well as much as I can. I think it raises questions in my work about control and how i choose to use my time to create my work and the ethical questions of asking people to control you, and weather it is more difficult to make decisions or not make decisions. It is always a moral problem for me distinguishing the difference between helping people in a voluntary type way (such as in Senior section) and using them in my artwork. I feel that this piece is very much testing the grounds of when participation is voluntary for me and a different way of translating my work.I'm intrigued to find out how people will use me in the show- whether they will use me for manual labour or whether they will want me to produce an artwork to be on equal par to them. Also i think the main thing i have to work out is, is it more ethical for me to give my verbal input into the show or to stand back and let others use me as a physical input.
This is also interesting for me at the moment because i am looking in my thesis at the idea of 'good' art and ethics and service which are all themes that relate to this piece. I am however slightly concerned that no-one will ask for my help and i will be asked to stay at home for the private view (But only in terms of university marking).

Friday, 14 January 2011

Alter Piece & Peckham Heros

 It was the Peckham hero's private view last night- and it was packed! I've never actually been to the Peckham space before so i thought Joe was exaggerating a little when he said it was small. However it wasn't too bad when things started to clear out a little. Plus there was a free tipple of wine. It wasn't actually what i expected, going along to the Karaoke sessions before Christmas i don't think i expected the exhibition to be so neat and evenly hung. I think i was expecting something like my dressing up box at home next to singstar! I'm unsure why i thought that. I also wasn't expecting paintings- but i think maybe in an exhibition like this where the artist is celebrating a community (with the communities celebrities) in a way there has to be a pictorial reference so the message is fully received by the people who will be going in there.
We didn't sing. However, we did see ourselves on the screen and apparently our voices will be heard for 3 months over and over again to link with the karaoke film. I do feel sorry for the staff. At the end of the show, Jessica came over to say thank you to us which was really nice, because we should have been thanking her for the opportunity, plus we had loads of fun doing it. I also asked her if she would make a postcard for our fundraising auction- maybe a little cheeky, but she did say 'if there is anything i can do'- that's becoming a phrase that people should avoid saying to me nowadays. I can't wait to go back and see myself singing- all of my childhood dreams have come true, being a celebrity, singing on a stage and it being on a film that people watch over and over again!

On another note, Robs alter piece is finally finished and it looks marvellous, although i do feel that my gilding skills could do with a little more of a boost...

Thursday, 13 January 2011


My tutorial was interrupted slightly today by a swarm of people coming into the opt-in space; Andrew was a little confused as to why they came and sat with us until we moved and i had to explain that half of our year had come to the opt-in space to talk to me about fundraising. The tutorial did go really well though- for once i think we were both on par with where i have to take my dissertation next and he was pleased that i had managed to get some reading done over Christmas.
The fundraising meeting i thought was really good- we found out a lot of information about the postcard auction that's going to happen and there was a lot of enthusiasm about having an event after the Dissertation hand in and after the postcard auction itself. I offered mine and Joe's services as Ushers during the Postcard auction which will be fun- it means we'll get to dress up! we are also going to do a mass of bake sales in the next couple of weeks to get some funds- I'm organising it next week because Tim is in the show set up, but we have had lots of offers of help so it shouldn't be too busy.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Protest protest protest... protest... is it working?

An interesting blog i read about the validity of the student protests is from one of the third year students last year Harry Major- whos opinion i quite agree with- it's not that the protests shouldn't be happening its just that they should be happening in a more up to date way- i.e. breaking into david camerons place of work is not going to make him feel sympothetic towards students, also as Harry says, the media has a very large stronghold on the students, especially with Murdochs links within the government, so the students will always be misrepresented to the public if they protest in a way that David Cameron doesn't like.
I couldn't give you a different way of protesting- maybe virally? Crashing computer systems and general annoyance? This way the public couldn't suggest that we are all violent thugs maybe even finding a way to address the public instead of government- after all we have lost the government vote to keep fees low, we now have to appeal to those who will be voting for a new government in a couple of years time.
Anyway -something to think about.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Start of term

Its the start of term today and i am so gutted that i was ill over Christmas- the amount of work i could've got done in that time, but no, now i have to work doubly as hard and catch up with myself. we have our interim show in two weeks and i have no idea what to do. Our theme for the work is Translations which means we have to take a side step from our normal practice and 'translate' our ideas and concepts in a different way. I've been thinking about making magazines with public information in, but I'm not sure if that is a side step of a massive jump to the left. Hopefully something will come to me this week while i am helping Rob gild his artwork.
Rob asked me to come in and help him Gild an Alter piece for his exhibition which is next week which should be fun although i haven't done it for three years so although i can remember the process i cant guarantee that I'm any good at it. Still, a skill shared. Today we are just shellacking the wood and Glossing, so not much pressure on that front- plus I'll be quite pleased to see Rob- not seen him since before Christmas. It will be a full time consuming week- but with gilding comes time to think, so hopefully i can use this reflection time wisely to think about my dissertation tutorial on Thursday as well as thinking about what i can do for the show. The pressure's on!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Viva Blackpool

- I really love this series- i remember watching it a couple of years ago, but have found it again after realising that i missed half of the episodes- I also managed to buy it very cheaply off of amazon with the special 'Viva Blackpool' episode in  it (The return of David Morrisay as a vicar). I really enjoy the choreography and how sensationalised all of the characters are, in a way as the series goes on they are all deconstructed by each other and become slightly more real- there is also a nice jump between who you 'feel' for most in each episode. This clip is the opening scene- it is a very odd scene where David Morrisay manages to make everyone fall in love with him by being really horrible. To be honest, even i am convinced that he is great- but its probably because he is singing (There is also quite a few Elvis songs in this that he sings- which i very much enjoy). My favourite part in this scene which appears throughout the series at different points. It  is the part with David Morrisay's face on the fruit machines- it happens with a couple of the characters, and denotes an ultimate power at that moment in the series- especially if there are 3 faces together; very clever.
Anyway, It's really worth watching the rest of the series for the high contrast Blackpool aesthetic and of course the singing and dancing, despite this not being a film review i give it 10 out of 10 - it is definitely making me think more about the characters in my work at the moment and how i can sensationalise them a little more.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Age Exchange- Stage manager take 2

I just received a message from Malcolm to ask if i would like to stage manage the next age exchange production- of course, i said yes straight away. I'm really happy that he decided to contact me again, even if my nan was name dropping when he spoke to her about the play, "You thought about getting Nat back Malcolm? Everyone loved her last time..."nothing like your nan getting you a job in the arts. Still, not to put myself down too much, he didn't say no, so i must have done a good job last time.