Staring at…

blank sm…the proverbial blank sheet of paper. In my case, it is not trying to work out what to do, got plenty of ideas there, but how to do it, financially. Have you noticed: the pic looks like it is not straight, as the edges of the white area compete with the edges of the picture to be the vertical.



Learn a lot … in order to forget.

NicolasBecker2I am looking into sound (or maybe I should say listening in) to low frequency sounds, as used so effectively in many movie trailers: that deep boom or swish that you feel rather than hear. I want to use these ‘subwoofer’ sounds as a balance to the flute playing of Tadek, but there is lots to learn before I get to that point, and my research brought me to the French sound designer Nicolas Becker and his tip for learning about sound: “watch thousands of films, read books, listen to music, walk in nature, stay curious, work a lot, practice a lot, learn a lot of different techniques in order to be able to forget them…” I particularly like the bit about learning a lot in order to forget. I can identify with that. [Image: sorry, I couldn’t find who to credit for the pic.]

Close, too close?

Cathedral smI have lived in the shadow of this building for more than a decade (seen here from my front door). The cathedral close at Gloucester has been my home all this time; two of my sons were born here. But in a few weeks we will live elsewhere, and I have been wondering how this building has affected my work. Fresh out of college, I came here as artist-in-residence, spending a year responding to the building, its architecture and community. I made various works, the main one being ‘The Words to Say It’, an installation in the crypt made out of latex. I was so fired up at the end of that year I applied for a second year (knowing full well there was no chance). It was just that I had much more work I wanted to make, now that I understood the place a little more, it seemed a waste not to continue. I did return, a couple of years later, with artNucleus and a show called ‘Naked Nave’: bringing together ten English and German artists to make sound works for one week in the Norman nave, which was emptied of all its clutter for the occasion. Just sound, space and stone. That was an amazing week. It surprised me how there was a much stronger reaction to contemporary sound than to contemporary visuals in that space, normally reserved for choir and organ. We had really got under the skin. The nave is still, to this day, emptied once a year of furniture, to be experienced in all its resonant glory. When, some years later, there was a retrospective of resident artists’ work (all ten of us), I was to be found blowing a hollow ball made from my own hair around the cloisters. But since then nothing. Well, that is not true: plenty of ideas in my sketchbook and a couple of proposals that didn’t get the funding they needed. Nowadays, the building, the whole layout and rhythm of this place, has taken on a new form: almost like a bone in my body. So what will happen when that bone is extracted and once again becomes something I can observe from outside? I’m waiting to see…

A certain forgetting is needed

Hood metal shape sm v3It was Dan who mentioned that we had left the falcon hood behind by now. The more we have been working on the 3D scan, fitting it to the dimensions of my head, the more it has become its own thing. I am fascinated by the provenance of things: how where they have come from, and through what transformative processes, influences how they appear now. However, that is seeing from one end of the telescope; when you come to something new you view it from the other end, and that is the end I am trying to look through now. This shape needs to embody its back story, rather than requiring it to be described. So from here on a certain forgetting is needed. Dan, the software was purring this morning. Great progress. Thanks!



Hood got this far smWorking with Dan this morning: got this far and then the software glitched…ahhhhhh! Dan, I guess try again another day.

First outing for the Library Digester

Library digester sm copyThe Library Digester (seen here in its travelling case) is a structure designed to disrupt library shelves, the clear acrylic ‘books’ (with the imprint of a tree branch within) slotting between the books on a shelf, infiltrating them like a fungus. Protruding from these ‘fungal’ books are a series of hoops that hold plywood tubes. These tubes, suspended just in front of the shelf and enclosing a small space within, are then available as a place of exchange: books selected from the shelf can be put inside, alongside objects, texts, images, sound recordings or anything else that someone might want to associate or swap with them. The tubes can them become a place of exchange, holding a constantly evolving collection of things; a place to interrogate and take a fresh look at the ideas and stories contained in the shelves behind through swapping books, linking them with other items, or simply leaving a Postit note with a comment. In this way the Digester can become the catalyst for conversations, a forum based on informal swapping. The Library Disgester came out of the Cabinet of Change project, managed by Flow Contemporary Arts, for the Forest of Dean. The design was a collaboration with Millar Howard Workshop.Its first outing has been for ‘MycoCulture’, an exhibition organised by Dominic Thomas around the launch of his micro-farm Fungusloci

Library digester 2 sm

It has arrived!

Hawk hood maquetteSo, the maquette for ‘Passager’ has arrived. This small 3D-printed model will give me a better sense of how the final sculpture might look. As always, it is both exciting and disappointing at this stage, as it doesn’t live up to the image I have had in my mind. So now the work begins again. The picture? Well, I am invigilating today at an exhibition called ‘After the Animal’ (see News!) where I am showing this print. Dan, do pop round when you have a minute to take a look.