Thursday, 31 March 2016

DECAPOD - Olive Jones - Memphis, Tennessee, A Review by Amy Matthews

As part of DECAPOD - AirSpaceGallery's 10th Birthday exhibition, we asked invigilator Amy Matthews to select one of the 10 works and reflect. Amy's choice was "Memphis, Tennessee" by Olive Jones.

photo:Amy Matthews

 
"Olive Jones is one of the ten artists exhibiting in AirSpace Gallery's group exhibition, DECAPOD, celebrating the ten years the space has been running.

The selector for Jones was Emily Speed whose practice explores the relationship between the body and the building they inhabit. Jones' piece Memphis (Tennessee) 2016, was one of the pieces that stood out to me the most during the show, a mixed media installation exploring myths and spirituality, drawing on historical and cultural symbolism.

A subtle aroma of a sweet earthy scent was spread around the space drawing the viewer closer towards its source and a sense of calm. The cause for the aroma was woven eucalyptus branches bound together to make a ring, the sculpture with its pastel tones works in perfect harmony with the pyramid sat just below, creating a balance within the installation. The eucalyptus tree, well known for its medical benefits due to its antiseptic properties, has also been a symbolism for inner healing - a balance of emotions and finding clarity in dreams. 
Jones allows the viewer to find their own interpretation within her installation, utilising a contrast of traditional and ordinary symbols. I found within the work, a great deal of peace and reflection. The distorted digital hourglasses and eucalyptus ring made reference to time, a constant moving, having no visible end nor beginning. Reminders of a truth that, in time, the bad will always pass and that we should appreciate the time we have.

I thoroughly enjoyed Olive Jones Memphis (Tennessee) and look forward to seeing her practice grow and expand in future exhibitions to come."



Text: Amy Matthews, currently an under-graduate on the Fine Art course at Staffordshire University, preparing for her end of year group exhibition.

DECAPOD - Meet the Artists - Olive Jones

Ten years ago, as AirSpace Gallery was opening its doors for the first time, Stoke-on- Trent was a very different city. David Bethell and Andrew Branscombe opened the gallery as a space for artists to make and show new work, and as the city’s first non-commercial visual art gallery. Since opening, AirSpace has worked with hundreds of artists, both within the gallery and in the buildings and streets of the city and beyond.

Here we take the opportunity to reconnect with some of the fantastic artists and curators that we have built relationships with over the years, by asking them to nominate a rising star for inclusion in the Decapod exhibition. In this way we are continuing with our ethos of supporting the next generation of artists, something which has always been at the heart of what we do.

Decapod
Ten Years, Ten Selectors, Ten Artists.




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Olive Jones - selected by Emily Speed (2015)
 
York-based Olive Jones’ current practice centres around myths, structures and hierarchies constructed within society and tracing a line historically, particularly from a feminist perspective. And in particular, detachments and uni cations between nature and culture, the body, the self and society, and how within an ever digitalised age, meaning, the notion of ‘genuine’ is eroded and seeps into multiple discourses; cliches, platitudes, a viscous ooze of meaning and nonsense. 



Memphis (Tennessee)




 

O ancient pleasures of hide-and-seek, the first game of all, the game inscribed in our flesh (kitten flesh, newborn flesh) for millennia before our being born.

O the mystery of the mystery-game,
that all of us, all species, children, felines, dogs, celebrate.
- Helene Cixous, Love of the Wolf

Memphis (Tennessee) employs notions of magic, myth and fantasy. Questioning moments of future prophecies and notions of higher being, within and outside of a masculine/feminine dichotomy. Differences, similarities, obscure notions, stereotypes and binaries are blended. Creating a space in which the viewer is immersed within both the mundane and the fantastical.

Drawing from magical initiation, layers of revelation and equivocacy, where debasement and sublimation go hand in hand.  Examining hierarchies and metaphysical spaces within language and objects. Embracing ambiguities, coincidence and praxis.

Examining the notion of self-care being a radical act cross culturally and historically within pathways of enlightenment, ecstasy and vanity.

The work seeks to engage in realms of the sacred and the mystical and looks to past and current practices of worship, masquerade and ritual.
Observing how value varies according to functionality vs aesthetic or spiritual.

Looking to ancient symbolism, drawing from and shifting comparisons between this and contemporary and capitalist ideals and motifs. Male<>female sexual expressions; glamour, prestige and fantasy.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Decapod/THIS MOVEMENT: A partial history of THIS MOVEMENT in Staffordshire

THIS MOVEMENT is not new.

THIS MOVEMENT has been operating in Staffordshire for hundreds of years.



Perhaps one of the oldest manifestations is The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, thought to have originated in the pagan period when the ruling dynasty of Mercia (based Tamworth) owned extensive hunting lands surrounding Abbots Bromley. The royal forester choreographed magic rituals to ensure good hunting and as the tradition continued into Christian times it become a way to affirm the villagers' hunting rights.

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. 1930 - 1939 (c.)
Reproduced by kind permission of Staffordshire Achieves and Heritage Service



Another movement with pagan origins is the Maypole Dance which has been appropriated by various causes. For example this 1911 dance in Walton-on-the-Hill, Stafford formed part of the Parish of Berkswich celebrations for the Coronation of King Geroge V and Queen Mary.

Maypole Dance, Walton on the Hill 1911
Reproduced with kind permission of Martin Husselbee
More commonly May Day has been the focus of workers' solidarity movements. For example here is a photograph of a 1908 Labour Day demonstration, featuring Miners' Trade Union banners. The demonstrators are marching up Stafford Street, at the corner of Clayton Street in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Reproduced with kind permission of The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery

It is around a similar period that we see local workers performing company-organised movements. For example here is a group of female workers from Lotus Shoe Makers Ltd participating in a dance and exercise class on the company's sports field on Sandon Road in 1924. Lotus, like many other companies, encouraged their employees to participate in sports and social activities and a Welfare Superintendent was appointed after the First World War and activities included gymnastics, bowling and dramatics. (Two years later Stoke-on Trent's workers would join the rest of the country in a general strike, one of Britain's largest choreographies).

Keep Fit Class, Lotus Shoes, Stafford, 1924.
Reproduced by kind permission of Staffordshire Achieves and Heritage Service

Back in 1924 Stoke-on-Trent was one of several cities that refused dance licenses on 11 November at a time when there was a split of public opinion about whether Armistice Day should be one of celebration or mourning. The former eventually won out but here we see how movement becomes a site of political contest.

Movement is also a site of religious struggle, as demonstrated by the development of methodism in Staffordshire.

Primitive Methodism was a purist form of Methodism that broke away from the Wesleyan Methodist Church, It emerged in Staffordshire in 1811 from the merger of Hugh Bourne' 'Camp Meeting Methodists' and William Clowes's 'Clowesites'.

Clowes was born in Burslem in 1780. and up into his 20s he was an accomplished dancer, at a time when (according to his biographer William Garner) "the youth of both sexes exhausted their mental and physical powers in the light fantastic step and mazy dance. Scientific skill and practical expertness in this fashionable, unhealthy exercise, were regarded as fine accomplishments." 

Extract from William Clowes's journal
However "dancing was usually associated with taverns and alehouses of low reputation. Intemperance, quarrelling, wantonness, and midnight revelling, were the order of the day." Clowes was also a bit of a troublemaker and in 1804 he gave this all up to convert to Methodism.

Nevertheless he continued to dance as part of his evangelism and his embodied knowledge no doubt shaped his involvement in the 'camp meeting' movement. Frowned up on mainstream Methodism, these day-long, open air meetings involving public praying, preaching and Love Feasts.

Methodist camp meeting (1819 engraving)
And so THIS MOVEMENT continued in Staffordshire. Through ballroom dancing, disco, migration in and out of the city, Northern Soul, strikes, raves, demonstrations and hundreds of other individual and individual and collective movements.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

DECAPOD - Meet the Artists - Dave Evans and Alex Dipple

Ten years ago, as AirSpace Gallery was opening its doors for the first time, Stoke-on- Trent was a very different city. David Bethell and Andrew Branscombe opened the gallery as a space for artists to make and show new work, and as the city’s first non-commercial visual art gallery. Since opening, AirSpace has worked with hundreds of artists, both within the gallery and in the buildings and streets of the city and beyond.

Here we take the opportunity to reconnect with some of the fantastic artists and curators that we have built relationships with over the years, by asking them to nominate a rising star for inclusion in the Decapod exhibition. In this way we are continuing with our ethos of supporting the next generation of artists, something which has always been at the heart of what we do.

Decapod
Ten Years, Ten Selectors, Ten Artists.



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Dave Evans - selected by Sevie Tsampalla (2013)
 

Dave Evans’ mixed media works explore how simple, unadorned materials can be processed to produce evocative and unpredictable results – even to the artist himself. Learning lessons from the history of science fiction and its inability to correctly predict the future (and it’s on-going attempts to try), Evans eschews the usual projective way of trying to ‘realise’ ideas in favour of the uncertainty of repetitive manipulation of blank, passive materials over indeterminately long periods of time. Evans is interested in how we are part of a uni ed whole, carrying with us internalised complex versions of these things, behaviours buried deep in the geology of our chromosomes, constellations of memories, all of which continue to shift in new and unique ways.


 A Piece of the Action (Section), 2014, paper, dimensions variable.


‘A Piece of the Action (Section)’ is made from a 4.5m2 sheet of Fabriano paper that was folded, creased and hammered over a period of 2 weeks during the winter of 2013/14. This process was an attempt to access the unique qualities of paper by repeatedly crumpling and flattening a massive sheet over a long period to release the hidden delicacy and pliancy of the material. Evans work often deals with basic units of creative practice, in this case blank paper, and examines the established tempo of our interactions with these materials.



Selected Preload Animations (Round), 2016, single channel video. 4’51”
‘Selected Preload Animations (Round)’ is a compilation of circular buffering animations filmed by the artist in early 2016. By focussing on this ‘blank moment’ in the flow of digital experience, the video explores how these hypnotic animations offer a miniature visualisation of the movement of data and provide a singular affective unit that perhaps represents how consciousness is totally colonised by digital media. The work reflects Evans’s on-going interest in the tempo of our consumption of materials, and artistic practice as a test site for constructing alternative temporalities. 
 


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Alex Dipple - selected by Campbell Works (2014)
Brighton-based Alex Dipple works with collage, painting, print and performance, making work which questions the intelligibility of the everyday in contemporary experience.



My work explores the tensions between text as pure form, and text as a vehicle for meaning. Failure of language in my own history means that I have a need to challenge the authority of the text. If we accept that images also have to be read, it follows that I want to question the status quo of images, especially in news media.

In a newspaper there is a fluidity, of image into text and back again. Images are complex forms of communication, full of signifiers, which can be absorbed in direct ways. In a newspaper images are underwritten by text in the form of a caption; images illustrate the text and, in the Tabloids, images themselves become the text of the news.

I have started experimenting with blurred images as a way to bypass familiarity and create an alternative view of the news. By adapting the non-narrative potential of abstraction. I am taking a position against the newspaper and replacing the seeming clarity of news events with a confusing opacity.

I believe it is in the interface between the self and the external world, through the medium of vision, that middle ground between artist and viewer is most powerfully experienced. In a blur the whole aparatus of sight comes to the fore, the image fails to convey the meaning expected and the viewer is forced to search within or around for clues. The black, disturbance lines, stand in for text and the confusion of signals found in the juxtaposition between the two proposes an absence of meaning that locates the news in an elusive state.

Printmaking allows me to be present in every dot of the image transferring ownership of the image to me. This transference directly undermines the objectivity of the newspaper, effectively positioning me as the source of the information. And there is something satisfying, and circular, that the laborious process of screen printing is utilised to make such vague images.

My performance work goes even further to question the viability of words as conveyers of meaning. The newspaper page is broken down into scripts, which are spoken at the same time, in direct antagonism with the structure of the page. The idea of the voice as a conduit for meaning through language is entirely challenged and the text descends into pure noise.

“Instead of occupying literal space, we now live in media space, a state that lacks specific formal, territorial or social definition. Narratives are developed which run through society and it’s cultural products. News media is a dangerous blind spot of understanding in which deeply enfolded information slips past, largely unchallenged“. Alex Dipple




Have a Laugh, 2015 
191x180cm Eight screen prints on newsprint and Southbank paper (310GSM)

This work comprises a combination of eight screen prints. The black and white op lines reference text. The horizontal bands form a frame or support for the images, which are roughly tacked on top. Conflicting images overlap or surround the central image, a split screen blur, which, despite its bright colour, has a sinister feel to it. This central image acts as a conundrum to the viewer, who has to search for clues within herself to interpret its content. The surrounding images are logos, advertising images and cheesy graphics. These images speak for themselves, even if their original context is lost.



Untitled, 2015

Screen printed wallpaper and four colour screen print on aluminium
Install dimensions variable 168x106cm

This piece inhabits a fold, or join between two walls. Printed on wallpaper, the strobing of the
op print creates an unheimlich, literally un-homely feel, which is at odds to the standard uses of interior decoration. Two crumpled fragments of image push into the corner. The images are almost legible: billowing smoke from a fire, a pushed up sleeve: visual references that describe material in flux, burning or temporarily fixed. But these actions happen at a remove. Printed on aluminium the objects have a unique signature of graphic bounding boxes and bitmapped surface, which gives away their source as print media. The wallpaper causes an immediate effect on the eye, but the news, abstract and distant, takes shape deep in the imagination.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

DECAPOD - Meet the Artists - Olivia Turner and Jo Lathwood

Ten years ago, as AirSpace Gallery was opening its doors for the first time, Stoke-on- Trent was a very different city. David Bethell and Andrew Branscombe opened the gallery as a space for artists to make and show new work, and as the city’s first non-commercial visual art gallery. Since opening, AirSpace has worked with hundreds of artists, both within the gallery and in the buildings and streets of the city and beyond.

Here we take the opportunity to reconnect with some of the fantastic artists and curators that we have built relationships with over the years, by asking them to nominate a rising star for inclusion in the Decapod exhibition. In this way we are continuing with our ethos of supporting the next generation of artists, something which has always been at the heart of what we do.

Decapod
Ten Years, Ten Selectors, Ten Artists.




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Olivia Turner - selected by Jo Coupe (2011)
Currently a Fine Art undergraduate at Newcastle University, Olivia Turner’s practice encompasses sculpture, video, performance and drawing. Her work is deeply rooted within the idea of knowledge gained through making. Turner’s presence is felt throughout her work, gaining elemental understandings of material and matter through the haptic, primitive validations of touch and observation.


The Clay That Spluttered the Mouth presents an installation of new video and sculptural works, in which Turner explores the communicative capacity and material memory of clay. The work focuses on the authenticity of touch, attempting to recover a direct experience of the world around us. Turner’s video works investigate a sculptural existence of language, whereby words are shaped into material, non-verbal forms. Her sculptures, through their mottled and fingered surfaces capture the remnants and qualities of experience. The unfired clay holds both a permanence and a temporality, exposing a fragility of sensation and ephemerality of material.



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Jo Lathwood - selected by Rich White (2012)
Bristol-based, Jo Lathwood has developed a highly experimental, site-specific, play-filled sculpture and installation based practice, driven by a curiosity of how things are fabricated. Lathwood uses a wide variety of materials to educate and reveal forgotten, or sometimes re-appropriated, techniques. Her alchemical practice varies from experiments with making her own bronze to developing a methodology to cast with tree resin.

Site specific work also plays a key role in her practice. By exploring the history of a location she believes it is possible to introduce an audience to view a familiar landscape in a new context.



Play is essential to Lathwood’s work and development. It is often through experimentation that new ways of working can be found and developed. Regular themes in her work include natural phenomenon, structures and movement. 



Mark maker
2016
bone china and graphite

Using traditional methods and materials Mark maker is a homage to Airspace gallery and Stoke on Trent.  A Pencil, a simple and ancient tool is the ideal symbol for potential.   Pencil leads are normally fabricated by mixing clay and graphite together and then extruded into thin cylinders.  Mark maker is a mixture of bone china and graphite.  After the exhibition, these 10 pencils will be given to Airspace Gallery to use for making future plans.
 





Easy come easy go
2015
paper and graphite

Easy come easy go visualises the alchemic experiments of Antoine Lavoisier, who in 1772 managed to transform a diamond into pure graphite.  This ground breaking discovery proved that diamonds and graphite were actually the same element; carbon.  In turn, this started a race to create synthetic diamonds from lumps of graphite.  The prestige associated with diamonds is established in many cultures and the possibility to manufacture this prised object leads to question our understanding of value and wealth.  






 

Friday, 25 March 2016

DECAPOD - Meet the Artists - Juree Kim and Jessica Thornton

Ten years ago, as AirSpace Gallery was opening its doors for the first time, Stoke-on- Trent was a very different city. David Bethell and Andrew Branscombe opened the gallery as a space for artists to make and show new work, and as the city’s first non-commercial visual art gallery. Since opening, AirSpace has worked with hundreds of artists, both within the gallery and in the buildings and streets of the city and beyond.

Here we take the opportunity to reconnect with some of the fantastic artists and curators that we have built relationships with over the years, by asking them to nominate a rising star for inclusion in the Decapod exhibition. In this way we are continuing with our ethos of supporting the next generation of artists, something which has always been at the heart of what we do.

Decapod
Ten Years, Ten Selectors, Ten Artists.



---------------------------------------
Juree Kim - selected by Neil Brownsword (2009)

Born in 1981 in Seoul, Korea, Juree Kim majored in sculpture at Kyung Hee University. She had her rst solo show in 2005 at Ga Gallery, and in 2011, Kim was invited to show at The Second Chongging Asia Young Artist Biennale. Working with paint, sculpture and lm, Juree Kim’s work explores themes of temporality and ephemera in particular in concern to her social and economic surroundings.


         

 
"The work is about disappearance – it is about ephemerality. Therefore dry unfired clay disappears when put into water. The artwork focuses on dual existence. The constructions of buildings reduced in scale are made out of clay and upon completion of making they are destined to de-construct by disappearing slowing when encountered with water. This natural substance is the destroyer yet at the same time life is incorporated in the process of disappearance. The word ‘Hwi-gyoung’ is significant for ‘disappearing landscape’ but at the same time it takes after the name of an old district that is on the verge of disappearing in Korea. The work is about the disappearance of architecture and different urban features of the 1970s and 1980s, with the effect caused largely by capitalism. These architectural characteristics carry the spirit and culture of a particular period in Korea.

The structure made of soil is eroded by the artificially poured water and finally melts down. As an artist, I cannot intervene in the process of the encounter between earth and water, whatsoever. Solely the interactions between the two matters create my work. Water becomes muddy water and the once solid soil becomes soft and fluid, losing its original shape. The pair becomes a single body, destructing themselves in the completion of self-denial. Water symbolizes life but at the same time, it can be a threat to life. All living beings need water to survive but sometimes, water covers up everything and takes our lives. In my work, 'water' is a double-faced actor: destroyer and the existence completing the work."



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Jessica Thornton - selected by Doyle & Mallinson (2010)
 
Jessica Thornton’s work explores the differences between culture and nature, investigating the way that our understanding of nature is changing. With our effects on nature becoming more and more apparent in contemporary times, her work comments on how we can attempt to co-exist. By engaging audiences with synthesised interactions, the absurdity in our continued attempts to dominate and domesticate is thrown into question.

Her installations often refer to the domesticated space. The inanimate object is on the boundary of becoming personified after being subjected to everyday human processes, and so the works often portray a situation on the brink of retaliation. Many of her works incite a feeling of frustration and play with the idea of failure. This reflects a loss of control often felt by the artist over her work, as well as a fear of what a loss of control over nature would mean.





How To Motivate The Household Plant

ACT ONE

Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.

If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.

If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.

If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.

To be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can't just accept the ones you like.





ACT TWO

Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.

Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.

Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better.

If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.


ACT THREE

Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.

If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises.

Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter.

This is the only way to take life – this is also ‘playing’ the game!

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.

Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.

If you're going through hell keep going.

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.

Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.


Thursday, 24 March 2016

DECAPOD - Meet the Artists - Camille Leherpeur and Kevin Boniface

Ten years ago, as AirSpace Gallery was opening its doors for the first time, Stoke-on- Trent was a very different city. David Bethell and Andrew Branscombe opened the gallery as a space for artists to make and show new work, and as the city’s first non-commercial visual art gallery. Since opening, AirSpace has worked with hundreds of artists, both within the gallery and in the buildings and streets of the city and beyond.


Here we take the opportunity to reconnect with some of the fantastic artists and curators that we have built relationships with over the years, by asking them to nominate a rising star for inclusion in the Decapod exhibition. In this way we are continuing with our ethos of supporting the next generation of artists, something which has always been at the heart of what we do.

Decapod
Ten Years, Ten Selectors, Ten Artists.


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Camille Leherpeur - selected by David Bethell & Andrew Branscombe (2006)
Paris-born Leherpeur is a printmaker, collagist and performance artist currently completing his MFA at Central St. Martins. Within his recent practice, performative items inspired by common shapes seen in European museums such as: crowns, masks, swords, and sceptres, are crafted and then worn and activated during performances where he plays characters de ned by the objects. Alongside his performative research, Camille pursues an interest in iconography, collaging in large frescoes the international imagery found in museums.

Priest
Palace
Portrait of the Artist - The Fool



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Kevin Boniface - selected by Mishka Henner & Liz Lock (2008)
Kevin Boniface lives and works in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. His work is an ongoing journal realised primarily through text, film and photography.
I’m collecting things. I used to say I wrote everything down because I didn’t want to miss anything; because I didn’t know which thing would turn out to be an important thing and which thing was just a thing. Now I think I’ve realised that things are as important as you want them to be.”




 Here's a link to Kevin's Blog - The Most Difficult Thing Ever

and to his Vimeo site which is crammed with amazing minute observations - https://vimeo.com/user3920313

and to his book, Lost In The Post 

Friday, 18 March 2016

Decapod/ THIS MOVEMENT: A reader

THIS MOVEMENT wonders how we might think of things like dancing and things like protests as being similar in some ways. It believes that both have an aesthetic and a political character and that aesthetics and ethics are two sides of the same coin.

These are not new ideas and here are a few other sources that you might find interesting or inspirational like I did.



'Dance and difference: Everyday practices for the future citizen' is an essay by Daniel Baker in the book The Future Citizen Guide published by Tate gallery after their Future Citizen Forum event in 2014. Baker was undertaking a three-year research project exploring cultures of dance amongst older people across London, combining anthropology, art practice and performance. I picked it up in the Tate bookshop last year and was really excited to read how he framed these kinds of social dances as a practices that "enable an open, exploratory citizenship." It's not that widely available but it's on my bookshelf (with a black spine).


Book of Recommendations: Choreography as an Aesthetics of Change is maybe the first book I read that opened me up to these ideas. It's a short but profound book (I have it on my shelf in the gallery) written by Michael Klien, Steve Valk and Jeffrey Gormly that reimagines choreography -- as an 'aesthetics of change', something that "assumes the creative practice of setting relations, or setting the conditions for new relations to emerge". You can read it online.


Susan Lee Foster's 2003 essay ‘Choreographies of Protest’ takes a look at three nonviolent protests in recent US history—the lunch counter sit-ins of 1960s (pictured above), the ACT-UP die-ins of the late 1980s, and the Seattle WTO protests in 1999 - asking of them the kinds of questions that a dance scholar might ask: What are these bodies doing? What and how do their motions signify? What choreography do they enact?

Jaana Parviainen's 2010 essay ‘Choreographing Resistances: Spatial-Kinaesthetic Intelligence and Bodily Knowledge as Political Tools in Activist Work’ is also worth reading, taking a similar approach, analysing three choreographies of resistance.



Adam Curtis's 2015 documentary Bitter Lake looks at how Western politicians tell increasing hollow stories rot try and make sense of an ever confusing world. He does this through a history of Western interventions in Afghanistan but what is particularly interesting for me is how he uses a motif of dancing (also worth looking out for the recurring images of smoke) to tell a literal and metaphorical story.  It's over two hours long but well worth it and you can still watch it on iplayer.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Decapod/THIS MOVEMENT: Choreographic objects

Another part of THIS MOVEMENT is objects. Movements involve objects after all and I wondered what it would be to have objects that referred to an ambiguous movement that perhaps doesn't really exist, or perhaps runs through other movements. I didn't really have much of a plan (this was early 2016, before I even knew I was coming to AirSpace) and thought that if I got them they might lead me somewhere.


The first thing I got was the two placards that are in the gallery. Placards are the total 'political art' cliche. Mine aren't even cool ones that I hand painted or made roughly. I ordered them online late at night when I was bored.  

I also got some button badges. I've been looking for a reason to get badges made for my work and here was one. Badges get picked up and worn and spread and I fancifully imagined that THIS MOVEMENT would spread with them. (You can pick up a badge from the gallery)

I got these pencils too.


I'm also interested in how objects choreograph us - how they invite or require a certain kind of movement. There was a disobedient objects exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London a few years ago that touched on this but it's not just about choreographies of disobedience or resistance.




It's also about objects of support and care and cooperation which are ideas I am interested in as a basis of politics.


So I've been gathering water bottles, and blankets and ski masks (yeah I know, Pussy Riot have claimed these for a long time now although my reference was James Dean Bradfield) with no particular purpose in mind. Pink (or close enough) is the colour for no particular reason apart form the fact that is pretty and not so common but not too hard to find. 

And Gene Sharp the influential thinker on non violent revolutions includes symbolic colours amongst his 198 methods of non violent action.



And then last week I started photographing them but quickly realised I needed to show them in action. Duh. Maybe this is the start of something. It's the first time I've put myself in the frame for a while which is strange and something for me to think about.