Monday, 2 June 2014

YARDENFEST - The Micro Commissions

gar·den [gahr-dn]

1. a plot of ground, usually near a house, where flowers, shrubs, vegetables, fruits, or herbs arecultivated.

2. a piece of ground or other space, commonly with ornamental plants, trees, etc., used as a park orother public recreation area: a public garden.

3. a fertile and delightful spot or region.

4. British , yard2 ( def 1 ) .

yard [yahrd]

1. the ground that immediately adjoins or surrounds a house, public building, or other structure.

2. an enclosed area outdoors, often paved and surrounded by or adjacent to a building; court.

3. an outdoor enclosure designed for the exercise of students, inmates, etc.: a prison yard.

4. an outdoor space surrounded by a group of buildings, as on a college campus.

5. a pen or other enclosure for livestock.

YARDENFEST is the closing event for Shaun Doyle and Mally Mallinson's PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS exhibition, currently showing at AirSpace Gallery. PIGDOG was originally conceived as a response to the curators' perceived dearth in manifesto writing in contemporary art or at least in what, historically, we consider a manifesto to be. Yardenfest continues the theme and responds in particular to themes of the possibilities for and viability of solutions to outdoor space.

Sited in the Gallery's Bird Yarden - a transformed Victorian Yard Space, YARDENFEST promises a day long social gathering and celebration full of activities, workshops, music and food.

As part of the event, from an open call, AirSpace has commissioned 5 artists/groups to make and permanently site a YARDENFESTO - or manifesto for the Yarden.

Responding to themes such as, but not limited to, -ecology/ eco systems, endangerment, intervention, gardening activism, DIY, reclaim-/re-cycle, sustainability and survival, community gardening environmental concerns, the future, protest, the 5 selected artists artworks are:

Martin Gooding

Milton Friedman, the father of free-market capitalism, spoke frequently on the power of the individual, promoting a greed-centric market designed only to profit the shareholder. This economic system is the backbone of modern western society. Free-market capitalism provided the perfect environment for the financial problems currently effecting modern Europe. It works on a system of self-regulation and economic freedom that is unheard of in everyday life.

“Corporate Growth” pits the uncontrollable power of capitalism against the unstoppable force of nature using moss as a medium, combining eco-friendly art techniques with traditional protest art.

Mr Friedman’s many texts on capitalism have been condensed and brutally simplified into ten “rules” strongly influenced by the use of manifestos in mainstream and alternative politics. These rules illustrate the essence of the world inhabited by Friedman’s natural heir, the bankers, and provide an insight into a world so self-interested that most viewers couldn’t imagine following these rules on a day- to-day basis.

The demonic and haunting image of Mr. Friedman and his teachings, are slowly consumed by the anarchistic powers of nature, torn apart and destroyed by the unrelenting growth of the moss. Eventually there will be only moss, framed as a testament to the powers of nature.

The cut and paste aesthetic harks back to past anti-establishment movements such as the zine culture prevalent in the late seventies that provided a platform for the downtrodden and ignored. All materials are reclaimed or collected staying true to the artist’s DIY ethos providing a new life to rotting and dead timber.

Martin Gooding - an abstract painter and collagist working and living in Stoke-On-Trent as well as a keen community and participatory artist working with the local community. Works are predominantly anti-capitalist and anti-fascist using strong political and religious imagery, working primarily using aged photocopiers and repeated layering and image destruction.

Danijela Vunduk

The piece ‘self-contained studio flat’, comments on the difficulty of owning space in our overcrowded and out-priced cities. The ‘flat’ board and standing space serve as the smallest possible living space to support a human life and all its possessions. Surrounding the crime scene style androgynous shape is an investigative collage of the material bits and pieces that fill our homes, some not necessarily essential others we have come to regard as such.

The chaotic placement of found and recycled objects and images encroaching onto the inhabitant’s personal space refer to the claustrophobia of modern life, the only empty space being the ‘human shape’. The structure itself, formed out of reclaimed wood, is coffin-like and rigid. It draws uncomfortable parallels with ancient burial plots in which the deceased is surrounded by items used in life. If we de-cluttered our lives, loosened our material ties would we feel freer, less suffocated and stressed?

Not solely a criticism of city living as this installation also focuses on human ingenuity, our ability to adapt and find solutions to limited space. The standing space a pallet, referring to the design brilliance of shipping container homes. An object transformed from one use to another in a form of recycling and multi-function. Playing on the same ideas, ‘Self-contained studio flat’ comes complete with a vegetable garden beneath, fertilised by the occupant- during every shower among other things…

Danijela Vunduk is a props and costume designer/maker based in

Jake Kent
(Banner & Performance)

A squat in Amsterdam bears a banner that reads JULLIE WETTEN NIET DE
ONZE! – translated as YOUR LAWS NOT OURS. It rests above a stage where bands now play, however it was once at the front of a march against anti-squatting laws in The Netherlands.

In a house in Berlin there is a poster of Robert Mapplethorpe, that one with the machine gun, with added text – CHRISTIAN TAKEOVER? STRIKE

BACK! Next to this, another, featuring an image of a bulldog with a police hat and the words KILL YOUR INNER COP. This is not the only residence of these posters; they are pasted on the walls and street-objects of the city.

In a university building in Nottingham, there is a 6-metre banner with the same words KILL YOUR INNER COP. This is a work that was made with the aforementioned images in mind, along with others found on the various cultural pursuits I find myself engaged with. It also calls forward Foucault and his use of the panopticon as a “metaphor for modern "disciplinary" societies and their pervasive inclination to observe and normalise”. To act upon this work is to undo a bind, one that is internal and often unnoticed. Like Adam Curtis said “There is a policeman in all of our heads: he must be destroyed”.

To accompany the banner and using the phrase as an usher is a performance- cum-action. This consists of cycling in the city centre on a bike with a custom flag, commission for this event, inviting people to Yardenfest and handing out remaining PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS newsprints like disseminating political propaganda.

Jake Kent is an artist based in Nottingham and co-runs Triple O.G. with John Harris.

(h)edge keletiv

Is a collection of vivarium each taking inspiration from one of six, selected art manifestos of the 20th Century (Surrealist Manifesto, Situationist Manifesto, Cheap Art Manifesto, Fluxus Manifesto, Maintenance Art Manifesto, Stuckist Manifesto), in a ‘Chelseaesque’ themed garden exhibition. Each one is hidden amongst the flora and vegetation of the AirSpace Bird Yarden, which is itself a ‘tiny’ green refuge within the city- each vivarium waiting to be discovered and examined.

This intervention explores the notion of space within space and unexpected sanctuaries- both public and private, interior space- a space within, a sense of place and the landscape within a frame.

It plays with the idea of discovery; the magical wonder of encountering objects and texts that discreetly twists your expectations. To come across something you didn’t realize was there, poses a question- what else is there to find? This decentering, this questioning leads to activation and to participation- it persuades the viewer to look – to see; it exposes an effect- the suspension of belief in things and places and the notion of potential and alternative possibilities.

This is our celebration and representation of manifestos. Coded declarations that encapsulate greater, wider, bigger ideas: manifestos fascinate us. They are poetic, anomalous and militant; written like streams of consciousness, directly from the heart to the hand. Their meanings have to be wrested from the shape of words: the artist intentions are grasped like a sense impression rather than through the sequential arrangements of the words.

They also critically delineate a position on the cultural map, rejecting normative values and approaches and asserting the role of artist as an activist. Our microcosms celebrate this defiance by symbolically locating representations of artist manifestos, in a space created to challenge the idea that humans cannot exist in harmony with the environment.

(h)edge kelektiv are a performative arts group with a specific interest in places, people and things that are on the verge. The work is in the trajectory of the situationalist movement and poetically tests theories through practice; using traditional skills, we interrogate paradoxical realism and narrative in contemporary environments and contexts.

Jane Lawson

Manifesto #2 is the second in a series of manifestos inspired by Pigdogandmonkeyfestos. It also part of a larger body of work which I started in 2012 with Bioremediation I, in which I detoxified the global financial system (in the form of twelve portraits representing institutions such as ratings agencies, governments and banks) with oyster mushrooms, and exhibited the resulting oil painting/fungus ecosystem alongside a timeline showing the development of the financial system since the evolution of homo sapiens. Oyster mushrooms can detoxify a wide range of substances, including hydrocarbons, making them an ideal candidate to detoxify an economic system built on the cheap energy provided by burning fossil fuels, with the attendant disastrous consequences for our climate and ecosystem.

Manifesto #2 is a copy of The Road to Serfdom inoculated with pink oyster mushroom spawn; by the time of Yardenfest it should have been thorougly colonised with mycelium. Beyond this, there are no guarantees; pink oyster mushrooms prefer warm temperatures, so what happens next will be down to the glorious British summer. To maximise the chances of a healthy crop, I have supply sawdust inoculated with brown oyster mushroom spawn – this takes longer to fruit, but can tolerate lower temperatures

One of the ideas Manifesto #2 presents is the longevity of natural systems versus human systems; capitalism, although currently culturally presented to us as the only feasible economic system, is historically recent and globally anomalous, while fungi have been around for at least 1,000 million years and will almost certainly outlast us. Manifesto #2 also illustrates uncertainty and the unpredictability of trying to harness natural processes to humanb agendas.

The book itself will degrade over time, feeding the surrounding micro-organisms and plants

Jane Lawson is an artist based in Manchester working to make visual sense of the complex processes and systems underpinning human existence and seeking to embody alternatives to the dominant cultural narrative which claims that the present economic system, although flawed, is our only realistic option.

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