Tuesday, 1 July 2014



By Michelle Rheeston-Humphreys

YARDENFEST was the first AirSpace Bird Yarden event for 2014 programmed to celebrate the closing of the triumphant PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS.

YARDENFEST was conceived to honour PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS' core ideologies, but relocated to specifically explore the creative and political notions surrounding outside space. Typically on the day of the event the ‘outside’ spirit showed up in the form of torrential rain. But the changeable British weather didn’t disappoint and the sun came out and indeed dried up all the rain, well for a few hours at least. The festivities went ahead surrounded by the sunlit beauty of the yarden flowers and foliage.

YARDENFEST guests enjoyed newly commissioned YARDENFESTO art works, activities and a pertinently decent soundtrack. And of course the smells and tastes of the AirSpace BBQ and the wonderful company and conversation that arose.

Guests young and old enjoyed making their own flags and YARDENFESTOS at the YARDENFESTO workshop in the AirSpace resource room, which proved very handy during the downpour. They were able to express their own ideas and feelings about outside space and the interrelated themes such as: ecology/ eco systems, protecting endangered species, intervention in small space, gardening activism, community gardening, DIY- reclaiming- re-cycling, sustainability, survival, environmental concerns for the future or even an anti capitalist protest.

Visitors were also able to take part in Bird Relief by making and wearing red beaks highlighting the vast amount of British birds that are on the endangered species list. Artist Katrinka Wilson reiterated this concern in her bird burning action during the event. Meanwhile outside, visitors could help in the creation of the Yarden’s new hanging plastic bottle planters, or search for bees on the bee hunt. Guests could also search for the newly commissioned YARDENFESTO artworks situated in and around the yarden.

 Midlands based artist duo (h)edge kelektiv further employed this idea of searching in their piece ‘Microcosm Manifestoes’, a playful portrait of six poignant 20th century artist manifestos. Each depiction manifest as a little chelseaesque themed terrarium; placed somewhere within the yarden’s perimeters. The intervention toyed with the notion of spaces found within spaces - realising valuable and interesting spaces within the immediate environment- a tribute to the Yarden. Crucial was the selection, all of the manifestoes chosen (fluxus, situationist, surrealist, stuckist, cheap art and maintenance art) embody the idea of finding, negotiating and or creating spaces/places within,in some way, either physically or metaphorically.

Manchester based artist Jane Lawson's piece Manifesto #2 is situated ideally amongst the shrubbery just next to the gooseberry bush, the perfect conditions for it to cultivate. It is a book (Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom) inoculated with oyster mushroom spawn, the fungus used to signify a detoxification of the global financial system- and it is maturing with some zeal. At present it is growing in a manner as to suggest the growth of ears, for its front cover portrait may even be listening- taking note of the financial chaos that has ensued. Just before the sumptuous pink oyster mushrooms completely ‘takeover’ and detoxify. They will soon provide a beautiful rich crop – providing some mushroom soup for one of AirSpace's famous Soup Kitchens perhaps?

You can find about more about Jane's practice at: http://www.janelawson.co.uk

From across the yarden the conversation continues, Stoke based artist Martin Gooding’s piece ‘Corporate Growth’ echoes this sentiment with his more customary wall based YARDENFESTO. It depicts the image of Friedrich Hayek’s counterpart and friend Milton Friedman. Along with his image, his 10 rules of capitalism are pasted over the reclaimed wooden support and frame. The idea being that they will be slowly consumed by the anarchistic powers of nature- eventually there will be only moss, framed as a testament to the powers of nature. 

You can find about more about Martin's practice at: http://cargocollective.com/blastphemy

Jake Kent’s Banner ‘ Kill Your Inner Cop’ hangs boldly over the substation adjoining the AirSpace Yarden transforming its utility; now reminiscent of a community group hut albeit a militant one. ‘Kill Your Inner Cop’ explores Foucault's ideas surrounding self societal normalising and policing. Confronting the audience to question their own 'inner cop'. At what price does this conformity come; the rules, which bind - what are they based on and are they really for better or for worse?
A performance cum-action was planned for the event- the artist on bike as usher, with flag publicising YARDENFEST but unfortunately events conspired against him, maybe next time?

You can find about more about Jake's practice at: http://jakekent.co.uk

Conspicuously the outlined figure nestled into the corner of the Yarden stage, appears to be showering under the buddleia and climbers. This commissioned YARDENFESTO ‘Self Contained Studio Flat’ by Birmingham based artist Danijela Vunduk, discusses topical issues surrounding owing and occupying space; within the contemporary economy and environment on both a global and local level. Conversely it celebrates our human ability to adapt and renew an fitting sentiment to the AirSpace yarden and to the core values of YARDENFEST.

You can find about more about Danijela's practice at: www.danijelavunduk.moonfruit.com

..And in the end YARDENFEST was a happy conclusion to PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTO.

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