Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stewart Home - Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie

'An exhausted sun compacted into itself. The slow but painless death of literature…Syllables should be moved around the page like clouds passing across the moon. Dense thickets of rhetoric must grow inexorably into an impenetrable jungle of words that overrun any and all attempts to extract a coherent meaning from them.'

You've ended up mirroring the slow drift of an ice floe, the imperceptible passage of distant galaxies through hyper-space. At this point your words in their opaque nothingness literally become 'the ill-will of the people', the spongy referent that animates all post-democratic societies. The cold of interstellar space thousands of degrees below freezing. Abstract Literature: A New Movement in the Visual Arts!

Non-Euclidean geometries. Voices green, purple and red. Strange folds in the fabric of time and space. The universe buckled, bent and sent into reverse. Apocalypse postponed, time running backwards and in slow-mo.Your words have developed an intolerance to alcohol. They are overwhelmed by feelings of existential dread and can't bear to be separated from each other. They've arranged themselves into a single extended sentence from some eldritch dimension unknown to man, a slow stuttering echo of Molly Bloom's soliloquy at the end of Ulysses.

"Written in the second person and in part generated from spam emails, Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie is a shot in the arm for prose fiction; and a kick up the backside for the male dominated London art world. More shocking than 5000 volts of unadulterated electricity! Or, as Malcolm McLaren put it after reading the manuscript on his death bed: "FEMINISM WITH BALLS.""


The Semina series

Blood Rites Of The Bourgeoisie is Semina No. 7. Semina is where the novel has a nervous breakdown. Taking inspiration from the series of nine loose-leaf magazines issued by Californian beat artist Wallace Berman in the 1950s and 1960s, Semina will publish a series of nine books, selected from a combination of open submission and direct commissions, by artists and writers willing to take risks with their prose and who demonstrate total disregard for the conventions that structure received ideas about fiction.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Antti Laitinen - The Bark Boat


Antti Laitinen


Antti Laitinen’s work stems from performances which are documented through photographs, videos or objects – the records of these performances are therefore processed to create new works in entirely different contexts and thus incorporating several temporal stages. By way of documentation and the switch between media and presence – that quintessential ingredient of performance, the becoming of the work – becomes independent object.

Combining a search for identity and a poetry of the absurd, the artist pushes his limits (both physical and mental) in quest of the discovery of the wild Nordic landscape, often devoid of any human trace. Led by an undeniable humor and irony, Laitinen’s work immerses us into a world in which heroism meets simplicity through captivating images, recalling the relationship between humanity and nature.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Artur Żmijewski - Our Game. Our Party. Our Work.

A Foundation Liverpool
67 Greenland Street
Liverpool L1 OBY

Polish artist Artur Żmijewski spent some of last Winter and Spring in Liverpool, seeing for himself if the city resembled the sketch offered by those who had invited him to work there and who were keen to see how his process of production would translate to Britain in his first major UK commission.

The central tenet of Artur Żmijewski’s project was an exploration of social stratification of art and after initially holding a set of meetings with the various groups that make up the city's art community, he set up a 'pop-up art school' that attempted to explore and reconfigure art's relationship to wider society. Hosted by the existing School Of Art And Design at Liverpool John Moores University, the pop.up school was modeled on the Bauhaus established in Weimar by Walter Gropius in 1919. At the beginning of the project Żmijewski started "Ninety years ago the Bauhaus school invented a new visual reality - I would like to re-attempt this today. It is probably an impossible task, but that is why it is so interesting."

Żmijewski's practice has, on occasion, registered as extreme. For example, the works '80064', in which he persuaded a 92 year old an Auschwitz survivor, Josef Tarnawa, to have his prison camp tattoo re-inked. Another, 'Them', brought together member of different political and religious groups active in Poland to make visual representations of their beliefs. Both contain scenes that provoke outrage and abhorrence, but Żmijewski steady production since the mid 1990s also concludes films made with the deaf an, amputees, the chronically sick and old and ongoing series of film portraits semi skilled workers around the world. These aspects of his production grab fewer headlines but are equally tough.

Taken together they form a practice that insists that artists must operate in the real world and address real problems. Żmijewski has said that by achieving a connection with reality art can again learn how to be socially useful - with the implication that along the way it's lost that function. So children unable to hear or control their voice sing the cantata 'Herz Und Mund Und Tat Und Leben', in St Tomas' church in Leipzig, the space for which J S Bach composed it, the disabled borrow the limbs of the able bodied to temporarily conform to societies norms. Individuals whose daily existence has been sidelined by contemporary media who prefer their 'ordinary people' to be in the thrall of celebrity rather than show the reality of everyday.

Żmijewski work stretches and tests the idea of art as a tool of engagement. but his is not work that invites participation to blindly build a community or distract people from the issues affecting their lives - his is work that gives people a space in which to voice and test their opinions, whether banal, insightful or extreme. As a consequence, Żmijewski is always prepared that the result of his experiments may be unpalatable or messy. His working process is the antithesis of much participatory art, which can have the tendency to identify a problem and devise a solution. Conversely,
Żmijewski locates an area for exploration, with the analysis of the problem and the signpost to a possible solution generated by those involved. Sincerely believing that what some may describe as a risky strategy is the way to 'create new realities' for the good of society, he does not prejudge or second guess the conclusion but responds to each scenario he encounters anew, while building upon his experiments that have gone gone before.

©Lesley Young

This article can be read in Issue Six of A Bulletin.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Emily Speed - PSL

Project Space Leeds
Whitehall Waterfront
2 Riverside Way
Leeds LS1 4EH
August 11th - 12th


Emily Speed will create a cyclic drawing on the exterior of the shed over 4 days. Starting with proposals/sketches for structures – reminiscent of buildings – which are prevalent in her work, Speed will then explore the physical impossibilities of these structures and the drawing will change to show construction, collapse and repair before perhaps collapsing again.

Speed’s work is about aspects of shelter and the vulnerability and temporary nature of things. She often uses architectural forms in her work and is interested in the way that architecture can act as a metaphor for our internal selves (the body as a building that houses the mind) and with the enduring sense of memory and/or personal identity that is often embedded in or linked with particular sites. Her work incorporates discarded items, shifting scale and a precariousness.

Come along and participate in a collaborative drawingwith Emily Speed to accompany her work on the shed. Tea and biscuits provided!

Exposing Contemporary Visual Art Practice
Getting paid
By: Emily Speed "Rather than talk about my work on here (I have tried it and it seems to make me quite despondent) I have decided it will be far more helpful for me to explore some of the issues facing artists trying to make a living out of this business..."

210 [7 August 2010]
"Today has been a little bit blissful. I woke up at 9, put my head down again and somehow it was midday. It the best and first sleep I have had at home, at the weekend for about 6 weeks. WONDERFUL.

Anyway, I am in pyjamas, eating toast, posting nonsense on twitter et al and reading my way round the confusing myriad of articles and comments on the current state of the arts cuts and funding. Also into that goes the SAU and Scottish highlands research into loans for artists (not sure if that's a good idea or not, but thanks to Susan Jones for highlighting some important points). Lastly I signed up to be an AIR activist and am looking forward to seeing what that involves. After I have made some sense of it all - hopefully - I will have some writing to do!

Over the next three weeks I also plan to get a group of creative types together at Royal Standard to draft a submission to the DCMS inquiry on arts and heritage funding. Was very glad to hear my posting of this on facebook prompted Anna Francis to organise similar with artists in Stoke-on-Trent. Anyone can contribute, so do if you can..."

Continuing Reading at:


Friday, August 6, 2010

Jon Fawcett interviewed by Tom Morton

TM: "Imagine - every paranoid fantasy, every conspiracy theory, every alleged cover-up and government deception, every crank story you've ever heard... it's all true. This is a short description of the central premise of Grant Morrison's epic comic book series "The Invisibles" (1994-2000), but it might also go some way in some way to describing one of the central concerns of your work, is that fair?"

"Let's just say I believe that an open door is much better than a closed one. In fact I think it's important - someone who door is closed can be described as someone who is socially controlled if reality is small and simple, then the powerful are all powerful and satisfaction is gained from a limited spectrum of socially and politically important activities and if you look, there definitely a lot of very disturbing and weird material out there. I am interested in reality - as opposed to the comedy - of this stuff. But, I am also fairly rational about it - I have definitely come across a few people who have strayed quite clearly into delusional, I think even they have a relevance - at least they show an attempt at exploratory thinking. Overall if someone thinks or writes convincingly and their evidence appears sound, I opt to believe them. I also know how much can be fabricated - the next level is to look at motivations behind various fictions woven around us - are the conspiracy theorists' fictions more believable, or those of the anti-conspiracy theorists/conspiracists."

"The reality as opposed to the comedy of things - that's an interesting opposition. I'm not sure whether you mean comedy in the Classical Greek sense, or the 'Terry and June' sense, or something else entirely."

JF: "Just the 'Terry and June' sense! There have been a number of artists who engaged with conspiracy theory material in a light hearted critical way. My own engagement with this material as part of a broader research agenda. If one were to expand notions of context to the point where one was making art in terms of the world, one first has to answer the question 'What is the world?'. I began by looking at buisness, politics and law and before I knew it was swept away with the huge amount of conspiracy related material out there. But I am not seeking to lay down an agenda, rather to acknowledge a broader, non-institutional 'wiki-reality' - know of us really know much, a lot of our knowledge is constructed and much of this construction has substantial institutional influence. The question then is why and more importantly where to now?"

TM: "In your 2007 video work 'Wheel' three men carry, assemble and operate a mysterious device in a number of locations in the Ecuadorian Andes. This object (which you have displayed in gallery spaces, along with it's flight case) resembles a cross between a Philip King sculture and one of the robots overlords in the BBC's dystopian children's drama 'The Tripods' (1984-85) The Wheel's function is never disclosed, rather like a dangling plot device in 'Lost' (2004-2010). How central is this non-disclosure to the piece?"

JF: "Fundamental. Although I propose it is not as obtuse as it appears. There are avenues, directions to travel down. There is information, it's just not the kind which offers instantaneous satisfaction. It is important that my work takes someone somewhere and then leaves them there. Then anything they discover on their way Home is theirs, not mine."

This interview continues in the A Bulletin-Issue Six.