Cream Meetings, Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity, The University of Oxford

Cream Meetings, Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity, The University of Oxford

03 / 08 / 2014

Medical anthropologist Megan Warin, of University of South Australia and I have been undertaking collaborative research and writing in eating disorders and obesity. 'Cream Meetings' is an Opinion Paper that explores our shared consideration of multisensorial encounters of those affected by eating disorders. Together, Megan and I discuss the film, Untitled (The Party) (2011) that Sarah Coggrave and  I created for Mouths and Meaning. You download the paper at http://oxfordobesity.org/?page_id=79

Silvia Ziranek - Wall Works: Selected Writings and Performances

Silvia Ziranek - Wall Works: Selected Writings and Performances

05 / 02 / 2014

On Sunday 2 February I was fortunate to be at the launch of the performance artist and writer Silvia Ziranek’s new e-book that has been published by KT press. Silvia read passages from her writings while donning a series of brightly coloured aprons. She put one apron on top of the other until her body was laden with fabric and her figure transformed by the heavily embroidered drapery, flounces and multiple bows tied behind (bustle like). Sylvia’s writing is thoughtful and haunting and a she is a terrific performer. I was enchanted and mesmerised by her conversations with and in spaces and architecture – skirting walls, doors and rooms. Donned in so many aprons and defining architectural spaces as she did it seemed quite fitting that one of the last writings she read out summoned up some of the arbitrary categories of dirt and the cleanunclean that accompanies our boundedness.

Silvia Ziranek - Wall Works features a selection of writings and performances produced 1976-2011, including ICI VILLA MOI (1990) and NOT UNDIRTY (2011).To buy the electronic book go to KT press website http://www.ktpress.co.uk/ebooks-details.asp?bookID=8

To find out more about Silvia Ziranek's work http://www.silviaziranek.com

Sarah Coggrave - on Artists who work with Archives

Sarah Coggrave - on Artists who work with Archives

23 / 09 / 2013

Sarah Coggrave is an artist whose practice currently involves working with archival material. She has written about a recent conference Past is Prologue: Artists Who Work with Archives that was held at Goldsmiths. I was really fascinated by some of the artists work particularly that of X Marks The Spot and Tim Etchells. A must read - particularly, if like me you didnt get to the conference and are also interested in utilising archival material in your own work, or exploring memory or history. Tim Etchells 'Art Flavours' includes a gelato that tastes of memory.  Am not sure if one can pin down memory as a flavour - that is an ambitious concept but would still love to taste it.

 

http://manchesterarchiveplus.wordpress.com

/2013/09/21/past-is-prologue

She’s lost control - Insa Langhorst

She’s lost control - Insa Langhorst

23 / 09 / 2013

Insa Langhorst, visual anthropologist, film maker and writer has written a really interesting piece reflecting on my practice as a feminist informed artist. She has focussed particularly on the work that explores the complex political, social and sensorial interrelationships between bodies and the practices of disordered eating. Well worth reading. Thank you Insa!

 

http://blankmediacollective.org/shes-lost-control/

A Factish Field - Art and Anthroplogy

16 / 06 / 2013

Just back talks and film screenings in Edinburgh addressing relationships between art and anthropology as part of Factish Field that has been presented by Collective and LUX.

 

Led by anthropologist Angela McClanahan, University of Edinburgh it was held at Collective Gallery, Edinburgh from Monday 10 - Friday 14 June . We viewed and discussed the work of artist/film makers: Sven Augustijnen, Mark Boulos, Andrea Büttner, Duncan Campbell and Wendelien van Oldenborgh as well as hearing them share their own insights into their processes and ways of engaging across the two disciplines. Each artist was paired with an anthropologist who included: Richard Baxstrom, Rupert Cox, Tim Ingold, and Amanda Ravetz. The similarities and differences, relationships between and methods employed in these distinct yet interconnecting disciplinary fields provoked much food for thought over the five days.

 

While the work by all the artists was striking I was particularly moved by the work and stance of Mark Boulos who has made a series of films from his time spent living with leftist resistance fighters. Employing his background in philosophy and documentary film-making his films seamlessly move between fields of understanding and being – contesting structures of institutionalization, commodification and gender to reveal otherwise hidden positions of power and identity. One particular film by Boulas, No Permanent Address captures accounts of love by armed freedom fighters in jungles of the Philippines. Boulas’s work reminded me of Luce Irigaray’s (2002) radical provocation, via the premise of love, to provide hospitality to the other - be they friend, lover or terrorist. He was paired with anthropologist  and artist Amanda Ravetz who sensitively considered her work as being shaped in movement across the generative potentials of both art and anthropology.

 

http://www.lissongallery.com/#/exhibitions/2013-01-30_mark-boulos/

http://www.amandaravetz.co.uk

Social Dreaming, Cultural Haunting and Sheila Goloborotko’s 1001 Dreams

Social Dreaming, Cultural Haunting and Sheila Goloborotko’s 1001 Dreams

16 / 06 / 2013

Cultural Haunting and the Shared Unconscious

 

On 24th May 2013 I was invited to an experiment in dream and art that took place at the Open University, London. The event was hosted by Professor of Sociology, Elizabeth Silva of Open University and Prof Lynn Froggett and Julian Manley from Psychosocial Research Unit, University of Central Lancashire.

 

The morning involved a collective engagement with the method of social dreaming with ensuing discussion in smaller groups. To briefly summarise, social dreaming in this context refers to a research method developed by Gordon Lawrence (1998) in which spontaneous elicitation of individuals' dreams are contributed within the group. The dreams are considered as a collective - known as a matrix to be used as a way to consider shared unconscious influences - the unacknowledged hauntings of our collective day to day lives. It was interesting to reflect upon this experience that definitely shifted the group temperature.

 

As an artist, dreams have always been important, They are creative markers and provocations that offer inspiration and puzzles. Given that the social dreaming process places the individual dream in a social matrix  the dream is shifted from the personal to the collective. As a process and method – I found it both impelling and contentious – and one that I am continuing to consider. 

 

In the afternoon Elizabeth Silva gave a paper about Social Dreaming with an art experiment by Sheila Goloborotko (Artistic Director, Printmaking Center of New Jersey, Instructor, Pratt Institute, New York). Shiela Goloborotko is an artist who has launched a collaborative art project that engages with dreams in urban environments in Brazil, the UK and the USA. You can find out more about her work at her website 1001 dreams. Sheila also invites you to contribute your own dream to her project. http://1001dreams.net

 

 

Souza Outsider Art from Japan

Souza Outsider Art from Japan

15 / 04 / 2013

Souza – outsider art from Japan – Wellcome Trust, London

 

Souza is an exhibition of 46 self-taught artists currently living in social welfare centres across Japan.

 

Shamatia Sharmacharja has really sensitively curated this exhibition, with the display of artworks being accompanied by videos of the artists themselves sharing insights about the process of making and their inspirations. Souza can be written to mean creation or imagination. 

 

The range of artworks include ceramics, drawings and diagrams, clothing, textiles and weaving and sculptures of monsters and super heroes. I enjoyed the ways that the curators had considered the diversity of the artists’ interests which were explored via six overlapping themes. These included: Language, Making, Representation, Culture, Possibility. The breadth of the themes and the innovative and fascinating artworks supported the sense that while as viewers we were looking at artists defined by the status of the outsider, these were artists who were not isolated or uninformed by the culture surrounding them.

 

As an artist who has worked with people who would similarly be accorded ‘outsider artists’ in Australia and the UK I was fascinated by some of the synergies the work revealed while evidencing cultural and material distinctions. For instance, the artists also often showed a tireless interest in a particular material/ object/concept/phenomenon which would then be reinterpreted over and over with disarming focus and engagement.

 

In Souza  I was particularly taken by the drawings by Marie Suzuki (above is an image from one of her notebooks) – which could be viewed as sensual polymorphous reinterpretations of traditional Shunga (erotic art). My only frustration with the exhibition lay with wanting to find out more about her work. Suzuki’s elaborate drawings of genitals, breasts, mouths and bodily fluids that are both mutable and multiple  - appear informed by both art history and contemporary erotica and popular Japanese culture. I would appreciate a sense of her intention and to know something of her genesis as an artist. Was she given examples of Shunga for inspiration, or did these works come from past experiences, or result of her illness or as therapy of all of the above? There is a revolutionary sensual and sexual embodiment in Suzuki’s artwork which leaves me wanting to see and know more.

http://www.wellcomecollection.org/whats-on/exhibitions/japanese-outsider-art.aspx

Forthcoming exhibition of Mouths and Meaning in Australia

Forthcoming exhibition of Mouths and Meaning in Australia

13 / 01 / 2013

Making final preparations now for Mouths and Meaning exhibition at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide.

Here is a photograph by Huw Wahl of a new performance I have created called 'body to brain and back again' which is one of the new works that features in the new iteration of Mouths and Meaning especially for the AEAF. Insa Langhorst who also has filmed and editted other works including Untitled (The Party) is putting into place the final edt on the filmed performance which will be shown for the first time at the AEAF. The exhibition runs from 1 Feb to 2 Mar 2013.

 

http://www.eaf.asn.au

Two Talks

28 / 11 / 2012

 

I gave a talk about my work especially Mouths and Meaning as a guest of Gray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen on Monday 26 November and also at Fabrica Gallery, Brighton the previous Monday 19 November. Thank you so much to everyone who attended and also to those who raised interesting comments and gave feedback. Particular thank yous go to all the First Year students at Gray’s who participated in Mouths and Meaning: Workshop 1. I will be updating the website soon with some of the new drawings people have created. 

Naomi Kendrick, Dave Birchall, Dan Bridgwood Hall, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

Naomi Kendrick, Dave Birchall, Dan Bridgwood Hall, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

14 / 10 / 2012

Was at Whitworth Art Gallery last night for Afterhours. Experienced Naomi Kendrick's drawn response to the improvised sounds of Dan Bridgwood Hall and Dave Birchall. As the audience, we circled the musicians and artist. Both listening and watching - it was fascinating to observe the drawing appear beneath and around Naomi's moving body while the sounds seemed sometimes to touch and merge with her mark making or ask for more. Sometimes Naomi's touch shaped the drawing and erased what I was appreciating. As observers we could see better the whole of the creation than the artist and musicians. For Naomi remained in the process, on the ground and as near as is possible to be to a large sheet of paper, while the sounds made by Dan and Dave swirled around us all. 

It is like as the audience we can experience 'the whole' in a different way to the three creators. I liked this aspect of the work very much - as if as the audience we are in a shared but differing place in regard to the creation of the work somehow rather than simply there to view a process.  I think this might happen partly due to the musicians and artist contributing to something that is made between them at the time through the process of improvising. Improvisation brings a level of risk to the work that as audience we are witness to. So as the audience, perhaps we have a role as observers and as overseers in that we hold a collective understanding of the experience inside ourselves. 

While experiencing the event I thought of how music is so much about touch as physically encountered, as incorporated into one's listening body and as emotional affect. Through touch, music shares such a synergistic connection with drawing in its merging of sensation, experience and encounter. 

You can find out more about Naomi Kendrick's work via her website: http://www.naomikendrick.co.uk

About

14 / 10 / 2012

This blog links my interests, thoughts, ideas and experiences with sources of inspiration.