February 28, 2008

So much work, so little enthusiasm. It comes in bursts and then fizzles out. I am quite run down, ill. It should be a good excuse, all it really means is that I potter about doing this and that and moan a little about the dizzy spells, the sweats and the sore throat.  

The drawing day at the old college was good. We smothered the wall in MTS imagery in a good time, set up the digital projector and had it looked over by the first year students who have to do something similar next week with found images. I might pop in to see what they come up with.  

We are part of a group now. A local mill, the venue for HOST back in November and a place that has resident artists in studios, has offered the six of us the use of a whole floor for a show. Initially it will be our six and if goes well, it might be the first of regular shows. The mill owner is enthusiastic and we have ideas and the two things combined is a lethal one. Mingling in the local scene is not something I do very often. Like a fool, I have signed up for another local initiative, closer to home. A whole section of Wakefield is being transformed into a cultural quarter and there is a get together and workshop. They even supply a boxed canvas to take home and work on (responses to the day) and when returned it is exhibited. I am becoming a slag.  

Art and Science, discuss. When did they drift away from each other and settle into different mind sets? Is the fact that they are seen so independently of one another part of the problem in resolving the big issues of our time? School, education in general, must have a large part of play in fixing this notion that if you do art, you can’t do science. Choose. We always have to choose. I have written before of my belief that education should be a thing that is whole. Offered to students ‘in the round’. It might be easier for people in their early twenties with no life experience to teach a subject in neat little packages, clearly defined and isolated but we don’t experience life in that way. Geography, language, art, and history and so on all overlap and inform together. Education should be like this, as inspiring and vital as real life. Fuck bits of paper. All right, maybe a piece of paper that states you can read that piece of paper, and add up a bit, just to make life easier for future employers. And school is very little other than a training ground, an indoctrination centre for a life of employment. Turn up on time, do as you are told, eat when we say so, try your best and here is your reward. School ought to be the first stage on a life journey of the absorption of information, the gathering of enthusiastic minds who set the purpose themselves, free of all expectation. After school, more school at a higher level or maybe you saunter, asking questions and trying to find solutions. Maybe you work because you want to, some people like to work. Some people like to study and probe and wonder.  

And in this utopia, art and science would co-exist, happily. I think they deal with the same big issues. Generative art is almost like a study of nature. I am glossing over here. Mostly because I am still ill and always unsure of my thought processes; nature is the ultimate generative artist. Science tries to offer one solution to the question of why we are here, less spiritual on the face of it perhaps. I think that if we are the product of random cosmic events, right time right place and so on, it is all the more justification to make artwork and enjoy life and fuck the employer. We advance but we don’t take advantage of it to make our lives more free. We can’t probably because we are encouraged to work, to fit in, to provide something for society which is exactly what I am saying but you provide something else for society other than products and base needs; you offer time, love, passion, invention, and play.  

Free for all. Everything should be free. No money or weird bartering system, just free. If everyone does enough of their bit, we all get what we need. And tolerance, we need to accept that some people won’t or can’t ‘pull their weight’ rather than get uptight and vindictive about it. The majority will do. I don’t think we have to abolish products and other ‘trappings’ of mass culture but perhaps we need to shift the emphasis and we ought to get rid of the money making bastards that stand at the top of the pile. Unless they will work for free and make other adjustments. Perhaps we have to accept that some choices are bad. For everyone. We can make big shitty car engines or small ones that are less damaging. If we try to remove status and wealth and level things off, there would be little need for the big engine. End the madness. Ok, you are still the ‘boss’ of the company that exists in this new world of free for all, fine, have that status but you can’t have the big car with the big engine. You have to ride the bicycle to ‘work’ (we need a new word for it) and find another way to feel good about yourself. Being generous with your time, perhaps? Making the tea. Offering to landscape the local park, go on, something like that, something worthwhile and mildly altruistic and we promise to make a fuss about it, help your self esteem.  

Perhaps science involves more ‘art’, more creativity than I know. I would hope so. I’m not sure ‘art’ looks to science for anything, most of the time. I find maths equations beautiful as drawings. They mean nothing to me as maths, but visually they are wonderful. Who is working on a clean engine? Is anyone? What drives new science? Money? Drugs companies….too simplistic. There must be people out there who are creative thinkers with the science knowledge. I think it is too late to ban personal transport, people like it. We do need to look at making it less damaging in all ways. A good start would be the engine. I once had a wet dream about a new engine and it is something that obsesses me. I read many years ago that a new engine had been invented and squashed by the oil barons. It ran on trash, something like the time circuit in ‘Back to the Future II’. It might have been a myth, some joke article that as a romantic young fool I took seriously. There is money to be made in conversion and parts, come on you capitalist bastards. So can it be done? Is there a clean engine? My non-science idea was for an engine that somehow, and the somehow is the key missing bit, used carbon dioxide as a fuel, leaving water and air as the toxic waste. I know, idealistic, based on nothing. I had a vision of starving kids following this new car around with a bowl. Precious water, thank you Mr. West and air, oh, such pure air! Is nuclear out? Some kind of mini-reactor? I am throwing ideas into the pot, come on. I am trying. I can draw it for you; does that make it more real?   

1275 words 



February 24, 2008

I really have to force myself to remember to do this. I am so disconnected from the course. Once I get here, can write bullshit for hours; then I need to force myself to stop. There might be a nugget amongst the general crap but it is hard to say.  

It wouldn’t be too unkind to say the course is largely an irrelevance. There is little contact, very little content. I will do what I was assured was possible at interview stage and make stuff and try to make it fit whatever is needed to pass. I am no longer interested. I am sure there are more benefits to studying in person at Camberwell, well, possibly. Remote study is not all that it should be. Thankfully I am quite disciplined and resourceful. Otherwise I might be in tears.  

There are plenty of projects to get on with, aside from the monthly issue of MTS. PEEP! the publication is coming together and the gallery is onto the third show. I am submitting work for a number of small publications and online ‘opportunities’, all of which are unpaid but, fuck it, something to do. We have a short film showing in a film festival in Iceland next month and in London this month, at a pub that does some kind of art night. They have also taken the latest issue of MTS. I have postcards to make for a show, we have a solo thing in Liverpool in June and no idea what we want to do yet and I want to rebuild the c’ART gallery. On Friday, we are doing a wall drawing at our old college and being paid, which is nice. We would have done it for nothing as we get more support from our old institution than my current one.  

Here I was a few months ago, thinking that this blog could develop into something in itself and now I am reduced to a cold run through of work that, as a paragraph, has no sparkle. I saw a call-out for seventy five word satirical pieces for a website called The Tart. They want entertainment stuff, celebrity things and so on. I always thought my natural calling was to be a journalist at a tabloid, called upon for punning headlines and smut. This might be a chance to fulfill that promise, unpaid. Two gags framed in supporting text. I have a week to submit!  

Oh, the update on that Arts Council seminar from December for those of you out there who hang on my every word was that it was complete shit. I enjoyed the biscuits and the coffee just about kept me awake. The hoops that must be jumped in order to submit an application is ridiculous and today I have been asked by an artist who is planning to show at PEEP! to send supporting documents to him for his application. I will do it but as I pointed out, it will be 99% bullshit. We have no funding strategy and so on. I think he ought to be careful about placing any emphasis on a show at PEEP! It is an artist run initiative, therefore, not hard to ‘get a show’ at.  

And I finally acquired my very own OHP, an essential piece of kit that has not been used since I got it.  

560 words 

lost count of the days and counting


February 15, 2008

I had some notes for this blog entry. I’ll try anything once. I lost them. I think my primary concern is to write enough stuff to work out how to do it. I don’t think it will ever lead to anything apart from more words but at least these new words will have some substance to them even if the evidence appears otherwise. I will know and that will be enough. I only aim to please me.  

I don’t think that the presentation discussion on Monday had any effect at all. Mostly nobody seemed to know what I was doing, so in that sense, I feel less isolated. Whether I approached it in the correct way I have no idea. The whole discussion that centred around ‘being pointless’ was, as this concept had never appeared until the beginning of that conversation. I might be at fault for not explaining my idea clearly. I tend to think that I need to either supply a 2000 word supporting document or hope that people ‘get it’ through some form of osmosis. I find it difficult to pin down what it is that I am about. I suppose taking the form of the manifesto and corrupting it might help. All this dissection and navel gazing doesn’t do much to clear things.  

It is an anti-art, pro-art thing. It is anti-consumer culture whilst playing with the recognised forms of such of a culture. Play is a big part. It isn’t serious but I take it seriously. The passion of one man, done so because he can and for no other purpose. Fun, passing the time. What else is there to do? This thing, art, is my calling. I do it, end of. Within this structure I have personal aims. I want to do what I do better. I want to learn; it is about absorbing everything I can and making connections, links and providing answers, of a kind. Trivial, light hearted or meaningful. My bent on the state of the world. I don’t know how many different ways I can say the same thing. I thought that was what we all did. I exist in this time, this place and this is the way I see ‘it’, the it being anything and everything.   

If anything an ‘artist’ does can be ‘art’ and it depends on what and how you choose to present it, as such then every moment is valid. We do select though, we reject and we accept and the viewer is only shown what the artist wants them to see. Whether the viewer understands what the artist had in mind, interpretation and so on, is another matter. Culturally we like to see the notes, the hidden treasures of the good and the great. We want to know what books Picasso read, or even if he did read anything. Every snippet is a pointer, an indication of something. Of validity, value. Louis Armstrong took laxatives every night before bed and each morning emptied his bowels fully. Churchill built walls. We might view him differently if his passion was needlepoint. Whatever that is; sounds a bit feminine. I am not one of the great or the good and the temptation for the gifted amateur is to be secretive about methodology and so on. I like watching ‘CSI:Miami’ so I can’t really be taken seriously as a thinker and/or artist. I only watch it because the ginger guy talks with his head to the side, often looking away from the person he is talking to. It draws me in, this odd stance. So perhaps I should exhibit every doodle, scrap, angry e-mail, tick list, receipt, and stool sample, CCTV footage, snapshot and so on. Throw it all into the pot. In no order at all. You can build a mental picture of scales, artist on one side, non-artist on the other; worthy or unworthy, clued up or clueless and as you sift through the detritus it can tip one way or another. A critique in the round. I need to find those fucking notes.   

679 words 

9 days and counting


February 13, 2008

Logging on to WordPress and the dashboard reminds me that the last post was written ‘a while ago’. Fuck you. I don’t need reminding. Almost two months of snatched moments on the internet, mostly trying to keep the inbox within a tolerable limit. The long, dull tale of woe is centered around the illegal activities of a service provider who robbed my account from my inept service provider who informed me that I had to set up another account with a third provider before they could restore everything to how it had once been. It sounded simple enough but between the three of them involved in this saga, cutting a very long tale short, it wasn’t and all of them lied at least once and not one of them seemed to be aware of how to solve the problem. And this is the digital age. It still takes up to two weeks for a broadband connection to be established. Three to five working days to make that request. And so on.                     

Of course the internet has been back for over a week now but although I knew I should get back to the blog, I was hesitant. It is too easy for it to become a bitching zone and the one thing that I am having increasing trouble with is keeping my mouth shut. I feel sorry for those students who are paying the full fee. That is all that I will say about that.  

I have had more time to read. More energy to devote to real correspondence, not the snippets of chat that pass as electronic mail. Less time to worry that all I do is complain to no one about nothing. And sadly, I have not missed the course at all. I don’t mind the weekly chat room sessions, pleasant enough. The attempts to curate exhibitions in the Wilson Corridor have been fun to observe; it would seem that the PGPD cannot come too soon for some. There are a few wonderful people trying very hard, who clearly possess practical skills and have some knowledge and experience but they are thin on the ground. I don’t know if it is a lack of enthusiasm and drive by the students across the MA courses when it comes to participating or the ineptitude of those who make an effort to get something off the ground but how hard is it to organise an exhibition? All right, a good exhibition. The challenge is one of filtration of shite whilst managing the delicate dispositions of those that fail to make the final show. Or throw everything in. The sweet corn will still be obvious. And plenty for the ‘I know what I like’ brigade.  

454 words 

7 days and counting