Last week wall looked at the questions we most wanted to ask people in Bristol, centred around the idea of “how can a city change?”. We’ve decided to make a structure to transport about the city in order to stage conversations. This could be anything from a table to a moveable living room or a boat. We’re going to build towards a day when we’ll do this, moving our structure about and meeting different groups. This day of moving and talking will form the centre of the project, which we also plan to build into an exhibition. Exciting times!
Back in July, Young Arnolfini, Black Kettle Collective (Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea) and Ikon Youth Programme (Ikon Gallery, Birmingham) presented a collaborative exhibition exploring the theme of language.
The groups were invited to take over the ground floor gallery space at Arnolfini. They were granted free reign, with no rules or restrictions. Working together, they produced the exhibition collaboratively, exploring what it means to work together.
Taking language as a starting point, Young Arnolfini made a tent to house mistranslated folk stories, an allotment to hand out rumours about plants and a series of flags to talk about communication and group identity. Ikon Youth Programme encoded videos with references to youth culture whilst Black Kettle Collective created new ways to listen to overheard conversations.
Initially the group began with the idea of Welsh folk stories, which we were interested in because of the way that they are communicated. These stories were only passed by word of mouth, and have only been recorded in modern times.
Buying fabric, and constructing the tent in Gallery 1, Arnolfini
The group explored these stories, becoming attached to ‘The story of Gelert’ and the Welsh language, mainly its translation and mistranslation into English and other languages. This lead us to explore translation, which became the centre of the project.
The group wanted to create a den or tent like space to present the story, as we felt that this was the perfect storytelling environment.
After we had decided on creating a tent space, we were given found footage of a family putting up a tent. This coincidence re-affirmed our tent concept, and became a really important part of the work.
The story of Gelert continues to be an integral part of the work and its creation.
So, it’s getting on great. Going to have lot’s of lovely stuff for you to enjoy and such for the weekend it’s on… 2nd July – 5th July. Proper nice.
This Exhibition what Young Arnolfini, and also IKON Youth Programme and also Black Kettle Collective is putting on is about Communication
Why do a communication exhibition when Emma Smith just did one?
Because it’s such a broad topic, stupid question by the way… But that’s no way to speak to an honourable guest like yourself. I do apologise
“This now is the time for making.”
A day of events on Saturday the 4th July you say? In a month you say? My word, how exciting.
This space will be transformed into a hove of ideas all connected to the ways we, as humans, communicate as humans, communicating, humanly, with each other. A place of learning space. A…
Also… don’t miss… tomorrow at Arnolfini, (Friday 5th – 7th June, irrelevant if these dates have passed)…
Miranda Whall’s Passage is currently showing at the ICIA in Bath until Sunday 22 March.
Here’s our latest group selfie from last week’s meeting.
In response to the current Josephine Pryde exhibition at the Arnolfini, I decided to write a ‘reading list’ to collect together the literature it made me think about or that could be set in dialogue with it. This turned into more of a reflection piece. The bit about hands in art history is in the first gallery guide, and I turned the other two sections into audio guides as part of the Young Arnolfini Soundcloud clips.
Selected reading list for Josephine Pryde’s exhibition, ‘These are just things I say, they are not my opinions’
Photography and Technology
The Image Culture in which we live has been foreseen by many writers, including Guy Debord with his 1967 book, The Society of The Spectacle. Moholy Nagy also predicted the power of images over the whole of society in his essay and theory, The New Vision, 1989. He states, “The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as the pen”.
Can images undermine experience? – Susan Sontag in her book, On Photography, 1977, certainly thinks so. The 1970s horror movie, The Messiah of Evil, extends this idea in its culminating cinema scene with self-reflexive effects. However, Heather Phillipson’s film performance, A is to D what E is to H, 2011, asserts a way in which the contemporary body can perform and claim itself within its image-saturated world. This seems to offer similar “critical hooks” to those seen in Pryde’s exhibition at the Arnolfini: Both artists mediate the power of images over the body through the use of devices such as juxtaposition, sound and movement.
A few weeks ago I had the delight of attending Eden 4’s Artist Lab Finishing Party, and thought I would share some of the exciting work created during their week-long residency at Centrespace gallery.
Rosie Dolton, Beckie Upton, Rachel Falber and Amy Higgins are four female artists from the south west who form the collective Eden 4.
Eden 4 aim to explore the darker symbolism behind fairy tales, myth and religion within their work, and it is evident in the work of Amy Higgins and Rachel Falber that they take inspiration from Greek mythology and Grimms’ fairy tales.
On the group’s website they write:
“We propose to make installations, drawings, sculpture and embroidery based on ideas which will challenge the viewers traditional ideas of ‘Happily ever after’.”
It is this variety of work, and the assortment of textures and materials used by the artists that create visual excitement within the space.
The work on paper is sometimes on scrap material or card, and sometimes on pristine watercolour paper. This is altered in Rosie Dolton’s textile work, which sometimes mimics a drawing, where the thread becomes the line of the pencil.
Eden 4 run projects and workshops, and in this exhibition were able to invite the public to have an exclusive look at the artists’ workspace, to see how the work is made and the processes behind its production.
It is in the opportunity to look at artists creating art that the boundaries are broken between the gallery space (and resolved work) and the artist’s studio. Creation is undoubtedly the most important part of the artwork, but is left out of the gallery space, with artist’s studios and gallery spaces being almost polar opposites.
In each of the works presented in the space composition is an important aspect of them all. Each artist has made careful aesthetic judgements ranging from colour to how the work is arranged in the space.
The references the female body, sometimes spliced with animal parts or bird skulls that become new mythological creatures, are prominent, and become the most noticeable subject in the collection of work. The spliced animal drawings of Amy Higgins create a female Minotaur, which subverts the Greek Myth of the male Minotaur unnatural offspring of a woman and a beast.
Sometimes exploring the female body in their work, Rosie Dolton and Beckie Upton Both use text and incorporate slogans, borrowing the aesthetic of fashion magazines, using phrases such as lecherous which confronts the viewer and forces them to question the male gaze and the sexualised imagery seen in the media.
There are strong feminist undertones in every artist of Eden 4, which become more powerful when brought together as a collective.
Or visit their website: eden4.org.uk
I’m Co-curating an exhibition at The Architecture Centre aiming to get young people involved with architecture. This is hard, because to lots of young people, the world of architecture seems completely alien. Even to me, it conjures up images of middle class white men in their 40’s discussing buildings in an office. It feels like it’s a world that you can only unlock after 7 years of training, and it’s only then that you can begin to grasp what it’s about. So let’s find out what architecture is.
I started by googling it and came up with this definition:
“the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings.”
Okay. That’s true. Architecture IS the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings, but it’s also so much more than that.
It’s about places. It’s about the spaces in between the buildings. It’s about the communities and interactions that take place in them. Architecture is as much about the buildings as it is the people inside.
Architecture plays a huge part in our lives and in ways that we don’t even realise. Walking down a street seems like a completely simple moment in our day, but we don’t realise that this street has been designed to be like that. Those lamp posts have been placed exactly where they are. Those trees were planted exactly there. It’s all been designed to look the way it does. It is the reason why small music venues feel intimate and personal, whilst massive arenas feel impressive and inspiring. Each of those was designed to evoke those feelings.
This is why architecture – in my opinion – is the most important art form there is.
But why should we care? I mean – sure, these spaces were designed like that and to make us feel certain ways, but why does it matter?
At the end of the day, we – as young people – can live our lives in a city content with the architecture around us, letting other people decide what it is that we want.
Except we don’t have to. Okay – to design a building you might need a seven year degree or something like that, but you don’t need a degree to have your say.
Throughout my experience with Shape My City, where I got to work with experts and professionals from the world of architecture; the one thing that they told me is to just “go for it” and to do whatever it is I want to do, and those are words to live by.
We have spent far too long letting the middle class white men decide what it is that young people want from a city. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to young people, and I’ve realised that we do have opinions about architecture – we just don’t realise that they’re opinions about architecture.
Young people have a voice and opinion about this. I want to challenge you. What do you want from a city?What do you like or not like about Bristol?
Why should you care? Because you have an opinion about it, even if you don’t think you do!
To share your thoughts, visit the Shape My City blog or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your pitch.