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.
Excuse the photograph, but here’s something I snapped yesterday.
As Part of our Young Artist Series, this month we were fortunate enough to take part in a workshop hosted by the eternally playful Tom Pope.
First he shares with us some of his incredible work along with a handful of peculiar stories that paint him out to be a neighbourhood terror in a comic or something.
Tom Pope’s shirt is the colour of lemons and by his feet is a bag of oranges. These oranges will be thrown with reckless abandon into the path of cameras that are hungry to catch the oranges before they collide with walls and floors, splitting their skins in a shower of orange juice.
If the camera is successful in ‘catching’ the orange the photograph is essentially spoiled by an obscure orange blur.
The next act in the workshop has us locked in photographic combat, our fingers poised on each other’s triggers. Maeve’s lens is pointed at me and mine at her, ready to shoot. But we don’t want to shoot each other, we want to shoot ourselves. I want to capture a thousand of my own images with Maeve’s camera but I don’t want her to snap herself on mine. So now we’re dancing, everyone in the room is dancing! Like a group of couples in the ballroom of a cruise ship that’s hit choppy waters and scattered us about. And all the time we’re going in circles, trying to move our camera away from their faces whilst drawing theirs towards us.
I’m almost as tragic at writing about this as I was in actually doing it. My chaotic brain can’t handle the two actions at once and I unknowingly let Maeve photograph her laughing face over and over and over while I fail to capture my own.
And now (with our cameras still citrus-scented) we are temporarily blinded and guided through the gallery; shakily up and down stairs, awkwardly into lifts, clinging on to walls and sometimes each other, led under chairs and tables until something in our sightless minds tell us the moment is right to take the photograph and open two sets of eyes at once.
My photograph is a white-out because I had my camera on the wrong setting. The camera was as blind as I was and the image is a total nothingness. The outcome isn’t always as important as the process.
In the last part of our first workshop we do what Tom Pope does best: we play a game. Here are the seven rules to live by if you want to get involved and play the YA Game of Photography:
1. Offside rule.
2. No zoom.
3. If someone shouts ‘You!’ And points, everyone must photograph them.
4. Eye contact with the lens makes the picture invalid.
5. Cannot have two feet on the floor when taking a picture.
6. After taking a picture you have to turn 180 degrees
7. Must shout ‘Yes!’ when taking a picture
You can go and peep at Tom Pope’s work here: http://www.tompope.co.uk/
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.
At Uni my tutor told me to ‘notice what you notice’, so ever since I’ve been collecting photographs on my website with the title ‘Interesting Things Around Bristol Recently‘ .
I woke up today to realise that perhaps politics is not all politics after all, fine I didn’t only just realise that but it’ll do as an opening. Anyway, Labour Shadow Cabinet MP Emily Thornberry has now resigned after making an idiotic mistake, Twitter. The fact that she posted an image entitled ‘image from Rochester’ including a white van and three England flags was met by many with offence.
This is the first incident I know of whereby a neutral image, even a patriotic one, taken by an old person, has been met with such moronic idiocy. I respect your opinion but when your opinion concerns reading ironic connotation from a picture and then accusing a whole political party of snobbery then come on.
Is a high ranking member of a party with a working class history going to, in election season, post a condescending image about a demographic on Twitter? Really? It wasn’t an accident, those aren’t her boobs she accidentally posted, it was in all logic a sincere post of respect. If it were derogatory in aim then surely she’d have been expecting people to respond with sneering tweets about people with vans who fly flags. To read into it in such an aggressive manner, with no respect for logic, replacing the world we live in with an ironic fiction whereby left-wing politicians hate anyone with a national identity is pure hypocrisy.
The fact that you can take such connotations from the image indicates that you must indeed be prejudiced in some way too. To read everything as a joke, whether it’s a good one or not is the trait of a comedian, and you’re the one making the joke here. You’re the one who is reading the implication because of what you know about England flags and white vans. To say that someone’s original intention was offensive is to state that you recognise a joke about working class patriotism in that photo, even if it isn’t there. And no, you can’t hypothetically compare that argument to recognising a picture of Hitler on a Neo-Nazi Twitter feed as offensive, because that picture is openly offensive, while this one was apparently covert, and you can see that.
My point, my overriding point, is that you’re reinforcing the stereotypes you ‘hate’ by calling a picture of a white van offensive. You’re aligning with the viewpoint you think miss Thornberry has and then going ‘hah! That’s offensive actually even if I was thinking it too!’ It’s a new turn in image politics, that is indicative of just how far gone the mentality of the online presence is. Not everything is a joke, not everyone is a tit and not everyone understands ironic postmodernism. So grow up. Yes you. Unless you agree, in which case vote for me in the next general election.
Also, check out this racist sunset.
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.
Another photo post from me, Fiona.
I’m not sure whether this one is cheating within my series a tiny bit or not, as it doesn’t feel distinct to Bristol.
Back in September I did some of the Doors Open Day activities for the first time, despite living in Bristol for the large majority of my life.
Walking from Stoke Croft up to Bristol Museum was this door. This beautiful door!
I’m sure you will learn as time passes that I love textures, and that consequently means peeling paint and rust.
The weather has such a crazy impact on things, which I love.
The results can be devastating on a large scale, but beautiful on a small one.
Although this is the second school year that I am spending in Bristol and I am fairly familiar with the hidden places and the little secrets of the city, I still feel like there is so much more under the surface, always another layer to be discovered. The Edwardian Cloakrooms are definitely among the mysterious treasures of Bristol. On the corner of Park Row and Woodland Road, the old cloakrooms are used sometimes as pop-up shops, sometimes for vintage fairs or for concerts, but this weekend they hosted Unveil’d, a collaborative photo show, which was accompanied by a photo book exhibition and a zine fair.
Thanks to the divided gallery space, visitors could go and see not only one, but two exhibitions. The first one in the ladies cloakroom, put together by Peachy ‘n’ Keen, was dealing with female identities, while the other in the gents room, organised under the supervision of Young Shot Press, was exploring the different portrayals of the male. I found this exciting not only because of the artists’ different approaches to the themes, but a huge plus was that the space itself had this gender-divide, and thus I felt that the exhibition could not have been more powerful anywhere else but in the Cloakrooms.
If I had to pick my favourite things about Unveil’d, the first would be that the curators used the space in an incredibly creative way. I was blown away by the photo zines hanging from above in the old toilet cubicles and the handmade decoration in the ladies cloakroom, which created an almost surreal atmosphere. The other thing I absolutely loved was of course the photos themselves. As the organisers did not give any restrictions to the submitting artists regarding the representation of the given female/male themes, the works on the walls covered an unbelievably wide spectrum. Next to the photos of innocent girls, I found the extremities of female sexuality. On the other side of the wall, the ideas about male identities were ranging from transsexuality to aging, from the sensitivity of a man to the depictions of his inherent strength.
Quite simply, Unveil’d had everything I needed on a rainy afternoon: photos, fantasy, and surprise. The show was on only for three days, so I seriously hope that Young Shot and Peachy ‘n’ Keen will return to Bristol soon…
Thanks for reading!