Statue Down

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Today the dismantling of the statue took place and seeing the statue in parts is giving me ideas on how I might like to exhibit her going forward.  She was never intended to be displayed fully built but in various stages of assembly - or disassembly and so it is vital that I get opportunities like this to see what works. The materials though not too heavy as individual pieces get very weighty  when pieces are joined together. The taking down liberty signifies a collapse of ideas of liberty itself but not a collapse over time due to wear and tear but the notion of entropy, this is a willful act, a conscious dismantling. She is decapitated and yet still holding onto her flame - perhaps holding onto some semblance of hope.

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With the offer of an exhibition at Northampton University in their new Waterside campus in 2019 it is days like this allow me to play with new ideas and practical ideas around how to physically assemble such a large sculpture. Large, ambitious pieces of art require large crews and lots of planning and time. 

Talk: Invited to talk at TECHnique Create Hub, IBM, London.

A few weeks back now,  TECHnique Create Hub asked if I would give a talk at  IBM’s Head office, Southbank, London about ‘city data’ and how, as an artist, I have used data sets in my work and the importance of involving the public in my work in some way.   The talk was focused around an art piece commissioned by Quay Arts gallery on the Isle of Wight earlier this year but is now installed at IMB’s head office of the Southbank. London.  If you would like to know more about the piece itself then I wrote something about it here.

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Before the talk I met with various members of IBM IX team and we chatted about how artists and the work they produce can often help explain concepts more easily than verbal or written communication can. Hopefully our informal chat will lead to further talks with them.  Andy Stanford Clark whom I collaborated with on the project also talked,  as too did artist Marcin Ignac.  Although the focus of his talk was on the work he did for TFL I was familiar with a work he produced called  Tatelets an artwork based on data-sets generated from Tate Modern’s collection project so  worth looking at if you want to see some great data visualization.  

 

 Clockwise from top left: Samuel Fry, Marcin Ignac, Dd Davies, Andy Stanford-Clark

Clockwise from top left: Samuel Fry, Marcin Ignac, Dd Davies, Andy Stanford-Clark

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Promotion: Talk on my work on 'city data'

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Come see me talk about Ferry Lights, an interactive sculpture that visualises a communities data on the Isle of Wight, UK.

Description

How are artists using live data feeds of cities to create art? Find out at the latest TECHnique talk.

Our cities are increasingly becoming digitised. From London's Oyster Cards, to self-service checkouts and social methods of engaging with government the ways that we are engaging with our cities is changing. Plus, with every transaction a data trail is created, ready for someone to use.

At TECHnique, 3 artists from different fields will tell their stories, explain their choices and the lessons that they have learned when creating digital art linked to cities.
Schedule
6pm - Arrival
6.20pm - Marcin Ignac, Variable.io
6.40pm - Dd Davies
7.00pm - Andy Stanford-Clark
7.30pm - Ends

Date and Time: Wed 18 July 2018, 18:00 – 20:00 BST
Location: Fleming Room, Client Centre, IBM, 76/78 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PZ

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For more information, visit technique.create-hub.com. This event is organised by www.create-hub.com.

Please note that we will sign you up for the Create Hub newsletter if you register; however, you can always unsubscribe using the link on our emails.

 

Research into Matchstick Art: Koestler Trust

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“We’re the UK’s best-known prison arts charity. We’ve been awarding, exhibiting and selling artworks by offenders, detainees and secure patients for over 55 years. Our awards receive over 8,000 entries a year – inspiring offenders to take part in the arts, work for achievement and transform their lives. Our national exhibition attracts 20,000 visitors – showing the public the talent and potential of offenders and people in secure settings. We have no endowment or capital – our work depends entirely on donations.”

Every year, the Koestler Trust invite volunteers who have an interest in the arts to come in for a few hours on a weekday over the summer  and give written feedback on the artworks sent in.  They then invite a well-known artists to select pieces for a summer exhibition that takes place in London each year. Judges have included artist Jeremy Deller, Grayson Perry, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, representatives from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Council.

My piece referencing the Stature of Liberty entitled When Things Come Apart is based on matchstick model kit  and following my research into the history of matchstick model making having its roots in art produced by prisoners I came across an organization called the Koestler Trust. I had never heard of them before  I started my project though I did know that model making was a pastime of inmates.  I had initially emailed them in the hope they could help with my research yet their email back to me suggested I come in and volunteer to give feedback on the art work that had been sent into them. On their website, they describe themselves as:

Volunteering today not only gave me an opportunity to do some depth research into matchstick art but also gave me an opportunity to give back.

Housed in a building next to Wormwood Scrubs, every room on both the ground and the first floor were full of racks with every shelf packed with artworks sent in from all around the UK.  I learned that that they split the artworks into 51 categories ranging from ceramics to sculpture, fashion to soap carving, painting to paper cutting and of course matchstick art.

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I spent the day reviewing the matchstick art though I could have chosen any category I had wanted. The opportunity to do this kind of research was invaluable as the history of matchstick appears  its  roots in art made by prisoners was because,  matchsticks are cheap, versatile and are a readily available material.Directed to be encouraging at all times we were also encouraged to apply some critical theory when evaluating the work, explaining what we had observed about the work. Suggestions on how people might make different choices next time, and if appropriate,  suggesting other artists work they might like to look at to help broaden their ability to be critical about their own work going forward.

“Feedback from experienced artists/writers is very valuable because it’s genuine, practical and focused. It’s not sugar-coated or a platitude. In many ways it’s the best thing about the scheme.”
— https://www.koestlertrust.org.uk/koestler-awards/ Koestler Awards Entrant.

I was very focused on saying positive things, (and there is not a lot of space to write much at all) but I do feel I was able to  offer some constructive feedback.

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There were many observations I made about the work I saw that day. Time featured a lot in the work by way of clocks, many of which worked but had had the batteries taken out of them. Some of the entries came with supporting documents stating what had motivated them to make what they had made.  Reasons were driven by fantasy of what it might be like to own that boat, that car, that truck. The objects chosen often represented freedom. One entitled Rebirth understood symbols of an egg and a butterfly and another Keyhole showed great use of colour, with the outside world, the world viewed through the keyhole appearing in technicolor.

 

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Yet the one that struck me the most and almost certainly because of its connection to my work was a jewellery box, but not the box itself it was the supporting document that came with the box and explained how it had come to be. The booklet it came with written by the prisoner told of how his wife had bought him a  Matchitecture kit of a motorbike kit. It was by building this model that  his understanding of how to make things from matchsticks began and had resulted in the jewellery box he gave his wife made with the skills he had honed by making the matchstick motorbike kit.

It is something I will definitely do next year. The summer exhibition takes place in London at the Royal Festival Hall from mid September to early November. More information here.

 


 

 

Thought piece: Affiliate Exhibition

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I exhibited two pieces of my work at Affiliate, a group show of MA students studying Fine Art at UCA, Farnham in Hampshire. It was a four day exhibition with many of us only seeing the venue for the first time when we arrived on the Tuesday for set up. The venue hire is cheap for London and as exhibiting is vital for artists it was a great exericise in getting your work out there, getting over the fear of being seen, honing installation of work skills but more importantly learning about how your work sits in a 'gallery' setting.

The work is a line of eight small sculptures that grow in size resulting in a scupture that is recognizable as a gun. My laser cutting parts of guns and then building them up as they stretched across the wall I was emulating the Ascent of Man picture showing the evolution of man. The Ascent of Man has been a device used my many to depict the evolution of not just man but of working practices often to comic effect.

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Advert: Group Exhibition: London 27th June 2018

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My work will be in a group show alongside other MA students studying at UCA and offers a great opportunity for us to consolidate ideas and themes ready for our degree show in August 2018. Although I have already decided that When Things Come Apart will be in my final degree show I am excited that this exhibition gives me the opportunity to work on developing one of my other other projects. For a while now I have been working with the theme of gun violence and am concerned  and intrigued by the fetishization of guns. There are many youtube videos where you can make guns that fire rubber  bands and paper bullets that are made in the style of real guns, AK47's and Derrigers to name but two. 

WHAT KIND OF WORK WILL I SEE AT SAFEHOUSE?  The work is broad in its topic in a wide variety of mediums from film, sculpture, painting and photography, found objects and made objects. There is a even a performance piece from artist Chris Horner.

GETTING THERE: If you want to come, the nearest train station is Peckham with a 7 minute walk to venue. There good parking around that area too, you need to pay for it but for London there are a surprising number of spaces available. A great app that shows details of the show and other art show in London is ArtRabbit and is worth downloading and putting on your phone as not only does it give details of what is one where but it has a great built in map and shows you what else is on in the area. Details of our show on ArtRabbit are here.

Artists Websites:
Sara Jayne Harris
Nerys Joseph
Chris Horner
Bianca Hendicott
Kaiqi Guo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press: Ferry Lights move to IBM

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Great article in publication On The Wight about my artwork Ferry Lights and its move from Quay Arts, art gallery to IBMs Head Office where it is on show in their Client Office on the Southbank, London.

It was a commissioned piece from Quay Arts and I worked in collaboration with Andy Stanford_Clark, CTO of IBM, UK and N.Ireland. For more information see here

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Exhibition: From Contemporary to Corporate

 Ferry Lights in the foyer of IBM's Head Office, Southbank. London, UK

Ferry Lights in the foyer of IBM's Head Office, Southbank. London, UK

I am very proud that an interactive sculpture I made, in collaboration with IBM’s CTO for UK and N.Ireland, Andy Stanford Clark,   has gone on display in the Head Office of IBM, Southbank, London. Not the usual audience for my work but one I am very happy about. The work had been commissioned and exhibited in a contemporary art gallery, Quay Arts on the Isle of Wight before it was installed at IBM on Wednesday. Quay Arts in conjunction with Arts Council England ran a series called Hidden Heroes on the Isle of Wight and Andy was one of the Islands heroes they decided to represent. The work not only shows a little of the technology that Andy’s has invented (he has invented a lot!) but also reflects themes within my work. Much of my work involves the public, whereby I  encourage the viewer to participate and interact with the work. There is a sense of community and connectedness about it.  Ferry Lights shows the position of the ferries as they traverse the Solent in real-time, mapping out their location with LEDs,  as they make their journeys between the mainland and the Isle of Wight where Andy Stanford-Clark lives.

To extend the theme of connectedness and community, we decided that the LEDs around the circumference of the sculpture were to be connected to Cheerlights, an Internet of Things project created by Hans Scharler, By tweeting “#cheerlights red (or whatever colour you like) your tweet changes the colour of the LED’s thus changing the colour of the sculpture. But as Cheerlights is a connected community, not only does your tweet change the colour of Ferry Lights but it also changes the colour of Cheerlights all over the world. There is something very exciting, empowering perhaps about standing in front of a sculpture and not just being able to change its state with one written instruction but knowing that hundreds of other lights in the world have changed state too, thus connecting physical things with a shared social networking experience. I must say I am also enjoying the fact that people outside the gallery setting, and/or the corporate environment, have some say over what colour the sculpture on the wall is going to be. At IBM’s Head Office today someone outside of the corporate setting is going to decide on what colour the sculpture on the wall outside the Franklin meeting room is going to be.   There is something joyful about being able to change the colours on the wall and affect the environment in a space you are not physically in and ‘interacting’ with people you have never met –perhaps someone’s day might be slightly nicer if the sculpture switched to blue, - their favourite colour.

 

Light it up

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I really enjoyed going to see Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11, the highlight being The Twin Towers (2011)  by Chilean artist Iván Navarro’s. It has never been shown in the UK before and is truly stunning if you only go to see that one piece it would be worth the entry free and time spent in the museum.  I have seen infinity mirrors before, I have even made one, (ok two) in fact I made one very recently called Ferry Lights, a commission for Quay Arts celebrating the technology of Andy Stanford-Clarke.

I wonder sometimes about art works that incorporate lights, as many of my pieces do, I joked this week when some one came up to me and told me that Territory had been getting a lot of attention from people walking down the corridor, that is the Linear Gallery,  at UCA. My reply was "of course  it gets a lot of attention,  it lights up". Perhaps a little self-deprecating I know. I actually think the piece Territory is great, in fact, I would go as far to say that it has sparked a lot of ideas in me and others. It was make very quickly and I was under pressure at the time and so for me that was a great way of working, as much of my work is very laboured and thought out beforehand, all the working out going on in my head before I even think about picking up some material.  Document, document, document the the creative process but it happens so quikcly in my head that I am five iterations on before I remember to write something down at least. Even if the art is bad, not too well thought out, terrible in fact - light anything up and for some reason it becomes passable. People may not like it but they won't hate it.

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Exhibition: Linea Gallery - Territory

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We have crits next week on the pieces set up in the Linea Gallery at UCA. Looks like mine got critiqued ahead of time. It appeared to have attracted some attention online when a student walking past took a photo of it and posted on UCA Farnham Freshers like of my piece. He now wants to buy it. He said I was a "3D Banksy".

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Exhibition: opening Night of Hidden Heroes

I am just too tired to write anything, but want to show some pictures. ........

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 The opening of Quay Arts Hidden Heroes opened yesterday.   

The opening of Quay Arts Hidden Heroes opened yesterday.

 

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I am just too tired to write anything, but want to show some pictures.

Sponsorship for FerryLights

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Logo of Cut Laser Cut  the sponsors of Ferry Lights.

Great thanks goes to Cut Laser Cut who sponsored the acrylic cutting and some of the material costs to make Ferry Light a great success.

Staying true to your practice

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The leaflet pile next to #DicktatorDon you see in the photograph shows  how to apply for one which is my art practice, that of collaboration, co-creation and interconnectedness. 
I was asked to supply a limited edition of #DicktatorDon, my interactive felt, fabric effigy of Trump.  The offer came from Sarah Staton  and her super cool,  SupaStore The premise of #DicktatorDon is that he is not for sale, or at least had not been up to the point at which Sarah approached me. I loved the idea of him being in  SupaStore , which artist wouldn't? However, I also wanted to inform people of my art project and continue with it.    Sarah Staton was kind enough to hear about my art practice as I explained that #DicktatorDon was not something that I had intended to sell. It was her suggestion that I send the gallery a  leaflet that they could print off in the USA, explaining my project, I bore in mind that the USA  have different paper sizes and so made the design files in accordance to their requirements. I didn't get confirmation back that they had been able to print the leaflets out but  when I next looked on the gallery's  blog they had posted a picture of  #DicktatorDon with the leaflets sitting next to him. I am Supa grateful to the Supa Sarah and her SupaStore.

For more information about he show look here.

Book recommendation: No Is Not Enough

 

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I am reading Naomi Klein's latest book: No is Not Enough. The Guardian review is worth taking a look at. I am often asked why I make art that has an American focus when there are so many issues in the UK I could look at. There is both a general answer to this and a more personal one. I am not willing to go into the personal right now but if you want to know why American politics affects the rest of the world then reading this book is a great read. Many of the issues facing the USA are faced by us in the UK and with Brexit  the UK’s ties to the USA could be even greater if we are to pursue trade deals with them. The UK is linked to the USA in so many ways and that is why it holds such a fascination for me. Trump’s visit to the UK has been put on hold and the Women’s march linked us further secured the notion that their fight is our fight too.

“ ...the US presidency impacts everyone on earth. No one is fully protected from the actions of the world’s largest economy, the planets second largest emitter of greenhouse gases and the nation with the world’s largest military arsenal”

Prototype

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The work is progressing to make an interactive sculpture as part of Hidden Heroes on the Isle of Wight, an exhibition showing the hidden heroes on the Isle of Wight. I have been giving a lot of consideration to what it is I am going to make and why.

Aesthetic considerations
To know about the work Andy is famous for is shaping how this project is developing. On the island he is most renowned for his real-time mapping of the ferries as they cross the Solent. By intercepting the signal they give out (perfectly legal to do this by the way) and then mapping it geographically on a screen people see where the ferries are at any given time.  He is also interested in connected communities.

The aim of the sculpture is to replecate his ferry tracking in some kind of 3-D structure.  and I so I am playing around with the use of infinity mirrors at the moment. The look and feel of them with the reflective nature of the mirror will reflect the notion of water. The depth offered by the infinity mirror offers is also a comment on how technology has no end - that no one knows where it might end.

The photos show the prototype that I have made. I am trying to see if I can place leds behind cutouts in acrylic to show the progression of ferries as they travel across the Solent. Of course it is a colloboration and so I will not be doing the technical aspect of the sculpture, that is the job of Andy. The lights you see around the edge will be connected to CheerLights a way of connecting people across the world through  IOT. 

Exhibition - Granular

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The distinction within this group of artists is apparent. With their varying subject matter and methodologies, this show makes for an exciting exhibition, rich with ideas and concepts. The exhibition incorporates a diversity of multidisciplinary artwork. An array of mediums is combined, including photography, sculpture and installation. Artist in the show include.
Chris Horner Ÿ
Bianca Hendicott Ÿ
Mirta Imperatori Ÿ
Nerys Joseph

Commission to make an interactive sculpture

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I am pleased to announce that I have been commissioned to make a piece of art for  Quay Arts, a contemporary art gallery on the Isle of Wight as part of the “Isle of Wight Hidden Heroes” project. The brief is to express Andy Stanford-Clarke’s status as being on the cutting edge of technology. One of Stanford-Clarke’s many contributions in his field is his real-time mapping of the ferries crossing the Solent. He is also a great advocate of the worldwide phenomenon, CheerLights so the piece will most probably incorporate both these elements.

CheerLights is an “Internet of Things” project created by Hans Scharler that allows people’s lights all across the world to synchronize to one colour set by Twitter. It is a way to connect physical things to a  social networking experiences. For example, by sending the following tweet from a twitter account “@CheerLights,  red”  the tweet  will cause a chain reaction and all of the lights across the world that have signed upto CheerLights will turn that colour. Until the next time some send a tweet to CheerLights requesting a different colour that is and then all the lights will change again.