Wednesday, 22 November 2017


Kill All Normies - online culture wars from 4chan and tumblr to Trump and the Alt-right by Angela Nagle is a full on deconstruction of what has actually been going on with society online behind the instagram sheen of the selfie. It is importantly disturbing and a must read to understand how we got here. Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue is a hilarious time travelling fractured romp that uses real tennis as a spine to talk about so many glorious things including using Anne Boleyn's hair in the stuffing of tennis balls. Managed to read these books on a recent trip to Marseille. There is an interesting video exhibition at the Friche - which is an old tobacco factory with a great vibe. I always gravitate to the MuCEM a truly extraordinary building down by the docks. Meanwhile in a visit to French Markets in the countryside it felt like I had found myself in a kind of meta-Frenchness.

Sunday, 12 November 2017


so a couple of things - at Snape Maltings we saw the results of a week's residency - three witches - unsure what was added to the genre/issue of exploring how we as a society marginalise and oppress outsiders and those deemed different that shows like Black Mirror and the artist Rachael Maclean have already brought to the table, although the voices were superb. Maybe we need more reminders of our history of violence towards women - so the idea of it becoming a huge community play where the audience get to boo and cheer as women are hung (maybe the crowd could be incentivised to do this, the more you cheer the less you pay) is something that we would pay to watch - maybe do this in areas where people voted to leave the EU - maybe not, the whole idea just got very dark. I can remember shouting with glee 'crucify him' at a community mummers play in Lincolnshire in the late 80s and feeling very odd!!

Caught up with and watched two seasons of Stranger things some great acting and an interesting spin on the value of early game playing - you never know when rethinking dungeons and dragons will help you out with dealing with dark evil things. Have safely got my ticket to flight of the conchords at the O2 - it will be odd to see them there but maybe it will feel warm to be in amongst people who love them 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


a great day in London with the Book Arts students at Camberwell - we were out and about
looking at work and making connections with the project proposals and ideas of
research and developing practice. The British Library treasures gallery had some interesting rethinking around the objects unearthed from this year's cohort. The value of getting out and seeing stuff should never be underestimated - I got to re-see the objects which was itself a treasure. There was also a really nice little show called Listen about 140 years of recorded history - lots of headphones - I got to hear the first (in theory) Dub Reggae track -
Pick a Dub by Keith Hudson 1974. Took me back to Big Youth and aggressive school
discos with skinheads and the generally tense time that was the 70s. The site has some extraordinary material. The afternoon was at White Cube which has 2 excellent exhibitions by Ann Veronica Jassens and Damien Ortega
There are some interesting uses of materials and iterations of ideas through different mediums - a fantastically illuminating day of conversations. How does the materiality of an artwork inform and be informed by its content?

Wednesday, 1 November 2017


an excellent 2 days in London - yesterday at Camberwell was all about making and thinking with year 2 and work-shopping  an idea I have been working with 'science' people on - diagramming and visualising in 3D ones thinking. It was an interesting session and like the best teaching I learnt a lot about how a project can be re-imagined through the creation of new tools. The afternoon was the crit of the first project with the new year 1 - there was some great starting points and wonderfully creative thinking that will support the development of their practice.
today was all about creative thinking at Kings with excellent science (medical) people and artists working on developing the 3D synthetic teaching module. it really is such a fantastic pleasure to be in the room with thinking people surrounded by gloriously splendid stuff such as ape skeletons and octopus - if only I could document the vast shelves of body parts to show!
managed to see Everything at once - the Lisson show at 180 Strand - a mixed bag but there are some gems - we obviously love most if not all of the Lisson artists, the gallery has been a go-to space since I was a student. so we have Cory Arcangel, Lawrence Weiner and Dan Graham. Anish Kapoor pulls off a beautiful illusion of space, Rodney Grapham's film Vexation Island is just very oddly bizarrely darkly funny but highlights are Ryoji Ikeda - the room is just digitally alive, Susan Hiller's hypnotic room of TV's and then there is the tightly edited film by Arthur Jafa on the roof, the experience of which is itself a gem - the view is eclectic. 
I then found myself in the middle of the incident at Covent Garden - very strange - I turned around to see a black cab travelling around road works colliding with a white van which  hits a pedestrian and crosses the road and ploughs into more people on pavement, sort of within more road works. so it's all fairly calm and people are tending to those knocked over until a film unit with lights starts filming then people watch that and a lot of police arrive and shouting then more police then more arrive running now police cars and a lot of sirens then you appear to be surrounded by police as people sort of get on with getting home or going out the area around the crash is cordoned off and then the anti-terrorist police arrive then the helicopter then the cordon gets wider lots more shouting and which point I decide to cycle off. any other time it would of passed off as an accident and we would of gone on about our business  but I guess we live in 'other' times.

Thursday, 26 October 2017


Family history - book as performance- documentation as document - importance of text - private public spaces - representing the everyday - artist as detective - distorting language - learning from failure - concepts of collection - collection as material - using book to frame the world - slow reading - cyphers and codes - text/textile - making landscapes - landscape of identity - repurpose wellbeing - graphic inclusivity - notions of truths - book as architecture - material matters - systems to cope - knowing not knowing. My notes from the first symposium at camberwell - it's a great day of sharing where the room swirls with possibilities and the past is used as a starting point for new possibilities. This year it was particularly beautiful to see that the course had been so beneficial to the fist years, their presentations were full of examples where they had taken opportunities and made the best of them - excellent.  
managed to finally see Blade Runner which was superb - thoughtfully referencing the first instalment with being referential , plot, acting and textile activity was all excellent. This alongside a special mention for the interiors (the room where you emerge from a hole under the water) and sounds which were just awesome. The experience made me go back to the original, I hadn't remembered the slightly overbearing Hans Zimmer soundtrack and actually maybe we had gone a little backwards when it comes to the representation of women as the 2049 has women as empty vessels, disposable or precious specimens.
the jungle - my scouting experience tells me to be prepared so this is just a little annoying - don't go into the woods! somehow everything is there but just doesn't gel together enough.
the house - Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler riffing off each other - silly madness but in an okay way.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017


I ran a lateral thinking, problem solving workshop with a group of science students as part of encouraging wide thinking skills at the Maxwell Centre today. It was a challenging one involving touch, silence, instructions and sign language but as ever I was struck by the 'can do' attitude in the room. There were some exciting outcomes of activity and process which I will be taking back into my own practice...Meanwhile there is a small but very intense and exquisite exhibition of samplers at the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge the work is so detailed and precise it's important to remember that it was undertaken by hand and often by very young girls. 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


another great day at Camberwell - it's that time of year within the College calendar when all is possible. A folding workshop focusing on exploring the structure of book - what more could one ask for - folding paper with thoughtful people all morning! Then a presentation exploring the possibility of book through the lenses of bookness, a concept I first came across whilst in dialogue with the wonderful Ivor Robinson.
I was helping to write the document that was to become the MA Book Art Course at Camberwell with Alex Lumley and I came across a book art module that Ivor had been running in Oxford Poly which allowed students to explore the possibility of book. He was wonderfully generous and incredibly supportive in helping to develop my thinking around the building of a course and it goes without saying sowing the seeds of my understanding of what was possible with the book. The concept of bookness was just my thing, I enjoyed the slippage of language - the space between things - not quite book but maybe more so - the essence of book..... and I have talked about it and built a career around it since then, 1990 seems a long time ago. I really enjoy coming across its use, that it is now a thing and has becoming its own idea for people to make of it what it is for them. Even though Ivor was a binder of the highest quality I am sure he would love this spreading of the word where the book is only limited by the imagination.