Sunday, 30 October 2016


so a woman leaves the space via a giant vagina after performing labiaplasty on herself with bacon, a man uses rubber gloves to talk about care and loneliness, I stand in a room but through technology am in a wood the first time and then on the beach the second - surrounded by birds, watch the question chicken or egg performed by a woman 'black faced' with electrical tape, understand our culture through repetitive action, a flower emerges, a doll emerges both from within body orifices, people in costumes created from the DIY store explore alienation, mirrors are used to present ideas and a vagina, a whisper takes my breath away and so much more - yes I have emerged from Spill a little bit wiser and a little more open. I was struck by the respect spill audiences have for the space of performing especially as I walked late through Ipswich. check out tweets - @BicknellLes  some photographs of the aftermath from the performances.

Friday, 28 October 2016


just going through the photographs from Marseille - here are some that will be added to the folder 'covered stuff in the street'. Last night at Spill saw the museum opening till 11:00 with interesting interventions but for me the activity that was most engaging was using your phone as a torch and bringing the stuffed birds to life (Johnnie Morris voices optional - think 70s Animal Magic) - also saw 3 performances - all linked by the idea of exploring the fragility of existence. Jade Montserrat's piece Showing Josephine was relentless in its repetition - Breathe by Alicia Jane Turner had some beautiful films accompanied by violin and the UK premier of Of Leonardo Da Vinci had some extraordinary moments where moving image, sound and movement created new worlds in the mind.  I managed to just touch on the durational works and will see more later but as ever the Art School felt energised by the activity - can't wait to be immersed later! if you feel like you want to be changed. 

Thursday, 27 October 2016


just back from 4 days in Marseille and a quick hop to Crest via the TGV and local trains to see Heine Thiel's show at imprints which was great - all minimal curves and industrial surface magic. A note on wonderful French trains - clean, on time, good design, clear instructions and generally just so much better than ours, even the tables fold more interestingly/efficiently......I love Marseille- weirdly I've been there 3 times in a couple of months  it's a sort of messed up/combination of ancient yet modern, functional but haphazard with its so South of Frenchess port and multi-cultural art scene intermixed with contemporary art spaces which actually buzz. some highlights include spaces as much as the art - The Frac - with its great bookshop and cold minimalism had an extensive show by the painter Francoise Petrovitch  who had also made 2 exquisite films alongside clay sculptural pieces all informed by a way of thinking. It was interesting to see this within all the different mediums. The Friche - has the if I was to build an art centre this would be the model vibe....excellent rooftop bar/club space overlooking the city, integrated skate park bars, multiple spaces showing new work. The main show explored the body and performance and had a piece of work by the collaborative duo Leisure the evidence of their performances are often intriguing. The Musee Cantini had an all inclusive exhibition about the idea of dream. I have never in one place seen so many dubious depictions of the male interpretation of dream using the image of women - this was a thoroughly bad exhibition only saved by some wonderful work by Magritte which explored the idea without resorting to demonising, destructing or violating the female form.... The Museum of African arts is housed in a huge structure that was at one point a charity/hospital for the poor and homeless - the space is awesome as you get to walk within a courtyard at the roof level of a church This sense otherworldliness prepares you for some of the most disturbing imagery/objects displayed beautifully. I thought that we had given back all our shrunken heads! Finally - it is closed until February but worth a visit to see the magnificent building that is le musee des beaux arts - giant oxen seem to overflow from huge fountains full of wheat and grapes which tumble out of a wall of stone cherubs - it's a must see. and while there a walk around the east side past city beaches following the road with the Mediterranean to your right to restaurants where soup d'poisson with all the ritual of the rouille, croutons and gruyere is leisurely consumed - what's not to like..... oh I forgot the extraordinary churches and cathedrals!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


checking out Woman's Hour playlist organised by Lauren Laverne - 70 songs 70 years playlist - it was great to hear tracks that are part of my Desert Island Disc top 100 songs!!! aren't we all just await for the call? - blue by Joni Mitchell,  Grace Jones pull up to the bumper, Venus as a boy by Bjork and Marlena Shaw's Woman of the Ghetto but new to me was Le Tigre I loved the raw power of their sound - channelling x-ray specs and the riot grrrl power of bikini kill - my new latest favourite band.  So far this week - three great teaching experiences - chairing a seminar of student presentation proposals, running intensely packed group crits, and delivering  an on-line seminar. There is some excellent work out there and it's a joy to be a small part of it.  Managed to see an interesting show by Roman Ondak at The South London Gallery - a large element of it is a form of building archaeology when the original parquet floor is revealed. It's interesting to think about how I have worked in several places for long enough to be one of the few people remaining who can remember that beautiful floors have been covered by false floors and corporate carpets - all awaiting discovery. Also I can think of examples where I have watched a building be constructed, knowing it through its life and then watching it be demolished, to be replaced by a new building. More work in Cambridge as part of unfolding thinking - quite possibly the most extraordinary job I have ever had!

looking forward to Spill Festival in Ipswich next week there are so many highlights but Shabnam Shabazi's Terra Nullius has to be up there. 

Thursday, 13 October 2016


Monday was another successful teaching day at NUA where the presentation was sent out before - from idea to outcome explores amongst other things an audit around skills based on Richard Serra's verb list of 1967-8 create your own list of stuff you do in the process of your practice and when you are stuck pick one from the list and enact it until something good happens. If you are feeling adventurous make a list of activities you don't engage in and pick one of those. It's all about the word and idea of practice. 5 slides at 10 seconds each with one question a slide - 50 second Pecha Kucha's fast and furious but it's a focused way to see what people are up to and to share ideas with everybody.
I last saw Bjork at MOMA in NY and the 2 screen surround sound  there blew me away - well that's in the new Bjork digital show at Somerset House so it was good to see it again but the VR experiences are quite amazing. In one you find yourself surrounded by multiple Bjorks on a beach and then later you are inside her mouth. The final one allows you to be inside her as she dances within, around and next to you all in a spectacular array of light. so go see the future.

Attended the launch of paying artists at Jerwood Space - still quite shocking to hear that 71% of artists showing in publicly funded spaces were not being paid. I can remember a time when I would be attending meetings only to realise that I was the only one in the building not being paid - generally those days are gone for me but the issue is still around - check out to arm yourself with knowledge and to change the world for younger artists.also more work at 

Saturday, 8 October 2016


A busy week ending with a great day of science on Friday with the unfolding thinking project Teaching has a new twist - in an effort to improve the experience for all I have decided to send students the presentation I intend to give in the timetabled session with them before the actual time we meet. It's my intention that enabling access to the presentation in this way will allow the student to work through the material in their own time and at their own pace - hopefully there will be less time talking at the front for me - less passive listening from the students - there will be more student interaction - which will all leave more time within the session to discuss work. Of course this works if the students read emails. I had some of my best recent teaching with year 3 at NUA on Monday. It was empowering watching students being empowered.  At Camberwell this was a real triumph where the actual ideas behind the work were deconstructed - fantastic. This is something I will continue. 
Its less than a week to ALL I cycled past my piece at Land Economy and it's still going strong - Looking forward to seeing all the work.  Yes I have succumbed to a folding bike which was a great choice as the clowns Abellio in their ceaseless quest for 'customer' satisfaction chose to have a train consisting of only 2 carriages - this out of Cambridge on a Friday night at 5.44 - the same day there was racing at Newmarket - thank you for your care and attention we loved standing for the entire journey pressed up against each other - oh yes it was also late so another case of missed connections again. Although transparent,  I watched the supposedly very dark the good neighbour from start to finish we all knew where it was going. Using all the standard tropes Triple 9 wasn't that bad but wasn't that much - lots of stars acting almost in their own films. 

Sunday, 2 October 2016


after a week attending the NanoDTC Autumn school I'm back  - for more information on this follow which is the blog that will document the project with NanoDTC at the Maxwell Centre. meanwhile Its been a busy week of opportunities - The Crafts Council have invited me to present my work in Manchester as part of Crafts Council's Make:Shift conference - already looking forward to it as it's an opportunity to share the advances my practice has had as a result of working within a science context. Nicola Naismith has contacted me to be part of her interesting project Postures of Making - exploring what happens beneath the surface of the skin when engaged in art practice and how we work with the idea of repetitive acts. I have several art related body malfunctions!!! as a result of creative making over the years and have been interested in the ergonomics of art practice for some time, especially when considering the of concept of the space of reading and idea of page turning as a performance. Confirmation of the upcoming work for Open College of the Arts has come through - I'm running an interesting project which focuses on creating an online exhibition. meanwhile managed to read  I love Dick by Chis Kraus it's a wonderfully incisive book. I loved the descriptions and general critique of a number of art pieces, films and artists I am familiar with - it really is very funning, I now want to go back and check out the work I was unfamiliar with - this book should be read by all artists. I've been invited to Unfold a show at The Roundhouse on October 8. The Catalogue for ALL is out and the work looks good - can't wait to see a physical copy in my hands - the events on the 13th October if you are in Cambridge Dan Tsu of Lyrix Organix very kindly mentioned that this is the project I inspired them to develop last year! but I think that is really down to all the hard work they do.