Monday, 29 March 2010

Updates, Artist Book of the moment, IRP Launch

Bildungsroman has been shortlisted for the Artist Book of the Moment awards at the Art Gallery at York University, Canada.

details will be live on the website from Wednesday

IRP 12, for which I have contributed some work as part of their edition showcasing makers of publications and such, is having a launch at Unit 1, 25 Vyner Street, London, E2 9DG on Thursday 6th May 2010. I believe the launch is a 6pm till 9pm affair and below are a list of the participants.

20x20 Magazine,
A3 Handrawned & Quartered,
An Endless Supply,
Impulsive Random Platform,
Ladies of the Press,
One Staple Magazine,
Preston is my Paris,
Ralph Dorey,
Sarah Bowker-Jones,
Stingray Mag^zine,
The Succulent L’ egume, 
Unrealised Projects.

The above mentioned Bildungsroman will be on sale as well as a host of other publications and a new journal that I'm working on at the moment.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


Good Afternoon, let’s begin. The question we would like to start with is What is required?

What is required is to travel and execute with total autonomy, to enter the space and assemble to monad, to cause the ripple and then to leave.

But does that then mean there is no interaction?

There is a high degree of genuine interaction with site as the moment of considering and creating form is delayed until the same moment of entering the space

So what is prepared?

Everything is prepared, I am prepared.

How so?

Well i am primed for the exhibition with research. I will generally approach a project as an investigation of a collision of things, concepts in the shape of events, forms, attitudes, spaces. My work is the ongoing research into a heroic ideal of existence, my own searching into what would be the optimum manner of living

So what informs the direction of this search? What informs the shape of this ideal?

What informs anyone’s ideal? Their experience

What kind of experiences are these in your case?

Talking about big American mid century artists with a friend when I was in school, reading Robert Pirsig and Ayn Rand when I was in college, watching the pilot episode of Kung Fu as a small child.

Kung Fu?

Yes, the television show with David Carradine as a wandering Chinese American monk searching for his brother in the late nineteenth century southern states. In my head I have carried around an abridges version of that first episode, it has haunted me since I was about seven years old. The montage goes as follows: Caine as a student in the temple learning to walk on rice paper with tearing it, then as an adult walking through the desert with such ease and lightness that he almost not there. he carries almost no possessions, and he’s more like a wave, an trajectory of energy moving through matter, than a physical thing.

But isn't that all just anecdotal and by-the-by? is isn't like i could infer any of that information from looking at something you have made.

Well that is very true, but you asked what informs the work, you asking for the anecdote.

I see, so is it unimportant whether anyone gets that specific information?

It is unimportant whether someone picks out the whole slew of references, in fact maybe it is, maybe I would rather they didn’t!

You’ve said previously about being wary of quotes, expressing a wariness to their use as misdirection, in a cowardly manner.

I still think that, but I am aware of the contradiction there, that I do quote, I can’t help it. Quotes are like shorthand for an idea that you can’t define otherwise because it is too unstable, they are big and lumpy and inaccurate due to being someone else's language with prior baggage and relationships, but I this seems the lesser of two evils, as to construct something utterly new to deal with something you don’t fully understand would imply a false understanding, at least with a quote it is (I hope) clear that it is an approximation, its buckshot.
I do prefer quotes that are impure, contaminated by something else and out of joint and unique.

An example please?

Charles Manson’s interpretation of the lyrics of The Beatles, or a child drawing a picture of Batman outside their house in Epsom, or that story about Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man.

Is that the one about method acting?

Yeah, my friend Gino told me about it once, this is his version:

    Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman are just about to do a take on the set of Marathon Man, its a key scene a sort of showdown and just before they start Hoffman runs out of the set and out of the building, no one knows what's happening and he sprints back in a few minutes later and waves off any questions and says to do the scene. After the take Olivier steps over and asks for an explanation, Hoffman explains that this was key to getting his correct state, that this is method acting. Laurence Olivier looks at him and before returning to his position for the second take says “its called acting, act dear boy.”

It is just a legend that keeps changing, I’ve likely deviated even from Gino’s version to help it support my own agenda, I’ve at least added emphasis.

Ok, I understand this sort of distortion of quotation, and in regards to your work, you actually wish for these events of fiction and reality to in fact be hidden from the viewer?

Maybe not hidden, I just need them in there, thats the important bit. The have to be in there for it to be authentic, there the parts of the soup, they make it sacred, no filler. Bit it isn't a word search, there is no answer, but in order for the thing to be right for me at least, this stuff has to be in my head, informing the decisions. I prepare things in a quasi-formal way, “this could be useful”, “this image covers a bit of the idea” , “this could hold something up”. While I’m considering all of this information and trying to develop my ideas, trying to keep refining what the idea is.

So what is the ideal as it stands at the moment, on the 6th of March 2010?

I couldn’t explain it, that's why I make the work.


I guess a few things have bubbled up to the surface that I am dealing with right now. The first one would be to do with temporary work, I think art should be ephemeral. Well I know all art is ephemeral, but right now I think that the ephemeral nature should be  be acknowledged so as not to get caught up in things being perceived as everlasting, its like making your work out of whatever, dried beans and plastic bags and a dvd player etc and then carefully identifying its component materials so as to allow a collector to decide on its longevity and storage requirements. Artists often don’t make-their work from these poor and fragile materials with a true awareness of their position as such, as ephemeral, they do so as a kind of gratuitous display of creative machismo, its like “you work out how to archive and keep safe the detritus of my genius”. I guess that's pretty impressive, but I’m a bit sick of that. I think a sculpture should be aware of its status as a shadow, the sculpture I make should at least, I’m not claiming to have any power over anyone else’s.

A shadow?

Yeah, the form cast by that idea, the idea changes, moves away or time passes and the shadow is gone. Its a record. A cast.

So is that why you make work for a specific place?

Yes its just for there, then its gone, Id make another work for somewhere else later. Its why all my writing, even if its just a proposal or a note or a poem or something has to be dated, its got to be trapped in the text so no one can cut it off by mistake.

Very sneaky.

Isn't it? I think again its this thing of impermanence, but also its about context being part of the work. The site, the materials, the references and the point in time all line up to make something, as soon as that starts to drift it all starts to go off, to crack.

Then what about recording work? How about photographs of installations?

That's different, where as showing the work again would be like a re-enactment, a photograph is just a document, if I print them they are small, often black and white in the context of a book. They are just a record and use the modesty of their reproduction to emphasise the distance from the real thing, which has since gone. Photographs just point in the general direction of the sculpture, its important to not let people get fooled into thinking they get it all from beautiful large scale glossy print.

What else can you say about that idea of impermanence?

There is no such joy in the tavern as upon the road thereto.
That is one of my favorite quotes  right now, its from Blood Meridian by Cormac MacCarthy, for me it sums up what I was thinking about Kung Fu, or Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, or something from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Well it certainly makes sense as there is more joy in life than in the arrival of death.

Or there is more in the act of creating sculpture than in the end article.


Someone asked me what I liked about the films of Walter Hill, and I said something like they are just 2 hours of journey and testing and struggle and overcoming with only a most casual sketch of the static before and after at either end. Now I know that this is true of so much, but in a film like The Warriors or Southern Comfort its so apparent, its like an examination, a scenario film. The Odyssey should just keep going like Kane in the desert, or some character that keeps cropping up years after the first actors that played them are dead.

So much like your search for this ideal.