The Interim Show: Reflections and analysis

16th July 2015:

My work: Images on the two sides of the flyer, the poster and the leaflet plus a poor image of the installed work…

The Show as a whole looked very good I thought with things working together well and curated very well indeed.

There was a wide range of materials and presentations and I enjoyed both elements much more than the previous years and found all the work to be thought provoking.

It’s hard to look at fellow students work objectively but I thought everyone displayed their work appropriately and to the best advantage…..apart from ME!!!

I made a seriously bad judgement I think….but with the very best of intentions…maybe it would have worked better in a gallery not a college show?… too much to see and this was possibly ‘top quiet’ for this arena…

I chose to display printed flyers with the image below on one side ( a ‘still’ from the video- though it was actually a manufactured image as described previously) and an image of The Reading room on the authorised.

This later was not a particularly ‘good image’ and not really intended to be… more a throw away type casual image than a carefully taken and processed one.

I did this to represent it’s actual state  rather than a more perfect representation…but I think it may have just looked crap.

The idea of having the image on the other side was a bit literal really but represented the other side of the Reading Room’s position in the village… close to the RAF Base and centre of Communications whereas it has none of this and still operates in the past.

I displayed them in a plastic display holder so that people could take them away and look at them, throw them away whatever and they were not commodities but Freebies  for dissemination.

Along with these there were leaflets as below which were intended to intrigue and provoke people to call me during the Show.

I would then have a personal conversation and the interaction would be part of the work.

I hoped to put people in touch with each other, provide references to the Reading Room and send Pins for the location so that there map of the area could be investigated on tablets or phones by people themselves.

The text gave some background history to my investigation of The Reading Room.

I also displayed a poster for the event the Saturday. Same as the poster I displayed in the village.

I had chosen a Font closest to the Font used by Newspapers in 1903 when the Reading Room was built.

In fact the Daily Mail was first printed then,  so examples were easy to find and Download. I used recycled Cartridge paper to make it look older but then with references to Mobiles and tablets to highlight the contemporary.

I hoped that the audience at the Show would take copies of both the image flyer and the text, call me to find out more about The Reading Room and then I could  also put hem in touch with people on the day of the event 18th and send like to Soundfiles and videos if they were interested.

I’d got What’s App, FaceTime, Snapchat, text, phone, email and also planned a Google Hangout Youtube Live stream from The Reading Room, if possible.

At the Private view I noticed very few people actually taking the flyers away so I sent a label to stick on the plinth.

No-one!!! No-one!!! not even my friends or fellow students called the number…..!!!

(Or if they did it was on the Saturday and there was no phone signal at the Reading Room so I didn’t know!

No Broadband for the Hangout either……)

I need to analyse why.

What I do know is that I should have shown a video at the same time.

In fact I finished  the video after the installation and showed it first at the Reading Room.

This felt right but what I could have done is show it on the Saturday at the Show simultaneously with the Event.

I really did think that people would call the number… I think I would have… but maybe only if I was sufficiently engaged by the work displayed….

Also I described the work as a pice of Participation Action Research.

When I thought of  this term to describe what I had done, I didn’t know it already exists as a Research Methodology, but it does. See Here

Strictly speaking I don’t think my work is the same as it possibly did not involve the community enough and … but it is an interesting Methodology I’d like to investigate further for community based work.

Regarding selling work and pricing I thought hard about this and decided that although it  was intended not to be art as commodity, that I would set a price as a piece of research and charge as if for my time setting up the actual event so £1000 for £200 for a 5 day week.

Colleagues’ work

Below are some images of fellow students’ work and link to Final Year Students.

Here is the link to the Final Year students work

I found Ali Clark’s work very interesting when I went back later and could watch carefully.

Not that sure about the soundtrack though…..

His piece in the Camberwell Space was perfectly projected so small.

Other students work:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The Reading Room Event: Set up and Preparation – a few days to go……

12th and 16th July:

In between getting things ready to install at Camberwell for the Interim Show, I’d solve the problem of the wrongly cut lino and turned it into a benefit! see below by having both Positive and Negative lettering.

Fiddly to use but much more versatile.

I’d printed some posters to go with the cut-out newspaper ones used when I was using the Reading Room as a studio.

Took ages and very messy.

Making the posters seemed an important part of the process but I’m not sure it added to the Event in the end. It was important for me but did it work..?

After installing at Camberwell on the Tuesday I went on the Thursday  and set up the slide projector in case anyone brought any slides and tested out the new media player and film with the digital.

I’d been working on the final film to show at the event and it is about 30 minutes long.

I’ll have to reflect on this separately.

Richard is anxious about how many people will turn out for the event

Jane is baking cakes.

I’ll take biscuits and coffee.

Jon Shapley will come and document with photographs.

All the newspapers are brought in and placed so that Richard can position the tables. The workshop areas are set up.

Cut-up newspapers will be printed on newsprint. I’ve bought a small printing set to supplement the linocut but got rid of the large paper communal printing idea for this event as there is no table big enough.

I’ve asked my son to print out some QR codes for the links to Vimeo and Soundcloud for sound file archive and videos and I’m going to borrow my other son’s Chrome book for the Google hang-outs live feed to Youtube if I can get a signal on the day.

The Reading Room : 11th Visit and Further Developments : Mistake and Image for Interim Show

4th July 2015:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I visited the Reading Room to make a sketch plan for layout on 18th and touch base with Jane.

I left some invitations for the Americans who were having their Barbecue.

They were just setting up when I arrived and invited me to it.

Then I reversed the car into a tree!

On 4th July I carried on making the alphabet linocuts.

Having got to about V I realised i’d got so carried away with all this stuf I’d made the most fundamental mistake anyone can make when making lettering for printing.

I’d cut them all the wrong way round!!!!!!!!!!!

I know this stuff!

I tell people all about it all the time!!!

I just had so much on my mind I’d made the simplest of errors.

I’m not sure if I realised it on this day but it was round about now. I sorted it as seen later.

Moral is… Don’t get carried away with the making… keep  looking at what you are doing.. from a practical pov.

Also below is the final image I’ve constructed for the Interim Show

There were no stills his showed all the information I wanted to show at the same time so I’ve had to construct one that sort of tells the whole story in one image.

This will represent what I am doing in The Reading Room Project, along with the event poster and text I’ve thought up after my tutorial with Jonathan.

RR 5 D Y 2nd shortened for tutorial 9.6.15 1

The Reading Room : 10th visit Preparing for the Event on 18th July

28th June 2015:

By now I was really working up to the event At The Reading Room and had booked it for 18th July to co-incide with the MA Interim Show at Camberwell.

The idea was that I would show images at Camberwell but the actual event would be at the `reading Room.

This is because i have a problem with showing in an exhibition space and ‘audience’ i.e. who are the audience for my work….

I feel it is the people I have been working with in the community in Croughton, rather than the art school, London audience.

I was working on a series of things for the event.

  • People printing their own newspaper using a large roll of paper and linocut alphabet.
  • Dadaist style newspaper making using cut-up text and images for a range of newspapers from all over the world.
  • Newspapers from all over the world and  some from personal archive the be read in the Reading Room and prompt discussion of current affairs etc.
  • Alternative Playing Cards for Whist with images from newspapers
  • people bring slides and photographs of the Reading Room and other memorabilia
  • Showing of the film I was working on combining video of the Reading Room with reckon recordings of news particularly relating to issues i was thinking about wrt Croughton/ Broad band connection and RAF Croughton/ drones etc.
  •  Refreshments

I went to the Reading Room to work and use it as a studio in advance of the event and Jane and I distributed posters  and leaflets around the village to encourage people come.

On this day below couple of visitors from a neighbouring village dropped in. Both were artists.

You can see from the image that someone else thought about it… the camera was filming outside the building through the window.

I also wanted to check the Broadband signal as I wanted to set up a live feed on the day for participants from the MA Show.

Gigaclear have still not installed the new Fiberoptic Broadband which was promised.

So I think this will prove difficult but I want to try it as this is a main part of the work. The isolation of the Reading Room and what it has been in the context of contemporary communications and world events.There is no Phone signal for my network and even the analogue radio signal was dodgy. I listened to ‘Heart’ whilst I worked.

I cut up newspapers and made lino letters in anticipation.

The Reading Room : 9th Visit: Snapchat, Kuwait and Tunisia and June 25th

27th June 2015:



Over the past few months I’d been using Snapchat as part of an investigation into unfamiliar social media. Most 58 yr olds don’t Snapchat, as I discovered when I wanted to find people to Add! One friend who uses it to communicate with her daughter and my son ( the one who didn’t block me! ) were the only contacts I had.

I really enjoyed it.

I’m not sure when they started but I got messages from someone I didn’t know.

They were frequent. Sometimes several a day.

They were from a young woman in an Arab country.

I saw her smoking shisha, putting on makeup, out with her friends, playing with the young members of her family and a young baby.

Often the messages included Arabic text and occasionally misspelt simple English.

I knew I didn’t know her, she’d added me by mistake but the Chats weren’t physically intimate, just personal and I enjoyed looking into the life of a young Arab woman.

I felt an element of deception and voyeurism  and did not Share back to her as I know she would realise she did not know me; which felt dishonest.

Every few days I watched the Chats, usually movies in a short session, one after another.

I showed them to my sons as I thought it a wonderful example of how social media lets us understand the lives of others….

One day one of the Chats had in English ‘ I ♥ Kuwait’ .  I realised this was probably where she lived.

Snapchat came to Kuwait on April 28th 2015.

I fooled myself into thinking that she was the daughter of a friend of mine who lives in Kuwait and is married into a Kuwait family.

I was aware of the voyeurism and deceit even though she had sent me the images without any prompting by me.

Some friends of mine  had  visited Tunisia just after the bomb in the Museum on the 18th March. They were to visit the same museum.

Then they travelled to Sicily, around the time of the migrant boats

.They brought me back some newspapers from both countries.

After the events of 26th June; the massacre on the Tunisian beach, the mosque attack in Kuwait and the French beheading I decided to take  the Tunisian newspapers and read them in the Reading Room, and buy English papers for that day.

I videoed myself reading the Tunisian papers in the Reading Room, linking it to Tunisia in a sort of …. ritual? memorialising? empathetic action?

When I heard about the mosque bomb I was concerned for S., my contact in Kuwait, and her family.

I wanted to ask if they were OK…..?

I  decided to open the latest Snapchat messages from S. whilst I was in the Reading Room and video me opening them.

They had been sent the day of the bomb and massacre.

I did this and some stills are visible here.

Snaps disappear once they have been opened so I couldn’t retrieve any of the previously opened messages.

The images which should have been ephemeral are archived,now,  without her knowing.

Even more poignantly, these were the last Snapchats I has from S.

Whether she realised, somehow, that she didn’t know me or maybe the networks were closed down selectively after the massacre, I don’t know.

I wonder how she is and miss seeing her.

On the same visit I took my laptop and projector to experiment with projecting some of the videos and play with the webcam and camera.

Jane and Richard watched some of the early videos which happened to be on the Flash drive and some of the Screen recordings but I did not show them any of the videos I’d shown for the Tutorial or Group Crit.

Jane has been excited by my ideas of re- filming and re- projecting.

Here are Jane , Richard and Rosie the Dog watching some video in the Bar at the side and me messing with infinity!

The spread of printing, the Semiotics of Newspapers, Walter Benjamin, Dada and politics

1st June 2015:

During the end of May and the beginning of June I realised that the printing bug had spread.

People get hooked on it, from the simple foam impressions to linocut and collograph. I thought about the spread of the printing activity, the spread of printed word, and the way the internet is being seen as a similar phenomenon.

I was thinking about the images that were printed and the images printed in the newspapers I was receiving.

As I  have mentioned in earlier posts, I had requested papers from friends and colleagues who lived abroad or were travelling as well as buying UK editions of international papers.

My colleagues from MAFAD have been especially helpful with an exchange system in place… ‘Banbury Cakes’ a traditional delicacy in exchange for newspapers.

Jason has already had his

On 15 Jun 2015, at 05:14, Jason M  wrote:
Thank you for the cakes, Hwang postcard and cheque,Rhiannon!

It might have taken a while but the sheer suspense made it all worth while!

Hope all is Hunky Dory in Banbury


People were going on holiday, pilots were sending me papers from the planes they were flying. I was buying them compulsively when I saw any.

The images differ from country to country, in terms of layout, ( Landscape/ portrait, colour ( US and UK and Mexico),drawn ( China Today) and content ( very different in the Middle East from Europe, US and China)

Thinking about printing text and image, layout and the semiotics involved

I’ve just found this: Semiotics of Newspapers which will be interesting reading.

I should insert some images from newspapers here

I’d also been thinking about Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction and what Benjamin says about Dadaism, anti-art, non-marketability, capitalism and consumerism and participation. Also about the influence of anti-war and Dada. and the use of newspaper cut-ups e.g.

Tristan Tzara’s The Recipe for a Poem.  

How to Make a Dadaist Poem
(method of Tristan Tzara)
To make a Dadaist poem:

Take a newspaper.
Take a pair of scissors.
Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Then cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them in a bag.
Shake it gently.
Then take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag.
Copy conscientiously.
The poem will be like you.
And here are you a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.
–Tristan Tzara

I had started to think this maybe something that I could adapt for an event at the Reading Room.

Referencing Dada but not overtly. About how Dadaism was relevant to theReading Room , its geographical location and the contemporary political context. 

 I was thinking too about Benjamin’s thoughts on film from the earlier post of my notes.

“Given the circumstances, the film industry has every interest in arousing the participation of the masses by means of illusionary presentations and suggestive speculations.”

‘The fact that the work of art can now be reproduced by technological means alters the relationship of the Masses to art’

‘That is what constitutes their hidden political significance. They already call for a specific type of reception. Free-floating contemplation is no longer an appropriate reaction here. They unsettle the viewer: he feels obliged to find a specific way of approaching them.’

‘different techniques to slow motion and closer “bring out wholly new structural formations” slow motion gliding, floating, supernatural’

(Andre Breton says that the main value of a work of art is its capacity to reflect the future.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Reading Room, Newspaper performance, Gigaclear and the General Election.

9th May 2015: 

I forgot about this post. The General Election is over and the result was unexpected and decisive.

I had made another screen recording yesterday, the day after the General Election,and  captured the radio in the background and The World at One as a sound overlay to the video of my research into Gigaclear in Croughton as they are supposed to be doing the work now…


I’d also been looking at ‘Things to do with Newspapers’ that are relevant to my proposal and methodology.

It shows Gustav Metzger messing around with newspapers andI was thinking about the event at The Reading Room and what I might do… performance-wise.

I love his no nonsense approach and would like to do something like this but it will have to fit with the place and time….