Final Show: #CrouchHillBanbury

Despite the recent Periscope app update which now allows permanent archive of Broadcasts with chat, I made the decision to allow auto-delete after 24 hours.

The ephemerality and impermanence is an essential component of my work and process, highlighting the concept of dynamic socially created space.

Traces of previous broadcasts are now no longer visible as they were previously

Paradoxically, the events below are heavily documented through Screen-shots from the Broadcasts, created within the 24 hrs before they became unavailable……

it’s really hard to let things go…especially when you need evidence of your process….

 

John Ruskin – Work:

15th July

I read aloud from John Ruskin’s lecture ‘ Work ‘ delivered at the Working Men’s Institute Camberwell in 1865,( which is now the South London Gallery……..?)

to link my location on Crouch Hill in Oxfordshire with Camberwell. This also served as a point for further reflections on work, labour, art and relative positions in contemporary society.

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There were 130 in the Lifestream audience at one point and generally retention was better with people usually sticking it out for a while on each brief Scope.I’m finding the stats interesting to analyse despite not searching for ‘Likes’.

I decided to leave the tent up for the duration of the Show, over the weekend and for the rest of the week until Tuesday evening.

I wrote a note to explain and left it in the tent. I left contact details as well, out of courtesy.

Often, teens camp-out and sometimes just leave the tents.

I didn’t want it to be damaged, removed, offend someone unnecessarily or occupied by another person!

Martin Fiennes – Broughton Castle:

16th July:

Martin’s parents are Lord and Lady Saye and Sele.

William FIENNES (1st Viscount Saye and Sele).The only son of Richard Fiennes, 7th Lord Saye and Sele, he was educated at New College, Oxford, and succeeded to his father’s lordship (barony) in 1613. English politician and promoter of colonization in America. He was a Puritan in religious sympathy and a leader in the House of Lords of the opposition to James I and Charles I.

I invited Martin to Crouch Hill, where he spoke of his visions for the preservation of areas of countryside, whilst accommodating the need for housing into the future. He also talked of  his imaginings of the Puritan and Royalist troops, noisily riding up and down past the foot of the Hill along what is now a busy B road, prior to the siege of Banbury Castle, and the Battle of Edge Hill in 1642.

It brought the past alive for a moment or two, and changed my visions of the present.

He was surprised and amused by the 249 viewers.

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Dozing in my Tent:

17th July

I just started to broadcast  and lay down in a warm tent for a doze…showed the sky to  over a hundred people…Strange, this periscope business…

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33 comments! and a surprising number of viewers.

also found a note when I opened the tent…. it said ‘PLEASE DON’T ‘

I wasn’t sure what they wanted me not to do?
Stay….? Go…?

Some dog-walkers came past and had a chat

Paul Mobbs (@ramblinactivist) :

17th July

I’d invited Paul to talk as he has a deep knowledge of the Quaker Civil War history of the area and an involvement in peace activism in contemporary conflict.

He forms a link from this final work to my initial investigations in Croughton , the Reading Room and RAF Croughton.

In fact, when he arrived he didn’t want to talk about those topics at all but lead a popular walk around the Hill discussing local geology and its implications.

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Edith Eisler, 

18th July

This was the anniversary of Edith’s death in 2011. A  violinist, teacher, noted musician and critic.This is  a recording of her playing Hindemith 

I told the story of how my father became friends with Edith and her family during WWII, following their movement from Vienna to Britain.

Also their subsequent correspondence whilst my father found and located in Japanese POW camp in the Far East, and following his release.

This family correspondence continued, even following my father’s death.

Her kindness has enabled me to pursue this Post-Graduate study.

(Along with a Vice- Chancellors Scholarship from The University of the Arts London).

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iChing and Philip K. Dick

19th July

I am interested in the link between subjective evaluation involved in Divination practice and ritual with the binary code which underlies all things digital.

See this article here in The Guardian

and this J Proteome Sci Comput Biol. 2012; 2012(1): 3. Published online 2012. doi: 10.7243/2050-2273-1-3

I had hoped to use yarrow stalks from the Hill but the season was late and there were few available.

I’d also thought of using Glo-sticks but their popularity at the Public View put paid to that…everyone wore them home..

So I used the cards I’d used in previous broadcasts.

The whole event became ludicrous…more so than other Scopes, as Tia and Purdy, the dogs belonging to my ‘assistant’ were in playful mood.

In the end one of the dogs, Purdy, selected one of the cards…

I read from Philip K Dick, the visionary writer, who cites the iChing in The Man in The High Castle.

His alternative outcome from WWII, and the implications, are  worth re- considering now, I believe. The sun set, the moon was almost full.

In total with Louise’s simultaneous broadcast of the event, there were over 750 viewers..

???!!!!

These were the cards selected.

4 Meng: INEXPERIENCE

Humbleness and sincerity when comprehending will increase knowledge.

9 Hsiao Ch’u GENTLE RESTRAINT, HOLDING BACK

Dense clouds suggest postponing the action till after the rain.

56 Lu: THE WANDERER, THE TRAVELLER

The steadfast and persistent traveller will have good luck.

Make of that, what you will….

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UAL Summer Show: Camberwell College of Arts, Wilson Road, London SE5 8LU

20th July

I went to the Final Crit with my cohort at Camberwell. Saw many of my colleagues and enjoyed seeing the Show.

It was odd walking into an exhibition containing my own work but where I had delegated set-up to colleagues. They had displayed many of the bowls around the building but as these are now empty they had been removed.

The last remaining had been give a plinth, two bowls placed one inside the other with a top light in a dark space. It looked tremendous! Donald Takeshita-Guy had been mainly responsible and is keen on developing his curation skills.

It worked really well

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Later, Clara and I met with the collective of artists to talk about plans for our residency in Norway in 3 weeks time. Very exciting.

Little Venice Studio  with Clara Duran, Keir Williams,  Dave Meckin, Alice Helps, Joe Fairweather-Hole

and then…..NORWAY RESIDENCY and Neptune Developers Camp, Melbu, Nordland

Neptun Introduction

and as Manuel from MAFAD said

” So long and thanks for all the fish”

Its been amazing,  Thanks Jonathan K!

Continue reading “Final Show: #CrouchHillBanbury”

#CrouchHill Banbury #Public View #Camberwellual

Louise messaged me this photo of the yarrow emerging on the morning on the Public View…

Better late than never…YARROW

Some of the people who had been involved in the events, gathered over the evening at the summit.

Several of us were broadcasting the event via Periscope and others who had been involved but couldn’t be there in person ‘hopped on’…

Some people managed both- to be there at a distance and then join in person…

 

Some of the sharing paraphernalia…

People brought Champagne and flowers

 

 

The Covenant of Salt, ‘Twitter’ chocolates, and Mystic Writing pads were enjoyed by many… even those who claimed no artistic talent!

Games had unexpected winners..or no winners at all depending on the play.

People were Periscoping people Periscoping people Periscoping ………etc

 

Clara Duran was taking photos of the Summer Show in Camberwell at the same time, and watching proceedings on Periscope on Jonathan’s phone ( see later)

I hadn’t realised that they had also announced Clara and my Residency Award in Norway  at the award ceremony.

 

Here are images of some of the group’s work : Clara, Tristan ( our work has some similarities..) Pete ( who I have still never met!), Pascale, Donald, Yvonne and Sharon

SIMULTANEITY:

Some examples of the simultaneous images taken and simultaneous events ( if the clocks on our phones and cameras and image files are to be believed ) in Camberwell and on Crouch Hill.

 

19.41

 

19.46

 

19.53

 

20.14

Below are some screen shots which show the involvement of the Periscope audience when I went to find Clare Carswell, who also took many of the documentation photos – Thanks Clare)

She had been following proceedings on the phone but then drove to the Hill to try to find us.

I had thought of putting up signs but it would have changed the event and the Happenstance element for people who hadn’t had direct invitations

Also it was fun to see people randomly wandering around, getting lost, finding each other, talking to strangers, and eventually finding us at the summit!

 

‘ I’ve never seen so many Lost People!’ – Thanks JimStr

People made it to the top, physically and via our Live streams.

 

Drawing time is Catherine Lette,  who was documenting her visit to the Summer Show Private View in Wilson Road, Camberwell and simultaneous experience of Crouch Hill, Public View and some of my work in the process

The Screen shots below are from my Stream

 

These are from Catherine’s @drawingtime phone and stream

 

These are from Sharon Bertram’s

 

Here’s an example of chat during the stream…Anything from dog snacks to Brexit

Which at least gives it some time-reference.

Importantly, people  visiting the Show did seem to be accessing the Periscope Broadcasts at least via the Twitter feed from the Username on the Chocolates!

[EDIT 21st July:  There were large numbers in the LiveStream Audience by the end of the Show – over 700 for the last broadcast ]

 

Finishing with some amusing screen shot showing middle-ages people whth Glo=Stick necklaces.

I’ll never forget wending our way down the Hill carrying the tent etc, winding through the woodland in the dusk, Glo-necklaces bobbing up and down in the distance…Sadly not on the Broadcast

 

The event went well with some good interaction and a reasonable audience in both ‘locations’, from 30- 159 on the stream…not that I’m counting! ( Ha!)

 

Local Historians – Brian and Margaret

Brian and Margaret are frequenters of Crouch Hill and nearby Salt Way  when walking their dog, Elvie. They are also local historians and members of the local Banbury Historical Society . Brian writes a weekly column for the print edition of local weekly newspaper Banbury Guardian.

Brian had arranged to come up the hill, sit in the tent and talk about the history of Crouch Hill and its historical importance to the town. However, the weather had been so wet that access to the summit was very slippery and both Brian and Margaret had recently had accidents, falling; so we decided it was wiser to stay in the house!

I broke the chat into streams of around 15 minutes to see if this had any effect on audience. There was what has become a common feeling of local and global communities joining. Some of the names on the stream were familiar; Andrea from Asturias, who I shared my cycling memories with, in an earlier post was there.

Again, someone from Blackpool recognised my username as having a specific reference to the area. This has happened at least twice before; I get drawn into a chat about which school I went to and which hospital I was born in!!!

This brings a strange and lovely personal context to the Broadcast for me and hopefully  other viewers, the way that communities collide and merge in an open network……

The conversation ranged from some of the more general history, contemporary residential developments along the Salt Way, archaeological investigations prior to building and the controversy surrounding them.

Brian also told a story of a birdwatching trip to the Battlefield of Edgehill site several years ago with local naturalist, Ernie Bingham and a follow-up ‘ security’ visit from the local ‘Copper’!

We looked through his extensive collection of books and he spoke about how the top of the hill was created artificially and that a local legend says that ” the Devil dropped it there…. on his way to the nearby church in Bloxham”  ( if my memory serves me right!)

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During the chat I mentioned Alfred  Beesley’s  History of Banbury ( 1841). I hadn’t wanted to read in the official archives held in Oxford or Banbury libraries for this work.

My methodology is of re-mediation through people as agents, so it was a marvellous coincidence when Margaret said she had her own copy and went off to the shelves to get it.

That couldn’t have happened if we had managed to climb the hill!

Then she described  Chap Books, which were small, cheap, simple books and  on the streets to individuals and travelling sellers called Chapmen; who also sold  bootlaces, ribbons, lace,seeds and spices etc.  in the  17th to the 19th century .
Chap books were  were flimsy, ephemeral and passed from hand to hand with a readership  mainly  the poor.  They served like  broadsheets, ballads, and long songs,  covering a very wide range of topics from fairy tales to news of politics.   She had some re-prints with short verses describing the extreme Puritan views held in Banbury and also the  books printed by Banbury printers, Rusher  (whose poem I read from at the very beginning of this stage of my research, Reading William Rusher #Crouch Hill)

Brian also talked about some more recent activities on the hill including Steeplecashing and sledging which still continues…my younger son broke his foot doing just that !

We were joined, not just by the Periscope community, but also my son in a notification about his Amazon Prime account!

Another tender mix of the production of simultaneous, intimate and global space  through contingent social interaction within a re-animated past.

As I walked away from their house in the dull, damp weather I could see Crouch Hill with it’s distinctive summit from the ‘end of their road’…..

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Elisabeth Price: A Restoration

Elisabeth Price’s work at the Ashmolean, A Restoration 

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Image from Apollo International Art magazine April 1st 

To quote the Ashmolean Press Release she has

 created a new work in response to the collections and archives of the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museums, in partnership with the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford, where Price teaches. The new commission is a fifteen-minute, two-screen digital video which employs the museums’ photographic and graphic archives. It is a fiction, set to melody and percussion, which is narrated by a ‘chorus’ of museum administrators.

I went to view the work yesterday and, before I saw it, to a lecture which gave a deep insight into the way Price works, as well as this piece.

She described how the work considers the sense of refuge, and the damage and repair implicit in Museums…the later not generally considered by a visiting public, I guess.

She used existing historical material, books and publications, images from packaging, found imagery and extrapolates from archival material but their is no visible human action only occasionally the artist’s hands ( these often crop up in her work but I didn’t get the chance to ask why?)

I felt this piece was particularly relevant for me, although I always find her work interesting from the point of view of remediated material and use of text and voice.

Because of the source of the Commission ( £60,000 over 3 years) being the Ruskin School, The Ashmolean and the Pitt Rivers Museum it references archaeology and anthropology which link, albeit indirectly in content, back to my research.

Digital Space and Archival Space

She was extremely open in describing her working process and methodology and even used a screen recording of her Desktop files in Adobe Premier Pro to show how she organised her material in folders and how this and the layers within Premier Pro were interpreted by her as a collage.

As if some of her work is buried beneath layers of information, building and stacking as part of the process of making the Timeline.

She described the sense of excavating, building and narrating during the making and also within the technology itself and its use.

The  connections  between Digital Space and the Space of Archive.

She described how ideas of Labyrinth, Chorus and Storytelling recur in her work and  cited User Group Disco  and Sleep as an example of this.

She described how debris exists in digital systems of exchange such as Ebay as well as in Car Boot sales and describes the items as  Objects with Unreadable code’

Whirlpool

She also described Theodore Adorno’s Whirlpool, (which I’ve researched briefly and he seems to use the concept fairly frequently with various associated meanings.)

Price sees it in a Vinyl record…an object which contains other objects, a spiral of sounds and melodies-a reiteration pf information’

She described , I think, at this point, the finding of a Crystal Gayle single which has been a reference in her work since, where the owner’s signature on the sleeve of the record added an ‘epilogue or supplement to the archive’

The ‘real’ archive space

She provided autobiographical references and links to records, their purchase and the collectivity and intimate relationships which resulted during her early years in Oxford and the music business..

She went on the describe how her casual work in the archives of the Bodleian, as a student, gave her access and insight into what she described as, Gothic, chaotic, mysterious and leaky space which was very different from the ideal library structure visible above.

Her Methodology – What she puts in and what she leaves out 

This section made a huge impression on me… for better or for worse….

Price explained how she refuses to or cannot work reductively.She claims that the aspiration to be concise,m in her opinion, can have damaging side-effects and that truly concise is good but a failure is not so good.

She tends to work with Saturation , full and coagulating ( I feel this is more like my way of working… but whereas her work comes across as multi-layered and considered I fear mine is often confusing.

So that she was not driven mad during her process  (and this surely gives clarity of a sort to her work) she uses Architectural structures to give a spatial configuration to her work.

[This made me consider a structure for my work on the Hill/ Something I had already discussed with Jonathan K. Structure to provide access and freedom rather than restriction.I though at the time of a Field Plan, similar to that used when I was a plant breeder, to provide a sequence and layout for the pieces…. but on consideration this may be too geographical 

Edit: April 2016 – I used a Calendrical Structure which fed into the concepts of Rituals and fixed time/dates.]

She also uses Storytelling to connect things together, related she feels to the spiral form of a record, a ‘radically accessible form’, which she described as ‘Promiscuous’.

i.e. as Google says:demonstrating or implying an unselective approach; indiscriminate or casual.
synonyms: indiscriminate, undiscriminating, unselective, random, irresponsible, haphazard, thoughtless, unthinking, unconsidered, casual, careless

I agree with this interpretation as defined- for me the story or narrative is embodied,  then remediated as retold verbally or otherwise, connecting people, place and events just such a manner, which renders it so powerful…and penetrating ..like a meme but one that as Price describes, brings all sorts of things together, together.

I hope this will be evident in my work, in a non-linear form with non-architectural or geographic/ cartographic structure.

The result in Price’s case is a Hypnotic Double Screen video.

She describes : A reckless and dangerous restoration with love,commitment and a libidinal drive with moments of intoxication.

She finished her lecture by saying that ( I think, if my notes are correct)  that it is not necessary to restore.

That it is, in fact, an affront to do so.

 That we must live with this damage.

A powerful contemplation to end with.

 Questions

I asked if Copyright was a problem, using found material in her work…especially in view of our recent lecture etc.

She answered simply ‘Yes’! and that she didn’t own the Copyright to the Crystal Gayle material that she uses so much in her work ( Though not in this piece!)

She also described how she uses the synthesised voice to provide an affectless narrative by using text to voice software…Claro read or similar I guess.

Something to play with in the future….

She also said that making the video ( 3 years work) meant that she was in a darkened room and was now taking a break and painting…feeling the joy of a drop of paint on the end of a brush!

This lecture was key to the acknowledgement of Saturation and as she said…putting it all in.

I decided to go for it, layers and all even if there was no linear or three dimensional structure….and risk confusion as the result if I made the themes too implicit.

Vine-ing

I’ve been playing with Vine quite a lot lately.

Not at all competently, as you can see,

Many of my posts need rotating and editing see here but I can’t do that…Yet!

There are some of Ed Kelly’s Sound workshop during the Low Res which I did when I reached the limit of my understanding and attention and one of  DG interacting with the exhibit at South London Gallery.

Childish I know … but that’s what I love about Vine.

And the HOURS I could spend on it if I …had the hours!

I did make a few  of Vines of a Periscoped dice throwing action on Crouch Hill, which you can scroll through and find…and I’ve embedded the  one which works best here :

Dice-Rolling on Crouch Hill Periscope stream Vined

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 17.50.04

 

This seemed appropriate as a Ritual action on continual repeat..

I liked that…

There’s also a couple of my son faffing with some music ( sorry Ferg) and few Liked re-Vines with Cory and Aaron… daft but make me chortle in that bloke humour sort of way ( I try to ignore the sexism…same as always..and look to the banality only) and then in the middle of the banal is the beautifully crafted and the political satirical.

Wondering if this is a way to re- broadcast my Periscope stream from the saved Camera Roll.

Why would I want to…. is it appropriate..when should I do it if I do.

For the Dice Rolling it seems appropriate.

I’ll re think for each action I guess.

I did feel it was appropriate for the action of at all times and in all places but only the laying down of the piece itself.

I can’t edit Vine on my phone (Old 4S and it won’t let me do lots of things…the apps have moved fast …can’t get the updates) so despite spending hours on a demo of iExplorer I couldn’t get the clip I’d made into the App on my phone

(UPDATE  4th MAY – I’ve got a new SE and now can’t get it to find the vid…not trying any more..till next time..)

Anyway I made this  clip and put it on Vimeo.

Maybe it’ll make it’s way to Vine eventually…defeats the object of timeliness really but Hey Ho…

One interesting thing about Vine from a personal POV is that it pleased me when one of Ferg’s Vine friends, ( met in real life and time through Vine) then went to Paris to a meeting of Viners and met the Real ( yes, the Real) Cory!

Somehow in a sad, sad way I felt ‘connected’ to the Youth of Today……and it was a good feeling……….

 UPDATE- 4th May- maybe I should reconsider Vining my Periscope streams… especially since the demise of Katch …..

Tutorial 18.02.2016

On Thursday 18th February I had a group tutorial with Jonny Briggs and several other 1st and 2nd year students on the Low Residency.

Unlike the Research Discussion I had not really prepared for this at all before the Low Res. and planned just to use the post I had used for the discussion to introduce my work.

I’d also taken along the replacement piece of work I made for Ordnance Survey.

My intention was to highlight the underlying political slant in my work which was not discussed in the Reseach Discussion, to try to make a decision about how overt to make it in a final piece.

It keeps being at the centre of the work I make at the moment and has been lurking in other works so I decided that I needed to discuss this.

However, after an initial introduction I really started to lose the plot with my presentation, partly I think because I left really limited for time.

I got very confused with my descriptions  of  core concepts and of the work.

And  I couldn’t find work on the Blog…because of connection problems…. anyway I got hot and bothered and gave a poor and confused introduction to my work for someone so close to the end of the game!

What was amazing though, was how Jonny Briggs saw through the confusion to some of the issues I had addressed in my Dissertation for my BA and which are still central to my thoughts..

The ideas of Truth and Fiction.

He directed me to works by Bloomberg and Chanarin in particular Dodo.

This is remarkable as I had spent a while researching the Dodo in the Museum of Natural History in Oxford!

Again… What goes round comes round.. but differently.

The actual work they have produced is initially not visually similar to mine but the references are… so I will look more closely

He also recommended  Andrew Lacon who is discussing his work below.

It relates to archive and references within it although it is based on sculpture and photography.

When I heard him talk about Reference Works it fits with the way my mind has been travelling since I came back from the first part of the Low Res…

The ideas of Truth and fiction and the benefits of confusion and what Jonathan highlighted in the Research discussion …. Paradox..

I should be able to work with these ideas and with the ideas of reference and archive; possibly embracing confusion will take me back to non-linearity and feel comfortable with it.

I’m going to look more closely at the performative and  I started thinking of Connotations and Hayley Newman again.

Also about ways of introducing things into the environment but impermanently as I have done before,  but extending it.

In fact, although I wanted to cry during the tutorial as my memory let me down at a key moment, the confusion that resulted was valuable.

Key Ideas were still visible in it and I have left me with a direction to re-write my Proposal for the next couple of months.

Thanks Jonny.

The benefit of being in a group tutorial meant we could see others’ work.

I was very impressed with the subtle but significant, gentle deepening of Trystan  Williams work and of Natalie Jaekle , beautiful and sensitive with a great use of the sketchbook on her blog.

 

Laura Lancaster: Working from personal photographs (and Matt Collishaw)

Last night I went to the preview of Laura Lancaster  and Jan Vanriet at the New Art Gallery Walsall.

Both these artists work from photographs, Lancaster’s from discarded and forgotten images and Super 8 film, in flea markets and on eBay so with no personal attachment, and Vanriet’s the opposite, from family photographs and those of people in Nazi concentration camps ( where his parents met).

Both artists work has a strong association with memory, which is where I came in on the MA….seems like a long way back…

Whilst I am not working with this imagery at the moment, I have at the start of the course..cling film scans0011 Resized

 

 

 

IMG_0214150with these drawings on cling film  ( above)

and ‘found’ slides which I used in some projection experimentsAustralian Slides0033 Resized 150
plus these prints on acetate for projection

My work has moved more from personal to collective memory but I’m still interested in artists who do use this imagery for eg Jonny Briggs  whose work is very different from this!

All these artist above use photographs as a source with association with memory and time but in different ways.

For me, Lancaster’s paintings had a real painterly materiality and her delicate drawings on the found paper  such a contrasting fragility ( all in differing drawing styles, as if by different people…)Vanriet’s work was much more controlled and uses repeated images.Both shows were tender and poignant despite the size of the exhibits.

There is of course a huge contrast with Jonny Briggs, whose work is mainly photographic images.There is a PDF of Questions for Jonny Briggs 13.01.16   that I hope to be able to ask him about is work, at some point.

There was also a work by Matt Collishaw  ‘All things fall’  see these images and video. It was astounding. Made apparently using a 3d printer and took a year…..As or much of his work, very beautiful until on closer inspection…… not so in content.

Community -based work

I’m planning some workshops and a gallery visit for people with dementia in association with the local Demetia cafes, in association with the  Education Dept at NAGW based on the Laura Lancaster and Jan Vanriet exhibitions and will also start a series with other groups in my community-based work. Many people in the groups enjoy working from family photographs and referencing these artists may help me take them in quite a different direction by being able to discuss the context and prices of these works.

 

The Reading Room 5th Visit : Whist Drive and progress

CONTEXT:

I am writing this  at the end of July 2015  but the events below were taking place  in a build up to the general Election on May 7th and follow the Scottish Referendum earlier in the year.

Because I’m writing this retrospectively, have a poor memory and ‘ a day is a long time in politics’ I can’t remember much else… though it may be written in my note book.

I’m sure that UK and world news as well as events at home and work had an influence on what I was recording and how, but I did not make it a conscious decision.

Interestingly, I did look up ‘news for April 9th 2015’ and this is what I found on Duck duck go.

The War in Yemen is getting worse- and a civilian catastrophe is looming

All the time I was developing this work ( thing this had already started )I felt increasingly a sense of connectedness with Yemen and had been researching Dijibouti and their possible virtual and communications connection to Croughton.

The village seems so separate in some ways not exactly isolated but detached, but the Reading Room was gifted in 1903 by local landowner so that the men of the village could meet and read the news in newspapers, and discuss it together.

5th Visit: 9th April 2015 : evening and morning Reflections on Ritual and community

This evening I visited the Reading Room for a whist drive.

I have never played whist but know from tales about elderly relatives that it can be a ruthless game.

I was interested in the sense of community within the room before and during the game.

The way at the ‘All Change’ command the winner moves on to the next table ( have I got that right?).

The levels of play, some experienced player can remember what each player has played and so what is left in the hands still being played on the table.

The ritual associated with the layout and the activities, the raffle and the refreshments.

There is no conversation during play.

I filmed some video from this session and there are some stills as well as photographs which are just documentation really rather than material.

Though since working on all this I realise that Richard, in particular, and Jane because of the sense of attachment they have to the Reading Room, really would like to see any video or photographs of the Reading Room, regardless of whether I feel they are any ‘good’!

Again, this is a difficult situation for me as I have a desire and need to make people happy and want to please them with what I make.

However, this of course is work for me, for my research and my project.

Unlike when I am paid to do community work.. where I do things for people to ‘enjoy’ and engage with, this has an element of that but is really for me….or is it…?

Is it mutually beneficial? does that matter?

Is this for the community or am I using the community?

Another issue is Story-telling and narrative.

When I started this project I did think about getting home after every visit and just writing what I could remember rather than recording through images or video.

The video I am recording has a strong sense of surveillance to me- as if the Reading Room is watching the events within it.

Also, especially in the video where there is camera noise and other unedited video I often move the camera a little bit to adjust the image.

This makes it obvious that there is an observer. It stops the immediacy and emphasises the mediation through film.

I guess this is a bit of both. I’m not really sure what i am doing here. Just engaging with the community in this place and when I am not here, researching other things that are relevant to the area and Croughton/ RAF Croughton.

I am feeling increasingly uncomfortable as I am becoming increasingly attached to the Reading Room, the community and feel my analysis through my work may not be what they expect.

At the Whist Drive, Richard told the assembled throng that I was filming for a course I was doing and that if anybody objected to being filmed to tell me.

Nobody did  ( although the video has recorded a joke { I hope}  ‘ I object’! ) but people asked what I was doing and I tried to explain….without going into too much detail.

Am I really unsure where this is leading or do I have a goal that I am hiding form myself.

There are increasing feelings of conflict, which is good I think when making work….if somewhat uncomfortable.

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INSERT STILL OF SPORTS DIRECT CARDS

Before the Whist Drive, in the morning I had visited to see the preparations.

The stained glass reflections on the wooden floor are beautiful and chapel -like.

I could see why Jane and Richard feel what they do about the building; why they try to keep it ‘alive’, desperately trying to raise money for the next renovation.

It had been thick curtains for the winter to keep the heat in and next is the guttering which Richard will repair in his own time, but will be funded for these activities.

This time I spent some time looking at the books in the corridor where there is a make-shift library.

It reminded me of the one in the phone box on South Bar and the one we saw in Lewisham during the low- res.

I looked at some of the books more carefully.

Previously I’d just used them to prop up the camera and make it a little higher…. feeling that I was using part of the building to film.

There was one very interesting, well travelled book on Italian Painting, along with Adkins diet and Tom Clancy.

Jane makes home- baked cakes for the coffee morning but for the whist Drive I seem to recollect there was a meat raffle.

I didn’t win.

When i went round on the Tuesday morning before the Coffee Morning, I called at the house as she was busy baking.

The house was filled with the scent of warm cakes, and oven.

I’m really enjoying my trips to Croughton and have a sense of ‘ belonging’.

This could make the detachment needed to make a piece of work difficult, but as I am unsure of my direction and just allowing it to be dictated by the space it isn’t a problem at all… I’ll just observe it.

Buut I do feel a little uncomfortable and as is if there is a level of deception.

The Reading Room Event: Last-minute set-up and Preparation

     READING ROOM INVITATION

So, it’s been the longest time since a post at the time when I should have been posting almost daily! A lesson learnt there.

I’ve been and installed at Camberwell for the MA interim show and been to the PV. Detail of all that was involved to follow as I’ve been busy doing and reflecting ‘on-the-go’.

In a few hours I’ll be at The Reading Room hoping that some people will get in touch and that the phone signal  and Broadband will be sufficient to make contact and maybe even stream a Live Event via Google-Hangouts…

I think I’ve got it sort of sorted as much as I can before I get there….

Thanks to my elder son for the loan of his Chromebook, as my Macbook is too old an OS for Google hangouts!!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMVpA4dlEt5gNH5YDfFCCJg

My younger son has also sent me some QRCodes for my Soundcloud stream  ( apparently I’m not computer literate, so I wouldn’t be able to follow his instructions in how to make them……!) so people can hear some of the recordings…

QR Code for Soundcloud for Reading Room QR Code for You Tube Chanel for Reading Room Participants

(Sorry Martin W if you listen to them… I know the quality leaves a lot to be desired..)

I have yet to go and pick up a package from the Post Office Sorting Office which I think is some newspapers that have been sent from Japan? Not sure if I’ll get there before I have to go to set up.

The cakes will be being made by Jane as I write. I can see her icing  them in her kitchen, in my mind’s eye. I really have no idea if anyone will come.

Nothing has been posted on the Croughton website but Jane has put something in the newsletter which is delivered by hand to every house, There are posters in the Co-op and pub and the bus shelter and I left leaflets out in the Co-op and the Reading Room too. Jane left some in the pub when she went to clean.

I’ve not posted the videos yet on YouTube but that is a ‘To do’… more of an archive than a piece of work.

I’ve just got to print out some H&S warnings for the linocut and some other info  to encourage on going contact.

I went over on Thursday morning to try the slide projector out in the small bar and also set out the materials. Richard has said that he will put to the tables and chairs this morning.IMG_2298

I’d better get on. Give me a call if you want to know what’s happening. 07956159954