Final Show Preparation 2

It was important for me to source the materials for the show as locally  as possible with connections to the specific local communities I work with and for them to link with the themes of my work in the project so far so linking  the various  communities here  with Camberwell.

I’ve been searching out bowls for display of the chocolates. I wanted to get most at the Self-Pick Farm at the bottom of Crouch Hill. They have Car- Boot sales there and I thought that was appropriate as the bowls will have a personal provenance. It’s been so wet that I don’t think the Car-Boots were held. Certainly when I got there everyone had gone home. There were some boxes of crockery, though, which apparently are collected from the ‘left-overs’ from the Car -Boots. Here they are full of water as I found them, and then, the ones I bought packed up at home. I also bought some from charity shops within Banbury’s Old Town. I have worked there for many years and, been an active member of the Old Town Association ,a trade organisation which supports and brings together local  independent traders. It also runs community events which I participate in as a community artist. Buying some of the crockery here links the threads of my practice and communities in which they operate.

The printers, Banbury Print and Design, are a small family-run business, also in the Old Town . They have printed the wrappers for the chocolates, 5 designs, 150 each. This  may be too many but I want to make sure that I have sufficient, not only for Camberwell, but also  to distribute locally as a link of the two communities and networks. There is an image of Banbury Print and Design’s premises below- but Nicola was not keen on having her photo included on the Blog! Funnily  enough I picked these up yesterday, Referendum Day 23rd June 2016, and then bumped into the owners on my way back home from the Polling Station. They were just walking down as a family. A coincidence….

Belflair, the chocolatier, is just across the road and up Church Lane. At the end of Church Lane is Ye Olde Reine Deer Inn, which apparently is where in the 15th century, Puritan Oliver Cromwell held court arranging future battles.

The founder & resident chocolatier, of Belflair  learnt his craft at chocolate / patisserie school in Brussels  and Antwerp.

I was concerned about selecting the most appropriate foils for the different designs, again that difficulty with the idea of branding. I’d decided to have one colour of foil for each image, 5 in all. Merv, (see below in the shop)  who also runs the business, showed me a selection and chose the ones she thought worked best. They all looked so good that I didn’t want to change anything!

Each glistening order served as a mount would to a picture, highlighting the images, as you can see. The idea of the ‘exhibition’ of the image was still there. Apparently I’m in good company as Belflair chocolates are used as promotions for several central London hotels. Merv was excited by the images. To her they looked essential English, ( or did she say British?…..)

Merv is from Finland, and the images made her think of British weather ( the umbrella) , family camping holidays ( tent) and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and also Glastonbury festival as that has just started. All those things coalescing together in just one short conversation. She then told me a story about how camping isn’t popular in Finland and why she thinks this is the case.

The chocolates are being made especially to order in their chocolate atelier in nearby Brackley! They should be ready by the end of next week.

I asked her to recommend a reliable local courier to get them to Peckham. They are just round the corner…

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Pin-hole Playtime – Solargrams

Way back, I been chatting to Martin, who lives in Llandrindod Wells about working on Crouch Hill and also about Pinhole Photography Day 24th April 2016. I’ve been involved with some of his image making before – notably a significant day in 2014- but as a subject rather than participant. Along with others, he’s been part of many conversations about the site and activities I’ve been ‘planning’ and somehow  (Him/Me?) suggested the possibility of using a pinhole camera on the hill over a period of activity.

I’d been focussing on May Day but to install a camera a little earlier meant that we could incorporate any images on the Pinhole Day Website (…or  they will be there when I have written this post so that the details of this post can then be put on the website ……….reflexivity in action!) and a combination of basic  analogue and digital tech for image making. The images will be Solargrams, tracking the course of the sun from April 17th to May 23rd incorporating Beltane sunrise on Crouch Hill.

Several important factors about the process relating to my research

  • Pinhole photography uses no lens…no mediation (at this initial stage) a raw and ‘pure’ analogue process, a direct extension of a camera obscura.
  • Solargrams, like these, track the movement of the sun over time and space from a static location; they show the passage of time within space… (rather than an instant). As Martin put it…’capturing contingency’
  • Scanning the image (see process below and here)  is a critical stage of the process as the original image will be DESTROYED by the bright scanning lamp (or at least severely damaged). Therefore, only one scan is permitted. There is a built in ‘ephemerality’ of the actual material imagery..
  • Collaborating and communicating with Martin had to be via mobile as there were no landlines in Wales and no Broadband.  The wind had blown down trees and brought down the cables.. in an unknown location so impossible to repair. He had been without a phone for several weeks. Luckily he lives at the top of a hill so his mobile connection is fine.

UPDATE: Here they are on the `pinhole day’ website !!!!!

The period they were installed ( 17th April – 23rd May) means they covered the time from before to after Beltane ( whichever Beltane dates you care to choose…depending on your location/nationality).

There’s also an image of Martin’s simultaneous (ish) sunrise on May 1st on the post about that event here…. when it is written

They were positioned to face in the direction of the sunrise to catch the movement of the sun across the sky, daily, for the period they were present.

The sun rises to the left of the Trig Point.

Martin, in true precision mode, gave me co-ordinates and landmarks to make sure I was facing the right way and in the correct spot and Helen helped to keep me straight when I fixed the cameras on the trees. They were small film canisters with film enclosed.

I took some images with a Polaroid One 600 too. Just for the sake of it…Helen even took a couple of me Periscoping the install using the Polaroid….and so on! and a couple of the surroundings for context…

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Here are the cameras, barely visible in one case,  when I took them down.

The other had been turned carefully round so that it pointed away from the activities that often occur on summer evenings!

When I went to retrieve them, Brian, the local historian in some of the Scopes was there walking his dog….

 

These are the images that Martin produced once they had been posted off to him in Wales and scanned.

“simply scanned, inverted, & adjusted contrast curves.
The colours are “as they happened”. Even with identical location & scanning there are different colour characteristics. Maybe chemicals in the air/cannister?”

Actually, that’s just given me the idea to set up a range of identical cams, each with a leaf of a different (aromatic/toxic?) plant enclosed

very ethereal and quite beautiful.

“Here’s a snap of the images on the photo paper as they appear in daylight. Should give you an idea of how thin the image is! The image v. quickly degrades once it’s flooded with light & there’s no photochemical means of preserving the image so that it’s viewable long-term. So the use of a scanner & photoshop/GIMP to stretch the contrast is a nice mix of new & old technology.” Martin Winfield

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This is how Martin processed the images….

Pinhole Solargram on Ilford MGIV paper, exposed from 17th April to May 23rd  unprocessed. Scanned, inverted & contrast adjusted in Linux/GIMP by Martin Winfield – martinwinfield.co.uk

Camera info:
35mm film canister with 0.2mm pinhole in aluminium foil.

 

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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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

J

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.)

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The Reading Room: Further developments after the 8th visit

Towards the end of May I started to go printing crazy!

I’d introduced it to some of the groups I worked with, decide to use it for workshops with an Oxford Philomusica  Community Project at Northern House, and thinking more an more about the event I’d had in the back of my mind at The Reading Room.

I had hoped to hold this on July 4th but it was booked already for an Independence Day Barbecue by some people from the base.

I’d been fired up by the newspapers and thought of Gutenburg!

Here is some of what the Bodicote group did!

I’d also been looking at the images in the various newspapers and how they differed depending on the language and source.

I’d been making these replacement whist cards for the Reading Room Whist group to play with.

Instead of the suits they had images from the newspapers.

I ran these past the group crit on 26th May and it was decided that the Sports Direct logo was too loaded and i should put the image on the other side.

I’d considered that but decided to keep it as

the Sports Direct cards were so much  part of the Reading Room, along with the Union Jack, watercolour paintings of the village, Fosters glasses, plastic flowers and table cloths.

 All this imagery and the symbolism seemed to be really important.

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Connection, communication and time/space layers

It has been a long time since my last post though I like to think I’ve been doing a lot…. at least it feels like it!

I’ve spent/ wasted an inordinate amount of time thinking about things I would like to do, researching the cables needed, messing around with cables and connectors and then realising I maybe don’t like what I am doing or it doesn’t yet fit with what I want to do ‘right now’.

So , one of these things was to try to use my camera/iPhone and laptop to film me live so that I could incorporate this into a projection as per Joan Jonas….

I fiddled and faffed for what seemed like weeks as my projector is new (2014), my laptop is old (2008) and my iPhone is newish ( 4S bought this year).

Nothing seems to work quite right with anything else.

I get some images but not the right ones in the right window or ‘space ‘ or they are inclusive of screen or they don’t work at all and I try HDMI and VGA and every damn thing and some work sometimes and other other times and in the end it has been everything I did not want this to be which is the tech becoming the work not the work using the tech!

So now I at least can attach most of what I have got to most of what I have got and get some image from it.

I am not concerned with high res or image quality so that helps I jet want to be able to get a variety of imagery from a range of sources, some live and some documented : some still and some moving so that I can mess with them at the same time.

I guess I have got there so that I can do what I want to do when I need to and it doesn’t interrupt the ‘ flow’ too much at the time..

Oh for an AV technician and store where I can just go and get the stuff and set it up in a free space.

Have I blogged and moaned about this before…I can’t remember…

My studio is now a mess of old analogue and new digital apparatus with cables all over and ‘stuff’ hanging down off the ceiling for projection purposes.

Progress is painfully slow in the making department but I am now

  • projecting with two analogue slide projectors face to face across a hanging  film of muslin so the images combine in the middle…sometimes with black tissue to alter the final surface.
  •  projecting sometimes an analogue and a digital face to face, one with video and one with stills on slide.

I HAVE NOT A CLUE WHY I AM DOING THIS….yet…

Something to do with layering and interface and no- interface but it needs extension.

  • I have made home made slides from images ( scans of cling film drawings of old photographs and scans of the old photograph originals) from acetate and used these
  • They don’t melt if you leave them for a limited time in view.: Sometimes these stick and separate in the auto function so I have spent many a happy hour unjamming cartridges, slides, carousels .. also replacing old bulbs, sourcing new ones, fainting at the cost…..
  • Ones printed on acetate with inkjet DO smudge no matter what the advertising states but maybe I can use this smudginess in the future to good effect.
  • I’ve also made some prints from the A4 inkjet on acetate copies and they make interesting acetates when the print has been taken off … See below

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So my actions are still about using 2D images and video but since finishing Neuromance and overhearing my sons at Christmas chatting about ‘getting into’ a server in a set time -frame I ma thinking more widely about digital geography and the psychogeography of the space.

Also I guess the psycho- geography of any space I may create and the nature of virtual image..?

I have been moving ‘stuff’ in my studio, propping things up, lifting the heavy projectors, arranging the cables and then projecting the images which float until they arrive on a surface, wherever that may be..maybe meeting another image or a physical surface…….

I’ve been reading

Digital and physical surfaces.
Published:London : Chelsea College of Art & Design, 2007.

Presentation of practice based research by Brook & Black, Shelagh Cluett, Paul Coldwell, Philip Courtenay, Maryclare Foá, Jo Love, Barbara Rauch, Andrew Stiff, James Faure Walker, David Waterworth, David Webster, Jungu Yoon.

and

Walking and mapping : artists as cartographers / Karen O’Rourke.
Author:O’Rourke, Karen.
Published:Cambridge, Massachusetts : The MIT Press, [2013].

Which I guess has influenced this.

I have made notes which I will post separately and have some pages in hard copy as I still like to have a physical book where possible and pages copied after to scribble on.

The images and video I’m including here don’t really do justice to what I am doing as to get good doc imagery would take forever to set up lighting and composition wise so I will just use these and my other files as aide memoir

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