Published [click titles to access] - - - >
32, 32, MAP Magazine, 2020
Interview with Patrick McAlindon, Journal, 2019
Interview with Isobel Neviaszky, Young Artists in Conversation, 2019
Pigeon Myths, Garden Publication, David Dale Gallery, 2019
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to Instagram it, does it really happen?, IKO/isthisit, 2018
For and with each other, Review of 'The "Thinking Business"' at The Royal Standard, The Double Negative, 2017
Excerpt from A Tale of Lockdown in Four Countries, blog with Penny Merrett, Christopher Merrett and Jonathan Merrett, (click here for the blog), 2020
It’s been nearly six weeks since my boss suggested that I could work from home if I wanted to. Shortly after that the filming we were supposed to be doing the following weekend in the art gallery I work at was postponed (working with an artist to make a new site-specific film in the gallery with a cast and crew of thirty people) and then lockdown was enforced. A few days later the postponement of Glasgow International, the city’s contemporary art biennial for which we would have been doing the filming, was announced. I was furloughed around the same time, too, all work on hold, but thankfully I should still have a job to go back to with funding secured until November. Still, all extremities crossed, the art world feels all too precarious anyway.
Fast (very fast) forward and GI was due to open last week. Arguably the (definitely my) highlight of Glasgow’s art scene, flocks upon flocks of artists and curators from across the world descend for four days of exhibitions and parties. Instead, this weekend, GI launched an online programme of commissioned film and sound work by artists who should have been participating in the festival. Still featuring some fantastic artists, it just doesn’t feel the same but nothing does and I guess this is a close second.
It’s not just GI but the entirety of the art world that has gone virtual. All of a sudden, galleries and museums have had to make very difficult decisions about how and if they continue business as usual. Last month, Art Basel launched Online Viewing Rooms (equating to not much more than a folder of jpegs with a password) so that their Hong Kong fair could still be ‘attended’ by prospective buyers, and many other commercial galleries and art fairs have followed suit. Taking the virtual gallery further is Occupy White Walls, an online game in which you can make your own gallery and exhibit real life art works to sell to real life people. The makers proclaim that OWW bypasses the pretentiousness and exclusivity of the art world. Note the Occupy namesake, big political claims here from a game that isn’t reinventing the wheel (i.e. a platform for artists, or making it any more accessible or ethical) just simply putting it online.
Aside from the commercial, there has been an overwhelming proliferation of film festivals on YouTube, art schools by email, lecture series on Zoom, gigs and clubs on Twitch and exhibitions on Instagram that have popped up all at our fingertips. Everyone still trying to put their long-planned programmes on view, turning it all into online content that we can watch after our morning Zoom meeting and before the evening’s house party meet up on the same flat computer screen. We are both isolated and hyper-connected right now.
These are temporary measures, but are they just speeding up what was happening anyway? We live in financially precarious times, the arts are seriously underfunded and it’s only going to get worse with a continued Tory government. Pablo Larios in Frieze states, ‘as doors close during the lockdown, shuttered exhibitions, theatres, cinemas and clubs have left culture in a lurch. It’s time, then, to rethink the nature of that cultural experience itself.’ How do we reimagine the arts beyond just simulation? How do we support artists when we can’t see their work in person? What is our exit strategy?
Unpublished - - - >
I emerge from the soggy sparkling darkness of the French pavilion, entranced and sated by Laure Provoust’s waltzing and oozing sea creatures, her silky dulcet whisper. In homage to a final scene in her film within the pavilion, I mutter Jeff Buckley’s ‘Lilac Wine’ in a high-pitched wheeze under my breath and slowly ease open the exit door. Sharp midday sunlight smacks my face, a light mist surrounds me falling from an unknown source, lapping my eyelids.
The French pavilion is next to the British pavilion. Provoust nods to this positioning at the entrance to her exhibition situated beneath the pavilion where seemingly an attempt to dig to the British pavilion has been abandoned. Something here about the continuing shambolic venture that is Brexit and the tightening of borders which is actually pretty sinister when you think about it like that. She is laughing at us and I am laughing along with her.
My friend David is stewarding at the British pavilion and I clock him standing half way down the steep steps leading to the lofty entrance. There is no queue there just now but I’ve been told about the queue by friends who have visited already. David explains that just now it is closed ‘for like twenty minutes, they’re cleaning it, Cathy wants it really clean.’ A woman in a beige mac strides up to him. In his very gentle Glaswegian accent he repeats his closure spiel. She gives one of the dirtiest looks I’ve ever seen, spinning away sharply, hurtling back down the path. David looks tired. Later he will text me with some more queue-related anecdotes.
Only fifteen people are allowed in at a time because the works are so fragile and maybe it’s also something to do with wanting a more acute intimacy with the installation. And there is no exhibition text, the objects are speaking for themselves, they are very tender and polite. Everything is so brittle, thin fabric, twigs, paper, so obstinate, it looks like it’s aging in front of you. I long for the unrestricted overflowingness of Laure’s work, to stand on her encased jellyfish and Marlboro lights again, such rebellion is not permitted here. I take as much time as I feel that I can, concerned about David’s crowd control.
He recounts later that he has heard several people remark that the queue is a statement about Brexit as an amusing observation. He says there is something very romantic and British about how when it rains the queue falls apart, visitors cramming under the shelter, everyone’s faces very close together. He apologises for the slight delay in sending me the stories, saying he can think of some more and go into more detail if I want, and explains that he’s got some time just now as he’s waiting in the queue for the Lithuanian pavilion where the performers lounge under a fake sun on a fake beach. I sink back in and pine for the sensual lick of Laure’s mist.
Fanta Lemon, 2020
I find myself to be a bitter and jealous person. I go to a symposium in Spring last year, arriving late and hungover. I sweat and shuffle my way in along tight lines of chairs, locating a seat next to K who has arrived promptly before me. I pulled off my coat and bag making a small blue pile on the floor in front of me. The speakers sat in a line on the stage. As each one gets up to speak they turn, smile and whisper to each other, expressing congratulations. When one says something particularly quippy they laugh in coy chorus that bellows around the lofty mahogany-clad hall. It continues throughout the long afternoon which really annoys me. I feel ignored and want a fanta lemon. At the end I turn my head and hiss, why was everyone fucking laughing all the time, to K. A bit loud but not really loud enough for anyone to hear, which annoys me even more that I don’t feel like I can express any real or valuable criticism. I realise that I am bitter and jealous and hungover, and we go back home to lie on the sofa with J and watch shit tele.
During this time I was very sad and would spend a lot of my time drinking red wine and talking rapidly with a wild red smile, trying to develop intense new relationships. I did not eat pizza for several months because it is my favourite food. In the house in Newcastle, I tried and failed to start making sourdough bread from the starter that D gave me and only read one of the enormous stack of books I brought to read during the residency I was on at the time. I walked along the creamy bridge which is my favourite bridge, I spent afternoons in the studio, I waited for A to finish work, I tended to the tight knot sitting in my throat, I went to the seaside twice.
The speakers had each produced a page of notes which rest in my lap, limp at the edges from my clammy hands .The stack of papers lies in my bedside cabinet in a paper envelope for ten months before I look at them again, although along the way I have stuffed other things into it. The envelope becomes the things-of-interest-to-read-later folder. Exhibition hand-outs and writing mainly, some screening notes and degree show business cards. I find some worksheets from therapy sessions in there as well. I re-familiarise myself with schema modes and unhelpful thinking styles.
When you are invited to the party you feel wonderful but when you are not in the WhatsApp group it is really terrible. I wonder if writing is just living vicariously through someone else’s in-joke. I wish I could write a murder mystery novel, a gothic play, a lofty speech. Something that someone could really care about quite a lot. I wonder why I think that seriousness is the highest form of respect because I think I’m also a clown even though people think I’m serious too.
I had to start it somewhere
My mum regularly sends me newspaper clippings in the post and has done for the past nine years since I’ve been away from home. Some of these have also appeared in the folder it seems. Particularly of note is one including an image Jarvis Cocker. I’m not sure why she sent it but it’s probably the Sheffield connection, and I’m not sure why I kept it either. When I was at college my friends would have parties in their grotty terraced house where we would play Pulp and scream the lyrics to Common People. My boyfriend at the time then went to St Martin’s shortly after.
A Story from Circola della Rosa, Alex Martinis Roe Italy 2014 8’19, Video, colour, sound. A Story from Circola della Rosa is narrated by the artist’s voice and is addressed to a close colleague in the form of a letter, telling a story about two women. The film weaves together fragments from her recent oral history research with members of the Milan Women’s Bookstore Collective and her experiences of their collective activities, as well as her exploration of related spaces, archives and texts.
I read the essay version of this because S read it whilst he was away and then gave me his copy covered in scrawled confused notes. I bought the book which is so beautiful and burgundy, and then later on found it again as above in some notes about the film in a folder from a screening organised by H. We all sat together on the floor on purple cushions sipping cocktails.
I like to think that I have acknowledged my own relationships of entrustment now.
Art School, Anna Lucas UK 2015 12’, 16mm transferred to video, colour, sound. Shot over three years during rare breaks, before and after teaching, this film represents the generic spaces and facilities once seen in art schools up and down the country. In the absence of students it is the chipboard partitions in studio spaces, paint spattered chairs, the life-drawing studio, workshops and institutional offices that describe the work that takes place. All these spaces are imminently due for demolition and upgrade and the teaching methodologies themselves are being challenged and questioned. As the climate for the arts changes, new technologies emerge, and institutional expectations and requirements change, this model of art school sits on the cusp of existence.
The above is also in the screening notes. I think about the failure of the alternative education system I’ve recently been part of, the north-south divide, the political divide, the social divide, who is friends and who do I find insufferable. I feel like I’m always talking about the importance of working together but actually I’d rather sequester myself so that I don’t lose any more friends or fuck anyone by accident. However I mainly think about how I also want to be one of the people sat up there laughing.
I wanna be your electric meter
I will not run out
I wanna be the electric heater
You'll get cold without
I wanna be your setting lotion
Hold your hair in deep devotion
Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
That's how deep is my devotion
I didn’t know until A told me that this was originally written by John Cooper Clarke and not The Arctic Monkeys.
The art world has no love in it
I’m working on a project with E, she gives me several zines she wrote during her degree show. She lists interactions as with D and to P. She talks about who she loves and where she will go with them, we talk about who I love and in what kind of measures. We’re going to write something about garlic soon. She sends me the wikipedia page on garlic. If you roast it you can suck it out of its skins in a gooey paste and it coats the inside of your mouth. Most delicious garlic kisses.
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Group Show Podcast
Series 1 2017 / Series 2 2019 / Series 3 2020
Available on iTunes and Spotify.
Group Show is an art podcast series covering topics like work, collaboration and criticism. Series One was conceived of as part of 12o's S/S17 curatorial residency as an exploration into expanded curatorial practice. Each episode includes a mixture of interviews, sound commissions and regular features covering artist-led activity around the UK. Series Two was produced at The NewBridge Project, Newcastle for the Practice Makes Practice residency in March 2019, and features music, sound pieces and interviews from studio and associate NBP members. Series Three is a monthly radio show on Subcity featuring interviews with and music selected by Glasgow-based artists and producers.
Episode 1 - Rebecca Huggan, gobscure, marginendeavour, Yael Roberts and Tamara Micner
Episode 2 - Gordon Douglas, Graeme Hopper
Episode 3 - Niomi Fairweather, Juliet Fleming, Imogen Charvill Ryall
Episode 4 - Lesley Guy + TOTALLER
Episode 5 - Dan Russell, Sam Blackwood + Luke Garthwaite (Gaz), Holly Argent (Women Artists of the North East Library)
Episode 6 - Grace Denton, Craig Pollard and Will Edmonds on ‘Wild Pop’
Episode 7 - Clare Gomez, Jon Cornbill, Nick Thomas and Sophie Bates
Episode 8 - Ilana, Hannah, Helen, Lorna, Marwa and Katy on the ‘Great and Tiny War’ project by artist Bobby Baker
Episode 9 - Collective Studio @ The NewBridge Project - Kat Bevan, Zara Worth, Imogen Charvill Ryall
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Room, Big Time Sensuality, with Florida (Hannah Reynolds and Isabella Widger), WASPS Hanson Street Project Space, Glasgow Internatonal, 2018
Installation View, Big Time Sensuality, with Florida (Hannah Reynolds and Isabella Widger), WASPS Hanson Street Project Space, Glasgow Internatonal, 2018
Coffee (performance leftovers), Paris (film), Big Time Sensuality, with Florida (Hannah Reynolds and Isabella Widger), WASPS Hanson Street Project Space, Glasgow International, 2018
After Berger, Spare Room Residency, Liverpool, 2017
Flowers for Carrie, Drawings for Jamie, Spare Room Residency, Liverpool, 2017
Epicures of Sparta Bella, Picture a Garden, The Number Shop, Edinburgh with Florida (Isabella Widger and Hannah Reynolds), 2017
Inspo, school is now in session, with School of the Damned, isthisit?, https://www.isthisitisthisit.com/, curated by Helena Kate Whittingham, 2017
Cigs for Guston, monoprint, 2016
Pergamon Bridget Jones, 2015
Ashtray, in collaboration with Christopher MacInnes, 2015