I've been reflecting on our Block conversations and work thus far. I've found the reworking, remixing and reimagining or text inspiring and a rick source of possible ideas going forward. That said, the last incarnation of the project I felt didn't work for me - that is the placards made from bits of text. I've been thinking about why this is as it didn't sit well with me - partly I think it is because it is close to a project I worked on with another artist recently who uses placards. I also think the time constraints meant that the pieces/ photos produced didn't quite come together. What do you think? As we've said, a performance or some other form / next stage is far more appealing as we go forward.
pen / pencil paper / work apostrophes misplaced or otherwise / school punctuation and its abusers / tedious trains and their trajectory / commuters clothes and their removal / Last Night by The Stokes sun and rain / Madness clouds and mayhem / storms rain and window / lazy Sunday squeaking doors / need oil ominous signs / omens footsteps across a floor / coming in late floor show / shit show late announcements / why bother customer information / keep the receipt hunger drive / drive hungry love intentionally / Love Actually longing for more / leave them wanting more wonder what / wonder woman way to go / time to spare chance of an uplift / chance is a fine thing songs of innocence / better than people say music of the masses / pop smiles hiding terror / clowns happiness and majesty / outside spaces birds and their haunts / dead end towns animals and their diets / people and their pets pets as transition objects / everybody dies fruit machines / smoke filled pubs chocolate source / nothing more food of the gods / chocolate beer as comfort food / not as good as chocolate alcohol resistance / unreliable narrator drink me / cup of tea glass ceiling / needs smashing windows on the world / unite! glances from a stranger on a train / pleasant surprise grass snake / unpleasant surprise trees in pots / hard to keep hills and valleys / singing fields of wheat / running through them farming today / food tomorrow industry and creativity / allusive money to burn / wrong priorities words on a page / starting point language of the street / cuts to the core poetry in the mix / misses the point literature review / burnt toast inquiry with malign intent / no time science fiction / different futures ideas welcome / clutching at straws absolute zero / truth algebra zebra / magic fashion house / real magic theology of creativity / hard work religion that builds bridges / not impossible politics that build futures / need for change imagination for a better world / nothing changes imitation as flattery / said a lot recording birdsong / time on your hands art and text / the next step sea creatures / mystery
islands in the sun / Girls Just Wanna Have Fun soil sample / glass capsules land banking / online banking unfathomable distances / space space between / black planets out of alignment / bad mood stars of stage and screen / old timers dust jackets / leather jackets insects as superfood / gross trace elements / more than meets the eye life of Brian / controversy sex industry / good times joy / less me / you you alone / us together people fleeing the city / to the countryside cities as ecological systems / systems of oppression room at the inn / compassion silk road / fancy sheets fabric as moment / fabric as bedding dancing in the street / dancing on the roof tops elements of dissent / parts of a whole philosophy of art / thinking aloud purpose of learning / knowledge is power being yourself / knowing yourself source material / source of power objective lens / maze gaze death by a thousand cuts / art funding cause to wonder / stargazing effect and affect / cause and effect time pieces / time stands still delight the senses / heightens the senses fear of failure / worth overcoming hate and loathing / in Los Vegas Daily Mail / never fails suspicion of strangers / CCTV touch not / less the be touched vision impairment / glasses intricate design / 3D glasses mind over matter / doesn’t matter thought experiment / thought provoking intelligence of crowds / rallies beginning to grow / how to learn end of an era / NYE Holocaust denial / cut off progress to the next level / video games disappointment is a weapon / but is it a useful one? aspiration feeds the system / so does gas Bananas to all this / Bananas rule the world Woman of mystery / international men Cry like a baby / sleep like a baby Quarter sessions / Jeff Sessions Satisfaction guaranteed / but safety not necessity engine / Thomas worries and fears / thought and feelings doubt and certainty / double edged sword heaven for everyone / bonus points hell of a time / the best party fishing rights / know your rights running for your life / running for President petting zoo / cruel horseplay at the seaside / donkey beech ride play as coping mechanism / play as your favourite character colour the picture / fill me in light of my life / thank god for electricity texture for traction / tractors laws of physics / should know them laws of thermodynamics / don’t know them
sleep deprivation / rock n roll Glastonbury Tor / shit rock n roll there ain't no sanity clause / always Coca Cola mortgage slave / early grave good way to behave / stay inside evil on my mind / idle hands right of way / cross roads wrong direction / right location up town / funk down town / when you’re in trouble Night at the opera / waste of an evening Holy Bible / top draw Hendrix smash hits / must have Picasso fingers / best for holding Nietzsche on speed / Chicks On Speed myth take / myth buster story and metaphor / fairy tale history of art / history of man guesswork and speculation / politics cheating at cards / ace up your sleeve looking at birds / rude illusions and delusions / showbiz Bach and Kraftwerk / outdated conception detection / invention Blues is the truth / need to know basis Déjà Vu / seeing double No fun / no money surprises in the afternoon / boredom at night use of lower case letters / trying to keep up regrets and little egrets / I’ve had a few war torn / our fault famine victim / no chance chuggers on the high street / avoid at all costs Tottenham Hotspur / not important Jimmy Greaves / generic hidden patterns in nature / look harder meaning and inference / derive your own attraction of opposites / something people say chemistry brothers / biological sisters male is the weaker / broken speaker female of the species / hard work pays off plumbing problems / pipe dreams communication breakdown / one way traffic misunderstanding your own writing / subconscious friendship substitute / online dating rivalry in the rat race / frenimies theatre of the absurd / can’t polish a turd comic timing / hard to get a cross in writing point blank / range education as a human right / right to party improvement plan / all talk Funkadelic taking it to the stage / skip faith hope and charity / repeat beauty in diversity / truth parallel universe / everyone’s a winner multiverse formation / big bangs mathematics as poetry / hard to rhyme marriage vows / wows the crowds family life / starts at home no place like home / bedtime dictatorial regimes / over there prison sentence / read the small print freedom marches / stay strong distress and dismay / everything’s grey
euphoria granted / permission to speak dustmen moonlighting / open all hours enormous feeling of wellbeing / hot chocolate terror suspect / lost luggage surrender your weapons / ambushed empire of protection / needs rethinking setting-sun / having fun Fellowship of the Ring / boys club magick minstrels / cheep self aggrandisement / pat on the back other elements / forgotten truths relativity making the case / louder than bombs water-lilies in the duck pond / classic painting (but I wouldn’t want it) night of the round table / fable day one / Big Brother future of the planet / overthinking random acts of kindness / jelly babies hugs as currency / duffel coats blind panic / car crash Subterranean Homesick Blues / Safe European Home ice cap melting / do your coat up parking an idea / procrastination by another name evolution of a concept / revolution as a threat single-cell organisms / single camera sitcom sweat bands / cold hands atoms in parallel / atomic alignment sub-atomic particles / beyond the naked eye quantum mechanics / new car smell Bakerloo Line / hot cross buns Boot and Flogger / foot and mouth Monty Python / mum knows best heroic failures / strong jawline Charge of the Light Brigade / Electric Light Orchestra lullaby on death row / kiss of death revolution deflected / shields up Captain law of Moses / war of roses Plato and his cave / Pluto isn’t a planet democracy as the least worst system of government / human factor pork scratchings in the Star Tavern / finger licking Queen Mother Reservoir / bath toys Father Ted / small island guilt by association / best friends precautionary principle / warning signs global warming / exit sign gold in the stone / sword in the stone greed is not good / for the many not the few inequality kills people / as do rappers slaughter of the innocents / meat is murder rolling downland / gathers no moss short-cropped grass / short back and sides skylarks on the wing / gremlin on the side of the plane
problem child / Heavy Metal trouble brewing / put the kettle on sympathy in short supply /the west qualms and misgivings / family tree mysticism and misdirection / The Thick Of It conjecture about motivation / keep on going painstaking research / painkillers fantasy fiction / flash gordon journeys to other dimensions/ black holes decompression chambers / room with a view exploration of ideas / mind map Freddie Mercury / myth coming home in time for tea / manors No Particular Place to Go / buses numbers on the door / early morning paper round rainbows and waterfalls / postcards from no where fire in the hole / toad in the hole air in the tubes / rituals Gibson Les Paul / tedious Leica lenses / solar flares alibis coming unstuck / prickstick Glossy Ibises / sticker books self-control / meditate revision timetables / swimming lanes new year resolutions / round and round thinking outside the box / dreamers 1966 World Cup Final / old news Wild Horses / little people Song of Wandering Aengus / long new arrivals / top of the pops departures from the scene / super cut angels in raincoats / umbrellas rain forest clearances / last minute deals Amélie takes decisive action / make your own adventure cancer takes a holiday / sea side air peace someday / Lennon Steinway pianos / smashing electricity in the air / toaster in the bathtub gas in the tank / cleaning the oven nuclear weapons / grey buildings logos on togas / lego British Library / book worms Foyles bookshop / Foyles war illuminated manuscripts / reading by candle light pyramids with preservative properties / out priced Swan Lake / cooked duck seed drill / seed money Jethro Tull / middle management diving bells / saved by the bell butterflies and wheels / road trips discovery channel / shark attack! Joshua Tree / U2 Ayers Rock / Pub Rock Dreamtime in the meantime / people watching ancestors aren't what they used to be / hip replacements Syd Barrett singing Here I Go / cold halls thing on the green / Punch and Judy Nothing to declare/ smug
Hi James, as the other groups are now well 'off the blocks' the coast is clear for us to continue. I have a set of words which came from a stream of consciousness writing exercise about existence. Feel free to play, break and respond, or take things in another direction.
pen / paper / apostrophes misplaced or otherwise / punctuation and its abusers / trains and their trajectory / clothes and their removal / sun and rain / clouds and mayhem / rain and window / squeaking doors / ominous signs / footsteps across a floor / floor show / late announcements / customer information / hunger drive / love intentionally / longing for more / wonder what / way to go / chance of an uplift / songs of innocence / music of the masses / smiles hiding terror / happiness and majesty / birds and their haunts / animals and their diets / pets as transition objects / fruit machines / chocolate source / food of the gods / beer as comfort food / alcohol resistance / drink me / glass ceiling / windows on the world / glances from a stranger on a train / grass snake / trees in pots / hills and valleys / fields of wheat / farming today / industry and creativity / money to burn / words on a page / language of the street / poetry in the mix / literature review / inquiry with malign intent / science fiction / ideas welcome / absolute zero / algebra zebra / fashion house / theology of creativity / religion that builds bridges / politics that build futures / imagination for a better world / imitation as flattery / recording birdsong / art and text / sea creatures.
islands in the sun / soil sample / land banking / unfathomable distances / space between / planets out of alignment / stars of stage and screen / dust jackets / insects as superfood / trace elements / life of Brian / sex industry / joy / me / you alone / people fleeing the city / cities as ecological systems / room at the inn / silk road / fabric as moment / dancing in the street / elements of dissent / philosophy of art / purpose of learning / being yourself / source material / objective lens / death by a thousand cuts / cause to wonder / effect and affect / time pieces / delight the senses / fear of failure / hate and loathing / Daily Mail / suspicion of strangers / touch not / vision impairment / intricate design / mind over matter / thought experiment / intelligence of crowds / beginning to grow / end of an era / Holocaust denial / progress to the next level / disappointment is a weapon / aspiration feeds the system / Bananas to all this / Woman of mystery / Cry like a baby / Quarter sessions / Satisfaction guaranteed / necessity engine / worries and fears / doubt and certainty / heaven for everyone / hell of a time / fishing rights / running for your life / petting zoo / horseplay at the seaside / play as coping mechanism / colour the picture / light of my life / texture for traction / laws of physics / laws of thermodynamics.
sleep deprivation / Glastonbury Tor / there ain't no sanity clause / mortgage slave / good way to behave / evil on my mind / right of way / wrong direction / up town / down town / Night at the opera / Holy Bible / Hendrix smash hits / Picasso fingers / Nietzsche on speed / myth take / story and metaphor / history of art / guesswork and speculation / cheating at cards / looking at birds / illusions and delusions / Bach and Kraftwerk / conception detection / Blues is the truth / Déjà Vu / No fun / surprises in the afternoon / use of lower case letters / regrets and little egrets / war torn / famine victim / chuggers on the high street / Tottenham Hotspur / Jimmy Greaves / hidden patterns in nature / meaning and inference / attraction of opposites / chemistry brothers / male is the weaker / female of the species / plumbing problems / communication breakdown / misunderstanding your own writing / friendship substitute / rivalry in the rat race / theatre of the absurd / comic timing / point blank / education as a human right / improvement plan / Funkadelic taking it to the stage / faith hope and charity / beauty in diversity / parallel universe / multiverse formation / mathematics as poetry / marriage vows / family life / no place like home / dictatorial regimes / prison sentence / freedom marches / distress and dismay.
euphoria granted / dustmen moonlighting / enormous feeling of wellbeing / terror suspect / surrender your weapons / empire of protection / setting-sun / Fellowship of the Ring / magick minstrels / self aggrandisement / other elements / relativity making the case / water-lilies in the duck pond / night of the round table / day one / future of the planet / random acts of kindness / hugs as currency / blind panic / Subterranean Homesick Blues / ice cap melting / parking an idea / evolution of a concept / single-cell organisms / sweat bands / atoms in parallel / sub-atomic particles / quantum mechanics / Bakerloo Line / Boot and Flogger / Monty Python / heroic failures / Charge of the Light Brigade / lullaby on death row / revolution deflected / law of Moses / Plato and his cave / democracy as the least worst system of government / pork scratchings in the Star Tavern / Queen Mother Reservoir / Father Ted / guilt by association / precautionary principle / global warming / gold in the stone / greed is not good / inequality kills people / slaughter of the innocents / rolling downland / short-cropped grass / skylarks on the wing.
problem child / trouble brewing / sympathy in short supply / qualms and misgivings / mysticism and misdirection / conjecture about motivation / painstaking research / fantasy fiction / journeys to other dimensions/ decompression chambers / exploration of ideas / Freddie Mercury / coming home in time for tea / No Particular Place to Go / numbers on the door / rainbows and waterfalls / fire in the hole / air in the tubes / Gibson Les Paul / Leica lenses / alibis coming unstuck / Glossy Ibises / self-control / revision timetables / new year resolutions / thinking outside the box / 1966 World Cup Final / Wild Horses / Song of Wandering Aengus / new arrivals / departures from the scene / angels in raincoats / rain forest clearances / Amélie takes decisive action / cancer takes a holiday / peace someday / Steinway pianos / electricity in the air / gas in the tank / nuclear weapons / logos on togas / British Library / Foyles bookshop / illuminated manuscripts / pyramids with preservative properties / Swan Lake / seed drill / Jethro Tull / diving bells / butterflies and wheels / discovery channel / Joshua Tree / Ayers Rock / Dreamtime in the meantime / ancestors aren't what they used to be / Syd Barrett singing Here I Go / thing on the green / Nothing to declare.
I've been thinking, at the margins of my days, about the sites that interest me. And on those posted and written about in James' post from Monday 'Text from images and Landscapes'.
Here are three sites where I might have gone with my placards if:
(a) I had made them yet
(b) it wasn't miserably wet outside
Greenham Common (above) - here we see the missile solos where US Cruise Missiles were sited during the later days of the Cold War. Site of protest by the Women's Peace Camp, some of whom stayed put for 19 years until the whole site was decommissioned and returned to public access land. The two mile long runway and surrounding land is now all returned to heathland habitat. Dartford Warblers and Woodlarks nest here. Ring Ouzels stop-by on passage. An improvement on Cruise Missiles, in my estimation. The descendants of the dinosaurs, just waiting for us to move over and give them space.
Below, a drawing I made of Burnthouse Lane, behind the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield. A site I visit regularly to watch the birds who carry on regardless of the monstrous technologies being developed across the road. Here I have watched Little Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Ruff, Winchat and Yellow Wagtail to name but few of the avian delights awaiting the patient observer.
Below that, a wintery image of a male Stonechat on what remains of Twyford Down. The downland through which humans drove a massive slice of destruction in order to extend the M3 motorway. It was a site of protest and demonstration, dissent and agitation until the destruction was completed. The separated sides, joined by a footbridge, still support the remnants of wildlife that cling to existence there. I admit I regularly drive through this gouged landscape on the way to Southampton, or the coast. I always reflect on it as a violation of a rare and finely-balanced habitat.
I'm just sharing an image from the CAS Project Laboratory of Dissent 2015. Teams of artists worked a week each in a tag-team manner. This image shows part of my collaboration with David Dixon and Helen Northcott. A bit of a throwback but this was in some ways the precursor to the Block_Chain dissent project.
It feels like we've only just begun our Block but we officially hand over the baton to Block 2 on Monday night.
My plans for the weekend involve spending all day today and tomorrow writing minutes and Board papers for greenbelt.org.uk
and taking part in a public reading for readinginternational.org
But I will also get to the studio to make my placards. Heavy rain is forecast most of the weekend but I will find a window to get out to somewhere and get at least one photo of the 'Nature is us all in the end' placard in a wild setting (preferable Greenham Common). If I can get the others made and documented too I'll feel like I've pushed as far as I can in this first phase.
I would like to continue this dialogue beyond Monday's deadline. It really feels like it could be the beginning of something (as well as obviously being the beginning of Block_Chain). It has been exciting exchanging and reflecting so far. It would be interesting to see where it wants to go.
James, thank you for your further reflections and for the generation of new forms from the original word exchange.
I am very conscious that my participation in this two week virtual residency has so fare been more like a ten day virtual absence! I apologise for this - I am in a perfect storm of deadlines from four different directions which have all coincided with this fortnight and are taking all my waking hours, of which there are far too many. But for the next half hour, with God Speed You Black Emperor! (Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress) as my soundtrack, I have some time to write:
Your reflections on place - and the photographs - are poignant. My places would be Greenham Common (where Dartford Warblers have replaced tactical nuclear missiles in recent years); Burghfield AWE, or more specifically the footpath and gravel pit behind the nuclear bomb factory, where I have been birdwatching for the last ten years; and Cookham - Stanley Spencer's 'village in heaven' - because Stanley was one of my main artist influences at the beginning of my journey back into art-making.
I also enjoyed your selection of phrases. From the various iterations you have taken the word-exchange through, I have selected:
the power of wrong
nature is us all in the end
Week 2 proposal for discussion and development:
Peter has suggested that we take parts of the text we have working on and produce some images. Initially this idea only covered the text that steamed from my words and Peter's responses e.g. public hair/ Tony Blair.
The exercise would be as follows;
Taken from the text Peter and James have been working on, Peter and James will select black/red responses or pairings/mixings of words/phrases. They will select 4-5 of these pairings each and write them onto placards. They will then arrange photographs of themselves/others holding the placards on location at places/sites of significance to their practices/idea of dissent. The resulting photographs will be shown as a set on Instagram/Twitter.
The text has since been expanded upon, it now includes new pieces of text we have created e.g.
This is from a writing another exercise using the joint text. I would be interested in the same photo exercise but using some of this text. The sentences / groups of words I would use are;
everyone has a hymn
no performance no satisfaction
construct the head
performing reluctant political optimism
riot girls where you aren’t allowed
armpit hair grow on trees
What do you think Peter?
The Power of Two!
Over the weekend I've been writing short descriptions of different landscapes (around Devon as that's where I'm based) as a writing exercise. Landscapes in one form or another, seems to come in to our works and I thought it would be an interesting experiment. I've spent 5-10 mins on each piece writing about the image in some.
Dartmoor is a dark, bleak and forgotten landscape. It hasn’t been touched in years. Rocks are scattered around the floor like bricks on a building site, like the rubble left by an explosion. The sky is sucking the remaining life from the area. Drip by drip. It is almost black and white. The cold and uncomforting blue haze that lights the moors highlights the snow. This is a cold uncaring place. Soon it will be night time. The landscape will come alive at night, it is slowly counting down the hours until it night when anyone left on its belly, will surely be eaten. This is a sleeping giant, an unforgiving monster, lying dormant but always aware. It is conscious and ready to strike. You need to have your wits about you if you want to be on the moors.
Woolacombe North Devon Beach
Red, blue, yellow and green, we stand strong together. Hold the line! Hold the line! A hundred, sheds strong. It’s calm now but these veterans know that when she comes she is powerful, unstoppable and relentless. Let her come, we with wood and paint and in our masses, will stand strong against her. We protect those sheltering in our bellies and our reflections show more than we are – to intimidate the sea into submission. Rock that has been corroded down to make this soft sand, a victim to her power. Only we beach huts stand between the sea and fresh rock behind. Ripples of water drain away, rejoining their parent body. A severed finger, a lost leg, all body parts from our previous battles. Red, blue, yellow and green, we stand strong together.
Plymouth Outdoor Swimming Pool
The single divide between a cold and hot afternoon is a powerful block of cement. It chops through the water like a knife to butter, still, we know that If the sea was angry enough, it could tear it down. Until then, it surrounds the people like a protective shell. Babies, lovers, families and tourists surround the pool, all in good spirits. Jumping into the water below with a attitude. From above, the people look like ants at a picnic as the edges of the pool are covered with black dots. People taking photos, watching on as relatives make waves and spotting the naval fleet out to sea. The building is a cold one. Built in the 50’s, its function only and tot kind. This building is like a totalled tower block in aesthetic, with pieces of brick and metal support railing poking out all across the surface. The swimmers dart around in bare feet, running quickly over the unforgiving grey cemented floor. They all soon jump back in the water, before the cold takes a hold.