Moving on, letting go.

Image featured above shows a strange bird looming over the slanted side of firstsite gallery. What will it be a harbinger of? What does it presage? Only good I hope in the end but that is going to be a challenge which must be worked towards wholeheartedly and in unison by all the stakeholders; the council, the gallery, the public and art lovers from all over this land. It’s gonna take time and investment.

Recently (12th Feb?) I saw a pretty damning report on BBC Anglia tv in which the footage they used was several years old, altho they did have a reporter there to interview the director that day. They reported that the ‘Arts’ Council was threatening to withdraw support for the gallery. I decided to write to the several parties (excepting the Beeb as they never seem to take any notice, you get this thing that says they get millions of letters and sorry they won’t bother to reply) showing my concern that the true picture of the valiant efforts made by the gallery in the past few years has not been recorded and to offer direct help to its director Matthew Rowe from my 50 years’ experience in art and gallery visiting since seeing the big Henry Moore show at Tate in 1967. On 13 Feb I said, ‘Dear Matthew, I believe with my experience and qualifications I may be able to help you. Please see the attached. Also, please acknowledge receipt as I have guessed at your email address.’

I felt that local MP Bob Russell’s take on the gallery was quite negative when he cited how much millions it costs each year. OK compare that to how much the Castle takes? He replied saying I should contac the press with one of my less positive points. But he had replied within 24 hours!

I contacted the arts council in the guise of Hedley Swain and sent him the above list of links to my blArts. He replied within 24 hours and thanked me for my ‘other’ views, ‘It is useful to us to have different opinions and view-points to draw on. I assure you that Arts Council will do all it can, working with other local stakeholders, to improve the current situation.’

matthew rowe

The Director did not respond to my offer to help. Not yet, 28.2.15, but it’s only 15 days since I sent my offer.

I’d like to update the story so far on firstsite gallery in Colchester. I hear they are preparing a new launch with a fresh approach, I wish them well and I pray that it works not just for them but for all the interested parties. I believe they need more help from Colchester Council not less. There is a need for parking right next to the gallery in the space down which buses used to turn in their scores daily. At present parking is totally banned there and it is a total missed opportunity. Our society is used to ‘on site’ parking like at all the big supermarkets nowadays. People are loathe to walk more than 50 metres to a place. I know that’s true and the council’s refusal to provide on site parking is adding to the gallery’s problems in the past several years. There was supposed to be an art college coming very close to the gallery as part of the plan but that fell through. The whole area was supposed to be being built up with a multi-million pound development which never materialised. Then the gallery opened with its slanting wall and very little natural footfall. I believe the gallery needs a re-structure/build. Getting in some consultant architect the likes of Richard Rogers may help. There’s a need to get rid of the slant and to somehow introduce a mezzanine floor something like the one at Barbican gallery which can add space to exhibit more stuff.

outsite leans

Strange flying tings seen looming over firstsite

There is still a lot of space around the gallery which could be used to provide amenities for the local population which would also bring more folk in proximity to the gallery but it seems that nobody has enough imagination to propose any ideas. At least I have not seen any moves on that front, but I am not local and don’t get all the local news. I have offered to meet the Director to put forward some of my own ideas but he is obviously too busy hatching the re-launch plans. Or he just doesn’t want to know what a fool believes.

in the not too distant past I was called an ‘advocate’ of firstsite gallery Colchester but in fact I am a commentator (a common ‘tatoe). I’d like to play in their team or at least help the team but they don’t select me. Last week I was told my latest effort to gain a place on the hallowed walls was unsuccessful. They invited bids for a wall space 8m x 3m and once again I gave it my best shot, but I  didn’t score this time.

Now, personally, I am ‘Moving on, letting go’. I done e‘nuff’, I tried and tried agin and cannot suck seed. Am not moving on, letting go through any bitter feelings, I still have sympathy for their plight but I feel I have done more than the average commentator in my effort to assist. Picture me standing outside the gallery banging my head against the wall. I believe I deserve a bit more respect but of course what I believe and what actually happens are rare bedfellows.

It’s not hard, there’s lots of evidence.apul gnum wall

ps You have to replace the brick wall with a gold tin wall.

Well it may surprise some of yez but yes it hurts. But I am almost a Buddhist and am learning not to cling on, I’m no clingon!

Before I go let me give some links to the blArts I done about firstsite:

About Bruce McLean- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/bruce-mclean-not-trendy-but-twitchy/

 

Bruce McLean said- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/this-is-the-best-exhibition-of-my-work-ever/

 

Two part report on firstsite symposium- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/so-we-live-in-a-digital-cage-part-2/

 

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/so-we-live-in-the-digital-cybernetic-age-the-d-c-age-digital-cage/

 

Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Norwich University of the Arts gives a  talk about Henri Chopin- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/henri-chopin-and-others-who-got-forgot/

 

The Man from New York talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/andrew-roths-talk-at-first-site-last-saturday/

 

Ann Stephen from Australia’s talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/first-site-talk-success-but/

The gallery is going to find it difficult to re-connect with the folk who once frequented it as it has been empty now several weeks and the café has disappeared and the continuity has been discontinued. If you pop in there at present not only do people keep coming up to you asking if you had permission to venture thru to where you stand perusing the 8×3 space before you apply but there is an eerie silence and emptiness which is going to hard to re-fill or even firstfill. I hope I have filled you in with my fill. Eugh that’s Awe-fill!

 tward entrance

Some more images of firstsite gallery at present

skylites

lookin out

 

17.03.15- I managed to spend a few minutes in conversation with the Director who came over as an amicable man with a basketful of challenges which I must say he is approaching with a good degree of patience and positive planning. The gallery has re-launched and re-branded with a wonderful new show which I like but I fear the local population won’t be won over with. The four artists local(-ish) at least to Essex I am reminded chosen to fill the 3x8m space are all very good practitioners, evidence of which is shown in a display of some work from each in the 8×3 space. the new cafe proprietors look to be setting about setting it up beautifully with local suppliers being utilised. Good luck for the future!

some new pics of the new set up, still quite empty of footfallers.

Image043

Image041

Now for something completely different but I believe relevant, especially for my regulars and  you know about my ‘what I believes’:

When I was 30 year old I scored two goals in 2 minutes (big head), one headed into the top left hand corner from a corner and t’other straight from the re-start when I nicked the ball as they kicked off, ran half the pitch length evading a lunging leg of a desprit full back and rounded the goalie to chip it in against Ingatestone for Maldon Saint Marys second eleven in a cup game which we won 2-1. Later in the same cup the manager left me on the sub’s bench for the Final aginst RHP which my goals had gotten the team to, playing a kid of 16 in my stead. Earlier that season, in the winter cos the ground had an inch or two of snow on it I had headed a goal in from a corner in a melee and felt a deep pain in my belly, so deep I thought someone had kicked me, it turned out this Charlie had decided to thump me in the stomach as I headed the ball.

a bad tackle(beyond the pale)

Unlike Nemanja Matic of Chelsea v. Burnley last week who took this bad (beyond the pale) tackle from Ashley Barnes I withheld my desire to retaliate*, I took his number, I remembered his face. Ten minutes from the end of that final I aksed Old Bill the manager if I was going to get a kick? “Oh sorry Pete I forgot you, get on now.”

a fyutballa peteHow could you leave this fella out?

PK in 1981

Sadly I couldn’t pull back the goal deficit in the 5 minutes left (which meant in the 30 odd years I played football I never got a winner’s medal!) but I had my eye on Charlie. I am not sure he remembered me without snowdrops on my head. Anyway I re-introduced myself on the half way line. It was a fair but hard tackle (NOT beyond the pale). He didn’t get up but only missed the last three minutes of play. I never returned to play for Maldon Saint Marys second eleven, not ‘nuff respec’. I did return to football 20 years later and scored loadsa goals as a veteran, well the ball is still a sphere and the goals are still in the same place and I still loved the game.

But ‘respec’ is wattam talking about. * Matic was sent off and banned from a Wembley Final for retaliation, Barnes got off scot free. Talking about the dinosaur attitude of institutions the FA have done FA about the ref’s ineptitude; he should have sent Barnes off before Matic took the law into his own hands and then the FA should lift the ban so Matic can participate in the Wembley Final . It’s not as if his shove on Barnes was life-threatening, more like a person in the isle at a supermarket pushing a trolley. (ps Chelsea still won!)

 

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Peter the Prancing Prattler

PETER THE PRANCING PRATTLER says, ‘I make it 7 weeks to go to the BABE weekend!’ (you just can’t shut him up). Expect to see him on a table, well he’ll not actually be on the table, alongside his collaborator, David Jury. Now David is not a Prattler no, not at all, not likely, but he’s a darned good printer of letterpress and he’ll have some of his sheets which we collaborated on last summer, for weeks on end.

Let me tell you about the ‘poem’ that David letterpress printed , (which is shown in the featured image at the top of this blArt in situ at the Slack Space exhibition in Colchester until 28th February), because it has a history and even a follow on after we completed the DJ version.

So it began with Destination Dust, a series of ‘poems’ about 6 men of ideas and actions who had impressed me on my journey thru life and art and literary stuff and exhibitions and dances and cosmologies and more. I’m not going to list them here, that’s done elsewhere. I am going to take one of them and try to show the different incarnations of my ‘poems’ about him and some drawings and other forms.

So, to begin at the beginning, Hermann Hesse. A German Nobel Prize writer. A thinker. A poet. A pacifist. A lot of my work is directly influenced by his works. Destination Dust is influenced by his books Siddhartha and also Journey To The East. In my ‘book’ G BATCH the first ‘poem’ is about Hesse.

Hermann Hesse

Whilst following the winding road toward the village of Montagnola

Near Mount Saint Salvatore a footloose exiled pilgrim full with wanderlust

HH encountered a mendicant monk named Dhona chanting a mantra

Dhona said that when he had met Sakyamuni way back when

He asked the beloved one

Sir would you be a human?

Sir would you be a Gandharvan?

Sir would you be a Yaksa?

Sir would you be a god?

To each the Bodhisattva’s reply was No Dhona

What then would you be?

I am a Buddha, brahmin, a Buddha. … All composite things decay…Strive diligently.”

 

As he watched Dhona walk his quiet way HH had the idea

To write a story called Siddhartha

So that people in the West might learn about the Enlightened one.

 

I did some readings from that poem and found it difficult to read out loud so I set about a new version which I planned should be simpler to read.

 

Dhona the Brahmin was a mendicant monk

Who asked Siddhartha

“Are you human or one from Gandharva

Are you a god or maybe a Yaksa?”

 

“Brahmin everything that’s created passes,”

“Go peacefully to your destination,

Strive diligently t’ward your transition, Dhona

Which is escape from Samsara’s wheel of Suffering

 

There was dispute after Guatama’s passing away

Dhona intervening did say,

“The message of the Blessed Buddha

Is still peace and forbearance today.”

 

Thereby the Malla chieftans of Kusinara

On whose soil Shakyamuni died

Reluctantly released the relics

To be divided into eight domains

 

Each claimant built a monument

Which every time turned to rust

Confirming Buddha’s message that

Everything passes to ashes and dust

 

Up on the road near Montagnola

A Wandering Writer named Hesse heard the tale from a mendicant monk

Then he recounted the story to you and to me

In a book called Siddhartha

 

Shakyamuni saw how we can escape

Samsara ’s spinning wheel

Shakyamuni said, “Namaste.

The Light in me

Greets the Light in thee.

I Am a Buddha, Brahmin, I Am a Buddha Now.”

 

I am unsure if it was any easier to read but I then decided to publish it in a ‘book’ in which the poems would all be laid out in the shape of a pot. The word in a vessel so to speak so I designed Inside This Earthen Vessel and proceeded to print some copy so I could fold the cover come folder in which to drop the new set of poems. Funnily enough recently I mentioned to Gary at the Baltic that there is an illustration in the book whereas all the pages bar one are ‘illustration’ where the words become the pot. Then DJ saw the book with its pots as poems and liked them enough to adapt them for his own summer project. He was careful enough to show me any changes or edits he made and slowly but surely his version arose. I am happy to say the Saison poetry library at Festival Hall bought a copy and featured it in their Open Day show.

 V1 hesse sm

You’ll notice there is now a subtext. Where I had left dots DJ wished for words and asked that I write a set of poems which would be appropriate but of a different ilk which I did by writing about my life in the northern town of Burnley. So here is the new ‘poem’

And now, the end is near

I prepare to claw

My way through

And this

I call it bliss

Has come to me

The hard way

But one thing I know for sure

One thing I want you to know

That thing

That thing is this

I did it my way

I found that bliss

Not just a kiss

I went all the way

I did not turn

I ceased to yearn

I found it my way

And now

At last I say

I have the key to untold wonder

The only way for you to find it too

Is to do it your way

I Am I say

I Am today

I was then and I Am now

I Am Real

Now and forever more

I found out my way

A bit far removed from the cultural philosophical grounds of the main poems but NOT! In fact Burnley is overlooked by Pendle Hill where the founder of the Quaker group George Fox experienced a vision in June 1652 (slightly before my time there). http://bcw-project.org/biography/george-fox

A couple of weeks ago I decided to attempt a reading of the content of the DJ version of the poem which is in some ways influenced by the typography of Kurt Schwitters and I saw that a reading would bring in some of Schwitters’ sound poetry ideas. In fact it became a very liberating and creative experience with great potential for its future.

 

Dhona the Brahmin And now was a mendicant monk the end is near Who asked Siddhartha-(Gautama-Shakyamuni-Tathāgata)  I prepare to “Are you human, one from Gandharva? Claw My way through Are you a god or maybe a Yaksa?” this And this I call “Brahmin everything that’s created passes, Strive diligently into your transition, it bliss Has come to Go peacefully t’ward your destination, me The hard way Escape from Samsara’s wheel of Suffering.” But one thing During a dispute when Guatama passed away Brahmin Dhona, intervening, did say, I know for sure One “The message of the Blessed Buddha

Is still peace and forbearance today.” Thing Thereafter the Malla chieftans of Kusinara I want you to On whose soil Shakyamuni had died know Reluctantly released the relics To be divided into eight domains. That Thereby, Each claimant built a monument thing Which every time turned to rust. Confirming Siddhartha’s message that Every That thing thing passes is to truly ashes this and I did it my way dust. On the road near Montagnola And now A Wandering Writer named Hesse heard the tale from a mendicant monk I found that Then he recounted the story to you bliss Not just a and to me In a book called ‘SIDDHARTHA.’ Tathāgata showed how to escape The Spinning Wheel of Samsara  Tathāgata said, “NAMASTE.  The Light in me greets the Light in thee. I Am a Buddha, Brahmin, I AM A kiss BUDDHA Now.”

 

And it doesn’t end there. I have written yet another version for BABE alone which will be published in my new book especially for BABE.

 

There is Hermann Hesse

A nomad exiled from his native Germany

(because he mistrusted insolent might)

who was heard to say

‘There is no reality except the one contained within’

 

Perambulating the Apennine mountains

A Wanderer searching the Door to renascence

His mind a Magic Theatre

A ‘Journeyer To The East’

He bumped into ‘mystic travellers’

Like Dhona the Brahmin

 

Dhona told him of the time

(It was around about 400 BC)

When he asked Shakyamuni

Sage of the Shakya clan

‘Do you come from Gandhara?

Are you a god?

How did you stop clinging on?

How do you emanate so much Love?’

‘Because I am no longer a Brahmin Dhona

I am a Buddha now’.

 

Hesse was inspired to write Siddhartha

Which in turn inspired the back packers

Beat poets like Ginsberg and Dean Moriarty

And Burnley beat nit Daniel O’Dourke.

Later on Jack Kerouac came to greet him

On The Road from the Wild West

 

Dance little sister dance we pray

Twirl and Swirl the Dervish way

Skip along that road with a little sway

Rolling on down to Destiny’s Day

Now you see what keeps me busy. I think this last version positively sings and dances. Hence the monicker, Peter the Prancing Prattler.

NAMASTE TO YAH

my article is due out today

I saw that today, 17.2.15, someone had been studying my blog archives and looked at 22 ‘articles’ one of which was this one about what constitutes a ‘book’ I have added some illustrations of books I have made and think it is a good time to reblog this post as it is about what the limits are in ‘bookness’, if there are any. Take a look at Anselm Kiefer’s books if you want to know the limit. There’s lots of folk out there who are befuddled about what the term ‘artist’s books’ refers to who ask me to ‘define’ them which those in the field know is impossible as there are as many variations to what an artist’s book may be as there are artists and others out there to create them so the best way I use to describe them is that they are like paintings, in other words they are whatever the maker can dream up

See blArts below the first is mostly about my creation Apulhed, the second is mostly about my book G Batch.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/my-past-pages-from-the-net/

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/artasblag-blagasart-its-a-big-blart/

apulhed tinking

October 2013

My first article is due out today in Artist’s Book Year Book edited out of UWE by Sarah Bodman.

I wrote it because I was astounded to find at the end of the 3rd semester of a Master’s Degree course that one of the assessors understanding of what constitutes an ‘artist’s book’ seemed rather, let’s say, antiquated. He was not entirely alone with his view so I decided to take an  stretch on what makes or constitutes ‘book’ or ‘bookness’.

biscit fired set sm

my clay pothi book

In the article I look at ‘books’ before the codex bound book which predominates the shops today. I look at cuneiform tablets in ancient Assyria & Ur, the Tibetan ‘pothi’ book form, scrolls  and some modern artists books which become ‘book-sculptures’, I show examples of  my own take on the 3 forms. So, I put my money where my mouth is and make a…

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The Dalai Lama walked passed by me several years ago

I am not a Buddhist per se Percy (if that is your name?). I am interested in the ideas of Buddhism but I am also interested in football and rock & roller which does not make me a footballer nor a Rolling Stone. The Dalai Lama is the living one amongst my ‘Six Mystics’, men of ideas who moved human cultures forward (to what I am unsure but to a better understanding of why we are here and to whence we are heading would help), which feature inside my Clay Jug Project. I say project, it’s fashionable to call a plan or a dream a ‘project’ because although it began as a topic in my MA studies it was in fact ongoing before that and it won’t leave me alone. Each of my six mystics has led me on in some way down the path of knowledge and each has signposted some area of ‘ideas’ which I have explored. So Joseph Beuys inspires my ‘performances’, not only because when I don a trilby there’s a slight resemblance but because he had so much gall and you gotta have loads of galls if you’re ‘performing’ art. Also he was a reject. His college did not like his ideas so he created his own college and basically had a ‘sit-in’ at the old Institution and his creation became more widely known than the Institution and maybe more influential on folk like Anselm Kiefer and others. Beuys may appear an odd one out in my 6 mystics but he was deeply into the spirit of ancient Celtic culture and each of the ‘mystics’ is into the spiritual in some way. I have always had this feeling that there is more to life than the everyday necessities. I looked up to the sky at 5am today and it was cloudless and thousands of stars were glittering in the darkness. There’s wonder out there and when you listen to Jung you see there’s wonder inside you too. Most of my mystics say that that wonder is divine. Or like Beuys they are driven by it. Hesse looked to the East for inspiration then he built the ideas from Eastern cultures into his books alongside his knowledge of western monasticism which itself was from the East- Egypt, India etc.

 

In a way I am talking about grace and empathy, skills I hope I am learning as I grow old-er. My one big example is the Dalai Lama who passed by me several years ago and O I was lucky to get a wonderful snap of him.

dalama hands

I intend to do some more artworks based around him in the not too distant. I did one awhile back and donated it to the Tibet Society and they were so unimpressed by it saying, ‘In Tibet we have a tradition of making images which goes back hundreds of years. We don’t do Impressionist works.’ So there. Get back in yer garret Peter. Here it is. I was quite proud of it.

 tibet lanscape

 

I copied a photo of some mountains in Tibet with fields running toward them. The stripes running vertically at the back of the mountains are…more higher mountains, and that for me is a portrait of life. I climbed to the top of my mountain, passed my B/Ed degree, and found there was more to do. Now I got an MA too, and a few other things and I have stopped looking for mountains to climb. Not that I am tired, cos I am, but I have decided to enjoy the view more. Am looking back on my life and seeing what I achieved, sharing it with youse, and of course I shall continue to output. But let me show you this da lama an mts smwhere I took one of the mountains and placed an image of the Dalai Lama back in his own country. With a Tibetan wheel of life too. He’s pointing out that behind that mountain is a bigger one and behind that, infinity.

I saw him on tv one night and I took out my paints and I created this

Da Lama in color sketch sm

Which am using in my new mask for BABE in April. Am creating a new book with six re-worked masks in and six re-worked poems from G Batch & Inside This Earthen Vessel. One of the most impressive performances I have seen in all my days was the Tashi Lunpo monks doing Tibetan dance and music with these astounding costumes on. I won’t be wearing any costumes like theirs. In fact the skills employed in making them go back hundreds of years.

a tashi dancers

I am reading a wonderful little book by the Dalai Lama called ‘The Way To Freedom’ in which he explains a lot of the Tibetan Buddhist idea rather well. And I love the image on the cover where he’s got his hands clasped.

I went there on the day he opened the Peace Garden in the Imperial War Museum and I did a drawing for the Tibetans of him and the circle in that garden but they turned it down when I offered it to them. Once again it didn’t fit their ideas. No offence taken.

dalama peace gdn small

He’s in his tall yellow hat holding a Tibetan book called a pothi and overlooking the Peace Garden. And I got a yellow hat like what he wears, but I just look stupid in it, innit? yello hat meOm Man

I have a BIG blart about a local much maligned gallery (of Colchester fame) forming in the pipeline but I need to wait for some replies to enquiries I am making so altho impulse wants me to do it this week the wise, calm strong steady side of me says WAIT. I come not to malign this gallery but to praise it. There’s been enough malignations hitting it already. It needs support and help to develop a better public profile and I’d like to help even more than my occasional blogs about it in the past may have done. Watch this blArt.

My ‘Artist’s Books’ From Slack Space to BABE (11 & 12 April)

So what is an artist’s book? Or what is my artist’s book? In answering the former I can point to some beautiful examples of the form, well no it’s not a ‘form’ as form indicates rules to bind you by, there isn’t a ‘form’ there is just the ‘difference’. The difference is such that  artist’s books are often difficult to file in a library. They often have no side panel recognizing ‘title’. They rarely have isbn’s or all the detail about who published it and the artists’ rights. AND THEY CAN BE UNIQUE IN THE COMBINATION OF MATERIALS THEY JUXTAPOSE. So in Slack Space this week there are artists like Chris Rushton

chris rushton sm

and Miranda Campbell (& Others) who stretch the ‘form’. Chris’s work exquisitely combines her dyed textural papers and folds and tears and cuts into forms.

slac 020

Miranda makes leather bound books but also creates these wonderful things with cracked logs, feathers and curled paper with words on which would look odd on a library shelf. Anselm Kiefer makes unique books in which he uses plasterboard or lead or paper or photos as his base and then he sticks them in acid and throws mud on them and buries them and all sorts of stuff as he approaches each book as an individual work much as he does his ‘paintings’ (he’s not at slack!).

keif bukbird merged

I find his work inspiring with its freedoms and its ignoring of norms and mores (moreys? Morays… moray eels are like his books scarey). But I guess one day when I have shed the fetters of the ‘books’ I have in the pipeline I shall follow his example and make more one-offs and make em big and make em so cumbersome they can’t leave my garden where I’ll mekem wid loads of rubbish and muck and I’ll burn em and kick em and all that cos I once did karate so I can kick like a gud en. I joke but am not joking. I love it when I see the craft in book artists like Kate Bufton at Book Transformations https://twitter.com/BuftonKate and  Fiona Dempster at Paper Ponderings http://paperponderings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/purely-pencils-part-ii.html both of whom produce voluminously but there’s a sense of control and craft there which altho I admire I wish to break free https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEKVLjXO2Fk I’ve fallen in love with difference, in fact I’ve always loved her. My work is different. At present I am not cutting and folding and binding with dexterity but I am writing about my heroes, what I call mystics; artists, poets, thinkers and Joseph Beuys the shaman. And that leads me to my ‘performances’ which are part of my books. In fact I can cut the strut, fold my limps and unbind my-self thru the dance I do at my ‘talk’ or ‘reading’. And what are books for if not to be read, or scanned. In fact at the first (Slack) reading from my collaborative work with David Jury which is on display at Slack I realised something wonderful. His prints are stupendous and my words are whatever you decide they are

ves 6 sm

but when I put them into an amalgamated form where I could read them as one piece the possibilities are enormous. There’s no video of me doing that yet, so you’d have to invite me to your place if you want to see it for yourself. Last year or was it 2013 I did an article in which I promoted the idea that a pot with writing on was a book cover

the book of gnolidge
the book of gnolidge

and the scrolls around it or dropped in it were the pages. Now am saying my reading is part of my book. Beat that Anselm!

I am not taking the pot to BABE but you should see it on the powerpoint projection in the entrance to the Arnolfini. I am really looking forward to meeting you all at BABE.

 http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/babe-2015-bristol-artists-book-event

I shall be the last one of BABE’s ‘Performances and Readings’ (Meeting Room, Arnolfini) on the second day, Sunday 12th April

cast in arranged order:

 2pm Judy Kravis of Road Books

2.30pm Graeme Hobbs, Colva Books – Hill Pond. The pieces I wrote were instead of photographs – written photographs.

3pm, Field Study International – Emanation action.

3.30pm Nancy Campbell and Donna Williams – Poems in BSL and English about language learning and extinction.

cover of six mystics intro
cover of six mystics intro

4pm Pete Kennedy ‘readings’ – Inspired by Kabir’s poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ (transformed from Rabindranath Tagore’s translation by Robert Bly and recited by Pete) Also, various renditions (with masks) from the original book on Six Mystics- G Batch (G…iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev. B…euys Joseph. A…ngeli Silesii. T…enzin Gyatso. C…arl Gustav Jung & H…ermann Hesse.), and Inside This Clay Jug and Inside This Great Jug.

Here’s Mercury going into the mystic with one of the most beautiful and touching moments ever recorded. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3RJLOyGVf0

Namaste

ps The featured  image at the top is of Paula MacGregor’s book in the show presently on at Slack Space.

Artist Books & Stories at Slack Space

The exhibition of artist’s book work in the old police station in Colchester has started with a bang of readings last Thursday night in the blizzard outside conditions but still about 30 folk turned up. This event flagged up this National storytelling week and it was well worth it. I was unsure what to expect altho I knew a lot of the bookartists were good I had no idea who was reading. The show was set up very well and the works look great. I shall list some I like below. Then the readings began at 7pm, 5 poets and writers; Steve Ovel (poet), Candyce Lange (writer), Natalie Pfeffer (poet), Pete Kennedy (poet, printer and prancer), Pete Smith (story teller).

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Steve Ovel warmed the mike first, some of his poems seethed and what a lot he had got. I really liked several but I would suggest he finishes his next reading on a high note not down in the dumped relationship darkness.

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Candyce Lange with her American drawl read her short story beautifully. For me there were touches of the way Bukowski reads. Her story was well crafted and held my interest, I really loved it and was shaken when she revealed that she had written it in a couple of hours.

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Natalie Pfeffer read her poems beautifully and once again they were well crafted. I wasn’t taking notes so I cannot recall a word of them but she was impressive.

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Pete Kennedy that’s me, well all I can say my reading from the combined texts in David jury’s letterpress version of my poems went down really well much to my surprise as I felt I was following some experienced practitioners whose word-smithing was excellent. Even my little jig went down well.

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Pete Smith then told a story, ‘The Waterfowler’, this is national story telling week after all. He was lovely. He told the tale of how a man who used to shoot geese for a living from a punt and how he got lost during a shoot to be guided home by a mysterious man in a long black cloak a floppy hat and an upside down pipe. It warmed the cockles of me heart.

Artist’s books show

What a lovely little show! Paula MacGregorpaula sm

and the other volunteers at Slack have mounted this widely varied selection of books really well using the limited resources at hand. I thank them for all the hard work and dedication it must have taken. A special mention must go to Chris Clarke – who is responsible for the ‘mathematical equations and the unique logistics of hanging the work’.  He is also a very personable bloke what has offered me advice on how I can improve my ‘talk and prance’ act! And of course my abject apology for accusing him of setting up the wrong track on Thursday nicht! I had just zoomed into the clouds reading the amalgam poem and I did not recognize the music so I hurled some nearly expletive deleted…s at him, something about not being able to get the staff… which he took graciously in his long stride (he’s about 6 foot 4!) and he put the next track on and THAT was the wrong ‘un, so there i were blithering away and he got it right and am sure I heard him whisper, ‘Shut up you twinkle toed prancer, just DANCE!’, but then again maybe he didn’t? Bless him.

Paula MacGregor has some lovely assemblages of interesting items picked up from second hand shops which she combines cleverly with her knowledge of making books. I liked the use of scrolls.

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Sandie Cottee I think I am right in saying Sandee uses a ring binder machine to create some of her books which feature lots of collages. Many of her books ‘tell stories’ using ‘upcycled materials’.

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Karen Dennison Karen is mainly a poet but she like to illustrate hers and others’ work. She is working on multi-layered imagery. I added the layer of the windows reflected in the glass.

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Helen Armstrong Bland has done some brave complex folding using maps and images of people in which her stories emerge in ‘reconstructed narratives’.

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Chris Rushton makes astounding books with dyed papers which she tears and folds in complicated ways sometimes adding words in her exquisite hand. Texture, pattern and shape abound.

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 Wendy Allen has done really tiny but significant books of late using letterpress and stitching. She is another book artist using the ancient art of scrolls but with an intricate swirl of stitches alongside words.

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 Ailsa Clarke has only one book in the show but it is very beautiful it’s hand-drawn words and marbled paper with careful folds enhanced by ‘scarlet thread’ looks like a bridge astraddle a river.

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David Howe has sent in one of his unique ‘books’ with pages in a grid made of twigs which echo the window panes. His use of natural materials and the play of textures, pattern and space is always exciting. It is possible to read the words but I see them more as another texture, woven words symbolising signs for language.

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Miranda Campbell has also used things from the woods to hold her beautifully curved stories on paper strips. Her ‘normal’ bookwork is ace and then she makes these wonderful book-sculptures.

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Paul Garcia has taken to book-binding like a mathematician takes to Escher’s work and his output has the twists & turns of that Dutch master printer especially in the lovely red ink of his Celtic Knotted illustration. His attention to detail in his leather sculptured book in a box with a concave hole produced by the receding holes growing smaller reminds me of the apple shaped holes in my book ApulGold which is replicated in his rendition into which Garcia has put an infinite amount of skill and dedication into his work.

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Pete Kennedy (talking about me) has put in a new concertina book showing images which he took of barges in the early 1980s. The quote from Joseph Conrad rings around the red sails. Also showing is the original jar shaped composition for the pages of Inside This Earthen Vessel.

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David Jury has brought his wonderful version of Inside This Earthen Vessel which Paula has exhibited alongside the original. This set of prints show David’s requisite skill as a letterpress printer. Also congrats to Paula MacGregor and Pete Smith for the hanging. I love the posters of David’s letterpress set up which show the difficult task he had bringing together all of those differing fonts.

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Sally Chinea has made some beautiful book-sculpture stories with which I complete this short report

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The image of the cells at the back of the police station tells its own story of the history of this remarkable place.

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Newcastle Hatton gallery & the Baltic

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Sound art at the Hatton gallery Newcastle

10.30 hrs, 27.1.15

Attendant ‘Ray’ says, ‘It’s quite interesting…more than you’d think…but there’s other galleries [rooms] thru there…’. His voice (not quiet) adds to the sound as Danny Bright’s sound art show ‘Ghosting the Periphery’ begins. http://www.bogstandardaudio.co.uk/

Man (Ray) on a phone (that’s an attendant called Ray not the great artist bloke who did Rayographs!) …footsteps (on the loop) across wooden floorboards…electronic sound akin to Brian Eno (?)…7-8 minutes in a sound like a didgeridoo… am facing two pillars

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The minimalist atmosphere heightens my senses, I’m ‘looking’ at these pillars and the light from the windows. Beebeep Beebeep Beebeep from the desk area adds to the noises, more from the student shop area in the foyer adds or distracts? Another attendant on the desk mumbles on the phone…ancient domed skylites above

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Foyer voices overpowering. Subtle sounds at 16 minutes…real footsteps and Sneeze from deskman who begins talking with Ray. 18 minutes sounds like bins rattling…Australian girl’s voice from the foyer very loud…quiet creaking floorboards from behind, it’s Ray walking on his rounds.

I expected a light show from what I saw on the post card. In fact a light show would enhance the sounds. The light from the windows etc was doing a light show of its own. The minimalist atmosphere really heightens my senses.

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Like when I awoke today at 04.20 hrs 4.2.15 and looked to the sky, not an elephant’s eye no, only/just the nearly full moon and a ‘star’ which happened to be Jupiter. What more would you want? Earth’s satellite and a planet from our Solar System!

T’other rooms were full of good stuff too. Kurt Schwitter’s Merzbarn wall

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resides there and his sound poem Ursonate inspired ‘Ghosting the Periphery’. http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/hatton-gallery/latest/news/new-sound-installation-to-reflect-on-hatton-039-s-history.html

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Also showing at Hatton is a peter Yates exhibition. Yates was a colleague of Richard Hamilton at Newcastle art college: http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/hatton-gallery/whats-on/exhibitions/peter-yates-paintings-1939-1982.html I really like the way the curator of the show mounted these images in a pyramid shape which is so much more exciting than just setting them in a line at eye level. Especially when you see that the images refer to triangles and pyramid forms.

All this Schwitter’s stuff has it seems influenced me too and last night I finished preparing a reading for the new bookart show at Slack Space in Colchester from the version of my poem created by David Jury. I have typed it up as it is on the letterpress page with the subtext in there too and it’s going to be interesting trying to read it. I hope I don’t go off into a sound wail to match Schwitters! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L6mbZalg8E  (This is a wonderful intro to his work.)

And here’s one of my poems from the DJ pages:

Let’s Go, Ego

Deep inside the jug swirling & Dancing Getting up with Sophia  And living Finding symbols from the ancient of days. Peeping behind the curtain of   appearances and finding  the word hidden within. In Mystic Synchronistic swing each With his Gnostic ring ting ding  C G Jung deciphers your dreams Moment as With a ring a ding a ding SING  Fighting the monster of the It comes, without fear deep  In the dark sea of Sometimes profoundly well Metanoia night.  Plunging into the deep abyss of Nekzia  Rising astraddle a silver steed All past masters dance to greet him. Clinging to nothing Other he reaches balance. Synchronicity is everywhere, Nothing  Times comes from happenchance.  Contacting the eternal source He realises his place With a Badly, altogether sadly RING A (there’s nothing wrong with that) DING TIW NIH

So, if you got the time and the notion be there, the reading is in the 7-8 pm section.

OK so the open event was good, the show is great and I did my ‘reading’ along with 4 others, see my report which I shall post on Sunday.

And then I went into the Baltic which is quite a big noise gallery in Gateshead. I loved the small exhibition of a winner of a prize for last year’s MA students. Mo Coade MA had some images of beautiful colours made in the river by pollution from a glass factory (?) and two screens showing film of the riverside where the colours change with the ebb and flow of the water oh the beauty of pollution!

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I followed my nose up to the library which has grown exponentially in the past 10 years under the guiding hand of Gary Malkin. Here he is looking at my rubber stamp from my new book Inside This Earthen Vessel which prompted him to tell the tale of when he worked in London making rubber stamps. A call came from the set of Octopussy for an urgent need to make a stamp which they needed to use as a fake tattoo on a Bond girl’s back. He had to explain there was no helicopter landing pad near the stampworks, so they sent a motorbike around.

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I mentioned that I do artists books and he asked to see some and he liked what he saw acquiring two for their collection then he took me and showed me the artist’s book archive which is the next part of the library he’d like to develop. Baltic has already got a strong tie with the world of artist’s books, in 2003 they had a big exhibition of them curated by Clive Phillpot who compiled an informed ‘catalogue’ of views & opinions on artist’s books at the time in ‘Outside of the Dog’. There’s a difficulty displaying artist’s books as they, or many of them, don’t necessarily fit into normal shelves. Gary intends to give access to the archive where folks can then open the archival boxes. I look forward to my next visit to Newcastle to view the growing archive.