Category Archives: Zen

Bath Spa ‘Beyond Words’

‘Making Beyond Words’ Symposium at Corsham Court 16-17th June 2017

kayla rose

Dr. Kayla Rose said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their participation at Making Beyond Words at Corsham Court [Bath Spa University] this past weekend. It was a great day for us, with an incredibly high standard of work from our speakers and exhibitors, as well as fantastic engagement from all who attended.

Creativity and collaboration are at the heart of what we do here and we are inspired by your passion for word, image and concrete poetry.” and

“Thanks to Michael Pennie, who, along with Fiona Cassidy, put together an absolutely fabulous exhibition.”

a programme

I loved the wonderful programme booklet designed so exquisitely by Matthew Robertson & beautifully printed by Ripe Digital. I adore the way the numbers have been placed on pages, will use that in ma work one day. I love the black, grey and orange used to print the words and the layout with all the white space. Quite simply, it’s beautifully designed.

It set the scene as John Strachan opened the symposium and Stephen Bann delivered the Keynote lecture on the late Ian Hamilton Finlay’s work in Concrete poetry and other forms. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/nov/16/ian-hamilton-finlay-concrete-poetry

The following day was full of good talks, the great exhibition in which was my poem cycle ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’ letterpress printed by David Jury and referred to in the programme by Michael Pennie amongst ‘the other treasures’, [thanks Michael, and Josie Reed and Fiona Cassidy for the hanging with the lovely cover page looking like a nose!]

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Our prints were hung alongside some of the ‘greats’ in the field including Dom Silvester Houedard, ‘…the leading theorist of the concrete poetry movement’ and b s johnson, what an honour.

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 Now let my photos take you through the days;

 charles vereyCharles Verey

Who is working towards a biography about Dom Silvester Houedard (aka DSH) did the first talk and began to fill in my missing knowledge about the man who said

‘a poet is someone…

whose art matter is LANGUAGE…

communication by the ‘langue’

the tongue…

by any means WHATSOEVER.’

[Which would by corollary include spoken word or even sound, like the sound poems of Henry Chopin & Kurt Schwitters. /sonic experiments like http://avant.org/artifact/liz-phillips/%5D

viv

Viviane Carvalho da Annunciacao talked about the work of  The Noigandres group in Brazil and its relations with Scottish poetartists like Ian Hamilton Finlay & Edwin Morgan. [The Noigandres group, which takes its name from a neologism* found in an Ezra Pound poem, was formed in 1952 by the Sao Paolo poets Haroldo de Campos, Augusto de Campos, and Décio Pignitari. * a newly coined word or expression.]

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Nicola Simpson

Talked about Houedard’s collaboration with students at Bath Spa uni. On how she has found some of the beautiful work done back then tucked away in people’s garages.

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Tim (Mitch) Fletcher

I had a nice chat with ‘Mitch’ before he spoke and it turns out he values the work of Henri Chopin https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/feb/05/poetry.culture    whose work was beautifully displayed at Firstsite in Colchester some years ago. Mitch thought that Ingatestone is out in the sticks like Camulodunum but I informed him that no it’s a Ingatestone’s throw frae Londinium.

He gave a great intro to the work of the much missed at this symposium John Furnival which has come not a moment too late to flag up the need to rescue so much of the work done by the early practitioners in Concrete poetry and related media.

Whilst Chopin was creating his merveilleux (marvelous) Typewriter poems (also known as dactylopoèmes) Furnival & Davies were making ‘Feelie Boxes’ which are kinda scary cos they put stuff in boxes into which you couldn’t see but were asked to place your hands to discover ‘things’ with differing surface texture. There was nought sinister about em, they were in fact reminiscent of surrealist boxes like those of Max Ernst and Joseph Cornell (who died in 1972). Furnival & Davies also collaborated on electro-acoooustic music and unusual score-sheets after the style of John Cage.

My immediate feeling for music of any kind is that I love to hear much of it but am no ‘player’, however Cage mage it possible for anyone to ‘make music’. [Did you know that Velvet Underground’s John Cale spent time working for/with Cage?]

I missed the Roundtable discussion because I exercised my right to go out for walkies to a second hand shop I saw the night before and I bought a beautiful Corgi toy car model of the Vanwall racer http://www.grandprixhistory.org/vanwall.htm which Stirling Moss drove in when I were a youngster. As I walked down the road I thought to myself that exercising this privilege was not my habit in my college and school days, but I wished I had, then I may have missed many a boring lecture some of which are mentioned in my new A4 Shrewd Idiot book which is about my student days from 1969-73 exactly coinciding with much of the early work discussed and treasured by this symposium. I was touched, nay tainted, by many of the influences that the early concrete poets were looking to. [I had to mention it (A4SI) didn’t I, cos I can! Much more about it in ma next blArt. Like Neil Young, “I’m still living the dream we had, for me it’s not over.”]

Leandro Maia

Did a great talk assisted by his own song and constant movement about the influence of Concrete Poetry on popular Brazilian song. I loved his solo rendition of Palavra Nao e Coisa. I took a copy (which am yet to pay for, it’s very good, am hearing it for the first time right now, then I’ll get in contact with Leandro to settle up) of his Palavreio cd on which he shows his virtuoso skills on instruments, voice and electronics. I’d like to get access to those footpedals he uses, one records it live the other puts it on repeat and projects the sound…wow, let me get my hands on one of them!

leandro Maia gear tiny

I’m afraid I am going to flash thru the last couple of talks as my time has run out.

mike collier

Conor Wilson

Did an interesting talk on how the maker & audience might become an object among objects…’ and how his poem, A Game of JUG is influenced by the image-text-ground playing field of concrete.

conor wilson

Mike Collier

Did a talk on how he walks the ‘urban Edgelands’ and has created WALK-‘Walking, Art, Landskip & Knowledge’

tom clark

Tom Clark

Gave us more info about subtle use of positioning words & white space on pages of books to create different interpretations.

As I had a heads up from John Strachan that Tom Clark (Thomas A. Clark * http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poetry/poets/thomas-clark ) is ‘one of the best’ I took notes during his talk.

He began showing a fairly traditionally layed out poem with ‘default set at left margin justified’

‘writing is a fluid ongoing activity, making is a static process’

He shows a four line poem, ‘distributed or constellated in space which can enter intimately into the whole sense of the poem’, then he shows ‘extensions of the stanza break(s)’ with ‘space & Time for perception’ where ‘the (white) space is of value’. So we see two double page spreads with the firsthaving a blank page left and the four line verse top of the right hand page, then the second spread having (say) a six line verse to left and a 3 line verse to right side.

He then showed a book with a poem in which comprised double spreads with just one word to right hand page, ‘flowing’ and the poem was about a river which flows, indicated by one word every other page.

“My (Moschatel) Press has been an investigation into presentation as an aspect of form.  A book is as a glade, a bright space in a forest.” He mentions his publishing of post card(poem)s. Talks of the no need to ‘Blow a whole poem up big on a wall’ Because, ‘You only misunderstand the opportunity…No…Only use small texts’. I think he means that postcard size is just as, maybe more, powerful than making BIG for the sake of it, just because you can.

http://thomasaclarkblog.blogspot.co.uk/

“In 1973, with the artist Laurie Clark, he started Moschatel Press. At first a vehicle for small publications by Ian Hamilton Finlay, Cid Corman, Jonathan Williams, Simon Cutts and others, it soon developed into a means of formal investigation within his own poetry, treating the book as imaginative space, the page as a framing device or as quiet around an image or a phrase, the turning of pages as revelation or delay.

From 1986, Laurie and Thomas A Clark have run Cairn Gallery, one of the earliest of ‘artist-run spaces’” Scottish Poetry Library.

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Then John Strachan invited Christina Slade to close proceedings and we had to scarper the premises so that the peacocks could return to their peaceful haven uninterrupted.

a trampled liceSadly this ancient resident was trampled underfoot in the haste to leave.

m pennie + fiona cassidy maybe

(Photo of Michael Pennie & Fiona Cassidy is not mine I am grateful to the Net for it.)

Michael Pennie

Altho Michael Pennie did not speak from the front he spoke eloquently in his selection of the works on display in the beautiful exhibition [which must be the shortest lifespan of any I have ever witnessed (about 2 hours)] and which Fiona so ably assisted with the hanging.

I was so happy to see David’s wonderful letterpress prints referred to in Michael’s note in the programme as one of the treasures. He also made very affirming noises about the bound copy of the prints which I was showing Josie Reed. Thanks Michael, and Josie for suggesting our work to him.

Finally- During one of the morning talks I saw a slide which showed some old letterpress prints in which the maker in attempting to illustrate how the ‘sublime god displaces man(kind)’ using ‘disorientating typographical design’ had created a diagonal dagger like shape in a piece about, ‘the panther profecy’ (his spellin). I saw an incredible affinity between that print and the one David Jury had done of my Beuys Poem in our collaboration, Inside This Earthen Vessel.

dj's diagonal2David created the diagonal on his set up using a metal rod and he sawed the wooden letter in two to add to the concept of the jug being split asunder as it hits the floor a direct comparison with Beuys’ alleged crash. I was happy to see Josie Reed also noticed in the same panther page a synchronistic link to my Earthen Vessel analogy in the words ‘a Potter’s wheel’ printed some 100 years ago.

peacock majestic

And thanks to my long standing friends Gus & Linda Fraser for once again giving me a place to stay so I could attend this wonderful event.

IF you are in the Colchester area this Friday 30th June come and  join us at Firstsite gallery at 7.15 pm. I shall be reading a new poem based on my Appleheadman Sees screenprints from 1972. You’ll see that not much has changed, same old same old song of woe song of innocence song of hope.http://www.firstsite.uk/whats-on/reading-music-evening-educaid-sierra-leone/

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Be my Homeward Dove

‘Lift me like an olive branch

Be my Homeward Dove’

Leonard Cohen

Poet

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Be my Homeward Dove

On Friday night I took part in a series of readings for EducAid in Colchester Sixth form college. The main contribution was my Beuys ‘Sliding thru Eurasia’ poym. However I want to read one of Cohen’s pieces if given the time.

Thanks to Jim Pey for giving me the opportunity to ‘perform’ last night  and my friends Richard & Shelley who joined me and really seemed to enjoy the evening of poems & readings in Colchester on behalf of EducAid. http://www.educaid.org.uk/

This is from my Inside This Clay Jug poems.

Here he comes now over the hill! Sliding … Gliding…

Joseph Beuys with his Celtic roots

Sweeping…and…

Dancing down the backbone of England

Along the Pennine Way

 

Please “Don’t mention the War”

(in which)

He served the Luftwaffe in the air up there

(appropriate bomber diving sounds)

We each of us has a cross to bear

 

He says he piloted a Stuka bomber

Then he all fell down and broke his crown.

He went flying from the cock-pit and cracked his skull

Maybe that was what loosened his slates?

 

So who were these mysterious ‘Tartar Shamans’

Who pulled him from the burning wreck?

They were Siberian nomads

Who wrapped him up in felt and fat

Which later on he used for sculpture, just like that!

 

Swooping… down to Poland on a sled

In his waistcoat with his homburg on his head

He alone put the wrongs of the 3rd Reich to bed

 

‘Join up’ he told Eurasia… ‘Show me your friendly nature’

 

‘Everyone can be an artist’ (don’t you know?)

‘Just let your honey in all directions flow

Draw yourself in to the spiral vor…text

Why don’t you come with me little man On My Magic Blackboard Ride

 

Meet up with Hermann Hesse

Fellow Wanderer on the mountain paths

Dancing down the Backbone of Italy

Along the Appennine Way

 

We are not humans We are dancers

Swirling and whirling

Along the road down Destiny’s Inscrutable Was

It was lovely to see some of the audience smiling as I moved thru mi Beuys ‘poym’ “Explaining Beuys To A Dead Woodpecker”. Funny as you look around when you’re doing summat like that. There’s a nervousness at trying to remember the words and the nuances, yet nowadays I feel can bring in some of the audience with a little look. I try to gauge reaction/interest, altho it’s never a perfect science, I think I am learning to ‘read’ an audience better. That allows me to stay with something that’s ‘working’ and move quickly on if it isn’t.

“Dance Me To The End Of Love” Len Cohen

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in

Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove

Dance me to the end of love

Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone

Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon

Show me slowly what I only know the limits of

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on

Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long

We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born

Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn

Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in

Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove

Dance me to the end of love

I did my take on reading the above song as a poem  and I thought it wonderful how a couple of the other participants recounted their Len Cohen experiences reflected against my story of not seeing the man, whereas they had! It was not so much a mourning as a real delight in what he stood for and emanated with a panache and quite grace. I agree with the last speaker who said that he, on having the opportunity to meet and speak with LC, said thru a post event party-champagne haze, that Len was good no matter what others may think. It still applies. I loved when he did Glastonbury and gained thousands of new fans. Here he sings ‘Anthem’- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJSlpEb_jFk

There’s a poignant story about the girl in his song Marianne which is told in the Telegraph Obituary on 19.8.2016 about Cohen’s erstwhile love Marianne Ihlen who “spent her time since 1979 working in the personnel department of an oil company, painting and exploring Tibetan Buddhism.She remained in touch with Cohen, though when he performed in Oslo in 2010, she attended the concert without going backstage. But she sensed that he knew she was there.

When Cohen heard that Marianne was dying of leukaemia, he wrote to her: “Well, Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and for your wisdom … but now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”

Now he can join her again without hurting anyone as we are all destined to travel down the inscrutable road of destiny, one day.

I was lucky to get tickets to see Dave McKean at the Tate Brit on Sunday 13th doing his Black Dog gig and talk . I am hoping to be able to get some more live images of him. Here’s one of the results from last time I saw him.

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St Dave

Leonard Cohen, I have been a fan since someone compared my artworks to his sad songs in a derogatory way in about 1976. I love his use of words. The way he counterbalanced beauty and high note with the beast and his low tones.

 

During my previous incarnation as a teacher I managed to ‘sing’ his ‘Dance me to the end of love’ to an entrapped audience of other teachers (they deserved it!). Luckily my assistant was a young Canadian who could sing well. Half way thru the ‘performance’ the Head of Science stole the show by dancing into the centre of the stage dressed in a tutu. I think Leonard would have smiled benignly!

Which he’s doing now, looking back at the human pace.

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Len Cohen drawn in 2008

Shalom & Namaste! 

 

LC was born a Jew and later adopted Buddhist monk Sasaki Roshi as his mentor.

https://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/zenord.html

all images ©pete kennedy 2016

Oh Superb Woman

Laurie Anderson at Tate Modern

I headed up to London cos I needed to find Quark in order to iron over some of my concerns about a lack of contact details, it’s very hard to find out anything to do with the functions and possibilities of their package. Fortunately the man who came down to see me when I discovered their offices proved very helpful so I shall probably plough on with it.

The other reason I went to London was cos Laurie Anderson was scheduled to be at a showing of her film Heart of a Dog. We had some difficulty getting there, partly cos I headed off t’ward Tate Britain in the rain (It’s not an ‘age ting’ it’s always been like that, I spent most my life heading off in the wrong direction or up the wrong path!) and the gig was at Tate Modern.

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Andrea Lissoni talking with Laurie Anderson

It’s her take on her pet terrier Lolabelle’s death and on dying in general. It’s not morbid in any way and in fact she pays a discreet tribute to her late husband Lou Reed, playing him singing as the final moment in the film with a lovely dedication. In fact it’s about finding love, particularly that of her mother, and accepting (or accommodating) death. She also talks of being “in the gap between the moment which is expiring & the one that is arising”, a place akin to where the Buddhists ‘bring the scattered mind home’ in their practice of ‘mindfulness’ where you can find calm abiding in which ‘all your negativity is disarmed, your aggression dissolved and your confusion slowly evaporates as the awareness of clear seeing awakens in you’ through time spent in quiet meditation.

I believe that Laurie Anderson has visited these spaces over a long period in her life and those of us fortunate to watch and listen to her work can be drawn towards her peace-full places.

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You can listen to about 2 mins of it if yu go to this link and scroll down to “Watch the trailer”: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/film/laurie-anderson-heart-dog

It gives a brief impression of the lovely narration Laurie gives all of her works. She really does tell the tale so well.

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We were ushered in and luckily placed on the very back row. It is a beautiful piece in which Laurie narrates the tale of her adopted dog in its last days, which gives her an opportunity to mention at least two Rinpoches whose advice she seems to access. (Rinpoches don’t seem to come down my neck of the woods but I am sure they hang around in Laurie’s.) [Hey do a sketch of Rinpoches in Lorries! consider it done, it’s all in me mind! In fact I may already have done it without really knowing that I had. I created a 3D work which I call Lorryhead, which is a Buddha with a lorry cab for a head.]

A Rinpoche Lorry Now!

lorryhead tiny kb
LorryHead Rinpoche

About 12 years ago I bought a cd of her 2001 reading The Body Artist by Don DeLillo in which she employs her mesmerizing and soothing tones to read his book. I never got to the end of the 3 hour piece cos I rarely stay still that long but now I shall return and listen to the end. She always seems to have an aura of expectation in her vocals, as if something is about to occur and if it already did there seems to be an expectant or pregnant ‘looking back’.

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I was fortunate to be able to take a series of photos from different vantage points which I said to Laurie I’d like to use in ma blog if that was ok as I handed her my card so she can come in and see this ting and she replied, “Yes you can, do that”. And I will.

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After Words

Tell me the old old story……………………………..So, that’s how it is, is it?

I prevented the flash operating in all my shots so the images don’t have sharp highlights but most importantly nobody got upset or distracted by my flashing. Jumping Jack No Flash they call me.

There’s one or two images of her I’d like to use to paint her portrait but it’s unlikely to happen nowadays as I am a Performance Artist and Bukman Blogga Bloke norra oil painter of the auld skool. But you never know.

And then there was Chiara Ambrosia’s ‘question’ which was more of a statement of affirmation of Laurie’s film and it impact on the emotions. Chiara started and so she continued until she had finished and it seemed to tickle Laurie.

laurie anderson tate (16) toned Chiara smChiara Ambrosia

Afterwards when I congratulated Chiara on her ‘thesis’ we realised we had met before and that she was well into bookart as well as film. I got this incredible shot of us standing in the foyer at Tate with me looking like the man with the light for a head.

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Chiara stands next to a bloke with the light in his head and Mikey Kirkpatrick in the corridors of th’Tate.

I have loved Laurie’s stuff ever since I first heard her do Oh Superman and this vid encapsulates her in all her glory:

Laurie Anderson’s Oh Superman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH2x5pARGdE#t=496.136

and Bowie’s version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5dRY_EHMjU

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Thanks Laurie, Namaste

Images and writing (c) pete kennedy 2016

Thanks for the great gig Laurie and thanks for saying you don’t mind if i use the images of you.

,

From Vanuatu With Log

For some reason my blog about the d c age has become popular in Russia. Don’t know why but in the past 3 days there’s been 6 views of it, all from Russia. https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/so-we-live-in-the-digital-cybernetic-age-the-d-c-age-digital-cage/

 Top Views of ma blog for 7 days ending 2016-04-18:

Country Views
United Kingdom 16
Russia 11
United States 8
France 4
Germany 4
Ireland 3
India 2
Singapore 1
Morocco 1
Spain 1
South Korea 1

In fact my blArty blog gets viewed from all round the globe. It’s nice to tink that my words & images may be interesting folk from places I never even heard of like Vanuatu, a country in Oceania.

(Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly 80 islands that stretch 1,300 kilometres, Fiji is near it.

Anyway, back to my normal patter.

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I recommend a visit to Chris Ruston’s wonderful show of her Ammonite books at the natural History Museum in Colchester. The display is a little dark but that is for reasons of protection against the damage light can do to delicate tissue. I also had difficulty photographing it cos a nice curator woman approached me and said I had to have Chris’s express written permission to do so. Well in fact Chris sent me these great photos which I cannot equal so here they are.

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The future looks bright Chris! Love the scissors.

Another ‘copyright’ issue prevents me placing the touching poem written about refugees in 1938 by W H Auden. You can find a copy at http://www.ppu.org.uk/learn/poetry/poetry_against1.html

It is so apt for today! Take out the reference to Jews and Hitler and replace them with any of the peoples fleeing dictators and assassins and other groups who take it upon themselves to destroy rather than create and maintain. Auden’s words are totally appropriate for the way the world still treats people in fear of their lives and who have felt it necessary to traverse danger to try to reach a safe haven. Damn it, he could have written it yesterday, or even today!

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I just love the shape of this old tree stump.

To finish off I have to rejoice about my new very old cross-cut saw and the way it cuts thru wood. It’s taken some sorting out and I am so grateful to Richard saw-sharpener extraordinaire at Haydons in Braintree who sharpened and set it so that I could make these lovely pieces.

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Notice the Jackson Pollock stain done by one of the birds in ma garden!

My objective was to be able to cut up a willow tree which fell about 2 years ago and on the way I had to overcome some obstacles not least my weak muscles. I see it as a zen ting. The tree could be cut by chain saw but I insist on using the less noisy old fashioned crosscut saw. I always like to tackle the near impossible. Don’t know why but there it is. It’s an old willow tree which fell over in strong winds and it’s very very stubborn. The saw worked wonderfully on the much denser rootball from which I cut those beautiful shapes but this darned tree is taking hours to cut thru. still, I got nothing else to do, I am retired aren’t I?

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See you at the Laurie Anderson gig at Tate Modern this Friday nicht if you can get there. Bless.

Every snowflake lands in its own place

I am pleased to share that Alice Springs News online in, Australia, ran a beautiful article (most of which I compiled) about an old friend of mine Ken Perry who died recently titled, “Jindalee Pioneer Ken Perry dies”. (December 5, 2015) http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2015/12/05/jindalee-pioneer-ken-perry-dies/

The opening paragraph helped me understand even more the essence of Ken’s achievement. The editor, Erwin Chlanda, was a pilot who had flown over Ken’s radar installation on many occasions so he has a good knowledge of the terrain. “Intruding aircraft can fly just a few feet above the sea, below the cover of microwave defence radars: In order to track this threat, with his expertise in microwave, Ken Perry oversaw the development and production of high frequency surface wave “over-the-horizon” (OTH) radar, with a huge antenna spread for a kilometer or so on the ground off the Yuendumu Road, north-west of Alice Springs and a second similar facility is north of the Plenty River Road.” Getting some recognition and spreading the news about Ken’s accomplishments is not my main aim in life but it arose out of my admiration for the way he ran his life and his great modesty and generosity of spirit. Ken was alive with intelligence and was always thinking of his family and how he might help them progress. All of his daughters became graduates and his grandchildren seem to be trumping their achievements with first class honours at some big universities in a wide range of subjects. Ken never emphasised how clever he was, he would just rally round them all when they were growing up and help them to understand maths and science in particular. He lived his interests and shared his abilities.

I think that is a good way to go about my life too. Of course my main area has been in Art and ken was not au fe with ‘art’ so he would ask searching questions about my latest zany idea until he got a better grasp of what I was saying or hinting at.

My aim has been fairly constant over the years, to bring a lively enquiry into the field of creative art and to create ‘original’ works. Over the years it became clear to me that nothing is ever purely ‘original’ cos everything has precursors and all of us are inspired by or detest earlier example and we either pick it up and run with it (appropriation?) or attempt to do the opposite. On 1.12.2004 I was looking back on my Nonogon Show in Colchester library in 2000

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 and planning an assault on Tate Modern with it which as you know didn’t happen yet. More importantly, when I make these dastardly plans I often reflect on where I been and wur am goin. I wrote these now very prophetic words, “My public personae would be like a mix of Joseph Beuys, Ken Campbell and Keith Haring.” Well, in fact, I drew like Haring before Haring did, so there’s no surprise there. I was already looking into Beuys and was very intrigued by Beuy’s antics, I was drawn to ‘performance art’ before I had a real idea of what it was about. I watched Ken Campbell perform at Brentwood theatre where he would often prep his stuff ready for his London shows. I remember walking into one and being bowled over by his strange props. It struck a bell in my head which is still resounding, or is that what they call tinnitus? I think that my projection about my future persona is still playing out.

  • I read somewhere* this week that we, us Ubeings (that’s my non-gender word fer Umans) are not like we often see ourselves like a standing stone person/personality forever set, we are more like a flowing stream or river that is constantly moving and shifting as we alter with the passing moments the sum total of which make up each of our lives. Or as the Tibetan Buddhists put it, this Bardo of Living we find ourselves in (or don’t for that matter). I love this comment on life from a zen master, “The snow falls, each flake in its appropriate place.” In other words, there is a meaning to every thing that happens even if we don’t understand it to begin with (that reminds me of Tai Chi), turn turn turn you whirling dervish. Or just listen to Judy Collins when she were young https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3kKqfTjsj0

*Deepak Chopra said via Carla McKay, “we all tend to see our bodies as ‘frozen sculptures’- solid, fixed, material objects- when in thruth, thye are more like rivers, constantly flowing patterns of intelligence…”

  • I have just made a lovely shift which combined my desire to meditate along with my gathering ability at yoga. I get so stressed out when I can’t ‘meditate’ and I am pretty incompetent at yoga’s bends & twists. But I sat down on the floor and had Garbarek playing with some musicians from Pakistan going. I thought you should meditate in ‘silence’ not with music? Well no, I’m leaving this music play. OK, so go into a lotus? No I cannot. OK somewhere as close as you can? Yes but that hurts the little protuberances on the outside of my feet. That’s life, suffer! OK, so I sat as long as I could suffer it. Then I said why don’t you move your feet? Place one foot under yer bum, stretch the other out and lean forward like you try to do in Ashtanga? That’s not meditation. Is it not? Actually let go, just do it. So I did and I held it awhile then swopped sides meantime ‘meditating’, well trying to concentrate on my breath and trying to get stuff out of my head that didn’t seem appropriate. Actually I spent some minutes moving into positions I learned in various yoga classes in the past 4 years. Then I thought, hey, I am enjoying this, I’m enjoying doing my yoga and my med, with an emphasis on MY. So for the first time ever, I found myself doing my own adaptation of the things I tried so hard to learn. I can do what the teachers say when am there, but when am here I will continue to experiment, and enjoy!
  • There’s a wonderful 93 minute documentary on Wilko johnson’s acceptance that he had terminal cancer on BBC Imagine series which I find very uplifting. he says, “I am a feather for each wind that blows.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06qqrk9/imagine-autumn-2015-5-the-ecstasy-of-wilko-johnson I was lucky to see Wilko in th’early days of Dr Feelgood when I took my  famous (NOT!) photo of him.wilko hands in waistcoat tiny Wilko holding Apulhed.
  • Finally just a bit more about yoga folks. I am almost finished Carla McKay’s Reluctant Yogi and over the past 4 years I have moved totally away from the gym to concentrate on Tai Chi and Yoga where she says, “unlike pumping weights or running a marathon, yoga gives the body a complete workout increasing endurance, building strength, stretching all the muscle groups (whilst preventing injury), and stimulating organs…” I’d drink to that if I drank! Having given up booze 4 years now I realise it was the inner soul preparing me for my journey down Yoga Way turning into Tai Chi twists. McKay also says that K. Pattabhi Jois who developed Ashtanga yoga out of Hatha yoga by adding a dynamic flow called vinyasa lived until he was 93, that’ll do for me, I have 28 years left, should give me time to get known on the Performance Art circuit. I contacted Live Art in London very near to where  I live. I was hoping to pop in to chat with some real players but got told to wait til next summer and then join them in their workshops, “Please do sign up for our newsletter where you’ll receive useful information about our work and other Live art opportunities and keep your eye out for calls for next year’s DIY programme – artist-led workshops.” I was hoping to do some performance art stuff before that, otherwise what i learned at IPA may disappear into my mists of time. Krishnamurti says we got to just go with the flow, like the river does. He revealed his secret to life, “Don’t mind what happens” he said. Or doesn’t maybe? (cf Wilko’s feather blowing in the wind.)
  • listen to snowflakes dancing
    Here’s Debussy’s beautiful original version
  • and Tomita’s electronic take on it at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM7X4mHEmPw

Namaste

Let’s Do It, Live Art…

‘Whilst Live Art remains elusive to most mainstream commentators its influence is pervasive, and intriguingly the concept of performativity – its central tenet’ from an article by LADA (Live Art Development Agency) Director Lois Keidan that appeared in Guardian Online on 22 October 2015 when I was half way thru the two week course led by Jurgen Fritz which has totally re-aligned my thinking on what my art is, was and forever more will BE. I am so determined to do Performance Art in my future and have just come across a conversation involving a friend I made (Andrea Pagnes http://www.vest-and-page.de/ ) at the IPA fortnight with a man whose work totally blew me away when I discovered it in a book that I saw at the bookshop in the National Theatre (I’ve yet to see anything other than photos of the man), Ron Athey. Their conversation gets to the hub of the issues in PA and altho I am a novice by comparison I felt so privileged that both Vest & Page said such wonderfully constructive things to me about my efforts. I received so much encouragement to carry on. Recently I have heard it said that ‘art’ is a minority interest (but today on Anglia BBC morning news they tell me “Creative Industries are worth £76 billion per annum to the ‘Economy’- why don’t i see any o that?), well it may be a minority interest to some but it’s been my obsession now for 48 years. I still have some more to say and it will be thru PA/Live Art which is so much more demonstrative in its appreciation than the ‘art world’ [sorry art-world but I been trying to make a dent on you fer 48 years and the door won’t budge! At least when I do Live Art they clap and cheer (when I get off)]Hee Hee.

v & p latex dancers

That’s Andrea in the mask on right hand side.

Some words from Andrea Pagnes in conversation with Ron Athey,

AP‘… the richness and uniqueness that can emanate from personal experience, lived life and the consequent artistic research which arises directly from the deepest inclinations and existential urgencies of an individual.’

‘…when performance art intersects life directly and uncompromisingly, and draws on the most basic instincts, processes and transforms the deeper reasons and urgencies of Man’s presence in the world … it is revelatory: a sincere, transformative experience on human scale.’

RA says, ‘…How, in any medium, to bring something esoteric to

life, how to disturb a given, how to represent the super natural.’

AP you have … challenged conventional bourgeois mores, tastes and expectations

…by addressing viscerally emerging social hypocritical worries…’

RA performance art today… is not populist. Why not do benefits/write for funds/self produce in an amazing site-specific place? Cuz it is so much work but so worth it!

 I love the bit about ‘the richness and uniqueness that can emanate from personal experience’ and that underpinned what 3 of my course leaders said to me. Andrea saw the natural clown/fool in me in two settings which he commented on. I see from the vids on V&P website that he has done much work with clowns.http://www.vest-and-page.de/#!the-smile-at-the-top-of-the-ladder/c1orh

They all encouraged me to use my life experience in my PA, something which comes easy to me I must say as I’ve reached a point in my life where I treasure every moment I have lived and I am ready to go out there and bring my stuff to folks in a variety of settings. At IPA I used some of my Ashtanga Yoga practice in some of my pieces, particularly the Jug Dance but there were other ‘moves’ and references too. Ashtanga Yoga is a fairly vigourous form which emanated from the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya thru his pupil K. Pattabhi Jois. Another of his students B K S Iyengar popularised his Iyengar form in Britain from the 1960s. The main difference as far as I can see is that Iyengar encourages the use of aids like cushions to ease the new student into the forms that can be somewhat excrutiating for a long time for starters. I for one have massive difficulty trying to do a lotus position but no matter, you do what you can and you gradually move towards perfection.The good thing is people do yoga into their 90’s which is fortunate cos I never started til I were in ma 60’s!arnolfini outside jug dance smPhoto by Nicole Murmann (thanks!)

This is not Yoga it is Performance Art, why? cos PA is what the artis says it is, Jurgen told us that, didn’t he?

I discovered a book on yoga which I’d recommend to anyone who wants to know its benefits, it’s called, The Reluctant Yogi by Carla McKay http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15000943-the-reluctant-yogi

I have been doing yoga once or twice a week and now I am so glad I began as it’s obvious it has so many astounding benefits.

Namaste.

It’s Not All About The Money

My Future Works

venus great rainbo comestMy new book called Venus Stairs with a rainbow comet  or two on it. I made 10 for BALTIC book market and sold NONE! Good job really as there was a design fault which I spent last week rectifying. Now it’s good and it’s got a tiny diamonte diamond hidden in it too. It’s all about my big picture, Venus at the Stairs (below is a future variation on it)venustares + multi color  back smwhich my ‘performance’ at BALTIC was all about.

 If you’d like to see the performance from the weekend at BALTIC book market  Gateshead Scroll down by hitting the ‘down’ arrow, that gets the films on screen. Arrows on top left near the left lady’s bonnet will take you along to 3rd film in, the Dancing Cowboy! 45 minutes with some idiocy & dance added to serious talking about art.

  http://balticplus.uk/?tagId=38568

cowboy pete fingers gunsCowboy Pete
More on the Cowboy Pete show in my blArt next week.

Some folk make fortunes from their outputs like the old curmudgeon Cirvan de Man. Some spend lifetimes putting stuff out and still make no return. But It’s Not All About The Money, (Jesse J. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GReIQJc_1xw ). It really doesn’t matter what you do cos if it don’t catch (on to ‘public’) attention you can out-put until you are blue in the face and spend all your own time and money making your products and contribution but remain ‘in the red’. It’s about the feeling, Really. The feeling that you bring with you to; the work, the event, your life and the life of others & what you leave behind in those things- your legacy.

So, like, have you heard about Flann O’Brien? No? He was a wordsmith and a funny man & a good writer who never got ‘known’ about like his fellow Irishmen; Beckett, Joyce and or Cirvan de Man that new knight of the Realm and multi-millionaire bloke. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/vanmorrison/summertimeinengland.html

Have you ever heard about…Lisa Fischer? She’s a wonder-full singer who accompanies the Rolling Stones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4ueTukzqHY WOW, listen to her high note on the first song.

I am 100 days short of being 65 years young, in old currency that was an Old Aged Pensioner but nowadays 60 is the new 40 so where does that leave me, Forever Young? Here’s Beyonce with JayZ doing their version- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT3nAT3G1ak  That’s very different from the original Bob Dylan rendition!

So, I am a mere 100 days short of being 65! I am a fully made up man. I realised, when I opened a book on Georges Roualt in all its perfection altho written in Japanese & French from Tokyo Art Museum that my life is in perfect pitch. I need nothing more. I am happy in my 64 years and 260-odd days worn skin. Last Saturday I did my best ‘performance’ so far at BALTIC. I can see now that all my future work needs only to be my own efforts using ANYTHING I see fits, creating reflections in word, image & artefact utilising my experience, abilities, skill and all.

A friend said, “You are certainly getting noticed. I like the comment about it probably take all the two days to understand your work!” Which raises the issue of ‘understanding’ or ‘comprehending’. You don’t hear anyone say they don’t ‘understand’ Beyonce or Bob Dylan, we just enjoy. Understanding? No it’s not to do with understanding as such. It’s to do with interest. I am interested in the thing so much I wish to understand it more, then, back to the start of this piece- It’s about the feeling. The feeling that you bring with you to; the work, the event, your life and the life of others & what you leave behind in those things- your legacy.

In conclusion- Pete (c’est moi) has found a new man in himself

‘I QUIT

Barking up wrong trees

And

Chasing wil o’th’wisps

Let ‘them’ come invite me

Let them open their doors

I stop pushing

No longer

Waiting at the threshold

I AM HERE

And Now

I perform my work

In all ways

I USE any thing

I create Images & Artefacts

From all I see and find

I am not after convincing

I am not after converting

JUST BEING

I feel replete

I feel complete

I KNOW what I shall do with

The rest of my life

& Work

I got a perfec book

Georges Roualt

I know where am (Apul)headed

I no longer have compunction

Only Compassion

For my Self & Others

I Am Alive

& Well.

In 1973 my old philosophy tutor Bill Josebury and his friend Prof Daveney the Head of Philosophy at Exeter University both told me that I’d never make a fortune, not a penny, centime, dime nor yen. But I did get into zen.

NOW & ZEN

Am also looking back, way back to when I began ‘writing’ in 1969 thru the early 1970’s, in my ‘notes’ from way back zen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AACGQ0a7J0w  I am re-working my writings into The New Shrewd Idiot (same as the old one?). BUT I am going to add many images from the media of the early 70’s as accompaniment and background. Am looking to the great work of Dave McKean* as inspiration and example of ways to do ‘layouts’. I’m excited with the possibilities. I been waiting long time, now am embarking and it’s too late to stop…me NOW.

And I shall be starting to do my sculptbuks wherein am going to use all my collected detritus ‘Creetoors’ (that’s a play on the word creatures) and maybe typewriter write the werds (that’s a play on the word ‘word’)?

Now there’s a new ‘tingalingi’ thing, I think.

a postoffice full sm

Creetoors from an assemblage I did in the 1980s.

Don’t tell me you don’t understand it. We don’t really understand anything at all, only small parts of the whole of creation, our little place in the universe and even there we take years to ‘get’ what is going on, then the ground shifts or someone moves the goalposts. So looking at the above image where I used lots of materials; linen, feather, cockroach, beetle, bone, stone, pot and wood to make an assemblage of relationships between the objects. It’s not for ‘understanding it just is.

* Dave McKean shifts my ground & moves my goalposts! WOW, that man is good. His art is so good it almost kicks me into oblivion, sends me reeling. Once upon a day I gave up trying because I thought it had all been done previously and it couldn’t be improved but I learned my lesson then, DON’T GIVE UP, Keep on Keeping On, there’s a place for you, somewhere a place for you, peace and quiet and I’ll take you there… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x899P8en-qs