Volume 2 Issue 1 November 2010 Free
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ARTICLE Vol 2, Issue 1 Drift Fall 2010
Tubing is a popular American pastime, favoured particularly by Christian youth groups and frat boys. With little variation, tubing consists of sitting in an inflatable rubber donut, with your derriere poking though the middle into the river, letting your pot belly sizzle as you float in a reclined position down a four mile waterway. If you are a part of the latter group you probably drink a few beers, smoke a doob and eater some potato chips too. It’s a great way of getting outside and sight seeing without doing anything. You need not even get up to to heed nature’s call, so to speak. Part of its appeal is this apparent passivity. This issue is about not staying still, but not actively moving either, it’s about drifting. Rather than fighting to stay still, you are moving with your peers, with fashion, design, zeitgeist. It is the opposite of Punk, the opposite of being reactionary. The drift is that lazy bit that allows the ideas to connect. The pointless doodle that creates the logo, the aimless thought that leads to an idea, the pointless pub conversation that begins a semi-viable business venture. Drift is often the place where best things happen, and the mediocre too. For this issue we interviewed a range of designers, artists and musicians about how drifting, accident and mistake inform their practices and creation. We also present a fool proof guide on how to drift through life effectively, a feature on why you must move to London whether you like it or not, a piece on the drifting narrative of documentaries and finally a situationist something about drifting through a place. There is also a drift themed photo shoot of some well dressed hitch-hikers and hobos. Also in this issue is our regular Life Worth Living Section covering the best in upcoming art, zines, books, and music.
9 The Article Guide to Drifting Through Life Ben Dunmore and Ivan Rabodzeenko graphics by Ivan 12 You ARE Here? How to Drift Through Place Ivan Rabodzeenko 14 Go South All the Jobs are in London Orla Foster, research Kathryn Hall 20 Drifting Narrative Making documentaries and relying on chance Hussain Currimbhoy 25 The Life Worth Living: Books and Zines (inc. interviews with Teal Triggs and Kid Ance) Music inc. interview with Gold Panda Art The Liver Biennial Doc Fest Nottingham 40 American Drifters Proper Hobo Tales Kelly McKloskey and Ivan Rabodzeenko 44 Drifting in Brightside Fashion Shoot with the Heebie Jeebies Jodie Blackburn 54 Interviews: Papergirl Manchester The Hundred in the Hands Human Mercy O.K. Periodicals 3
ARTICLE ARTICLE Edited, Designed and Produced by Ben Dunmore and Alasdair Hiscock
Vol 2, Issue 1 Drift Fall 2010
with lots of help from Ivan Rabodzeenko and Kathryn Hall More editing by Kate Buckwell Article Magazine Bank Street Arts 32-40 Bank Street Sheffield S1 2DS
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CONTRIBUTORS Tom Banham works for one of the most hated companies in Britain. When he isn’t working he is either DJing or writing reviews for us. http://www.myspace.com/ upandatomdjs Jodie Blackburn recently completed a degree Fashion Styling and Image Making at the University of Salford. She did this issue’s photo shoot. jodieblackburn.blogspot.com Hussain Currimbhoy is the programer of DocFest and writer of our feature on documentaries.
Jane Faram is our new arts editor, and is also an artist and illustrator. faram-au-fait.blogspot.com/ Orla Foster is a Liverpudlian gall who writes features for Article Magazine. She wrote on Brain Drain. Kathryn Hall After completing an English literature degree Kat slogged it out all summer in the Article office editing, writing, making friends with record labels and generally tolerating our office nonsense. Kat lives and works in Paris. The Heebie Jeebies All three of the lads woke up early and let us take photos of them in the cold out in Brightside for the fashion shoot. They have some releases on Everything On Toast Records. www.myspace.com/ theheebiefuckinjeebies
Kate Lloyd wrote, proofed and made coffee. She is one the most vital members of our team. Kelly McCloskey lives in middle Ohio and pretends to write on www.einsteinshrugged.com Ivan Rabodzeenko studies Architecture and Engineering at the University of Sheffield. When he isn’t working on his dissertation, Ivan writes and designs for us. He is also a practising artist. An exhibition of his work is being held at Sheffield Access Space until October 24th access-space.org
ARTICLE Vol 2, Issue 1 Drift Fall 2010
dq home of club pony suckerpunch bigger than barry threads charged
dq fitzwilliam street sheffield s1 4ha
dqsheffield.com limited advance tickets available at the bakery and bungalows and bears photo by jodie blackburn
HOW TO: DRIFT THROUGH LIFE
Life is hard for some people, but it doesn’t have to be for you. Going against the grain and achieving to the last shred of your potential can be very exhausting. So just take it easy, relax and drift your way through life! Here are a few simple suggestions and tricks to help you start.
Pub Quizzes 2/10 Free beer for the taking, yes please. Depending on your ethics and discretion, a quality 3G connection will more or less guarantee four free pints of the cheapest lager in the house. Be careful though, the last thing you want is a bunch of bearded quiz regulars smashing your iPhone after finding you out.
Call Centre Job 3/10 After you manage to scrape a 2.1 during your degree in Social English Studies by attending 5 hours of lectures a week and watching many seasons of X factor, got that nice diploma there come a question: “What happens next?” Moving somewhere else and trying to get a job in that ever-socompetitive creative industry takes a lot of hassle, so just move in with a couple of students and get a job in a call centre or at a car parking firm.
Do A Masters 5/10
If none of these things are good enough for you, and if you believe the news about this whole recession conspiracy theory, then you can just apply for masters at whatever excuse for the university you spent 3 years of your life.
Move Home 5/10
This really does depend on your parents and where they live. If its a spacious house in rural Kent with acreage, a duck lake and a groundskeeper, then you are set. Although if it is a terrace house in a small village in South Yorkshire, don’t lose hope. There is still Jeremy Kyle, a comfy sofa and cheap 3L cider to help days go quicker. Sit down and enjoy.
Gallery Openings 8/10 The most reliable source of free booze is any sort of opening. The trick here is finding your way in. These places love maintianing an edge of exclusivity, so you have an excuse to be there. Fashion yourself to be one of the following; an artist scoping out the scene, a ten-a-penny blogger, a local It girl, cheap socialite, broke magazine editor, or half-arsed PR guy, then you can effortlessly soak up the scintillating conversation about all the other free events with you a semipremium bottled beer or red wine from a box. If you’re lucky there may be some Tesco finest canapés too. On no account should you talk about the art.
Hostel Work 8/10 You remember those nice good-looking guys working in European hostels, so world-wise and uncaring about anything relating to the mundane routine of everyday. They would do a little tidying up here, show someone their bed and then would start drinking at about 12 in the afternoon with the guests. They don’t have any money and don’t want any, when they get bored of one place they would somehow magically get transferred to another groovy destination. When was the last time they woke up, looked in the mirror and thought: “Man, I should really do something with my life.” That’s right: Never!
Pretend You’re An Artist 9/10 (This sort of the ‘job’ does not stop you receiving that preverbal government cash allowance we talked about previously. Just don’t talk about it to your council worker and don’t wear paint-covered clothes to the job centre.) The main thing here is being able to talk very confidently about things you produce - be it paintings of dead children, installations consisting of last night’s takeaway or simple smears of neighbour’s cat’s blood on the canvas. With enough luck and perseverance you can get exhibitions, meet rich art patrons who will buy you drinks, coke and trips to international biennials.
Dyslexia 10/10 Just got to uni? The benefits of a society that believes in leveling the playing fields means that getting a new Mac Book with voice recognition software couldn’t be easier. What do you think this magazine was made on!?
HOW TO: DRIFT THROUGH PLACES
Psychogeographical drift came out of France in the 1950s. Started by radical crackpots calling themselves Situationists and headed by Guy Debord, drift constituted a more physical part of the movement. Situationism is based on the concept taken from Sartre, that life consists of a series of situations that you chose to follow or ignore. Most of these situations happen in an architectural environment and are somewhat guided and channelled by the physical surroundings. Drifting is basically walking with no objective - not to look at tourist attractions, not to meet someone, not to go somewhere. It is walking with the sole purpose of enjoying yourself and getting into all kinds of interesting situations and mindsets. That is pretty much all the practical information you will get from volumes of Situationist International publications and since you probably do not fancy reading pages and pages of over-inflated socialist-based philosophical drool in order to find what it really means to drift, here are a few simple guidelines to start you off Article-style.
Get an all-day travel pass for your area - they are only £4! Get on the first bus and wait until you reach somewhere interesting. Relax, listen to the interesting dialogues of _____ and sip on a previously prepared concoction out of a Lucozade bottle. When you feel like it get off the bus and follow the dice.
Follow someone you think is interesting. Pick out a stranger (or a couple) from the street, or the cafe that you were having a morning coffee in, and follow them everywhere they go - sit in the pubs that they sit in, eat where they eat, go to the places they go to.
Situationists rarely stayed sober during their experiments, and so shouldn’t you! Drifting is always more exciting when you are under the influence. Fact! Guy Debord said so himself - look in the issue 3 of “Internationale Situationniste”! After you are fairly leathered, defining what unite d’ambiance (path of ambience) is and following it is not such a problem.
Take the dice out of Trivial Pursuit (don’t worry, you can return it there safely afterwards) and step out of your house. Throw it in the air and catch. What number is it? If its 1 or 2, go left; If it’s 3 or 4, go straight; if it’s 5 or 6, go right. Don’t go backwards, and use you head - if there is nowhere to turn left, walk a bit forward until you find a left turn.
Ivan Chtcheglov said you can drift for up to two months, but a day or half a day would probably be enough for most aspiring situationists. Unlike Guy Debord, you actually have real life commitments.
VIRT U AL RE A L I T Y As we live in a virtual world, there is really no need to leave home. It’s cold and wet outside anyways. Tape bin liners on top of your windows, duct tape off the fine slithers of light, find a piss bucket and lock the door. Turn on google earth and enter the virtual world of smooth transitions through an always sunny world. Drift through cities thousands of miles away, experience life in other countries without making a single physical step. The virtual is here and it is beautiful!
If you happen to have a smartphone (i.e. you are a ‘creative’ type), this can be done using foursquare or twitter locator. Follow your local MP around town. Be sure to tweet every step everything good or profane that you notice on your adventures, the world needs to know that there are things happening out there, somewhere.
M A PS Take a map of the London Marathon (or anything else for that matter) and superimpose it onto a map of your city. The scale and orientation don’t matter - just make sure that the overlaying map fits within your city’s limits. Place the start of the route on top of your current location and start walking towards the Mall, or the next pub.
What to do when you have finished your walk? Upload you photos onto Tumblr/ Flickr, plot the route you have taken onto google maps with some post-modern commentary, and blog your live twitter feed. Well done! You are a 21st century situationist whore! Boom. Situation becomes spectacle! 13
wit h 5 0 % o f g raduate j o b s i n l o n d o n , w h at ' s t h e reas o n t o stay i n t h e n o rt h ?
Everyone has a couple of Benjamin Braddock moments after university. Maybe you’ll be at a family party surrounded by polite acquaintances scoffing tortilla chips. It’s your 47th day of total indolence. Your mother’s colleague - fresh from talking up the varied achievements of her progeny appears at your side. “So what are YOU going to do now?” she hisses. As you launch into your stock reply – “Yeah, I’m thinking of going into advertising/ journalism/media/PR/design/marketing/ video production” – you can feel her eyes burn into you with bewildered disgust. That non-specific degree you picked? It’s left you flailing in a whorl of non-specific prospects. The extra hours in bed suddenly don’t seem worth it. There were people who, aged eighteen, had the clarity of vision to choose subjects that could lead to careers. Medicine, biomedical science, law, engineering, physics. But for those of us who picked arts-related courses the options seem limited. So what can you do? Lie and tell her you hit the big time? Mumble something about transferable skills? Or follow the timehonoured arts graduate tradition and try your chances in London? After all, it’s where 43% of the UK’s design jobs are based, and 41% of its media jobs. Despite the wide variety of arts courses being offered in universities nationwide, the degrees obtained in these cities are often incompatible with the graduate prospects there. Even in cities such as Manchester with its healthy stock of fashion and PR companies, and Liverpool, which punches
above its weight for arts, creative industries are on the wane and there simply aren’t enough careers to choose from. In Birmingham, for example, only a fifth of undergraduates attending university in the region plan to start their career in the West Midlands – with the result that local businesses don’t have access to the skills and talent that they need to grow, making them less appealing as career prospects. To further dampen your spirits, the AGR (Associate of Graduate Recruiters) Summer Review found that while roughly 50% of vacancies were based in London and the South-East, Yorkshire and the Humber could offer only a pitiful 4%. So the attraction to London is clear: there are jobs in London, graduate level jobs, meaning that you can uproot yourself, embrace new challenges and start out life as an adult rather than getting tangled up in the apron strings back at home. (I recently overheard myself asking my mother if we could get some more Nesquik. I think I’m in more danger than most.) Alternative routes include settling for a post you don’t really want, or pursuing your preferred job while staying skint. Work experience. Over the past year much has been written about serf labour being trussed up as internships. The never-ending “placement” which promises “a foot in the door” and “a rung on the ladder” in return for your sweat and blood has become a standard agreement. And there’s little point getting righteous and declaring that you’re above working for free, because there will always
50% London & South East obs
of n o i at
"Median graduate starting salaries for London: 28,000. The mystery is solved."
Yorkshire & humber
Sheffield graduates After 1 Year 15% Employed Locally
be some other graduate willing to step in your place if you flounce out. But because unpaid placements can be so time-consuming, few can afford to keep them up. Often the need to gain endless experience is, depressingly, dictated by social circumstances. Only those who can afford to work fulltime for nothing, or who can live off salt on toast for every meal, will prosper from such an arrangement. Playing the professional has become a common theme in this economically-stunted era. If you can’t afford to join in, then the world of desk Macs and sneaker-clad 40 year old bosses could be off limits for a while. So – is it time to join the 30% of graduates who head for the big smoke? It’s a temporary arrangement, apparently, with figures stating that more than half don’t plan on staying beyond ten years. London is a rite of passage, a flight of fancy, an endurance test. If you can stand sleeping in a bed with the same measurements as the room containing it, if you’re willing to pay over the odds for a pint and to forgo people smiling in public then you have passed the test, and will in time be rewarded with a comfortable existence in the suburbs, toddlers snapping at your heels. Which is all very well, but what will become of other cities once the graduates start draining out of them? Cities such
as Leeds, Sheffield and Nottingham offer cheap rent, but apparently little else. Graduates remember their student days fondly but not enough to stick around, leaving the cities with a scent of burning rubber where its young professionals should be. Yuppies are vital to a city. They drink, go to restaurants, spend money. They’re like students, but with a higher disposable income and neater dress code. They’re good to have around. But as long as the careers market is barren then surely the trend will continue and skilled graduates will carry on floating to London like bees to honey. I’ve just taken a glance at the statistics beside me. Median graduate starting salaries for London: £28,000. I’m sorry, I must be reading that wrong. £28,000? The mystery is solved. Of course people are going to London. Seems I’ve been a little slow on the uptake. But can there be any hope for the people who graduated from other cities, and want to stay put? Perhaps so. News that the BBC is being de-centralised with plans for a Salford development in 2011 has sent mediasavvy hearts racing. As well as providing jobs on site, this expansion will open up opportunities all across the North West as people who are currently in decent press-related jobs will flock to Salford for higher-paid ones, leaving attractive vacancies in their wake. 17
"Graduates remember their student days fondly but not enough to stick around, leaving the cities with a scent of burning rubber where its young professionals should be."
Equally, the Manchester Masters programme offers ten graduates the chance to work in marketing for four different companies over the year. The scheme provides successful applicants with a decent salary as well as free accommodation. Even the JobCentre has tried its hand at making life less grim. The Future Jobs Fund allows candidates to carry out a six month state-funded placement with a chosen company, so they’ll receive a wage for carrying out work that might otherwise have been packaged as an unpaid internship. As a result, arts-related jobs can be artificially created, meaning that the candidate gains the experience they need without having to sacrifice their living expenses. There is, obviously, the added burden of the recession, in some cases making a London move seem unrealistic. In such straitened times, many people are unwilling to take the gamble of a London move in case it all falls through and they’re saddled with exorbitant bills and little else to show for their efforts. So what does this all mean? Well, maybe we just need to ride it out. As long as there are people around with enthusiasm and good ideas, the creative industry has to prosper. There has to be an alternative to settling for half-measures, to writing off cities that potentially have a lot to offer. Otherwise, start bracing yourself for a life of people harrumphing if they’re obliged to wait more than two minutes for the tube, having to dodge camera-touting tourists whenever you walk past a phone box, the clammy-handed fumble for your Oyster card as tutting crowds mount up behind you, and the ongoing pressure to convince the folks back home it’s all worth it. Good luck. 18
International Festival of Contemporary Art 18 Sept–28 Nov 2010 www.biennial.com This is no stuffy show in hushed rooms, but art in crazy places – empty shops, warehouses, building sites – or art that’s fun, teasing and downright provocative. The Telegraph If you reach Liverpool this autumn, the Biennial will reach you. This is public art with a soft and sure touch, how or when you least expect it. Culture24.org.uk Start your experience at 52 Renshaw Street, L1 4EN Open daily 10am–6pm 0845 220 2800 Liverpool Biennial is supported by
Unexpected Narrative “
Within the drift of real time that appears open and contingent, there is nonetheless a sequence of events unfolding, sometimes found in the most subtle of moments that might to the careless witness, seem like nothing. The fascination of observational documentary is in the tracing of these events, both at the time of shooting and in the subsequent revelation of the edit. Sophie Fiennes ”
By its nature, and even before the advent of portable shooting equipment, documentary making has worked in the opposite way to fiction filmmaking. From the start directors had to float with the current of the situation – of the present - in order to capture the subject or the story as it happened. It’s an early philosophy that helped to create documentary’s abusive relationship with ‘the truth’. Its remnants are felt in every documentary, even today. Documentary finds its power in the midst of time. Being in the moment is something that all artists work towards. Freeing up the filmmaking process to allow the shoot and the story to float with the circumstances is irresistible. Fiction filmmakers show up on set and they have every shot planned down to the last detail. The budgets are bigger than docs usually, and one cannot afford to fuck around with whimsy and intuition when setting up a shot with 5 lights, a crew and an expensive shooting permit that expires at sunset. Everything is planned. Yet the camera rolls and nothing goes to plan. It rains, the film jams in the camera, the dialogue is dead and suddenly everything has to be re-shot, re-thought, reviewed. To a documentary filmmaker, that’s good. That’s rediscovering your story. 20
“ That is pretty much what we do although not of course when we sit down to edit. The process of shooting is watching, just watching our protagonist, our story liver, what he decides to do or not do. When you are in this watching mode everything slows down, and you do just drift along with the story. You can’t hurry it along. it just drifts at its own speed and if you don’t watch carefully you could lose it. DA Pennebaker
Stills from 'taste of cherry' 21
Basically, all my films are floaters in that they begin with an instinct or an outrage but they never follow a script. The storyline emerges over a long period of time and there is a constant give and take between the camera and the edit table. I can never write a proposal or even a good description of what the film is about till it is actually done. Even my research is something the filmmaking provokes rather than the reverse. Anand Patwardhan
still from herzog's aguirre, the wrath of god 22
“ In feature film the director is God; in documentary films God is the director. Alfred Hitchcock
Documentary thrives on following the unknown and reacting instinctively to the unexpected. The more precarious a situation, the more volatile a character is, the more attractive it is to capture on film. Seeing a man unexpectedly crumble on screen, or win, or die, taps an audience’s sense of empathy. This is perhaps the most vulnerable and deepest reaching collective emotion an audience can share because it seems the audience’s psyche is absorbed in the danger and mirrors the adventure. The filmmaker dives willingly into the maelstrom. Even if it means danger to ones’ own life it can lead to Aguirre, Wrath of God moments or Kurt & Courtney situations that ultimately make or break, or break, a film and a filmmaker’s legend. It makes great cinema. When Abbas Kiarostami completed shooting ‘Taste of Cherry’ he sent the film to be processed and was devastated to hear that the final reels, the closing of the film, had been irrevocably destroyed by the lab. He would have to wait a whole year to reshoot the scenes as the light of the season would not match. Instead he chose to use behind-the-scenes video footage from the making of the film and edited it onto the end of the film. The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes when it was released in 1997 and he was hailed as a genius.
Once I helped build a raft and set out from St Louis for New Orleans, making a film about a theatre company that was performing a play along the Mississippi, When we started out the river was doing about 10 to 12 knots so when you looked at the riverbanks they were speeding by. But when you looked down at the river around you, it was like the middle of a quiet lake, going nowhere, just stopped. And you could jump off the raft and swim around it because it wasn’t going anywhere at all. And I thought this is what we do. We jump into someone’s busy life which is speeding by for them and us, but then we look into our cameras and we see still waters where there was a rushing river. That’s when we start to drift because we are on a raft-like vessel, not watching the banks speeding by but watching a protagonist completely adrift in his own world, and for us and our cameras that’s as silent and still as a morning landscape. D A Pennebaker
posters for films by anand patwardhan
The Life Worth Living.
The Life W o rt h L i v i n g. p r i n t.
Contents The Life Worth Living is a guide to new books, zines, music, exhibitions and cultural events. Reviewers by initial: TB - Tom Banham MD - Marysia Doyle BD - Ben Dunmore JF - Jane Faram KH - Kathryn Hall AH - Alasdair Hiscock
Fanzines, Teal Triggs Thames and Hudson, Soft Cover 245 mm x 340 mm, 256 pp So, before I start this review, I want to warn you that there is nothing I can do other than gush. Naturally, as a maker of an independent magazine, this is what you would expect. But even if you don’t make a magazine or a fanzine yourself, chances are that if you like this magazine, then you’ll love this book. A book about the history of selfpublishing... why has no one done this before?! Teal Trigg’s Fanzines is a massive collection of zines dating from as far back as the thirties. From early science fiction zines, through to the punk classics of the seventies, to feminist zines from the nineties, up to the present day. This isn’t just a picture rich monograph either, Triggs is professor of Design History at the London College of Communications and has been an enthusiastic collector of zines for years. Fanzines is a text heavy history of the cultures that have fuelled and utilized self-publishing.
Article Speaks to Teal Triggs What are some of the most memorable zines you ever found? How did you come across them? Good question! It’s very hard to say which zines are the most ‘memorable’ as there is something inherently unique to each zine and the story behind them. But if I had to narrow it down, I would say: some of the British punkzines such as ‘Ripped & Torn’ by Tony D. (who has always held true to his political beliefs), ‘Chainsaw’ by Charlie Chainsaw (with some of the more striking covers by the artist Michael J. Weller), and the more feminist and riot grrrlinspired zines such as ‘Bikini Kill’, or ‘Adventures in Menstruating’, which show us that collectively young women can still have a powerful voice.
collected and published as anthologies. This is where the underground goes overground. As people self publish immediately, for free and to a wider audience with blogging: What impact if any has the internet and blogging had on fanzine cultures? Blogging has taken on a very important role as a popular self-publishing form especially with the potential for a much
How did I come across them? Zines can normally be found in local zine symposia, indie record shops or bookstores, or bought through ebay or online distros. A friend of mine gave me a copy of the 1970’s punk zine Sniffin’ Glue which he had found thrown in a skip where someone was obviously clearing out a house! As for the riot grrrl zines, I’ve been lucky enough to be part of some of the Ladyfests in this country and have been an avid collector since the early 1990s. What is the role of self publishing in the world of media and how important is it? I feel that self-publishing plays a very important role in that it is a medium which fosters and ‘allows’ individual voices to be heard. It is a format where experimentation is encouraged - whether visually or through the way in which the text is written. The zine allows for an immediacy in trying out new ideas but also gaining feedback and sharing in conversations with others who might be interested in your subject. It is a space where you don’t have to follow the conventions of mainstream publishing. But it can also be a springboard into the world of media. Some key 1990s zines, for example, entered into mainstream publishing, and writings from zines have been
broader readership, and the ability to hyperlink and include archives, etc. And, so have other economically viable selfpublishing forms, for example, ‘print-on-demand’ services. Blogging has its own writing conventions (e.g. linear in sequence, use of scrolling) dictated by the constraints of the software being used. On the other hand, features such as comment boxes after each entry provide a form of spontaneous feedback and a potential archive of the conversation. In terms of definition it seems to be there is a grey area between an online fanzine and a blog. Often this comes down to how the creators what to self-identify. The Internet has certainly made fanzine culture and self-publishing much more visible and accessible by the general public. Online distros and websites have also become opportunities for zinesters to sell their zines to readers internationally. The Internet has played a role in the resurgence of interest in making print zines, along with of course a renewed interest in DIY culture. In the 21st century there are few areas of life that haven’t been touched by the Internet. BD
KID ACNE STABBY WOMEN Stabby Women, Kid Acne Blood red ink on coloured paper, lithograph. Screenprinted card cover. 30 pp, A5
Graffiti artist Kid Acne has just come out with a zine documenting his Stabby Women paste ups. Over the past couple years the playful urban warriors have been stuck to doors, walls and trucks on three continents. The zine itself is beautiful, printed in blood red ink on two colours of paper. (Incidentally it is the printer we used to use back in the day. Heart you Juma!) The cover is screenprinted in fluorescent pink, and the whole thing comes with a sweet set of postcards. We interviewed Ken Acid about the project. So, Stabby Women, what’s their deal? Are they some kind of Freudian outpouring? Well, it’s not a project about Penis Envy if that’s what you mean. I started painting strong warrior women as a reaction against the kind of characters Writers used to paint in the graffiti fraternity. I was never really into macho graf, and I wanted to present an alternative rather than add to the mediocrity. But where it comes from, I have no idea. Possibly my interest in the African imagery I grew up with, and possibly one for the child psychologist to work out. Hopefully it’s not some kind of Oedipus Complex! How long have you been putting them up? What’s the oddest place they have gone? Early version date back to 2004, but this series started in 2008 in São Paulo. During my stay, I placed two characters in the street and when I went back to take a photo - a guy had sat down in between them, happily reading his paper with the girls guarding him either side. Apart from people drawing the occasional comedy glasses and moustaches on them, that little interaction made me smile the most. You’ve made zines before. Was it always the intention to make this zine? I began making fanzines in 1991 and continued to do so until about ‘96. I never intended this campaign to become a fanzine, but after freeing an army of over 500 paper crusaders into various foreign cities, it seemed a nice, more personal way to document that. It’s amazing how popular they are and how many people have posted photos on Flickr, but it’s also nice to have something tactile to hold in the real world too. Now that they have come together in a zine, is this the end of the Stabby Women Project? Or can we expect to see them keep cropping up around the world? I have no idea. There may be another phase, but for now I’m happy to have documented this as a body of work and made a DIY fanzine again. I love blogs, but again, it’s nice to have something to hold and to keep. I never really warmed to the overly calculated Street Art campaigns. They’re too transparent. I think it’s better when things are left to chance. It’s far more interesting and more genuine that way. That said, documentation is becoming as important as the work itself these days. Due to their ephemeral nature, the Stabby Women will only ‘exist’ in their documentation before long. BD
OWT Zine Issue 1 Beginnings B&W Ink Jet Print with Screen Printed Card Colour Cover. Edition of 100, 28pp, A5 owtcreative.blogspot.com
OWT is a collective of five graphic design graduates from Manctown. Together the five have produced a zine. Large black and white images fill the zine, which is broken down into five sections by small typed initials on the top left corners of the page - one section for each designer. Short on text, the zine explores the theme of Beginnings using monochrome imagery. The section breakdown allows the personalities of the five designers to come through, and gives the zine a layer of intrigue. Where is the disagreement? Or the egos? They are following this issue up with a second issue on Reflections. If you want to contribute check it out. BD
The Mill Press, The Space Issue Two colour inkjet print 20 pp, A5 themillpress.co.uk
The Mill Press
This comes in its own envelope, a two colour zine printed on silky absorbent paper that has soaked up the inkjet. There is a card insert in the middle and it is lovingly stitched together by its designer. Perfect. The issue sets itself the challenge of looking at six spaces - exploring their unique social, historical, and aesthetic values through writing and photography. Alongside the interview with Ipek Kaynar Rohloff on the nature of curation and its impact on space, the brief written pieces conjure up poetic thoughts to accompany the intimate black and white photography - all framed by some stunning graphical layouts. What is so charming about The Mill Press is its familiarity with its chosen subjects. The writings are autobiographical, reflective, whimsical. This makes a beautiful object.BD
Papermoon Issue 1 16 pp red paper, A5 edition of 100
Papermoon zine is a six part zine project from Papermoon Publishing in Manchester. Hand stitched and limited to 100 copies, the magazine is a mixture of screen printing and inkjet on red paper. Hand drawn images, poetry and short stories are collected in the pages with an appropriate art of randomness. It also includes a screenprinted image that forms part of a calender that will be completed after all six issues. BD
Graphic design and fashion
Graphic Design for Fashion, Jay Hess and Simone Pasztorek Laurence King, Hardback 280 x 216 mm, 240 pp
Design books often feel like much of a muchness, that is except when they endeavour to explore a highly specialized area of design. The latter is the case with Graphic Design for Fashion, a two hundred and eighty odd page hardback that looks at the exclusive, high-end sphere of graphic design: those who make imagery for luxury labels. The book divides into chapters on logos, invitations, lookbooks and packaging, and looks at the collaborations between graphic design studios and fashion houses. It is an unspoken implication that clothing companies are dream clients who allow graphic designers the freedom to pursue wonderful aesthetic and conceptual ideas with substantial budgets. And, more apparently, that the work of these designers is what makes fashion, well, Fashion. Packaging, images and labels are just as, if not more, important (and interesting) than the clothes themselves. Presentation is in the usual design book format of brief interviews with the designers, accompanied by samples of their works. For those interested in the subject this is a book of fantasy briefs and jobs. It is also a useful blagger’s guide if you want to look like you know about this stuff but don’t have the time to read loads of samey blogs. BD
Faile 1999-2009 Faile: Prints and Originals 1999-2009 Gestalten, Hardback 222 pp 250 mm x 300 mm A bone of contention in the Article office is the difference between street art and graffiti. With one proponent deeply assured that street art is just a poncey, non-credible version of the ‘proper street’. The other view is quite the alternative; graffiti is merely juvenile, sloppy and pointless tagging, whilst street art is something genuinely fascinating and intriguing. So, being the bearer of the latter position I was really excited to get to review Faile 99-09 Prints and Originals. This hardback monograph is a moderately autobiographical look at the past ten years of Faile’s journey from graphic design students to internationally acclaimed street artists and print makers. Their work clearly demonstrates their graphic background, and combines layered images, sharp graphic elements, coarse halftone images, and text. Written by the artistic duo and childhood friends, Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, the book succinctly tells the story of the rise and rise of Faile, and provides us with some beautiful prints along the way. Seeing as any original Faile print will set you back around $2000, ripping pages from this book is the most financially viable way of getting some of their art onto your walls. If you fall on the right side of our petty office dispute then this book is definitely worth a look. BD
The Life W o rt h L i v i n g. M U S I C. I love the Smiths. Bands that sound like the Smiths? They’re okay too. Admittedly, Jorge’s vocals don’t sound like Morrisey. They sound a bit like the guy from the Drums. But, the bouncing basslines and jangling guitars bear more than a passing resemblance. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just not so fresh. BD
Frankie R ose A nd The O ut s 7/10 A look at Frankie Rose’s CV - former drummer for Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls - may suggest that this is to be a record of girls showing how loud they can make a sound. But here Frankie, switching from drumkit to guitar and shifting focus from the noise to melody, creates something more refined, and generally more listenable. The record opens with echoes and slow fuzz on ‘Hollow Life,’ before snapping you out of this snoozy mood with ‘Candy,’ a catchy dancefloor tune it’s easy to imagine teenagers at the indie club flirtily and awkwardly shuffling their feet to. After this, it’s sleepy time again as the middle few tracks seem to blend into one another with all their light and dreamy ‘aaah-aaaahs.’ This dream-pop stuff is nice, but none of the tracks really grab for attention again until ‘Girlfriend Island,’ one for dancing around your bedroom with your girlfriends. Following this, Frankie and co really show off their voices on a beautifully harmonised, almost a cappella, cover of slow song ‘You Can Make Me Feel Sad’ by Arthur Russell. Though perhaps limited in memorable tracks, half an hour out of your afternoon can be pleasantly spent in Frankie and her mates’ company. KH
Apache B ea t
la s t chant s
Last Chants is a humorously titled album from Brooklyn quintet Apache Beat. This is experimental pop, neo-grunge, art rock, whatever, at its very blandest. Really, in 2010 you cannot mistake something that is so all over the place, with strained vocals, muddied melodies, and erratic rhythms as experimental, or avant, or clever. Its been done before and done better. Seriously, if this band wasn’t from New York, didn’t have a cool name, a sorta hot singer, wasn’t produced by Martin Bisi of Sonic Youth fame, and hadn’t collaborated with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Rapture, the hype for this album would be considerably restrained. Teenage montage music in waiting ‘Fear of Falling’ is passible in a sort of grunge pop kind of way, showing there is something here. ‘Another Day’ also gets it right on the head for that weird pop, nineties nostalgia feeling, but this only serves to highlight the lack of direction of the release, giving the overall impression that the album would have benefited from a more pop-minded producer than Martin Bisi. Instrumental track ‘A Break in the Light,’ rather than offer an interlude, just feels confused, like a broken jam that was recorded as the band was sound checking before the gig. This is why you employ a producer on a record, to cut out the rubbish. ‘Tropics,’ a single which has been around for years and is on this album, is genuinely difficult to listen to with its loud grating unmelodic vocal. Why would anyone try and sound like Courtney Love? BD
Kooky female vocals about clouds and wizards over harps, glockenspiels and hand claps nearly merits its own genre name. Let’s call it Orchestral Female Wizard Pop, FemWiz for short. FemWiz is performed by girls who attended art school but can’t really be bothered with fine art so channel their creative energies into garage band using ukuleles and toy instruments, and also usually wear glitter around their eyes and plastic flowers in la s ser their hair. FemWiz artists ring began popping up in 2001 when groups like CocoRosie 6/10 released tracks about wizards and animals, sung in childish voices. They shunned the slutty images of conventional female pop stars, opting for quirkier images similar to their nineties alternative fore bearers, Bjork and PJ Harvey. Their lyrics, however, took on the themes used by seventies artists like Led Zeppelin and Yellow, and they began singing about fantasy worlds and rainbows. This captured the attention of magazines like Dazed and Confused and iD who realised the performers were essentially slightly sexier versions of their core demographic: arty, barely legal year-old girls, and mincing boys who like poetry and tea. FemWiz came to a peak around 2009 with the release of Bat for Lashes’ second album. By then, FemWizettes had reached past a core audience, and extended their reach into the mainstream media.
New in this lush genre is NYCs Glasser, aka Cameron Mesirow, with her debut album Ring (inspired, naturally, by the chiastic structure of the Odyssey, didn’t ya know). Opener ‘Apply’ features Glasser’s powerful vocals over tribal rhythms and droning synths. This an album very much of the genre. So if you like that sort of thing, Glasser is definitely worth a glance. Especially if you are looking for some music to replace that Norah Jones CD that’s been on repeat in your organic cafe. BD
D reamend S o I A t e M ysel f, B it e
B it e
9/10 In drawing the lines between bluegrass, drone, folk and post-rock, Dreamend has created an album of chaotic majesty. A concept album of sorts, So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite is the soundtrack to a murder. It takes traditional American folk and blends it with a post-rock aesthetic, and out of the mix manages to create a web of noise that verges on chaos without ever quite falling in. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this release is the control of pace and tone, no mean feat in a record that always threatens to collapse totally into white noise and discord. Despite the optimism of wistful banjo ‘n’ bells opener ‘Pink Cloud in the Woods’, So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite is defined by menace and violence. By the time we reach the off-key bass of ‘Repent’, the drums are struggling to keep in time and you get a feeling that all may not be right. When ‘A Thought’ collapses beneath a colossal weight of feedback it becomes clear that our protagonist isn’t going to maintain his stability; it’s a turn into a much darker close that seems miles away from the jangling strings with which we were greeted. Even the record’s more outright pop moments don’t escape the pervading violence. ‘Pieces’ is singalong folk, bouncing bass beneath a cheerful banjo. Tying it to the lyrics ‘I can’t believe it’s just yesterday / I cleaned my hands and washed the blood away’ creates a peculiar schism, a jarring mix of violence and toe-tapping tunes that echoes the creepy banjos of Deliverance, or the haunting melodies of a music box in an empty house. It’s not until the album’s final moments that things fall into place. Closing track ‘An Admission’ is an epic swirl of everything that’s gone before; all the sonic and lyrical ideas introduced over SIAMBBB’s first nine tracks return in a prog-folk symphony that over its ten minutes brings fruition to the odd sonic experiments that precede it. What’s most impressive is that the rest of the album is excellent in its own right, but the anguished explosion of ‘An Admission’ pulls everything together, makes sense of all the little things that didn’t seem quite right. Dreamend has created an album that absorbs a swarm of influences, sitting American folk traditions alongside challenging post-rock. So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite is a sublime piece of work, utter simplicity that sits alongside soaring, angelic choruses and sonic destruction. Stunning in scope, stunning in execution, and another installment to follow; Dreamend, you spoil us. TB
The H undred H ands
Really, I’m down with all the washy balearic chillwave stuff that seems to be coming out of the States right now. But sometimes you just want a beat. NYC’s The Hundred in the Hands self titled debut is a luscious combination of intimate narrative vocals, tugable guitar riffs, knee-jerk disco beats and analogue synths. Leading in with the Moroder style arpeggiators the opening track ‘You Aren’t Young’ declares the album’s post-disco sensibility. Single ‘Pigeons’ is a pop gem with chasms of synthesizer opening up and driving bass fills. But it is the contrast of indie guitar riffs over four four dance rhythms and synth fills on ‘Commotion’ that make it a candidate for the albums best track. THITH are refreshing, sounding like little else right now. Dress it up as you will, this is pure pop. BD
Z ombie Z ombie P lays John C a rpent er 7/10
Wol f People
Krautrock reworkings of John Carpenter themes may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, if anyone can do it it’s the oddball synth duo of Zombie Zombie, who have enlisted the excellent disco producer Joakim to create an album of retro synth porn. Zombie Zombie have managed to achieve a genuinely effective reimagining of these themes, not an easy thing with source material that’s so recognisable, and held in such high regard. Its best moments are also its most dance moments; ‘Escape from LA’ is a minimal take on a more layered original, stripping out some of the arrangements to leave a floor-focused chugger, and ‘Halloween’ manages to avoid falling into cheesy sample territory by underpinning that melody with big-room disco drums and a bassline that hold the listener’s focus. One reason that these tracks work so well is that Zombie Zombie have decided to keep a proper song structure. By building and breaking at the right points, they manage to stick close to the originals while still bringing something new. The weakest point, ‘The Thing’, doesn’t adhere to this structure and comes across as directionless, a sprawling mess of synthesizer noises that doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. Plays John Carpenter is a surprisingly interesting take on pieces that, as a rule, should be left alone. In cover format, it works in a way that a remix almost certainly wouldn’t. Zombie Zombie manage to avoid cheesiness through a clear and genuine enthusiasm and respect for their source material. TB
s t eeple
9/10 This record really is a throwback; in a good way. Crunchy guitars through fuzz boxes churning out bluesy riffs with folky twists, in that way only British people wearing tweed and beards seem to be able to do. Tight drums and bass, Ian Anderson style flute, and lyrics about farmers’ daughters and bags of gold make for some refreshing listening. Seriously, as someone who generally requires a synth to be involved in anything I listen to, Wolf People’s Steeple is an exquisite record of musicianship. I never thought I’d say a sentence like this, but there is one sweet ass flute riff on ‘Tiny Circle.’ If your Jethro Tull and Pentagle records are looking a bit knackered, Steeple is the perfect alternate for sitting by a fire in a damp Lake District cottage whilst supping whisky and plucking grouse. TB
G old Panda lucky shiner apachebeat.com
Gold Panda’s debut LP is a lesson in restraint. Taking the intricate post-jazz of Four Tet and filtering it through neo-dub and chillwave is no mean feat. To do it with this level of panache is very impressive indeed.
create melodic interchange that is at once enveloping and yet somehow sinister. Even the solo acoustic guitar of ‘Parents’ fails to sit entirely comfortably, its warmth offset by moments of syncopation and discord.
Lucky Shiner is at its most interesting when it borders on chaos. ‘I’m With You But I’m Lonely’ forces looped bells to sit over a distorted drum riff, constantly on the verge of falling out of time. Lead single ‘Snow & Taxis’ layers reversed sounds under sweeping pads and strings to
Considering the success with which Gold Panda manages to ally seemingly disparate sounds, it’s perhaps surprising that Lucky Shiner’s weakest moments come with the introduction of eastern instrumentation. ‘Marriage’ plays its fizzes and pops against each other with élan, but is
overpowered by sitar halfway through and ‘Same Dream China’s far Eastern melody sits at odds with the electronic bustle beneath it. Gold Panda’s voice is a quiet one (metaphorically speaking – the only vocal moment is a brief recording of his grandmother pushing a wheelbarrow). It at times struggles to emerge through Lucky Shiner’s fog of bells and drums, but when it does it aligns the confusion, pulling each element into a uniform, elegantly understated whole. TB
G o l d P a nd a i n t e r v i e w
Avey Ta re 7/10 Avey Tare’s debut solo LP is an apple that doesn’t fall too far away from the tree. Considering that that tree is one as distinct and genre leading as Animal Collective, that probably isn’t that much of a surprise. This isn’t to say that Down There is simply an Animal Collective record as played by one man. Opening track Laughing Hieroglyphic is six minutes of repeated accordion stabs, immediately letting you know that this is a slightly more experimental affair. From there the record is defined by murkiness, reverb-drenched vocals emerging from behind flitting drums and strings only to disappear again, pop disguised beneath layers of repetition and discord. It’s Tare’s way with a melody, though, that sets this album apart from the current glut of bells-andbongos. Yes, Down There does have a lot of chattering percussion and synthetic pads, but it’s a backbone on which to hang the saccharine sweet melodies of Heather In The Hospital, or the wandering synth punch of Oliver Twist. Tare manages pop charm without kitsch, an ebb and flow of energy that envelopes the listener. TB
Having subsisted for years on German minimal techno and cups of tea, producer Gold Panda emerged from his bedroom in Essex two years ago. His glitchy cut-ups have generated enough interest to allow him to cut loose from a string of unfulfilling jobs (hospital car park attendant, sex shop assistant, envelope sealer...) We spoke to him in the run up to the release of his debut LP about how it’s all been going so far, and where Gold Panda plans to tread next. Much of your music has oriental tones, what’s the connection there? I’ve always been obsessed with Japan. I did shows there recently with Simian Mobile Disco. It was my seventh time, but the first time doing something I actually wanted to do. I taught English for a year but hated it because I’m not very good at English. Here I’ve been called chillwave, but I don’t really know what that sounds like, and over there they call me postdubstep. They seem to like me, though sales don’t reflect that. Foreign music is pretty dead in Japan now; though the western influence is huge, they have Japanese versions of everything and nobody wants to pay for bands to come over.
Despite your music gaining recognition, can you still treat it as just a hobby? Well generally it’s still the stuff that’s done really quickly, sitting and mucking around, that turn into tracks. Mistakes, stuff that just happens - basically most tracks start off as one loop on a record where I’ve just thought I like a particular sound. When I sit down to take it really seriously and think ‘I’ve got to do this and that’ and I work on something for a long time, it never works out. I’ve got loads of these tracks that are finished but just don’t sound cool. How has it felt going from playing around alone in your bedroom to playing to a crowd? Obviously it’s great to play music loud and get paid at the end, but to be honest I don’t really like playing live. Opening for Simian was a bit wrong; they’re such a loud live dance act, and there were always electro DJs on before me. I’d come on at 2am with this wispy electronica set. I’ve played festivals recently to make some money, but they just seem pointless. Most of the time no one gives a fuck who’s playing in these massive tents. They probably want to hear dubstep.
How did you start forming your own style? The thing was that I don’t play any instruments; sampling was my only way of making music. First I used my dad’s record collection, then I’d buy records for 20p from charity shops, usually just based on whether I like the cover. Computer games, noises I’d find on old videos, or I’d make sound effects by ripping up bits of paper or hitting things. Whatever really, it’s just a hobby.
Any plans to do things differently in the future? At the moment I’m doing the same show constantly, which is hard when you have a short attention span. It’s not like I’ve got a guitar and can just chuck another song in, and I can’t do anything in the back of a van or a hotel room. Next year I want to go back to really small venues, do the live set again without a laptop. I just don’t know how you take a step backwards when you’ve got people coming to your gigs. KH 33
The Life W o rt h L i v i n g. A RT.
L ive r pool Biennia l A Found a t ion
Liverpool Biennial is a citywide, multivenue event, and is the largest contemporary art event in the UK. This year’s festival runs from September to November 28, with free entry to all venues. The theme of this year’s curation is Touched referring to art that is concerned with emotion, moving the mind, body and soul. Across a range of gallery venues and many empty buildings and shops in the city, works by over 60 artists have been presented. in addition there are numerous events and programs at other galleries outside of the Touched curation. The Biennial itself seems to have brought the city centre to life, and as in past events has used a large number of venues that are not normally home to art. Taking buildings that people pass by everyday, such as the Europleasure International warehouse and the Rapid Hardware shops, and turning them into exhibition spaces seems to ‘touch’ the city in a very effective way.
The C oope r a t ive The Cooperative is a self styled ‘collective of collectives,’ made up of Liverpool galleries and creative groups. At the Biennial, they are hosting a city centre gallery and performance space, running numerous events across multiple venues, as well as a programme of podcasts, tours and audio guides to art in the city. This artist run initiative brings together a variety of disciplines under the banner of contemporary art, including DJs, musicians, film makers and comedians. 28-32 Renshaw Street, Open Weds to Sun 1pm5pm plus special evening performances every week. See website for details. www.thecooperative.info
At the A Foundation, a group of large former industrial spaces, two artists are exhibiting performance based works. In the large Furnace gallery Sachiko Abe performs her work Cut Papers. Incredibly simple, yet stunning in these surroundings, the work takes place throughout the duration of the festival. As you enter the large space, from a distance you can view Abe up high and hear the amplified sound of scissors cutting paper. From her position flows a trail of finely cut strips of paper, running across the floor and into a high sculpture at the centre of the room. In the surroundings of a heavy brick and steel industrial space, the lightness and delicate form of this
paper is a slightly unreal contrast. Abe’s work is formed through intense periods of concentration, and also within this gallery are a selection of her intricate pencil drawings. At the other end of the gallery, Finnish artist Antti Laitinen exhibits a number of works created over a series of years, plus the performance of his raft journey on the Mersey.
Lars Laumann Lars Laumann makes films that are part documentary, part poetic essay, focusing on the complex and strange worlds of peoples’ beliefs within their cultural surroundings. 3 films are on display at Open Eye, with one new commission showing for the first time. Helen Keller looks at the world of literary adaptation, narrative, duplication through a hypnotic construction of found and original film elements. A low quality video copy of an Iranian production of JD Salinger is overlaid with earnest dialogue about the writing of Keller, long narrative stretches play out with interjecting scenes from different stories. Another earlier work on show is Morrissey Foretelling the Death
CityStates is group of exhibitions, curated as national ‘Pavilions,’ brought to the Biennial by groups of artists and curators. The works all look to explore the relationship between cities and states - the role and allegiance of the artist to the places that they work, live and share a cultural background. Occupying several floors of the Contemporary Urban
of Diana, a film essay that is arranged in the gallery like a lecture. Again using found footage layered against a deadpan voiceover, the experience is like listening to a clandestine, wildly conspiratorial English Literature essay. Its premise, discovered by the artist online and repeated here, is that the lyrics of Morrissey contain premonitions of the fate of Princess Diana. As the film progresses, it’s easy to become persuaded.
Centre, artists from Lithuania, Jerusalem, The Caribbean, Scandinavia, Quebec and Seoul. In the dark, brick vaulted crypt of the building is the Seoul exhibition: Media Landscape, Zone East; a showcase of video art by Asian artists working internationally. Video is shown as the preferred medium for these artists, who all come from rapidly growing cities,
and a fast growing art scene. There is a great variety to the films on display, ranging from hand drawn animations, personal travelogues and frozen moments of the lives of ordinary people in the large cities of Korea. The films are displayed on small screens in the corners between vaults, most with headphones, and it’s possible to sit and watch each individually quite closely.
Media Landscape, Zone Ea s t 35
doc fes t
Wojciech Slota, Leszek Gnoinski, 2010, 73 minutes
Sheffield, November 3-7 Doc Fest takes place annually in Sheffield and is one of the world’s largest documentary festivals. In addition to loads of confused industry peeps wandering around a northern town, there are over one hundred documentaries on show in venues across the city. This year’s Doc Fest is on between 3 -7th of November. For a full program see www.sheffdocfest.com Here are some of our choice picks.
Jean Michel Ba squia t: The Radiant Child Langston Hughes’ poem ‘Genius Child’ injects the opening credits to Tamara Davis’ engaging documentary on the artist, JeanMichel Basquiat with appropriate pathos – “Nobody loves a genius child…Kill him – and let his soul run wild.” For over twenty years the footage has been left unseen, and the fuzzy reels of hazy scenes is where we first encounter Basquiat, filmed in June 1986, vigorously wrestling with a dog, dancing in his studio, and attacking enormous canvases in his paint spattered shoes. He is twenty five years of age. Madonna’s prophetic words that he is “Too fragile for this world” flash onto screen. It is as if Basquiat, young and fresh, a newly-laid egg full of promise, becomes broken; delicate, thread vein cracks spreading out all over the shell. Two years later he will be dead from a heroin overdose. Basquiat’s zetetic nature and his naturally inquiring mind would lure him to downtown Manhattan. New York in the summer of 1978 was a hub of creativity. With no money Basquiat tells us, “You end up surviving when you have to”. His early days in New York were spent eating cheese doodles, panhandling and drinking wine with winos. He began covering the city in his technicolour scrawl, graffiti tagged with ‘SAMO’ (“Same Old Shit”). The Soho News printed a story on him. He was spraying his way to fame. The ‘prince of the scene’ was born when Andy Warhol bought some of his postcards in a local restaurant. Interviews with Basquiat’s friends tell us that the trilingual talent put ‘the smoke in the air’ of New York. His kenspeckle face was the delight of every party. The whirlwind of notoriety, money and high
expectations eventually take their toll on such a young man on a fast-lane to fame. A captivating documentary that divulges entertainingly intimate facts about Basquiat that only a friend would know, The Genius Child held my attention throughout. A true creative, he could never be an electrician, says an ex-girlfriend, the humiliation it made him feel was too great. His paintings were often covered in sneaker prints as he abused his artwork. He painted in his Armani suit at the height of his success. Racism was encountered daily; in a darkly amusing clip we see a TV presenter ask Basquiat if his paintings were rooted in “primal expressionism?” The artist retorts, “What? Like an ape?” It is pleasing that Davis doesn’t focus on, as artist and film-maker Julian Schnabel said, Basquiat’s lack of tools to “navigate the river of shit” that is the world of modern art, but instead, focusses more on Basquiat’s eccentricities and his soul. Humorous anecdotes of a frazzled Basquiat pouring cereal on the head of a critical buyer of his artwork add light relief. The documentary is a tender eulogy to a burning ember that died out far too quickly. You come
Beats of Freedom chronicles the Polish rock movement from the 1950s until the fall of communism. British rock journalist, Chris Salewicz narrates the story of the radical rock counterculture that smashed through the iron curtain of communist Poland. In the 50s “Poland was one big prison” says the singer Tomek Lipinski, vocalist in the Polish band ‘Tilt’. The Soviet Communist dominance imposed upon the country at the end of World War Two crushed and suppressed the souls of the Polish people, and the only outlet of creativity left to them was music making. From the very beginning, music stood in opposition to the grim reality, and acted as a form of rebellion against the regime. In the lyrics of bands such as Brygada Kryzys (The Crisis Brigade) were coded messages and poetic metaphors that attacked government politics. Music was a way of making the people feel free in an unfree country. A really striking, enduring image was the shaving of the Polish hippy’s heads which, when juxtaposed with footage of sheep shearing, hinted that the people were being treated like animals. The violation of people seeking the freedom of expression is highlighted strongly. Water cannons turned onto protestors on the street was another shocking indicator of the violence of the repression experienced. Overriding all of this, the drab, bleak, colourless news footage conveys the reality of this horrendous time in Polish history - the message of salvation in this documentary lies in the indomitable spirit and energy of those who lived and fought. MD
Into Eternity 2010, Michael Madsen, Denmark, 75min The Finns are digging a massive hole in the ground called Onkalo. It won’t be finished until 2100 when it will be sealed, not to be opened for another 100,000 years. A myth will be carried down through the generations, ‘never come to this place’. Meanwhile, over three miles down into the bedrock, nearly 150 years worth of Finland’s nuclear waste will be buried. Into Eternity looks at this mind boggling project, interviewing scientists, workmen and officials from the Finnish government about how they decided upon this as the best solution. Truly at the forefront, no other country is pursuing such a long-term solution. Currently the only method for storing nuclear waste is keeping it in cooled tanks of water that require constant security and maintenance. But as the film constantly reminds us, guaranteeing a solution for the next 100 years, let alone 100,000 is impossible.
away wanting to know more about this great young man, the genius child. MD
The questions that Onkalo throws up are truly profound. Will there be society in 100,000 years? How could we communicate to them? Will this be the longest lasting human built project? Chilling. BD
The Life W o rt h L i v i n g. A RT.
In ‘The Land Between Us’ art from the historical Whitworth collection is shown alongside recent and contemporary art, proposing that all is as relevant to our present understanding of landscape and culture. The Land Between Us hopes to capture a present understanding of landscape art by referring back to how depictions of it combine with representations of identity and culture. The point where the new and old meet and conflict is central to the strikingly beautiful photographs and films of artist Chen Qiulin. She often captures dismal city scenes, ‘the rapid and tumultuous urbanization of Sichuan’ depicted as crumbling cement blocks. Through this inhospitable landscape we see a path taken by workers carrying bunches of vibrant, pink flowers to somewhere unspecified, showing persistence in the face of uncertainty. The flowers are unsurprisingly artificial which somehow emphasises the incongruities between what lies ahead and how people and culture struggle to adapt. Her film ‘The Garden’, 2007, depicts an awkward and hazy cultural transition.
The Whitworth has a collection of 53 watercolours by J.M.W.Turner (17751851) all of which are included in this exhibition, depicting the sublime natural landscape and light with emphatic style. On first entry into The Land Between Us contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson quite literally demonstrates the sensation of light in the natural terrain by installing thousands of cut saplings to build an artificial forest in the gallery. The Forked Forest Path from 1998 is re-made in the Whitworth as an installation to stimulate human reactions to a natural surrounding, temporarily removing you from the room. ‘Handsworth’ films by Racial Black Audio Film Collective from the 1980’s are shown right next to the Turner paintings.The RBAFC were critical of how black people had been traditionally represented in cinema so their films aimed to dissolve racist ideas in order to delimit black film culture. The riots by black communities in Handsworth, Birmingham will make their first screening in the UK at the Whitworth, depicting something of Britain’s colonial past.
The Land Bet ween Us Whitworth, Manchester
Fo r The Birds Site Gallery, Sheffield
Joseph beuys Trade Gallery, Nottingham
Haroon Mirza’s work interrogates how we distinguish between noise, sound and music, one of many complexities examined by the current group exhibition at Site Gallery, Sheffield, For the birds. Mirza’s piece in For the birds is ‘SOS’, an installation of ‘mixed studio detritus’. A continually spinning vinyl record with a lit bulb attached to it by a bull dog clip, atop a small antique wooden chest, beside two speakers. A projection above the moving assemblage plays a film entitled ‘Adhãn Anthemoessa’ - Adhãn is the Islamic call to prayer and Anthemoessa is the Island of Sirens in Greek Mythology from where the song of the sirens was said to lure sailors to their deaths on jagged rocks. Mirza makes reference to the use of music as a calling device, and how this leads to greater controversy in religious terms. To follow religious rule can be perceived as a supportive and reassuring path, but negatively it is perceived to be a method for authoritarian social control offering an ‘emotional crutch’ to people lacking understanding or direction. ‘SOS’ is made up of everyday bits and pieces and these components are performing something familiar. The objects are as we expect but they are performing something out of the ordinary. The sound of Mirza’s piece can be heard throughout the gallery. In an exhibition with a focus upon the Western music world where historically tensions have arisen over inclusion, exclusion and participation, it seems an appropriate sensation to be drawn to one particular work which performs in a continual loop a perversely comforting routine. Mirza’s use of sound spill expresses the application and power of music in various circumstances, and that most importantly, there is a significant difference between simply hearing and actually listening. JF
Beuys is one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, and his work is very much visible in much contemporary practice today. Beuys’ seemingly lone reaction to minimalism in the 1960s and 1970s Interested in the artist as a performer, and the actions that might transform forms into meaningful things, this exhibition shows the documentation of Beuys’ most famous action. In 1974 he arrived
in the USA, and upon landing was wrapped in felt and transported to the gallery where he would spend the next three days. I Like America And America Likes Me was a gallery based performance in which Beuys lived with a coyote in the gallery space for 3 days. This exhibition shows the documentation of this performance through photographs and film, and is a rare opportunity to see this amazing work. 37
The Life W o rt h L i v i n g.
Hither & Thither
Nottingham’s art scene is on the verge of a thrilling few months. The infamous British Art Show will open 23 October-9 Jan 2011, presenting 39 significant contributors to contemporary art from the last five years. In anticipation of it’s impact, one of Nottingham’s brightest contemporary art collectives Tether launched a project last September to run alongside the BAS but deliver something they thought it couldn’t - an impression of the British art scene at grass roots level. Tether formed in 2007 and are themselves a solid example of recently graduated artists trying to establish a collective base and sense of direction. Their response was to not only build foundations for themselves in Nottingham but to question how others were doing it nationwide. In September 2009, Tether embarked upon an exodus from Nottingham to call on 39 independent artist led initiatives, interviewing the people behind each and uploading these as short films to their online video channel Tethervision. Article asked Tether why they took to the motorways (and backstreets) and what they hoped it would teach them. We wanted to know why other people ran initiatives independently (often unfunded) to help us understand why we run Tether. We felt like the independent art scene is very hidden away, often out of public view and by the time people find out about these spaces, they often don’t exist anymore. We wanted to create an archive or a snapshot of the British independent art scene c.2010 which would be available online indefinitely. How many people are involved? There are currently two people who run Tethervision, supported by a team of assistants and volunteers. We commission other artists to make new works for Tethervision and record various films, interviews and performances ourselves. You met with a variety of artist-led projects across the country, did you find many similarities? Several followed the Transmission model (after Transmission in Glasgow). The gallery has a committee of between 4 and 6 people who each get voted or invited in and stay for two years. In some places, this involves a sudden change...In others they change at different points over the two years so there are always different levels of knowledge within the organisation. It seems like a good idea as it keeps the running of the organisation fresh.
Were any of the buildings being occupied on the dodgy side? Many buildings that artists take over are past their heyday but none felt particularly deadly! N.B. There is a project in Nottingham called Annexinema that started projecting films in an old annex building. Probably structurally unsafe but the events that took place there were some of the best to happen in Nottingham over the past few years. Part of the roof fell in (not during an event!) so the space hasn’t been used since. Perhaps there is also something attractive about the structurally questionable, dilapidated buildings? Which place was hardest to find? Steve Messam who ran Fold until 2009 - we met him at a converted barn down a dirt track in rural Cumbria. Mostly our trusted sat-nav got us to where we needed to be! Did anyone suffer from car sickness? No, although one Tether member had to leave half way through after catching a bad cough and irititis. Where do you think artist-led initiatives seem to fall down? Due to budgets and other commitments, there is always more which gets left at the side. Some people try and develop their initiatives into larger, formalised projects, while others such as Temporary Art Space ran for only a short period of time without funding but with full control over everything. Formalising can increase longevity but that is not always the most important aspect. How do you feel about the future of Nottingham’s independent art scene? I’m intrigued about what happens in the aftermath of Sideshow [22 Oct - 18 Dec, citywide event run by Nottingham’s independent artists and curators] and British Art Show. For Tether, we are closing our space at the end of December and how we work after that is still undecided. Can you let us in on any future Tether adventures / road trips? We feel we need to complete by taking a few days in London as well as visiting Northern Ireland. That said, we wouldn’t say no to a full on European or Worldwide road trip. Currently, Tethervision is running a series of physical projects in a custom built Tethervision Studio between October & December. These include performances, game shows and lectures and will be recorded and broadcast online at tethervision.co.uk. JF www.tether.org.uk
British Ar t Show/ Sideshow “In the Days of Comet” is a science fiction novel by H.G.Wells, published in 1904, which tells of a society torn apart through poverty and corruption. A comet breaks through the ozone and enters the world’s atmosphere, gassing the entire population and sending all to sleep. Eventually people wake from the haze, but instead of all the depravity each person has a new found clarity and lust for life. If only things were so easy! The next exhibition landing at Nottingham Contemporary this month bears the title ‘In the Days of Comet’, and it is The British Art Show, so we are naturally geared up for something apocalyptic. In reference to the comet as ‘harbinger of change’, will the show awaken us to the most crucial contemporary art of now?
YH485 Press are creating a mobile library in a VW campervan to tour the locations in Sideshow, bringing resources for learning about contemporary art to doorsteps. Whatever happened to mobile libraries! In the spirit of Nottingham’s artistic independence, there is opportunity for artists, groups, galleries, studios, bars and warehouses to include their event on the Sideshow map. These distinct and independent elements have not been curated, Sideshow is simply open to submissions based anywhere in Nottingham by artists eager to respond and be recognised.
Keep Floors and Passages Clear - Artist’s are asked to respond to an old RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) poster which has long been displayed at One Thoresby and produce their own A1 artwork framed identically mounted beside it.
‘British Art Show 7 highlights how artists today explore historical episodes that shape our experience of the present and anticipation of the future’. This 7th reincarnation of the major exhibition by the Hayward Touring, curated by Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton, will present 39 notable British artists and their works in film, painting, drawing, sculpture, installation and performance. This looks set to be an appropriately spectacular showcase - ‘In the Days of Comet’ at Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham Castle and New Art Exchange, 23 Oct 2010 - 09 Jan 2011. Similarities between the British Art Show and the epic comet in Wells’ story are apparent, so perhaps the gases trailing the comet which miraculously invade and remedy the minds of people can be recognised in Nottingham’s Sideshow. Sideshow is a city-wide exhibition now making its second appearance in Nottingham and it will be visible for much of the duration of the British Art Show (must stop the metaphors!). Sideshow itself proclaims to be so much more than a side serving of an art show, but a central event encompassing something different to the British Art Show. In contrast it represents the artist-led sector of Nottingham, the independent, do-it-yourself approach that its contemporary art network is so known for. It seems just right that the presence of this major exhibition has again sparked a series of events, exhibitions and performances under the Sideshow name. Sideshow 2010 has been co-ordinated by Jennie Syson and sites various commissioned projects (supported by the Arts Council and Nottingham Visual Arts) across the city. ‘In the Days of Comet’ and Sideshow will run parallel to one another, certainly justifying a visit to Nottingham between 22 October and 18 December (The British Art Show continues until 9th Jan 2011). Make sure you catch a glimpse! The big one only happens every five years... (although Sideshow is always tangible in Nottingham). JF
The Attic Programme at One Thoresby St - week long exhibitions by studio artists range from sculptural installations to interactive screenings all in an imposing Victorian attic.
Enough possessions to fit into a backpack, dirty jeans and an easy smile â€“ working at the nail factory one day and drinking for a week solid the next. The 60â€™s drifters â€“ clever roughs with nothing to lose and everything to gain, owning nothing to nobody. What happened to that sense of adventure, that unyielding urge for a city where you could begin again?
A backpack’s worth of possessions, dirty jeans and an easy smile, he’s working at the nail factory one day, and drinking for a week solid the next. He’s the 60s drifter, a clever rough with nothing to lose and everything to gain, owing nothing to anybody. Where did the drifter disappear? What happened to their sense of adventure and unyielding urge for a city in which they could begin again? The Great Depression left many Americans on the move, looking for work. Young single people (particularly men) were at an advantage; they could travel light and were ultimately responsible for no one but themselves. Throughout the 1930s and well into the 1970s society viewed these traditional American drifters as harmless, and little more than cheap labour. In fact, in 1937 an anonymous writer penned the article “How to be a Hobo” for Esquire magazine advising, among other suggestions, being clean shaven in order to up your chances of being hired. Writers such as Jack London and the patrons of “Beat” literature made heroes out of drifters and their love of freedom, telling romanticised tales to the ever growing middle class of America. Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemmingway and Mark Twain, painted a portrait of a white, AllAmerican underdog who the public could root for. An image of the “bad boy” who lured in women; from roadside diner waitresses, to court attendants, and former Homecoming Queens.
Dodging the draft, working a job until it got boring, spending all their money on drink and women, experimenting with drugs, “finding their selves”, drifters became the 20th century’s wandering philosophers. People believed that they had special knowledge, gained from the many sights that they had seen and the many things that they had done. Lured in by the dream of freedom, numbers of travellers quickly increased, and as they did so did the number of bad apples amongst them – killers and rapists. In the mid 1970s, drifters’ Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Toole joined forces, got a car and turned their attention to their fellow hitch-hikers. Lucas later said: “Just about everyone I pick up, I kill ‘em. That’s the way it always turns out.” The duo eventually confessed to 108 murders. Their victims were usually interstate hitchhikers who were picked up and murdered. Lucas and Toole’s confession detailed a list of horrors including torture, rape and eventually cannibalism. Kate Rich initially offered shelter to the couple, but became suspicious of them. She was stabbed to death and then raped postmortem, her body found abandoned in a ditch with an inverted cross carved into its chest. Stories of the reverse were surfacing as well drifters were getting killed whilst on the road. In 1986 Walter W. Ellebracht Sr. and his son, Walter Jr. were arrested for attracting drifters to their ranch with the promise of paid work.
The drifters were imprisoned, tortured with a cattle rod, and then finally, killed. Tales of violence spread further as media outlets grew larger and the general population began to adopt a more sinister stereotype of the drifter. Reports about hitchhikers being killed, chopped up and dumped in barns in Iowa, spawned Hollywood movies of the same nature. They depicted horrifying and graphic representations of the worst case scenario. “The terror starts the moment you stop … for The Hitcher” (tag line for the 1986 film “The Hitcher.”) Similar true horror stories continue to this day. In May 2010 Christopher W. Deiter shot himself after killing two motel workers in Pennsylvania. As time went by, drifters came to be regarded as more of a menace than a wandering philosopher. Police forces began to address crimes associated with the drifter lifestyle – loitering, hitch-hiking and train-jumping were all strictly regulated or banned outright. Urban populations swelled, there were fewer day jobs to be filled, fewer opportunities for visiting strangers to make a few bucks. Society became more jaded, less trusting of strangers, more suspicious. Consecutive decades saw increasing government welfare programs, and an influx of cheap apartments and rental properties gave many drifters what they had been searching for all along – a fresh start. Suddenly it was possible to get off a Greyhound bus in a city, pick up a local paper and find a 42
long term manual labour job. “For Rent” signs peppered apartment buildings in urban areas, with rents charged by the week. You could start over, start afresh, and begin again. Article’s search for the modern day drifter took us across central USA, from the Greyhound bus depots, to day labour centres, dive bars, cargo train depots, and the skid rows of many American neighbourhoods. The journey led us to homeless bums, lazy dole – suckers, out-ofwork bricklayers with bad tattoos, opinionated rednecks on disability benefits, and college dropouts on their way to other side of the continent. Some of them had been drifters but were stuck – either because they didn’t have the means to carry on, or because they were afraid to go back. A bricklayer selling newspapers outside a church had originally lived in Kentucky. When we asked why he didn’t return home, his answer was simple, “Every time I go back, I get arrested.” Seventeen years later he’s stuck in a mid-Ohio university town, asking for handouts and telling us about some steps he’ll repair in a few days. In Kansas, a clean-cut man with road rash was heading east, looking for a trucking job that he had heard about through the grapevine. Bus depot crowds were a mix of poor travellers off to mooch a holiday from far-flung elderly family members, the occasional man in search of a new life, and permanently disenfranchised tramps who had long ago traded their dreams of a better life for the end of a crack pipe.
That’s not to say that the spirit of drifting has died, it has simply evolved. Now young men and women drift for a year, travel the world, and then find a place to call home. The greed of the 80s and 90s gave everyone a sense of entitlement when it came to material possessions. Suddenly no one could live without a van load of stuff – cell phones, laptops, MP3 players, a different outfit for every day of the month, hand-held gaming systems, not to mention the big screen TV, microwave, refrigerators with ice cube dispensers and espresso-cappuccino-latte-coffee makers. Before, people could amuse themselves with four fingers of whiskey, a cheap hooker and a bar fight. But once people got a taste of the “good life” they were addicted. The increased burden of what people now “couldn’t live without” made it hard to simply pack up and move on. The women who had come and gone so easily before were replaced by those who wanted to know what a man could offer them and were less than willing to support a drifter.
A bricklayer selling newspapers outside a church had originally
Working at a different job across the continent became the pastime of college kids on their gap years, getting a last gulp of adventure, before spending the rest of their lives working in air conditioned offices, taking the occasional holiday at a secured five star resort in a country that seemed so romantic and “real” before. Some adults do the same, work for months or years to save enough to chuck off the chains that they took on, and take to the road with that same spirit of adventure.
lived in Kentucky. When we
The iconic notion of a lone man, armed only with bag of his worldly possessions, drifting from city to city, looking for adventure and a fresh start, may have changed, but the drifter is by no means dead. The 21st century drifter may be better prepared and have a different goal in mind as he sets for the road, but the ancient attitude remains. There will always be those who look down the road that they are walking on and wonder where it will take them. Who walk into a bus station and slap down enough cash for a ticket on whatever bus is leaving next. The wanderlust that has pushed millions of Americans to hit the road continues to be as strong and unyielding as ever.
asked why he didn’t return home, his answer was simple, “Every time I go back, I get
DRIFTING IN BRIGHTSIDE
Produced by Ben Dunmore
Photography by Jodie Blackburn
Models:Sophie Bailey, the Heebie Jeebies: Del, Owen and Tom myspace.com/heebiefuckingjeebies
Assistant Anna Westerman
Clothing courtesy of Ideology Boutique, Carhartt UK & Hariet Gould
Sophie wears: Hariet Gould Shirt Jumper Penfield Beanie American Apparel Socks
Owen wears: Libertine Libertine Howl Cord Shirt Acne Guy Chino Doc Martens 10 hole boots
Del wears: A.P.C. Elbow Patch Crewneck Lavender Acne Mic Raven Jeans Veja Taua Leather Shoes Veja Acacia Canvas Bag
Owen wears: Libertine Libertine Howl Cord Shirt Our Legacy Brown Waxed Cotton Parka Acne Guy Chino Del wears: A.P.C. Elbow Patch Crewneck Lavender Acne Mic Raven Jeans
Sophie wears: Harriet Gould Shirt Jumper Carhartt Traditional Coat
Tom wears: Carhartt Job Shirt Our Legacy Round Neck Sweater Carhartt Roper Pant Clarkâ€™s Desert Boots Sophie wears: American Apparel Socks Vintage Boots
Sophie wears: Penfield Beanie Our Legacy Wax Cotton Parka
This is about moving, making, ending up somewhere, intended or not. When it comes to the world of art and design, there is often more of this than we realise. Both the of creation of and the finding and appreciating of work can take roundabout approaches. For many, creativity entails a certain amount of dithering, going over, redoing, making perfect. It's unusual to get it right the first time. Likewise, once a work is made, its route to finding its audience can take all sorts of paths and even take on a life of its own, one which the creator could not have foreseen. This is everything, from the viral video to the anthemic pop song being used to sound track an unsavoury political party's convention. In its strictest definition, perhaps, this is not drifting. However, it is movement that is natural, unforced. Sometimes things just happen. There's drift in thinking, making, distributing, and appreciating work. What's interesting about this is how it might be employed deliberately, or has been used to arrive at somewhere that might not have been thought of. We've interviewed artists, designers, etc, for this section of the drifting nature of work and creation.
Around five years ago in Berlin, amidst squabbles at Anti-Graffiti Conferences and debates over tightening laws against street artists, a young Aisha Ronniger found herself contemplating how to artistically connect with the public and make a pleasing impression on the urban landscape. Finding inspiration in the bicyclemounted paperboys and girls of America, she came up with the nice idea of riding around the streets of Berlin, handing out rolls of donated art works to passers-by. And thus the original Papergirl was born. Since her conception, other Papergirls have cropped up in various places over the world, the closest to home being in Manchester. Over the summer months, Janice, AKA Papergirl Manchester, called for submissions of all kinds of art works to involve in the first Papergirl project here. Every submission, without exception, has featured in an exhibition at the Soup Kitchen, Manchester, lasting until the 21st October. After this date, they'll be rolled up and collected into bags ready for Papergirl and her delivery boys and girls to take to the streets by bike and do their rounds. Unlike with traditional newspaper delivery, Papergirl's distribution route and time are kept secret, and each delivery offers something entirely unique and unpredictable. The idea is that it centres on an element of unknowability - not targeting any specific demographic but catching the un-expecting, whoever they may be, as they go about whatever it is they go about in their lives, and leaving the destination of these gifts of art First of all, what route has the Papergirl to chance. concept taken in moving beyond Berlin? By releasing it from the confines An unplanned route. I guess it is Papergirl of gallery walls where its reception that has drifted rather than me. I love how can often be limited and putting it in motion (literally), the project gives art it’s inspired people to set it up in their own city. What I don’t understand is, why now? I a life, allowing art to find the public only knew of Papergirl Berlin and Papergirl and be exhibited according to the Portland before I started planning in whims of whoever's hands it passes Manchester, but now there are loads around through. Drifters of Manchester, walk the world - mostly launching this year. with your arms at the ready and you may be lucky enough to catch one of these rolls of art in the very near What makes Manchester a suitable city for a Papergirl? future. We had a chat with Janice recently, and if the giving is as Originally I thought that most submissions much fun as she assures us, then would come from local people and the receiving is sure to brighten any Manchester’s creative industries, but there Mancunian autumnal day.
have been submissions from all around the world. Manchester has a struggling independent scene with a shared spirit of Papergirl. It has many creative people that don’t usually take part in exhibitions or events, and I felt that Papergirl would motivate people to create something and hopefully inspire people. How far does the Papergirl idea relate to the ethos of street art, in that it impacts on the urban environment and goes against convention?
When Papergirl started the core group of artists came from a street art background, describing themselves as ‘people that are used to giving away their art for free and understand the pleasure of it.’ Like street art, Papergirl gives people a different way of exhibiting and distributing their work and gives artists a direct relationship with the viewer: it may surprise them, amuse them, cheer them up, or displease them. It has the playfulness that some street art has and uses the city as its playground. But Papergirl is more like live street art. They share an ethos, yet Papergirl even goes against the convention of street art, as street art is to look at, not to take home or own. Papergirl’s impact within the urban environment is only for a short time, but it will have a longer impact on the recipients.
Is the idea to open the art world to people who often don't instinctively or actively seek it out?
Yes, both for the recipients of the work who may not seek out exhibitions (because really you do need to seek out good exhibitions) and for the people who submitted work - most of whom wouldn’t usually be part of the art world (including myself). I tried not to use the word artists at first, choosing to say illustrators, photographers, designers, and doodlers, but it became easier to say Papergirl Manchester artists. I’ve asked people if they call themselves an artist, my favourite answer was from Phlegm: ‘I tend to avoid it. It feels like introducing yourself as a wanker.’ Would you say the element of spontaneity is the main appeal to the artists?
I’ve asked people why they took part, and I most align with the artist Clare Plumley: ‘It’s performative, fun, and interactive. I like projects which take work outside of the traditional art space, and especially the idea of recipients perhaps not being those who would attend an exhibition or art event.’ Though I think about it more from the point of view of a recipient rather than being an artist.
Was there an element of drifting into this role as Papergirl? Or did you set out to be here, and everything is how you planned it to be?
I don’t feel that there has been an element of drift in my career in bringing Papergirl to Manchester. I’ve done a lot of different things in my career, but I’ve generally set out to do them with a sense of purpose (not that I can say this has always led me to what I want). I could do with more drifting, and I feel that Papergirl has inspired me to drift. With a non-curated exhibition and method of distribution, you leave the destination of each piece entirely to chance. Which is more important, the reception of the art or the event itself?
It’s the reception of the art which makes the delivery so much fun. Surprising strangers on the street, whether they are pleased or confused, happy or annoyed. I hope people will be surprised and happy to receive the free art. The main relationship between Papergirl and drift is the life of the work. Once it is distributed we can’t know exactly what happens to it. It may drift through various owners as people give it to their friends, they may leave it where they were handed it for others to find; will they put it on their wall, or wrap presents in it? Where will it end up? From the artist, to submission to Papergirl Manchester, to the exhibition, to distribution, the work has a journey but without knowing when the end point will be. 55
the hundred in the hands. Formed in late 2007, The Hundred in the Hands are a Brooklyn based duo, made up of Jason Friedman and Eleanore Everdell. Using undulating synthesizers, riffing guitars and melodic vocals their sound is full of a raw post-punk energy. Their debut single Dressed in Dresden released on Pure Groove lead to them being signed by Warp Records on which their eponymous album was released in September.
Does accident play any part in your creative process? Do you ever arrive somewhere without meaning to, and how do you use it when this happens? Is it more original?
Yeah, it’s very important. Trying to merge accident and intention is probably the best way to think about what song writing/ recording is. A lot of what we do live is controlling and building up sonic textures, letting them spill out and sopping it up again. The nice thing about digital recording is the ability to revisit accidents and respond to them. In a way, it’s a lot more like painting where you slowly build up layers, step back and then react. Have you ever ended making something amazing by going away from what you set out to make?
Totally. It’s something I think you have to be open to. Since we both write and we do it through the recording process there’s often changes that come up from the other making different associations and pushing the track into new directions. There’s quite a few songs on our EP and LP that started out dramatically different and changed as new ideas and directions presented themselves. Often one of us will also have a reference 56
point that is really foreign to the other and that will free us to hear new ideas more quickly. We also made a conscious decision to avoid pastiche so it was mostly a case of trying to avoid comfort zones and move in unexpected directions. Sometimes it feels like playing the telephone game with reference points. You start with one thing and end up someplace totally different. Was there ever an element of drifting into the career that you now have? Or did you set out expressly to be here, and everything is how you planned it to be?
I was always going to be making art but music did sort of come as a sudden turn. I had graduated from Art school and had no idea how to go about having a career in art and then I got distracted by Rock n’Roll and realized that I liked that world a lot more.
After you have made a piece, how does it ever take on another life beyond its original purpose? Have you ever had work adopted our used for something else, and if so, by whom?
It’s just something you have to accept. Once a song is out in the world people are going to respond to it in many ways and the meaning is going to change. You just have to be willing to give up control in a sense. When you're played on radio your song will run next to commercials and all kinds of things you can't predict. And beyond that, when albums get reviewed, lyrics and artwork appear on pages and websites with all manner of ads beside them. That re-contextualizes it and does change its meaning. Some music is inseprable from its larger cultural context but in most cases that context is not the product of the artist but of the audience’s response. Is it better to go with the flow (of fashion, trends, or even your own way of doing things) or react against it, or are these two possible responses not at as different as we might think?
I think that if you are making art that is actively engaged with contemporary life you have to be able to respond to what is going on around you which for us means listening to new bands and checking out what people are up to. But we tend to think of our creative response as going in cycles. At the moment we’re out touring and so it feels more like a period of absorption. When we get into writing mode, we tend to shut everything else out and disappear into our own world. The good thing about having two writers is that we can’t get to complacent and drift in our own way. The other always turns up to steer us back to the coast. What relation does your work have to particular places, maybe where you're from or are based, and how does that change when it moves around or is seen by people in other places?
The best thing about what we do is getting to go to so many places. I’m answering these questions in a hotel in Toronto in 20 something days I’ll be in Manchester. It’s pretty amazing and incredible and I think that we’re constantly learning from the places we go. We wrote most of record in New York but recorded a good bit of it in London and we’re day dreaming about writing the next one in Paris. Yeah, that’s good.
HU M AN .
Established in 2007, Humanstudio is a Sheffield based design and creative agency. Engaging in both video production and graphics for a number of clients, their work is a blend of high tech and classic style. We spoke to director Nick Bax. Does accident play any part in your creative process? Do you ever arrive somewhere without meaning to, and how do you use it when this happens? Is it more original?
Every creative processes involves an accident. Your subconscious is an accident waiting to happen. Feed it and use it. Was there ever an element of drifting into the career that you now have? Or did you set out expressly to be here, and everything is how you planned it to be?
I actually planned it all when I was twelve. After you have made a piece, does it ever take on another life beyond its original purpose? Have you ever had work adopted or used for something else, and if so, by whom?
All art is open to interpretation and so usually transcends the creator's intentions, especially if it's good. I'm always fascinated by how people interpret our work and find alternative meanings and uses for it. Last year, a Human-directed fashion shoot featuring 'This Is England' style skinhead girls was requested for use by a housing developer. What relation does your work have to particular places, maybe where you're from or are based, and how does that change when it moves around or is seen by people in other places?
Certain aspects still resonate regardless of where they are seen or who's looking at them. Our work means many things to various people in different places and circumstances, very often beyond our control. 'Music For Real Airports' (our collaboration with Black Dog) was completed before the volcanic eruption earlier this year but, when performed postchaos, it seemed to heavily reference ash clouds and airport closures - a wholly unintentional dimension which was beautifully poignant and really added to the piece.
m er c y .
Does accident play any part in your creative process? Do you ever arrive somewhere without meaning to, and how do you use it when this happens? Is it more original?
Split between London and Liverpool, creative agency Mercy have their fingers in many pies. Writing, design, events, these guys really do it all. They have worked with a whole host of companies and organizations from record labels to fashion houses, and galleries including the Tate. In addition to this they have found time to work several of their own projects, including a fantastic zine.
Yes. Absolutely. Mercy learns from its mistakes all the time - especially in the beginnings of creative process. We have special exercises, a bit like the Surrealists’ Automatic Writing and drawing, where we do things superfast just to see what amazing kinds of accidents happen. You could almost say that accidents are more honest than clinically produced things. With writing, design, and performance final products though, I’d say it was Mercy’s style to hone and polish the material from emerges from these accidents before we let the outside world see it. Was there ever an element of drifting into the career/group that you now have? Or did you set out expressly to be here, and everything is how you planned it to be?
Always one thing is driven by the last. Mercy started as a project to promote designers and illustrators through a zine, there just wasn’t enough opportunities there - now it seems like the live scene in Liverpool wasn’t really representative or doing justice to the city, so now we do that. We follow our noses - often to where we see gaps in the market. That sounds cynical I suppose, but really it boils down to doing something that’s worthwhile and wanted. After you have made a piece, does it ever take on another life beyond its original purpose? Have you ever had work adopted or misused, and if so, by whom?
Hm. Not misused. We do a lot of collaborative work, and pretty often you’ll end up dragging something out of back of a cupboard that you thought was useless at the time - but it has a new resonance when considered alongside someone else’s work. A project we did with Sam Meech recently, for example, used a lot of text that we’d generated for a poetry/ illustration project - which is satisfying, because it shows that the work has depth. 60
SELECTED MERCY LIVE PERFORMANCE EVENTS
How does time play a role in the way you work, particularly when focusing the way that you have to achieve something by a deadline, or letting work drift towards a conclusion?
We’re always busy. Sometimes its nice to have a good run-in on a creative project so you can do all the research and grow as an intellectual being while you’re doing it. Sometimes it’s nice to just knock something amazing off in an afternoon. We like to keep a nice variety of fast and slow-moving projects going all at once - it’s healthy for the brain to keep the little mice running on different sized wheels. What relation does your work have to particular places, maybe where you\re from or are based, and how does that change when it moves around or is seen by people in other places?
When we’re programming performance we will think a lot about the venue, more than the place - a good example is the work that we did in churches over the last few years - Wave If You’re Really There - they were very much developed with the place as a central theme. In a more subtle way, our current performance programme is developed with the context that it’s in a basement - so it’s boutique, risky, dark and edgy, compared to the more showy things that happen in a church. At the moment also, we’re concentrating a lot of our new work in Liverpool, so you’ll find a lot of site-specific stuff that references this city. A good example is our new audioguide (available online), where we’ve asked writers and poets from across the UK to respond to Liverpool with imaginary site-specific artworks of their own. The result is an exploration of a kind of imagined city - but based around a city we know very well. Also, our podcasts are based around happenings real and imaginary across Liverpool so you’ll find a lot influence of the city in those.
mercy: if we don't care who will?
It has tended to be that we will use Liverpool as a sort of muse and canvas for work that we hope works elsewhere - usually London, but we’d love to be invited to Sheffield! 61
O.K. Periodicals #4
O.K. Periodicals #3
O.K. Periodicals #3 With deliberate printing errors
o.k. p ar k ing Does accident play any part in your creative process? Do you ever arrive somewhere without meaning to, and how do you use it when this happens? Is it more original?
When we (William and Joost) studied at the art academy we started experimenting with making mistakes on purpose. We started making glitch images, movies and installations. We deconstructed digital cameras, webcams, computer screens etc. It's fascinating to see what happens when things don't work the way they should. And you should open your eyes for this. Mistakes/accidents aren't always bad because they can help you in your process and they can help you in making things you had never expected. The best thing is when you are able to take control of the accidents...not completely of course but a little is good. So you can steer the accident. After graduating we went on experimenting with these glitch projects. This way we ended up in the Glitch Book "Glitch: Designing Imperfection" by Imon Moradi and Ant Scott. These days we are less active in searching for the mistakes but we are sure happy when we find one and will always try to use them. I don't know if it's more original but it sure is more surprising and fun! Was there ever an element of drifting into the career that you now have? Or did you set out expressly to be here, and everything is how you planned it to be?
No, we drifted in to this. When starting our company it was an impulse without any idea of what we wanted and where we were going. We wanted to work together and to make nice things, earn a little money and have fun. And this is what we started with an then once in a while a projects or ideas pop up in our minds and 9 of 10 times we will start with this project blind folded not thinking about money, time or if it is going to fail. These sometimes crazy projects form us as a company make us the way we are right now but will also change us in the upcoming years. After you have made a piece, does it ever take on another life beyond its original purpose? Have you ever had work adopted or used for something else, and if so, by whom?
We are graphic designers so not really. Well not that I know of. Of course all the paper designs we produce will sometimes be used as wrapping paper, or shopping list.
After completing university Joost van der Steen and Willaim van Giessen formed OK Parking in 2005, a graphic design company based in Arnhen in The Netherlands. Now a design studio taking on large commercial projects the duo have managed to channel much of their creative energy into a number of creative side projects including the OK Blog, the OK Periodical and the OK Festival. Now on its fifth issue the OK Periodical is a biannual magazine with content submitted in response to a theme by international designers and artists. Having no editorial agenda the magazine is a playful showcase of work, where the form of the magazine is questioned. Involvement in magazine production eventually lead to the creation of the OK Festival, a three day independent magazine love in in Arnhem. First held in May 2010, the next is scheduled for 2012. By splitting their studio into halves, OK Parking have managed to make a multi-disciplinary practice that generates a considerable range of work... How does time play a role in the way you work, particularly when focusing the way that you have to achieve something by a deadline, or letting work drift towards a conclusion?
Time always plays a role, even with our self initiated projects we have deadlines when it should go to the printer or when it has to be finished. But it's nice if the deadline isn't too short. This way you have the time to think about and take a second look at what you made and most of the time this makes the design better. Just put it away for a few days and take a look at it afterwards. In terms of finding things that you use for inspiration, as a basis for work, how deliberate are you in research, or is there a tendency to drift through sources - the endless depths of the internet allow this?
I love to drift over the internet with Twitter and Facebook on my side. Just clicking links and seeing where it takes me. This often happens when working on the O.K. Periodicals magazine. Searching the internet within one theme brings you beautiful and curious things. But next to the internet inspiration is everywhere when I'm out of inspiration or energy I always go and have a walk to see things and people and clear up my mind. And then of course there are magazines, books and cycling (that's what we Dutchies do) through the city. All these can bring inspiration and most of the time it's easier to find it when you're not looking for it. With O.K. Periodicals you set a topic and then let people send in work they think fits. How does the theme move when the work begins to come in?
It's funny that we always have ideas of what we want people to send in but they almost never do. The last theme is about the Body we hoped that people would have a free mind in this and that not everybody would send us pictures of human bodies......but they did. Now we have a big collection of human bodies in the magazine and it looks great. So after all we are very happy with it. It's always a surprise what people will send us and that's good and keeps it fun to do. 63