Issue 28 Nov 2010
CONTENTS GET IN TOUCH WELCOME... COVER ARTIST HOT OFF THE PRESS! BLANKVERSE SPOTLIGHT THIS MONTH’S MP3 FICTION BLANKPICKS BLANK MEDIA RECCOMMENDS CREDITS
4 5 6 12 14 16 20 24 30 32 26
Within, Detail, Acrylic on Canvas by Jude Macpherson
YOU ARE LISTENING TO... Ain’t Gonna Rain Today by Old House Playground
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BlankSounds firstname.lastname@example.org blankpages copyright ÂŠ2006-2010 Blank Media Collective unless otherwise noted. Copyright of all artworks remains with artist. 4
Welcome... Apart from the feeling of the year being nearly over, November is an extremely fortuitous month for Blank Media Collective. First of all, we celebrate entering our fifth year of supporting the work of emerging creatives from all over the world. BlankWeekend, if you haven’t seen or heard about it already, is our most ambitious project to date. Check the website for all the information, but make sure you come and support blankpages- we will be well represented at the celebrations with a Friday night (12th November) of literature, music and performance at Kro Bar. Old House Playground (providing This Month’s mp3) are playing, so if you like the sound of them, come down, meet the team and celebrate with us! Secondly, we are moving into BLANKSPACE at the end of November, taking over from the guys at EASA HQ on Hulme Street to initiate the creative hub this city needs! You’ll see more information about that in this issue, and on the website. Keep eyes peeled for ways to get involved! It’s also a pleasure to introduce to you the written work of the new team of blankpages Editors. Hopefully you can get a feeling for who they are as writers, and it should encourage you to dig out your written gems and send them to us!
John Leyland, Editor
Jude Macpherson My pictures capture the patterns in nature that seem to replicate on both micro and cosmic scales. I employ an array of materials and techniques when working through ideas including painting, photography, and the use of digital images. Recurring themes and characteristics run throughout my work regardless of medium and I have a preoccupation with the infinite and its revelation through the use of image manipulation. In spite of the fundamental differences between working digitally and painting I feel the same artistic impulses at work. I often work in a process of layering – taking the image backwards and forwards – quite literally when painting as I repeatedly wash and dry the layers of acrylic paint. And when working digitally, I will ‘invert’ the image and overlay the same image several times. Compositionally I am aiming for an ‘all-over’ structure that has no beginning and no ending – there is a balance within this which ensures that no element dominates over any other.
My most recent work has developed from a long-standing interest in star-gazing and the aesthetic qualities of star-maps. I use a combination of photography and images scanned from star-atlas’ to create unique compositions which can be interpreted as ‘snapshots’ of the sky. To create my ‘snapshots’ I manipulate, reprint, and over-print images in a mapping exercise that explores the aesthetic and abstract qualities of the cosmos and aims to render the invisible visible. The images in this recent body of work are digitally printed onto paper and canvas. Whilst digital printing may be seen by some as artistically inferior to painting I am comfortable with this method of production since these images have only ever existed digitally – my digital prints are not reproductions in the normal definition of a reproduction. However an awareness of the ‘fine-art’ limitations of digital printing has led me to begin to try photo-screen printing and sunography (cyanotype) printing - techniques that offer scope for experimentation and introduce new qualities to my work.
Blue Hole, Acrylic on Canvas 2009, 20x20cm
Out There in the Night Digital, 2010
Rain, Digital, 2010
Left: Violet Spash, Acrylic On Canvas, 2009 20x20cm Right: Space Travelâ€™s In My Blood, Digital, 2010
Jude has an MA in The Study of Contemporary Art Theory, (Liverpool University 1997) and has been self employed since 2005. Her art practice encompasses both painting and site specific art works. She has created art works for several non gallery venues in the North West including Liverpool John Lennon Airport; Chorlton Ees Nature Reserve; Platt Fields Park; Victoria Baths and as part of Art Transpennine 08. She is an active member of Hot Bed Press Studios, Salford, where she is currently based. See more of Judeâ€™s work at www.judemacpherson.co.uk
BlankMarket Open All Hours
: S S E R P E H T P STO
! 1 1 / 0 1 0 2 N E P O O BLANKSPACE T Friday 22nd Oct 2010
Hot off the Press! Blank Media Collective are delighted to announce the mega exciting news that we will be opening our first contemporary art space, BLANKSPACE in Manchester, right in time for the start of our fifth year! We will be taking over the management of 43 Hulme Street [easaHQ] from the end of November this year. This is a massive day in the history of Blank Media Collective and it couldn’t have been achieved without the dedication of all our fantastic volunteers. This has been a big dream of mine since I founded BMC 4 years ago and what better time to open a space than at the start of our fifth year! I know that we will put BLANKSPACE on the map and give hundreds more emerging artists the opportunity they need and deserve.
A big thank you must go to Chris Maloney and Thomas Bennell from easa010 who were instrumental in inviting and securing Blank Media Collective’s tenure of this iconic building. We are very excited to be working with ASK Developments and would like to thank them for their kind support. Mark Devereux Blank Media Collective Director
BLANKSPACE will be a creative hub showcasing multi-disciplinary activities; visual arts & sculpture, spoken & written word, live art & performance. Collaborations, innovation and experimentation will be at the forefront. BLANKSPACE will • be a hub for all things creative • Provide a central support network for emerging practitioners • involve the wider community in helping to shape the future of the arts in Manchester • showcase exciting work by artists from throughout our home in the North-West, as well as the UK and Internationally Further information will be announced soon…
Home I'm not sure if I can really hear it, but there's something echoing. Hovering around my room. Sounds like drums, sometimes: Like waves lurching through the house, Samba, Roaring lava, Crickets. There's a smell, sometimes: Sea air Salsa Fried chicken. Sometimes a wisp of scent.
Illustration By Michael Thorp
Abigail Ledger-Lomas is a newcomer to Manchester, having previously lived in Liverpool and Leeds and spent the last six months travelling the American continent. She began her literary life as Arts Editor for an alternative satirical newspaper based at Leeds University, and has worked with various publishing houses and creative organisations continuously since. She recently landed the role as the new poetry editor at Blankpages and has already found some great poets for upcoming editions of the magazine. She canâ€™t wait to see some more submissions come her way though, so get writing.
There's a voice, too. I think it's mine. Trying to recount a story, only the conversation's moved on. Waits for a moment to contribute but just rolls around my head for a while before it dissolves into something I meant to say. Â I meant to say how when I first saw Machu Picchu The stoic silence, not the wind, made my eyes well. I meant to say the sea in Mexico is lilac and mauve Not blue. And the sky and the sea feel the same. I meant to say the roads never end in Texas. I meant to say Christ Redeemer is smaller than you'd think. And the Statue of Liberty isn't as tall as her people's spirit. I meant to say Iguassu thundered the breath from my lungs. Sometimes I was afraid. Sometimes I felt like I was The Moment. I meant to say sometimes I wasn't really me at all.
But that's all moved on now: no longer appropriate. The cracked heels of Mayan women Hair like thick black ink Eyes like thick black onyx Are no longer fitting topics for the dinner table. “Pass the bread.” Did I ever tell you about Corpus Christi? Processions of cobalt and lemon and rusty red. The palm fringed streamers cracked softly overhead “The weather's been dreadful.” We sat once for an hour in a power cut. The rain slid down beside a lake as big as the sea The lightening blazed brighter than electricity. The car horns and the market calls have become a fizzled drone. Like me, really, boring the fuck out everyone, Going on and on. Drowned out by clicks and buzzes Dialling tones. White noise. Static. And now I'm fumbling with a resume, Trying to explain about when I wasn't here: “Did you go anywhere nice?” they ask, And I hear the echoes blasting in my ear.
Bonfires The Big Old Pear Tree fell; we burnt it in the garden. It hissed and cracked and sparked. In its heat we sat in the cold, pushing our faces into the rippling air, Eyes streaming in the smoke. We did not cry for its fallen limbs. For the times it had given us: A castle, a fort, a hide away. Its long gnarled arms had wrapped us up, Held us aloft on crisp days just like this. We’d had to cut it up, swinging at the old thing with huge hacks. It wasn’t easy. Our shoulders heaved. Ached. We stoked the fire with leaves. Remembering for a while our youth, Picking up conkers. Tossing them away. The Old Tree was dying. Had died. Fell with an almighty crack. We went to the pub, left the trunk burning, The thick bark glowing and sparkling down it’s spine. Steaming, shuddering in the silver night. We walked the dog the next day, in the morning air: Just the ashes rising.
clare makes films Words by Elaine Wilson
clare makes films are an independent media arts organisation headed by Clare Brumby and Sam Hatton. They’ve been around for a while, building up a portfolio of work which includes corporate and educational films, fine art projects and the delivery of animation workshops, always with their own artistic injection. However 2010 has taken clare makes films into another creative direction. As part of an MA in Fine Art, Clare has been exploring the Japanese martial art of Kyudo, which means ‘way of the bow’. This contemplative practice has allowed Clare to unearth her true creative goals that would otherwise be buried by fear – fear of what people think and fear of not being as good as possible. A fear most artists likely share. Clare talks about eliminating that part of her ego through her Japanese adventures and how it will inform the future of clare makes films. Where it all began... “In the first year of the MA in Fine Art, I got onto this artist called John Cage a musician who is into this idea that sound is all around us, therefore music is all
around us. For me, not just music but art is all around us. It’s important not to force work with timelines, you can’t be thinking about what the end product is whilst you are in the process, and Cage was very process based and I wanted to look more into that. He was a Zen Buddhist, so he was very interested in taking the ego out of his practice and that whole idea really interested me. I applied for the Susan Cotton Travel Award, because I didn’t want to work being tied to this timeline, I wanted to be a little bit freer. So I ended up training in ancient Samurai archery, Kyudo to get this freedom.” Kyudo “It’s a very spiritual process and it’s about mastering your mind and it’s not actually about hitting the target but more about shooting the arrow, it’s about what’s in your heart and in your head. Martial arts are about obstacles and overcoming those and having the courage to approach something, saying ‘I can do this’ so I challenged myself physically with the training in Japan, every day over four weeks, and to see how this related to my arts practice.”
Japan “I got the trip to Japan through the MA in Fine Art at Liverpool John Moores University. Every year they have the Susan Cotton Travel Award where final year students get the opportunity to develop their practice and it has to be out their comfort zone and in another country. Because I’m a film maker, my background was always the practical film making aspect of it rather than the artistic side of things, I never really had the opportunity to experiment with ideas, and that always felt to me that I was limiting myself to this timeline and never really letting things just happen. Once I got back from Japan, it made things more clearer in that I wanted to pursue more arts based projects, obviously we would like the luxury of being able to do that every day, but you have to have your bread and butter jobs but it made me really look at what we do and encouraged me to approach things more creatively, I would say that the whole course has done that really. It’s given me a whole new perspective on creating work, as it’s helped me develop a more creative approach to writing bids and pitches, and it’s made us review what we are about, our goals, our mission and it’s made us clearer and enhanced our whole
work life. The whole experience was so out of the box and so out of my comfort zone it has made me realise that anything is possible.” Divine Wind “Whilst in Japan I took part in some interventions, like little performances. One in particular stands out. Near where I was staying, there was a tube line called the Chuo Line and it was notorious for suicides where people throw themselves onto the track. In Japan there is such a culture of honour where everyone would try to save face, which goes back to the samurai days. So I did this intervention on one of the trains. Everyone would be fanning themselves with plastic fans as sweating is seen as a sign of being working class, so everyone is keen not to sweat. I also found there was quite a lot of gender bias, in many ways it’s still a patriarchal society, but overall there was this strong sense of honour. In researching the history of Japan I came across the idea of kamikaze, which means ‘divine wind’. It was the wind that stopped the Mongols from invading Japan so many centuries ago. It made me think it is like a wind of change in government there at the moment, and it also made me think of kamikaze pilots and what their missions
were. In the war, communities of women used to make senninbaris, a thousand stitch belt, for the kamikaze pilots, and it ties in again to that sense of honour, so I decided to make a senninbari, but it would be about the death of my ego. Because of this link to the suicide on the train tracks, I would get on the train, open up this pack of stuff, put on a samurai glove I was given as part of the Kyudo practice, I would fan myself and start sewing this senninbari, put it on and get off the train at various stops. For me that was actually a big deal, because it was about overcoming my ego in terms of ‘oh my goodness, what will people think of me?’ But it was really liberating, and such an appropriate intervention as it was towards the end of my trip after all of this Kyudo practice, it really geared me up and made me think about my art practice. It helped me explore a completely different discipline. And it’s made me ask where is our business going, what are we about, and what do we really want to do?” “Peace Talks” From one Japanese influence to another, Clare will be taking part in the Bed-In at the Bluecoat series on 1st November 2010. Inspired by John and Yoko, she will be performing “Peace Talks,“ where she
will be inviting members of the public and a selection of artists to join her in an interactive art piece presented in the form of a chat show. The piece will be hosted in the Bluecoat Bed where members of the public and community arts organisations will be invited to submit their own proposals on how peace can be achieved. “We’re looking to get lots of different community groups and people from all walks of life involved in the peace talks during my Bed-In. I’m curious to see what their take on a Peace Proposal is and how they interpret this, so it’s going to be an interesting one, especially as we will be inviting a live audience to participate as well.” It appears that Clare’s time in Japan will have ongoing effects, as clare makes films goes from strength to strength.
www.claremakesfilms.co.uk www.facebook.com/claremakesfilms www.thebluecoat.org.uk
“Take soulful blues, add extra heartache and
(THIS MONTH’S MP3)
is the result”
Review of Old House Playground Night & Day, Thurs 7th October Words by Henry Roberts At first I am under the impression they are doing a sound check. Haigh, the lead guitarist, leans into the mic and says “can we just try something a minute?”. Apparently there is no time though; before I know what’s going on, heavy drums (Andreas) are bringing guitar (Haigh) and bass riffs (Conor) together into a huge, majestic whole, which turns out to be the first song of the set, Three Little Pigs. The sound is dark and moody, but has some pace to it, and as the crowd settle in everybody seems to be focussed on the stage, and particularly on Tryfon’s enigmatic figure. His voice, part Tom Waits, part Tim Buckley, has everybody’s attention. Those who have heard it before turn proudly to those who haven’t, in the way that you do when you’ve discovered something amazing that you are sharing with someone. The song ends and, without a pause, the band launches into Terminal Communion, one I’ve heard them play before. Admittedly, sadly, I can’t make out all the words, but I put this down to the sound engineer, and my toes are tapping nonetheless.
Photography by Zuza Grubecka
After the second chorus in which Tryfon confesses “that’s the way she wanted it...” my spine is ready to be tickled by Haigh’s solo. The song seems to end quite abruptly, but then starts again for an apparently impromptu, slightly honky-tonk outro. Next, Andreas, the drummer, starts up a slow groove in which he clearly loses himself. Tryfon’s eyes are closed, Elvis-leg wobbling wildly, and his mood seems to seep through the others like honey; everyone is in the groove together, holding back, sombre, thoughtful. All but Haigh shut their eyes while he stares distantly, looking as if he is meditating as his fingers pick out another searing solo, working under their own consciousness, just parts of this blues machine. Haigh’s playful stabs don’t become at all tiresome, on the contrary they punctuate Tryfon’s vocals beautifully, and I am struck by the sound’s solidity. It is powerful, and I don’t care whose fault it is if I can’t make out the words; it’s as if Tryfon’s wail is speaking to me in a language I didn’t realise I knew until now.
Almost entirely concealed by his enviable beard, Conor then picks up the familiar sounding bassline to Blue Girl. Suddenly the mood has changed; some of the melancholy has turned into anger, just in time for the anthemic chorus which Tryfon belts out like it’s a war cry. Another of Haigh’s penetrating solos emerges out of nowhere, this time drenched in reverb, lending the solid blues sound a psychedelic edge. The crowd, by now, have moved right up to the stage, and I am asked to move out of someone’s line of sight (I clearly don’t look as important as the cameraman, scribbling away as I am in my Moleskine). Tryfon announces another song: Ain’t Gonna Rain Today. This one is held together by a lazy, dotted drum beat, decorated with chorus-y textures from Haigh and tight, muted chords from Tryfon. Haigh’s next solo, lingering into the next verse, is suddenly jazzy, the whole sound now somewhere between Johnny Cash and Django Reinhardt. Though I’m enjoying my notetaking, I can tell the girls behind me are getting annoyed, and I feel it’s time to enjoy the rest of the gig the same way everybody else is - with a beer.
On my return from the bar, however, I realise the track being played has a definite grand finale feel to it, and it turns out that’s exactly what it is... I realise that Andreas is steadily building momentum using the palms of his bare hands on the snare drum. Like a freight train approaching, the song is developing from very quiet beginnings into a huge crescendo that culminates with such a lot of energy and with such a big, sustained sound that I have to remind myself I am only looking at four musicians. Finally, the band reaches peak energy and as Haigh bends over to milk the feedback out of his final chord, a drop of sweat sparkles as it falls from his brow just at the moment the song ends. The short set has given the audience a taste of Old House Playground, but as a support act they have to adhere to the rules and make room for the headliner. The band get a huge round of applause, as they have done in between each song, this time made louder by whooping and whistling. The crowd clearly want more OHP in their lives.
“The confidence that exudes from this band is astounding”
The confidence that exudes from this band is astounding, especially considering the current line-up has only been together a few months. I have never heard soulful, gritty blues played in such a contemporary way without seeming at all gimicky, whimsical or fad-ish. I am excited to see how the bandâ€™s forthcoming European tour pans out, and where they will go in future. OHP will be playing a set for blankpages Presents... at Kro Bar on 12th November, part of BlankWeekend. Also look out for their limited edition LP, The Whore and the Dog, and keep one eye on this band at all times; Old House Playground are doing something truly special.
See and hear more Old House Playground at www.oldhouseplayground.com and for more of Zuzaâ€™s beautiful photography visit zuzazuza.tumblr.com
MOORE AND MURPHY By Kevin Bradshaw
Illustration by Michael Thorp
“So,” said Murphy. “So,” said Moore. And together they heaved the five hundred kilogram corpse above head height and pierced it on the swinging butchers hook. Moore cleared his throat, and Murphy swung his head in a circular motion emitting a loud crack of bone on bone. They stepped either side of the second cadaver and crouched down. Lift with the legs, not the back: the sensible mantra of health and safety. Skinned, gutted, relieved of its head and legs, and ready for boning, the weight was still considerable. And together Murphy and Moore slung another dead cow onto another steel hook. “Good morning,” said Murphy. “Did I say that already?” “No,” said Moore. “You didn’t. Good morning, Murphy.”
Moore stepped across the room to the sterile storage compartment and withdrew two large handheld hooks, and two long upwardly curving butcher’s boning knives. He walked back to Murphy and the two hanging carcasses, and handed over a hook and a knife. “Thank you,” said Murphy. “You’re welcome,” said Moore. The room in which they stood was morning fresh, and as clean as it gets in a working day. Spotless white tiles on floor and walls, and fixtures and fittings of shining stainless steel. Murphy and Moore wore white from top to toe, including their hair nets and elasticated shoe covers. They each drew in a small table and positioned them to the left of their cows. Moore placed his hook and knife on the table, lowering them at a controlled rate so that the sound of them making contact
with the surface was minimal. He arranged them millimetre by millimetre so they were centred on the tabletop and their handles were parallel. Murphy put his hook down, the metal on metal emitting a ringing ting. He held the boning knife before his face and peered at the blade, inspecting it from hilt to tip. Murphy and Moore reached the same conclusion and, as Moore continued his incremental tabletop adjustments, Murphy took the initiative. He walked back to the storage locker and retrieved two 20cm steel knife sharpeners, then returned to Moore, handing one over. “Thank you,” said Moore. “You’re welcome,” said Murphy. They each approached their respective tables and examined their tools. Moore picked up his hook and began carefully scraping down and sharpening the tip,
approaching from this angle and from that. Murphy took up his boning knife, enhancing its already considerable sharpness with long steady strokes of the bevelled file. They stood back to back, alone except for their tools. “We have a good day ahead of us,” Moore said to his hook. “We sure do,” replied the hook. “I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.” “There, how does that feel?” Murphy asked of his knife. “Excellent,” replied the knife. “You really know how to wake me up in the morning. I feel sharp as a new pin.” “Murphy,” said Moore. “How was your weekend?” Murphy didn’t answer immediately. Holding onto the handle of his knife sharpener he placed the tip against the metal surface of his table. With motions of the wrist the tip glided back and forth against the steel emitting a scratching screeing that Murphy imitated vocally. He cleared his throat and tapped the sharpener three times. “Fine,” he replied. “Yours?” Moore didn’t answer immediately. He blew gently on the tip of his hook and placed it in the exact spot on the table it had previously been. Lowering his head close to the surface he peered with one eye at the
blade of his boning knife. He considered the benefits of investing in a jeweller’s magnifying loupe. Once the thought had entered his head he was unsure as to why he hadn’t thought of it before. With close magnification, perhaps 30x would suffice, he would be able to exactly asses the suitability of his tools. The perfection of his blade would be beyond his ability to achieve merely with the naked eye, and the best possible without the impractical employment of an electron microscope. “Yes,” he replied. “Fine.” In silence they took up tools and began the day’s work; separating chuck from rib, brisket from shank, and loin from flank. They took care to ensure perfect cuts every time, with minimal damage to connective tissue, and smooth cleaving through flesh and bone. Whole beef enters their chamber and leaves as skilfully boned cuts to be shipped to butchers across the country. Moore and Murphy can each cleanly bone hundreds of cows a day. The hook is held in the left hand, and is used to control and manipulate the position of the meat, while the knife is of course used to separate the various cuts according to the familiarly established beef chart. “I had another argument with my wife yesterday,” said Murphy.
“Oh no, really?” enquired his knife. “Yes,” replied Murphy. “If I’m being honest to myself I can’t really see us lasting much longer. Our youngest is going away to university next year, and once she’s gone I imagine we’ll separate.” “You feel like you’re just staying together for the kids, and once they’ve all left home there’ll be nothing left to keep you together,” summarised the knife. “Exactly,” said Murphy. “We don’t talk much anymore, I don’t think she feels much love for me, and I hate to say it, but I don’t know if I love her anymore.” “Well, your daughter is staying at home for another year,” began the knife. “And a year is a long time. Don’t think I’m just offering platitudes, but who knows what could happen between now and then. Think about it; do you want to save your marriage?” “Of course I do,” said Murphy. “Why?” demanded the knife. “We’ve between together so long,” said Murphy. “I don’t know how I would cope without her.” “Is that it?” asked the knife. “You don’t want to lose her because you’re worried about washing your own clothes and watching TV alone?” “No of course not,” protested Murphy.
“I didn’t mean it like that.” “Then what?” the knife said resolutely. “I mean I,” stammered Murphy. “I mean I still love her.” “Then tell her,” insisted the knife. “When was the last time you told her you love her?” “I can’t remember.” Every word spoken filled the hard tiled chamber with repetitions of itself as it bounced from wall to floor to ceiling. As Murphy’s last word echoed and then died, silence returned to the room. The gentle and professional slicing of meat caused sounds barely audible to all but the most attentive listener. And so Murphy and Moore continued as the morning progressed. “Yesterday was the nine month anniversary,” said Moore. “I haven’t had a drink for two hundred and seventy-five days exactly.” “That’s fantastic,” congratulated his boning hook. “Thank you,” beamed Moore. “I am feeling rather proud of myself.” “So, how did you celebrate this momentous occasion?” chimed the hook. “Not with a drink I hope?” “I wish,” chuckled Moore. “I made a flask of tea and went trekking in the fells.”
“Alone?” enquired the hook. “No, I went with the fell walking society,” Moore said. “You should join us some time.” “Maybe,” said the hook. “I’m not sure if it’s my sort of thing really.” “Nonsense,” insisted Moore. “It’s invigorating. You should bring your wife. It might help you find some common ground and perhaps reconcile your differences.” “I’ll consider it,” said the hook. The conversation was interrupted by the siren indicating the abattoir’s lunch break. In silence Murphy and Moore downed tools - Moore with practised precision and Murphy quickly and casually - and moved into the next room. They removed their hair nets, shoe covers and aprons and scrubbed their hands with soap and water. During their dinner hour they sat together and ate. “So,” said Murphy, halfway through a plate of chips. “So,” said Moore later, over an empty plate. And together they returned to their work places, donning their hygienic hair nets and aprons, picking up their tools and preparing for the afternoon’s toil. “Murphy,” said Moore. “How was your lunch?”
“Fine,” said Murphy. “Yours?” “Yes,” said Moore. “Fine.”
Kevin Bradshaw is a Lancaster born, Manchester residing writer and blogger. His obsessions include Japanese food, American Minimalist fiction, beer, getting that damn blog done every day no matter how tired he is, using books to gradually build a protective cocoon, anally recording his enforced diverse musical taste on last.fm, and mistrusting people who donâ€™t like olives. He is the new Fiction Editor for blankpages, and an enthusiastic idiot with regards to popular science and diverse writing styles.
Lawrence Weiner at Pavement words by Matt Hull I see all the work I do as star maps. They’re for people to find where they are within the culture...to set up a pattern for people to understand where they are and from that they can determine what it is they want to do and they can figure out how they want to do it. Lawrence Weiner, 2008 New students settling into the halls of residence surrounding Grosvenor Park might have come to expect a certain number of things by now. They will have discovered that it isn’t compulsory to accept every flyer handed to them. They may have found that the fruit and vegetables from the stall in the silver caravan are cheap, ugly-looking and taste better for it. They really should have learned that in Manchester a day without rain is, like finding money behind your sofa, a pleasant surprise but under no circumstance to be relied on. What they might not be expecting is to go round the corner and happen upon, in heavy type, Lawrence Weiner’s Declaration of Intent; 1. The artist may construct the piece. 2. The piece may be fabricated. 3. The piece need not be built. —each being equal and consistent with the intent of the artist the decision as to 30
condition rests with the receiver upon the occasion of receivership. And this is exactly what is so special about the Pavement, a non-traditional gallery space set in a disused shop-front; just by pausing for a moment, or even turning your head as you walk past, you can see thoughtprovoking work. It provides stimulating, espresso-sized shot of art which is available to commuters, students and local residents alike. The external only access also provides a number of advantages for the curators, who are able to display work 24 hours a day and reach those who might not ordinarily decide to visit galleries. Past exhibitions have included Ever Growing Never Old, Looped, a series of haunting photographs of the derelict architecture of the former Eastern Bloc, and Kamera Kinetics, three short films from ‘landscape cinema’ director William Raban. This latest exhibition, Lawrence Weiner: Works, consists of two seminal artworks from the trailblazing conceptual artist; Declaration of Intent (1969) and Translation from One Language to Another (1969). For over four decades the artist Lawrence Weiner has been working in the most versatile but challenging materials - text. Using words, phrases and grammatical norms Weiner sculpts work which has not
only textual meaning but also engages on a visual level. Instruction, rhetoric, idiom and cliché are all employed by the artist, the meanings of the phrases or sentences playfully twisted through typography. Sometimes the aim and humour is more obvious, like In his work Reduced (1970) where the title is rendered in immense red letters which run the length of a gallery wall. Other times the work is subtler with A line drawn from the first star at dusk to the last star at dawn, from 2007 show As Far as the Eye Can See, having the considered rhyme and rhythm of poetry. Both of the works on display at Pavement engage with the practice of art, Declaration of Intent posits a series of proposals for the artist’s relationship with materials while Lawrence admitted in conversation with students at Canada’s KIAC School of Visual Art that Translation from One Language to Another refers to all creative activity; ‘this is basically what all artists do: translate something into something.’ The artworks have the potential to go beyond these ideas of visual art practice, though, engage with wider concerns and resonate to a far broader audience. Declaration of Intent could easily be applied to remix culture, where the piece doesn’t need to have been built by the artist but is rather appropri-
ated, deconstructed and resynthesised into a new work. And Translation from One Language to Another speaks to the various ethnic and cultural exchanges which are inherent to living in Manchester. So while Manchester’s new arrivals, wandering the unfamiliar streets, might not have been expecting to run into the
exhibition at Pavement, it might turn out to be exactly the guide they need and exactly the cultural star map Weiner set out to create. Lawrence Weiner: Works, Pavement, 30th September – 12th December 2010, Free (External Access Only)
SPRAWL Untitled Gallery, Manchester Runs till 21st November An exhibition of works by Josie Clinton produced from 2007 – 2010, explores “the idea of a city being almost an organic being – breathing, living, spreading its roots, and constantly growing.” www.untitledgallerymanchester.com IN THE ROUND Manchester, Newcastle & London Runs till 12th November In The Round is a dynamic collaborative exhibition of Contemporary Art traveling through three major cities in the U.K. These shows will unite artists from across the country, exploring both differences and parallels in the work of eight emerging British Artists. www.intheround2010.co.uk AMBIENCE OF PLAY Greenroom, Manchester Runs ‘Til 18th December From the award winning to the untrained, Blank Media Collective are pioneering the best creative talents from across the Pennines. Ambience of Play showcases three contemporary practitioners, Liz West, Katie Louise Dixon & David Morris, who are
helping to keep the art scene in the North-West fresh and exciting. What makes these artists innovative is their playful approach to art practice as they set their own challenges to create their work. www.greenroomarts.org CELEBRATION OF MAFA’S 150 YEARS Gallery Oldham, Oldham 6th November - 16th January This exhibition of sculpture, painting, drawing and prints showcases the work of artists across the region, all of whom are members of Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. In 2009 the Academy celebrated 150 years of playing a vibrant role in the artistic life of north west England. Its objectives are to promote art in the wider community through exhibitions and education. During the exhibition there will be a variety of classes and workshops run by the artists. www.mafa.org.uk AUTUMN EXHIBITION Gatefoot Gallery, Kendal 10th November - 4th December Inspired by the surrounding area of the Lake District, as well as a trip to the Alps and Southern France. Lisa Denyer’s solo exhibition showcases created landscapes with a contemporary stance. www.gatefootgallery.com
MAKE YOUR OWN TSHIRT Islington Mill, Salford 13th & 27th November £10 per person, Booking Essential Using appliqué and various types of fabric participants will have the opportunity to create their very own bespoke t-shirts! These workshops will be held in the newly refurbished club and gallery space at Islington Mill. The bar will be open with a delicious selection of food and refreshments for you to enjoy before and after the workshop. The gallery will also be open for you to peruse the latest exhibition. If you wish you can stay into the evening to catch some live music too! one69a.com NEW LOCK OPEN Lock Gallery, Coventry 15th November - 14th December West-Midlands based artists displaying work for the launch party and opening exhibition, of the brand new Lock Gallery. www.thelockgallery.co.uk
CUBEOPEN Cube, Manchester Starts 19th November CUBE, Centre for the Urban Built Environment is delighted to be announcing its annual open submission competition. Now in it’s fourth year the competition attracts entries from around the globe. Artists, architects and designers are invited to submit work that responds to our theme of the urban built environment. www.cube.org.uk
SHOOTING YOUNG OFFENDERS Project Space Leeds 6th - 11th November The ‘Shooting Young Offenders’ exhibition will run from 6th November to 11th December at Project Space Leeds. Leeds-based social documentary photographer, Kirsteen Ashton, presents a collection of images taken over a 5 week period in the summer. She photographed young offenders on an arts course designed to rehabilitate them. The exhibition brings together her photography, their artwork, and a short film that they created about the dangers of M-CAT. www.projectspaceleeds.org.uk
LATITUDE Manchester Modernist Society 20th - 28th November The exhibition includes a variety of work including a map of Manchester in the form of an angiogram (an x-ray of blood vessels); a map tracking every aeroplane to take off from Heathrow airport in 24hours; a map designed to promote Salford’s ‘Unconvention’ music festival and an intriguing take on motorway signage. www.manchestermodernistsociety.org
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Trolley series, ÂŠ Liz West 2010
greenroom, Manchester Liz West | Katie Louise Dixon | David Morris
Ambience of Play www.blankmediacollective.org/ambienceofplay 35
28 October - 18 December 2010 Public Preview: 27 October, 6-9pm Free Entry
Blank Media Collective Team: Director: Mark Devereux Financial Administrator: Martin Dale Development Coordinators: Dwight Clarke & Annette Cookson Communications Coordinators: Stephanie Graham & Dan English Information Manager: Sylvia Coates Website Designer: Simon Mills BlankMarket Coordinator: Michael Valks Exhibition Coordintors: Jamie Hyde, Marcelle Holt, Claire Curtin, Rachael Farmer & Taneesha Ahmed Live Music Coordinator: Iain Goodyear Official Photographer: Gareth Hacking
blankpages Team: Editor: John Leyland Editorial Assistant: Matt Hull Fiction Editor: Kevin Bradshaw Poetry Editor: Abigail Ledger-Lomas Music Editor: Dan Bridgwood-Hill Visual Editors / Designers: Henry Roberts & Michael Thorp
BLANK MEDIA IS KINDLY SUPPORTED BY LAZY DASIES &