ROVES AND ROAMS
looks through the lens of Robin Cracknell and The wonderful William Even though I hear the hammers of an open piano calling me, After I am spending squat on mythe office pastchair (my couch) tapping at a notso-tuneful laptop. It is a Saturday night! Iand should be Trevelyan Dan glued to the wall of an independent indie night club, few days in Bath for the swaying recklessly to The Cure. Instead I am bopping softly is taking a to Dark Dark Dark (Nona Marie‟s Eastmond vocals are just as addictive as Robert Smith‟s). Anyhow, to the art – what opening of ROVES AND does issue 3 have in store I heed you howl? Only aart second look at fantastic review of Tracey Emin‟s Love Is What You Want at ROAMS / Fringe the Hayward by ourArts sparkly new journalist Daniel Barnes (he‟s a keeper!), a look at the organisations luscious work ofin his photographer Robin Cracknell and a special spread on Bath exhibition System painter Lexi Strauss whose work I am stubbornly in love Exploding Culture with. Remedies, I am back in Dan Eastmond is firing questions(chapter (quite rightly) at the 2) on page of present cultural endeavours. Samantha Emmett works theshape office (our living her words on Harold Camper and Sarah Wilson interviews artist Simon Woolham. room) sipping soup and I would also like to introduce Alma Haser to you; a recently graduated photographer whose work grappled me listening to the loveliness instantly – charming and inimitable, her photography boasts talent beyond her years. You‟ll find her on page 30. that is Le Loup (review A few musical notes; William Trevelyan wanders into his to reflect on producing an album with the sublime onmemory page). violinist Alex Balanescu whilst I review of Le Loup on page 36. ForHappy issue III, R&R has July! Sarah Wilson interviews artist on page, FOTO
CONTENT 1 Tingling Fingers 4-9 FOTO with ROBIN CRACKNELL 10-11 The Land of Despair 12 WORD 13 The Berlin Resident 14-17Mad Tracey Makes Good 1819 Exploding Culture 20-23 LEXI STRAUSS 2425 THE APOCALYPSE MEETS ART HISTORY 2629 Interview SIMON WOOLHAM 30-33 ALMA HASER 34-35 Illustrate ABBI TORRANCE 36 Le Loup Review Front cover: Robin Cracknell Joy
ROBIN CRACKNELL There is one line that comes to mind when flicking through the stunning photography of Robin Cracknell “Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: You find the present tense and the past perfect”, and this couldn‟t be more appropriately applied than to his montage of family portraits. As though discovered amongst marine debris, these works are highly evocative and wistful, sometimes melancholic and vulnerable. Cracknell, an ex-fashion photographer, claims “My inspiration is cinema, to capture what Werner Herzog describes as 'the ecstatic truth' in everyday events.” For eight years Cracknell recorded the growth of his son, who he raised single-handedly, in film. So fluent is his physical experimentation with surface, which he developed at the ICA, that he has developed his own distinctive range of multimedia effects. With Gorgeous coatings of grain and that rusty-emulsion look, Cracknell explores historic photographic processes through cinematic stills as well as film photography. Dominating portraits, with ever such a irrefutable fragility.
1) Memory 2) Womb 3) Custody (version) 4) Blue Lake 5) Little Fists 6) Portrait (Water) All photographs ÂŠ Robin Cracknell
The Land of Despair William Trevelyan By
To imagine you utterly alone in the contemporary world takes some thinking. There are 7 billion other people fighting for space on the planet too, damn it….. Romanian writer and poet Gellau Naum, who lived in the age of 1960s Statism in Romania, found loneliness all too easy to imagine. Cast out by Romania‟s state during the Communist area and damned to what the state deemed some kind of intellectual hell, he was restricted to writing children‟s stories. Stoically, Naum fought on, writing fabulous, lucid and brilliant children‟s stories which left children rapt and could be interpreted wildly different by adults. Fantastical tales like Apollodor, the story of a Penguin whose mixed „race‟ confuses everyone, especially the Ku Klux Klan. How do I know all this? I was sucked into Naum‟s world. I was oblivious to six years ago when Alex Balanescu, the prolific violinist and composer approached me to work with the singer, Ada Milea, to produce a show based on The Island, one of Naum‟s later works. The idea was to stick as closely to and to be as faithful to Naum‟s ideas as possible. So no,
there would be no sunny musicals about Totalitarianism. Nor would there would be any stage set, any projections or, as I feared, ticket sales….. Yet the amazing talent, and Jo Ross‟s support, told me that this was project worth pursuing. We had no money, so we applied to an organisation that looks out for artists, the Performing Rights Society Foundation. They gave us one thousand pounds when we asked for five K. Then the Romanian Cultural Institute in London started leaping up and down and we knew we had something. Why am I telling you this? Well all these years later, The Island is an album and has been released (Tad da daaa) by some wonderful, insane label in Holland! So there‟s cause to celebrate, hence this article. Releasing an album these days is no mean feat. Since The Island project came into being, the recording industry has grind to a halt, the rubbishy mp3 is king and demeaning downloads rule the waves. Yet still some missionary in Holland wants to put out a physical version of The Island!! Hip–hooray! The Island must have something going for it then! And so it does on anyone‟s terms. Ada and Alex‟s The Island is a stand-out as it‟s produced in a genuinely creative spirit. The music is wonderfully free, using Alex‟s gift for melody like a chorus to Ada‟s narrative. Cantankerousness. And it‟s funny too. Hilarious in its own cranky, brutal, wild fashion. How? I can‟t really say. Except it‟s like a double act and that‟s the best kind of act there is. With the two narrative voices of Ada and Alex and one violin, we are serenaded the surreal story of Robinson on his island, with his family who keep popping up, a pirate with two wooden legs and various lunatics.
I knew The Island was going to work when Ada Milea drove me out to the mountains of Romanian Moldavia (at a hundred miles an hour!) with her friend, number 1 fan and Driver, Alex. Here was a peasant culture. Here were legends known, like Frankenstein, and then many other stories still to be told. However awful, people needed to be told! And people were interested. The Island did a small tour of the UK, travelled to New York and various festivals. Ada Milea came back many times to perform more stories by Gellau Naum and meanwhile, Romania began to rediscover itself. Yet it‟s a slow process. When I asked Ada about how Romania had progressed since the insane days of Ceausescu, she laughed bitterly “it has changed nothing. The old friends are still there” So Naum's Island of Despair continues to float on... Adam Milea and Alex Balanescu’s The Island is out now and can be purchased here http://www.amazon.co.uk/TheIsland/dp/B004V6IPVK 11
Yore: Years ago.
MAD TRACEY MAKES GOOD. Daniel Barnes heads to the Hayward for Tracey Emin‟s latest show Love Is What You Want.
The harrowing and yet majestic experience that is the Tracey Emin retrospective at the Hayward Gallery first gives the impression that if love is what you want, then you better look elsewhere. „Love is What You Want‟ is a comprehensive survey of twenty years of work that presents a seemingly relentless barrage of desperation, loneliness and outright anguish. But the existentially crushing hopelessness of it all is slowly diffused by the strangely surprising realisation that Emin is worth the hype. In the final analysis, the exhibition demonstrates Emin‟s singular talent for transfiguring life in to art without obscurity or sentimentality. It reveals Emin‟s profound sensitivity to how materials can convey meaning, and her refreshing transparency in communication. The work is actually infused with love, even if it is sometimes hard to find, which gives it a visceral immediacy and aesthetic value that can only arise from careful manipulation of a pervasive mythology. There is an apocryphal story that the title for Emin‟s 1997 South London Gallery show,
„I Need Art Like I Need God‟, came about during a psychotic episode on the beach at Margate in which Emin scrawled the words on the sea wall as a cathartic gesture of renouncement. There are the letters to Jay Jopling, owner of the White Cube gallery, which he paid Emin the princely sum of £10 to write, which have doubtless been stored away somewhere for posterity but remain largely unseen by the public. There are tales of gleeful abandon and abject poverty from when Emin and Sarah Lucas operated The Shop in Whitechapel, which ended in flames and probably a few tears. And there is the infamous appearance on Channel 4, with a wonderfully stoical Matthew Collings, where Emin turned up drunk and spouted abusive nonsense. In short, Emin is surrounded by myths and legends, which the ever blood thirsty media wilfully perpetuates in order to create an air of mystique around the artist.
“Love is What You Want goes a long way towards setting the record straight: it separates the stark reality from the idle fantasy” This mythology is a complex thing because it doubtless contains a great deal of falsity, which Emin is quick to correct, but also because it has helped to build her reputation as a vicious divider of opinion. The publicity has, on the one hand, sold her work all over the world, and on the other hand, inspired much scorn from those who cannot see the art for fuss. „Love is What You Want‟ goes a long way towards setting the record straight: it separates the stark reality from the idle fantasy, revealing that the myth is channelled into the work but with greater integrity than the legend leads us to believe. The myth of a downtrodden, sexually loose, abused, hysterical woman – Mad Tracey from Margate – is, at its foundation, true. Although what is less true is the claim – promoted recently by Brian Sewell – that this makes for bad art. Emin pours her life into her art, making each piece a snatch
of autobiography and transfiguring a lost past into a living present. The negative response to this mythological way of making art is to say that the works lack aesthetic merit because they are too heavily emotional, as if thrown together in a fit with no consideration for artistic merit. The Hayward show finally demonstrates several reasons to reject this brash assessment of one of our greatest living artists. The most spectacular work in the exhibition is Knowing My Enemy, a partially-collapsed wooden pier with a ramshackle beach hut at the end, which towers high above the ground into the gallery‟s double-height ceiling. Emin has long been fascinated by the juxtaposition of grim sadness and holiday fever that beach huts represent, such as with the mystifyingly beautiful blue hut, The Last Thing I Said to You is Don’t Leave Me Here. She likes the reminisce of her childhood home by the sea and the way that wood ages, gathering into its pores an entire
history while exemplifying both solidity and malleability. This is a sublime example of Emin‟s sensitivity to the fact that the meaning of art is a product of much more than mere words or pictorial representation. Emin understands that there is meaning in materials themselves, in the physical qualities of the things that constitute the artwork. In the case of the beach hut here, the wood, peeling paint, mottled glass, faded curtains speak of neglect, lost hope and vulnerability to the elements at the same time as embodying in the very core of its being a secret history imparted by the passing of time. This means of expression is evident in much of Emin‟s work, such as the delicate embroideries and famous quilts, where the texture of the fabric and the precision of the sewing express innocent joy and deliberation in the act of creation. Hotel International is a quilt that tells Emin‟s life story in response to a request for a copy of her CV for a tour of America. The quilts are composed of
swatches of fabric that are culled from her clothes, curtains and furniture, so the materials – as well as the words and images – tell her life story. It is also interesting that the refined craft of needlework is used to deal with themes of sexuality that are often brazenly vulgar, which acts as a brutal contrast between material and subject.
“She is completely transparent, unlike many of her contemporaries, which is often thought to be a sign that she lacks depth and intelligence as an artist.” „Love is what You Want‟ is an endless stream of autobiography: bloodied tampons, images of Margate, films of Emin living a Turkish-Cypriot tradition, scratchy drawings of abortions, representations of genitalia, grandmother‟s chair, a film of mother and daughter in conversation, and the words that tell stories of loss, abuse, family secrets and cherished memories. The best of this self-reflection is in two noteworthy works. The film, Why I Never became a Dancer, in which Emin dances her revenge on the boys who shouted „slut‟ whilst she disco-danced. And Menphis, which takes as its starting-point the fact that Memphis – the ancient capital of Egypt –, has fallen from grace as the cradle of civilisation to being a municipal rubbish dump, where Emin uses assorted memorabilia to explore the way her art is the rubbish dump of her life. The one thing you cannot accuse Emin of is obscurity. This exhibition typifies the very thing that has, for the last two decades, divided Emin‟s supporters and detractors: the raw emotion, brutal honesty and unashamed method of representing it in everyday detritus. For some people, it‟s just too much, amounting to little more than irritating emotional exhibitionism. It is indeed sensible to admit that, in the three hours it takes to see the whole show, sometimes you feel overwhelmed, even
exhausted, by the high-octane emotional journey that the works narrate. The subject, and indeed the meaning, of Emin‟s work is never a mystery. She is completely transparent, unlike many of her contemporaries, which is often thought to be a sign that she lacks depth and intelligence as an artist. This popular impression is, however, unfair, since the emotions and ideas in her work run very deep to the very core of her being; in paintings like Black Cat, for example, you gain a palpable sense of the sheer effort it takes for Emin to hone and externalise this emotion. The transparency of her work is its central virtue when you compare it to the likes of Hirst, for instance, who makes a living from baffling people into submission. Emin simply trades emotional depth for artistic depth, which means the works sometimes lack aesthetic fascination but always have a clear intellectual purpose, which is more than can be said for much of Hirst‟s work. „Love is What You Want‟ demolishes the myth of Mad Tracey by showing her varied talents in film, embroidery, painting, drawing, neon and sculpture. Not all of the work is good: some sculpture is banal, the films can be insipid and the scratchy drawings overemphasise the point. But the work that is good unquestioningly demonstrates that Emin is more than a wild child of British art; she is a thoughtful artist who knows how to manipulate materials so that they tell her story at the same time as being aesthetically interesting curios. In the end, it is only out of love – profound love of life and art – that Emin is able to sustain her momentum. But, mercifully, Emin is not sentimental; rather she is brutal with herself and her audience, which gives the work a great vivacity that guides you through the exhibition as if in a dream.
Tracey Emin: Love is What You Want Hayward Gallery, London, 18 May – 29 August 2011
1) Tracey Emin Running Naked 2000/11 Courtesy the artist 2) Love is What You Want Tracey Emin 2011 Neon (coral pink heart, blue text) 103 x 114 cm Copyright the artist Courtesy Tracey Emin
Exploding Culture By Dan Eastmond I like the sound of 'exploding culture', it sounds seismic, spectacular, committed and propelling, four attributes that we most definitely need to embrace if our arts organisations, venues and we as individuals are to find our aesthetic future. So, nice punchy phrases are all well and good, but what does 'exploding culture' mean? Put simply it means that if cultural organisations, and arts venues in particular, are to find an aesthetic that re-engages the 21st century audience, they must urgently break apart the rules of what they do, why they do it, who they do it for and how they do it to them! We need to look for partners that are as yet unknown to us, we need to engage with dialectics that take us out of our comfort zone - underground, digital, economic - and we need to find the confidence to present ideas we do not as yet understand. Exploding culture means challenging the notion that 3 minutes of MTV is less sublime than 3 hours of Shakespeare. Exploding culture means asking where future painting is relative to music distributions mechanisms, such as the iPod. Exploding culture means asking if the 4 dimensional experiences of our audiences put the dangling Fiona Banner 'Sea Harrier', the bottle of Asahi and the foyer music into one indivisible aesthetic and commercial meal, and where that knowledge takes us. Art as we knew it no longer exists and the longer we resist its evolution, the deader it will become. Broadening the revenue base In the last chapter I referred to the failing health of so many of our arts organizations, struggling to find new audiences as their funding model collapses around them. We can
point the finger at government policy and the shifting sands of public funds (and so we should, it is our job to be shitty!), we can tut at our communities for not appreciating the wondrous 'community arts centre' right on their doorstep, we can even blame Nintendo for creating generations of young people without the critical capacities to engage with the arts. Ultimately, however, if the turnstiles are not spinning and the tills are not ringing then the arts sector has only a few years left until it's voice will be lost from shouting and its strength gone from resisting the future. Exploding our cultural models takes us immediately into doing new things, forging new partnerships, finding new types of output and ultimately reshaping the business of the arts. Cultural organizations could, and should, be adding architects, designers, coders, chefs and academics to their list of close partners, championing and educating the richness of modern life, pausing only to shine a light on moments of sublime beauty. Crucially, taking this exploding culture approach opens up the financial model, breathing life into stagnant arts venues and business models, opening the door to new incomes and financial independence. Arts venues and cultural organisations are advocates of an art-full life and this can factor in their comprehensive output. Recognising the cultural consumer as a 4 dimensional being, organisations can cater to all the needs of their visitors, not just for trade and introductions, but to keep them close, to keep dialogues alive. This opens the prospect of food, drink, clothing, literature and other cultural products all being on hand, but why stop there. When cultural venues look beyond their horizons for aesthetic partners, how they
operate and do business shifts. Immediately the opportunity to distribute the work of partners becomes logical, brokering work for progressive architects makes sense and acting as agent for radical designers is an opportunity not to be missed. Step a little further out of our comfort zone, and making the space for a risk taking chef seems essential, partnering with the eco-design industry unavoidable and rooms full of incomprehensible games designers an easy reach. Where 'art' fits in to this cocktail does not matter at this point, we are seeking not prescribing. Furthermore, as the broadening of the venue economy opens up new revenue streams to support the core mission there is also an aesthetic effect, a fundamental, seismic shift in the soul of the organisation and a sense of ownership that permeates every corner. When coffee becomes as essential as the work on the walls, so too the work loosens its grip on the high aesthetic hegemony and the door to genuine cultural relevance creaks open. The arts need a broader economy to survive, financially and spiritually, and if organisations can look at their customers as 4dimensional beings with needs ranging high and low, deep and brief, then the artistic aesthetic needs to find its place in a broader cultural economy at the same time. Plugging art back into culture The problem with defining an organisation as ‘arts’ is that it is a particularly static notion. It suggests that the edges of the artistic impulse are recognisable, tangible. It implies we know what it is to make artworks in the c21st, but we don’t. Art most certainly exists, but as the future races on it will be something that comes about whilst we are behaving culturally, together, in flux, not when we regurgitate our past glories. As a result of treading the miller’s wheel of objects and spectacles, arts organisations are often guilty of protecting an increasingly dusty cabinet of ideas, rather than going shopping for a new, bigger box. Culture is where the action is in this age and whilst the arts form a part of that, they are the tip of the iceberg. Attempting to make art explicitly will
most likely result in the production of relics and artefacts, whereas creating culture may, just occasionally, bring forth new and piercing works of art. In my mother’s shed is a box of 78rpm records, beautiful great chocolate slabs of sound. Held within their grooves there is music, this fact is undeniable, but the way we make, share, collect and even understand music has changed so much since their pressing that as a vehicle for our sonic culture they are obsolete. Our musical culture increasingly exists as a wholly intangible thing, glancing from device to device, from performance to performance but never crystallizing into something we can hold (down). Our artists need to look for this same ephemeral modernity, not by the post-modern hijacking of others, but by taking the artistic moment of sublime aesthetic otherness towards its contemporary delivery. Cultural organisations, as part of the modernising process, should view themselves rather like fireworks. The object which comes out of the box and the casing that bumps back down to earth are never the point. The moment of aesthetic consumption happens high above our reach and control and attracts increasing gasps of wonder as the volume of destructiveness grows. Culture, the processes and remnants of interaction between local and global groups and individuals, has quickened to a pace so exhilarating and a complexity so rich that the choice cuts we chip off and elevate to 'art' are dead in meaning before they even hit the plinth. No wonder then, that our young people so rarely come knocking at the arts centre door. Rather than rebuilding our cultural venues and institutions to celebrate the new culture they are making, we instead offer up funded deep engagement workshops to help them escape it. Compare this Rodin to your Nike Airs and you too can join our arts cartel! No, to find a new aesthetic we need to first venture into the fizzing and fleeting unknown.
FROM DARK GROUND Gustav Corbourt would be proud; Lexi Straussâ€™s portraits are the pinnacle of incomparable contemporary realism. Fine Art graduate and Malvern-based Strauss pervades her subjects with ominous environments, producing disparities between infancy and brooding backgrounds. They are stunning. These works are from two different seriesâ€™ titled Parenting (2011) and Short Journey (2010).
1) From Short Journey Series, 2010 2) From Parenting Series, 2011 3) From short journey series, 2010
THE APOCOLYPSE MEETS ART HISTORY
By SAMANTHA EMMETT
The Rapture? The Crapture, more like. So - as you’ve probably heard - some
dude decided that the world was going to end on May 21, and for a brief moment the media frenzy surrounding his predictions captured everyone’s attention. Whilst some of us were able to turn a blind eye to these apocalyptic threats and dismiss them as nonsense, perhaps a few of us will admit to a niggling doubt building from fleeting shadow to looming presence as the date drew nearer. I was one of the lucky ones. Immersed in a series of allconsuming revision sessions deep in the cavernous university library, I barely had time to change my socks let alone read a newspaper, and thus only became aware of Harold Camping’s prediction a matter of days before its’ supposed actuation. Needless to say, I would have locked myself away in an underground bunker with copious amounts of chocolate and the soothing sounds of Phil Collins if I’d have had any more time in which to panic. The question is: how have artists responded to the everpresent threat of a nasty and fiery end to life as we know it? Stemming from Christian beliefs and articulated within its literature - the Book of Revelation makes for a very stimulating read, perhaps more so than any of the Harry Potters - the notion of an Armageddon has always been a persuasive force in the perpetuation of religious obedience – obedience attained in part through fear of punishment. The representation of divine punishment and the imagined embodiment of said ‘punishers’ was therefore a focus in art produced by the uber-pious medieval population and their Renaissance counterparts. Durer’s 1498 woodcut The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a complete mess of body parts both dead and undead, the chaotic tangle of limbs and lack of clarity reflective of genuine fear and awe.
The strong forward movement of the horsemen as they trample the mountains of bodies reveals a belief in human weakness and divine superiority. The Antichrist himself is represented as a large, creeping beast which can be best described as a loose amalgamation of a cat and a dragon. It would appear as though the pervading motivation within this era of apocalyptic art was fear of the unknown nightmarish forms reveal attempts to translate indoctrinated fears into visual religious propaganda. The sheer size and scale of Michelangelo’s 1541 Sistine fresco The Last Judgement indicates the contemporary preoccupation with the subject, and despite its typically rationalised composition there are destabilising elements towards the bottom of the piece (the narrative ‘layers’ disintegrate as characters fall or droop downwards) which seem to represent a self-confessed lack of control – not only of the artist to ‘control’ the motions of the damned within the arena of his artwork, but of humanity in general in the face of greater design. Upon inspection, the earthly souls appear as vulnerable and malleable entities at the mercy of the higher beings. In terms of depictions of the apocalypse, I guess it would make sense to expect a move from fear to dreamlike reflection - maybe even humour - in keeping with our increasingly secular society and bearing in mind our race’s propensity towards delusions of self-importance and invincibility. One is not disappointed. The event is certainly trivialised in the work of Henry Darger and Howard Finster by their simple stylistic approaches (in both markings and media) and juxtapositions of childish imagery with such monumental subject matter. Although subversive of the subjects’ importance, at least this regression can be seen as a nod to the religious conception of our ultimate powerlessness. A good note to end on would be the fact that a certain Mr. Camping has now re-predicted the apocalypse for mid October, which is great because I really wanted to get away on holiday this year.
SIMON WOOLHAM Sarah Wilson speaks to Cambridgebased visual artist SIMON WOOLHAM on urban myths, biros and humour.
How do you find the spaces that feature in your work? In relation to the drawings and pop up pieces the spaces and places are based on experienced environments, either from my own past or my family and friends. This relates to spaces or places from or through a process of memory. The spaces that feature in the films or invaded by the paper interventions are places I have visited or come across and are focused on the hidden memories of spaces and places. How have you found the process of using film in your recent work? The films are taken from footage and stills of places where I have visited or gone on a cycle ride, down a river bank or towards a building or specific place. If something catches my eye as I‟m travelling I take a photo. Back in my studio I then construct a narrative and reveal hidden narratives of the images collected. The films bring to life a series of landscapes that are digitally manipulated and made to move. Before each scene a title screen announces a name for the landscape, the scenes are then modified to show some minor action in repetitive motion. These subtle movements such as a falling roof or clicking fence humorously draw attention to the miniscule, the enhanced sound of each action dramatizing life‟s kinetic force. Which is your preferred medium and what appeals to you about the biro specifically? The biro drawings and the narratives associated with them are at the core of my practice. I initially saw the biro like an indelible stamp, a commitment to the memory surrounding the drawing. The biro was also a reference to the domestic and common associations and the fact that at school you were always told not to draw with a biro and ruler.
You mention humour in your biog - do you feel there is too much or too little humour in contemporary art today? There is a lot of humour in current contemporary art at the moment - this was highlighted in the Rude Britannia show at Tate Britain last year also showing that humour in art has always existed and more than often used as a political and sociological device. The humour in my work whether the simple narratives or paper interventions are used to similar effect but also a way of highlighting the darker side of my practice. One of my narratives for example „The Bridge was a good place to throw stuff off…..‟ could be seen as a humorous game but could also be seen as a darker more threatening reportage. Regarding your streams of consciousness, may I ask: is it frenzied or calm, how do you approach your work, where is your favourite place to work and where and what stimulates you? I‟d say both frenzied and calm depending on what place or incident I‟m referring to through the process of remembering. The place where I focus most of my work and what stimulates me most is the place where I grew up in Wythenshawe, a suburb of Manchester. All my family still live there so I cannot go a day without thinking about it really. It‟s the place where most of the incidents are associated with. I love that quote by Lucy Lippard at the beginning of Lure of The Local: “However out of fashion romanticism and nostalgia may be, I can‟t write about places without occasionally sinking into their seductive embrace.” As I follow the labyrinthine diversity of personal geography, lived experience grounded in nature, culture and history, forming landscape and place, I have to dream a little, as well as listen for the political wake-up calls. What are you currently working on? A publication of my drawings and pop ups which will be published by Marmalade
in London and in July I‟m doing a two week residency through Fermynwoods Contemporary Art with two other artists on a narrow boat from Leighton Buzzard to near Peterborough and back again: A River Anthology and Exchange of Local Urban Myths As both an artist and musician (both private activities) I am interested in mapping and creating an alternative anthology of local urban myths and stories of the canal and its people. I would be keen to „interchange‟ these narratives through a specifically designed invitation or poster which would be hand-delivered to boats along the way and shared either at the boat in person or via email. New Pop Up’s and Drawings To coincide with this activity I will also develop a new series of text based drawings and animations of the places along the way, inspired, influenced by and incorporating the collected hidden narratives. The Badge Exchange for a friend Design and create a handmade badge for a friend. What would they want? What kind of a person is your friend? What do they like? M4SK 22 Activity As one half of M4SK 22 I will collect atmospheric and incidental sounds throughout our journey as the other half lives in the north of Scotland, yet lived for years on a narrow boat just outside of Manchester. Also inspired by the ongoing anthology we will create a soundtrack or concept album and film which will play homage to the journey and the often hidden boat communities along the way.
and electric instruments roots, soils and dusts, samples and software, found internet archives and drawing in a desire fired sonic crucible with undercurrents of a hidden occult. Installation and Performance At the end of the residency I am keen to do a live Jackanory style performance by interweaving and mixing the drawings and narratives collected as part of an installation of all works made. What are your aspirations as an artist? I‟m currently researching and developing a proposal to do a practice based PhD on the questions highlighted previously about artists and a „Sense of Place‟. I also think it‟s important to keep being excited and appreciate and understand the relevance of being an artist, self-supportive and selfmotivating. How do you see the future of art in the UK? That‟s a tough question as it is down to the individual in some ways. I have a nine-month old daughter so I am constantly wary of my financial security like a lot of artists and the current conservative climate does not help of course. As artists though we have an opportunity to show a potential alternative of being selfsupportive and self-motivating as I have stressed already, it is very important, artists run spaces that are popping up all over the country only highlight this.
M4SK 22 is a collaborative project between artists Simon Woolham and David Moss: We are visual artists making music and film with whatever we can get our hands on. Mixing acoustic
ALMA HASER OUT ON LOCATION
lma Haser is the kind of
photographer whose creativity goes beyond the lens. Each photograph that she produces has its own story. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, these narratives are not only touching but create a fully-functioning and absorbing body of work. From individuals obsessed with plane crashes, to passed-out
festival-goers, her multiple subjects are captured with a sense of playfulness. Alma has been featured in The British Journal of Photography, has worked with We Are Photogirls and has had her work selected by Risearts. Her current practise is interested in self-portraits which she uses when she doesnâ€&#x;t have a spare model handy. Any takers? http://www.haser.org
â€œI really love it when people are drawn in and interested in the narratives I createâ€? Alma Haser 32
ILLUSTRATE ABBI TORRANCE Having a gander at the research proposal of London-based Abbi Torranceâ€&#x;s Fine Art MA, one would think they have stumbled into a postmodernist wonderland. Sitting modestly on the mark of student and fully-fledged illustrator, Torrance is every bit the creative interpreter. She examines socio-political movement in as groups and as individuals through observational drawings in an attempt to isolate figurative patterns that expose control or power.
1) Formation 3 (joined arms), 2011 2) Formation 1 (In 1987 British prime Minister..., 2011
2) Formation 1 (In 1987 British prime Minister..., 2011
le loup Charles Simic once said “He who cannot howl, will not find his pack.” Perhaps this is true of Le Loup front man Sam Smirkoff and his harmonious yowl.
irst it‟s the looped banjo guiding you
boldly into a meditiative melody, then, drenching your appetite, a bout of breathy vocals. Following these and tripping the track up nicely, is a sample of spoken word “I remember awaking, but being half awake”. „Uh oh‟ you think. Is this going to coil itself into a spotless cyber-folk harmonic-free-for-all? No. It is not. The thickset sound of Canto 1 (inheriting Lord Byron’s choice of poetic provision for its title) pauses to allow a reverberating oriental clang enter. Some echoes are more prominenet than others; chinese bells in the foreground, and in the distance, a delicate glockenspiel meanders about the vocal climax you are expecting. No climax. Phew. Then in two minutes and thirty eight seconds it‟s gone and you‟ve just gotten in to it. Damn.This is Le Loup and they are really very good. Le Loup are a five-piece indie band from Washington DC, they are signed to Hardly Art and formed back in 2006. The Throne of The Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly, a twelvetrack triumpth, was released in 2007. Founder Sam Smirkoff leads the vocals
(with a voice like a reverb-ridden snake) and expands his volume with intense collective chants. These tremble over the toll of numeral bells, electronic beats and banjo strings, often bartering with psychadelic electric fusions and sonic precision. Altogether exhilarating and restrained, tracks like Fear Not and Planes Like Vultures hint at that bedroom-sound and confirm it with the instrumental freedom influencing each track. If musical paralells are your bag, it would be wrong to claim Le Loup sound like Animal Collective (like most reviews have). Why? Because this would be lazy, it would also ignore the more organic progression that Smirkoff developed into the bands second album, Family (2009). Okay they do share similarities; computer- clamour, addictive beats, intense vocal scope and the ability to vigilantly unite these aspects into. But this is really only present in Le Loup‟s first album though. If we are considering Smirkoff‟s overall sound, I find that Emil Svanängen, Loney, Dear’s multiinstrumentalist front man, is probably a more accurate contemporary association. And yes, Le Loup‟s recordings too hail from a dusty cabin basement somewhere in Maryland like Loney, Dear’s basement recording and first major release The Year of River Fontana (2003). Self-produced crackle – we salute you.
Roves and Roams Magazine Issue 2 www.rovesandroams.com Editor Lucy Ann Hobbs
Many thanks to Lexi Strauss and the Hayward Gallery. For submissions, advertising or info contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors Daniel Barnes is the latest addition to the R&R family. London-based Barnes, a freelance critic and philosopher, also writes for Spoonfed and Where Art You. He‟s a bit wonderful. More info: http://danielbarnes.wordpress.com/ Dan Eastmond is the MD of the Firestation Centre for Arts and Culture in Windsor. He‟s a great supporter of local art projects and a superb writer. Follow him here www.twitter.com/DanEastmond Sarah Wilson is our journalist and a top writer. Sarah works as a professional photographer, as well as a magazine editor and she also works at South Hill Park arts centre. Resident Berlin is Stephen Burch. Stephen is the man behind Woodland Recordings (www.woodlandrecordings.com) in Berlin, and is a singer/ songwriter under the title of The Great Park (www.thegreatpark.com). His photography can be viewed here – www.flickr.com/photos/stephenburch William Trevelyan is an arts advocate, music and arts promoter and writer from Camden and is presently based in Reading and works at South Hill Park arts centre. Will works under the production heading of Pitch Black Arts Samantha Emmett is a history of art and architecture student at Reading University. Sam has a handsome and eloquent range of vocabulary and hoards art history like my mum hoards Tupperware and plastic bags