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Is sue 2 / Right H ere, Right N ow / J uly Aug Sept 2012 / FR EE

Simon

Fujiwara:

Kurt

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What KARST

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Since

RedBall

Public River

1982

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Project

Art?

Cottage

Interview /

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with Adam

Associate Anthology

Karen

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Tam

Chodzko Programmes Rural

Life

Why aren’t People Writing about Theatre in the South West? Festival

Previews

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The

Raissa Ioussouf / The Shop

Fish

Factory

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Josh

Greet


Nom de Strip promotes culture across the arts, regeneration and creative entrepreneurship in the South West, focusing attention on the individuals, groups and organisations that contribute to the regions growing cultural profile. Contact hello @ nomdestrip.co.uk Nom de Strip Plymouth University, Room 106, Roland Levinsky Building, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA Advertising advertise @ nomdestrip.co.uk

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Simon Fujiwara: Since 1982

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Interview with Karen Tam

A belated review and interview

We talk to Sinopticon artist, Karen Tam about her Golden Mountain series

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Kurt Perschke's RedBall Project

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What is Public Art?

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Adam Chodzko On Tour

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Associate Programmes

A review by Emma Weatherhead

A discussion by Pamela Peter-Agbia

We talk to Adam Chodzko about his recent commissions in the South West

What do we want from an associate program in Plymouth?

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KARST

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River Cottage

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Anthology of Rural Life

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Why aren't People Writing about Theatre in the South West?

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Soon

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Festival Previews

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Fresh Meat: The Fish Factory

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Fresh Meat: Josh Greet

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Fresh Meat: Raissa Ioussouf

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Fresh Meat: The Shop

Plymouth's new contemporary art space

The big fish in Royal William Yard

Co-director / Editor Pamela Peter-Agbia

Co-director/ Art Director William Rupert Hibberd Editorial Assistant Emma Weatherhead Contributors Adam Chodzko, Anna Jay, Aurelia Lange, Carl Slater, Claire Doherty, Connor McIntyre, Dom Moore, Emma Weatherhead, Glen Johnston, Graham Naylor, Hannah Silva, Hannah Tolson, Ingrid Swenson, Isabel Vasseur, Jamie Leith, Joseph Welden, Josh Rochester Greet, Karen Tam, Kurt Perschke, Lesley Darling, Mike Hanny, Oliver Udy, Pablo Jones Soler, Raissa Ioussouf, Robin Bett, Rose Hatcher, Simon Morrisey, Steven Paige, Tabitha Simmons, Thomas John Bacon, William Grill, Yancy Hilton, Special thanks to: Sarah Chapam, Colin Searls, Zoe Li, Jo Clarke Individual artists retain the copyright to their work. Permission must be sought before reproducing any part of this magazine via the appropriate copyright holder. ŠNom de Strip

ISSN 2047-7074

Oliver Udy tells us about his latest project, documenting contemporary rural life in Cornwall

Hannah Silva and Thomas John Bacon share their views on theatre criticism in the region


Editor’s Letter Right Here, Right Now is a song by musician Fatboy Slim. It was released as a single from the album You've Come a Long Way, Baby in April 1999. The song reached No. 2 in the charts. The music video for the single, created by Hammer & Tongs, shows a depiction of the process of evolution condensed into three and a half minutes. This issue is about the evolution of art and culture in the South West. With the publication in general, we wanted to give space to recent, current and future developments happening here. The beauty of a printed publication is the ability to make, hold and share a record of a snapshot in time. This is 48 pages of some interesting things that are happening, right here and right now in the South West, what we have covered in this issue is by no means exclusive, and perhaps the most positive and exciting thing about this project is that we can't cover everything. We could easily do another 48 pages, and another, and another, but first read this one. As always many thanks to everybody who has helped us put this together. Enjoy.

On the Cover: Mike Hanny "The city is my work, evolved through a time of inner urban living and the subliminal visual intake all of that entails. Colour, form and architectural influences combine in a mix of positive and voidal areas of bright commercial tones, governed by an all pervading electric light, intelligently positioned, casting direct and defused light onto a myriad of sometimes gloriously coloured dioramas. The physicality of traveling through the cityscape when it is open for business and bustling with humanity and the same journey in the early, empty hours can be so diametrically opposed that it is difficult to relate one to the other."


Simon Fujiwara: Since 1982 A belated review and interview Words by Pamela Peter-Agbia

‘ My work is not autobiographical, it is about autobiography as a concept, and the fact that I often use my own biography as material just complicates the matter.’

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eople often experience vivid memories when they hear significant, or catastrophic, news. Psychologists call these ‘flashbulb memories’. They are recollections of the circumstances in which we first learn of a surprising and consequential event. I can remember, with an almost perceptual clarity, where I was when I heard that Michael Jackson had died. I was at Glastonbury, in the Old Queens Head, and it was a Thursday. We’d just watched the scary, shouty but interesting Kap Bambino and were waiting for Metronomy to come on. Breaking news of Jacko’s death reached my friend Adam by text. He showed it to me, then someone else read the message over my shoulder, announcing, ‘Shit! Michael Jackson’s dead.’ The news travelled very quickly with multiple gasps, and the occasional scream, making their way through the tent like a Mexican wave. And then Metronomy came on. It was so weird.

Simon Fujiwara , Saint Simon 2012. Courtesy the artist. Photo: © Tate

So, too, I remember my trip to St Ives in February to see Simon Fujiwara’s first solo UK exhibition, Since 1982, at the Tate. I remember being late for the train, as I often am, being bored on the train, then getting to St Ives and feeling a renewed rush of excitement. I had never been there before. I remember the seafront, visiting the Barbara Hepworth Museum and the mussels I had for lunch – I can almost taste the white wine sauce that they were dressed in. At the Tate, we met the loveliest exhibition guide. His name was Stephen. I remember the powder blue suit, gold earrings and heavy cologne he was wearing. I also remember the David Shrigley postcard in the gift shop that I really wanted to buy but didn’t and still regret to this day. These memories are very concrete in my mind. I believe they are true. But can a memory etched in stone be wrong? Much of Simon Fujiwara’s work is about that question: the veracity of memory. He believes that none of us can truly certify our memories of a particular thing and are therefore free to invent our own versions of the past. ‘Politicians do it to manipulate history in their favour, freeing themselves from blame and maintaining power, individuals do it to free themselves from pain and maintain sanity.’ In the exhibition, Welcome to the Hotel Munber, is an installation which replicates a stereotypical Spanish bar. Fujiwara’s parents lived in Spain during most of the 1970s, running the Hotel Munber in a tourist town on the Costa Brava in Catalonia. There, they

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Tate St Ives, on a home visit to see family that led to the exhibition. ‘We had a great conversation and by the end he had offered me the show.’ The opening room of the exhibition juxtaposes eight seascapes by the late, great, Cornish artist, Alfred Wallis, with Fujiwara’s towering, child-like, sculptural renderings of their depicted lighthouses: a lighthouse visible from his window was supposedly one of Fujiwara’s earliest childhood memories. The dancing light, playing across his bedroom ceiling, was fundamental to the development of his imagination. Before art school, Simon studied architecture at Cambridge University. Simon Fujiwara , Selective Memory 2012. Courtesy the artist. Photo: © Tate Evidently, this has also influenced him. ‘It is true that much of my work is in the form of physical environments. However, encountered the charms of the Mediterranean world what is perhaps more “architectural” about my work is my while witnessing the oppression and violence that approach to a narrative or logic,’ Fujiwara explains that 'in was commonplace under the regime of fascist dictator architecture, everything you design needs to be explained, Francisco Franco. Fujiwara grew up around personal rationalized and set within a narrative of economy and accounts, photographs, and memorabilia of Francoist usability that will allow, eventually, for a building to Spain, and this period of his family history became a be built. This applies to the form of the building, down fundamental part of his mindset. to the door handle. The way that some of the props and installations in my earlier works function is in this Welcome to The Hotel Munber offers a kind of flashback to manner of “visual props” to a narrative. However, in my the period just before Fujiwara’s birth. The information work the narrative has no clear aim or desired outcome panel on the wall, written by Fujiwara as part of his and often the props contradict what is being said or are work, plays with the mixture of fact and fiction that runs intentionally misleading. In this way I like to use the tools throughout the exhibition. It records his assertion that of architectural logic to manipulate what an audience his early life in the hotel has strongly influenced his art, experiences through my narratives.' while at the same time claiming that ‘accurate historical research’ has shown this could not have happened as he Now living in Berlin, I ask how Germany’s cultural capital was born after his parents left Spain. compares to the quiet environs of Cornwall. ‘Berlin is a great city, but it is a hard place to live for artists and I Fujiwara’s personal history, fused with grand sociohave been lucky. There is little or no work, there are more political or historical themes, are another common art producers than consumers, and more galleries than thread in the exhibition, as are big installations. He visitors. A lot of my work is about reacting to a place, grew up in Carbis Bay, a mile from St Ives, and it was a time or memory, and Berlin does not inspire me to do this. chance meeting with Martin Clark, Artistic Director of What it does offer is a quiet city to return to and reflect.'

‘Working in Cornwall is something I never did, as I was a child then and sought to escape. Many artists come to Cornwall from another part of the UK and that is very different to having grown up there. It is stunningly beautiful, a calm place and softer than the brutality of the city. There are many ways to be an artist, despite the dominant narrative of art being an urban phenomenon – I think it’s very brave to live in the countryside – I’d like to try it again someday.’ A childhood living by the sea and the perceived autobiographical nature of Fujiwara’s work combined with a prolific rise to the centre of the art world have drawn comparisons to Tracey Emin, but Simon thinks these are lazy. ‘My work is not autobiographical, it is about autobiography as a concept, and the fact that I often use my own biography as material just complicates the matter.’

NB Simon Fujiwara at Tate St. Ives: tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-st-ives/ exhibition/simon-fujiwara-1982

Simon Fujiwara , Welcome to the Hotel Munber 2008-2010. Courtesy the artist. Photo: © Tate

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Interview with Karen Tam We talk to Sinopticon artist, Karen Tam about her Golden Mountain series Words by Pamela Peter-Agbia

Karen Tam is one of 13 artists exhibiting in Sinopticon (go and see it before 7 July). She is also one of the nicest artists EVER. Since 2001, she has been grappling with the subjects of cultural identity and authenticity through installations and video works.

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Karen grew up in Montreal, Canada in a Chinese Canadian restaurant owned by her parents. The restaurant, in the East-end of Montreal, served Western appropriations of Chinese food tailored to the predominantly French community. After 26 years, whilst Karen was at grad school, her parents decided to close the family’s restaurant. This, she says, was the precursor to her series of Gold Mountain restaurant installations started in 2002. ‘I guess I just wanted to capture the place where I grew up, that was so special to me and my friends.’ Karen started taking photos and making video documentations of the restaurant and her family, which precipitated her thinking about why so many of the Chinese community she knew were involved in the restaurant trade. Her work is of genuine intrigue, with many layers and aspects to be appreciated in different ways. Aside from being fun and aesthetically pleasing, Gold Mountain serves as a vehicle for cultural critique. On one level a lot of the work is autobiographical and looks to recreate copies of her past and her community. On another, the work is political – although the term political art doesn’t thrill her – it explores aspects of racism and social stereotypes that still characterize the experience of the Chinese community. One video she made, of interviews with restaurateurs, features a man of Chinese/Ukrainian descent. 'His dad is Chinese and his mum is Ukrainian.' she tells us. 'His mum passed away during child birth and his father moved the whole family to China and he didn’t return until he was

20. It was a really strange experience for him ... he was born in Canada, he has more Western features, but his English is not that great.' This becomes a weird tension for him. ‘I remember him telling me that when he got married in Hong Kong and came back to Canada with his wife, the customs officer at the border was really questioning why he was coming into the country. He said really confidently, "I’m a Canadian citizen! I was born here!"’ Karen travels to cities all over Canada, to see what is different, and what is similar about old Chinese restaurants in terms of experiences and the decor. The work talks primarily about the history of these places and the experience of restaurateurs in the Chinese community, particularly some of the racism and discrimination that they face. One of the fi rst restaurants created was No MSG at Friendship Dinner at the Khyber Centre for the Arts, Halifax in Nova Dinner, Scotia. This was a five-week residency which culminated in a recreation of an old-style family Chinese restaurant from the 1950s to 1970s based on meetings with retired Chinese restaurateurs and using found, fabricated, borrowed furniture, props and equipment from local businesses and individuals. This installation includes the dining area, a game room, a kitchen, living quarters, and a storage area. The game room contains a pinball machine and karaoke, all sourced and borrowed through interactions with the local community. Karen's installations are so seemingly real and aesthetically pleasing, if it wasn't for the fact that they existed in gallery spaces, you probably wouldn't

question their authenticity. 'People back home call me the Restaurant Lady.' I wonder if anybody has ever just turned up, had a nice meal and left again, without realising where they were, and I ask her how she would feel about that. ‘There are enough layers in the installations for people to interpret it however they want and take from the work whatever they want. If they want to take the work at face value, that’s fine. But I think most people spending a bit of time in the installations pick up on the deeper, serious issues that I’m talking about. ‘I don’t engage with overly political work. I get turned off. What I try to do is lure people in, either through humour, or through how the pieces look, seduce them in. Once you get them in, I can say “this is what the work is really about”. For example, with the restaurant series Karen says, ‘maybe when they go and eat Chinese, they’ll look at the restaurant differently and maybe think about the family who run it and how they live.’

NB Karen Tam: karentam.ca Sinopticon: sinopticon.org

Karen Tam, Terra dos Chînes, 2011-12, mixed media, soap, papier-mâché, aluminum foil, courtesy the artist

Karen Tam, Golden Mountain, Photo courtesy the artist

Karen Tam, Terra dos Chînes, 2011-12, mixed media, soap, papier-mâché, aluminum foil, courtesy the artist

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Kurt Perschke's RedBall Project A review by Emma Weatherhead

Site Study for Maya Lin Park, RedBall Grand Rapids. Collage, ink, pencil. 40x60 cm. ©Kurt Perschke. redballproject.com

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o, this guy simply travels around the world with a National Award from the Arts’ Public Art Network for The RedBall has made spectacular appearances in 15-foot inflatable red ball? And he gets paid to do the RedBall Project. countries all over the world, from Abu Dhabi to this? Really? These were my initial thoughts about Sydney, to Barcelona and Chicago. Flicking through the RedBall Project – half of me unconvinced, and half of There’s no questioning his penchant for hard work and photos of the ball in these different locations quickly me envious that I hadn’t thought of such a simplistic, easy his popularity with the art world and with the general becomes addictive, and I soon find myself considering idea myself. What is it about Kurt Perschke's RedBall public. The public are pivotal to the RedBall’s success. the possible empty spaces familiar to me that could do that has captivated the interest and enthusiasm of so Kurt explains that he does not intend the project to focus with being livened up by the red ball’s presence. Kurt many people across the world? Why choose a red ball, primarily on the ball as an object, but on the reactions chooses locations for the red ball more methodically; a and not a blue square, or any other impromptu colour/ that those around it display. ‘The project works as an potential site should have a good working relationship shape combination? Kurt obligingly explains that the invitation,’ Kurt says, or ‘a tool to invite people in and have between its architecture and the ball itself, and needs red ball concept was developed during to possess a ‘flow’ – a term he uses an exploration of negative spaces. He loosely to encompass both the energy had been studying an enormous concrete and the people that create it. block that descended into the earth, just outside of New York, and he wanted to The RedBall has just finished its first It’s definitely a basic idea, but that is the try and occupy the space underneath it tour of the UK, having travelled to in a way that emphasised ‘the weight and Torbay, Plymouth, Exeter, Weymouth joy of it: it’s fun, surprisingly humorous, fun of it’. In his preliminary sketches, he and London. This is the first proper tour drew a red ball in the space and showed of the RedBall, and I wonder, with the it doesn’t take itself too seriously and it is it to the curator, who loved it, and that’s previous prerequisites for a site in mind, how the RedBall Project was born. why Plymouth made the cut for this completely without pretention. international project. Kurt discloses It’s definitely a basic idea, but that is the that Plymouth appealed to him because joy of it: it’s fun, surprisingly humorous, of its ‘specific zones’; the way that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and it each area of Plymouth often provides is completely without pretention. a stark contrast to the next in terms of architecture, tone and street layout. When interviewing Kurt, it becomes clear that he is an experience, whatever that might be.’ By putting an alien an exceedingly nice and friendly guy. He was open and and undeniably attention-grabbing imposter into a place He first came to Plymouth in the winter, at a time willing to discuss his work, still full of vivacity and so familiar and well-trodden by us, the public, Kurt hopes when the seaside location, although aesthetically enthusiasm for a project which he has undoubtedly been to provide an opportunity to interact with surroundings inspiring, can have pretty unforgiving weather discussing repetitively for the last decade. Kurt, based that we would normally pass without a second thought. conditions. Kurt described himself, on his first breezy in New York, is a sculptor and architect by trade, but he He makes an insightful observation that ‘a lot of artists do trip to Plymouth, thankfully prepared with ‘all the also dabbles successfully in video, collage and ‘public work and stick it outside, but that doesn’t make it public. winter kit, looking slightly mad with a sketchbook and space’. Under his belt are commissions from prestigious I think to be in the public sphere, you really need to be in camera, walking around measuring things.’ He chose international arts institutions such as the Museum of the public imagination.’ This is an admirable statement, the Barbican’s Southside Street and W hite Lane, and Contemporary Art in Barcelona and the Contemporary and anything that provokes people to think more about the Hoe’s Madeira Street as RedBall locations. Museum of Art in St Louis. He recently received a the space in which they live deserves a thumbs up.

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Installation at Arabian Library, Jan 22, of RedBall:Scottsdale. ©RedBall Project

©Kurt Perschke. redballproject.com

After studying the RedBall’s migration through radically differing cultures and societies, it was interesting to speculate about the reactions of people in Plymouth. The ball has induced a wide range of responses, from laughter, excitement and confusion, to more tactile reactions and countless photo opportunities. Kurt claims that the ball has ‘a life of its own’; a sense of humour and a charismatic appeal, that absorbs people into its journey wherever it goes. For me, the Barbican is an enchanting part of Plymouth, with its intricate warren of narrow cobbled roads, secret galleries and tiny shops, hoarding unexpected treasures. To walk around a corner into one of the streets, so familiar to me, and come face-to-face with a giant red ball was genuinely really funny. In one of the

many indulgences of imagination that occurred during the time that I stood there, I imagined that the ball had momentarily sandwiched itself between these two quaint old buildings, soon to wriggle free and bounce off on its merry way again. Without a doubt the ball has its own irresistible charm. Despite studying countless photographs and believing that I knew exactly what to expect, it still took me by surprise. That element of surprise was evident in many other people around me. People were walking cautiously around it, tentatively poking it, gazing up from underneath it, furiously snapping picture after picture, or just standing and staring. If my life continues to be filled with imaginary red balls around every street corner, the world will be an infinitely more interesting and happier place. I would recommend seeing this thing for yourself. Whilst the red ball is no longer in the South West,

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Kurt’s intention is to take the project to every country in the world. Very adventurous, but doable. I’m sure we’ll all be seeing it again.

NB Kurt Perschke's RedBall project: redballproject.com

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A discussion by Pamela Peter-Agbia by Hannah How can Illustration the public help plan theTolson future of the city? By Hannah Sloggett Photographs by Simon Keitch


‘Great public art always annoys someone. If we are at the end of the bloated years of popular sculpture, no loss. What we need are works that challenge, provoke, and make it new.’ Jonathan Jones, The Guardian

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nish Kapoor's Orbit – now Britain's tallest sculpture – was unveiled in May. The ArcelorMittal Orbit, to give its full name, supposedly came about through a chance meeting between Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and billionaire steel magnate, Lakshmi Mittal, in the toilets at the DAVOS World Economic Forum.

can also be appreciated as artworks in their own right. A contemporary sculpture park! Or a school installation! Who is the British equivalent of Theaster Gates? I have been interested in his urban interventions, which aim to push positive community change by transforming spaces, institutions, traditions and perceptions in a meaningful way. What could have been achieved with £22 million, if we’d thought about the legacy of the Olympics in this way? I guess, at least, the Orbit will make some money back through visitor attractions – it will cost £15 to go up to the top of the tower, a sum even Kapoor views as extortionate. But then, if the public have to pay (again) to enjoy the full experience of the Orbit, is it really public art? Who could have done a better job? We'll never know, but there are lots of organisations doing better public art.

Anish Kapoor, ArcelorMittal Orbit

So, over a piss, Boris Johnson persuaded Mittal to invest £19 million – with another £3 million coming from the public purse – to do something ‘daring’ and ‘audacious’ for the Olympics. The end product of this conversation is the Orbit – a 374-foot-tall, looping steel tower by Anish Kapoor in collaboration with engineer/designer, Cecil Balmond. The Orbit will provide visitors with views of east London and beyond, and hopes to attract millions of visitors to the Olympic stadium long after the games finish.

PEER is an independent arts organisation that commissions ambitious arts projects by international and local artists in the heart of east London. It sits in Hoxton Street, ‘on the more traditional, less trendy side,’ says Director, Ingrid Swenson. The organisation combines gallery-based activities with public art projects and education or community activities. They make work for the area and show it at various locations in the vicinity, including vacant buildings, the street, the nearby canal towpath and public parks in Hackney. In 1999, PEER, in collaboration with the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust, commissioned Everything Is Going to Be Alright – a 14-metre white neon sign by Turner prize winner, Martin Creed – for the portico of the former London Orphan Asylum near Clapton High Street.

PEER make work for the area and show it at various locations in the vicinity, including vacant buildings, the street, the nearby canal towpath and public parks in Hackney.

I came across this work at a recent talk by PEER’s director and instantly liked it. It’s fun and simple, but also ambiguous. Everything Is Going to Be Alright – is that a message of hope or impending doom? Who cares? People liked it. The work was meant to come down after three months, but its run was extended for another six, due to public affection and support. If the Orbit wasn’t there, would anybody miss it, apart from Boris Johnson and Anish Kapoor? And if not, what makes it public art?

I haven’t seen it yet, but my immediate thoughts are: I don’t like it. For me, it’s not doing anything or saying anything significant about London or the Olympics, and the cost makes it even more grotesque than it is. The producers seem to take pride in the nonsensicality of the work. In an interview, when questioned about the purpose of the building, its impact on the environment and on the local community, Kapoor proudly announces, ‘Well, this is the only building on the site that doesn’t have a purpose ... it’s there for experiential reasons.’ I’m sure the Orbit is impressive to behold in a superficial, ‘wow, that’s huuuge’ kind of way. I definitely find it challenging and provoking, as The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones says all public art should. But, generally, I think we could have done a lot better for £22 million. I would have liked to see a smaller, cheaper tower and the rest of the money invested more purposefully into the wider Stratford community where the Olympic site is. Perhaps Boris could have suggested a collection of smaller pieces that serve other community needs but Martin Creed, Work No 203, Everything is Going to be Alright (detail), 1999. Courtesy PEER.

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What Is Public Art? Graham Naylor, Senior Librarian Kurt Perschke, Artist, New York

(History & Information), Plymouth City Library

Jamie Leith,

Project Coordinator, Tamar Art Project, Plymouth

I think a lot of the time we define ‘public art’ as being something that’s outdoors, but I really feel that the bar is too low with that definition. A lot of artists do work and stick it outside, but that doesn’t make it public. I think to be in the public sphere, you really need to be in the public imagination.

Isabel Vasseur, Public Art

Commissioner, ART OFFICE For me public art is an opportunity for an artist, in any capacity, to engage with a wider audience. The beauty of public art is that that the audience can be both intentional and accidental. It doesn’t need to be outside, but for me it needs to be accessible and digestible by those who come into contact with it. Another element I see as fundamental to successful public art is the referencing and contextualising of the area around the piece, physical or not.

Public art is an exhibition or a sculpture or a painting that is readily accessible to the public. It’s not something that is locked up or closed. It’s like a library: anyone can come in and stumble upon it. I’ve seen the Anish Kapoor work on TV. All the stories in the news are saying it’s a waste of money, and that a hospital could have been built instead, but I like it. It’s quite modern and trendy. People are comparing it to the Eiffel Tower, which was unpopular when it was first built. With art, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The purpose of the tower depends on what you want the tower to be. I think it has a purpose for the Olympics, as some sort of viewing tower. There has been confusion over its future, but I think for that part of London which has been regenerated, it’s great to have a piece of public art that is going to be there for generations to come, as a legacy and celebration of the Olympics in the years ahead.

Harry Eves, Gallery Owner, Plymouth

Where I feel public art Jeremy Deller, It Is What It Is (2009). Photo Linda Nylind

goes wrong is when a commissioned artist makes art for art’s sake, rather than the sake of its environment.

A piece’s longevity, in the public domain, rides on its dismissing of current trends, fashions or suggested directions and lies in the artist’s ability to reference something that is significant to the work’s surroundings. Where I feel public art goes wrong is when a commissioned artist makes art for art’s sake, rather than for the sake of its environment. This is, unfortunately, something I feel Anish Kapoor has done with his current Olympic commission. I struggle to see its relevance to its surroundings, I cannot see any context for it in the nature of the commission and can see it becoming another blotch on the public art landscape.

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The heading ‘public art’ is the rather prosaic way of describing any art located beyond the gallery space. But there's no concrete definition – it's not a theory, it is what it is. Whether it is of any quality at all or well located is entirely another issue. Art in the public realm is only important if it is the manifestation of the superlative, universal creativity we all have within us, which eloquently speaks for its time but can simultaneously transcend its time. This must be true if it is temporary or permanent and even if it is intentionally made to be forgotten, for the traces of good art are, quite rightly, difficult to erase and useful for the human spirit to know. My favourite works of contemporary public art are Jeremy Deller's It Is What It Is, an exploded car from Baghdad, towed around the US and also exhibited at the Hayward Gallery. The work explores the recent history and current circumstances of Iraq through the presentation of a destroyed car. I saw the work at the Hayward Gallery, and found it extremely moving. It’s the most powerful work of public art you’ve ever seen. I also like Richard Serra's Fulcrum at Liverpool St. Station. Architecturally, the work is perfect in scale. People are stunned by it. The work sings in the context it sits in, with all the architecture around it. If the work was in a gallery, people would be intimidated by it; but out in the public realm it's something to be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone.

Art does not have to be financially beneficial to the general population, that’s not the point of art, emotionally and culturally art is beneficial. The point of art is to make us more rounded people by seeing on canvas, or in sculpture, or in anything else, artists’ impressions of the world around us. This doesn’t have to be just public art, it can be commercial art, or writing, or music. Think how music improves people’s lives and makes them happy, it’s a huge contribution to the wellbeing of people and society. It would be a positive thing to have more public art on the Hoe, in town, and in all public places in Plymouth. It would definitely be beneficial to have some radical public art installed at the bottom end of the town, to attract more people to the shops and businesses down here.

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Simon Morrisey, Curator, Foreground, Frome

Connor McIntyre, Artist, Plymouth Notes From Nowhere. Photo Lee Jason Elkins

What we do crosses over with public art commissioning because these things take place outside of the gallery. What’s different is that we’re based out of Frome, we curate shows outside of gallery spaces and engage with the idea of how you disseminate interesting contemporary art to a really mixed audience.

Lesley Darling, Senior Customer Service Assistant, Plymouth City Library

Claire Doherty, Director, Situations, Bristol

Anthony Gormley, Another Place.

I haven’t seen the Orbit, but it is an extraordinary piece of work.I haven't paid too much attention but I think longevity is important. When a work first arrives, it’s like a fresh scab. People hated the Eiffel Tower when it was first built. Anthony Gormley’s Another Place, the cast iron men on the beach, was originally intended to travel when it arrived in Formby just outside Liverpool, but the public loved it so much that they campaigned for the work to stay. That’s public art.

Robin Bett, Artist, Plymouth Alex Hartley, Nowhereisland.

Public art is something for everybody. I think it’s something that appeals to everybody of all ages and to different groups of people. I haven’t heard of the Anish Kapoor tower, but one work of art that’s relevant to where I live is the Celtic cross coming to Saltash. It’s a sculpture of a large Celtic cross on a hill, that’s going to be visible to people as they cross over the bridge from Plymouth into Cornwall. Currently, when you come into Cornwall, you cross the bridge but there isn’t any other immediate sign that you’ve arrived in Cornwall, so I think the Celtic cross has been put there as a landmark. Lots of people have been talking about it. I’d like to see more public art by local schools, rather than work by a random person that nobody knows. It would be good to use local artists for local people.

In the collective imagination, public art is cast either as the controversial, uninvited guest or the mass entertainer. Characterised by monumental scale or mass appeal, the successful public artwork is judged against its ability to galvanise popular opinion and contribute positively to place-making. Invariably if it fails on either count, it is judged against its price tag. Even relatively well-informed art critics mistrust the genre. British journalist Jonathan Jones has decried public art as ‘a production line for boring art, and mavericks have no place in its dreary ethic’. And yet this myopic view of art in the public realm masks its recent transformation beyond the gigantism of landmark sculpture, the mass appeal of participatory performance or the embedded nature of environmental design. Situations is ten years old this year, a commissioning and publishing organisation dedicated to supporting new artistic approaches to sites and situations of the public realm. There is a noticeable absence of pyrotechnics in our work, but neither are we interested in quiet beautification for its own sake. Some projects are confrontational, others quietly shift the ground under our feet, but each one is dedicated to a process of seeing anew, of raising questions about the world in which we live. Our projects are more likely to encourage audiences to get lost, rather than act as way-finders; they are more likely to contest rather than assert ‘publicness’. We also advocate for a fundamental shift in thinking about the ‘time’, rather than simply the ‘space’, of public art. In the wake of critical responses to the fast and loose itinerancy of biennial curating, we’ve begun to test out new methods of thinking about long-term, durational programmes which develop over time – perhaps through a series of commissions or residencies, or through a project which unfolds and evolves in a particular locality.

Sometimes it’s architecture, sometimes it’s there to enhance the other architecture, sometimes it’s not even art. It might just take you by surprise. I’m thinking of a little shrine I saw in India, a shrine to Vishnu. I was walking along the pavement and saw a human glass eye staring up at me out of the pavement. It was orange and round and brilliantly polished . A clean clear eye, looking straight out of the pavement. It was one of the most amazing pieces of public art I’ve ever seen, but it isn’t called public art. Also, there was some wonderful graffiti work on the Berlin Wall just before it came down. It wasn’t just tagging, it was serious work. That was fantastic public art and nobody paid for it.

Join the discussion at nomdestrip.co.uk/blog N om de Strip - J uly Aug Sept 2012

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Adam Chodzko On Tour We talk to Adam Chodzko about his recent commissions in the South West Words by Pamela Peter-Agbia

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onceptual artist, photographer and filmmaker, Adam Chodzko, has been doing a lot of work in the South West. A few years ago, he had a retrospective at Tate St Ives, entitled Proxigean Tide (the name of a rare, unusually high spring tide). This was the most comprehensive study of the artist’s work to date and his fi rst solo museum show in the UK. More recently, there has been Road to the Future, a year-long collaborative art project looking at the sustainability and development of Powerstock Common in rural West Dorset. Adam was one of three artists commissioned to make work for a series of one-day talks on the future of the common, making two pieces – a performance and video work – that looked at the individuality of Powerstock and its un-likeness to any other place. Earlier last month was We Love You Here, Even When You Are There, a Foreground commission for Notes from Nowhere in Frome, and currently there is Ghost Series, a commission for the newly launched International Tamar Art Project in Devon. For an artist that lives and works in Whitstable, Kent, I’m surprised when Adam tells me that his run of commissions in the South West is coincidental. Really? ‘I mean, there seems to be a lot more going on in the South West than there is in Kent,’ he says. ‘Apart from a few exceptions, for such a large county, Kent is particularly devoid of good quality visual art commissioning.’ Adam suggests that the proximity of Kent to London is at fault for this – those who want art don’t have too far to go to get it. Kent also has ‘a very reactionary conservatism’, which in his opinion ‘views any kind of experimental contemporary cultural production as urban, elitist and decadent’. A lot of Adam’s work is made, very pragmatically, in response to his immediate environment, but also to various fantasies about any place, about what it could be, or nearly is. This is the constant underlying theme in his recent works in the region. ‘I think commissioners and curators see me making work within one non-urban setting and want to explore how this relationship might operate in their own spaces.’

Adam Chodzko, We Love You Here, Even When You Are There. Photo Lee Jason Elkins

We Love You Here, Even When You Are There Foreground, based in Frome, Somerset, commissions contemporary visual art projects that explore the relationship between art and its diverse settings. The title for their latest project, Notes from Nowhere, is a play on the words of a William Morris book, News from Nowhere, a science fiction novel and utopian vision of a better and more socially just England. Notes from Nowhere casts the Somerset town of Frome as broadcaster of social and political ideas to the rest of the country. Artists commissioned include Adam Chodzko, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Claire Fontaine, Douglas Gordon, Micah Purnell, Ruth Proctor and Mike Ricketts. All artist works are distributed in some kind of way. These range from Mike Ricketts’s poster erected in the windows of homes of local residents declaring the legend ‘Hell Is Other People’, to Micah Purnell’s beer mats in local pubs, instructing drinkers to ‘Bless Those Who Curse You’, to Claire Fontaine’s shopping bags bearing the slogan ‘Capitalism Kills Love’.

The art work for We Love You Here, Even When You Are There features four small adverts for businesses around the world. The Mombasa advert is specific to Frome, featuring four bronze sculptures in Mombasa, but made in Frome by Singers in the 1920s as a war memorial to Kenyan soldiers. Other additions to the Runner series include advertisements for Ixa’s bicycle repair shack in Panama; Lanikai Shrimp Shack in Hawaii, and Ingrid’s Hair Design in Denmark, all placed in the back pages of a newspaper called Main Echo in Frankfurt, apparently transcending, in a huge leap, its current context. I ask Adam if he has ever received a response from the businesses he promotes. ‘No, I think for a viewer the work is partly about trying to empathise with the reaction of the business at the moment it might discover that this particular form of global dissemination was going on. Would the unsolicited remote advertising be seen as a gift (although a somewhat absurd one), or would it be seen somehow as an invasion of private space?’

Appearing in the 10 May issue of The Frome Times, Adam Chodzko's commission takes the form of a full page advert in the town’s free fortnightly paper, of which 12,500 copies are delivered direct to homes and businesses in the town. The paper is also available for collection from cafes and shops. We Love You Here, Even When You Are There forms part of a wider series called Runners, in which Adam places adverts in newspapers from ‘urban centres’ on behalf of small businesses in remote places from all over the world. They must typically have no online presence, although in general, there is a heavy element of chance in the selection of businesses to promote, Adam tells me. ‘It began with a friend of mine who was travelling to a lot of places ranging from Hawaii to Panama to remote parts of Denmark. I was very much stuck in Kent at the time looking after my sons, so this was partly a way for me to “travel” through someone else’s eyes.’ Adam asked his friend to look out for businesses that appeared ‘small’, ‘innocent’, ‘vulnerable’ and reliant only on a very marginal, sporadic local trade. ‘I liked the idea of commerce that seemed oblivious to the notion of marketing.’ Adam Chodzko, We Love You Here, Even When You Are There. Photo Lee Jason Elkins

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Ghost Series The river Tamar runs as the dividing line, or border, between Devon and Cornwall, its source only 6 kilometres off the north Cornwall coast, any longer and it would effectively make Cornwall an island. Due to the decline in its use by humans in recent years, large areas of the river’s banks have been reclaimed by wilderness, adding to the already dramatic landscape. The Tamar Project is a long-term arts, education and sustainability initiative that aims to reconnect people with the once industrious Tamar river. The problems that the Tamar faces are mirrored on rivers the world over and this project addresses these issues, actingnas a blueprint for others. The Tamar Project’s international arts programme is inviting world-renowned artists to respond to the river in a socially engaging way. Adam’s Ghost Series is the first of these commissions. Ghost is a kayak. But it also functions as a sculpture, ‘coffin’, bed, ‘costume’ and camera rig. It is designed to ferry members of the public on a journey to the ‘Isle of the Dead’. When you travel in it you enter part of a story.

Fabricated from hundreds of strips of different woods with a

On the deck is a mount for a camera which records the journey of the kayak from across its bows, generating a record of its own journeys, and this footage will be archived as each passenger makes his or her own unique journey. The inspiration for Ghost Series, came partly from the making of Echo – a video by Chodzko, set in the past and imagined future of Governors’ Island, New York. 'It features a ritualistic decay or erosion of matter amongst the community on this island. It is also partly from a series of works that were to do with ideas of searching, viewing (especially art as an apparatus for viewing something else) and perceiving other states of being (including death), as well as archiving. Connecting all these ideas is also a context of how these might operate within the idea of community.’ How do people respond to the work? ‘It’s a very beautiful object and that alone seems to make people quite happy! The prospect of travelling in it also seems to attract a lot of people who would otherwise not be interested in travelling in a vessel on water. I noticed in previous projects with Ghost that people who said they were afraid of water or had never been in a boat before seemed to be very happy to travel in Ghost. Its status as an “art object” means that it occupies a surreal space which allows the people using it to forget that it is a kayak and feel that normal rules do not apply.’ In the context of the Tamar, the story is about the river. The ‘death’ is about the Tamar’s decline as the lifeblood of the communities that border its banks. But the journeys that Ghost will make are intended to discover life through the river’s history, and its possibility for the future.

beautiful, glossy, curving surface this object exists suspended, floating through space, in galleries and museums, as well as operating as a functional vessel on the water.

Ghost is designed by Chodzko to have a rower in the back and a member of the public in the front under a domed canopy. The passenger lies down low and flat. Like a body in a coffin with its head slightly raised. The passenger horizontally occupies the space between sky and sea in an attempt to imagine a sensation between living and dying, sleeping and waking. From June to December 2012, Ghost will be travelling from Gunnislake down to Plymouth on a series of voyages, paddled sometimes by the artist and sometimes by experienced kayakers. Ghost will invite individuals from specific communities to explore and record the River Tamar. Adam Chodzko, Ghost Series.

NB Adam Chodzko: adamchodzko.com Foreground: foregroundprojects.org.uk Adam Chodzko, Ghost Series.

N om de Strip - J uly Aug Sept 2012

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Associate Programmes What do we want from an associate program in Plymouth? Foreword by Steven Paige Interview by Pamela Peter-Agbia

Heather and Ivan Morison, Pleasure Island. Photo Stuart Whipps

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merging artists, writers, curators and producers living in Plymouth, who are involved in the visual arts and intend to practise beyond their college or degree course, are faced with a dilemma. How do they do it? Who else is out there? How do you get visibility? As models go, there isn’t a definitive path that will lead to success. However, make exciting, commercially viable and commissionable work and your success will be guaranteed – after you have run the gauntlet of galleries, dealers, collectors and, of course, peers. And what if you have no interest in the commercial art market? Or want to work collaboratively to develop a performance event? Or find out about art writing? And don’t want to travel to a bigger city to find it? In this liminal space that exists between an output and existence, what would help those in Plymouth and beyond, taking tentative steps into a career in the visual arts, to stay on course and succeed? Within the answer to this is a contemporary understanding of the position galleries and art institutions play as producers and hosts of artists, cultural producers and their work. The relationship artists can have with a gallery is multifaceted. Not only are they part of the provision – producers who fill the walls/create events/run public engagement programmes – importantly they are also the very audience that sustains the organisation and supports its programme. So to close this loop, it makes sense that the relationship is made more intimate or more direct in the development of the centre and practitioner alike. Great examples of this exist at Bristol’s Spike Island – Spike Associates – and in Birmingham, where Eastside Projects have the aptly named Extra Special People as their associates programme. Both organisations recognise and actively engage in the notion of working with artists and supporting them in an immediate and meaningful way. Plymouth Art Centre has been working on its own programmes and recently launched PAC Home. Open to practitioners based in Plymouth and beyond, the programme intends to deliver talks, events, trips and opportunities to artists and cultural producers in the region, and also to underpin existing activity in the city, by being part hub and part signpost. This isn’t to say artists and other cultural producers aren’t already innovators, they have multiple survival techniques – in theory it goes with the territory. This is also about a recognised space that artists inhabit in the ecology of a city and how that can be supported. The timing is right – there has been a recognisable shift in artist activity in Plymouth in the last year with a number of important initiatives, appearing almost zeitgeist like – Come to Ours, KARST, Library of Independent Exchange, Pipe and others growing out of the trail blazed by British Art Show 7, but also as a response to a perceived lack of provision for emerging artists. PAC Home is very much part of this thinking about investing in artists and other cultural producers in the region, adding to this drive and momentum. Programmes such as this can never be all things to all people, and indeed both Spike Island and Eastside’s programmes are built upon a curated programme, where the opportunities grow from exhibition-making in the spaces. This will very much be the case at Plymouth Arts Centre, but the associates programme will also develop a reflexive voice from the input of its members, with a healthy dose of altruism and generosity on behalf of both organisation and artist. It has to go both ways. Ultimately at the heart of any good programme is the desire for artists to succeed and develop in their chosen career, thereby creating a feedback loop for the organisation and the city. So it sounds like a no-brainer for a practitioner who wants to hook up with artists and make stuff happen. Importantly, initiatives such as these will only ever be as good as the sum of its parts and its members, this very much being the ideal at PAC Home.

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EASTSIDE PROJECTS

Extra Special People is Eastside Projects' associate membership scheme and a practice-led network that supports the development of work, ideas, connections and careers. They produce a programme of opportunities

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and events for artists, writers, curators and designers at all stages of their career.

EXTRA SPECIAL PEOPLE

Cheryl Jones, Nathaniel Pitt & Matt Westbrook, Honk! If You 'Heart' Contemporary Art. Photo Stuart Whipps

Membership is £5 per month (£60 per year), or you can pay between £2 and £4 at individual salon events. Joseph Welden is Gallery Assistant and Associate Member at Eastside Projects. We spoke to him about the benefits of Eastside Projects’ associate programme in Birmingham. Eastside Projects was essentially a partnership with the university. The associate scheme branches out to students through internships and volunteering opportunities. Quite a few of the guys that have been regular associates here, since 2008, were students at Margaret Street, Birmingham City University's school of art. I started off as a volunteer and then as a freelance practitioner and now I'm a member of staff. Through the associate scheme, I’ve been part of the scene by just being friendly and coming to talks. Over time, I’ve been able to stick my head in and see how this place is changing. In a way Eastside has been a point of reference for me. We were really interested in the way that they work, the programmes they bring and also how they themselves were a group of people with different ideas, that managed to get a pot of money and make something happen. Mentors like Gavin Wade and the directors have been a great port of call. I run a space called the Lombard Method. It’s an old metal pressing factory in Cheapside, near Eastside Projects, but on the other side of the high street. We founded Lombard Method in 2009 – a year after Eastside Projects opened. We basically went out into the streets of Digbeth, on one really hot summer, thinking ‘we need a space, we are not going to rest until we’ve got somewhere'. We all got the momentum from art school, with the majority of us having studied together. We moved in wanting studio space, but found ourselves holding residencies and doing shows, and being part of larger festivals across the city. We weren’t necessarily interested in artist-led activity but networking and meeting people from different levels of activity at different stages of their career.

Eastside Projects differs from the staple or more conventional institutions. It's no White Cube. For example, we have a collection of permanent works that hark back to other times and exhibitions and show the development of the space. The space is never really finished. One of our first permanent pieces was a work by Heather and Ivan Morrison, which started off as part of a show, then stayed and ended up being converted into an office space. There's another version in Wales, in a forest somewhere, rotting away. We also have a publication called The Manual. Not many galleries come with a manual, but it's meant to evaluate why we are here and what we are doing. Being a member of the associates programme offers infinite contacts and the opportunity to meet people that you wouldn’t otherwise have met. Really interesting people come through the door; even if you're just sitting on the front desk, you get to meet them. After three weeks of floating around, doing the odd job here and there, I met the sculptor, Dan Graham. As well as access to visiting practitioners, you also get free entry to talks, regular mailouts and other opportunities specifically for associates. I think the gallery sees itself as an incubator – it's an incubator for Birmingham and beyond. We’re encouraging people to stay put by looking after the small connections and networks that are here. And we're also seeking to get people into Birmingham, too.

NB Steven Paige is Coordinator of PAC Home. PAC Home: plymouthartscentre.org/pachome

People want experience, but jobs at institutions like Ikon and mac are so sought after. There are less subconscious walls to break down as an associate member; through working on the front of house desk and talking about the work that goes on here, you become a part of it.

N om de Strip - J uly Aug Sept 2012

Extra Special People: extraspecialpeople.org

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KARST Plymouth's new contemporary art space Words by Pamela Peter-Agbia

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efore last year, 22 George Place had been derelict for five years. Originally the site of a chapel bombed during the war,

the industrial space has functioned as many things: an abbatoir, a printing press, a laundrette and a pharmaceutical distribution centre. It now functions as a gallery and studio.

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RST Graham Gussin, Spill. DVD Projection / 12' Loop. Original 16mm B&W Silent / 1999

Elena Bajo, The Muitiplier Effect, Sculptural Assemblage / Glass, Concrete, Mirror / 2011

It’s hard to believe that KARST isn’t even a year old yet. Run by Carl Slater, Glen Johnston , and new addition, Donna Howard, we have been following the progress of Plymouth's new contemporary art space since August last year. It has seemingly exploded into existence. Walking past the gallery on my way home last week, I discover the exterior walls of the building have been painted a slick grey. Even though it's late in the afternoon, there are builders around and drilling can be heard. The team are in preparation for the first exhibition of their curatorial program and the launch of new studio spaces for local artists. Whilst developments have moved quickly, this has been the result of relentless and passionate toiling on behalf of everyone involved.

KARST’s building is situated in Stonehouse, an area of developing social and urban infrastructure. The immediate area is rapidly changing, from one of the least affluent areas in the city to a suburban waterfront attraction, attracting new businesses and regeneration projects that have enhanced the Stonehouse community.

'Three generations of my family are from Stonehouse, so I’m quite clued up on the area’ says Carl Slater. Indeed, the name of the gallery, Carl tells me, comes from its location on the site boundary of an old limestone quarry known as Battery Hill. KARST by definition, is a distinctive topography in which the landscape is largely shaped by the dissolving action of water on carbonate bedrock.

The project was born out of a simple desire for Glen and Carl, who are old school friends, to do some work together in the area. 'We looked at buildings in Stonehouse with the intention of applying to the Arts Council for a small amount of money to do something, but what we found wasn’t really suitable'. After a long search, Glen discovered 22 George Place, a derelict industrial space owned by Plymouth City Council and due for imminent demolision. After a set of long negotiations, they managed to acquire the space and pick up keys in time for the British Art Show's arrival in Plymouth. 'When we heard the British Art Show was on, it was only natural that we would participate as part of the Fringe programme.' says Glen. 'It was an amazing opportunity to do something big and I think coming out at that time raised our profile'

Their contribution to the British Art Show Fringe program was VESSEL. The industrial space became a container for works of installation, film, performance, photography and sculpture. The curatorial vision was to make a show about Plymouth, about the space and how site specific artworks can exist in a building in a state of temporary flux. 'It was all about regeneration in those contexts, from the way we found the building to showing art work in an area that is run down' Both describe the lead up to the opening of VESSEL as 'painful'. Firstly, there was the arduous task of getting the building ready which involved 'lots of gutting and getting rid of stuff'. In its initial state, Glen tells me, 'the ceiling was on the floor and the windows were smashed in; it was cold and damp and there was rat shit everywhere'. Key to the buildings temporary renovation were donations and contributions from local businesses in Stonehouse, and funding secured by VESSEL project co-ordinator, Emma Corkery, from Millfields Trust, a not for profit company set up to enable local people to contribute to the regeneration of Stonehouse.

Then there was an unsuccessful Arts Council application for funding towards the cost of transporting artworks. 'When we didn’t get it, we were gutted and annoyed. But in the end, we said "sod it, we’ll use our own money"'. Both invested £1500 each into the project. 'I went into my overdraft and Carl went into his, but if we hadn’t done that, we couldn't have done VESSEL and we wouldn't be where we are now' With their own personal investment, a team of volunteers and support from local businesses, they got the space and the show together. On 21st September, we were introduced to VESSEL showing works from 17 artists, all responding to the building and the wider social and economic contexts of the exhibitions location.

Elena Bajo's Multiplier Effect used building materials found in and around the exhibition space, namely window frames and glass, spaced with concrete blocks, and the subtle insertion of a mirror, creating a multiplier effect of the objects boundaries. Martha Rosler’s photomontage Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful, depicted war scenes against images of domestic comfort and high design as a subtle way of connecting distant wars with class wars closer to home. Then there was the visceral, energetic and unnerving debut UK performance of A Morphological Journey on the Borders of our Bodies by VestAndPage.

Site Visit Documentation Late August 2011

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ST VestAndPage, A morphologic Journey (On the Boarders of our Bodies). Documentation, 2011.

VestAndPage, A morphologic Journey (On the Boarders of our Bodies). Documentation, 2011.

Photo Kendal Noctor / FOTO+

Photo Kendal Noctor / FOTO+

VESSEL inevitably impressed people, it was baffling to conceive that an exhibition of such quality was made on next to nothing. It was here, that Donna was introduced to Carl at the opening of VESSEL, through a mutual friend. A brief conversation turning into a new addition to the team. With a background in business, finance and European funding management, Glen and Carl were quick to snap her up.

Key on KARST's agenda is sustainability. Alongside its exhibition programme, KARST also aim to provide a support platform for local emerging artists through its designated studio spaces, and a volunteer programme to manage and develop creative opportunities for local people. The team have a strong interest in how they can invest in students and graduates through grass roots initiatives, and build a cultural offer in Stonehouse that keeps people in the city. As part of their education program they have developed an intern program and residency-focused graduate scheme for graduates in Plymouth.

'Donna brings a certain level of business acumen and smooth talking to the project' which Carl admits they needed, 'I’m a YES person and I find it hard to negotiate. I couldn't get £1 off a pair of socks, but I’m learning. I think Glen’s a little bit better than me but we both agreed that we needed to get someone involved who has business experience and who can communicate well.' As a team of three, and with several dedicated volunteers, KARST have made a number of new developments since VESSEL.

The team have just signed a three-year flexible lease on the industrial unit which now accommodates artist studios, a large exhibition gallery and a project space to host other pop-up projects and events. They have also received Arts Council funding for a one year curatorial program of international exhibitions, that they hope will illuminate and expand the public's understanding and appreciation of contemporary art in Plymouth. For its inaugural exhibition, KARST will host Space Invader, the UK debut show of German-based architectural artists, Lars Breuer, Sebastian Freytag, and Guido Münch, collectively known as KONSORTIUM. They have designed a site-specific piece for the venue.

Following shows include Multiple Choices in collaboration with Plymouth Arts Centre; Technicolour Yawn, from Nadim Samman, curator of the 4th Marrakech Biennale and Brisol Diving School, later next year. Multiple Choices features Ricardo Basbaum’s work Would you like to participate in an artistic experience?, previously shown in Oslo Kunstforening; Plymouth Arts Centre, in documentary form and DOCUMENTA12. The starting point of the exhibition at KARST will be an offering to individuals, groups or collectives from Plymouth, to take an object home for a certain period of time and realize an artistic experience with it.

Current interns include MA students from Falmouth, London and Lithuania. Yes, Lithuania. Vaid Legotait, from Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania, responded to KARST’s open call for interns earlier this year, following funding for a Euro Pass to support her studies. She will be working with KARST over the summer to develop and implement a blog and support on key administrative duties. There is a real integrity and genuine commitment to developing something special for Stonehouse, and more widely, for the city. What started as a fringe event can now be a more permanent fixture. 'Hopefully, we can help clean the area up a little bit' says Glen, acknowledging that they are based in the midst of Plymouth's red light district. 'The city seems to have migrated north to where the university is - creating a big void around this side of town - I think we are filling that hole by bringing some contemporary culture to the area, we're a nice stop off point between Royal William Yard and the City centre' As for the long term future, things are still in flux. Currently, the building has no future at all, because it isn’t commercially viable. It is still due for demolision in five or six years. This seems a great shame but the team are optimistic, 'you never know, they might keep it if they see us doing well.'

N om de Strip - J uly Aug Sept 2012

NB KARST: karst-projects.org

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River Cottage The big fish in Royal William Yard Words by Pamela Peter-Agbia Photos by Yancy Hilton

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xpectations are a big part of dining. The new River Cottage deli and canteen at the Royal William Yard has a certain

rustic chic that resembles the stylistic purview of many a 'trendy' restaurant – lots of naked untreated wood, lots of 'reclaimed' furniture, lots of steel, exposed brick works and large blackboards. Places like these, whilst incredibly stylish, often lack substance. They're often over-priced and pretentious too. Perhaps the most unexpected thing about River Cottage is how unpretentious and inexpensive it is.

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Andy Whiteford, Skipper, sailtrade

Joe Draper, Head Chef, River Cottage Plymouth

Thom Hunt, Three Hungry Boys

The brand new Canteen and Deli opened its doors in Plymouth's Royal William Yard late last year, consolidating the Yard as a place that everybody needs to eat and drink at. The increased vibrancy around the area has in no small part been due to them. Since November the hype around 'Hugh's new place' has continued at a steady pace, with an average of 200–300 covers (diners) a day, as well as monthly events and a growing well-stocked deli. We talked to managing director, Rob Love; head chef, Joe Draper; and local supplier, Thom Hunt, from Channel 4's Three Hungry Boys to find out about their success and plans for the future. Nom de Strip: Hi Rob, this is your first venture in Plymouth. How did you decide on the city as a location? Rob Love: When we found out about the history of the Royal William Yard, it seemed to be an obvious choice for us. We already knew that Plymouth and the surrounding area was abundant with the freshest sources of vegetables and seafood and, of course, home to a whole community of fantastic artisan producers and suppliers. So in some respects it was an easy decision. NdS: River Cottage has been open for eight months now. Are you happy with progress so far? RL: Very. We were expecting the yard to be quieter than it has been, especially during the winter, but it has exceeded our expectations and continues to get busier. We're really proud of what we've achieved so far and the level of service and food quality we've been delivering. We're even more delighted that our customers have thought so, too! Joe Draper: We haven’t really had a quiet day. I kept telling myself that January would be a lull and we’d have a little bit of time to finish setting up, but there hasn’t really been a break which is great of course! We consistently do 100-200 covers for lunch, and we had 250 in for our special Sunday lunch. We're getting a lot of returning customers, which is nice, especially when our suppliers say a lot of restaurant businesses are struggling down here at the moment. NdS: Joe you spent ten years honing your craft in some of London’s finest kitchens. What brought you back here? JD: I'm originally from Devon, and working for River Cottage was an opportunity to return to the South West. I moved back down here for the balance and quality of life, where else in the world do you get a view like this, from the kitchen? I’m one of the luckiest chefs I know. In London, you don’t really get access to really good local produce. I think that here in the South west we are one of the only places truly showcasing the abundence of great produce that is grown here. NdS: There is a very strong brand and ethos behind River Cottage, concerned with sustainability and locally sourced food. Tell us more. JD: I was a little sceptical at the beginning; a lot of places preach about what they do but the River Cottage team really do stay true to their values. Sustainability is considered in every aspect of what we do. All of the interior for our restaurant has been reclaimed. The sofa and all of the panelling on the walls are from the yard. Our waste is zero landfill, and we use eco-friendly cleaning products.

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With our organic suppliers, we actually go and see the farm first, to see first hand how they are treating the animals so we know exactly what’s coming through the door. These things incur a lot more cost than most places, but to us it's worth it, and we work really hard not to pass that on to the customer. From the beginning we started talking to Tamar Grow Local – a 'not-for-profit' promoting sustainable local produce in the Tamar – about bringing our produce in by sail boat. We've done a few trial runs, and brought some bits down. We're hoping to get some of the growers from the Tamar to use sail boats to transport their produce. It would be really nice to bring that back on a larger scale. NdS: Thom, how did you get involved with River Cottage? Thom Hunt: Well, sustainability and wild food is my thing. We designed this trip around France, that would go to places where we could stick to the coast, catch our own food, maybe visit some vineyards or cheese places and work for a weekend in exchange for produce. We wanted to get to the heart of what local producers were offering. We wrote to River Cottage and said ‘look we think you might like what we're doing, and we’re big fans of yours, can your production company give us a camcorder, because we want to go on a trip?’ Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall got back to us and said ‘Yes, this is really interesting, we want to meet you guys’ – that was the beginning of our outdoor food adventure. In real life though, I supply wild foods to restaurants through foraging, hunting and fishing, that includes everything from foraged plants, herbs, mushrooms, fruits and nuts, to wild meats but the main one is fish. I supply a growing network of producers, pubs and restaurants around the South West. In the future I'd like to break into London, and take really good fresh produce from Devon & Cornwall to restaurants up there. NdS: So, where do you source your food from? JD: The majority of our produce is sourced locally, within 50 miles of Plymouth. Most of our veg is from Riverford Organic, and Buttervilla Farm in Saltash supply our salads, which are grown exclusively for us. They do all of our cresses, root vegetables, and potatoes. Some things we can’t source directly, so we work quite closely with the Tamar View Fruiterers, who are a family run wholesale company; they pick up produce from smaller suppliers for us. Meat comes from Weathersfield Farm in Okehampton, they have 75 acres of organic farmland and all our beef, pigs, and chickens come from there. Also, Hacknell Farm in Exeter do our ham, lamb, sausages and bacon.

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We're trying to develop a network of local growers. At the Canteen here in Plymouth, the menu changes twice a day, every day. Every service, there is a different menu, depending on what ingredients we have delivered that day. Sometimes the menu changes five minutes before service, which keeps things exciting for us as chefs and also for the customers. NdS: What do you think River Cottage in the Yard is doing for the city more generally? Other than providing another good place to eat? TH: River Cottage is opening Royal William Yard to people who wouldn’t otherwise come here. I think the development of Royal William Yard is great, and with the recent addition of River Cottage, not only does it raise the profile of Plymouth, I also think it raises the profile in a much wider scope for the whole of the South West. When you have something like Royal William Yard, that’s so individual and so brilliant and beautiful as a location, it creates a real asset for the region. I’ve been here on and off for about ten years and I love the place, but Plymouth isn't really well-known for doing anything in particular. I think the Yard is going to change that. You can’t get this anywhere else, it’s steeped in history. Everyone that comes down here loves it. I’ve watched it grow over the years, oddly enough I used to be in the building trade and worked on a lot of the buildings when they were being developed by Urban Splash. JD: I think we're bringing a lot of people down to the Yard, not just from Plymouth, but from all over the country. We're also trying to support the local community, by finding as much produce as we can from small local growers. The turnover of food is very very high, most restaurants wouldn’t buy off them because they need a constant supply of the same produce on a daily basis, whereas, with us, if one day they have 5 kilos of turnips, I’ll take 5 kilos of turnips. We are able to utilise whatever comes in for the next service. You have to be creative with the menu, especially at Christmas – there’s only so much you can do with Brussels sprouts! We try not to make the menu too big so we can focus on utilising the food that’s just come in. NdS: We hear a Wagamamas is coming to town. How do you feel about the extra competition? TH: Good strong brands are investing in the Yard and investing in the area. I think that’s the leap of faith that it takes for others to follow. Restaurants work really well in the Yard because it’s a destination in itself, and so beautiful, that people make a day or an evening of a visit here to enjoy the view, the sunshine and the fantastic food.

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NdS: What is the long term vision for River Cottage at Royal William Yard? Are there any future developments in the pipeline that you can share with us? RL: We're here for the long term and there's plenty of development to come from us. We're really pleased to get our outside area up and running over the last couple of weeks, so on a sunny day everyone can experience those fabulous views over the water into Cornwall. There's nothing better for us than that outdoor eating experience. On the food side, you'll see some gentle developments – building on the great feedback we've had so far. We are always driven by the quality of produce coming into the kitchen, and we are always looking for more amazing producers and suppliers as we follow the seasons. Whatever comes in, we hope that we can continue to set the extremely high standards the team have delivered so far, but we'll be looking forward for more people to come and experience the venue over the next few months. We will tweak the menu structure to accommodate this, with more events and a more flexible menu, featuring more sharing dishes for parties or groups and lots of 'small plates' for trying – a sort of River Cottage tapas – at all times keeping our eye on our pricing, so we continue to offer great value without any compromise to our values or exceptional quality. We think that is pretty unique.

fishing by Thom and the River Cottage head chef, Gill Mellor. Whilst out at sea they catch lots of fish – sustainable of course – and gut them before bringing them back, and then my team and I will have a chat with the guests before cooking the fish. On the last trip we did, the group brought lots of fish back, so much that they couldn’t eat it all so they took it home to enjoy later on.

NB River Cottage are open for breakfast and lunch every day. Breakfast from 10am – 11am, lunch from 12noon to 2.45pm), and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday (tues to thurs from 6.30pm and Friday and Saturday from 6.00pm). For more information contact them on 01752 252702 or visit: rivercottage.net/plymouth

JD: Thom is hoping to catch more fish for us. We have been running 'Catch and Cook' day trips, where people come to the Canteen and have breakfast before being taken out

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Anthology of Rural Life Oliver Udy tells us about his latest project, documenting contemporary rural life in Cornwall Words by Oliver Udy Photgraphy by Oliver Udy & Colin Robins

‘ Cornwall to me is a mixture of different experiences for different people. Whilst there are exciting elements to the country-side, there are also people out there living very tough lives, trying to get by without jobs or services.’

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hroughout the summer, myself and fellow photographer Colin Robins will be creating a visual record of aspects of Cornwall’s contemporary social and cultural life. The aim of the project is to take a fresh look at some of the people, practices and pastimes that make up life in the far South West.

These initial sessions, held over four days, saw almost 60 people from a wide range of exciting and unexpected backgrounds visit the studio. We contacted people directly who were doing things that we were interested in: breeders, growers, those working on the land in traditional ways. Then we branched out into contemporary trades and other forms of life. We also found people through a call out in the local paper and through LEAP’s huge networks. With almost 180 sheets of film exposed there are some very exciting images. Those that came made up a diverse picture of contemporary life in Cornwall, with significant aspects of rural life represented.

We also managed to document some more contemporary aspects of life in the county, including those with lifestyles not usually associated with the countryside, such as punk musician, Selwyn, who plays in a farright SKA band, but was also lovely.

The images are made with a 5 x 4 inch plate camera, black and white film and a tarpaulin background. We chose to produce the work in this way for two reasons. Firstly, working with such a large camera brings about a sense of occasion with the picture-making process that’s missing in an age of quick digitalised snapping: it’s slow to use and produces a very formal attitude which gives a sense of dignity to the sitters. Secondly, the methodology for making the work to some extent echoes the subject itself. This use of a large format camera, like many of the traditional countryside activities, has largely moved from a central part of working life to an activity for the amateur or enthusiast. Activities that were once a vital part of the wider rural networks are now kept alive as hobbies (breeding, growing, etc.). There are still those that work the land and the sea however, and these too are represented in the study. Everyone we met was amazing. We met a guy on the board of The National Dowsing Society. He came all the way from Penwith, Cornwall to take part. We also contacted The Cornish Beekeepers Association, as we were looking for a beekeeper. Rose was the closest. She, her husband and her five-year-old son are beekeeping enthusiasts. They came in with bags of gear and boxes, got dressed, lit up the smoker and went for it. We took a few pictures of them – a few family shots and some individuals. We also managed to document some more contemporary aspects of life in the county, including those with lifestyles not usually associated with the countryside, such as punk musician, Selwyn, who plays in a far-right SKA band, but who was also lovely. We met Vini, the war-gamer in the market house. He left school at 16 to set up his shop selling fantasy wargames. One Saturday we discovered Vini playing war-

games with 40 to 50 other guys. I think he’s 25 now, and one of the most successful traders on the market. There was also Pierre, the French rockabilly, who runs a clothing shop in St Austell. He moved from Brittany to London in the 1980s, and then moved to Cornwall because it’s a bit like Brittany. Then there are those that represent a growing shift in the role of the countryside, from a place of work, to a place of leisure, represented by people such as a radiocontrolled plane enthusiast, Paul, a kayaker, and various cyclists. We met lots of German tourists. Cornwall is a big destination for German tourism, because of the coast – Germany doesn’t have a great coast line. The project is made in connection with the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth, where the final images will sit as part of their archive. The collection is a valuable resource for anyone interested in aspects of the county’s history, and these images will hopefully sit in the collection for generations to come. Over the summer the camera leaves the studio, and the tarpaulin backdrop will make the trip out to visit people. This will offer the opportunity to see many more interesting people in the county, as well as some of those who are less mobile, like the breeders of large cattle! Once the photography has been completed, and the negatives developed and printed, the work will be exhibited, both in the Cornish Studies Library and in other contexts. We’ll finish shooting at the end of the year and there will be a book out in summer 2013. We are interested in hearing from anyone who feels that they would like to take part in the project and have something to add to the study.

NB ARL: ruralanthology.tumblr.com Leap Media: leapmedia.co.uk Oliver Udy: oliverudy.co.uk

Colin and I both live in Cornwall. ARL was spawned from a shared interest in contemporary rural life and the people who participate in it. Most people have a rose-tinted view of life in the countryside. It is often seen as a playground for the rich, eccentric and alternative, but Cornwall to me is a mixture of different experiences for different people. Whilst there are exciting elements to the countryside, there are also people out there living very tough lives, trying to get by without jobs or services. We wanted to cover all of that in a way that was visually interesting. I have a practice that sits somewhere between documentary and landscape photography, while Colin has a background and interest in social documentary. For the project, we were looking for people still involved in the land but in less traditional ways, with interesting occupations and hobbies or with radical or unusual lifestyles. The fi rst phase of the project saw us take over the former Council Chambers in St Austell’s Market House, a former dance hall with a sprung Canadian maple floor and massive windows. It also used to be a hardware store for pots and pans and camping gear but they went under a couple of years ago and it has been empty since then. It’s a remarkable space, and perfect for a studio. In the coming months, sustainable design company Leap Media will develop the space into a creative hub. This exciting initiative will transform the Market House into a workspace for makers, artists and designers, as well as being the new home for Leap.

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Why aren'tofPeople Anthology Rural Life Writing about Theatre Cornwall to me is a mixture in the South West?of different experiences for Photographers, Oliver Udy and Colin Robins are making a visual record of Cornwall’s contemporary, social and cultural life.

Hannah Silva and Thomas John Bacon share their views on theatre criticism in the region. Foreword by Pamela Peter-Agbia

different people. Whilst there are exciting elements to the country-side, there are also people out there

Igenis dolupta poritem et hil modis sunt andam, ulparum rerfere mperuntia volorem quam, serumendi te voleste mperfer eperum, to te cus nobis et et atem. Nem nosa voluptatur? Um que nus vitam quae ventur autem. Itae reperfero te prae vendae pratis con necessimil ipit maximodion coreperem sum ium que pre es et vollige nistiuntem ipsaerum ut asperum quiaeperende aut acia autatium alignis in et que nonsendaesse explici llamust harchil eatiatur aut et andit ea et aria quossimi, simus, quia net re prorumq uisquo quati custo blaces voluptatur molupta non receptio et re serum nis doluptium qui nis rehenem iditaquam sandell ecatqui stiosti undistinis doluptam rescia qui nos et landuci psaecabo. Lestibus aperovitem dero beribus, id magnimo lessum quae possus cores eicium quam ipit, tem quid qui od ulpa culparum entiam que veres expereiusam sitatempos voluptiur? Quiaest et quibus dipsum rendit dit quas as et odit, num doluptatur, corpor ari digendae net audis sam faces sequiat quunda pore, aut lanis eos inverch ilibusam la verro con cullab impedis apiet magnam senda doluptatur molorem qui dolum, quam volo modictotatur as que voloreptium cuptatur as molore cuptatu remodia si voloratus aut ligent, solupist, eatempor solore nonseni mpostrum dis moluptati blautata qui con pro min peritatibus. Mus quae perumquam, odi ium fugiandam atquam et, voluptatur, quia non rerias min plit, voluptat eaquis escipis autatibusam quiam earibust fuga. Itas mo qui utet facesed quas et quis aniendandit ut faccus eligenduntin niae nusa vid quis pratem vero doloriae

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lati dignam, sim la vit volorumet volorem ium ventio mo blam volorum quam apiciis soluptassed ut offictiassi autempor ad min es soluptati re, tem vernam nis et odis ratis et, aliquidis ipsam ius endit que nos con rae eturiat fugitatione quassunt mo dolorepudis sam re, nosam eos veniscient is volupta velluptae auteceatet, suntium qui aceperation nobis eicia eniae. Itaecabores voluptatem doloribea sitibus. Nus, nem et exeriam a simus aut ex exerspis am nam nus conseque volupienim ipsam volupta tiuntur, sitatem facculla assimint assitiumquis quiae offictur, officid elitatur, corisi doloriorum cum reprepero invel inctint et qui te quat mos earumquae dolupis suntium doluptat et que mi, omnis utescit litas doluptae commo tem rerum el iunt. onsendaesse explici llamust harchil eatiatur aut et andit ea et aria quossimi, simus, quia net re prorumq uisquo quati custo blaces voluptatur molupta non receptio et re serum nis doluptium qui nis rehenem iditaquam sandell ecatqui stiosti undistinis doluptam rescia qui nos et landuci psaecabo. Lestibus aperovitem dero beribus, id magnimo lessum quae possus cores eicium quam ipit, tem quid qui od ulpa culparum entiam que veres expereiusam sitatempos voluptiur? Quiaest et quibus dipsum rendit dit quas as et odit, num doluptatur, corpor ari digendae net audis sam faces sequiat quunda pore, aut lanis eos inverch ilibusam la verro con cullab impedis apiet magnam senda doluptatur molorem qui dolum, quam volo modictotatur as que voloreptium cuptatur as molore cuptatu remodia si voloratus aut

living very

ligent, solupist, eatempor solore nonseni mpostrum dis moluptati blautata qui con pro min peritatibus. Mus quae perumquam, odi ium fugiandam atquam et, voluptatur, quia non rerias min plit, voluptat eaquis escipis autatibusam quiam earibust fuga. Itas mo qui utet facesed quas et quis aniendandit ut faccus eligenduntin niae nusa vid quis pratem vero doloriae lati dignam, sim la vit volorumet volorem ium ventio mo blam volorum quam apiciis soluptassed ut offictiassi autempor ad min es soluptati re, tem vernam nis et odis ratis et, aliquidis ipsam ius endit que nos con rae eturiat fugitatione quassunt mo dolorepudis sam re, nosam eos veniscient is volupta velluptae auteceatet, suntium qui aceperation nobis eicia eniae. Itaecabores voluptatem doloribea sitibus. Nus, nem et exeriam a simus aut ex exerspis am nam nus conseque volupienim ipsam volupta tiuntur, sitatem facculla assimint assitiumquis quiae offictur, officid elitatur, corisi doloriorum cum reprepero invel inctint et qui te quat mos earumquae dolupis suntium doluptat et que mi, omnis utescit litas doluptae commo tem rerum el iunt. Archilis doluptat quae adit earum ressequam ne volorpo rposapit eos sam nem comni doluptibea illum, idernat ecullenia dolenda cusapienimi, es expliquae is andel ipid quia id ma eum dusanti int ipsunt. Is as et lit laborrum facero omnis adit, sint odit laborep udaecte entis volupti busdandit quas repudio eictotas quaepedis voles et eatet rendenis ani reiunto

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ast month we thought we’d flex our social media muscles and invite the internet to respond to this question. We were expecting, at best, a couple of re-tweets from our semi-interested friends,

or unhelpful one-word replies like ‘dunno’. The thoughtful considered responses we received from theatre maker Hannah Silva and performance artist Thomas John Bacon were kind of unexpected, but they reveal a genuine concern about the perceived lack of serious theatre criticism in the region. So, why aren’t people writing about theatre in the South West? This question refers to both the lack of reviews of work produced locally and the lack of theatre critics based in the region. Our original thoughts were that theatre, for some reason, neither good nor bad, seems distant to the rest of the arts. We feel less likely to stumble upon a review of a theatre production or live performance than we are an art exhibition or music gig. Theatre criticism is out there, but it’s written for and by those who are already firmly part of that world, it flies over the heads of those who don’t speak the language. And with the region being so damn big and disparate the few people writing about theatre in the region are often required to be in two to four places at the same time. But, of course they can’t be, and so good work often misses out on good criticism. Thanks to Hannah and Thomas for the following contributions, which offer more insight into the issue than we ever could.

Hannah Silva,

Writer & Theatre Maker, Plymouth There are a few South West reviewers and writers – Belinda Dillon has reviewed for Devon Life for a while, and she now reviews for the brilliant Exeunt magazine. I check out these blogs now and then: Angela Street, Annette Chown and Wide Awake Devon, who are good at provoking debates, and Theatre Writing South West, which has just started a blog. Action Hero asks good questions, and I think in Bristol in general there’s loads going on. But sometimes Bristol doesn’t feel like the ‘South West’. Lyn Gardner regularly gets down to the Drum Theatre in Plymouth for The Guardian. Elizabeth Mahoney has been reviewing lots of stuff for The Guardian in the northern part of the region (and Wales) … and gives a very high proportion of four and five-star reviews! When I tell people I live in Plymouth they often suggest that I enjoy the whole ‘big fish in a small pond’ phenomenon. Actually I feel like a tadpole without a pond at all. I invited everyone I could think of in the region and outside of it to the premiere of Opposition at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth last year. It was sold out, but only those outside of Plymouth who already knew my work came, and there were no reviews. When it was at the Bike Shed Theatre, for the Exeter Fringe Festival, Belinda Dillon came and wrote a lovely review for Devon Life. That was the first proper review of my work in the region. So because I couldn’t get any national critics to come to see Opposition in the region, or any producers or representatives from other theatres either, going to the Edinburgh Fringe (with the Barbican Theatre) seemed like it’d provide that opportunity. I got great reviews in Edinburgh. Those reviews really helped me to book other tours. However, the nationals didn’t make it. It was a little frustrating to see The Guardian reviewing work that had already been on in London or was going to be in London in the following weeks, but not managing to come to mine – when the future of my show kind of depended on getting those reviews. The Edinburgh Fringe is a nightmare and way too big to stand out if you’re not known and don’t have a known producer/theatre behind you. One of the people who did

Hannah Silva, Opposition.

manage to come was Phil Hindson from the Arts Council (funny that I had to go all the way to Edinburgh to get my local relationship manager to see my work; but it turned out well). Following Edinburgh I managed to get a second small Grants for the Arts fund to redevelop the show. It’s possible that if I’d had a review from one of those nationals, I’d have managed to book Opposition for a run at a London theatre by now. Someone recently said, if you’d had a load of four-star reviews from Edinburgh it would have been programmed in London – which made me go ‘Arrrggh but I did!!’ – just not from The Guardian. So I’ve now put all the stars in a more prominent position on my blog. At the recent ‘Getting it out there’ symposium, Lyn Gardner said that theatre makers should stop worrying about the mainstream press and instead pursue a dialogue with bloggers, etc. I like the point, and I think in London where there is plenty of opportunity to connect with great bloggers and online websites and other theatre makers it is total sense. But we can’t

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expect them to travel this far without funding, and in the South West we don’t have that kind of a community. We need to start building one. I’m not a critic, or reviewer, or anything. I realised a while ago that it wasn’t sensible for me to attempt to review work – because I’m an artist too, and we’re colleagues in a way. I can be mega-blunt and I rarely like stuff. So I made a little rule – I’ll only write about companies that are established, so what I write has no impact on them, or, I’ll just write about the work that I think needs shouting about. So I saw Blok/Eko by Howard Barker at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter. I didn’t go intending to write about it, not at all. But when I got home and looked it up there were no reviews. So I wrote my kind of a response and a lot of people have read it. Actually the comments are more interesting than my post, and I’m happy that my blog provided a space for people to discuss the work. I don’t know why there were no ‘proper’ reviews of Blok/Eko.

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Thomas John Bacon, Writer and Performance Artist, Bristol

Thomas John Bacon, [RE]authoring through sacrifice. Photo Julia Bauer.

Aren't people writing about performance in the South West? I am a live artist, PhD researcher and critic for an online and print based periodical. I am a Londoner who has found himself in the South West for the past four years or so and in that time I’ve lived in two distinctly different cities and one town: Gloucester, Cheltenham and Bristol, where I currently live. The publication I write for covers theatre, performance, live art, experimental action and dance, anywhere and everywhere. For the past year since I have been with them I have had a remit to cover performances both in Bristol and Bath. They have an ethos to write with integrity and thoughtful insight and they are always open to hearing from new writers who may be able to report from under-represented areas of the country. In each of these communities, performance, mainly in the form of theatre, can be found to be already written about. For the most part this will only ever be found in local newspapers; perhaps a review or possibly a mini-feature if it happens to involve a community event, school or charity. This is not however a syndrome peculiar to the South West but rather a dysfunction of the system as a whole. This sort of meagre coverage that does exist is of vital importance and shouldn’t be put down, but it could do more. Rarely will it truly engage with the work and more often than not it can be found to celebrate the poorest of pieces as it has a duty to support that local economy. On the flip side to the argument, however, we must also look to the producers, venues and curators. Most are driven solely by economic constraints, and therefore, when one steps outside of a city, programmes become tedious and repetitive, dominated by touring ‘safe’ rep. Again one can understand the reasons, but this is not the sort of performance that will receive coverage at a higher/wider national level. These venues, that struggle to survive in ever more difficult climates, such as witnessed in the Somerset arts cuts, should however take a risk every now and again. The safe choice isn’t always the right choice, though it can be understood. The Parabola Arts Centre in Cheltenham that forms part of the exclusive Ladies College has dared to take unprecedented chances in their recent programme, far more than has ever been done in any of the local theatres of the same area. Though one could argue that they can afford to, let us then look to the Stroud annual Site Festival that has successfully brought rare and exciting live art to a rural setting. But when was the last time you

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read about the programme at The Everyman Cheltenham or Gloucester Guildhall in a national periodical?

arts cities such as London, Glasgow and Leeds than sadly in the South West.

In Bristol, the programmes are mixed and varied, and the main venues such as Tobacco Factory Theatre, Arnolfini and the Old Vic work hard as cultural hubs to propagate and propel excitingly varied programmes. But

When work is shown we should write about it somewhere. Not every piece will always be covered but the act of writing is an important and vital document. It helps to promote, push, celebrate, critique and archive. Any form of writing is important, from bloggers to academics, from hacks to informed critics, they all serve a purpose. The South West has an amazing mix of art that is homegrown, transient and international; producers, venues and curators must take risks alongside their normal remit, be that an artistic strategy or economic constraint, in order to forge forward. Sometimes success will be found and at other times failure, both are of equal importance but the hosts of new work will only ever be encouraged to take risks if writers support, contextualise or capture the event. There needs to be an evolving reciprocity between both sides of the sector, especially where current representation appears to be poorer.

When work is shown we should write about it somewhere. Not every piece will always be covered but the act of writing is an important and vital document. It helps to promote, push, celebrate, critique and archive.

even here, in the thrust of ‘cultural-strategy’, festivals, pop-up venues, communities and smaller locations, you can still find it hard to discover the more extreme end of live art, and in my limited experience – having only lived here a year – I have encountered censorship from a Bristol venue (not named here) that forced me to choose to relocate a programme I had curated to London. The details of these events have already been eloquently covered by Artsadmin’s Manick Govinda in an article he wrote for Spiked, and I only mention this again now as, being the first venue that bravely stepped forward to rehost our work, it was not from the South West but instead was a wonderful performance space in London. And indeed I have found that due to its content my own solo work is more likely to be programmed in the major

There could always be more done to host or write but these questions are not unique to the South West. Not everything will be published, not everything will be promoted and not everything will be celebrated, and many things will be missed, but this is part of life in any big city and so the South West – rural and urban – will be no different. What can be done centres around risk. Risk is always important. And if the South West is seen to do more, in the same way that Parabola or Site have, then this will naturally capture wider national coverage from specialist arts publications and academics. In 2010 Plymouth Arts Centre hosted the successful and celebrated live art event Pigs of Today are the Hams of Tomorrow, but this was attached to the internationally established name of Marina Abramovic. We need to support and grow our own new ‘names’ now, not wait for them to come to the South West to create a context in which risk becomes safe. The ultimate question isn’t one of why is there a lack of writing, but what can we do to evolve the sector for the benefit of all?

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NB Hannah Silva: hannahsilva.co.uk Thomas John Bacon: thomasjohnbacon.com


Illustration by William Grill


All That Is Wrong

Who: Goed, Laika, Richard Jordan Productions Ltd and Drum Theatre Plymouth present All That Is Wrong. What: Belgian theatre company Ontroerend Goed returns to the Drum Theatre next month for three exclusive performances of their latest show All That Is Wrong before heading to Scotland in August for this year’s Edinburgh Festival. Koba Ryckewaert is now 18 and knows things are wrong in the world. She just needs to get a grip on them. She’s better at writing than talking, so she draws. What can she do to resolve things? Neither everything, nor nothing. And she will face it all alone. She will make choices, only to stick to them. All That Is Wrong is the fifth co-production with the Drum Theatre following A History of Everything, Audience, Teenage Riot and Under the Influence. We saw Teenage Riot a couple of years ago and it was ace. We're looking forward to this new production. When: 7.45pm Wednesday 25 July – Friday 27 July. Post show Q & A Thursday 26 July Where: Drum Theatre, Plymouth


Rinkomania Who? Beth Emily Richards What? Roller skating events which were popular in Plymouth from the 1870s to 1920s, will be brought back to life with an inexact reenactment from Beth Emily Richards, and Plymouth City Roller Girls. Including an original score from sound artist Neil Rose and costumes from Bristol based costume designer Rose Savage. Following the performance will be an opportunity to get your skates on yourselves, whilst you enjoy music and a few drinks. Free entry, skate hire £1. When? 21st of July, 7.45pm Where? Devonport Guildhall, Plymouth.

Pull Everything Out Who? Corita Kent and Ciara Phillips What? A collaboration of 70 prints by the Irish– Canadian artist Ciara Phillips and the late Californian artist, teacher and Catholic nun, Sister Corita Kent. Kent’s vibrant prints originate from the 1960s, featuring the punchy slogans of American consumer culture, previously attracting the attention of many prolific names such as Alfred Hitchcock and graphic designer Saul Bass. These prints are displayed alongside Phillips’s prints, which reference a diverse range of topics, from medieval woodcuts to postmodernist furniture. The emphasis of this exhibition is on the collaborative effort and community interest that draws artists together. When? 30 June–26 August (Preview: 29 June, 6–9 p.m.) Where? Spike Island, Bristol

Corita Kent, your name, (1962), Image courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles. Photo: Joshua White

Voices of the South Atlantic Who? Peninsula Arts, Autograph ABP, Photofusion and Ffotogallery. What? A reverent acknowledgement of the sacrifices, tragedies and courageous efforts of those affected by the Falklands/Malvinas War, thirty years on. A collection of dynamic photographs depicting the battlescarred islands and the tempestuous South Atlantic Ocean symbolises the fear, despair and fortitude experienced by so many throughout the war. The exhibition also includes testimonies from the surviving soldiers and islanders from both Britain and Argentina, who have delicately hand-sewn their portraits together in a poignant embodiment of reconciliation. When? 14 July – 24 August Where? Peninsula Arts Gallery

Photo: Adriana Groisman

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Ted Deerhurst at Newport Peak, NSW Australia by Alex Williams, 1980

Endless Summer: The Evolution of Surfing Who? Plymouth City Council What? An extreme sport that has become a way of life for many dudes and dudettes along the craggy coastline of the South West, surfing has been subject to a long process of evolution to reach such heights of popularity in the present day. This exhibition explores the journey of the sport, with a timeline to display its influences, highlights and history since the early 1900s. For those more artistically inspired, the exhibition includes paintings by Kurt Jackson, a woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai, fittingly named ‘The Wave’, and some incredible images from vintage surfing magazines. Extensive of research from the Museum of British Surfing will be available for your perusal, and a surf photography competition designed for the public will run alongside the exhibition. Not exclusively for surfing fanatics, this fun and interactive exhibition is part of Plymouth City Council’s Endless Summer programme, aiming to provide a series of events to keep you entertained over the supposedly glorious summer months. You never know, it might just inspire you to slip on a wetsuit, hop on a board and become one with the waves. Failing that, it will at least get you in the mood for an action-packed, if not a little breezy, summer by the sea. When? 21 July – 6 October Where? Plymouth Museum

This Was Tomorrow Who? Michael Samuels What? In Samuels’s first large-scale exhibition in a UK public gallery to date, he investigates sculptural structures and experiments with formal, material and spatial qualities. The dominating presence of his focal piece, ‘Tragedy of the Commons’, aims to unsettle your perceptions of scale and size as you traverse the structure. The exhibition will also unveil exclusive sculptures and wall-based pieces which playfully tread the line between abstraction and function. Well worth a visit for those seeking a unique take on modernist furniture, or simply for those in quest of something a little bit out of the ordinary. When? 28 July – 15 September Where? Spacex, Exeter

New Blood, Bare Bones Who? The Bike Shed Theatre Directors and Associates – playwrights to be confirmed What? This series of short plays is particularly relevant when considering our present financial recession and the trend of long-term unemployment sweeping Britain. Script submissions have been presented to The Bike Shed Theatre with Britain’s bleak economic climate as the underlying theme, with the four successful playwrights to be confirmed imminently. The chosen plays are anticipated to range from the sombre to the poetic, from the playful to the political, and are being awaited with high expectations, after the acclaimed success of last year’s award-winning series of performances themed around multiculturalism. Scripts will be laid bare for the direct scrutiny of the audience, as sets will be minimally decorated with very few props, and only four actors involved in the enactment of each play. The intimate nature of the theatre, accompanied with the close proximity of actors and audience will undoubtedly serve to amplify the intensity of every performance. Look out for news of the confirmed playwrights, soon to be approved.

Michael Samuels, Tragedy of the Commons, 2012. Photo Roberto Rubalcava & Beate Sonnenberg. Courtesy Rokeby, London

When? 17 – 21 July Where? The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter

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School of Seven Bells Who? School of Seven Bells, supported by Sylver Tongue What? School of Seven Bells are an eye-catching two-piece from New York, on tour promoting their most recent album Ghostory, released in the spring of this year. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of tuning in to Alexandra’s soul-massaging vocals, I would definitely recommend it if you fancy a bit of wind-down time. The duo make a very handsome pair, and describe their new album as ‘shadowy’ and ‘ambient’, each song telling a story as the album progresses. Tickets are expected to be snapped up quickly, so grab one asap – a mere £11 for what’s foreseen to be an ethereal and ghostly experience. When? 19 July Where? Thekla, Bristol

Operations in Contact Zone

the

Who? Oliver Flexman What? Oliver Flexman presents an investigation into the relationship between Western and Arab culture, through an extensive combination of video, print, performance and painting. Through his work, he affectively explores concepts of identity and stereotypes; the ways in which the objects, stories and products that we value within our society influence and dominate cultural understanding. Flexman has invested a lot of his own research into the project, after a long-standing association with the Institution of Arab and Islamic Studies, in conjunction with a year’s studio residency at the Exeter Phoenix. With a wealth of pieces on display, this exhibition is guaranteed to get you thinking. Flexman will personally hold a talk to provide those intrigued with a more detailed insight into his work on 2 August at 7 p.m. The public will also be given a chance to create their own Flexman-style risograph prints, conceiving their own interpretations and responses to the exhibition, on 25 July from 2– 6 p.m. Go and get stuck in. When? 20 July – 31 August Where? Phoenix Gallery, Exeter

Nowhereisland Who? Alex Hartley, Situations What? Nowhereisland is a project by artist Alex Hartley, forming part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad later this summer. Nowhereisland is an island hijacked from the Arctic, now undertaking a journey of thousands of miles to the South West of England. The island has attracted almost 7,400 citizens from approximately 100 countries across the world, with a population that is increasing daily. Nowhereisland will reach Jennycliff Bay on 9 August, and will be welcomed by a day of celebrations, including a talk by Hartley himself, revealing his inspirations behind the project and how he has actualised such an inconceivable vision. Welcome celebrations will also include a performance of the Nowhereisland song by local children, a football match between local refugee team Hope FC and Nowhereisland’s native team, and storytelling by members of Young Plymouth Arts Centre. Lots of food, drink and general merriment will be had. An exhibition at Plymouth Arts Centre will be launched in anticipation of the island’s arrival, providing a well-documented history of Nowhereisland from its icy beginnings to its current journey along the South West coastline. This exhibition, and the advent of the island itself, is not to be missed, if only because this could be the first and last time that a whopping chunk of the Arctic will be moored along the coast of Plymouth. When? Nowhereisland arrival: 9 August; Plymouth Arts Centre Exhibition: 20 July-31 August Where? Jennycliff Bay; Plymouth Arts Centre

Photo Max McClure.

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Courtesy of the Artist and Paradise Row, London

Menhirs II, 2010,

Piercing Brightness Who? Shezad Dawood What? Dawood’s Indian and Pakistani origins have inspired him to demonstrate an intriguing juxtaposition of cultural influences within his work, as he plays with traditional artistic influences interwoven with aspects of cosmology and science fiction. The exhibition comprises a series of textile-based paintings referencing the sacred and the sculptural, and a Super 16 mm film aptly named New Dream Machine Project, which shows a breath-taking kinetic light sculpture accompanying a concert filmed in Tangiers last year. Dawood will personally host a walk and talk guided tour of the exhibition on 30 June from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.

Rise Early, Be Industrious Who? Olivia Plender What? This exhibition reveals a series of room-sized installations, incorporating a variety of works including drawings, banners and videos. Olivia Plender hopes to highlight different ways that societies acquire knowledge, and the transmission of this knowledge to the public at home, with a particular focus on the role that TV plays in the education of the masses. Expect lots of colour, shapes and the opportunity for some thought-provoking interaction with the pieces. When? 14 July – 9 September Where? MK Gallery, Arnolfini, Bristol

When? 29 June – 29 September Where? Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance

Olivia Plender, Open Forum, 2008 – ongoing Installation view, MK Gallery (20 April - 17 June 2012) Image courtesy the artist and MK Gallery

Luxury Who? Martin Parr What? A collection of photographs portraying a series of exuberant shows of wealth in various locations and scenarios. Expect to see lots of people splashing their cash on fancy things. Although supposedly depicting the superficially elite, the series has a gritty quality to it, as Parr aims to highlight the dangers of sustaining a world where Western ideals of wealth and luxury are in such high demand. Perfect timing, as we all become increasingly more enlightened to the damaging nature of such ostentatious spectacles, so highly regarded by those with ample amounts of money, but very little sense. When? 10 September 2012–26 February 2013 Where? Plymouth College of Art

Russia. Moscow. The Millionaire Fair at the Crocus Expo International Exhibition Center. 2007. © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

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Festival Previews Illustrations by Aurelia Lange

Edinburgh Fringe Who? The Festival Fringe Society

©The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

What? With the prestigious title of the largest open-access arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe invites thousands of performers to showcase their various talents in front of live audiences across three weeks. From internationally renowned performers to fledgling acts, and with innumerable events in theatre, comedy, dance, music, opera and exhibitions, this festival is bursting with vitality and culture. When? 3 – 27 August Where? Various venues across Edinburgh Don't miss: XXXO, Hand Over Fist, All That Is Wrong, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

End of the Road Festival Who? Simon Taffe and Sofia Hagberg What? The emphasis of this intimate and relaxed festival is definitely on the music, rather than the distracting extramural activities that larger festivals can sometimes offer up. To produce the ‘perfect’ festival was a dream of both Simon and Sofia, and with a little help from some friends in the right places they really have made it come to life. They promise to curate a festival prepared with tender loving care, with hand-selected, good quality food, beer and décor, considering the welfare of their punters as their top priority. Acts are not only encouraged to play longer sets than at your average festival, but also to collaborate with each other spontaneously, a recipe for a unique and unforgettable few days. These guys really care about providing you with an enriching experience, and every little detail is catered for. When? 31 August – 2 September Where? Larmer Tree Gardens, North Dorset Don't miss: Grizzly Bear, Beach House, Villagers, Marques Toliver, Peggy Sue, Alabama Shakes

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Up to Nature (In Between Time) Who? In Between Time, an international production company who focus on bringing art from galleries and institutions into public spaces. What? A celebration of the inextricable connection between art and nature, with the opportunity to interact with the forest itself as much as like-minded festival-goers and artists themselves. The weekend is set to include bespoke exhibitions, talks from international artists, midnight walks, dramatic performances and much more. When? 29 June–1 July Where? Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire Don't miss: Johanna Kirsch, French/Mottershead, Dee Hedden

Knee Deep Who? Dominic Pitt, Fred Stuart, Martin Jenkins, James Day-Cocking and Scot Smith What? An intimate weekend in the heart of the Cornish countryside, with a plethora of indie, folk and electronica across two stages, interwoven with work from local artists, the chance to get creative, and even a woodland cinema. The festival promotes organic, fresh and unconstrained amounts of fun. When? 10 –12 August Where? A secret location, near Liskeard, Cornwall. Location will be revealed on purchase of tickets. Very mysterious and exciting. Don't miss: Tall Ships, Islet, Broken Boat, Harriet Jones, Mammal Club

In The Woods Who? Laurel Collective What? The band has brewed an enchanting concoction of bewitching music, ethereal lighting and tantalising food and ales amidst the trees of their chosen woodland site. Paths between the two stages will reveal art installations; and there is an enormous bonfire which stays lit until dawn. Confirmed acts included Kwes and Alt-J. When? Saturday 1 September Where? A secret woodland location near south London. Don't miss: Kwes, Alt-J, Peter & Kerry, Laurel Collective

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Port Eliot Who? Peregrine St Germans, Catherine St Germans, Rick Worthy and Simon Prosser (co-founders) What? A festival of literature, art, food, music, imagination and ‘ideas’, to quote Jarvis Cocker. In its ninth year, the festival has grown dramatically, from just 17 paying punters in the first year to an incredible 7,000 anticipated this year. With an extensive line-up of guests and performers there’s undoubtedly something for everyone here; an emphasis on child-friendly activities and the inspirational backdrop of one of the South West’s most breath-taking stately homes makes Port Eliot a festival definitely not to be missed. When? 19 –22 July Where? Port Eliot, St Germans, Cornwall Don't miss: The Bees, Cate le Bon, Tim Burgess, John Cooper Clarke, Mary Katratzou, Dr. Mark Vernon

©Michael Bowles

P l y m o u t h International Book Festival Who? Plymouth University, Plymouth City Council and Cyprus Well What? A brand new literary festival, celebrating literature in all its many forms, including poetry, performance, dramatic readings, music recitals, talks and workshops led by prestigious international authors. When? 15 –23 September Where? Peninsula Arts Gallery, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University Don't miss: Derek Brazell & Jo Davies, Babette Cole, Tanka Hershman

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Fresh Meat New faces. New projects. New ideas. Illustration by Pablo Jones-Soler

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The Fish Factory

Fish Factory is an expansive, multi-functional art space, located in the heart of Falmouth’s creative community, curated and managed by BA Photography graduate Rose Hatcher. The space is in great demand with musicians and performers, and Rose has lots of projects on the go. We talked to Rose about the unique character of the space, her motivation for taking on such a big project, and plans for the future. Nom de Strip: Hi Rose, so what is the Fish Factory? Rose Hatcher: The Fish Factory is an artist-led space in Falmouth, comprising 18 artist studios and a large gallery space housed on the first floor of an old scallop processing factory. Despite its shabby exterior, the Fish Factory has been attracting a lot of attention from the local arts community, and from further afield, as we're trying to break the mould of your average Cornish seascape gallery. The gallery space is divided into two spaces: a permanent exhibition space most often curated by myself, featuring contemporary art from invited artists, and the 'FishTank', a space available to hire, for guest artists and events. The ethos of the place is to make the creating and viewing of contemporary art accessible to all; it is a flexible and exciting project which is always changing and growing. NdS : What inspired you to take on the project? RH: Having grown up and studied here in Falmouth, my intention had always been to leave for somewhere with a more vibrant art scene such as Bristol or London. However, during my last year of university, studying a BA in Photography, I started putting on my own art exhibitions with a friend in local pubs and venues. I really enjoyed making these shows happen, and the reaction I got from the increasing pool of artists I was working with. I found that using these small unpretentious venues meant that the process became a lot more accessible both for the local artists and for the audience, so I played with this idea – making each event more of a get-together with music, stalls and bunting ... Through doing these shows and connecting with the local art scene I became inspired to stick around and make things happen. It gave me an idea that instead of going away from the area to find the art, I could make it happen here not only for myself but for a lot of other people too. There is a hunger here for something more, a niche for me and a new perspective I can give. When I was offered the opportunity of using the warehouse all these ideas came together and became the Fish Factory. NdS : What was it about the space that appealed to you? RH: My first visit to what was to become the Fish Factory found the space filled with all kinds of unlikely detritus.

It had been unused for quite some time and had become a dumping ground for trange objects – like a massive fishy attic. I must admit, I felt quite overwhelmed both by the scale of the space and by the extent of the neglect, but the opportunity was too great to be daunted for long. With a lot of help from friends, the space was cleared, painted and made ready for exhibitions in a matter of months, and the reception when I started to invite the public in was great. Having such a large space has meant that I've been able to provide a range of services for the local artists, as well as having the gallery I originally dreamed up. Although it's quite rough and ready – in no way a white wall gallery – this quality has facilitated all kinds of other activities which happen there. It also provides a fresh backdrop for the artworks on display, an inspiring place for people to make work and a place where community can happen. NdS : Tell us about the history behind the space? RH: Falmouth Wharves is a little corner of Falmouth which has been completely forgotten. It has a colourful past fi lled with gunpowder and dead bodies in the wars, a busy marine industrial site, and more recently it has been taken over by a flurry of artists taking advantage of the reasonably priced studio space and interesting location. The previous use for the warehouse itself was scallop processing. There are still a number of machines and reiish Factory – some kind of project or activity in progress. NdS : What recent exhibitions or acts have you had there recently? RH: The fi rst exhibition of 2012 opened in March and featured mostly photography which addressed the idea of the photograph as an object. This was the fi rst time I had shown my own work at the Fish Factory, which was a really interesting experience. I work mostly in photomontage and it was a great honour to be able to curate a show based around my own ideas and practices. We also recently hosted a rather alternative illustration exhibition and are currently showing work by second-year fi ne art students from UCF. I like to show work from established artists alongside these up-and-coming youngsters and artists from the emerging local scene. I think including other disciplines such as music and fi lm also increases the buzz

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and accessibility of the place – so far we've had fi lm nights, workshops, album launches and loads of other things going on in and around the Fish Factory. NdS : Do you have a team that work with you, or is it a lone venture? RH: I took on this project as a lone venture as I work well as a facilitator and was happy to take responsibility for the space. However, I could not have made it happen without a lot of other people's help and support. In the early days my friends rallied around and got stuck in clearing out the fishy grime and painting walls for the opening in May 2011. Ever since then I have relied on volunteers to keep the space open on a daily basis, keeping the place evolving and full of life. It is such a big project that it relies on constant ideas and input, and I have been very lucky so far but am always looking for new people to get involved. NdS : What's coming up at the Fish Factory in the future? RH: The next exhibition will be a pop-up show from CMYK gallery from Plymouth, curated by myself, featuring some enterprising new painters, illustrators and photographers from the South West. It promises to be colourful and cutting-edge so should be well worth a look. Over the summer we will have some visitors from all over the UK, and from the rest of Europe, joining us to exhibit their work for a couple of weeks at a time, which is very exciting. I am also planning to take some of the Fish Factory artists on tour – so we may be popping up in a town near you very soon!

NB The Fish Factory: fi shfactoryarts.com

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Josh Greet

Josh Greet is one of those little whippetty snippet, young guns. He has been pushing innovative contemporary photography in Plymouth for the last year or two. We have been hot on his heels trying to lap up all that he does now before he becomes uber-famous, so we caught up with him for an insight into his work just as he finishes his degree in photography at Plymouth College of Art. Nom de Strip: Hey Josh. So you’ve been working really hard to finish your degree, can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve been working on? Josh Greet: I’ve been working on a piece about GIF files and their use on the Internet. I became interested in how the Internet is such a huge part of our lives, and how people can become addicted to online shopping, gambling, pornography and social-networking sites. In China, there are addiction centres for people that use the Internet too much. Some cures involve shock therapy. So I made images to demonstrate this following, and to show how the Internet has become a form of religion or cult for some. I thought it would be a good time to do the project as everything is so focused around the Internet; we’re just becoming more aware of it. NdS : What is in your final exhibition? JG : The Internet has been around long enough for us to form a nostalgia about it, so I made an archive of GIFs that reminded me of using the internet when I was younger, and I used things like the Internet Explorer symbol to demonstrate this powerful cult idea. My work is being shown as a 6 x 4 foot lenticular print, which is basically a hologram – a print that rotates independently to reveal the whole animation – so you can view the hologram like you would view a GIF file on the Internet. I also have a print on silk which is blown by an oscillating fan, because there used to be loads of GIFs of flags on the internet, so it’ll be another moving image which is a visual representation of a GIF. Then I’m having a video screen showing an animation I’ve made. I created an Internet world and made a temple for each Internet addiction. NdS : Now you’ve nearly finished your degree what advice would you give to somebody that was just starting a photography degree? JG : Do your own shit outside of college. Try to make friends with good people that are doing things, in some way or another. And always do your market research, look at stuff that’s going on around you. NdS : Tell us about your shoot for VICE Style, how did it come about? Josh: : I got a message from Sam Volters, the junior

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fashion editor and head stylist for VICE UK, and he wanted to do a shoot using the GIFs I had made with my 3D camera. It was all really casual, he was really nice, so I wasn’t intimidated. We set off some fireworks, took some photos, hit a car with a firework! It was just about making it happen then and there rather than being really official and doing loads of planning, which I liked – I felt really comfortable in that environment. It wasn’t like going to work. They also did an interview with me for VICE Style, and then I got lots of hype, emails from people asking me to do work for them. But because I was still at college I had to turn a lot of it down. One I didn’t turn down was an email about shooting Adidas Originals. NdS : Nice, so how did that shoot go? JG : It was from a small agency called Second to None, who own a shop just outside of London, and are good friends with the people at Adidas Originals. They wanted to do a shoot for their portfolio. They let me lead the shoot myself, and the model I worked with was an Olympic runner for Great Britain. Again, it was really casual, and I was pretty pleased with the results. I figured out a new way of using natural light with my 3D camera, which I’d never done before, but I took a chance and it worked. NdS : So what is a GIF? JG : GIFs were originally made when the Internet was really slow, and pictures and videos would take ages to load. They are low resolution moving animations, which have kind of lost their original purpose now. I like using GIFs as most photographers just take their photos and put them on the Internet for people to look at, but the screen can do so much more than display just a still image. Not enough people take advantage of the opportunity to show moving photos on a screen. NdS : You’ve shot videos with Pablo Jones-Soler for Chatroom and Land of the Nod. Would you like to continue producing music videos in your future career? JG : Making a music video is a big task, much bigger than setting up a photoshoot. Chatroom took us a month and a half of waking up really early, going to bed really late, shooting all day. It makes you feel really productive, and it’s something I can look back on which happened

over a large period of time, so there are a lot of good memories attached to it. I really enjoy collaborating with Pablo, as well as being my best mate, he’s good to work with because we bounce off each other and we both think in the same way. We normally have visual styles which interlink, and we both know what we’re looking for. It’s nice to work with someone who you don’t have to compromise your ideas with. So yeah I’d like to do more music videos, but probably just with Pablo, I can’t really see myself doing it with anyone else. NdS : What other plans do you have for the future after your degree show is finished? JG : I’ve got an exhibition in August with the Just Us Collective – I’ll be the only photographer, and I’m hoping to get some work through my degree show as well. Then, in September I’m moving to London. Me and Pablo are trying to rent a studio/exhibition space to collaborate from, and to show other people’s work from. I’m going to do some assisting, and hopefully get to travel a little bit whilst I’m doing it. There are some parts of American culture that I’d like to see and get involved in. I think I’ll do some more videos with Pablo, and push my own work as much as possible. I’d like to do some more work with VICE, as I’m on the VICE photographers list. It’s nice to know that I’ll have work as soon as I get there, and hopefully relive the hype that I got from the last shoot and actually be able to take the work that I’m offered this time round. I’ve got lots of ideas and I’m open to possibilities.

NB Josh Greet: joshgreet.co.uk Josh will be exhibiting at the Just Us showcase show at Beach, London from the 2nd - 6th of August For more information visit Just us: justusdesigncollective.com & Beach: beachlondon.co.uk

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Raissa Ioussouf

Raissa Ioussouf has recently completed an MA in International Journalism at Falmouth University, and has been awarded the very first paid internship position at Associate Press, the largest news organisation in the world. She is currently in Tahiti, filming a 20-minute documentary on discrimination against ladyboys, or raerae, in the country. We caught up with her to find out what inspired her to apply for the internship, how she got ahead of the immense competition and how she feels about leaving the peaceful seaside town of Falmouth to move to the big smoke.

Nom de Strip: You're from Paris, what inspired you to study at Falmouth? Raissa Ioussouf: People are really surprised that I decided to come to Falmouth even though I am from Paris, but I did my BA in Journalism in a small town in Brittany, so I am used to it. After my course I stayed in Leeds for a year as a French language assistant. At that time, I realised I wanted to specialise in international journalism. I started a masters in Paris but I wasn't happy because it was too theoretical. I wanted a vocational course and I also knew that coming to England would really boost my career prospects in international journalism. Also, I love discovering new places. The majority of journalists in France are based in Paris, because most of the media are there. I have only done a few placements in France so I don't know the industry that well. Some of my classmates work in national news, and others in regional news. I remember they struggled a lot to find their first job, and some had to wait up to six months. NdS : Tell us about your course at University College Falmouth and the town. Have you enjoyed both? RI: I really enjoyed my MA in International Journalism at UCF because there were lots of opportunities to practise and we were encouraged to be ambitious. We did radio, TV, a bit of print and online journalism. At first it was a bit daunting to do all of these things in English and finding international news stories in Cornwall can represent a real challenge sometimes! On the International Journalism course, there were 12 of us and another 12 on the multimedia broadcasting course. At the beginning we often worked together to produce a weekly TV news programme. Another thing that’s

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great is the fact that all my classmates came from very different backgrounds, some did degrees in the sciences, in drama, one used to be in the RAF! It was interesting to have all these different personal stories. Falmouth is lovely. I am lucky because I live near Gylly beach. But Falmouth is also far away from everything. NdS : You're about to graduate from the MA. Tell us about your final MA project, documenting discrimination against ladyboys in Tahiti. RI: I am currently in Tahiti to film a 20-minute documentary about the ladyboys or raerae as they are called there. I went to Tahiti two years ago and was surprised by the number of ladyboys. I chose this documentary as an opportunity to explore their lives and find out how tolerant society is towards them. It's a phenomenon few people know about. Even though there are no official statistics, there are a significant number of ladyboys in Tahiti and they seem well accepted. But the more I dig into the story, the more I realize their integration can be really difficult. A huge majority of them prostitute themselves either because they were rejected from their families or because it's easy money that enables them to pay for the hormones or surgery to achieve their feminine looks. There is also a problem with discrimination. There are fewer job opportunities for ladyboys. They may find a job as a hairdresser or a beautician but it’s hard to work anywhere else. The amazing thing is that despite all the difficulties, they never think about changing who they are, they want to become women no matter how hard it is. It's really hard to describe the subject in a few words as it's a complicated issue. I hope I will be able to cover the story in a fair way. I plan to tell about discrimination in the workplace. If you don't have contacts it's hard to

be accepted in a job as a ladyboy. I hope I will be able to cover the story in a fair way. My mother is a teacher out there so it was definitely an advantage for getting contacts, especially with teenage ladyboys. I also organized and phoned people when I was still in Falmouth. Once you are on location, people you interview then suggest other people to contact. When I can, I try to interview people over the phone first before I interview them in person. NdS : What are your plans for life after Uni? Tell us about your internship. RI: In July, I will start a three-month internship at Associated Press in London. I applied for the internship scheme while I was still at Uni, you had the choice to work in international locations but I applied for London. Getting work experience with this leading media agency is fantastic. I will be working across platforms doing TV, text and taking pictures. It will be a great opportunity to put into practice what I have been doing all year at Uni. With the beginning of the Olympics, too, it’s also a great time to be in London.

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NB Making of the documentary: theladyboysoftahiti.wordpress.com Raissa Ioussouf: raissaioussouf.wordpress.com


The Shop

Peninsula Arts has a new space in the gallery for Plymouth University Faculty of Arts students to show and sell their work. The Shop, launched on Friday 15 June, to coincide with the Faculty of Arts Degree Show, is a sweet opportunity to buy bespoke items by budding artists and designers. We spoke to Anna Jay, who set up the project in collaboration with Peninsula Arts as part of the University’s ‘Students as Partners’ initiative. Nom de Strip: Hi Anna, how did the idea for this project come about? Anna Jay: I did an internship with Peninsula Arts, and met Emily Packer who runs the education programme there. Through Emily, I found out about the new ‘Students as Partners’ initiative and applied to become the lead student on the project, with Emily as the lead member of staff. The application was quite formal, involving presentations and business plans and budgets. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of thing you can just do. NdS : What can we expect to see in the shop? Who are you stocking? AJ: We’ve started off pretty small – there are only ten things for sale – but we’re hoping to expand as we go along. We try and vary the content, too. We have photography books, posters, cards, paperweights ... I’ve got some books in there, and so does another photographer, Rhodri Brooks. We also have work from students on the Fine Art degree course. All of the items for sale are very individual, each work has a story behind it, which hopefully will make people feel like they are buying something special.

NdS : Cool, and how long will the shop run for? Will you get new stock? AJ: The shop is permanent, and there will be a quarterly restock. We have a new intake of stock coming in October, which will be on sale until February 2013. Then we’ll have more new stock from February to June. The work on sale is a curated collection – we select from applications. It’s a nice thing for students to aim for and it encourages them to make sellable work. It’s also good business experience; students get to know the process of selling work – they invoice the gallery themselves for anything that gets bought. NdS : You’re just about to graduate from the BA Photography course. What are your plans for life after Uni? Will you still be involved with the shop? AJ: I’m moving to London at the end of June; I’m doing a work placement at The Times for a couple of weeks. Eventually, I’d like to get into photobook design and picture editing. The Shop is part of a rotating programme at Peninsula Arts, so next term the next group of interns will take it on.

N om de Strip - J uly Aug Sept 2012

NB Anna Jay has just graduated from the BA Photography degree course at Plymouth University. annajay.co.uk The Students as Partners scheme aims to enrich the student experience by offering opportunities for staff and students to work together. www1.plymouth.ac.uk/studentgateway/ Pages/studentsaspartners.aspx If you would like to have your work in the shop, applications for October‘s restock are now open. Closing date 10 September 2012. plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.asp?page=38773

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Issue 2 / Right Here, Right Now