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Abandoned

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Since arriving here in Stockton my time has been spent exploring not just the local landscape but also my current limits of my practice. I came here looking to examine how I install current workings of sonic works and how I can develop or bridge the gap that I find between what I am making and what I am trying to offer.

The first few weeks were spent contemplating speaker architecture and how installing speaker drivers within a form that dissolved or collapsed whilst it functioned worked.  Drawing on the inspiration of the local area and its regeneration hopes/plans.  I have been thinking heavily about addition and reduction as methods of creation both in sound and process works.  Glitch process that I have been known to use is a perfect example of how regeneration seems to operate, existing ideology is rehashed the result is urban planning that though clearly considered it is not until it is implemented you realise the functional errors of such planning.

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The focus on heritage and community, the life and death of generations that have called a place home.  The time that passes by and the marks those leave on a place last longer than structures in many cases.  Replacing old is not something that should be done without consideration and awareness for those that live within it.  The Auxiliary residency is based within a community that is exposed to many different social factors.  It is an opportunity to live within a place that is struggling to come to terms with how it should function.  The oddity is that with all the trials and time that it takes to rejuvenate a place it somehow still continues, functions without much thought.  Time will change the nature of a community however daily this is not something that is really brought to your attention as each day was like the last.

Mid way through this residency my father has a stroke which alongside my research here at the Auxiliary has given me a new perspective.  Seeing a parent go through a life changing moment in their existence brings reality home.  I have recently been back and forth between the residency and my parents to see how my father has progressed with his recovery.  Even though I have not been making as much as I would of hoped it has provided much needed reflection, thinking more about the sound works that have been started yet not finished.  The last few weeks here in Stockton I hope to realise some new works with little or no focus on completion yet more or presenting something that is mobile/fluid and evolving.  15107435_10157615606300018_3800575047413753897_n.jpg

 

 

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DIP YOUR TOE

Govanhill Baths Community Trust

99 Calder Street, G42 7RA Glasgow, United Kingdom

Preview: Thursday 16th June 6:00 – 9:00pm
Open: 17th – 25th June (Thurs – Sat each week)
Weekdays: 12:00noon – 6:00pm
Saturday: 10:00 – 1:00pm

This exhibition, which is part of Print Festival Scotland, showcases 5 artists who share a contemporary and diverse approach to printmaking. For this show the artists have taken over the Slipper Baths within The Govanhill Baths, adorning each cubicle with a selection of work that reacts to the space through an array of styles, techniques and materials.

Nicola Massie (b. Aberdeen) currently lives and works in Glasgow specialising in printmaking and sculpture. Since graduating from Painting and Printmaking at The Glasgow School of Art, she has received the Glasgow Print Studio Prize, RGI New Graduate Award and was nominated for the Saatchi New Sensations Prize.

Andreas Behn-Eschenburg (b. Zürich) graduated from Painting and Printmaking at the Glasgow School of Art (2014), and continues to live and work in Glasgow. Andreas investigates the artist’s agency and deconstructs the traditions of painting into elements that are then reassembled in other media as installations within a space.

Fionnuala McGowan (b. Belfast) is another Glasgow based artist, who explores the boundaries of printmaking through creating sculptural prints. She was a recipient of the Glasgow Print Studio prize (2014), was featured in the summer 2015 edition of Printmaking Today and completed a residency in Frans Masereel Centrum, (Belgium, 2014).

Dickie Webb (b. Oxford) migrates between North and Southern Hemispheres, operating from a nomadic studio and artist residencies – SNEHTA, ACSL, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshops and Chisenhale Art Place. Recent exhibitions include Early Warning – & Model, PNEM, Netherlands, Things Are Different Now – Art Athina and Beyond Tinted – MAMY, Armenia.

David Farrar (b. Oxford) is a Glasgow based artist whose work focuses on the relationship between form and function. He has exhibited internationally, most recently in The National Original Print Exhibition (London) and has attended residencies at Frans Masereel Centrum (Belgium), The Artist House in St. Mary’s College (USA) and VCCA (USA).

 

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I have always been drawn to destructive processes in art.  The art practice of Sebastian Wickeroth intrigues for sure however combined with its simplicity of form and palette asks more.  These considered works seem to create layers no matter what angle you approach them.  Whether just visually or by their orientation, textures, concept or existence.  If you would like to see more works by Wickeroth click here to see his website.

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I am never really that satisfied with presenting a photograph, as is, maybe because I do not consider myself a photographer or possibly the medium itself feels detached when solely presented.  Seeing Thierry Furgers’ work exhibited in “It was all a Dream” was simple yet effective in bringing the site and location to the image.  I guess for me the images had a feel rather than just being processed.  The photographs became objects and tactile, for me this causes a sense of urgency to engage more with the works.  Like I say simple method but used to great effect.

Here are some images of “It was all a Dream”. Further work and information is available here: http://www.buffedpaintings.com/ and http://www.thierryfurger.ch

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As I start to get a handle on Yerevan ideas are starting to be considered, circulating my daily thoughts and bouncing off different aspects of the interactions I am encountering.  One which feels quite poetic is to do with the now abandoned ErAZ Automobile Factory here in Yerevan.  Yerevanskiy Avtomobilny Zavod (ErAZ) was founded in 1964 and closed in 2002.  The reason this factory feels quite poetic is due to the flagship van th ErAZ factory produced.  The  ErAZ 762 which become widely known as the Yeraz – Dream (The ErAZ 762 was based on the RAF-977 was a Soviet (now Latvian) van made by Riga Autobus Factory (RAF). The Yeraz or Dream as it translates was an incredibly successful van and even though it has been over a decade since the factory was in business you can still see these mobile dreams roaming the streets of Yerevan and no guess the countryside of Armenia.  You also see shells of these vans everywhere I guess stripped for their parts to keep these dreams alive.  Parts are surely getting harder to find as some of the dreams are held together by any means necessary.  However like most things here in Armenia things work with little or no fuss.  People do not hesitate to get on and work with what they have.  Problems here seem to be just an everyday occurrence so people move and solve these as they do each day.  I guess without having this attitude its hard to fulfil or even attempt to reach your goals. The factory at its height was producing 12,000 a year and in 1982 produced its 100,000 vehicle.  This was partly due to the factory being equipped with a production line in 1975 one of the first in the Soviet Union.  For me the idea of a production line being created to build dreams is quite appropriate. The factory now is a shell with security watching over the vast site I guess similar to a lot of vacant land here it is owned though is currently void of any development until the owner decides what they wish to do with it.  As with all things comes down to money however we all know money cannot always buy your dreams. From the ErAZ website there is some good documentation of the legacy this factory had on Yerevan and Armenia.

The ErAZ has even made it into video games such as Grand Theft Auto! 110913-1297930735-gta-sa-2011-02-17-11-12-47-50 1355320431_gta_sa2012-12-1217-24-15-90 However the ErAZ website continues to feed my thoughts, on the English translation of the site you are greeted with this message. Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 22.16.19 I guess for some dreams we will have to wait.  In future posts I will write about some of my research into the word Yeraz as this also has some interesting links and keeps bouncing off ideas that I am considering.

DEMOLITION SCHOOL – Re-post from BLDG BLOG

DemolitionSchool

[Image: The Broelschool, Kortrijk, Belgium, via Space Caviar].

As part of the 2014 Biennale Interieur, curatorial group Space Caviar is hosting what they call a “demolition workshop” in the Belgian town of Kortrijk.

Set in a derelict school building condemned to demolition after the workshop has ended, the project aims to “construct alternative routes into and through the building, most significantly a new staircase,” and to explore new forms of improvisatory navigation through architectural space by way of “inventive deletions or modifications.”

Think of it as applied topology in the tradition of Gordon Matta-Clark.

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[Images: Some internal views of the Broelschool, via Space Caviar].

You have only a narrow window of time in which to apply to join one of two teams in the exercise, however—that is, you only have until Friday, September 5, to express interest.

To apply, send an e-mail to martina (at) spacecaviar (dot) net with the subject “Broelschool Demolition Workshop,” including your name, contact information, hometown, and professional CV or PDF portfolio, and you need to indicate which of the two teams you are hoping to join. Those teams are, and I quote:

TEAM DÉRIVE (5 people) will construct alternative routes into and through the building, most significantly a new staircase. Through sensitive and inventive deletions or modifications, this group will create shortcuts and reveal hidden aspects of the original architecture, as well as foreshadowing some of the future architectural plans for the building site. Using the building itself as a source of reusable material, the workshop will both predate the destruction and celebrate the transition of the school.

TEAM TIMELINE (5 people) will create a graphical layer on top of the existing architecture that offers a unique chronology of the domestic space over the last half-century. Blending quotes, data, diagrams, graffiti, and way-finding, the timeline will lead visitors to explore the nooks and crannies of the school in search of the steps in the story of the home.

However, in your email you must also then complete these sentences in no more than 100 words: a) My first memory of home is… b) My current home is… c) My ideal home is…

The workshop itself takes place September 23-28.

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[Image: “Splitting” (1974) by Gordon Matta-Clark, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art].

Finally, somehow tying into this event will be a “Roomba ballet” choreographed for 12 of the robotic vacuum cleaners.

Space Caviar is thus also looking for someone to choreograph that dance, so please also consider getting in touch with them if you have any ideas for how to control 12 algorithmically impulsive, semi-autonomous household appliances.

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Dazed and Confused magazine has just posted an interesting article about Scottish artist Robert Montgomery.  However it was this work about “All Palaces Are Temporary Palaces” that resonated with me.  The idea that one builds a palace, a castle or even a house with a vision.  That vision or idea changes with time so hence this once dream place or palace is only a temporary palace or utopia.  We can constantly dream utopias but once we stop and build and consider these, even fabricating them in the real.  We really only build a past utopia something that was once.  

Full article here:

Robert Montgomery Website here:



P1200281Living here in Portillo is a trip, a place full of contradictions.  The spectacular scenery, world class freeride terrain for skiers and snowboarders and fully serviced hotel in the heart of the Andes.  However this is also one of the passes between Chile and Argentina, this picturesque place is a thoroughfare for trucks transporting all kinds of goods.  Its a hostile place with the road being subject to closures frequently due to the winding switchbacks that lead up to the border.  The parked up trucks display the amount of traffic that passes through on any given day navigating the pass.

The border itself is a ramshackle warehouse of a place.  Similar to a lot of the buildings in these mountains it looks temporary, subject to movement both by mother nature and man.  This living so close to a border in a man made utopia is quite surreal, the road provides a reminder to the real, the world that operates away from here.  For those not from here the road is understandable whilst the resort is itself a heterotopia.  A yellow hotel built within a South American country for those who have the money to enjoy the finer things in life and privileged enough to be able to ski.

I am sure it will be a time in my life that I will make me question daily where I am.  The idea of only knowing what is beneath your feet and not really knowing what the next step will bring.  This borderland seems to be less certain maybe similar to the buildings the ground is less certain or not as comprehendible.




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Re-Blogged from Motherboard

Floating Utopias for the Age of Rising Seas

Written by
BRIAN MERCHANT
@bcmerchant
brian.merchant@vice.com

May 14, 2014 // 07:00 AM EST

 

A two mile-thick ice sheet in Antarctica is collapsing, which all but guarantees at least 10 feet of global sea level rise. That’s grim news for the 44 percent of the world’s population living in coastal areas, who now face the dire prospect of preparing for the coming tides. Developing the necessary engineering solutions, as well as plans to anticipate some inevitable social and economic destabilization, will prove a daunting challenge for millions of communities worldwide. Which is why, along with the engineers, we’re going to need utopianists.

In 1962, haunted by the specter of nuclear annihilation, the sociologist Lewis Mumford penned a new preface to his book, The Story of UtopiasHe noted that utopianism tends to thrive when civilization is in turmoil, and that far from being useless pie-in-the-sky dreaming, our utopian myths, schemes, and fictions hint at what he terms society’s “potentialities.”  

“[E]very community possesses, in addition to its going institutions, a reservoir of potentialities, partly rooted in the past, still alive though hidden, and partly budding forth from new mutations, which open the way to further development,” Mumford wrote. In the face of utter destruction by the bomb, he said, there was nonetheless an opportunity to “renew in man himself the sense of his more-than-human potentialities.” 

Now, we’re faced with an existential crises of another stripe. Scientists have for the last few years considered a significant amount of global warming, and the sea level rise it brings with it, an inevitability. Now that we have a forebodingly certain baseline in place, it’s an apt time to look at some of the many utopian ideas that have quite literally—yeah, sorry—been floated to cope with the rising tides.

Image courtesy of Remizov

Floating Cities

I’ve been keeping a close eye on modern utopianism for the last couple years, and one of the most common themes is, unsurprisingly, floating cities.

Whether grandiose, or of the humbler variety, both sci-fi designers and urban planners are imagining how to raise our metropolises up to ride atop the rising tides. First, let’s look at what is maybe the most prevalent medium for modern utopianism on the internet—design fiction. You’ve maybe already seen some examples of the genre running through your feed; the self-sustaining, ark-like city designed to float in a globally-warmed world. 

This one, designed by Russian architect Alexander Remizov, is a “bioclimatic” ark—a self-sustaining, floating system designed to harbor insular communities of people in a disaster-ridden, high-tide world. It’s both apocalyptic and hopeful; we can keep our sleek modernist design and opulent lives, we modern-day Noahs decked out with smart tech, as the world ravages everything unfortunate enough to lie outside the walls we’ve built. 

According to Arch Daily, “Remizov envisioned this project as the house for the future which can be constructed quickly and withstand environmental disasters through its structural integrity.” Resilient, perfectly-organized floating domiciles aren’t just the focus of science fiction, though.

Image: NLE

In a poor neighborhood of Lagos, Nigeria—now Africa’s largest economy—local architects are trying to engineer an entire city to float. The first phase has been completed; the school is now essentially a moored boat. But the next phase of the African Water Cities Project is where the utopian planning begins in earnest.

According to Design Boom, “phase two includes the construction of floating housing units that can be interlocked or float independently… the houses will also contain a state-of-the-art device designed by Japanese company AIR Danshin Systems Inc that detects certain movements (such as earthquake tremors) and activated a compressor that pumps air into a chamber below the structure so that the dwellings may navigate safely over a flood plain.” It’s supposed to be completed by the end of this year, but as with most utopian schemes, it appears to be a bit behind schedule.

Floating Power

Nuclear energy was the original utopian energy source: boundless, clean, a triumph of science. To its advocates, it still reflects near-unlimited potential. So, to better suit our drowning world, MIT has made them float. These buoyed, modular reactors rise and fall with the seas; tsunamis ostensibly glance off them harmlessly, and they use the vast reservoir of ocean below them as a well for cooling water as they produce a font of clean energy.  Problems persist, of course; meltdowns or radioactive discharge are even more a terrifying specter at sea. 

Less controversial, but no less optimistic are other floating power sources; Singapore is getting ready to try out a pilot program for floating solar panels.

New Venices

If we cannot build utopian floating city-capsules, then perhaps we at least will be able to adapt our current infrastructure to the flood. Science fiction might offer some clues as to how.

The sci-fi historian Adam Roberts argues that “utopian writing becomes a sort of para-SF, entwining itself round the genre in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.” Yet in traditional science fiction, it’s rare that irreversible climate change produces hopeful communities; Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 is the exceptional vision that does. 

“It was almost an ice-free planet now, with only Antarctica and Greenland holding on to much, and Greenland going fast. Sea level was therefore eleven meters higher than it had been before the changes,” Robinson writes. “This inundation of the coastline was one of the main drivers of the human disaster on Earth.” Pertinent words, those.

After a couple generations of terrible chaos, some degree of stability reemerged—as well as a New York City replete with Venetian canals laced between permanently submerged skyscrapers. Life, and its messy bustle, goes on: “A few parts of Manhattan’s ground still stood above the water, but most of it was drowned, the old streets now canals, the city an elongated Venice, a skyscraper Venice, a super Venice—which was a very beautiful thing to be. Indeed it was an oft-expressed cliche that the city had been improved by the flood.”

Floating Free Market Utopias

Image: Seasteading Institute 

It’s doubtful that libertarians like Peter Thiel are all that interested in fighting climate change; statistically speaking, most don’t consider it a pressing issue. But their long-gestating Seasteading communities, those floating free market utopias where the tech elite can innovate away without the burdensome shackles of government, incidentally appear primed to adapt to a high-tide planet.

Rising Prospects for Radical Change

From the beginning, Occupy Wall Street was a utopian project in the strictest sense—a leaderless, ultra-egalitarian activist community founded at the foot of its participants’ oppressor. Utopian projects are often most notable for how they illuminate the gulf between imperfect reality and their lofty aims, and the gulf OWS, was attempting to bridge was glaringly self-evident: Students, laborers, and average citizens couldn’t find work, while profits for the 1 percent soared. A radical adjustment to income equality was therefore in order.

When Hurricane Sandy, pulling from sea levels raised by climate change, washed over New York City, the movement’s ideals were again translated into action—and we saw a glimmer of how besieged coastal communities might organize to respond to crises. Decentralized, democratic, networked, and better organized than legacy aid efforts, Occupy Sandy empowered communities while delivering disaster relief. It proved Occupy could organize to provide shelter, health, food delivery, and other crucial services.

But, effective as it was, it also made the chasm to utopia again starkly evident, this time in the face of a harsh scientific reality—thousands of people are still without homes, and storms like this are going to keep coming. Occupy Sandy shows how far we need to travel before we’re ready for the disasters of the future—our institutions aren’t yet equipped to cope. 

That’s why we need to consider each of these utopian ideas (okay, maybe not the Steasteads). As Mumford says, even if the total vision they convey are ultimately impossible, they reveal the potentialities in our communities to first adequately imagine, then adapt, life beset by rising seas.