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affiche_itwasalla

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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eraz De_Agostini_ErAZ_762_B_52vS
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.

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What is a starting point or how do I find an IN?  A week ago I arrived in Yerevan, Armenia and within this week I have to find my bearings as well as figure where to begin.  Though I have current and ongoing themes within my work I change, my location changes and especially the landscape I experience.

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Firstly my process is simple I go get lost.. Not in the moment per se but in a place.  Public transport is easy to do this in a new country.  Just get on and do not worry about the direction just travel.  This here in Yerevan is perfect as the whole experience is totally different from other countries I have experienced.  The majority of the transport system is run by small minibuses similar to Ford Transit vans.  I am 6’4″ so even getting into these at times is a challenge.  Especially in rush hour, oh yes just like elsewhere in the world the transport system still gets crowded and these minibuses are full.  Standing room only and you would be surprised at how many people these buses can carry.  Its an impressive feet in itself.  However the whole process is calm and collected considering the horns being used by other road users and taxis.  The public just get on with it without any complaint or quibble.

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Anyways back to process.  My approach is I guess similar to the Situationists – Guy Debords’ dérive.  I use my one and one approach with the city to experience the infrastructure and witness the makeup of the city.  I am not directed as to where I head and would rather each left and right decided when it is met.  By passing through districts, suburbs and communities you can get a feel for what atmosphere and people live in a space.  This interaction with the landscape creates a dialogue that builds the more I walk and the further days spent doing so.  I start to question or be drawn into errors, repetition, oddities, familiarities and characteristics.  Its certainly not just the physical or visible that appeals, though sometime its the sense of smell or piercing sound that leaves a lasting impression.  I find my experience of space similar to how I read people and their personalities.  The anthropomorphic nature is something allows me to form initial ideas.  What are these ideas, well I have no idea until I start to delve into these dérives.  How do I know when I am onto a idea or something that is worth investigating further I do not know at first.  However I could compare it to tennis.  If you think about tennis and the shots that win matches or serves that are aces.  These are not ideas that appeal to me as they are either one of, one liners or too literal in their representation of an idea.  The ideas that I am interested in I would compare to the rallies that build and sometimes keep on going.  These rallies I would compare to the discourse that the ideas created within my own research and investigations and those that I speak to regarding the work.

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So by using this kind of dérive or active losing oneself I create an instability that aided by the new location or country sparks my engagement.  I move and navigate the new spaces without plans though attentive to that which is around me.  Over time my mind starts to read that which is around me in new ways and dialogues start to happen and it is these that I use to form the basis for new work/projects.

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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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I am well over half way through my residency here in Athens.  The experience has given me time to reflect and focus not just on the proposed new works I hope to start working on but give me new perspectives on continuing themes within my practice.  The city has given me plenty more new ideas for future works and added to existing ideas, bolstering concerns ongoing.

As I posted recently I attended Urban Lightscapes Symposium which definitely gave me a wake up on certain areas of my practice and again reminded me to consider a wider practice.  This past weekend I started some workshops for the upcoming Sound Tectonics that is happening this coming week.  These workshops introduced both Processing and Arduino which I have used before but allowed me to understand further the benefits of such tools.  The workshops were long but really good and I feel a little more capable with these tools now, even considering future projects using Processing that prior to these I would of tried other methods first.  So I am getting excited for the whole week coming up which should give me new thoughts and ideas as to where I am going with sound within my practice.

The Glitch works I have been working on have started to come together.  I have had to really think before starting these new works of how to order my process.  Considering a language that will allow me to find each sample and know where I found it and where I could use it.  This has meant I have had to label each sample either using a systematic approach of 1-28/A-S or more descriptive BW Slow Fade Whisper Crackles, Silent Double Beeps.  I have attached a test run of a track that I am in the process of putting together based of the image above.  The abandoned airport here in Athens, Ellinikon.  The track uses 12 samples currently of this image mainly Black and White though some colour samples as well.  I have not yet used any effects on these samples so the track is pure Glitch image with only the volume adjusted.  Have a listen and let me know what you think, I will post the track in its next form once I use a bit of artistic license and use effects to manipulate the sounds a little and add some midi samples.

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A lot of my research and hence exploits take place on foot, some planned others accidental.  My time here in Athens has been a mixture of both and will continue as such yet it is the accidental meetings with places and people that really strike a chord.  Two days ago after failing to find a place that wasn’t even open if I had I ended up riding the red line here on the Metro.  The metro in Athens to be honest is impeccable, marble floors and clean stations with a real mellow stress free flow, I guess that comes from being a modern addition yet enjoyable none the less.  I ended riding from one end of the line to the other which took just over half an hour.  I got out and only knew that at this station there was an area on the map that had barely any residential properties as I had done little well to honest no research.. I started walking I ended up coming across Ellinikon the old now abandoned international airport of Athens.  Probably the same airport I flew in to back in the 90’s with a school trip.

 

Exploring the outside of this building and vast support structures it was surreal.  A place so common with human activity void of anyone bar the one security guard and his trusty dogs running around the airstrip chasing pigeons.  The only other frequenters of this place seemed to be the mums and dad teaching their young ones to drive.  Using the endless road systems as practice for the urban roadways.  Ironic a little as if you have experienced Athens you will know the driving really is cut throat and nerves of steel are required to hold it together as scooters, trucks and cars vie for room and right of way.  Though this serene heterotopic space exists and functions as I do not know.  I have since been told it occasionally gets used for trade fairs for large ships etc due to the size of it.  However it currently seems fit for a Walking Dead film set due to its apocalyptic atmosphere.

It has been closed since 2001 and is the source of many new hopes and plans yet none are yet confirmed and hardly likely to considering the current economic climate.  However for me this is an ideal source for some new work and I will take some time and future visits whilst here to see what potential I may extract or filter from this site.

 

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I am currently reflecting on a series of images that I have had printed for my upcoming degree show here at Edinburgh College Of Art.  One of two works that I have in the exhibition is based in a disused waterworld in Leith.  The site has been vacant since April 2012 and has proved to be a perfect location for an exploration into a disremembered space.  The idea of value of such a space is prevalent as the local community is still in discussions to reopen this site to bring back a valued asset to the area of Leith and wider community.  The items introduced to the space could belong yet somehow suggest a belonging to another time, place or society.  The obvious nod to expense in the sense of gold and images printed on credit cards suggests the ongoing debate about the site and also the value we put on our own leisure and escapism.

The two images above are part of the series though are not in the exhibition so give you a little taster of the images that will be the show alongside a new sculpture.  The degree show is open to the public from the 1st of June till the 9th.  If you would like any further information please contact me.