Here are some recent photos from Beyond Tinted exhibition which took place between the 19th-23rd of November 2014 at the Modern Art Museum, Yerevan MAMY. These works I created after participating on the ACSL artist residency here in Yerevan. Through the support from the residency as well as ECF Labs which helped fund my time here in Yerevan.
Beyond Tinted consisted of four series of work incorporating past and present processes and mediums. The works developed on previous themes and new concepts researched whilst here in Yerevan.
U – DYS – HET
(Audio/Visual Digital Collage)
(Mixed Media Sculptures)
As I wrote in a previous post about Building the Dream. ErAZ van was known as the Yeraz or the Dream. The term Yeraz or Yerazi is also used to refer to a Azerbaijani sub-group also. The Azeri people are a clan of Azerbaijani’s from Yerevan. The word itself can refer to those people who are not from Yerevan, I guess like myself though I am not Azerbaijani.
This interplay of words really draws me in as the idea of Yeraz which the people of Yerevan fondly refer the to ErAZ also has links to Azerbaijani clan that is predominate in Azerbaijani politics. To this day there is an ongoing war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. My thoughts keep reflecting on this now closed border between these two nations and the two countries with ancestry that is spread across these lands. The mobility of the ErAZ the Yerevan dream whilst the Yerazi a displaced clan that even though not in their birth land they are still dominant in their nations organisation. These are resilient dreams.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just over a week ago I returned from Chile. I was there teaching snowboarding which is my other profession which helps fund my art activities. It has taken me a few days to come to terms with the last few days that I spent there as they were not like the rest of the season. When I tried to leave the country I was denied, refused exit. This is the first time in 16 years of travel that I have had an issue with a visa and it was a huge learning experience. Add to this that I may have learnt some Spanish in my time there but I am no way near fluent and going through this process of being denied by the check in agent to then being asked to speak to immigration followed by the police was quite a traumatic experience.
It turned out the company I had been working for had cut a few corners and had decided to not actually pay for the correct visa and had only process a token one month work visa even though they knew I was working for them for three months. So when I got to the airport and tried to explain that I had a visa, that I had paid tax and paid a visa fee. It took a while for an official to explain what had actually happened. The company I had been working for thought there would be no issue as most instructors left before their tourist visa was up.
So once I had been declined I had my passport confiscated and told that I would have to go to the main Ministry building for immigration on the Monday to see what fines I would have to pay. This is the first time in all my travels that I have been without my passport or been left in no mans land. It was an odd sensation and I am not sure how I feel about the days I spent in Santiago waiting to find out what the Ministry would say. It made me consider the issues and thoughts I examine within my art practice. These liminal states, borderless zones and wastelands where nothing but everything happens. This time where I was unable to go or do anything however I was there experiencing this quite unique process. It was real, very real to me, however I was also in limbo and these were nothing days that to everyone else really did not matter. This stasis I felt like I had little if no control of my fate or movement which compared to the fortunate life I have lead is quite the opposite.
I am not sure I have really come to terms or understood what or how this may affect or influence my work. However I leave for Armenia where I will spend the next six weeks on residency. I feel that some of the experiences I have undergone may start to filter into some of the investigations I make in the coming weeks.
, Art Residency
, ecf labs
, experimental sound
, light art
, step beyond
On the 1st of October I will be heading to Yerevan, Armenia for two months to partake in an art residency program operated by Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory. This is an exciting opportunity especially after my experience in Athens previously I feel more than ready to make the most of my time there. It is a place that I have not experienced before but sits in an important part of the world. Its rich history and current economic state will provide many new thoughts and ways to reflective current thoughts and perceptions.
This year has seen me move quite a bit and most of that time I have been immersed in countries where I speak little of the language. This isolation in my nomadic practice really plays on my current thoughts of what home means to me. My projects tend to start from a personal response but then tend to be expanded to become works that others can reflect on and read in their own light. However I feel also whilst in Armenia I need to document the daily emotional attachment I have to what I deem as home, the never studio or practice nomadic..
I am also grateful for the funding that has been provided for this time I will spend in Armenia. The ECF Labs and their Step Beyond Bursary has made this time one which I can devoted solely to furthering my research and creating new works.
2014, well for the five months that I have tasted, its been a roller coaster..
I’m still making and developing ideas and its this weird oddity that the unsettled nature of life sometimes spawns the biggest output. Though with this creative time comes the realisation also of the never studio or mobile studio. Being dislocated from anywhere and nowhere I currently feel uncertain of where I am making work. Time, space, country, me or another.
My time in Japan ended suddenly though for the better. No real mental space to channel in thoughts whilst there. Now back seeking time and refuel at the olds. A place that is neither home or away. However a chance to scheme and plan the next chapter and fund the new energy to get back out there.
New plans are being made with current work and travel planned for Chile from the end of June through to September. Once the wheels start I then will be rolling again. Heading to Armenia after Chile and finally onto USA come the end of 2014. Through these times my studio changes endlessly. If anything the never studio is a studio of the person. Where I stand is where my studio is, this functions quite well unless the feet don’t feel stable.
I am not sure what the work will be or how it will unfold though right now the fascination with change and transience within my work has come to a head. I currently exist within a place that I am neither certain or uncertain, an unknowing of whether where I am heading is right however where I have been is no longer a route that I choose to travel. Pushing further into a zone that is both liminal and borderless. An adventure and into the realms of the never studio.