I thought I would publish this post in an effort to re-engage with my so called digital sketch book. This piece, titled The Grapes of Laugh was made whilst I was living in New York in 2015 and undertaking a particularly life altering workshop, Functional and Intuitive Art with artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
I have been attempting to process my experience during this time for the last four years now, and failing! I have a blog post in my drafts on here that I hope to finish at some point but I have no idea when that will happen,
This particular object serves as a reminder to be happy or perhaps more accurately it acts as a conduit for happiness. Due to its interactive ability; the lid can be opened or closed, happiness can be contained or allowed out so you can get a quick dose of it. The glass grapes were bought in China Town and signify prosperity and ov course the air bnb I was living in had a stained glass sticker of grapevines on the window in the bathroom.
I recently had a job interview where I had to bring an object and talk about it. I chose this item and in order to transport it had to close it up. I am NEVER doing that again……. The normally stressful, but manageable journey was absolute hell, even involving a rush hour crush and a spider, and I had to reschedule the interview.
I did actually get the job in the end though, perhaps because the grapes were returned to their rightful open state during it. Needless to say I’m never closing it up again!
©Huw Bartlett 2014
For the final week I invited Actor/Artist/Bodybuilder/Documentary Filmmaker Arnold Pollock to exhibit. His was a unique situation in that he is from Manchester so would be making work from scratch or using whatever he could bring down with him. But this gave Arnold the chance to truly create something in response to the gallery space as initially the space was all he had.
Using his current interest in acting (he’s been on Corrie don’t you know!) and previous experience in documentary film making Arnold created a film that combines his interaction with Brighton and its inhabitants. He accurately describes the film as ‘… the result of pursuing every meaningful coincidence during my stay.’ Most of these coincidences revolved around, and occurred due, to his incredible charm. This charm made it possible for Arnold to swipe personal text messages off of strangers phones which are then used as scripts, acted out with new strangers.
The film also depicts local scenes which perhaps locals would normally overlook, and all pretence is somehow stripped away from whimsical beach scenes such as in the clip below and replaced with an endearing honesty.
It was the perfect way to end the residency. The film left me with a new love for my hometown and showed the true potential of CAC when someone enters it with a blank slate and only their interests as a starting point.
Also screened during the exhibition was Arnold’s documentary of him and friend James walking the Trans Pennine Trail:
I have just got back from Provence and have to say the highlight, apart from the exquisite wine (I will now only drink clairette de die darling!), was by far a visit to the Carrieres de Lumieres in Les Baux. Luckily my mum had spotted an article in The Observer about the caves and so after convincing my partner to drive the two hours from where we were staying, wiggling up and down mountains, we arrived in, or I should probably say on, Les Baux. The video below shows the location and the stunning projections inside: Carrières de Lumières – Spectacle “Gauguin, Van… by culturespaces
As you will see it is a combination of Van Gogh and Gauguin’s work shown in the context of ‘Painters of Colour’. The soundtrack on the video is also the same as was played within the caves and had been perfectly mixed to convey the emotions through each era of the artist’s work.
The only thing the video doesn’t do justice to is the sheer scale and awe that you get from being in the space, it is literally gigantic and even before you enter the setting and the quarried cliff face is an artwork in itself! The fact that the floor and walls were being used and the way in which the paintings came to life nearly made me have a little cry! It was one of those situations where you wish you had thought of this, had been part of it, but also sheer joy that people in the world are out there creating these sorts of events. As I tend to mention a lot, I am interested in the ways in which digital media can enhance and compliment history and tradition and this was literally the most perfect example I have ever seen of this in action. You could see kids and adults alike with their interest sparked, perhaps much more so than would be the case with a static painting in a formal museum environment.
I should also mention that Jon Cocteau’s Le Testament d’Orphee, which was filmed in the caves in 1959 was also displayed within the caves, projected onto a stone wall, which provided an amazing viewing experience as the texture of the wall made the caves in the film almost 3d! And it was amazing to walk around and imagine the scenes being played out.
I shot quite a lot of film whilst I was out there so expect more from Provence to follow!
I recently visited Amiens, France to help these guys out http://www.themetahub.com/
As part of a group of about 20 people, we filmed events by camera phone or hand held camera, that were happening around the city and then sent the videos, about 30 seconds in length, back to the ‘meta hub’.
The films were then edited by their team and projected onto a many sided cube sculpture, therefore providing a mash up of the night in one place.
And by night:
Here are some examples of other works around the city:
My favourite piece was the one above on the right.
You had to queue up for about 10 minutes to see the work, which in itself added some atmosphere to the event as all the other pieces you could just stumble across.
Firstly you entered a room which was completely black and then strobe lights began at the opposite end of the room, so people began to walk towards them. You then entered into a second room and the strobes stopped for a few seconds. The lights fully came on and you could see you were in a room, surrounded by life size sculptures of naked men, from the knees up on plinths. Their faces were dripping.
The strobes then started up again at a fast pace and it was hard to walk around without walking into a sculpture or an actual person.
I thought that the whole experience was so immersive for the audience. It was quite a simple idea but it seemed to me to be the most interesting use of digital media of Blanche Nuit. Personally I was terrified by the flashes of the sculptures and it reminded me of Doctor Who, however a lot of the children found it exciting and were peering through the door to see peoples reactions as they were in there.