Sunday, November 29, 2020

'Weaving Experience Into Memory' - Vietnam Festival of Creativity and Design 2020

The exhibition ‘Weaving Experience Into Memory’ opened on 16th November at L’Usine, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City following months of work and preparation. The event formed part of the annual Vietnam Festival of Creativity and Design, the annual showcase of creativity within the artistic, design and cultural fields in Vietnam. 

This year the festival spanned three cities: Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City during two weeks of events.


A5 Exhibition Leaflet


 

At L’Usine a collection of artworks and fashion exhibits were presented along with ‘information hangers’ and edited videos that attempted to explain the process behind the finished artefacts. The exhibition project served three functions: a) To investigate the intersection of art and design, b) To investigate a selection of industry resources and traditional hand-craftsmanship available within Vietnam, and c) To present this information in a format that could serve as a case study for students at RMIT Vietnam. 


The exhibition was supported and sponsored by RMIT Vietnam, L'Usine, Afromazi Design, Fluxmall DTG, Richever.


A detailed description can be found in the exhibition catalogue.


Opening Reception Honoured Guests (Photo Credit: RMIT)


HTV Interview (Photo Credit: Ngoc Minh)


This sharing of information and experience with our students was high on the list of priorities as the various elements in the exhibition were drawn together. It was even possible to propose the exhibition opening reception as a subject for photography students to target in support of their ‘event photography’ work. The MC for the event was also an RMIT Vietnam business student who was undergoing training as an MC.



Installation shot (Photo Credit: Khao Nguyen)


Installation Shot (Photo Credit: Dave Lapthorne)


One week seems so short after so much work and preparation and it was over all too quickly. The opening reception saw many more attendees than had been anticipated and the exhibition was picked up on more than 25 different news sources, arts and culture online zines and websites. Local TV station ‘HTV’ also came to conduct interviews and record footage of the exhibition.


Exhibition Entrance (Photo Credit: RMIT)


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

4th World Congress of Psychogeography, 2020

For the second year running I submitted a proposal to participate in the 4th World Congress of Psychogeography, which is usually held at a number of venues in West Yorkshire centered around Huddersfield University. 

 

This year, due to the situation resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic, a version of the congress was organized in which the majority of events would be conducted and participated in online. A map of a virtual town centre was created with each location linking to the various content.

My accepted proposal was to broadcast a recording of my performance ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’ which had been recorded on the Hickson Steps, Sydney, Australia. My work was found by clicking on the town University icon and the details were listed towards the bottom of the page along with a note to say that the performance was accessible at any time during the conference.

 

Unfortunately, however, my contribution was not listed on the main congress programme which made me worry that this would greatly limit the number of visitors to my linked performance. In fact the viewings recorded in the analytics of my Youtube Channel were disappointingly low.


I later responded to a call to participate in a post-conference interview via Zoom and spent around 30 minutes discussing the conference and the story behind my own work. 

 

As many of the conference events were online this year, I was fortunate to be able to see much more of the content than I had last year. The range of events and activities, from recorded performances, films, live-stream discussions was impressive and especially so given the difficulty of arranging the conference under the current circumstances. The organisers did a magnificent job.


As I shared during the interview, it is my wish that in the future I will be able to make the journey across from Asia in future years to attend the conference in person.


The Congress website can be found here.


Virtual Town Map


Conference Programme


A recording of the live-stream performance can be viewed here on my YouTube Channel.


A playlist of ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’ performances can be viewed here.


QR Link to Recorded Performance of 
'One Step Forward, Two Steps Back', 

Hickson Steps, Sydney, Australia.



Activities accessible within the 'University' area, Part 1


Activities accessible within the 'University' area, Part 2



Recording of the performance at the Hickson Steps, Sydney, Australia



Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Deveron Projects' Slow Marathon 2020

As is stated on the Deveron Projects website (https://www.deveron-projects.com/about/slow-marathon/), the Slow Marathon is "Deveron Projects' annual 42km/26 miles themed walking event, composed of a conceptually led walk, expanding upon a theme or an idea related to our curated programme, in effect taking it for a walk. It is followed by a day of talks, films, food and discussion, in relation to the chosen project. Celebrating the human pace, it is both an endurance event as well as a poetic act that brings together friendship, physical activity and the appreciation of our landscapes in their geo-political settings.

Slow Marathon began in 2012 in collaboration with Ethiopian artist Mihret Kebede who attempted to walk from her home in Addis/Ethiopia to Huntly. The Addis to Huntly and back walk, was abandoned as visa restrictions, border controls and deserts got in the way. Instead, Mihret decided to walk the total 5,850 miles distance with many people to reach the distance metaphorically".

In 2020 I decided to participate in the annual event and registered to log my walks for the duration of the project. The project has now reached completion with 319 walkers registering 40544.94 kilometres in total. I personally walked 206km, which equates to 4.9 marathons. 

I walked mostly in the morning though I also went out for several evening walks, all of which I enjoyed enormously, revelling in the opportunity to walk unhindered through the local neighbourhood meeting lizards, birds, bats, dogs, cats, chickens and a duck along the way.

For anyone who combines walking within their work, whether it forms the artwork itself or as an arena in which to generate work or even as an opportunity to formulate or clarify ideas, I would recommend becoming involved in future Slow Marathon events. 

https://www.deveron-projects.com/slowmarathon2020/

As the walk progressed, Glasgow based artist Man Tajik conducted a related project: 'Under One Sky', https://www.deveron-projects.com/under-one-sky/

Iman intends on amassing a collection of sky photographs that were taken while out walking. Considering the many walkers participating in the Slow Marathon project around the world, the cumulative assembly of sky photographs would assist in constructing a global artwork representing the same sky that we all live under regardless of where we live in the world.

In support of Iran's project I took 20 photographs of the sky during my walks and uploaded them to his project dropbox. Below are the sky photographs I took:


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Shadow walk

Following the previous two posts regarding the changes in our observations of our immediate surroundings caused by the COVID-19 situation, I would like to present the current progress of another photographic project series.

This project grew out of noticing my own shadow as I made my way around my local area of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It occurred to me that my shadow is constantly transforming its shape, form and nature as the day progressed. Sometimes it almost disappeared as though frightened or shy while at other times it grew larger, more well-defined and sometimes it became bolder, crept along the floor and up nearby walls, looking down upon me. 

I decided to document these changes and here I would like to present the first 12 states of my shadow recorded photographically. Eventually they will also form the subject of an e-book.




Tuesday, July 14, 2020

'Leaves' - A photographic Project

One effect of the recent COVID-19 crisis has been an emphasis on a much closer observation of our actions and of what is happening around us. Despite previously thinking that I was fairly good at noticing interesting and unusual occurrences happening around me, I have found that during the last few months I have been noticing small details so much more. 

My previous post detailed a project I started that documented plants and trees that had shattered their pots and planters in their effort to expand and grow. In this post I would like to present another of these projects, initiated by the same circumstances.

This project I have named, simply, 'Leaves'. During my local walks I had observed many such leaves lying on the ground and as I felt that they had an intrinsic beauty that was being ignored I took it upon myself to archive them. Once I have located a particularly interesting leaf I do not touch it, adjust it or edit the surrounding scene in any way. I only photograph the leaf if I am completely happy about the setting. If something seems to be spoiling the frame of the shot, I abandon the exercise rather than 'cleaning up' the arrangement before me. It has to be a totally natural shot otherwise I continue walking and looking.

As with the 'Breakout' project, I will continue to collect and archive the photographs long after this post and my aim is to present many of the photographs later in an e-book. Once these e-books have been compiled I will present them on my website and provide a note and link here in a subsequent blog post.

Here are the first 8 of the leaf photographs:




Sunday, June 28, 2020

Breakout - nature escaping confinement

During the last few months, due to the restrictions caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus,  everyone's attention has been redirected inward. Our travel, our plans, our expectations have all been reduced along with our horizons. With my own attention being focused more upon what lay around me, close by, I found myself discovering surprising and wonderful situations that had previously gone almost unnoticed. I was driven to record some of the situations I was noticing and the results of these observations are beginning to accumulate and as they do I can take an overview and assess this growing body of data.

For the moment I see these as photographic notes but there is a possibility that I may rework each of the themes into a book / ebook in the future. 
I began collecting observations according to various themes: nature breaking free, fallen leaves, my own shadow...

The first theme I would like to present here I have called 'Breakout'. Nature is all-powerful, unstoppable and knows no bounds. For our own pleasure we habitually attempt to harness and control nature, but this control is short-lived. As I walked around the city I noticed many examples of nature breaking free from the artificial shackles that have held it temporarily secure. I tried to capture the moments when plants, trees or bushes decided enough was enough and broke out from their imprisonment. The examples you see below are the first few I captured photographically. I will continue the collection, posting on my Instagram account and post again here later once the book / ebook has been created.




Friday, June 19, 2020

International Drawing Dialogue Phase 3 - 2019-20 (Third Stage)

The third stage of the drawing dialogue project now draws to a close. This is the final exchange of the current iteration of the project and the four drawings I have just completed will head off to Europe, to the eventual exhibition venue(s).

For this stage I was responding to drawings initiated by Skye Williams in the UK and subsequently worked on by Andrea Thoma. As the third partner of this project it was my role to find a way to respond to what was happening within the drawings and to provide some kind of resolution as I would be the last artist to work on them. 

I had laid out the drawings so they could unroll and begin to suggest the way forward. The two layers worked well together but I could sense that something was needed to 'thread' the two approaches together. This plan became literal as I used gold pained paper thread to stitch the patches of black ink into the composition. To prevent the paper tearing I attached card 'washers' to the back surface and the paper thread was then inserted through these and glued to the paper support. 

Once I had stitched a number of these inked areas I felt that something else was required, similar in nature but not so physical. In this case I decided upon virtual threads of gold paint that performed a similar function to the main ones but in a lighter, more reserved way. The combination of real and virtual threads worked well I thought.

Work on the drawings had been held up for some time as Ho Chi Minh City entered a lock-down due to the COVID-19 situation. I had previously collected a variety of materials with which to experiment and, unfortunately, once I had worked out which combination of technique and material would be the most successful I discovered that the shops supplying these items had already closed. Public transport also ceased, meaning I had to bide my time until things started moving again in the city before resuming work. 

The drawings will now be sent to the UK to join all the other assembled work in this year's drawing dialogue project. Together with the other artists participating in the project I am hopeful that an exhibition venue can be found soon. Despite the interruptions to the creative process, I enjoyed working on these drawings very much and I look forward to seeing what the other participants have come up with.

Drawing 1: Skye / Skye + Andrea / Skye + Andrea + Patrick


Drawing 2: Skye / Skye + Andrea / Skye + Andrea + Patrick


Drawing 3: Skye / Skye + Andrea / Skye + Andrea + Patrick 


Drawing 4: Skye / Skye + Andrea / Skye + Andrea + Patrick


Once the exhibition venues have been confirmed I will post again with details of these and I also plan to post an overview of the entire Drawing Dialogue 3 project.