Saturday, December 19, 2020

渡 (Portal) - Cheung Chau Wave 2020

渡 (Portal), the 2020 edition of the annual Cheung Chau Wave Festival, formed part of the planned Inter-island Festival in Hong Kong comprising exhibitions and events based on the island of Cheung Chau, created by artists residing on Cheung Chau or by those with strong connections to the island.


Unfortunately, as in many parts of the world, the planned events and activities had to be drastically reduced due to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

I lived on Cheung Chau from October 2012 until May 2018, after which I left and relocated to Vietnam. My time on the island became a kind of exile, though a thoroughly peaceful and enjoyable one. Every morning I would leave on the ferry for work, while it was still dark, and return in the evening after dusk. Consequently, over the years I didn't form many friendships with other island residents. This was a great pity and was caused by my hermetic lifestyle. 
Not long before I finally left the island I was out on a quick shopping trip among the back-streets of the island and I came upon an interesting gathering close to the old fishermen's school. To my surprise it was part of an arts festival organized by artists resident on the island. I was shocked to learn that these and previous events had been organized by a group of like-minded creative residents and I had absolutely no knowledge of the events or the people organizing them. 
I had sometimes thought that a festival on the island would be an amazing opportunity, making the most of the island's unique setting and environment, and it was frustrating to have missed a chance to connect with and participate in this festival while living on the island.

Later, now living in Vietnam, I saw an online notice about the 2020 edition of the festival and immediately wanted to participate. I submitted a recording of my serial performance 'No holiday' as it was filmed on the island in 2017. That year had been a productive one for me, creating several versions of the performance and live-streaming it to performance art festivals in Canada and the USA.  

'No holiday', Cheung Chau, 2017



Cheung Chau Wave Instagram post


Although many events had to be postponed this year, as far as I am aware, my 'No holiday' performance was screened, along with other work, on the Cheung Chau ferry over the weekend of 4th-6th December 2020.

It gave me deep personal satisfaction to be able to participate in the festival and awakened fond memories of my sojourn on the little island, a time I will never forget.

Cheung Chau Ferry, activity listing


This and other 'No holiday' performances can be viewed here on my YouTube Channel, and are introduced here on my website.



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.