Monday, January 28, 2019

Arts Cabaret 18

Early in January I discovered a local arts festival in Ireland that allowed for participation by artists around the world. The 'Arts Cabaret 18' was to be held on the evening of 26th January 2019 at Murray's Bar, Knockcroghery, Roscommon, Ireland. I contacted organiser Noel Molloy to express my interest in participating in the event.

Work was displayed on the walls during the evening while various performers presented to the attending audience. The original plan for the artwork being presented by remote artists was for it to faxed live during the evening. Each piece of work arriving was immediately displayed on the walls that represented this live, constantly changing body of work. These days, as faxes have become scarce and rarely used, the format has expanded to accept work via email, although black and white work is still preferred to retain the original 'feel' of the event.

The work I submitted was a piece worked on with Nina, Yiu Lai Lei that developed out of recent work involving layers and grids, and was entitled 'Strata Overlay 1'. The materials used were b/w collages created from photocopies of grids created on Adobe Illustrator with additions by ink pen, mounted on paper. The overall size was slightly less than A3, to be printed out as A4 for the festival exhibition.

More information about the festival can be found here.

Following the festival, all submitted work will eventually be uploaded to the online archive, which can be found here.

Arts Cabaret 18 Banner

Strata Overlay 1, 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019

Saigon Citadel Walk - Planning

On the 23rd February each year a one day festival of Psychogeography is held across the UK and the world, entitled 'Terminalia'.

As the festival website states, it is 'a one day festival of walking, space, place and psychogeography' named after 'Terminalia...the festival of Terminus, Roman god of boundaries'. 

Many events are group walks and encourage participation but there are also 'private, solitary walks' that are also listed on the main festival website.

I decided to participate in the festival by planning a walk for the day of the festival and as I am currently living in Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City I found a way to link in to the history of the city. 

I had been reading about the history of the city and I was interested to learn that once there was a large citadel in what is now District 1, named the Citadel of Gia Định, or as it is in Vietnamese: Thành Gia Định.

It was originally constructed in 1790, a year after Nguyễn Ánh had captured the city. The citadel was designed and constructed according to the Vauban style. This original structure was destroyed following the rebellion of 1833 and a new, simpler citadel was then built. In 1859, as part of the French invasion this new structure was destroyed by the French. 

For my planning I decided to focus on the first structure as I felt that this was the most attractive design (although there is some argument that this was exactly as drawn on maps).

I found several maps that indicated the location of the citadel and worked out the footprint as it would have been in the 1800s. Around that footprint I could draw a line to follow that would effectively circumnavigate the location of the old citadel. As a guide I used faint lines appearing on the old map that corresponded with the current position of roads within District 1.

Map of District 1 showing location of the original citadel

Map of District 1 showing current street layout

The walk undertaken for the terminalia festival can be enjoyed here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

City View Bus Photographic Journey

An air-conditioned minibus runs from Phu My Hung in District 7 to the Lucky Plaza on Dong Khoi in District 1 and is my regular way to travel into the centre of Saigon.

I thought I would like to record the journey as the bus travels from District 7 to the Saigon river-front section of District 1 before arriving at the Lucky Plaza.

Phu My Hung to Dong Khoi: Bus route

After considering several ways to record the journey (I didn't wish to simply record the entire journey on video as I wanted to adopt a particular strategy to the exercise) I thought I would take a photograph at intervals throughout the trip. I decided upon 5 minute intervals between each photograph as in this way the decision of what to photograph would be taken out of my hands. I would simply use my watch as a guide and take a photograph of whatever was outside at that time. Additionally I would not attempt to select or direct the photograph, but would try to minimise any shakiness due to the movement of the bus or the unevenness of the road surface (though this was not always so successful).

When I boarded the minibus I noticed that most of the windows were covered with an anti-glare dotted screen but I found one window in the rear of the bus that had been left clear. I sat on the left-hand side, facing forward, directly above the wheel. Although this was the only clear window, it was also unfortunate as each time the bus ran over a speed-bump (there are several in the initial part of the  trip) the entire bus bounced and threw me up out of my seat. This was not very comfortable but at least I had the opportunity to take the photographs I needed.

As the driver closed the minibus door and prepared to leave, I took the first photograph (in a square format) and then more photographs every 5 minutes until the bus had reached its destination. In all I took 7 photographs:

Photo taken: 10:30am

Photo taken: 10:35am

Photo taken: 10:40am

Photo taken: 10:45am

Photo taken: 10:50am

Photo taken: 10:55am

Photo taken: 11:00am

Video compilation of the bus trip