Sunday, December 17, 2023

'Motus Mori: Corpus' at Leeds Art Gallery

A literal translation of Motus Mori could be 'Movement that is dying (out)' and is the name of an institute formed by choreographer Katja Heitmann.

The stated aim of the institute is 'an attempt to archive human movement before it disappears. Propulsed by the desire to find what connects us, we are embarking on a long-term process to collect, preserve and share this most elusive part of our humanity. This is an archive for everybody, everywhere, to investigate the body as a repository or memories and emotions. What moves you?


'Corpus' (the body) is a new version of the Motus Mori archive, the premiere of which was held at Leeds Art Gallery from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th December 2023. 

The performance-ritual was created with a group of people in Leeds aged from 20 to 86. 

Concept and choreography by Katja Heitmann, music and creative production by Sander van Der Schaaf, artistic assistants and performance by Eleni Ploumi, Julia Drittij, Ornella Prieto and Ida Osten.

The Leeds performers were: Sonja Miller, Lara Woodhouse, Philip Harvey, Marion Small, Kath Morgan-Thompson, Tamsin Spain, Helen Thompson, Mike Thompson, Janetta Maxwell, Debra Lane, David Hutchinson, Irandokht Monfared and Lewis Anderson.

The duration of the performance was approx. 30 minutes.

I attended the 2:00pm performance on the first day instead of the premiere at 11:00am as previously planned due to unforeseen reasons. Before the performance itself began, there was a brief session of preparation which seemed to be aimed at encouraging relaxation and preparedness in the performers.

The performance began by introducing each performer's method of relaxing, a particular pose or stance that is adopted whenever the individual is resting or deep in thought. Each pose was introduced verbally as all the performers sat in a line at one end of the performance space and collectively adopted and experienced each of the poses in turn one by one. Once this had been completed, the performers rose and moved to previously marked locations within the performance space. Now, two or more performers joined together, partnering to remake those poses, sharing them so that a particular pose now was adopted by the input of two or three performers instead of one, the way that was demonstrated at the beginning. 

After a while, some participants moved away to join together with others to share and participate in their poses too. This sometimes left poses half completed so that the audience could compare the two states of being. Once several combinations had been tried out, many of the performers moved out to draw the audience into the performance. A lady sat next to me and shared her pose with me: a way of relaxing that she inherited from her mother. She placed her elbow onto her thigh, with her other hand wrapped around the elbow for support and rested her face onto her palm. Then she suggested that we could attempt to share the pose. She placed her elbow on my thigh while my hand supported it. I then rested my face in her palm. She asked me if it was comfortable and it was.

During the entire performance, besides the initial verbal descriptions of the poses, rhythmic music seemed to link all the sections of movements together, including the pauses, it acted like a pulse or heartbeat. 

I enjoyed this performance and it physically worked well, flowing comfortably and logically. Some parts made me think of the work of Tino Seghal, as his work is also about making connections, team work, sharing...

This was a great event organised by Motus Mori, Yorkshire Dance and Leeds Art Gallery and formed part of the Leeds 2023 Year of Culture. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

'No holiday', Cathedral Quarter, Norwich, UK - 9th December 2021

 After a ridiculously long time I finally managed to set aside enough time to edit the recorded footage taken of the 'No holiday' performance enacted in the Cathedral Quarter of Norwich, UK on 9th December 2021.

The ambulatory performance began on Quayside, along the River Wensum, turning into Wensum Street and then right down Elm Hill. After crossing Princes Street, the walk continued on Redwell Street and turned left down Queen Street, eventually emerging on Tombland.         

On the other side of Tombland, the walk continued down to the entrance to the grounds of Norwich Cathedral, along the main facade and then left down The Close. The Close eventually merged into Ferry Lane which led to Pull's Ferry, once again on the River Wensum. It was here that the performance ended. 

What was not recorded was the aggressive approach of a swan that was seen in the closing seconds of the recorded version of the walk. This was unexpected and surprising given that the swan did not seem to be defending cygnets or a mate. 

We found Norwich a lovely city despite the poor weather on the day of the performance. One particularly pleasant memory was the lady singing arias from various operas in the doorway of Jarrolds Department Store on Gaol Hill, opposite Norwich outdoor Market.

For the recorded version of this walk, a selection of the most visually interesting sections were chosen to be included and also as a means to keep the duration of the recording from becoming too long.

The walking map showing the route taken

River Wensum, close to the start of the walk

Walking across the facade of Norwich Cathedral

Pull's Ferry, and the home territory of the grumpy swan

The final recorded version hosted on YouTube

If the video recording embedded above does not play, please view it via the YouTube Channel here.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Ferens Open Exhibition 2023

The sculptural relief,  'District 7, 11x8, White Relief' has been on show at the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull since 21 July, an open group exhibition that will continue until 1 October 2023. 

The 'Ferens Open Exhibition' is an annual exhibition held since 1967 and which this year presents the work of artists working in the fields of painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, video and performance.

'District 7, 11x8, White Relief' was previously exhibited in Wakefield Cathedral from 16 July until 29 August 2022 as part of a display of work by members of the Yorkshire Sculptors Group.


The work evolved out of investigations relating to the 'Weaving Experience Into Memory' project, conducted in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and which culminated in an exhibition at L'Usine, Crescent Mall, Phu My Hung, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 

Having missed the opening private view (unfortunately arranged mid-week) it was a couple of weeks later when I finally got to Hull to see the show. As is often the case with these 'open call' large group exhibitions, an effort has been made to include as many works as possible and so the individual pieces are often placed in close proximity to each other, more so than would be the case in smaller shows. This throws up issues that affect the interpretation of the work, I find. 

When colours are experienced in juxtaposition with other colours, their qualities are altered and we 'read' them differently. Albers discussed this 'simultaneous contrast' effect to great lengths in his tremendous book 'Interaction of colour'. Something of a similar vein happens when works are shown together and the more works that are shown, and the closer these works are placed to each other, then the more pronounced the effects are noticed. The way we start to read each piece is affected by the other pieces around it.  

I would like to present some installation shots I took when visiting the exhibition, and allow you to consider how the piece appears here compared to how it appeared when on show in Wakefield Cathedral. It's fascinating. 

Details of the piece 'District 7, 11x8, White Relief, and the exhibition in Wakefield Cathedral can be read here.

Monday, September 11, 2023

4WCoP 2023

The Fourth World Congress of Psychogeography 2023 was held on 9 September 2023, from 10:30am to around 2:00pm, under the theme of ‘Watch This Space’.

This annual event has been running since 2015, beginning in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and subsequently moving online in 2020, where it has remained since.

This year the submitted presentation concerned work arising from Patrick's current PhD study on the Victorian Arcades of Leeds, focusing especially on the first of the reflective art making projects that aim to investigate the movement and behaviour of people within those unique spaces.

The 10-minute presentation introduced the focus of the overall study before explaining how drawings made in the field recorded the exact pathways taken by 25 individuals through Thornton's Arcade. The pathway drawings were combined onto a single map, which is currently undergoing enlargement to make individual pathways more easily traced.  

Introducing the study 'The Leeds Arcades Project'

Inspired by Walter Benjamin

The presentation can be viewed here.

The 4WCoP website can be viewed here.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

'Borrow Pit' - Huddersfield Art Gallery: Unit 7, West Yorkshire, UK

‘Borrow Pit’ is a term used in construction or Civil Engineering, describing a specified location from which earthen material, such as soil, sand, clay, or gravel, is extracted to be used as fill at another location.

For many years I have been assembling a compilation of visual and conceptual elements and approaches that seem related to, or appropriate for utilisation in, work about the landscape 

Over time, this visual language has been slowly expanding and the variety of ways in which the various elements have been combined and juxtaposed has been increasing. 

I now see this visual lexicon of components as a borrow pit, from which I am able to source materials for current and future work.

An exhibition of work by members of the Yorkshire Sculptors Group, using 'Borrow Pit' as a working concept, will open to the public at Huddersfield Art Gallery on 12 April 2023 and there will be a Private View on Saturday 15 April from 1:00-4:00pm within the temporary exhibition space, Unit 7 (opposite the main gallery building that is currently closed for repairs), Piazza Shopping Centre, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK.

'Borrow Pit' Invitation

The piece I am exhibiting in Huddersfield is an expanding work that will continue to grow, increasing in size and complexity into the future. The ground has been broken, the foundations laid, and construction initiated. From this stage, it is the work itself that will oversee and determine the future progress and direction of the piece.

Installing the work at Huddersfield

'Breaking Ground', 2023

A video taken during the installation of the work can be viewed here.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

'20 Minute Diameter Leeds' - Terminalia Festival 2023

 As part of 4WCoP 2022 (Fourth World Congress of Psychogeography), Mathilda Guerin created a project entitled 'Walking Webs', inviting people to participate by creating a walking web of their own city and I created my own walking web in Leeds, my home town in the UK. 

My walking web was created, according to the supplied instructions, by walking from a selected starting point, North, South East and West. Along each of these axes, we were asked to walk for 10 minutes and 20 minutes respectively and to take a photograph at each of these points. It was then possible to connect up all four of the 10 minute points and also the 20 points.

My walking web, and the photos taken after walking for 10 minutes and 20 minutes can be seen here:

Walking Web showing the Starting Point, 10 Minute and 20 Minute Points

Walking Web showing the photographs taken at all the points

I try to participate in the annual Terminalia Festival each year and so for the 2023 edition I chose part of the walking web I had created previously as this conveniently marks out an area of the city with a perimeter roughly 10 minutes from the centre.

On Thursday 23 February 2023 I started walking from the northern point, close to the College of Building on North Street, walking clockwise. 

North to East Section

North Street - Byron Street - Regent Street - Hope Road - Mabgate - St. Mary's Street - Rider Street - Burmantofts Street - Marsh Lane

Millwright Street, just off Hope Road

Sheepscar Beck (or Mabgate Beck), before it becomes Lady Beck

Grade II listed Hope Foundry (1831-1850), a former brass and iron foundry

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Grade II listed

Pedestrian Crossing to Quarry House, Department of Health

East to South Section

Marsh Lane - Crown Point Bridge - Crown Point Road - Great Wilson Street 

Car park entrance / exit on Marsh Lane, not far from the old railway station

Penny Pocket Park, previously St. Peter's Graveyard

River Aire, looking West from Crown Point Bridge

South to East Section

Great Wilson Street - Water Lane - Wharf Approach - Leeds Liverpool Canal Towpath - Whitehall Waterfront - Whitehall Road - Northern Street

'Hello Friends' by Bryan and Laura Davies, 2007. 
Inspired by Brancusi's Endless Column, 1937 and installed inside Bridgewater Place

Glimpse of the beautiful grade II listed 'Verona' Tower (based on the Lamberti Tower in Verona), originally built as dust extractors for the nearby steel pin factory, the first of the three Italianate towers to be built on the site that is rapidly becoming the new 'Tower Works' residential development

Another view of River Aire, this time looking South West from the new bridge linking Pocket Park to the Whitehall Riverside Terraces

East to North Section

Wellington Street - Britannia Street - York Place - King Street - East Parade - Victoria Square - Calverley Street - Great George Street - Cookridge Street - Merrion Way - Lovell Park Road - Grafton Street - North Street

Inexplicably ignored and unattributed artwork by Joseph Beuys, outside Leeds Art Gallery & Henry Moore Centre, part of his 7,000 Oaks work.

Leeds Owls on parade along the Calverley Street facade of Leeds Central Library

Colourful objects sit playfully in Lovell Park, previously a cattle market (c.1860)

This one-day Festival of Psychogeography has been held every year on the 23rd of February since 2011 and brings together individuals and groups who mark the Festival of Terminus, the Roman god of boundaries and landmarks.

Previous walks for Terminalia: