Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Secret Scuplture

In the 1960s and 1970s you might be forgiven for thinking that there wasn't much sculpture on TV - in fact there was a significant amount of subliminal sculpture by anonymous artists used as a backdrop behind bands and singers as they performed on TV shows. Echoing the contemporary sculptural forms of the day these often bold and yet unassuming works (they were never mentioned or acknowledged) have never been catalogued and are all but forgotten. Many no doubt had a short life span and some were probably destroyed after the performances in which they were used. Youtube (as ever) gives us an opportunity to revisit these works. Here are a couple of stills and an edited Barry Ryan video in which a rotating wire construction take up roughly a third of the on screen time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Touch and Play

Passing by the modernist toy shop of Paul & Marjorie Abbatt (2Bs and 2Ts) at 94 Wimpole Street I noticed Goldfinger carefully cutting out wooden letters, his Savile Row suit protected by a jute apron on which the small splinters of wood landed before being brushed towards the floor.
Stepping inside the toy shop to take a closer look at the merchandise I was approached by a nice lady in a blue cardigan who said ‘you may touch and play’. Goldfinger nodded and smiled adding ‘toys should be functional in design and educational in purpose”. I sensed though his mind was elsewhere, no doubt contemplating his big new commission at the Elephant & Castle.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Modularity for Modern Living

The flexibility of the living space is derived from its modular construction in which numerous adjacent square and rectilinear sections can either be used independently as individual zones or combined together to form larger units as required. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's just an illusion

Use the scroll bar on the right of your screen to scroll up and down quickly.

Fewer frames make finer films - Contracted Cinema

Contracted Cinema – the reverse or, better still the inverse of expanded cinema.

In terms of defining that which we seek to invert namely expanded cinema, we could choose Gene Youngblood’s interpretation – a fluid liquid a go-go of art and life colliding as retinal consciousness which, for years had all the appeal of some bad hippy trip but now, in the age of media convergence seems timely and prescient. Alternatively we might prefer the English somewhat more sober focus on expanded cinema as involving the transformation of the spectator’s reception of the cinematic.

So contracted cinema then is the opposite of all that? In trying to achieve contraction we might try simple physical ploys like ensuring that all seats have a restricted view with pillars and obstacles between them and the screen or indeed we could take out the seats and make the audience stand to attention or slump against the wall. We might ensure that the sound is all but inaudible so audiences strain to hear over the amplifier hum or indeed we could crank up the volume sending the punters from the auditorium with ears bleeding. In terms of timing the contracted cinema programme should always begin before the audience arrives and end before they leave. But you protest, this is all too familiar, this is nothing new, your contracted cinema is what we already experience when we visit artist projections in the gallery; the black box in the white cube.

Bother - we need something less simplistic than just making life difficult for the audience or spectator. So contracted cinema could mean just less of everything; a sort of rationed cinema. Our slogan could be ‘Fewer frames make finer films’. To be fair though film stock was always so damned expensive that an excess of celluloid was rarely a problem it was video that could and often did go on and on. ”Cut out the bits you don’t need”. Sounds like a recipe for lo-fi. Should we be considering the material nature of the medium and how to foreground this, reducing everything down to the bare essence. Hell why not dispense with the whole paraphernalia (if we set light to it, it could be parafinalia) and just look out the window?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

English Vernacular

Whitstable doesn't have any grand buildings or architectural masterworks it does however have a lot of good old English Vernacular as per this example. For no particular reason I had a go at sketching the building which was slightly tricky as it was raining and I was standing up holding the pad in one hand and attempting to draw with the other - oh and I hadn't done any sketching for quite a few years. Excuses aside it did demonstrate almost straight away how much more of a building you 'see' when you draw it rather than photograph it if only as you repeat the action of looking back and forth from the building to the paper having for a split second to memorise what you have just seen and then reproduce or interpret it. Clearly I will be signing up for the summer water colour and drawing school.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spotting and Foxing

1st edition, hardback with inscription on frontispiece. The pages are clean and bright although slightly yellowed. The cover is a little grubby with some staining. The corners and spine are bumped and worn. The spine is split in the middle and repaired. Damage from what looks like sellotape. The dust jacket is clipped with tiny closed tear to rear, slight bumping to illustrated boards, some spotting and foxing to endpapers and closed page. Ex library stock has a number of stamps throughout the book mainly on the back of the colour plates. Numbers written on first endpage, light shelf wear, showing signs of rubbing and marks, but still pretty neat. Early pages have a few pencil notes, though generally book is clean and very readable. A used second-hand book. Condition: Fair.

Friday, June 17, 2011

High Street

Spent a few days last week down in Whitstable. It had been some ten years or so since I was last there and though undoubtedly a little more touristy it still manages to avoid being like a novelty model village. The high street has working fishmongers, butchers, bakers, greengrocers, hardware shops etc all run independently, just as you used to find on any high street before the advent of the supermarket and which, you still find in most of mainland Europe (though yes I have heard the reports of Boulangeries closing at an alarming rate). It is not so much that one should be nostalgic for such times or romantic notions of ‘community’ but a working high street (and I would contrast this with the boutique foody artifice of Borough Market) just makes the quality of life so much better.