Ordering the Cosmos
Charles Ogilvie and Daniel Crow
(Visited 30th Jan 2018)
A collaboration between C. Ogilvie and D. Crow over seven years brings Crow’s expertise in the world of Physics together with Ogilvie’s unique artistry in very varied media, scientific know-how and insight into outsider scientists. I’d not heard of outsider scientists before, though I have a longstanding interest in outsider artists. Many outsider artists have created universes in their homes, and alternative realities through visual art. These artists tend to be untrained and prolific.
Outsider scientists create their own scientific theories - again without the background of logic and learned methodology. Ogilvie has written a Phd on the subject and Crow receives emails on a weekly basis from people he never met before letting him know their discoveries. Apparently he can tell it’s an outsider scientist - or nonsense - when you can’t argue with it. Scientific theories can be argued and tested but the dreams from this alternative domain are impossible to challenge. Trump flashed across my mind (not actually flashed though sadly now I’ve pointed that out he has - eugh) and political / religious ideologies, along with other related extremes.
A collection of works from this collaboration are currently on display in a gallery run by Stowe Arts, Buckingham. Ogilvie has been making pots with the rigour of a true outsider artist over the last year and has become very proficient at it. 50 of his recent glazed pieces are assembled, with numbers that mean something I cannot decipher.
Despite knowing this artist for a number of years and talking about work together I never really understood what he does, only gleaning occasional nuggets of insight, the odd surprise and Aha! moment. Brexit means Brexit means Brexit. I attended their artists talk and found I still didn’t really know but had a more pronounced and condensed version of the previous experience from both artists / scientists. I did learn something, though I couldn’t say what.
Hopefully there will be more opportunities to see this work and learn about the theory and questions behind it that baffle, intrigue, entertain and that matter.
The excursion out to this show was all of those things too, it is in a very fancy place. Arriving at dusk with a near full moon was a surreal experience, trudging about in the mud taking in the stunning views and then exploring this body of work that seemed to explain everything and nothing at once.
Images from C. Ogilvie, more info. here: charlesogilvie.co.uk/portfolio_page/ordering-the-cosmos/
This entry was originally shared between 2009 and 2011 on my website lee-simmons.com, which had a blog mainly with reviews included. I changed that a while ago and this page re-surfaced this morning for some reason. Blast from the past! I've pasted the text below (no pics yet) and taken the prompt to update.
Thought of the Day Clapham North tube station 2011 ongoing project
The station staff clubbed together to buy a noticeboard and every day they write a quote of their choice upon it. They also took it upon themselves to add flowers to the station, though were told hanging baskets would be too much.
In the mornings I always stop and read the days quote no matter how rushed I might feel. One day I stopped and asked how the board came to be there and to show my appreciation, hence this post. Apparently some other stations around London have also started doing this, though temporary staff are becoming more common meaning the quote might then go unchanged – leading to commuters complaining!
Psychoanalysis: The Unconscious in Everyday Life - unravelled by the voices of leading psychoanalysts.
The exhibition features a wealth of artefacts from collections at the Science Museum, the Wellcome Library and the Freud Museum, and artworks inspired by psychoanalytical ideas by leading artists Arnold Dreyblatt, Mona Hatoum, Joseph Kosuth, Grayson Perry,Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Carlo Zanni, Sonny Sanjay Vadgama, Kristian de la Riva, Amelie von Harrach and Damian Le Sueur. ‘
There is a review on the Guardian website that seems very self consciously factual but is followed by some annoying opinionated comments, no surprise, other than a lively discussion between two readers calling themselves antimuzak1 and CrewsControl about evidence. This was pretty good not least as a source for evidence links thanks to antimuzak1 whom ended with:
‘A last question:
Are politicians effective? How would we know?
Are social workers effective? How would we measure this?
Are organizational consultants effective? How do we measure this?
Are astronomers effective? on what basis?
Are mothers effective? We know if they are.
Perhaps these questions illustrate the problems in defining “effectiveness” in the human sciences.’
DOUGIE’S WAR – Rodge Glass (writing) and Dave Turbitt (images)
This work is stunning. The visuals are top notch and well paced really taking you with Dougie in his return to life in Glasgow after military service in Afghanistan. The writing of Rodge Glass works with, not alongside, or as well as the images – as the images do with the written story. The two are seamless; I’m glad to read it directly not as a translated version (which there should definitely be in the future!). It has a place alongside Maus, Persepolis and Waltz with Bashir to name a few key works that deal with conflict and oppression through this visual story format.
The subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is in the pubic consciousness now but still understanding is low. This book is not shy whilst it is sensitive and true to the subject – an accessible insight potentially helping add to the growing awareness of suffering in this area from those attacked, in proximity to conflict AND attacking/defending.
And whilst on the Graphic Novel/ Comics subject…
HYPERCOMICS: THE SHAPES OF COMICS TO COME
Adam Dant, Daniel Merlin, Goodbrey, Dave Mckean & Warren Pleece, curated by Paul Gravett!
12/08/10-26/09/10 Pumphouse Gallery, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ
Here you got to walk around IN COMICS!
Indeed; where go next?
“And so, in the end, which one are you?”
“Well, I’m one of them”
>start walking up the stairs…< “and which one are you?”
Hear your own footsteps clonk clonk clonk clonk
I’m one of them…. I’m one of them…. I’m one of them…. I’m one of them…. I’m one of them…. I’m one of them….
And back down for another look around Dave Mckeans installation.
Read it a different way… A murder? Draped scarlet over scarlet branches masked with horns a body…
This part of the show was quite dense and I found something new with each glance. The whole building was a maze of ideas but this element grabbed me the most – I really like this guys visuals anyway… so it was a real treat to visit large scale. Also extra enjoyable was the installation in the boat shelter covered with spiders webs (by the end), but far from aged. See Ellen Linder’s blog here as she was a part of this and has something to say about it.
Exhibition link: http://www.pumphousegallery.org.uk/exhibitions/currentexhibition
Fields Factories and Workshops; Simon Yuill
07/08/10-18/09/10 Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow G2 3JD
This exhibition included a lot of video work and no frills whilst beautifully presented books, as a usable installation. The books were case studies of communities to be referenced with wider society in mind. I was particularly struck by the small population of one of the Scottish islands clubbing together and buying the land they resided on. It was work that seemed to be calling for a wider audience than the art world might provide, despite this being a very accessible and friendly gallery space, which is free to visit.
Outside of the exhibition a series of published books for further reading were available for use without sale.
Link to the CCA website/show and some case studies here.
Ode to the Appliance, Tom Richards
16/07/10– 02/08/10 The Pigeon Wing, Guild House Rollins Street, London SE15 1EP
This was fun, it’s always good to go to Tom’s shows and gigs as they are always brilliantly executed – technological genius I reckon; whilst tongue in cheek in the best possible way. My sssssssshh badge has been well worn and used following his opening event! It’s refreshing to go to exhibitions and events that are committed but also don’t take themselves too seriously… malfunctioning machines aint gonna to save the world but they can make a fantastical racket and put our brand new throw-aways to shame!
I WANT ONE! I WANT A BLEEPING THING!!!
(Am sure it will help.)
The gallery space was a web of noising sculptures, health and safety wiring thrown to the wind as leads dangled and wiggled up, down and around and lights winked and blinked at me (and me alone). The performance was well worth catching whilst yay/nay, as sounds made me want to dance but no-one else was, as it was a gallery and they weren’t drunk enough yet; so I didn’t either. This wasn’t as frustrating as it could have been for I was safe in the knowledge I can dance like mad at his next dj set… Exhibition link: www.thepigeonwing.co.uk/tom-richards.
Unofficial Meetings 1, 2 & 3 at Sanford Housing Cooperative, London SE14 13, 18 & 19th June 2010
Discussion groups around a proposal to have Art and Culture Officers at Sanford Housing Cooperative, resulted in an agreement for an open community arts network instead. Notes and sound files from these meetings/discussions are available on request: email Sanford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pro>Cypher – A Hip-Hop discussion
Rivington Place Gallery, Sunday, 06 June 2010 19:30
Went to this after street parties celebrating the opening of a new train line that connects New Cross and Dalston – at last! North >< South. Live bands on the streets and swing dance in the station – also worth doing!
Was a great debate, many similar concerns to visual artists, though probably more to the point.
Was funny having been in that same bar for the opening of ‘Whose Map Is It? new mapping by artists’ – with Iniva, earlier in the week, which was also pretty good but a very different crowd and free drinks. I was glad that the Hip-Hop debate was self-organised by the artists and not a gallery.
At her balcony; Mohamad Hafeda
Slade Research Center, UCL, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB
6th / 7th May – more to come no doubt.
‘The exhibit explores two female residents living in the same neighbourhood, and their different and contradictory readings of current urban elements, practices and memory events, that could be both actual and/or mythical. The project accesses the neighbourhood from their balconies. It employs photography as a medium of documentation and a device for measuring the limits – geographical and emotional – between the two women, their interior settings, and the elements around them. The limit, the blind spot, in one’s realm is revealed in that of the other. The work reveals hidden spatial practices of confrontation and threat, particular to the current political-sectarian conflict in Beirut, as well as strategies of claiming urban space by its different users-controllers.’
This was part of a wider show: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/urbanlab/en2/index.php?page=3.1.1
‘Cities Methodologies 2010 presents recent innovations in urban methods from current researchers at UCL. Through the juxtaposition of installations, films, maps, models, objects, performances, photographs, poems, talks, texts, walks, websites and workshops, visitors will encounter a diverse array of cities and urban conditions – from literature in London, to flyovers in Mumbai, from movement and spatial organisation in Jeddah, to fear in New York City, and housing in Lisbon seen through cinema. The exhibition and events programme promise a unique experience for urban practitioners, researchers, and others interested in contemporary cities. They will provide insights into emerging and experimental methods in the urban field, looking right across the full spectrum of disciplines in which the city is predominant, including distinctive perspectives and interdisciplinary collaborations from the built environment, the arts and humanities and the social and historical sciences.’
Artangel Interaction’s new commission ‘Smother’.
WEDNESDAY 5 & THURSDAY 6 MAY 6-8pm feedback preview – the exhibition is 13th May – 5th June 2010
‘Developed through an intensive collaborative process over the past year Smother occupies the unexpected frame of 101 Kings Cross Road.
Smother is an evolving piece, ever changing and developing through new levels of input and collaboration.
Developed by artist Sarah Cole with Coram Young Parents Project and composer Jules Maxwell, Smother shows us a glimpse of a world where young parents navigate their own adulthood amidst the complexities of raising a child.’
The preview involved being collected by a young mother and invited to her house. This was tall and thin on Kings Cross Road with a great view and interesting architecture, yet incredibly claustrophobic. Actresses hung out in the house involving you in their routines. Installations embedded throughout the property raised questions and heightened emotions: by the end I felt dazed and sick yet could not reason why.
Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin and Paula Rego, The Foundling Museum, London
The above link is to a review of an exhibition at Coram’s Museum www.coram.org.uk. I like the idea but am not sure how well the pieces work in the museum – to have them integrated – or not. Good additional reason to visit the impressive and thought provoking permanent collection / exhibition though. And I think Tracey Emin has done some sensitive outdoor work, bit more with it than usual. Turner are opening a new commission of hers in Margate at the end of the month as well which looks promising:
Céleste Boursier-Mougenot The Barbican, The Curve gallery 27 February 2010 – 23 May 2010, Free
Birds flying about, landing on drums, cymbals, guitars all wired up and making their own music. Visitors to the space encouraging this movement as well as being moved about themselves by it. Lots of complaints of cruelty to animals of course, though the birds are happy as Larry, even nesting in there. You can see a clip of them here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89Kz8Nxb-Bg
It’s worth a visit, fun, lovely idea; being The Barbican really well presented etc. but – somehow a bit thin considering what a strong idea it is. I stayed in there for much less time than I expected to.
Storm Thorgerson, ‘Right But Wrong’ Extended album art of StormStudios and Hipgnosis at Idea Generation Gallery 2nd April – 2nd May 2010, Free
Loads of work related to album covers that includes land art, performance, sculpture… coming from the visual artists and the musicians. Thoughtful and visually stunning. This show is really enjoyable.
Erik Rydeman has been working away on this DEATHGAME free game lately – www.deathgame.org along with other interested geeks. I mean, coders…
It was previously based in Sweden but now has made an international launch so it will be interesting to see how it takes off over here.
What I like about it, is that this game takes place in real space – you track down other players in real space and time and bomb them with apples etc. Erik has been killed when having a quiet meal with friends before – someone ran in and shot him with a banana! Apparently the players become quite obsessed for the duration of each game – always on guard when walking down the street, in a bar…
It’s great that they are getting out and about anyway. Apparently after killing another player, relationships have sprouted offline too… real friends! That breathe and smell and things! I’m looking forward to the introductory video that will be online soon and explains more, and to the next round when more players can join.
Am going to his birthday drinks in a minute, I think there are 3 game designers birthdays sharing the party, so am hoping they don’t all talk in code. I don’t know geek speak
Art by Offenders at The Royal Festival Hall (spirit level) a free exhibition from the 2009 Koestler awards. Some really interesting and poignant stuff. I actually dreamed of the new media work that night, a labyrinth of blue light and 2D cardboard moving people. It’s on until 6th Dec 2009
Talking to Strangers, Sophie Calle at Whitechapel Art Gallery: socially engaged art that is unquestionably high quality and successful. Entertains you whilst making you think. And it’s beautiful.
YNDI HALDA AT OSLO, LONDON, APRIL 1ST 2016
Ignoring the stage with their feet planted firmly on the floor, support act Ladies Of The Lake introduced the night with the friendly and harmonious singing of folk. Cheeky songs reminded me of playground rhymes, except they blended too gently to be as light hearted as the lyrics would lead you to expect.
Big blasts of electronic beats followed from one man band on a mission LTO. Not acknowledging the crowd, he seemed to be enjoying what he was doing - HIS work. With serious reminders of other musicians, it felt possible to guess some of what he might listen to. I particularly enjoyed it when he produced a trumpet, blasted that and looped it back round to his electric drum. I am curious to hear what he does next. His set reminded me of painters who make an abstract mess, onlookers might think they could do it - but they aren’t - the person doing it is the person doing it. Taking risks and making sacrifices to do his / her thing, then doing it some more.
Following this Yndi Halda lined up at the front of the stage. Grasping musical instruments and gazing at the result of their sold out gig stood James Vella - vocals, guitar, Phil Self - keyboard, vocals, guitar, Daniel Neal - mad sad and definitely not bad violin, Oliver Newton - drums, vocals, Simon Hampshire - bass guitar, vocals, and Jack Lambert - guitar.
Beginning with a pleasurably loud post rock long song, they introduced instrumentals from their new album ‘Under Summer’, released in March of 2016. The crowd seemed to recognise waves created by the band with cohesion and energy; crescendos were hard not to jump about to.
Dash and Blast from ‘Enjoy Eternal Bliss’, their only other release (eight years ago) was the second song we were treated to. I was transported to an empty beach, sunlight reflecting on the sand lighting a bright path out to sea. If I opened my eyes I was surrounded by people in this gig again, which was a bit of a culture shock, hence I recalled advice from a fisherman “don’t be afraid of what you can’t see” and kept my eyes closed for the rest of the song.
The new tunes were also melodic, melancholic strings, guitar and sympathetic drums, that throw out space for reflection whilst repeatedly hauling one back into the present. Generous vocals limited the extent my own story played, encouraging joining what the musicians were sharing with their attentive audience. Mild elation arose when the band dropped the pleasantries and completely went for it - the music was really alive and so were we.
The gig was brought to a gentle close with the band all playing tone chimes. Once again lined up at the front of the stage, they seemed to enjoy the handbells, readying us for the end, for now.
Mark Wallinger's show ID at Hauser & Wirth provides an inviting art jaunt. A hospitable rundown of ego, id and superego included on the information sheet paves the route for witnessing Wallinger's references of these Freudian theories in his artworks.
This show came across as more slick than previous socialist leaning works I’ve experienced of his, though there are political tones woven throughout the sculptural and digital works.
The first piece you encounter on entering the South gallery, is a mirror way above head height, which relates Scotland Yard to the superego - a controlling, punitive voice repressesing desire and action.
In the North gallery large scale paintings related to the id employ black acrylic paint on a pristine white canvas, which doesn’t quite fit the Freudian pleasure principle theory as I would translate it. In referencing this classic relationship of id to life force and sex drive, you might expect more colour and mess, but these large scale paintings can act as polished references to action painting (eg. Pollock), the work representing physical movements and reach of the artist. Yves Klein’s body prints also came to mind, though I think his dragging naked paint splattered models across the canvas might be more directly id. Some examples of this work of Klein’s is currently included in Tate Moderns ‘Performing for the Camera’ exhibition, open until 12 June - worth a visit.
Apparently Wallinger got quite addicted to making the paintings whilst in analysis himself, not sure where I got that from, think I read it somewhere.
An emerging Devonshire artist now based in New York also came to mind when looking at this, Rachel Garrard. She makes works affected by her movements across canvases and symmetry.
ID is open until 7th May 2016 at Hauser & Wirth, Saville Row, London
Led Bib post-jazz quintet at the Vortex jazz club on the band’s eleventh birthday, (my own birthday eve) 19th Dec 2015. Unforgettable. Playing their known tunes before disappearing to record a new album, the set was captivating and intense, with palpable electricity between the band members.
Didn't want it to end.
Hidden Orchestra playing at Hackney Church, London. 13/11/15, supported by Clarinet Factory - a perky quartet of clarinet.
The next day: Basel Rajoub.
Joe Acheson, composer and musician, Poppy Ackroyd, electric violin, piano, Tim Lane, drums. Guest appearances from Tomas Dvorak, clarinet, and Phil Cardwell, trumpet. Visuals by Tom Lumen.
When Hidden Orchestra started to play, projections began moving across the church, accentuating details in the architecture, lighting up windows as though lightening was crossing the sky and coating the walls in stained glass madalas, bricks, candles, raindrops, dense red, and geometric patterns. It was the biggest gig Hidden Orchestra had played to date, and part of a substantial winter tour. They seemed to enjoy it, naturally filling the space and captivating their audience.
The music had a dreamy feel to it, lively at times, tempting the crowd to dance, whilst creating space for individual reflection and interpretation.
When fire licked up the side of the church, or it was saturated in red, my mind moved to Beirut. The previous day there had been severe bombings, which I was reading about on my way to this concert. I remembered how much people made music there, and in Palestinian territories, people I met danced as a way of coping with trauma. Music can supportively accompany grief, and enable the feelings to be made sense of - or ignored, and temporary relief gleaned from distraction.
Swaying along to the music, I pondered how people in this concert hall were far removed from such violence, as they enjoyed a concert unrelated to religion, in a church. My assumptions promptly shone back at me, with awareness that I did not know who I was experiencing the music and the projections with, I had no idea of their background or life experience.
On the journey home, I used my phone to find out more about the recent bombing in Beirut, and was stunned that whilst I relaxed in the centre of this gig, at a concert hall across the channel in Paris, people were being killed by Isis. I looked around the train carriage at faces that appeared to be reading the same news.
The next day I had a ticket for more jazz festival at Richmix, East London with Basel Rajoub. I was glad this had been booked.
Basel Rajoub a saxophonist and composer from Syria, played with Feras Charleston, qanun, Andrea Piccioni, percussion, and Lynn Adib, singing.
It was a packed hall, lots of ears keen for the soothing and nourishing melodies. Andrea’s drumming was incredible, I was with three others and none of us knew fingers could do that. Witnessing Lynn sing, was seeing music is life, she appeared a decade younger when singing her soulful arabic lyrics, whilst the saxophone shared understanding, with soft strength, and a timeless sense of collective emotion across borders.
22/08/2015, 346-350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park, SE4 2BY
A blog of appreciation! The gentrification defying, monthly jive party, dances on in South East London. After a slight hiatus it was blissful to return on Saturday night.
Several years ago upon stepping into the Rivoli for the first time, I was wowed. The oldest intact ballroom in London was invitingly from the swing dance era, with more than five decades of dances behind it. The elaborate 1920’s inspired interior included swathes of red velvet, French chandeliers, Chinese lanterns, and dark wooden panels embedded with glass and mirrors.
A wide age range of benign dancers, every inch dressed the part looked at home – some even arriving in vintage cars, bands with shiny brass instruments delighting the eyes and ears, all bookended by two effective bars. I took Lindy Hop classes immediately.
Gleefully I also started to frequent a swing dance night at the 100 Club (100 Oxford Street, London), this stopped running, I was told due to a lack of cash, as dancers drink too much water to make the bar viable. 'Saturday Night Swing' at the Firefly in Central London became another favourite, but ended last year, along with the Lindy Hoppers paradise 'Wild Times' at Wild Court in Holborn.
The Rivoli was listed grade II in 2007, to protect it from development when under threat of imminent sale, and possible demolition. This former cinema and beloved ballroom has it’s punters fighting their corner well.
Last Saturday night I found myself tootling along, and carbing up on pizza, in the direction of this gem. Despite having been away for close to a year with no explanation, the Rivoli like a trusty friend immediately embraced me. It had been an odd day for me: setting off in the sunny morning without a clear plan, I spent the afternoon looking at a beautiful 95 year old face that I have loved all my life, understanding that I might not see it many more times. We knew that we both knew it is almost her time. On the train back into London, wondering where to go and what to do next, I felt like listening to music, but not at home being reflective. Dancing felt like a necessity.
With the usual suspects all busy, as you would expect on a Saturday night in spoilt London, and not feeling like being out alone, I had a brainwave - the Jive Party. Guaranteed stomping band, the comforting old hall with a sprung maple wooden floor, and The Crowd.
Smiling nicely at the door staff, we shared a knowing look that my denim shorts, sandals, and t-shirt are authentic swing dance attire, hence dress code would not be a problem. “Do you have a ticket”? I quietly replied “no”, whilst wandering in, recognising the antique smell I was looking forward to my seat. In this perfect spot near the band and under a fan, with a view of women flying about in frothy skirts, guys acting like wearing a vintage suit makes a gent and a dancer, I listened to the BAND! Captain Redeye and the Hoods, loud and perky with their gangster swing. Good looking dudes playing trumpet, trombone, saxophones, singing, drumming, double bass-ing real classics and their own inventions. Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole would have loved it, particularly the Conga dance, which had to coil to fit in the hall.
Barely had I sipped my beer when someone got me up onto the floor, which set the steadfast tone of jiving with young and old, including lots of friendly faces. “Haven’t seen you in a while! We’ll have a dance later.” From a guy I used to fly about the floor with when we were both beginners, sweating out the alcohol. He is a good dancer now, part of the furniture. “Oh yes I’ve moved too, I’m based in Worthing now”, from Suzie, a Lindy Hop world champion, “didn’t recognise you for a minute” (not dressed for jive).
It was quieter now that the trend for 50’s fashion has subsided. The style made a comeback, peaking around 2012 from what I remember, but now there is more space, and the old rules are back in action. It is general etiquette that you always accept a first dance request, a second ask tends to be if you are stepping along well together, and a third can be considered a bit flirty - fine to decline.
When it was at it’s busiest, flocks of trendy bops seemed to think asking for a dance was expressing desire for the person, and might say no when invited. I started only asking people whom clearly knew the score. Last night I did not need to ask at all, let alone face rejection. A raised brow replied with a nod, or an outstretched hand would mean off we spin! So much for my plan of sitting under the fan; pouring with sweat, ear into the music, heart into the beats, I even got some aerial moves in. Not that I know how to do aerial – minor irrelevant detail when being spun through the air.
After the band and during the remaining disco, I meandered off home, content that this other world was grooving on despite changes in the surrounding area. Regardless of politics and beyond fashion, this place firmly exists, with the eccentric community forever digging (it) in their dancing heels.
Onze Heures Onze collective includes the band OXYD; photographed by Stephanie Knibbe.
OXYD: Alexandre Herer - Fender Rhodes; Julien Pontvianne - tenor saxophone; Olivier Laisney – trumpet; Thibault Perriard – drums; Oliver Degabriele - electric bass
They have an album coming out ‘Plugged in Nirvana’. Songs from this were played last night at the Vortex downstairs. Gillett Square, Dalston, London. Today they are off to Manchester Jazz Festival.
Slowed down Nirvana tunes, distorted with sailing trumpet, bipolar tenor sax, rock drumming, and intensive keyboard.
Messy music that at times blended so perfectly it seemed to lift me off my seat, before clashing and returning me firmly to my chair.
A little of the Nirvana they base some of the work on could be detected briefly before it dissolved again into something that sounded like nobody and nothing else. This was the third concert I thought was original this year. Pretty good.
These guys finely tuned rock and grunge in their own way; they formed whilst in college several years ago, blithely bypassing any seven year itch. The musical instruments get along as though it is usual for them to be played in this way, which I don’t think it is.
At the start of the gig I found myself thinking of rabbit ears.
Apparently rabbits can hear up to two miles away, their long ears move independently of each other scoping sound above the grass surrounded animal. They hear a similar range as us, with some higher pitches.
Noticing my mind wander I enjoyed the conclusion of two months in a Spanish speaking country learning the language and saxophone. That plan crystalised, I believe, due to the presence of people playing music with passion, really well. Creativity is contagious.
It is a wonderful thing that we will never run out of music or language, so many songs to be written, played and sung.
The two other gigs that had a unique quality, prompting my mind to dance freestyle, are logged below.
Lubomyr Melnyk's Matinee show at Café Otto, Dalston, London in May, with mini album 'Evertina' was first. He shared continuous piano music, initially with an accidental background of house music next door! The audience and musician ignored this well enough, and it stopped before we kicked off.
The long song I found visually stimulating, crossing Morocco and sitting in the desert, remembering goodbyes like in a vivid dream. The next 48 hours was all about music for me, I played my saxophone for the first time since moving house, due to neighbour nerves. How was that freed up?
The second gig also triggered internal visuals, which I found quite transformative. This was thanks to Nils Frahm, at the Roundhouse, Camden, London, also in May 2015. He was playing piano... do listen for yourself it’s the only way.
Only Kate Bush has made me cry in a live concert before, but it happened a little bit here too, not unhappy tears on either occasion. The sensation was personal, but like the whole of the crowd were also riding this wave.
Following this I bought a keyboard for my psychotherapy clients (art and EMDR based work), well, I might borrow it from time to time; and started on a new painting whilst listening to Nils ‘Toilet Brushes’.
The latter two concerts encouraged visual and pure experiences, without external prompts other than the solo musician playing his music. OXYD pushed intent on the here and now. Yes, go on, of course you can do that!
Above is an image of Cornelia Parker's commission at the British Library commemorating 800 years of the Magna Carta.
It is in the communal space, across from the main exhibition of artefacts related to the three original copies of the Magna Carta they have on display.
Here is a link to the exhibition www.bl.uk/magna-carta and a link to an event happening the same day that I visited the show sophiehope.org.uk/blog/storming-the-citadels/. Though not in attendance, I am looking forward to read the books and listen to the podcast.
Agnes Martin, at Tate Modern... I was keen to visit this show, as Georgia O'Keeffe is a favourite painter of mine, and I'm fond of Outsider Art. Agnes Martin is not directly related to either, but went to the desert in New Mexico, built her own house and lived in solitude for a number of years. O'Keeffe also lived there for some time.
The first painting on display is a pastel linear piece using pencil lines and acrylic paint on canvas. It reminded me of a therapeutic client / brut artist, who regularly made stripe pieces with pencil crayons and pastel colours. This can help to create a feeling of safety and consistency, of order in a disorganised life.
In room two the works diverged into an array of different sized canvases, including an expressive use of oil paint. The geometric pastels continued throughout the show in various ways, but were less of a theme than room one implied. Further on in the exhibition it was striking to to read she was schizophrenic, which made sense to me in terms of the repetitive shapes. I am glad she was presented as a fine artist, not as an outsider artist, despite this reference and the apparent honesty with which it was made - sharing that her painting calmed her and provided an outlet. What a celebration, the curatorial team were not hiding the mental illness or classifying works in response to it. They could have described the work as a clever culmination of art historical references and genius incision into it, but they did not, and refreshingly shared that she was a great painter, making interesting work for her own reasons.
In a series of prints in room six, the hanging of the work impressed me less. This piece was apparently to do with emptying your mind and letting the purity of the compositions help you to know your true self, but double hanging left an eye level gap. I doubt the artist intended contemplation of the wooden frame edge whilst connecting with one's feelings.
Overall, it was a beautiful and thoughtful show, of warm, human, and organically geometric paintings.
Agnes Martin at Tate Modern until 11/10/2015
Below is a piece the client made, she created over 50 each with a different colour combination.