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.