Thursday, 30 April 2009

concrete floors make copacetic mattresses

Some thoughts...

I'm using the opportunity to work freely in such a large space to take a step back from my practice at this stage by documenting a series of wall drawings. Past works can be described as fugitive in that they often are short lived and occupy ancillary spaces in museums and galleries. The drawings at PSL will be filmed being made and then erased shortly after completion. The project is structured in two 6 week phases: the first of which resembles studio practice in public and the second stage (which we're calling 'the exhibition') has more of a conventional feel of a group show.

The next stream of consciousness rant concerns the work pictured in the image above...

I'm not usually interested in revealing or emphasising the process and act of making a drawing. I'd rather start with a projected notion arrived at by research into the site and/or the context of issues dealt with in a group show and end up with a work which attempts to communicate a message via text and image and places its emphasis firmly on the viewer and their perspective. Past work has incorporated literature and narrative (both visual and verbal) which encourages the viewer to read the architecture as they read the drawings. This convention in art reached its zenith in the frescoes of the Quattrocento.

In a way this new work relates to the title Morphic Resonance, as on a formal level; stereomatic motifs and familiar insignia allude to notions of collectivity and Sheldrake's collective memory theory.

The grammar of the ornament here speaks of interplay and transition.
However, above all else, this drawing is an aesthetic consequence of time and space. The optic-illusionary elements serve to reinforce the idea of art as paradox and multi stable. The hyper-temporary nature of the work draws into question the very function and value of art itself. The found insignia are geometric shapes of the sort which have regularly appeared in the 60's movement of Op art as well as in the sophisticated 3d illusionistic pattern design of many cultures including Rome, the Middle East, India and Greece.

Ornament in the context of a culture is a form of social amelioration, an act of relieving ills and changing for the better, perhaps linked to humankind's striving for Godliness through order and dominion over nature or an improved society towards utopia. Or an indication of a race's identity and their societies stage, gauged by their ornament's level of sophistication. You don't need to look further than architecture to see the signs this vernacular expression of power through design. Is the idea of relieving ills related to the compulsion artists feel to make objects and statements? What do we share that makes us artists? A gene? Was the Beuysian positivist notion of trauerarbeit due to individual or collective collective guilt? Why am I so cynical? Can art really make a difference? Can it change the world? When I ask the question 'What is art for?' by making temporary site specific drawings. I think the answer for me lies somewhere in this line of enquiry. I like to think of these works as conversations on these ideas.

Working in the space and getting an insight into, not only my praxis - which was the original intention - but also the work of the other artists has been unusually helpful. It has in addition, generated more questions than answers at this stage, which I'm rather happy about...

For the opening on the 12th of May intend to display the black and white photographic documentation of each drawing (6 in total) before erasure as the work in it's final form hung over the painted-out drawings. This project for me has been about duration and gaining a new perspective on my praxis. More to follow... In the meantime you can see more photos and video of work in progress on my faceplant page

hakol b’seder,

Ant Macari

workplace gallery

Tonight / tomorrow

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

EARS/EYES cont....

here are a few links to some of the music stuff i'm involved in:..........

Chippewa Falls...


Rachel Lancaster(solo stuff)....

Rachel Lancaster


Regarding a conversation with Rachel about musical activities, some links to Nous Vous related music projects...

vest for tysso
mrs dice feet


Pest Office blog online

The Pest office blog is now online.


Hi everyone,

I just wanted to say "hello" on behalf of Pest. Some of you may have met Rebecca last week, however due to other commitments (and the fact that none of us have a car!), it's proving really difficult for us to get to all of the contact days and we haven't been able to participate as much as we may have liked.

Our response to these problems has been to construct the Pest office. This will be standing in for us during the exhibition, throughout which we will be researching the third and final Pest publication. This will explore the motivations and realities of artists working in 'social' spaces (e.g the public realm, internet/media, specific communities etc.) and will include artwork by Preston artist Martin Hamblen and a short story by London artist/curator Sophie Hope. Our research for this publication will involve us visiting artists and artists groups throughout the UK and also in Budapest (we received a NAN bursary from AN to do this), and sending information and reports back to the Pest office.

We have a provisional list of people who we plan to visit, which we will post up soon. However, if any of you have any suggestions of interesting groups/artists/projects that would be brilliant. We are particularly interested in politicised activities – specifically those which interrogate the notion of social/public space, but we're open to all types of practice. It would also be good to arrange meetings with other Morphic Resonance participants – either face to face in the office or on Skype. Reading this blog I am particularly interested in the raft project that Dan, Penny and No Fixed Abode are working on and it would be good to find out more…..

We’re going to set up a Pest blog to record all of our activities, so I’ll post the link as soon as that’s live.

Sorry we can’t make the meal, hope you all have a great time and I look forward to finding out what happens!


Wednesday, 22 April 2009

I really like the idea that any food we serve at the dinner should be prepared and cooked as well as consumed in the space - could we extend this concept to the guests? - asking them to bring food to cook/prepare in the space. I think this is an interesting way of exploring collaborative practices/processes and extends this to the wider artistic community from within the constraints of the project. Any thoughts?


Sunday, 19 April 2009

Tattous Vous

I have set up a make shift Tattoo studio in the Nous Vous space at PSL. I would like to put a call out to all the artists that if you let me tattoo something on you I will gladly let you return the gesture. There is a flash sheet up of designs and it is possible to put your own designs up there (whether you plan to get tattoo'd or not). The gun is a home made 'prison-style' gun, from a walkman motor attached to phone charger. DIY. I am not terribly preficient but you have to start somewhere, there are three bits of of my own handiwork on my body. I have one offer already so it would be nice to get some more practice. They may turn into performance pieces.

Give me an email if you're interested.

No regrets tattoo studio.

Open for business.


What are everyone's thoughts on the opening? I'm sure a sitar player would be great, but I think it should be up to the artists to decide what goes on...

With this in mind, how do people feel about Nous Vous doing a short music-based performance in our space, spruced up a bit..?

It is something we'd quite like to do at some point anyways, but the opening would be a good time for it perhaps? It would take the form of a largely improvised set, using samplers, percussion, keyboards, maybe other instruments..

Any feedback, yes's / no's would be appreciated.

Bon Weekend

Nicolas Vous

Friday, 17 April 2009

SilverMawson performance

SilverMawson produced a cutting edge performance last night with the help of artist Iona Smith and 'Box creative' hairdresser Antonio. Part of a body of work SilverMawson are producing during Morphic Resonance that examines their relationship with their own creativity and other peoples, ideas of appropriation and copying. During this untitled performance Silver had her hair cut to replicate the style of Iona Smith's to a sound track of Charled Hartshorene's lecture 'Appearance, reality and mind'. Hypnotic and a little eery the performance captivated an audience reaching a capacity that just managed to fit within the limits of SilverMawson's current creative allotment in their Morphic resonance project space at PSL. Below are a couple of images which document the event...

Rachel Lancaster

My practice centers around taking numerous digital photographic 'stills' from film and television then translating these into drawings and paintings. Through the process of selection, cropping, and translation into another media these images become mysterious and ambiguous. I use this process as a means to investigate the seemingly unimportant, potentially overlooked, 'in-between' moments. When 'singled out' these moments still maintain a mysterious connection with 'the event', and the greater narrative.

I feel this process of using readily available, found imagery from the universal language of film and television, relates back to Sheldrakes' notions of the collective memory, shared communication of information.

In particular for the Morphic Resonance project I have been taking photographs from film/television loosely concerning nature. I have taken numerous photographs, playing around with different kinds of imagery and ways in which to present these. I have had several of the photographic 'stills' printed large scale(A0 size) in black and white, onto paper. I have been exploring which of these are the most interesting and which work well together. For the final exhibition I have decided I am going to show 3-4 photographs, probably in colour.

I have also been exploring ideas surrounding using found/sampled sounds from the television to make a piece of sound work for the exhibition, as yet this is still in the experimental stage. I have been playing with ideas around duration/manipulation.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Silver Mawson performance

Thursday 16 April, 7pm prompt start
Silver Mawson will be presenting an Untitled performance as part of Morphic Resonance.

No booking required / refreshments served / free on-street parking from 6.30pm

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Raft Extensions

A raft suggests emergency, peril and danger. A means of transport or escape, something that supports existence: prevents submergence into a figurative void or chasm. The raft presents an allegorical construct of survival, beating the odds, but only just and never certain. If it were a boat a sure footing reveals itself, one based on sea legs but still quite certain. Never as resolute as dry land but as close as one can get. The raft though is a desperate measure; one summoned in need. When all avenues are explored, and when no others present themselves the raft is called up.

This last chance nature of the raft does not by any means imply a crudeness. It is its vitality which has ensured its sophistication. A life raft for instance does not want to be left to chance. On the other hand though a raft can be an amateur undertaking, one fueled by scarcity and ingenuity. One stranded for instance cannot freely choose their materials or tools. But is this view of rafts romanticized? How many people build rafts these days? How many people get stranded?

What does the raft mean in terms of artists and artist led spaces? We have suggested that they are modeled in a similar ethic to rafts. They are self-made floatation devices, arguably for survival; or more precisely out of desperation or need. They are as such an emergency measure. Their lasting ability though, may differ them from the raft. Do they last though, or are they ultimately temporary with uncertain futures and even more questionable necessity.

In turbulent economic times what does the raft offer? While businesses go bust and development slowly comes to a halt in what way does our raft offer a means of escape?

Raft references

  • Huckleberry fin. A much more leisurely view of rafts
  • Inflatable boat
  • Stephen Baxter science fiction novel. Survival in the future away from Earth.
  • Biological rafts
  • Berthon Boat
  • Lifeboat (science fiction)
  • Thor Heyerdahl
  • William Willis


Following a day at PSL on Wednesday April 1st Penny Whitehead, Daniel Simpkins and ourselves No Fixed Abode began to discuss initial ideas. We all showed an interest in activating the waterways around the space for many reasons, perhaps most importantly though the area epitomises the modern, high-rise, luxury living by the water which is a common development strategy in almost every city that you go to, and ultimately, is the reason for a space like PSL coming about.

We have spoken about working together to extract some of the history around the waterways in the area and to examine the nuances of their demands upon the narrative of it. We aim to continue to redefine what our responsibility as artists is (or isn’t) within the area and within that narrative.

At the moment we are considering making a raft as part of our engagement. We not only like the physicality of constructing a raft but we feel it is something which would act as a tool for critique. We have a text below which is something that we wrote and got this idea underway. Its a loose allegorical account with the raft acting as a symbol of self-initiation.

These are our initial ideas and outlines from one afternoon in the space, let us know what you think.


The raft also offers allegorical reflections on the self-initiators. The raft is the buoyant platform of those with limited resource and funds. There are now best practice examples of how they are produced but this is only between those who have the means to be able to view the examles of others. For the rest, the design and the function is borne out of pure experimentation and necessity.

The raft is a self styled means of transport, and of communication and exchange. They can only be made from the reources and skills that are available, and must serve as many functions as are required for survival and be strong enough to withstand the terrain. The raft must be proportionate in scale to those that have invested into it, and will potentially use it at one time, whilst retaining enough space to transport cargo or more people that will need to to come on board for the benefit of all of those to whom it belongs. This cannot be emphasized enough. It is this extra space which encourages exchange, and it is this which serves the dual purpose of protection and replenishment.

When in motion, the oarsmen must propel the raft along the lines which they have been before as experience provides them with the knowledge that these offer the strongest chance of survival. The only exeption to this is if, at the point of reception and exchange, alternative routes are demonstrated. There are however, conditions to this. If this exchange is by word of mouth, the information posited must be trusted by concensus. If the exchange is through demonstration then more trust can be shown. However, if the demonstration is as a guest on anothers raft, then one must assess the structure of ones own raft in comparison. Maybe ones own raft can be customised, or maybe a combination of the two routes may offer the best result. Maybe increased knowledge and an exchange of resource might mean that a second raft could be engineered. Maybe it would simply be best to start again. This would be the decision of some of the most experienced oarsmen. Whatever the case ones raft must never sink as even a near death experience would hinder progress in the future.

All rafts which have lasted have a mast and a flag. The mast must be long enough so that the flag can be seen from afar but must not be so high that snags on low branches. It must be attached to the raft securely but not take up valuable space. The flag must not be white or be red. It must reference the identity of the oarsmen. It too must be large enough to be seen from afar but not to large so as to be a hinderance on progress.

When a raft is moored at the destination it must be harnessed securely enough so as to not drift away. It must be anchored closely enough for others to look at it and so as to allow others to board it and to be hosted. This proximity is particularly important when anchored alongside other rafts. It must be close enough to the other rafts to allow for others to traverse them all, but be be far enough apart so as to not become one indefinable mega-platform.

This particular raft has been made by the hands of a few. The platform is buoyed by 6 of the most ubiquitous of resource: the oil drum. The oil drums are cleaned out before use but can often be seen to leave traces of oil on the surface of the water. Tethered to these is the plaform, which is made of medium-density fibreboard. This is far from the best material for the job and requires regular filling, and is often replaced. It is however available in abundnace.

The mast is hugely disproporationate. As thin as an adults finger and standing 25 feet in the air. As the mast is so long, physics dictates that even the slightest of uneven waters causes the flag to be whipped eratically to and fro, giving the flag no chance of being decipherable. As the flag flies so highly and is subject to low branches, strong winds and aggressive jolting, it is regularly severed from the mast. However, this problem was overcome by securing it with gold chain. This was sacrificed by one of the oarsmen who received it as a token of an exchange with others. The flag will be held in place forever but sadly it is extremely disheveled.