Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Circular Surveillance

Digital video with sound taken at the Radar Museum, Norfolk during the collaborative project with Nicola Naismith, 'Touring Territories - East Anglian U.F.O' as part of Satellite, our artist group. Some of the shots were taken in the former cold war operations room, which would have been the right time for Operation Charlie in 1947. There are still lots of images and video shots that we have not had time to properly look through.  The museum was chock-full of interesting lights and twirly, rotating lumps of machinary. We do however, now have a free ticket for a return visit.


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Neon pattern postcard excess

I started by thinking about absence, demolition of buildings, disappeared architecture, which is one of the main impulses behind the Chahar bagh collages. In these images here , in real life,the structures are still standing of course (Damavand, Persepolis, different beautiful mosques) but there's an imagining of landscape with their loss.I've been playing with postcards and pattern and colour. A bit excessive, but I tend to try pushing pattern to the maximum and then pull back a little. Perhaps there is further still to go? 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I've finally got hold of a postcard of the fabulous tomb of Cyrus the Great, once set within what may be considered the first four-quartered garden or chahar bagh. I've sneaked some streaks of neon yellow onto the image, for a direct comparison with my sculpture, "The House is Black" from a couple of years ago.  The form of this was, of course, based on Cyrus' tomb.
the tomb is at Pasargadae.

A brief mention of the plan to build the Sivand Dam somewhere between Pasargadae and Persepolis - a somewhat controversial proposal due to the unreliability of the flood plain level and also the increased humidity levels that experts believe will accelerate the destruction of Pasargadae - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Fluorescent-ness and collage - a start

I've amassed a new pile of postcards for collage purposes and have just started to play around with their possibilities. I'm still interested in the immediacy of scissors/scalpel and glue and the almost crass butting together or butting against of the monumental architectural structures. However, the research I was doing  with Nicola Naismith last month into East Anglian UFO sightings has awakened an alarming 1980's fascination in all that is fluorescent.  (It all started in Rendlesham Forest, with the fluorescent spraypaint markings on the trees.) This perhaps should have been unsurprising to me given my long interest in neon light (and the inability to afford to use it much), but the fluorescent thing has taken me by surprise.  I suppose my being drawn to 'nasty' yellow hues over the last couple of years should have been a clue??
Anyway, I will be experimenting with the nasty yellows and nasty greens and nasty pinks for a while, predictably, about ten years or so after everyone else 're-discovered' them. These images show the first, modest appearance of fluorescent green in the postcard collages.
The images are top to bottom: 'Double Bridge' and 'Poet's Garden'.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Rendelsham Forest Traces Poster

As part of Satellite's Touring Territories Project for the Space Exchange exhibition at Aid & Abet, Nicola Naismith and I have produced this double-sided limited edition poster. It is in a pile at the gallery and free to take a copy away, until they're all gone. It's part of our East Anglian UFO Archive in Space Exchange. 
We journeyed on a day-tour around Suffolk, re-visiting Orford Ness, interviewing a witness to a UFO sighting  and  ending up in the woods. Stumbling around the dark interior of Rendlesham Forest is quite an enclosing, verging on claustrophobic, experience with rows of trees leading off in all directions. As we came out of the wooded area at twilight, with 5 minutes to spare before the gates were locked, we found the well-populated  and barbecue-smokey camp-site, which felt rather surreal.

Friday, 14 October 2011

RAF Neatishead Radar Museum

Whilst investigating Operation Charlie's 1947 sightings of unexplained lights or Ghost Planes across East Anglia, but tracked at different points by the radar at RAF Neatshead, I became somewhat transfixed by the flashing, pulsating lights and whirring, turning machines in the Radar Museum. Some good examples of aerial surveillance cameras as well as fascinating radar equipment.  I was reminded of Stephanie Douet's sculpture, entitled 'Radar' of course, commissioned for the Air Field show I curated in Norfolk. I 'm eager to return to the museum for an in-depth visit.

Photo credits: Top - Type 84 Radar at RAF Neatishead.  Once used to detect Soviet aircraft during the Cold War. 2011 Chris Morshead, RAF Air Defence Radar Museum.
Bottom - A Type 7 MK Radar at Bishops Court, Northern Ireland in 1972.  Spanning 1942-1989, the Type 7 was the longest-serving Air Defence Radar. RAF Defence Radar Museum.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Rendlesham Forest

I've been away from Cyrus' Garden for a while as I'm caught up in the Satellite Touring Territories project  with Nicola Naismith - the blog, putting the Satellite Portfolio together, researching the  East Anglian UFO sightings for the Royal Standard, Liverpool, sending in the research documents to Aid & Abet, putting our talk together for the gallery on the 22nd October,  designing our poster for distribution and so on.  The Satellite Portfolio is currently on show and for sale at Aid & Abet, Cambridge: http://aidandabet.co.uk

I'm enjoying using some of the research images we took in Rendlesham Forest (whilst investigating the 1980 sightings) and literally highlighting some of the fluorescent paint markings we spotted on some of the trees.  I've ordered some fly-posters of the trees - black and white and flimsy paper. Perhaps we can take some on our next Tour, investigating Operation Charlie.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Satellite Portfolio

As Satellite Nicola & I are putting together a portfolio of 4 or 5 editioned prints from several Satellite members, but chosen by Aid & Abet.  The logistics of putting together such a seemingly simple task are proving problematic, particularly finding the suitable continer for the prints given our teeny budget and the size of the print. We've gone through several options and rejected as many, and time is ticking away. The turn around time for the printing is only a few days.  Luckily, Nicola is giving a logical and organised perspective to the proceedings, so we will get the task done and it will look great.
These are two photographic prints I am considering, both East Anglian bunker-types.  The top is one of several interior shots that I plan to experiment with at a later date as light boxes.

Friday, 2 September 2011

A new Project Space

Another development in terms of collaboration, exchange and interactive practice will be the latest initiative from The Queen of Hungary, late gallery of St Benedicts Street, Norwich.  Out in the green wilds of Norfolk, well, in a field really, stands our soon to be Project Space, newly vacated by Presto Park model car circuit and in need of a touch of renovation.
Yes, I've started another group blog to document this development with Stephanie Douet and Chloe Mandy. It is going to be a lot of work, but I think if we can generate some rural Norfolk art buzz and provide a useful resource for artists round these parts, it will be worthwhile.

Busy with a project for Aid & Abet Gallery, Cambridge with an imminent deadline as part of our Satellite Collective. It's all about exchanging artist's spaces and exchanging ideas and dialogue. For Satellite, one of the interesting things is our lack of physical space but our borrowing of space and use of East Anglia as our cultural landscape. http://aidandabet.co.uk.  We've had a couple of trips to Cambridge for meetings and are now getting down to the busy bit.
I've started a group blog that between us will document the project and our plans and schemes developing from it.
The blog is on the a.n magazine website, http://www.a-n.co.uk/artists_talking/projects/single/1329759.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Flowers of fantasy

Pillement designs for fantasy flowers from Persia from a French perspective, from the 18th Century. They look as if they should grow in Cyrus' garden........

Docks & model yacht pond.

Two views of the model yacht pond on the dock area at St.Peter Port, one from the 1970's.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Monoliths, Militant? Modernist?

Also, revisited some of my favourite cranes at the docks. Still wondering how or if the cranes tie in with the fortifications in my practice - both can be m onoliths and dinosaur-like in the landscape I guess. I'm reading Owen Hatherley's Militant Modernism......

Guernsey Trip

A return trip to Castle Cornet, infact for a wedding, and a chance to see some of my favourite WW2 fortifications, built amongst the centuries old stones and battered by the sea. Anna, Maria and Frieda still resonate with the brasher WW2 American nose-art pictures of 'girls'.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Trouble with lace.

Went back to the studio and re-did all the lace pattern on the glass bunker for the sandblasting that I had done last time - it was just too small in scale and looked too much like a lace curtain as opposed to representing a lace curtain that did not look quite right. Tricky!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Graffiti where?

For the House-Bunker -  internal house within it - this is the original image from a Guernsey bunker that inspired much of the idea some years ago. However, I need further images of the writing and cannot remember where in Guernsey this particular fortification was.

Tomb- House-Bunker-Tomb

Because of constructing the Bunker-House-Bunker, thinking about house shapes and the The House is Black form taken from Cyrus' tomb.  This image is from an engraving from Flandin  and Coste's Voyages en Perse 1840-1842. 
And so it goes full-circle, to the tomb-like bunker of Paul Virillio's Standardised Valhalla and the camouflaged bunkers that had a dual potential of home and tomb.

Friday, 20 May 2011

A chain of defences

I've been collecting  some old postcards of Guernsey and a number feature Martello towers. The landscape on these two is quite populated with them and the chain-like siting formation is evident. They are almost like a 19th Century British version of the Atlantik Wall.  I think the Guernsey ones are mainly sturdy granite whereas the East coast ones are possibly brick and rendering, but both with pretty thick walls. The Bunker-like role of unseen observer surveying the landscape recurrs as does the intensifying effect of viewing the world through a narrow aperture or loop-hole. I like the romance of the idea that Martello is a corruption of Motella, so named because of the myrtle growing round about the tower in Corsica.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Cancelled the trip to the Forough and the garden lecture next week, due to a funeral. Here is a snippet of Forough to inspire.
Gloucester church graffiti, but no ships to keep St. Nicholas, Salthouse company.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Ceramic tank - a bit like the one in the junk shop in Bexhill-On-Sea

At last, I'm the proud owner of a Ceramic crested tank - a bit like the one spied in the junk shop in Bexhill-On-Sea in 1997 (?) whilst researching the installation for that show with Eddie at the De La Warr Pavilion that I can't remember the name of, the one where I cast Modernist, porthole type parts of the pavilion in white concrete and marble dust and wallpaper imprints (The Celebrated Violinist etc) but wanted to make a giant white and gilt ceramic-looking tank souvenir of Bexhill. Well, maybe I will.
I like the inverse image as it seems to make the tank - heavy by nature in reality - float.

The beginning of the sculpture after some eight years.

Framework for half of the glass camouflage-bunker sculpture in lovely powder-coated metal, nestled in the grass infont of the studio bunker, itself camouflaged by creping greenery. The title still evades me - 'Safe as Houses' seems too obtuse.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Interesting Persian ceramic houses

An interesting lecture at the V& A today by Margaret S. Graves on Persian Medieval ceramic house models.  Connections to my  exploration of houses, ceramic, wax or sugar. If the houses were indeed made as Norouz gifts, then there might have been similar garden models, trees or perhaps even garden pavilions.

I unfortunately failed to find any  of the examples on display in the ceramic department or searching the catalogue, but ran out of time looking.


Friday, 11 March 2011

Disembarking and cranes at St Peter Port some years ago. Grandpa at his place of work.

Braye Beach Monolith

A might-have-been view of the beach I stayed by in Alderney with a monolithic observation post or direction finding tower looking like a beached ship. Both postcards bought in St.Annes but separated by about 48 years, postage on one tuppence ha'penny. In fact, there seem to be so many fortifications from different eras on the island that this view is not beyond the realms of possibility. Interestingly, the tower is keeping watch inland, over events in the island rather than out to sea for potential attacks.
I'm wondering about calling this "Run Aground".

Friday, 4 March 2011

The bunker next door.

There must be some artistic use I can put this bunker to, right next door to my studio and with a green hat of ivy growing out of the middle. From the far side it is convincingly camouflaged and quite hidden from the air I should think.

The process of mapping the book.

Started a couple of experimental mock-ups for the artists' book - paradise and death the central concerns as usual. Hopefully the format will level the hierarchy of themes distilled by the blog. One big scrap-book with scissors, glue and a pile of paper for the cat to sit on. Also began playing around with a digital version - scrap-book stills on screen. Lots more work needed, but I hope the dual processes will inform each other.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Satellite studio visit

Studio mind-map 2009, still of relevance. Not shown is map on the cupboard door, and on the front door.  Use of yesterday's mind-map or interest-map as a possible template for the artists' book that will be produced. Thoughts of an Encyclopaedia-type structure.

In the Vale

Jumped out of the car half way between where (Great great) Auntie Min is buried and the power station that stands where her house used to be. The drone of the Spitfire engines that used to be sited at the power station still throbbing through my chest and deafening my ears. This house-bunker-house, camouflaged and now perhaps a lived-in-for-real home.

Persian textile pattern detail on House.