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Alex Pearl is not in the Antarctic

By: Alex Pearl

A blog detailing my time not spent in the Antarctic.

www.alexpearl.co.uk

http://notantarctic.blogspot.com/

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Alex Pearl, 'Pteromechanophobia', collage, 2009.

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Alex Pearl, 'Pteromechanophobia', collage, 2009.

# 29 [13 August 2008]

I've been visiting artists in their studios. It is really interesting seeing how other people live and work. It's nice to see that they are scatty or uncertain or amusingly neurotic. In both cases we have been discussing putting together some sort of show. Things seem very vague at the moment which I think I shouldn't admit I find a little unnerving. I've always been given the impression that artists are supposed to thrive on organic situations and I do try to pretend that I have appropriate levels of artistic nonchalance.

Anyway yesterday I spent some time in a converted shed playing and passing ideas around, it was a slightly awkward situation as we were trying to find new ways of working together while doggedly (too doggedly?) hanging on to what we do. I did manage to find a use for some pictures of aeroplanes that have been kicking around for a while.

Today I visited an artist who lives just down the road in an unconverted Victorian school house. She is trying to pull together a show based around personal and local history and I think wants me to be involved somehow. I'm afraid I just listened and didn't spit out lots of ideas, but secretly I thought it was really exciting. Hopefully it will develop into something.

Alex Pearl, 'Angel Cottage Protest', video, 2008.

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Alex Pearl, 'Angel Cottage Protest', video, 2008.

# 28 [11 August 2008]

I need an entourage. There's nothing worse than doing your third solo lap of an exhibition clutching your drink with increasing desperation. Usually looking round a group show its interesting to see how the works vie for attention. In the show at Studio Voltaire all the works were rather quiet, reticent even. I really enjoyed Coleman and Hogarth's rebus like video projection and a spooky portrait by Elisabeth Lecourt. 

Back in my tiny hotel room I sheltered under the leaning wardrobe and watched the Olympic opening ceremony while reviewing the footage from my morning's filming outside a pub in Stratford.

Alex Pearl, 'Alex is not in the Antarctic (Stargazer)', laser print, 2008.

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Alex Pearl, 'Alex is not in the Antarctic (Stargazer)', laser print, 2008.

# 27 [7 August 2008]

I am journeying again tomorrow. I'm going to the private view at Studio Voltaire and on the way I will try to make a protest film in Stratford. Yet again I managed to find a cheap hotel in Clapham and yet again I didn't think to check the reviews until I had booked it online. Every time I check a new complaint has gone up, and I keep going back. It's like the lure of a grisly corpse.  The latest reads

Stay away, stay away, stay away!!!!!!

I got a single room and it was disgusting. I might as well of slept outside on a park bench or in nearby Tesco's car park. The duvet was dirty and had holes in it. The bathroom (I am not sure I would call it a bathroom, and the washbasin (what washbasin?!) were pretty vile. The woodwork was rotten and in desperate need of replacing. The TV did not work as the aerial was broken.

 

I can't cancel it now but you never know it could be ok and if I drink enough at the pv I  probably won't notice. I also got an email from Joe at Studio Voltaire asking me to burn a new dvd for the opening as the selectors had forgotten to bring it with them. I'm all ready to go now bag packed, map marked, escape planned.

Alex Pearl, 'Alex is not in the Antarctic', comic strip, 2008. I'm still trying these out

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Alex Pearl, 'Alex is not in the Antarctic', comic strip, 2008. I'm still trying these out

Alex Pearl, 'Alex is not in the Antarctic', comic strip, 2008.

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Alex Pearl, 'Alex is not in the Antarctic', comic strip, 2008.

Alex Pearl, 'Alex is not in the Antarctic', comic strip, 2008.

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Alex Pearl, 'Alex is not in the Antarctic', comic strip, 2008.

# 26 [5 August 2008]

More adventures in Leicester

On the platform in Leicester I was sat next to a young woman. We were both watching a wasp about to fly up her skirt. I was seized by a sudden urge to slap at it with my notebook. An act which would surely have lead to a sting and my arrest.

Conversation with a toddler before he was told to face forward by his mum:

Hiya
Hiya
Hiya
...
Hiya
...
Hiya
...
Hiya

Alex Pearl, 'Automatic Film Still', C-Type Print, 2008. Alongside three videos I also decided to show this little print - it looked very lonely.

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Alex Pearl, 'Automatic Film Still', C-Type Print, 2008. Alongside three videos I also decided to show this little print - it looked very lonely.

# 25 [2 August 2008]

I'm traveling back from Leicester where I've just set up a show in the Phoenix Arts Center. I say set up actually it just involved taking Rachel Cattle's dvds out, taking down her drawings and and bunging my stuff up, to be honest Eric did most of it. I decided to show three of the automatic films and one small print of a still.

The journey up was characterised by the first break in the weather. Rain clouds were gathering. As usual I managed to seat myself next to the toilet so my thoughts were constantly interrupted by the fumblings of incontinent passengers. At least this was an old fashioned toilet with a mechanical lock. I'm frequently an unwilling audience to the difficulties people have with the electronic versions whose sliding door threatens to sweep open leaving its occupant in flagrante. Seeing the problems this system causes have made me think of becoming a sort of convenience bell-hop (in cap) pressing the "open", "close" and "lock" buttons in the right order. Despite the time these trips allow me to think I am getting bored with the views from trains. I am always seeing the backs of things as if the world is facing the other way. The journey is punctuated by the same experience of  back yards and back gardens which I glimpse unsatisfactorily like a peeping tom in hell. I seem like I'm in a bad mood, I'm  not and my city break has gone well, I have been described as the Mike Leigh of automata film making (a narrow field I admit).

We've just gone through Melton Mowbray a place with almost mythic status for me. A few years ago I decided to cycle from my home near Ipswich up to my parent's home near Manchester. I decided to do it in a day and on the hottest day of the year. Melton Mowbray was the place I nearly gave up suffering from dehydration/heat stroke. But after a little rest in the park and several litres of water I made what felt like one of the most important decisions of my life, got back on my bike and carried on. I made it, but did have to soak my shorts off in the bath and had nasty sunburn on my eyelids.

"Alex Pearl is not in the Antarctic" cards about to be posted

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"Alex Pearl is not in the Antarctic" cards about to be posted

# 24 [30 July 2008]

The "not in the antarctic" cards have continued to go out. I've been getting random addresses from the Post Office website by typing in words associated with the antarctic, penguin, snow etc. The search engine is a bit intuitive so it tends to come up with some totally unrelated addresses, but that's ok. I suppose that most of them will go directly into the recycling but I am keeping an eye on my website stats to see if there are any hits from Blackburn or Pontefract (among  others). Emails have been whizzing back and forth about going to San Francisco next year. Ian and I have discussed: PAL and NTSC (I have no clue); the best way to display my work (I am vague); the joys of panel discussions (fear and ridicule); and whether I will be dragged off to Guantanamo if I try to enter the US with a load of spy cameras, remote controllers/receivers and other electronic devices.

In my spare time I'm doing a bit more writing. I'm going through all the technological devices I own and spinning stories off them in the hope that something interesting might turn up.

Alex Pearl, 'Found Film', dvd, 2007. A never before seen bit of video of a Christmas display in Ipswich

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Alex Pearl, 'Found Film', dvd, 2007. A never before seen bit of video of a Christmas display in Ipswich

# 23 [28 July 2008]

I had to drive to Bury st Edmunds today to return some tvs to the gallery. When I got out of the car I had sweated so much it looked like I had wet my pants. I had to mince into the gallery carrying said tvs and simultaneously try not to turn my back on anyone. Alison and Craig were setting up the next show The Beguiling which opens tomorrow. There were lots of interesting things some hung, some half unpacked from crates. I left with the image of Alison's arm poking through a hole in the gallery ceiling 25 feet above me.

At home I am just sitting around still trying to think of ideas to do with "The failures of the ‘human condition’ VS the computer/digital" - bloody title, I might do something about sweating and preferring my online life to my real one.

I am reading Michael Bracewell's St Rachel, its strange how a book picked more or less at random seems so appropriate. 

Alex Pearl, 'Picture of the Day', tracing, 2008.

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Alex Pearl, 'Picture of the Day', tracing, 2008.

# 22 [26 July 2008]

This is getting silly I got a call from the Surface gallery in Nottingham. Apparently I submitted work to them for another show in August. It opens on the fourth. I am beginning to feel like an early in vitro subject about to give birth to sextuplets. I've also been reading back through my blog entries. I've realised that I keep repeating myself and the blog has become extremely disjointed. I wasn't reading them for narcissistic reasons rather I was thinking of using some of the entries for the "Coping with things that aren't human" publication (deadline mid November) but now I'm not so sure. 

Alex Pearl, 'Stargazer', dvd, 2008.

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Alex Pearl, 'Stargazer', dvd, 2008.

# 21 [24 July 2008]

I've been contemplating failure. My attempts to come up with a great idea for Refutation (the pdf magazine) have been so hopeless that I'm seriously wondering if a blank page would go down well. Now I've said that anything else will seem like a cop out.

I did make another Stargazer film by going bonkers stabbing holes in 16mm film and then pointing a camera into the lens of the projector. I suppose that these films do mark a failure of sorts as they fall well short of the view from my back garden.

Anyway I have other things to worry about now. It looks like "Trying to cope with things that aren't human (part one)" is to go ahead and I'm going to be shipped to San Francisco in January to make an Automatic film or two. Ian wants me to write something for the publication too. Given my terror of adventure it shouldn't be too difficult to find material. 

This is the demolished house in Stratford that I will be making a clockwork protest about. It will be screened on the 27th of September at the Railway Tavern Pub in Stratford, no doubt this will clash with the launch of Refutation.

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This is the demolished house in Stratford that I will be making a clockwork protest about. It will be screened on the 27th of September at the Railway Tavern Pub in Stratford, no doubt this will clash with the launch of Refutation.

# 20 [21 July 2008]

I had a day off yesterday and went to visit a couple of friends who are holidaying nearby. We went for short walks, ate and drank well and talked about shows and stuff. They are starting a residency at Wysing Arts early next year and will be taking a new baby and 3 year old with them (and I get stressed when I have two small shows in the same month). When I got home I'd had a very enthusiastic email from some young artists setting up a new online art mag called Refutation. They want to commission me to make some new work for the first issue in response to the statement { The failures of the ‘human condition’ VS the computer/digital } The deadline is mid September and as usual I haven't a clue what to do, or even what the statement means. But despite being wildly cynical, I haven't got where I am today by saying no to anything. 

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Alex Pearl

I make things and then video them before they fall apart. My work deals with chance and the things in life I can’t control.

www.alexpearl.co.uk