Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: Alex Pearl
The following diary excerpts, emails, texts and transcripts will record my extraordinary experiences as I prepare some sort of work for the next Whitstable Biennale in 2010. At the point of writing I have very little idea of what I will do. All the records are exactly contemporary and given from the standpoint and within the range of knowledge of those who gave them.
# 172 [21 June 2010]
The Pearl Fisher is complete. The last ten posts which include a description of my experiences at the Whitstable Biennale (apart from one which mysteriously disappeared) are available now at http://thepearlfisher.blogspot.com
A complete transcript with some bonus material will soon be published in novella form. (well, within a year)
Thanks for reading and a special thanks for everyone who put up with my exagerations slurs and downright lies.
# 171 [17 June 2010]
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
"Baudelaire did not come to Brussels until 1864, when he was already ruined, financially and physically. He was miserably poor. His work had failed to gain proper recognition... His publisher had gone bankrupt. He was slowly dying of syphilis." Christopher Isherwood, September, 1946
I have just finished reading "My Heart Laid Bare" Baudelaire's writings during his, seemingly miserable stay in Brussels. He reveals himself somewhat as a nineteenth century Jeremy Clarkson perhaps with a dash of Sean Connery thrown in. Quite often he admonishes himself for lack of work. It is in the throes of this sentiment that I feel more kinship with the man (rather than the women thrashing and Belgian hating). I really must apply myself more diligently. More than four films lie half done on camera or computer. Hundreds of little gold dying spacemen are yet to appear, and in truth may never appear. I am also as yet (still?) undecided what to show in Southend and I am barely beginning to think about my forthcoming residency in August. I fear I will not attain the crypt before sunset! Or is it sunrise? It all depends on one's perspective.
# 170 [17 June 2010]
Back in Ipswich and the everyday toil of work. Chance to go through my emails and specifically to deal with a request from the redoubtable Mr Bracey who had sent me the following message clearly typed in haste.
hope all is well and Wynstable is all going well.
just thought i would say that i am really pleased you are all booked in for august, i am gettign really excited about you coming.
I was also wondering if you were planning on keeping one of your famous blogs when you are up. I ahve jsut had a meeting with AND festival adn they are keen on there being some form of 'viral' type things that lead up to the festival adn i thought of your blogs without mentioning it at the meeting of course!).
also i am not sure if you know but we have a definte title for the show it is now
UnSpooling - artists &cinema
I had, only a day before, been speaking to my companion of my desire to never write another blog again. I replied in the affirmative suggesting the title "Never Say Never Again"
# 169 [17 June 2010]
Lying in my bath, my companion washing my hair. I thought I would like to write something about having a thought at that moment, a sort of eureka. I thought it could form some sort of moment of realisation such as when Van Helsing's eyes fall on the closed curtains in Castle Dracula. However, lying in my bath, I soon realised I would not have such a thought and without the thought there was not much point in writing about the moment.
# 168 [17 June 2010]
A few days ago I was delighted to find this (below) in my inbox. Actually what I found was a jumble of images and words which I have painstakingly restored to what I hope was it's original state.
You are invited to attend the opening of the 5TH WHITSTABLE BIENNALE 2010
The 5th Whitstable Biennale will open on Saturday 19 June 2010 on Whitstable's main beach at 12 noon. The Biennale has commissioned major new works, all of which explore different aspects of performance and film. For two weeks the seaside town of Whitstable will be transformed into a centre for contemporary art.
See the Whitstable Biennale 2010 calendar online for the main festival programme.
Special performances and talks on Saturday June 19 2010:
Main launch on the beach, with Whitstable Brewery Ale, at the Biennale HQ next to the Royal Native Oyster Stores, Horsebridge Rd CT5 1BU.
UR-NOW: The Ruins of the Contemporary
Talk at the Sea Cadets Hall by Brian Dillon with some of the
artists from the film programme he has curated for this year's festival
67 Made in Heaven
Luciennne Cole choreographs a performance at the Oxford Bingo Hall
Social History and Telling Tales
Karen Mirza & Ruth Beale host a screening of vintage films with local historian and collector Tony Blake at the Sea Cadets Hall
Whitstable Biennale full programme details : http://whitstablebiennale.com
# 167 [14 June 2010]
"The Antwerp Papers" 13 posts including nocturnal visitors and ladies with pointy teeth now available at http://thepearlfisher.blogspot.com
# 166 [9 June 2010]
Tuesday, 8 June 2010Email received late Monday evening:
We will need DVD's of your work. At the moment we only have a Showreel which was great for showing to the British Legion but we need:
Caller (sic) on two DVD's, one of the Caller and one of the players, so we show it on two monitors from two DVD players
Ghost, the three pieces shown from 1 DVD consecutively
All three looped and in DVD PAL format"
Happily I was well prepared for this eventuallity and had only to package the DVDs in protective wrapping ready for the following day's post. The communication arrived while we were watching "Charade" a film I had seen previously but, like so many things, could not quite remember how it went. As such the experience was one of repeated mild revelations as twists came to me just before they were revlealed. As the title suggests there was a deal of pretence in the film, storytelling which the slightly blank Miss Hepburn always fell for. I most enjoyed the settings. The opening scene: a ski resort with snowy mountains (sometimes projected), Hepburn dressed head to toe in black masked with huge sunglasses seated in front of reflecting glass only partially concealing swimsuited blondes behind. The empty apartment: stripped by our heroine's now dead husband. The rooftop: site of the struggle with the claw handed man. It's giant lit sign smashed in the fight. Cary Grant's tiny office where all is revealed, a proposal is made and love declared in four parts.
# 165 [7 June 2010]
Monday, 7 June 2010
The storm has arrived all is grey blue. A thunderous cannonade sounds above. Some minutes ago I discovered a message from Sue Jones in my work email. I have transcribed a part of it below:
"We have had to change our plans with the Royal British Legion, due to
the extremely complicated licensing laws. We will only be able to show
the work on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 June. We could move the work -
but my view is that there isn't a suitably place and we'd end up
compromising the work by moving it around. I think the short showing
will work fine in the context of the Biennale, where works are anyway
shown for very different length of time."
"Call" has fast become my favourite piece made for Whitstable and while I agree it would be silly to turn it into an itinerant beggar, I am sad that it shall be so fleeting in it's appearance. Although maybe it is somehow in keeping with the sublunary nature of much of my work.
# 164 [7 June 2010]
Sunday, 6 June 2010
The weather is closing in. Dark thunder clouds propelled by a sudden evil wind have darkened the sky over Ipswich. My companion is huddled nervously next to me fearful in the expectation lightning. Earlier she kindly acted as my portrait photographer. A profile shot was needed in order that I might match my sideburns with Mr Cushing's. I selected the Van Helsing incarnation from "Dracula 1972 AD" a crazy film which somehow struck a chord. My image looked so pale and bloated in comparison to the eminent actor I was forced to consider some exercise and to do some editing before it could be published here.
I marked up the position of Van Helsing's sideburns, noting as best I could their length width and angle. Then I superimposed my own image and marked the corresponding measurements on my face. Finally I removed Van Helsing to reveal my pasty visage.
I have just received a message from Miss Phillimore, the designers are happy with my resizing efforts, all is well.
# 163 [7 June 2010]
Saturday, 5 June 2010
Wracked with guilt I have written an apology to Miss Phillimore.
"Dear Miss Phillimore
I am writing to apologise for my somewhat grumpy reply earlier. My only excuse, and it is a poor one, is that I am suffering from a rare form of dysentery at the moment with concomitant sleeplessness. If the new image is no good I can borrow a friend's camera tonight and fake something suitable.
Mr Pearl esq"
As I was transcribing the above email a seagull cruised sharklike past the window. We are at such a height here as to be level with that bird's most common flightpath. It is disconcerting to be eye to yellow eye with such a beast.
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