I’ve got a plan for a new piece of work, but not the skills to realise it. As part of an a-n Re:View bursary I’m going to find the people who can help.


I’m talking about my installations at the Bluecoat on Saturday (tomorrow). I’ve not had much time to think about the work since it’s installation, the usual flow of peaks & troughs of exhibitions, workshops and commissions artist led events has been heavily on a workshop peak. The talk tomorrow comes as a good point to make me reflect on the work a little more, and having the re:view bursary behind me is also making me much more conscious of making the most of each exhibition, or commission in regards to my practice and what I want to achieve.

I’m planning on talking about how the subject of my work has developed from observations of micro population movement to macro population movement, use of public space, how I see my work as drawing even when I use digital, intervention or installation methods, about how my Shanghai residency influenced the work and how the re:view bursary is affecting my practice.

If you’re near Liverpool, come along, meet 2pm at the Bluecoat in the installations. It’s free.


It all worked.

So I think some thanks are in order.

Huge thanks are due to Alasdair Swenson, who developed the programme that makes the arrows move and interact. He’s setting up
www.irregulardesign.com to do more stuff like this. Working with alasdair has been part of my development on re:view, I’ll write a bit more about how that has had an impact on a later post when I’ve considered it more.

The technicians at the Bluecoat have been amazing, especially Cathal, who has solved all sorts of problems, found all manner of cables and connectors, acquired TVs from all around the Bluecoat for my installation and made it all look incredibly sleek and tidy.

Gareth Houghton worked with me to do the video editing, and that was a joy. Thanks also to all the people who helped me when I was flapping around looking for a mac and other equipment, your offers of assistance were amazing.

And thanks to Sara-Jayne Parsons, the curator at the Bluecoat, who has been so helpful in providing the space, facilities and guidance to get these two pieces of work to this stage.

Enough gushing for now, if this was the oscars they’d be playing the theme music… Time to counter the 2 week installation period by earning some money for the rest of this week – four different workshops with teenagers and an unsuspecting public lined up between now and Saturday.


It’s up!

It’s working*

There’s 4 hours until opening, so what better time to reflect than right now.

Since my last post, I’ve had a Skype conversation with Anne Cleary again (of art duo Cleary and Connolly). We chatted about technical issues – I wanted some insight into how they go about getting all the right kit that they need for their installations, not just now that they get commissioned for things, but in the past when they were starting out. It seems that the beg/borrow/loan approach is the way things get done in the beginning and as things progress budgets materialise and equipment gets accumulated.

We also talked about how the piece was going to work in the space, and about compromise. I’ve read Chantall Powell’s blog where her mentor had suggested that she shouldn’t compromise her ideas to realise the work, so I wondered if, when working with such technical constraints if compromise came up in the development of the work. Anne told me how she and Denis are from an architecture background, so they consider things in more of a design way. That by the end they should have something functional as well as an artwork. An interactive piece is no good if it doesn’t do what it intended after all.

I’m going to make a list of the compromises that I’ve had to make in the work, and what I would have to do to remedy them. I think most of them will be the technical challenges associated with installing in unusual spaces. A black box space would present fewer technical compromises, but I think would be a huge compromise in itself as I feel it is important that the work sits in a public space.

We also touched on the authorship question in our discussion, and I considered how design (architecture, graphic, film, game for example) is often done in teams. Why is it that artists, and I refer to only myself, find that a bit more difficult.

Anyway, those questions that can be considered further after the private view is over. It’s nearly glad-rags and wine o’clock.

*(At least at the time of writing it was. Most of the time it works, except on odd occasions when it feels in a mood and during thunderstorms when it gets confused between dark shadows and dark clouds)


Lots of help and questioning authorship.

Installation is in full swing. But it feels a bit different to my normal installations. I’m a hands on person, I’ve lots of experience of installing exhibitions, I’ve ‘tech’ed’ in the past for a few places. Often my installations are endurance, process-based production of work on site.

This isn’t. It’s a very technology-based install, which is different for me. There’s 2 ceiling mounted projectors, a camera, a lot of cabling, an imac (I’ve got one, long story), 6 flat screen tvs, and a media player. And I’ve got help. Lots of it from the lovely technicians at the Bluecoat who are so helpful and have SO much attention to detail. Then Alasdair who has done the programming of the software for me is arriving tomorrow – that’s something else that I’m hands off with. And for the video edit I worked with my friend Gareth who knows his way around after effects with his eyes closed.

So the questions rolling around in my head are about authorship, and the actual making of the work. I know that this is one way of making bigger things happen. Artists don’t always cast their own sculptures, or operate the camera in their own films, and they are still the author. This way of making something feels less comfortable than being in contact with something from start to finish as I would with a graphite drawing.

I also haven’t yet seen ‘the work’ as the work only really comes into being when it’s installed in the space with all the equipment – but that is probably the case when I’m making installations and interventions in the street, so maybe this isn’t as big a development as it feels.


I called this blog asking for help, and boy has that been true this week.

To run the interactive work at the exhibition at the Bluecoat I need a Mac. The Bluecoat don’t have a Mac, looked into getting one for me, but it’s beyond the budget that they have to help me realise the installation. The agreement from the start was that there was no production budget from them, but that they would provide from the equipment that they have access to and technician time to realise the installation – which is what they are doing. So when it has become clear at the end of this week that I needed to locate the Mac, I’ve taken the title of my blog to heart, and pretty much asked anyone I know who might have ever seen a Mac, if they have one going spare – you know, just lying around, not doing anything, as you do.

I’ve been heartened by the help that everyone has offered, and as it stands now I have a couple of potential leads that I’m hopeful at least one of them is going to work. So thank you to everyone who has helped out with suggestions, offers and advice, it’s been much appreciated.