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Taking a trip to Birmingham today has got me wanting to write, although as usual lacking in time.

A new set of shows opened at the Ikon, Ikon Eastside, Eastside Projects and Vivid just last weekend. The highlights of the trip for me were Jamie Shovlin’s ‘Hiker Meat’ at Grand Union and AVPD’s ‘Hitchcock Hallway’ at Ikon Eastside. Also over at Ikon the unusual video work tucked away in the tower, ‘Nail Biter’ by Anthony Goicolea is well worth nipping through Donal Judd’s exhibition to get to.

Jamie Shovlin’s exhibition ‘Hiker Meat’, takes as its jumping off point 1970s and 80s horror films, a subject I’m very fond of. The 60 mis-matched monitors playing clips from films of this era, which when watched in order apparently build up a rough idea of what the film ‘Hiker Meat’ would be, are central and overwhelming in the room.

‘Hiker Meat’ is not yet a film. It is at present an unrealised screen play but has a full score, is at the stage of casting but also of research. There is a full poster and it can be watched through a collage of film clips but as the exhibition opens has not had a scene filmed. Evidence of Shovlin’s research and responses surrounds the central monitor installation, the horror film dissected into its component parts. The project, as I am pleased the press release makes clear, is at once a deconstruction and a homage to the horror films of this era.

On Saturday I’m heading to Manchester to see among other exhibitions and screenings, ‘Unspooling- Artists Cinema’ curated by Andrew Bracey and David Griffiths. Depending on how I find the exhibition, it could potentially link back to ‘Hiker Meat’ and the following work as i try to examine the curation of film and video.

‘Hitchcock Hallway’ in experience runs in a similar vein to Mike Nelson’s ‘Coral Reef’, which I mentioned in an earlier post. The audience enters a small confined space, only to be confronted with the same small space, again and again and again. The same blue carpet, white walls, gloss white door and silver handle in repetition extended over a longer period that might be initially expected. While Mike Nelson has set up an extended narrative through his numerous and repeating interiors, in which characters feel absent and artefacts are weighted with information, the collaboration behind AVPD have created a minimal but increasingly tense situation, in which I felt caught and compelled into action.

Part of me wonders if this is really the place to be writing in so much detail about exhibitions. For some reason a small white block with a limited amount of space seems to contain a lot more freedom for me to express opinion than a daunting blank word document. Its probably because of the speed at which a post can be produced, skimmed and then sent. There’s no feeling that this is going to be examined in detail and flaws underlined.

I now know my tutor: Craig Fisher, my weekly meeting time and my first two deadlines. Sometimes knowledge can fail to make you feel empowered. My first critical review deadline is much earlier than I had hoped and my statement of intent, which has laid dormant in a folder for the last few weeks, really needs a lot of work before the 12th.

Off to work now. Really need to carve out some space for thinking. Doesn’t seem to happen when I’m within the studios. Thinking about what AVPD say, ‘the human being is a spatial animal unconciously affected by the fundamental laws that define our everyday lives’. I can’t help but feel that as my environment is key to my productivity I would much prefer to be in the relative quiet of a busy office than the sprawling open plan studios.