Go-Go (for Enköping) is up and running! It has been a really good experience from my initial and very casual chat with Lovisa through to cycling by it this morning on my way to and from the gym.

The ‘opening’ on Sunday evening was fun and I spoke about the piece for probably five minutes or so in Swedish and without a script – whether what I said was understood or not is another question. When I think about how sweaty I used to get before speaking at those first Swedish evening classes in London I amazed at what I do now without a second thought.

During the week of preparations and installation it struck me just how appropriate Go-Go is for its specific location in Enköping. The piece was conceived and presented as site-specific for the m2 Gallery (London) in 2009. At that time I was one month into my three month residency at Wip:sthlm and returned to install that piece and several other works at the gallery and private house for Open House London. I had no idea that two years later I would be moving to Sweden, and no idea that seven years later I would be living in Enköping. And yet the work seems perfectly at home here not least in direct references to the history and architecture of the site. It is almost as though the work was made as a premonition of what would come to be …

I paused here to have lunch. The county radio station’s news roundup had a feature about the new cultural policy that is going to be introduced in Enköping next year (providing that there are no last minute hitches). I thought that I would have a look online to see if I had understood the report correctly, my search turned up an article in the local newspaper ….

Go-Go and ‘Joar’s art window’ are sited as examples of how the council are already making culture more accessible ahead of the ten year programme. So it looks as though my art and my initiative – made real in collaboration with the Arts Development Team – are perfectly well placed socio-politically too!

It seems a little too perfect, the timing of all of this is uncanny. From my own perspective I can see the sequence of events and coincidences that led to this, but it is still a little spooky that it has all happened. I think that I will make a flow-chart (best as I can) as I want to remember this! I want to remember that the ways things happen is a curious blend of effort, chance, fun, daring, professionalism, chat, focus but perhaps mostly the result of being open – open to new ideas, open to new people, open re-imagining oneself and one’s work, open to suggesting things that do not seem to make sense at the time, open to letting things unfold and grow.

The soil in this part of the county is known to be particularly fertile (due to vast areas previously being sea and river beds, and therefore very mineral rich). It is certainly proving to be very fertile land for me too.


There are times when there is so much going on that it is tricky to maintain any kind of distance – this is one of those time. It is great that so many things are happening but I am aware that there is little if any time for the reflection and consideration that I like to give ideas, plans, and processes.

On Saturday we had the first group meeting about establishing a collective studio here in town. It was a good meeting and I was delighted at how enthusiastic and energetic everyone was. We were four artists and one dancer and our requirements were quite different however everyone was excited by the idea of working together towards a place where we not only had studios but could also run workshops and course, collaborate with other artists and groups, have temporary exhibitions, sell pieces, and generally be engaged with both the local community and the wider (international?!) artistic community.

Yesterday I sent off my application for an artist’s award. Each year the county makes a number of awards across the art forms including visual art, music, film, dance, literature, even theory and art history. It was a good exercise to get me thinking about why I should receive such a grant, and how I would use it to develop my own work. There did not appear to be any restrictions on how one can use the grant, it seems that the most important thing was to present ten images with a clear and simple description of what I do. Reading thorough the summaries of previous years’ recipients it was interesting, and reassuring, to see that most used the ward to ‘simply’ continue with their practice, and that seeking a grant to do that was enough. There was no need to propose a project, nor to submit a budget or time plan. It is as if the people making the award understand that artists sometimes simply need financial support. As simple as that! The simplicity of the form implicitly stated that there are things (the arts) that are essential and that should be supported without having to seek justification in terms of things that do not necessarily belong to the arts: providing entertainment, tacking social problems, engaging new audiences, or increasing tourism. I hope that my application demonstrates the artistic qualities of my work -those qualities that are hard to express in words since I am not a wordsmith. Even if I am not successful I am pleased that by submission will be judged on its visual and aesthetic merits rather than anything else. I have argued elsewhere about the shift from artists being asked for images of their work and a supporting statement, to being asked for a project proposal and supporting visual material. To me the former is far more appropriate than the later. I wrote my supporting statement in Swedish and had it proofread by a friend, I am delighted to say that there was not too much red ink required! It was the first time that I tried to write in Swedish from the outset – rather than thinking about a sentence in English and then attempting to translate it. A somewhat surprising, and potentially very useful, result of this was that I was forced to keep it simple and straightforward. I simply cannot construct convoluted sentences in Swedish in the way that I can in English – I am not even sure that Swedes can, as the language works in a very different way.



In the light of both the EU referendum in the UK and the US election a friend sent out a link to an article about how mankind has survived previous times when it seems that we also hit the self-destruct button. In the pre-amble the academic author made a remark about the requirements for something to be considered research. Reading that sentence was something of a eureka moment for me – it encapsulated precisely the difficulty that I have with the concept artistic research – or perhaps more accurately the difficulty that I have pairing artistic and research practices:

Taking one telling of events as gospel doesn’t wash in the comparative analytical method of research that forms the core of British academia.

There it is in black and white! I have been schooled in the UK and am therefore predisposed to thinking of research in “comparative analytical” terms. Art is of course “one telling of events” and that is what I want it to be – when I look at an artwork I want to, I hope to, have something of that artist’s experience conveyed to me. Of course I see that artist in the context of their era, their culture, their world, but I want to see their singular telling of events. It is always personal with art, be it Caravaggio, Van Gogh, or Felix Gonzales-Torres.

I feel validated in my resistance to art being judged against criteria used in other research disciplines. And I feel strengthened in my determination to widen the understanding of what constitutes research.




The version of Go-Go that will be in Enköping is different to the original installation for the M2 Gallery. There is neither the time nor resources to make an alternator that would enable the piece to run on solar power here, nor is the time of year ideal for that. The relation between charging during the day and discharging during the night was a strong component in original concept. Go-Go Enköping focuses much more on the visual impact of the piece and the capacity that it has for animating the dormant local environment. I think that it is fine that this new versions is adapted to suit the particular requirements of the location. Is this me being pragmatic? I am reminded (once more) of sage advice given to me by a tutor at the Slade – ‘don’t get it right, get it done.’



Only very occasionally have I had to think about what a piece of my work might be worth – usually for insurance values, rarely for setting a price. However a question about how much Go-Go would cost if I were to sell it has raised some very interesting questions for me. The first question is what I am actually selling? By that I mean is the artwork the physical objects that make up the installation – the mirror balls, glitter, and spotlights, or is the artwork the concept – it being in a window, it coming on at dusk, it splattering light across adjacent and local surfaces, it inviting interaction.

I wondered if it is just a question of ‘marking up and selling on’ all the bits that anyone would need to make the piece. If I put them in a nice box and made an edition of three then they could almost be a type of ‘kit’. But there would be nothing in the kit that could not be bought elsewhere, and it feels more than a little egotistic and cynical to add value just because things have passed through my hands.

My mind then began to consider how it might be to sell the Go-Go concept rather than the Go-Go object. That way there would be the opportunity for it to be purchased and to be in a collection, and at the same time I could continue to show it elsewhere using identical components sourced locally. Obviously if the ‘concept’ were bought then any versions installed elsewhere would have to clearly state that the piece belongs to a collection.

The complexities and possibilities of selling a concept, or a type of contract, rather than the physical materials (though there might well be a ‘kit’ included with the concept) lead me to think about how an institutions owns one of Felix Gonzales-Torres’ stack give aways or candy spill pieces. I have read enough about his work (which I adore) to know that the institution or collector buys some kind of contract. I would love to see one of these contracts and to better understand how it works.

I wonder if there are any Swedish artists who work in a similar way -it would be great to be able to speak with them. Or perhaps speak with a museum or commercial gallery about it.


In the midst of finalising my grant application, rescheduling a meeting because a journalist friend was attacked while photographing a neo-Nazi rally (she’s okay but badly shaken), and replying to facebook messages about the next studio meeting two large parcels arrived.  40kg of glitter from the wonderful Flint’s in south London – a lot of black for Go-Go, and a fair amount of blue for making new work ….



On Tuesday I met Klas for lunch to discuss a possible studio that he has found. We met at the vegetarian, organic, local produce cafe here in town – I was surprised and pleased to meet some people from the gym there also enjoying their ‘buffet lunch’, it has been quite a while since I lived somewhere where I just bump into people to pass the time of day with. As the studio is not really part of Klas’ work for the council a chat over lunch was a good way to get together. It was great to hear a little more about the potential studio, and to hear more about Klas’ own work!

The studio, which I cycled out to last Sunday, would be part of the first floor of a barn that is a couple of kilometers out of town. And although I could only see the exterior of the building it certainly is a good size and not too far away. The owner has said that he will insulate 50 square meters and that we could have a simple short-term contract. It is not quite what I imagined as a studio but it could work. After speaking with Klas and looking at his website again I think it could be very good, and inspiring, for me to share with him!


We also spoke about some other seemingly vacant properties in town – nearer to the station than the waterfront. In the light of possibly taking on one of these larger spaces I put out an announcement on a general Enköping facebook group to see if there were others who might like to get involved. So far I have had eight people express positive interest which is great. A larger studio premises would probably take longer to arrange but in the long run it could be more sustainable and potentially more significant in terms of establishing a collective studio here.

The almost tangible prospect of having a proper studio again is very exciting. And by ‘proper’ I mean somewhere outside of my own apartment. I am not going to analyse why I find it so hard to make art at home, I am just going to accept that it does not work for me. Part of my excitement is also the anticipation of having a proper bedroom – the living room more than adequately accommodates my bed but it will be so much nicer to have more defined rooms – systems and structures!

It really seems as though I moved to Enköping at just the right time: not only is it fantastic that Klas (another recent resident) is here, but the whole arts department is working on a new long-term cultural policy and they have re-introduced a couple of (modest) arts grants that were cut by the previous centre-right council. I am going to apply for two grants: one for my own practice, and one for a pilot ‘community project’. I think that I stand a better chance with the project application as I think that I might be seen as too established/professional for the individual award which, reading between the lines, seems to favour young/new artists. Though I would argue that I am still an ’emerging artist’ (is that expression still used, or does it date me?).

After a day in town, or rather the city, I am feeling inspired to get on with making things – things that I have already begun to dream of, and some new things inspired by visiting the Royal Armoury museum and the opening night of a fashion design retrospective. I found/find myself having an internal discussion about these new ideas, or perhaps ‘internal argument’ is a more fitting description! Over lunch with Klas we spoke about making and intuition, about how an artists’ role is to make without necessarily being too concerned with the meaning of a piece – or rather to allow the meaning to come though the making. Our conversation touched on many of my concerns about the imperative for artists to be researchers – to be consciously seeking solutions, resolutions, to be too knowing in and of their practice*. And yet as these wonderful new ideas and images swirl and fill my mind I find myself wondering what they mean and how they sit with my previous work, how they fit with my own understanding of what my practice is concerned with, and how other people will read them. I find myself virtually censoring my ideas, dismissing them or trying to corral them into some neat and tidy enclosure, and when they resist – as surely they must – then I wonder if they are worthwhile at all. How foolish I can be! Of course they are worthwhile, they are things that need to be made simply to see what happens when they are material.


*I do not think that artistic research necessarily demands this, however the over academisisation of the subject, and the seemingly universally complicit understanding that the arts need to come up to ‘scientific standards’ has created what I see as overly wordy, theoretical, tedious, and homogeneous practices that are all too often devoid of the wonder and delight that art can furnish the world with.


I need to be strong in my belief in art as offers for discussion, contemplation, and wonder – it is important for me to be reminded to make things that invite new and different ways to experience and imagine the world. I need to dare to do things that I do not yet understand, I need to dare to dream, and to trust myself unreservedly.



Yesterday was All Saints – a day of remembrance and lighting candles for loved ones.  It is hard for me to describe the atmosphere of the early winter evening as people make their way to churchyards, there is a kind of quietude that is unlike anything else.  There is a shared and silent understanding of our purpose, a quiet respect for the stranger’s loss, an almost palpable sense of compassion.  I lit a candle for John and another for Grandma, and placed them amongst the others in the memorial garden.  Both John and Grandma where incredibly social and loved to be at the centre of things, it seemed only fitting that their flames should shine amid a party of lights.  I spent a little time in the dark chill thinking about these two, their lust for life, their charisma, their dark eyes and cheeky smiles, their flirtatious ways, and reminded myself that sometimes I could be a little more like them and perhaps a little less myself!  I took out my hip-flask and raised a toast to two much loved and much missed souls.