Pecha Kucha Night Wakefield Vol. #8: Leftovers
The Hepworth Wakefield
Thursday 20th December 2012, 6:30-9:00pm (doors 6:00pm)
£3 entry | 01924 247360

Indulging in the excesses of the festive season, the eighth Pecha Kucha Night Wakefield is themed “Leftovers.” Presentations respond to the idea of presented content as the “shallow-fried bubble and squeak” of the year. Scraps of thoughts, unused images, surplus projects and remainders of research are mashed up and loosely bound together in quick-fire presentations in the 20 slides x 20 seconds PechaKucha format.

Speakers: Gav Leonard, Chris Gittner, Matt Lawson, Joss Cole, Pam Judkins, Madeleine Walton, Robertson/Sharp, Phil Wood.

Curated by Alice Bradshaw for the Art House in collaboration with Hepworth Wakefield.

Also at The Hepworth Wakefield this evening are Chrsitmas Carols under Heather and Ivan Morison’s The Black Cloud (5-9pm) http://www.hepworthwakefield.org/whatson/christmas…

About Pecha Kucha Night: Pecha Kucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat”, the Pecha Kucha presentation format is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.




Currently reading: Mike Kelley – The Uncanny (2004) Verlag der Buchhandlung WalterKőnig, published on occasion of The Uncanny exhibition at Tate Liverpool 20 February – 3 May 2004.

In The Uncanny exhibition (originally produced for Sonsbeek 93, reproduced for Tate Liverpool in 2004), Mike Kelley takes on the role of artist as curator, or “Sunday-curator” as Kelley denotes in the 1993 exhibition text Playing with Dead Things (p.38).

Freud defined the uncanny as not belonging to the domain of the psychological but unambiguously as a category of the aesthetic and as the over-accentuation of physical reality in comparison with material reality. (John C Welchman – On The Uncanny in Visual Culture p.57). In the introductory text: “The power of these works derived from an eerie feeling of recognition, which Freud defined as the essence of the uncanny: “A hidden, familiar thing that has undergone repression than emerged from it.” The impulse to collect is described by Freud as “repetition-compulsion” in the unconscious mind. It is the conscious recognition of this familiar but repressed compulsion that produces the feeling of the uncanny.” (p.10)

Kelley refers to his collections as Harems: “A term used to describe a fetishist’s accumulation of objects, which are generally alike in character.” (p.9) “The Harems are not fixed or finite – items are added to or subtracted from them depending on their usage (things break or are lost, etc). […] The fluid nature of the Harems’ definition reveals the fact that their specific makeup is not crucial to this project.” (p.11) The Harems are of varied size and importance. “Most of this stuff is utterly mundane – the everyday crap that fills the house.” (p.12)

“For Baudrillard the fatal “indifference” or signifying systems predicated a simulation developed from a crucial point of origin in the use of the commodity economy and the exchange of mass-produced objects – that cascade of “identical objects”, as he termed them, “produced in infinite series.” Baudrillard outlines the commencement of the ambiguousness of nullifying effects he will later elaborate as simulation in L’Echange symbolique et la mort” (p.86, Gallimard, Paris, 1986) (cited by John C Welchman – On The Uncanny in Visual Culture, p.48)

John C Welchman: “The relation between them [identical objects] is no longer that of an original to counterfeit. The relation is neither analogy nor reflection but equivalence and indifference. In a series, objects become undefined simulacra of each other. […] We know now that on the level of reproduction, of fashion media, advertising, information and communication (what Marx called the unessential sectors of capitalism), that is to say in the sphere of the simulacra and the code, that the global process of capital is held together.”

“The marvelous is not the same in every period of history: it partakes in some obscure way of a sort of general revelation only the fragments of which come down to us: they are the romantic ruins, the modern mannequin, or any other symbol capable of affecting the human sensibility for a period of time.” André Breton – Manifesto of Surrealism (1924) (cited p.52)



Susanna Rustin at the Guardian discusses food’s latest hot trend: leftovers. “Our modern obsession with beautiful food – and reliance on ready meals when short of time – has led to huge waste. Is it time to put leftovers back on the table?” she asks.


Rustin notes “In a speech to the Women’s Institute in York last week, environment secretary Owen Paterson talked about the challenges of feeding a growing world population, and called on the WI to “help us as a nation cut down on food waste”. He complained that we are in the grip of a “cult of beauty and perfection” around food, and said that celebrity chefs as well as supermarkets should do something about it.”

In his speech, Owen Paterson notes “Incredibly in 2011 the UK threw away 15 million tonnes of food and drink waste. For an average family that is £500 worth of edible food that’s chucked out each year. At least 60% of our household food waste is avoidable. We are already making progress. Since 2006 food waste has been reduced by 13% but there’s more to do. That’s why Government introduced clearer food date labels on products.”

In her article, Rustin case studies London chef Tom Norrington-Davies who she quotes: “Cookbooks in the 1970s and 1980s always had chapters on using up leftovers. But this stopped in the 1990s”

Leftovers, [Norrington-Davies] points out, are not just what is left on the table. The woman he buys goat’s cheese from has no use for her male goat kids. So he cooks them. The cheese straws he served this week were offcuts from a quince tart. Yucky bits such as rabbit offal or “funny looking ends of mackerel” he takes home to his cat.

“Many of my peers in this kind of place, at the mid-range, casual end of the market, are children of the 70s, which was quite an austere time,” he says. “We ate a lot of leftovers when I was a lad, and I still have a horror of waste. Readymade food was just not an option, it was very expensive, and I still find it incredible that in a supermarket nowadays people are drawn to buying readymade meals because it looks cheaper than doing it yourself. It’s a complete reversal.”

Rustin blames readymeals, supermarkets and consumer attitude for the waste over Owen Paterson’s recent emphasis on celebrity chefs’ perfectionism glorified on TV to the masses and concludes with the suggestion to make Monica Galetti from Masterchef the celebrity champion for reducing food waste.


Recycled Orchestra: Music from Trash

Landfill Harmonic is an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where the musicians play instruments made from trash. Due to be released 2014, directed by Graham Townsley and produced by Alejandra Nash, Juliana Penaranda-Loftus, Rodolfo Madero.

“Cateura, Paraguay is a town essentially built on top of a landfill. Garbage collectors browse the trash for sellable goods, and children are often at risk of getting involved with drugs and gangs. When orchestra director Szaran and music teacher Fabio set up a music program for the kids of Cateura, they soon have more students than they have instruments. That changed when Szaran and Fabio were brought something they had never seen before: a violin made out of garbage. Today, there’s an entire orchestra of assembled instruments, now called The Recycled Orchestra. Our film shows how trash and recycled materials can be transformed into beautiful sounding musical instruments, but more importantly, it brings witness to the transformation of precious human beings.”

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXynrsrTKbI



Gabriel Kuri

Kunsthall Bergen in Norway have kindly sent me the curator text and press photos of the recent Gabriel Kuri show at Bergen Library previously mentioned on this blog.

Kuri presents eight new mobile sculptures, as four pairs, corresponding to materials and qualities that already exist in the architecture and interior of the library. The sculptures are also containers of a varied selection of objects including newspapers, stones, book loan receipts, potted plants and the library’s waste-paper bins Each is equipped with wheels to travel freely around the library, reminiscent of John Cage’s Rolywholyover A Circus exhibition at MOCA, LA in 1993.

Kuri works with remains: “Empty containers, packaging or remains of the actual act of purchasing: receipts that remain after the financial transaction has been completed; adhesive labels that are removed from the apple before it is washed and eaten; plastic bags that the goods are carried in on the way home from the shop; or the plastic bottles that only exist as containers for the true product (the mineral water inside). These are all some of the things that surround us all the time, but which often only spend a brief moment in our hands before being redirected into a system for waste disposal or recycling.

One pair of Kuri’s works in the library, Element C.1, consist each of three coloured bins with plastic liners in a veneered plywood structure on wheels, which creates a movable set corners for the bins. “During his preparations for the exhibition Kuri observed how the corners of the library were often used for an eclectic selection of waste bins in a number of different colours and shapes. The bins are strategically placed in places where experience has shown that there is a need to throw away rubbish. Each department of the library has a number of waste bins that are discreetly placed, often in fact in corners. Kuri’s rolling corners are bearers of just such waste bins. the waste bins are an effective reminder that the things with which we surround ourselves often encode a balance between use value and instant waste. The books in the library too can be seen in such a perspective. The library is forced to scrap many books every year. So are the publishers, who ‘bin’ a large number of books every season. And one sees that there is a fine line between the book as information and as elevated source of knowledge on the one hand, and the book as a simple material object consisting of printer’s ink on paper on the other.”

A second pair of works in red and blue powder coated steel, Element A.2, resemble giant extended book ends with pigeon-deterrent spikes functioning as receipt spikes. “These slips of paper, like receipts for purchases and transactions, have a distinct character as bearers of highly specific information and at the same time as useless waste.”

Kuri’s works oftens involves a continual cataloguing and organizing of objects and information. “In earlier works he has, for example, sorted a large number of receipts by size into special heaps, a system that becomes absurd compared with the verifiable filing system of a bookkeeper. In another work he has organized a number of utility objects by criteria such as whether the thing is wrapped, whether it is made of wood or plastic, whether it is in one piece or put together with several pieces, etc. These ordering principles may be unconventional, but in fact make up distinct and internally coherent systems.”