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The deadline approaches, encroaches even, for 10×10 artists, designers & architects to submit their finished ‘drawings’ for auction for architectural charity Article25. Participants were given a square on the grid of London centred around the Shard, and were asked to explore their square and make an artwork using any aspect seen in that area. Could be a building, could be many buildings; could be an abstract, could be a composite; could be whatever the youknowwhat you want it to be – as long as it will hopefully obtain the reserve price (or more) they’ve set when it goes up for auction in November, and that you have it ready for 5 September.

But another, closer deadline approaches. My child’s been away on holiday for 2 weeks, which has been great for her, and not so bad for me, as it’s given me time to do this project and commandeer the kitchen table to do so. But I missed her terribly. First big trip away from me for this length of time – a rite of passage for her, and a rite of passage for me. While I pined for her in her absence, I at least had this fiddly stuff to keep me busy. Had she been around, I might have chosen another medium for the subject – something that took less time and space to make, and didn’t make as much of a mess.

She’s due back tonight, and school restarts in a couple of days, so I really want to tidy the place up, get rid of all the milliput dust and make the kitchen a kitchen again, the kitchen table a kitchen table.  So for all intents and purposes, this little guy is finished, bar a few touches I’ll make here and there to adjust this, sand that, paint a bit more contrast here, a bit of highlight there, a few suggestion of green mould and black mildew… I don’t know, maybe I’ll paint him rainbow colours and change the statement altogether.

In my grid square, there wasn’t much that I found particularly compelling. Crossroads, loads of views of the Shard peeping out behind incongruent buildings, a few quite interesting juxtapositions, but none much more interesting than another to devote an entire work to. I had a little corner of Trinity Church Square in my grid, and in it, a statue of King Alfred. This statue is purported to be one of London’s oldest outdoor sculptures, and it fascinated me. His green nose and muscly build under all that dark age drapery. The casual yet confident stance. The age of the thing, and the apparent simplicity drew me in.

I imagine there once may have been something in his hand. But maybe not. Paintings and other statues of Alfred the Great show him holding a sword aloft as if a Christian cross, or with a hefty axe at rest at his side – battle over, land secured. Or they show him holding a scroll, as he had championed education in his time. There are many examples of him holding both the spent weapon and the scroll, with the scroll taking prominence. I was determined to give him both attributes, but in the end, he’s just got the sword. I couldn’t fit the sword into the other hand because of the limitations of the way the doll could be positioned – yes, I used Action Man to stand in for Alfred the Great – and were I to put the scroll in that bottom hand, it would have looked like a phallus. Trust me, wrong, wrong, wrong. (For this charity auction piece, in any case.) I did consider leaving both hands empty, as per the original statue, but then, Action Man’s hands are so huge and gapingly clamp-like, made to hold weaponry. I even found that I had a battle axe in that boy toy box of delights, complete with the A/M logo! But it was an afterthought, after the sculpt, the epoxy putty hardened, and it didn’t fit into the hand without making the King look like a bit of a psycho. So I constructed a very simple sword and kept to the ‘sword as cross’ theme.

I had to change his face slightly (apart from the obvious addition of copious amounts of facial hair) to make him look less ‘mean’ and more ‘regal’, which meant modifying his furrowed brow-line and too, too pouting lips, and shaving off quite a lot of his ginormous jaw and chin, and 80’s flat top hairdo. In the sanding, I lost his infamous scar. That would not do. Once the crown was complete, I popped another scar on his cheek, and now he’s most definitely ‘Action Man as Alfred the Great.’

 

Here’s a link to a sweet & clever little film about the charity and what they do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uam9At_gpg4

 

 


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Technical problems aside, I love this site and everything it stands for, and all the goodies one can find within it.  Fantastic opportunities listings, helpful resources, interesting blogs… I’ve enjoyed being a part of its community since the beginning of my art school days at Byam Shaw.

I’m now trying to figure out how to make my Chelsea MA offer work out for me. Winning a place there was a real boon – I was even granted a scholarship to pay for half of it. Trouble is, it’s a scholarship that  (generous and lovely as it is) only applies to full time students. I’m a single mum, and have some other issues preventing me from going full time, so I can’t use the scholarship, as it doesn’t apply to part timers (the assumption, of course, being that if you are studying part time, you can work the other part of the time). If you are a single parent, and you aren’t independently wealthy, you can only work or study during school hours. The other part of the time, I tend to my child’s care. There isn’t any maintenance help for MA students, and I can’t afford a nanny to look after my kid, so it’s down to me and me alone.

I’m also ineligible for the Career Development Loan because I plan to go on to further study after the MA (for a PGCE to teach).

Having already deferred the course to buy me time to try (and fail) to raise the funds for this year, now is my final chance to study without having to reapply from scratch – it would be very disappointing – not the end of the world, but disappointing all the same.

I don’t think I’m writing this down in order to whinge (well, maybe a tiny bit) but primarily to share the thinking process with who ever reads this and see if I can get any other last ditch suggestions – maybe there’s something I haven’t thought of trying yet?

When first I applied, it was for and I was accepted to be a part of the part time cohort of fellow mature students and parents. And at that time, the scholarship was given to part timers and full timers alike. But for whatever reason, I didn’t get the scholarship on the first go, hence the deferral. And somehow, through a clerical error I was put forward for a full-time place and I never bothered correcting it. I thought: let’s just see what happens.

If only the scholarship could cover part time fees this year, too! £4,000 spaced over 2 years would be a lot more manageable than £8000 over 2 years (with no scholarship), or £4000 in one year with a scholarship, but all the maintenance costs of rent, bills, childcare, food, travel, and all the rest.

I don’t want to go on a crowd-funding website and ask strangers for money to help me do this course. I’ve crowd-funded a project before, which has run into some problems and until I complete that project (or pay back the money I raised in the event of not being able to complete it) then I want to steer clear of crowd-funding, especially for my own uni fees.

This is a first world problem if ever there was one, and there are a lot of other things going on in the world right now, much more tragic than ‘poor old me who can’t finish her MA – Boo Hoo’. But still, an MA would help focus my practice and enhance job prospects; it would connect me to people and expose me to ideas and processes that I wasn’t aware of or haven’t had access to. The biggest pull for me to go back to uni for my MA? The workshops, equipment and expertise needed to help me make the kind of work that I have in mind, but haven’t yet had resources to make.

And I really don’t want to have to ask my references to write another word about what a terrific MA candidate I would be. They’ve done enough to support my applications thus far (to RA, RCA, Slade and Chelsea). I really don’t want to have to ask for any more favours from them, and more importantly, I want to be able to do them proud.

 


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‘WHAT’S GOING ON HERE THEN’ INDEED!

I’m running into a lot of problems using the new website. It’s very glitchy.

 

Sharing this information hopefully in aid of sorting out the bugs to this otherwise fine website :)

 

Yesterday when I tried to upload a new post, it uploaded 5 or 6 times. I tried to delete the duplicates, but there is no delete or trash button, only a discard button that doesn’t engage when you press it. So I unpublished those cloned posts and deleted their content, but they are still there in my blog folder, albeit unpublished.

I wrote a note to a-n about this, and it didn’t seem to send. I have no history in my sent messages folder.

At the same time, a-n has sent me several notes in reply to the supposedly unsent message:

“Thanks Eldi, this has now been passed on to the technical lot – cheers” and I’m receiving this same message once or twice every minute or two, so that my inbox is overflowing with the same message. (63 times at the time of writing this.)

Furthermore, on my landing page when I open up a-n in my browser, on my network page, under the heading of Latest, it’s saying the following:

Eldi Dundee made a suggestion on Well what’s going on here then?about a minute ago”

and it’s saying that over and over and over again, every minute as if I am making suggestions about my own blog, which I’m not. I don’t understand how to make it stop! Eeeeeek! Help!

 

Also, when I try to post something to my blog, it times out and I get an error message that the a-n network is down. But if I open a new browser window, I see that the post was uploaded successfully?

I’ll probably get the same message when I try to publish this post. If so, I will copy and paste the error message for your reference.
Anybody else having this or similar problems?

Thanks.

 

 

Yep, as expected, there it is:

“Website is offline

” No cached version of this page is available.

“Error 524 Ray ID: 159e47b657f6024c

“A timeout occurred

“You

Browser

Working

“Paris

CloudFlare

Working

“www.a-n.co.uk

Host

Error

“What happened?

“The origin web server timed out responding to this request.

“What can I do?

“If you’re a visitor of this website:

“Please try again in a few minutes.

“If you’re the owner of this website:

“The connection to the origin web server was made, but the origin web server timed out before responding. The likely cause is an overloaded background task, database or application, stressing the resources on your web server. To resolve, please work with your hosting provider or web development team to free up resources for your database or overloaded application. Additional troubleshooting information here.

“CloudFlare Ray ID: 159e47b657f6024c • Your IP: xx.xx.xx.xx • Help • Performance & security by CloudFlare

 

There’s a button up top: “Retry for a live version”, but it brings me back to a blank form and no matter how many times I re-enter the text and images for a post, whenever I try to post it, I get this error message CloudFlare thing, and find that it got posted anyway.

(And indeed, it has.)

 

Getting a bit frustrated as it’s very hard to engage and is extremely time consuming.

Hoping this info is helpful in fixing the bugs.

Cheers.


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I joined altMFA this year, only a few months ago, but have been attending as regularly as possible within childcare constraints.

My first meeting was a small one where I met two members who were moving imminently to other countries: George to Hong Kong and Paula to Berlin. Shame really, because I would have liked more time to get to know them, as they seemed so damn lovely). Still, Berlin isn’t far and Paula will still be involved in our projects from time to time, and there’s always skype! More on that later…

That first meeting was about collaboratively writing an application for Guest Projects at Shonibare Studios in London Fields. I found out so much about how altMFA works and what it’s done in the past from this one meeting. The application was successful and we will be hosting a month-long ‘International Jamboree’ at Guest Projects focusing “on a new programme, moving on from discussing alternative modes of education (as we have in the past) to putting these ideas into practice. While sharing space, peer-led critique, and other resources, we will invite and work with other alternative education groups to collaborate and create new work through the month at Guest Projects. We feel this project is necessary as an opportunity to interact with other alternative art education groups, as though becoming colleges within a larger university. Our Guest Projects programme will be an intramural meeting of art education groups.”

http://www.guestprojects.com/programme/may-2015—altmfa/

Pretty snazzy, eh?

Then not long after that, there was another collective application, for ArtLicks. I think altMFA were invited to apply, off the back of their successful involvement last year… so anyway, we’re going to be doing a peripatetic performance and installation tour of Bermondsey, and we will be doing a related practice run at the V&A for one of their Friday Late Takeover events. The whole thing is being curated REMOTELY by George from Hong Kong via Skype (George Major – @GeorgeMaj0r on twitter – the other @GeorgeMajor is a proud Texan dad and deer-hunter, deducing the clues of his profile picture and tagline)

Various permutations of the altMFA group have visited the sites in question: to research and map a possible route for our Bermondsey Artlicks tour; viewing and considering which rooms we will ask the V&A for permission to occupy for our Takeover; and visiting the (then) current Guest Projects artists in their element, on location…

I’ll be sharing more about these projects in the coming weeks, but for now, wanted to share some research photos from Bermondsey Beach, where I’m thinking of possibly performing something…

 


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This past Saturday marked the start of #10x10London, a fundraising campaign for Article25’s architectural projects in post-war, post-disaster zones globally, in so called 3rd world countries, but also in underprivileged areas of our very own UK. Their members design and build excellent quality hospitals, schools, homes and other community buildings as well as infrastructure for improved sanitation. They address the needs and issues of communities, cultures, climates, geography. For instance: earthquake resistant housing in Pakistan, and post-earthquake school reconstruction in Haiti; sanitation projects in India and Haiti; schools for street children in Ghana and India; a Vocational Training Centre for former child soldiers in Uganda; restoration projects in post-war Afghanistan and in Romania… and many other incredible humanistic projects. This year they are raising money for implementing health projects focused on improving water and sanitation facilities and building specialized medical centres in Haiti, Morocco and Myanmar (Burma), and a sports facility in North London for youths exiting gang culture.

Article 25 says: “Increasing the quality of health care is essential in raising the living standards of underdeveloped and underserved communities, but to do so requires adequate physical structures which are easily accessible. The facilities designed and built by Article 25 and our partners will provide communities with the physical structures necessary to satisfy their Human Rights.”

“Here, here,” to that!

So, the participating architects, designers and artists were each given a square from the grid of London, which was centred around The Shard. We were invited to visit our designated area this past weekend in order to gather visual info about the streets, buildings, structures and happenings within our square. An artwork from each artist will be entered for the fundraising art auction on 27 November 2014 up in The Shard and hopefully the Article25 will, as a result of our humble creative efforts, get shedloads of money to improve the lives of the people who will benefit from the projects their involved in.

I’m undecided as to whether to make a painting, a sculpture, a print, a photo or a performance for this. I’m further undecided as to whether to focus on this or that subject, or whether to make a composite of several elements I found interesting… I was initially thinking ‘painting’ from a photograph, then thought: documentation of a performance, then thought small scale sculpture/maquette. Torn between two subjects/locations at the moment… Planning to narrow down my choices over the next day or two, and commit to a plan of action…


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