Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Royal Road to the Unconscious

Below is Simon morris' short film of 'The Royal Road to the Unconscious'.

Reader's Digest and Word Cake...

Me and a fellow Art student are currently working on a conceptual literary project, inspired by Simon Morris' 'The Royal Road to the Unconscious'. The project is made up of several different works. It is a performative piece, which has been shown at several events, one of which being the Performance Event held earlier this month.

We started by baking a cake with cut up words in the mixture. The words were transcribed from a meeting that was held to organise a previous group art event. People unpicked the words from the cake they were served, to make conceptual poems and prose and we documented the process. We photographed one of the cakes at different stages and also documented the events at which the piece was presented. As a sort of practice run, we held an impromptu tea party, serving word buns to our guests and due to its success we decided to include it in the Performance Event. We handed out slices of the word cake throughout the evening and photographed what people had created and people read out their poems. 

The next stage of our project is to produce a book out of the photographs. Simon Morris used the documentation of him throwing the cut out words from Freud's 'The Interpretation of Dreams' out of the window of a speeding Renault Clio Sport to produce a short film and a book. To produce the piece Morris used Ed Ruscha's book 'Royal Road Test' which was made up of images of Ruscha throwing a vintage type writer from the window of a speeding Buick. We aim to produce our book in a similar style to both Morris' and Ruscha's book, which are both simple spiral bound paper backs, as we are following a similar act of capturing moments in time in the form of a book.

Below I have put images of both Morris' and Ruscha's book.

Performance event photos...continued

These are some photos of the readings and perormances from the Performance Event. Performances include a solo piece titled 'Tape', a reading called 'Small talk' which based arouns a conversation between two people, and a reading of one of the books features in the displayed works.

Performance event photos

These are some photos of the displayed books and sculptural works from the Performance Event. More photos and Video footage of the event will be up soon.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Performance event continued...

Me and a group of art students recently held a performance/ screening event. At the event there were books and sculptures displayed and there were readings, performances and film screenings. The event was held at LS6 (Clock cafe) on Hyde Park corner in Leeds. Many of the people involved were keen on the event taking place in a cafĂ© environment rather than a gallery space or artist’s studio. This was due to numerous issues such as the type of work that people were making, issues with catering, refreshments and health and safety and also the fact that it was organised as an event and not an exhibition. The event was a success and thoroughly enjoyable to be a part of. The space we used was a room situated above the cafe itself, which is designed to be used for exhibitions and evening classes. This was an ideal space for us to use as it had the facilities we needed and it was a relatively blank space for us to occupy and transform into the desired setting for the event. As it was an event which was accessible to the public and not presented as an exhibition or art event, it appealed to those who would not normally engage with this sort of work. Although the event was organised and thought out, it still had an impromptu feel about it, which made it a more relaxed environment. The event was filmed and lots of photographs were taken. The event footage will be up on the blog soon...so look out for that.  

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Pulp Fiction reading...

In February of this year, I got involved with a student led art, performance and music event called Mothstep, organised by a fellow art student. I helped out at the event, along with other students and performed one of my readings with another artist. The piece was called 'Pulp Fiction? Pulp Fiction.', which was a reading of two of my books containing all the questions and answers from the dialogue of the movie Pulp Fiction. Due to the process used to select the material for the two books, the end result was very different to how I had expected. The material was taken from the dialogue of the written movie script. The questions were obviously every sentence that had a question mark at the end, but I classed any sentence that came after a question that wasn’t another question as an answers. This made it so some of the questions and responses didn’t match up, so at some points the text would make little sense. Pulp Fiction is a fairly well-known movie, but at the same time it maintains its cult classic status. It is renowned for its great dialogue, and because of this I felt it would be an appropriate source to create a reading from. It was a good experience to read the work aloud in front of an audience. I have tried to take as many opportunities to perform readings throughout the year. I wanted the piece to be a way to engage with an audience and entertain them as well as using it as a medium to utilise my books and present my found material. I feel that it is a strong piece of work, due to its numerous different elements. It began as an extraction of information, which I used to produce two books that could be presented as art objects or used for performative readings. This particular work fits well into the sort of improvised performative environment, but I don't feel that it would be the right way to present it at my end of year degree show. I want to present the work in a way which will allow people to engage with it on a more personal level; perhaps individually rather than collectively.   

I have put the link to the Bitter Orange website below, which has more information on the Mothstep event. There is also a live video clip of the reading being performed at the event. 

Bitter Orange Website

Sunday, 20 March 2011

'Launch on the Lawn'

Below is a link to the 'book launch' that I mentioned in my previous posts about the Leeds International Book Fair. This is footage of people launching the books that they had either produced themselves or purchased at the fair.

'Launch on the Lawn'

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Saturday at the book fair...

Saturday is the main day of the Leeds international book fair (details on previous post); it’s busy and buzzing with energy. Collectors, book makers, families, people from Galleries and everyone in between; buying and chatting and ‘talking books’. The day before I had been helping out on one of the stalls, but this time I was on the other side of the table. My boyfriend was with me for the weekend, and we had invited his parents to come to Leeds for the event. They drove up in the morning and we went down together. We were a little worried it would be a bit pretentious for them, but they loved it. They thoroughly enjoyed the event and bought some lovely things. I’d stopped myself from looking round the day before, to make to make it even more special for when I had more time to soak it all in. We went round the whole fair, looked around the University Gallery and went to the Home from Home exhibition (details on previous post), which was up the road from the fair. It was a great day and to top it off, I sold four of my books. As they were the only copies, I now need to replace them for my end of year degree show and assessment, but that’s OK because I love book making. The book fair has been a huge inspiration for my work and it is a great opportunity for those love books in all shapes and forms to come together. I will definitely attend the Leeds international book fair after I graduate, as I wouldn’t want to miss out. I would recommend it to all!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

One Book Fair, One book launch, Two openings and Free Wine

So I read books, I make books, I discuss books and I love books! And because of this, I decided to volunteer to help out on the Leeds School of Fine Art table at the 14th International Contemporary Artists' Book Fair (The Parkinson Building, Leeds University). It was a great morning, spent drinking earl grey and chatting to fellow art students, lecturers and passers-by about the wonders of books and book making. I had a selection of my own artist’s book for sale on the table, for the first time in my three years spent at the University. The idea of them selling seemed to be absurd, but people were picking them up and flicking through and asking me about them, which was a fantastic experience. 

In the afternoon I went along to the book launch for Alex Lightman’s novel Twenty-Four by Thirty, published by The Wild Pansy Press. I’d previously seen his literal book launching on the Wild Pansy Press website (link below), but for this event, another catapult was constructed with a seat attached and people were invited to launch their own books. This was going on at the same time as the first day of the book fair, so people were bringing books they had just bought and launching them. Although I didn’t join in as I didn’t have a book to launch and I was a bit scared of the giant catapult, it was a fantastic sight, to see all those books flying through the air. I don’t have any footage of this event, but when it’s available on the internet I’ll post the link on here, so look out for that. 

In the evening it was the opening night of an exhibition called Thirty Years of the New Arcadian Journal and Broadsheets, 1981-2011 at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery (Leeds University). There was a selection of book works in display cases and framed pieces on the walls. It was one interpretation of a literary based exhibition. The works were treated more like artefacts, due to their age and preciousness; quite a contrast to the contemporary book fair which had been going that day, less than 10 yards away. My boyfriend Dan was visiting for the weekend and had just arrived that night, so the experience was even better, as I got to spend the evening with him looking at art and books and drinking free wine. However, this was only a short stop, before going onto the next place. 
We went on to the Home from Home exhibition opening night, which was held at 153 Woodhouse Lane, an old Victorian house owned by The University of Leeds,  a mere five minute walk away from the book fair. I would say it was good, but that would be an understatement because it blew me away. Artists’ Books displayed on Welsh dressers, tables and other beautiful wooden furniture; framed pieced, sculptures, installations and interactive works. It was three floors of great work which fit into the space perfectly. And of course there was more free wine.

More info on Home from Home: http://abcarchive.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Performance,sound and film screening event

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a man called Richard Price. He is a poet and novelist, working for the British Library. We discussed his and my own work and my plans for the rest of my BA. He was a very interesting man and was extremely helpful. One thing that he brought to my attention was the fact that a number of artists and students within certain institutions, who are involved in performance, take part in what he referred to as 'performance practice events'. The events are designed to allow artists to run through performances in an informal setting. Alarm bells rang in my head when I heard this and I immediately decided that it would be a great idea to propose to my peers. Me and a group of fellow Fine Art students have now come together and formed am initial plan; the first step is complete. The proposed event will be a performance, sound and film screening event, where people can show their work in a comfortable environment and discuss art and ideas with others. So far the group is made of artist book makers, performers, sound artists, film makers, poets, sculptors and story tellers. The next meeting will be all about the formalities. Dates, times and locations etc. I am thoroughly excited to have such a good opportunity and now I can watch it all unfold as well as getting stuck in. More info to come...

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Discussion Group

(My Words, Other People’s words)

Works shown

Pavel Buchler’s Mission Statement 

Simon Morris' The Royal Road to the Unconscoious 

Kenneth Goldsmith reading a passage from Soliloquy. In ‘Sucking on Words’  


(In relation to Pavel Buchler’s Mission statement) what was it for? Is it something that he did before a project?
 I don’t know. I just came across it. One day when I was researching Pavel Buchler and I thought it was interesting and quite unusual visually. I’m not sure what his intentions were.

Who is he? 
He’s an artist. He won the Northern Art Prize last year.

Pavel Buchler ‘You Don’t Love Me’ 2007

That’s just a few of the people I have looked at in my research. 

Do you think that?… when you know you’re being recorded you’re a bit different to usual?
I asked him that actually. I contacted him with some questions a couple of months ago and I asked him if he was aware of the recorder and if it affected the results. He said he just got used to it after a while and he didn’t think about it. He said he went on with his day to day life and recorded himself in his every day existence.
So did he record himself having sex with someone? Is that what was on the clip?
 It was an argument with his partner.
 She didn’t want to be on the tape, but his response was “You’re on the tape now, it’s too late ha ha”
For my final dissertation submission, I am planning to write a book that reflects on my research and experiences over the last year. Sort of like a journal mixed with zine like qualities, which I aim to bind myself.

Kenneth Goldsmith is one of the people that you really sort of look at in your work quite intently. Are there any bits of his work that you kind of thought just haven’t worked or that have made you decide to do something similar.  Like the way you have based the layout of your books around his book Soliloquy. Is there anything you’ve done that you’ve not been quite satisfied with or anything that didn’t quite work?
I think the main issue I had when I first looked at Kenneth’s work is that I really liked it and at first I was like “right, I’m gonna try this and that”, but then I realised that I don’t want really want to imitate other artists. Other people do that and it can be quite successful. It’s often done as a homage to a previous work. I really wanted to use my own processes on their work. I thought I would take it a step further and after that every idea that came into my head, I’ve tried to make a book from. I’ve got really addicted to it. But I think that, although I wouldn’t go back to transcribing those sorts of things or imitating others. It was important because it led to everything I did after.

Do you think it has something to do with the role that the artist plays in these pieces and the role that the audience plays? That piece for example (clip of Soliloquy reading). It was a very different experience him doing that and him transcribing his work and like you say when you read it through it sparks off imagining what the other people were saying. You as an artist, do you prefer being on the artist’s side or the audience side, now that you’ve done both?
I’d like to say that I can be both, because I don’t generally do readings of my own books. I tend to get other people to do it because I want to be able to be artist and audience at the same time . Plus it’s a part of the participation of the work and I get to experience that. His books are not his words and my books are not mine. It’s something that has been spoken or written somewhere else, then put into a book and spoken aloud again. I don’t know whether he gets other people to read his books aloud. I should find out.

Can I see your books?
Yeah, they’re here on display. Look at whatever you like.
Those who came to my presentation two weeks ago. What did you think of the work? Not in the sense of if it was good or bad. I just want to know any thoughts that you had.

Can you go through the work you showed again?
I passed my books around the group to look at and discuss.

Have you got people to read your Morse code books aloud? Like dot – dash – dash- dot – dot etc?
That would be very interesting. I’ve not done that yet. I’ve played them though a computer. When you translate text into Morse code using a computer programme. It does take a while. It’s not a quick process, but it’s quite enjoyable. Once I get into it, I don’t want to stop and go and do something else. I’m a bit of a geek you see. It’s quite nice to go through little endurance tests. I enjoy just sitting and going through the motions and enjoying the process of making.

Where would you put your work? Do you see it in a gallery or do you only want it for this kind of format; for presentations and discussions? Where would you have it?
 For the degree show, I would have it so my books were presented like books, as in on shelves. And I would have maybe a couple of them presented with other media. One of the works I am planning to show is ‘Pulp Fiction? Pulp Fiction.’ For which I would have my two books (Pulp Fiction? And Pulp Fiction.) displayed along with mp3 players with readings of the books on. I want it to be that you can read and listen to both pieces. People may not know or pick up on what the relationship is between them, but they can engage with it either way.

You could maybe leave your works in book shops and see if people will take them.
I suppose that would be a way of distributing them. I’m thinking by the time I graduate, I would like to continue producing books and distributing them in different ways.

I don’t think they seem like nice little objects you would want to leave around for people to find. They seem like research type objects. So maybe they would be better in this sort of context.
At the minute, I’m just making them for people who ask for them. My film books, which are a little more accessible are quite popular. I think these are books I would more than likely distribute. They’re more entertaining and more mainstream. It’s a bad word, but it makes sense. My ‘Arnie’ book is very popular. I’ve given away and sold 6 or 7.

If they are popular sell them.
I don’t want to do that though. I want to spread my work around, but I don’t want to make money. Not from these anyway.

You are going to hate me for asking this, but why have you looked at Tarantino?
Well because I love him and because when I first started doing this sort of work, I wanted to transcribe a celebrity talking and he is a person who I associate with talking really fast and using lots of filler words and hesitation. So I went for him, because watching Tarantino speak is quite an experience because he talks so fast and is so animated. After that I couldn’t stop. After I did that, I decided to do the same to all if his movies.

Theres a person you may want to look at called Graham Rawle. I don’t know if you’ve heard of ‘Woman’s World’. It’s a graphic novel and he cut up 1960s magazines and made an entire novel. It’s a very big book. Theres a copy in the library. He’s literally taking that language and putting it into a setting which is of that era. It’s quite interesting.

What is the Spider Man book from?
Basically I transcribed all the dialogue from a Spider Man comic and made this book from it. All the text is a similar layout to the original comic book. Not the exact layout obviously, because the book is smaller than the original comic, but it’s all in a similar position as on the pages of the original comic.
Why have you decided to use different font characteristics like bold words and words with all capital letters etc?
 I didn’t want it to be exactly the same. I’ve used Garamond throughout but I wanted to keep some of the original elements such as the words in bold and words in all capitals, which are supposed to represent them being shouted by the character.

The others are so uniform, but with that one (Spider Man) it’s different. Surely in your ‘Pulp Fiction?’ book, the way people say different questions would come through in the text.
It’s because ‘Pulp Fiction?’ is produced from a script, which is designed to be used in a live action film. But with a comic book, you do have to rely on how things are written. It’s fairly different. I guess I just wanted to keep a little of the comic book’s charm, while also taking it away, by giving it a much more uniform appearance.
Why did you change the size?
I didn’t want to do it A4. I prefer making pocket sized books. A5 is the biggest I would go to and because it fits in with my other books, it’s like a little collection.

There’s something like really delicate about handmade books and they just seem so… You said you transcribed 24 hours of news. The fact that it’s now in this little book kind of makes it easily accessible.
So what shifted you from doing all ums and ahs to doing all the questions from Pulp Fiction?
I think it’s basically that I didn’t want to carry on doing the ums and ahs. I didn’t want that to be it. I wanted it – I just basically thought about all the things I associate with different films and different texts.
I then showed the group a sound clip of ‘The Trance’ by Fiona Banner.
As soon as I heard it, I realised that she had chosen these films because action films… they are very visual and it made me think about why I love Pulp Fiction so much and why people like Arnold Schwarzenegger. They like him for his one liners and I like Pulp Fiction for the dialogue, in particular the questions. I’ve decided to make another book C**ino using star symbols because of all the vulgar language used in it. I really wanted to know how many questions there are in Pulp Fiction and what they would look like on their own.

You could even do the same sort of thing with nouns or verbs or place names or weather.
Well that is one of the things that Kenneth Goldsmith did.  He took a year’s worth of weather reports and produced a book from them. But yeah, I’ve come across a lot of artists that do this sort of thing, where they transcribe things and they extract things that they like out of different texts and films and conversations and I enjoy it too. I guess I’m doing it in a different way.

I kind of like it because it’s a weird taxonomy. It’s like some sort of sado-science in a way.

The only thing is, it’s really addictive. Once you start doing them. You just think “I want to know what that looks like” and then you just go and do it, but unfortunately I have lots of other things I’ve got to do. Like, I’ve decided to do my final submission for practice on context in context as. I want to have the book, but also to read it aloud. I also want a CD of it, so I can put all the works I’ve referenced on it as well.

Have you thought about? You know the way you’ve done the Spider Man book? The movie books are about copying movies, copying TV and breaking them down. Have you thought doing  it to books? By taking books and taking all the ums and ahs out and taking the other words out?
There was a book a bit like that at the exhibition (Perverse Library exhibition, Shandy Hall), that just had the punctuation.
Oh yes, I can’t remember who it was by. There’s a woman called Elisabeth Clarke that does that sort of thing.
 Is she the woman who came to do the workshop?
Yeah, it is. She’s in Paris at the moment, so I can’t go and interview her, but I’m going to send her some questions at some point.
I think at the beginning I was thinking of everything being small and quick projects, but I would like to start doing larger texts. I think it’s partly the fact that I wanted to have lots on the go at once because I’ve got a short attention span.

What if you like picked a word and then like if you were doing a movie or whatever you could see how many times they repeated it like ‘cause these people work a lot with like words and text and sound so maybe instead of the ums and ahs maybe you could just pick a word.
There was an artist that did that and I can’t remember her name. Candice Breitz, maybe. I’m sure it is. I would show you some stuff but I can’t remember if that is the artist I’m thinking of. She got lots of footage of people doing the same thing like slamming phones down etc. And lots of clips of the same actor doing the same thing and saying the same thing and made multi-screen works. If you looked at them online you could put your mouse over the screens and it would show you the different clips of them doing the same things in different movies. She had obviously looked for that certain thing. I was thinking about editing the movie Pulp Fiction and having all the ums and ahs or just the different questions, but I’ve edited movie footage before, so that’s going to be one of those future ventures that will take a lot longer. I’d like to look more into video, but I don’t think I’m quite ready yet.

You could do something that was like ridiculously torturous like go see every film on screen 10 at the cinema in Leeds and transcribe something from those, but you would have no choice as to what the films were so you might end up seeing the same movies over and over again.
I like that. I like leaving things to chance.
You could just be like “what’s on screen 10 today?” and book yourself in for the whole day.
I sort of like the way you bring attention to what exists. For example, there an extremely large number of questions in Pulp Fiction and we’ve all seen it but I’ve never really noticed that before. So I like the way you’re not just doing arbitrary things like not necessarily just the ums and ahs or punctuation but actually sort of doing something that draws attention to what is actually there. You’re not making something up. That’s kind of interesting.
I think I like this process because it’s leaving things to chance. I much prefer that because when you’re not thinking of… When you’re not consciously thinking about something it tends to work to work better. Things tend to work better like from chance. It’s a pain, but for this it works.

Imagine if you were able to find other films and TV shows or whatever and you’ve happened to notice some sort of peculiarity and then you could take that down. That would be kind of nice. For me, that’s my favourite, Pulp Fiction.
I would definitely like to do more things like that. I think I’ve reached the limit of transcribing filler words. I think I enjoyed doing it, but I definitely prefer doing this sort of thing, because I suddenly realised I could be doing stuff that I enjoy. Not that that wasn’t enjoyable but I thought I could really go somewhere with this. “I can watch Pulp Fiction and see how many questions there are, that would be really cool” and then my brain kind of exploded with ideas so now I have another three books on the go that are all half done. I can’t stop starting books. I can’t even finish them now.

Are you doing the answers (of Pulp Fiction) in a book as well?
Yes, it’s printed and I just need to bind it now. Me and Sarah are doing our performance on the 24th of ‘Pulp Fiction? Pulp Fiction.’ We’ve gone through it once and it works quite well. The questions don’t quite fit together with the answers, but that’s actually quite good.
I have another three A5 books that I’m gonna make in the next few weeks and they’re all going to be in A5 boxes.

Are you going to approach some galleries and maybe show them?
I don’t know. I’d love to but I’m not feeling that confident at the moment. The last time I tried to put my work in a gallery it got shot down so. That was a long time ago.
Sometimes it just depends on what it is.
The Wild Pansy Press space is sort of leaning towards artist’s book work.

Has Chris picked up on what you’re doing? Does he know about it?
Yeah I think so. I mean I don’t think that… they’re O.K but they’re not very professional though. It’s not like I’ve done a big novel or anything.
Well why do they have to be bound professionally? They seem like they kind of fit into a handmade…they’re artist’s books.
The worst people can say is no.
You’re right. I’m trying to be bold. This is my bold year.
How about the International Book Fair?
The school has a stand.
Are we going to be doing a stall for the degree show at all? Was that one of the ideas?
The Book Fair isn’t a fundraiser thin. It’s more like a thing to present your work.
People can sell work.
 Last year there were people selling things and putting the money to the degree show.
You could choose whether you want to put your profit towards the degree show. I wouldn’t mind.
I think you should approach Wild Pansy Press and try and set a space at the Book Fair.
Have you spoken to Aymee Smith? She does a lot of this sort of work. You need to talk to her.
As soon as she said she was writing her MA dissertation or her next essay on the best way to read Alice in Wonderland I was like “wow, that’s amazing”.

There’s a woman who is doing a project about the typewriter. She’s making a series of books on words and text and the typewriter. I can forward the information to you. It’s like a project. The submission date is the 21st of February.
Thank you that would be great.

I’m going to turn the recorder off now.

Thank you all for coming.

Presentation Comment Cards

It was very well presented, and an amazing body of work to back it up.
Things to think:
Try to push for a more Q&A
Maybe look at making things more universal.

I love how your books are investigations into speech, extracting parts and experimenting with it, using text. Seems like there’s so much scope for more experimentation. I really like the idea of you doing the voice recordings of pages from your books. Seems like there’s quite a lot of things you could play around with there. Interesting to hear the tones of different people’s voices when reading the same text. 

Awesome! Really enjoyed the sound piece made entirely of filler sounds. More of these!

To Mary. I think you have a really original idea that not only accents your attention to detail with each piece and your self-recognised transition into a book maker! I still feel like you have a distance to come but it is going to be a natural progression so don’t rush J. I would love to watch your journey unfold so book another presentation in the not so long please. Maybe play a recording backwards and experiment with the reverse of the words.

Watches many films. Make clear what you want from your audience. Interesting ideas but why prints for Morse code? Why not holes in page? Consider font type, format, colour of paper (nice but slightly not dyed) Keep it up!

I think the way you present your practice is completely integral to its context and therefore very successful. On a more personal note, I love the anticipation of not quite knowing what you’re going to get us to do! 

I’m so surprised by how many questions there are in Pulp Fiction! I find the system- making, de-coding, re-coding and translating really interesting. I have learnt something new about Morse code. I think that keys to the codes and systems and systems in play would be useful for the viewer – it’s not always immediately obvious what they are.