Category: Work in Progress

Possibilities Club

LIBRARIES ARE AMAZING

Over the last year and a half – ish, I have been working on a thing called Possibilities Club at the invite of Maria Brewster under the ‘At The Library’ project. Based in Bootle library I have worked with Christ Church Primary School in Bootle – and their awesome teacher, Miss Ebo – as well as running a summer Possibilities Club and visiting other Bootle locals at The Bootle Tool Shed. Mainly, I love libraries and I love the idea that anything is possible so the aim began very simply: to get children feeling powerful, especially when it came to using the library and being creative with that space that belongs to them, to everyone.

Gradually it became a practical project with the outcome of making over the kids section of the library. They have made do with hand-me-down graphics and objects for a long time and it’s time they had something special. So, the walls have been transformed, the upholstery has been transformed and there is a whole new piece of furniture designed just for them.

We will be launching the new-look at Bootle Library from 2pm onwards in Bootle Library. There will refreshments. There will be school children. There will be glorious colours. Please do come and see and USE YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY x x x Some sneak peeks including here from everyone, but me..

I need to thank all those that have collaborated on the project in some way. The library staff come first, all of them for not batting an eyelid when 16 kids had sprawled themselves across the floor and other interesting moments, but especially Val for letting us run (mostly) free and to Owen and Keri for their help at the weekly clubs. Lesley and Andrew at Sefton Council for their support and Eddy at Bootle Tool shed for being a legend and being so generous with his time and knowledge. To all those who helped to run the weekly workshops; Hannah Bitowski, Flis Mitchell, Paula Hampson, Andrew SmallNathan Jones and Laura Robertson. Flis Mitchell also for her sharp and swift administrative support. The beautiful fabric print of my new designs from BeFabBeCreative, the upholstery to die for from Imogen Woodings (aka Bluebird Upholstery), the transformation of scrappy photoshopped sketches and a balsa wood maquette into an exquisite piece of furniture by Matt Kelly of Plaey, Holly Bagnall‘s gorgeous Possibilities Club and lastly, Maria Brewster for being cool, calm and totally trusting in the Process. What an epic team!

La Biennale di Venezia

Last week I spent the week in Venice at the invitation of Wave Particle, who are the lead artists and anti-curators on the Scotland + Wales collateral project for the 16th International Architecture exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, which was commissioned by Architecture & Design Scotland. The Happenstance is a project involving lots of artists and architects, showcasing practice that has play at its centre. As well as a profile of my practice in the main exhibition, the film reel in the venue includes my short film of a workshop that happened in April in Aberdeen with twelve incredible young women working with Jack Webb and I to make a piece of work at the invitation of Look Again Festival and City Moves Dance Agency. The beautiful camera work on it is by Duncan Nicoll. You can find out more about this work, Façades/Fronts, which will be performed live on Saturday 16th June in the centre of Aberdeen, here

Central to the (non) pavilion in Palazzo Zenobio is Baxendale‘s structure, a timber framed corridor of sorts with the potential for endless change and adaptation. The construction of this was an enormous group effort with many of the artists helping to realise it, especially Francis Thorburn and Brian Hartley also assisted by some amazing Venetians including Giovanni Sambo, Sandro, Jesus (yes, really) and the awesome Alberto Lago, who has been a driving force on the whole project, among others.

I was lucky enough to do a workshop with 18 children from S. Francesco di Sales primary school in Ca’ Zenobio’s garden, where we thought about shelter or refuge as a necessary place to feel free and to be able to play. They made column costumes in pairs so as to be one support among the group, who together were strong and ready to support anything. They were amazing and the workshop worked out despite my pretty shonky Italian (much miming).

The opening event on Friday gave me a tiny glimpse of what might happen in the garden of Palazzo Zenobio over the coming month – a steady flow of visitors came in and out, with children from the local school arriving in the afternoon, word having spread of this incredible garden space. People lounged, laughed, played, ran, climbed, ate pizza, drank prosecco, watching huge films on the giant screening wall, lay in deckchairs and in the shade of the structure, skateboarded and invented. It was really pretty incredible indeed. We all joined in the local sagra later that evening with a parade and attempted to teach some locals the Gay Gordons (tricky when only half the crew know it to start with)

Special thanks have to go to Liz Murphy, Judit Bodor, Harald Turek and Lizzy O’Brien for their constant support and organisation behind the scenes as well as Morag, Sam and Anya at ADS. Artists and architects involved in The Happenstance include: artists Brian Hartley, Ruby Pester & Nadia Rossi, Tassy Thompson, Emily Speed, Francis Thorburn, Daniele Sambo, Hannah Brackston, architects Fergus Purdie, (Fergus Purdie Architects), Lee Ivett & Ambrose Gillick (Baxendale), Graham Ross (Austin-Smith:Lord), Paul Stallan & Keri Monaghan (Stallan-Brand), designers Alberto Lago and Neil McGuire, and film-maker Basharat Khan. The four boss, young associates will be looking after the non-pavilion for the rest of the month too. Peter McCaughey is the lead artist at Wave Particle, Happenstance is his middle name.

A Parade of Architectural Commas

I have been a tad lax on updates recently! A few exhibitions have gone up (and come down) in the meantime including

(Re)learning to Read, a group show curated by TORQUE at the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool
Transparency, an Arts Council collection show at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
[Re]construct at the Chapel at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

parade

as part of the last exhibition, YSP commissioned a new piece of work (well, strictly speaking two, as the film in the exhibition is also newly commissioned by them). Last weekend a group of performers took a walk around the ground as part of A Parade of Architectural Commas. It’s always strange testing out a new piece in such a public way and there was lots to think ab

 

out and changes to make for the next outing as part of their 40th birthday celebrations on July 16th. The title comes from Capability Brown’s writing on the construction of a garden landscape and refers to the follies that traditionally inhabit a Georgian Garden.

parade

Here there are five archetypes: the grotto, the chapel, the ruin, the obelisk and the pyramid. I have been thinking a lot about the tease and reveal of this kind of landscape, with it’s carefully crafted views, but I am realising that erotic sensibility is all but impossible when a comedic pair of legs are introduced to a sculptural costume. Perhaps a photo shoot with the follies (commas) in July will better reveal their seductive side… watch this space.parade

(Dis)ordering the City

(Dis)ordering the City: Buildings, Bodies and Urban Space

Emily Speed in conversation with Duncan Light

As part of the Practising Place programme, In Certain Places is proud to present an evening with artist Emily Speed in conversation with human geographer Dr Duncan Light, hosted by the Bluecoat.

Panoply

The event will focus on the making and reshaping of urban space. In particular, it will explore the relationship between official urban planning processes and the subversion of city spaces by the people who use them. Drawing upon their own creative and academic research, Speed and Light

will examine the ways in which urban spaces are performed, and how certain practices – such as walking, urban exploration and the creation of ‘desire lines’ – might be viewed as tactics for ‘disordering’ the city.

Dr Duncan Light is senior lecturer in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality at Bournemouth University. A human geographer by background, he worked for 20 years in Liverpool before moving to Bournemouth. He has research interests in urban landscapes, particularly in Romania (a country he has visited regularly for more than 20 years). In particular, his research has explored the efforts to remake the ‘official public landscape’ created by Romania’s communist regime in the post-communist period. He has published papers on these issues in a range of journals and has also contributed chapters to a number of recent edited volumes about post-communist change.

Practising Place is a programme of public conversations, designed to examine the relationship between art practice and place. Each event is hosted at a different venue and explores a specific aspect of place by bringing artists together with people from different backgrounds, who share a common area of interest.

Practising Place forms part of the In Certain Places project, which is based in the School of Art, Design and Fashion at the University of Central Lancashire, and is funded by the Arts Council of England.

(Image: Detail from ‘Panoply’ by Emily Speed – a commissioned work, made for the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool as part of the TOPOPHOBIA exhibition. Photo by Mark Reeves.)

Recent things..

Troy Town in-progressLast month I spent two weeks at Troy Town Art Pottery working on some new ceramic pieces as a collaboration with Ben Cove. Updates to follow when they have been taken out of the kiln (if they all survive..)

I was really pleased to show a drawing from my Body/Building series and some artists’ books with Day & Gluckman at Sluice Art Fair. The rest of the ‘Body/Building’ series are currently on display as part of Fabric Spaces as PIANOFABRIEK in Brussels, curated by Sevie Tsampalla.

I’ll be going quiet for a while to get into the studio, do some writing and to finish off a few new editions. I will be back on 5th February next year with a wearable sculpture work for an event at the Wellcome Collection.

 

Basic Principles for Building Construction

This will be a new work commissioned by Wewiora Projects for Northern Art Car Booty and two performances of the piece will take place on Sunday 30th August 2015.

Expanding on a costume piece made the previous year – a hybrid of clothing and architectural shapes – the work has been developed since as the first official collaboration between my twin sister Ruth Eaton and I (although she has been sewing various things behind the scenes for me over the last few years). Ruth is interested in workwear and the functionality of clothing.

Using three performers and more complex forms, ‘Basic Principles for Building Construction’ will depend on the tension between the three bodies to build and maintain a space; dress becomes wall, body becomes support and the walls finally collapse to become soft wrappings once more. Images are from Ruth’s recent ‘Strategy’ and ‘Utility’ collections.

Ruth Eaton, Strategy Collection 2015 (detail) Ruth Eaton, Utility Collection (detail), 2014

All the women

As it’s International Women’s Day it seems like a good time to mention that I shall be off to the states in May and June for six weeks to work on a Rosendale Cultural Crossroads Public Art Residency in New York State with Women’s Studio Workshop. I did one of my first ever residencies at WSW back in 2007 and made a limited edition artist’s book called ‘Unfolding Architecture’. I am thrilled to be going back! The picture below (a detail from Masaccio’s Saints Jerome and John the Baptist) is a tiny clue to what will be going on when I am looking at the relationship people in the town have with the architecture there.

MasaccioI also have a group show coming up in April called Indefinable Cities but more about that soon…

Unbuilt Library

Next week I will have some small works, some that date as far back as 2005, leaving the studio for the first time to be exhibited at Mrs Rick’s Cupboard (thanks for the invitation Craig Fisher):

Fragment

P.V: 12 February 2015 (7 – 9pm)

13 February – 26 March 2015    Open Friday 12-4pm

Mrs Rick’s Cupboard is pleased to invite you to our next exhibition, ‘Unbuilt Library’ by Emily Speed.

Each model in the Unbuilt Library is a reading room designed for the reading of a specific book or text, with space for only one or very occasionally, two readers.  Speed is interested in the relationship between the body and architecture and the book/spaces featured in this library all make this connection and have been particularly influential on Speed’s practice; literature is often a significant part of her research. The shape, materials and size of these intimate spaces are chosen according to the text itself, taking cues from the events, characters and tone. The models (or perhaps, unrealised sculptures) have been made over a long period of time, the earliest in 2007 and the most recent in 2015. 

The architectural model itself is also of great interest to Speed as a medium that presents an ideal; existing as pure potential. Models are delicate, yet symbolic of power, because they can be held and even destroyed by human hands (the city, literally in your grasp) and they also provide an unusual situation, where one can be fully outside of a space and see the whole.

Mrs Rick’s Cupboard

33 Seely Road
Nottingham
NG7 1NU
United Kingdom

The Boulder Project

Granite Boulder GloucesterTomorrow I shall be heading for Cape Ann, Massachusetts for a few weeks, to work on a short research project. At the invitation of Jane Deering, I shall be working in a small village there for a period of time that is intended to give artists some time and space to create new work.

At the property there is a huge granite boulder in the garden, which used to have this amazing pavilion/bandstand structure upon it. The whole area has a mass of large granite boulders left during the last ice age and I love the idea of these huge stubborn things left unmoved for centuries. An abandoned quarry town nearby, Dogtown, is now a natural park with the old roads acting as footpaths. Here, a philanthropist, Roger Babson hired stone cutters to inscribe boulders on the old common with words of inspiration during the Great Depression. I have no idea what will happen here but I shall let you know.

Map of the inscriptions Map of the inscriptions