In Colour

Popped into Ann Veronica Janseens 'yellowbluepink' installation at the Wellcome Trust over lunch today:
sort of scary, sort of comforting...



All Press

When I was young I used to press flowers.
Flicking through my notebooks this week it seems I never kicked the habit...


On Beauty

After a hot day, and during a balmy night I headed to the Defining Beauty exhibition at the British Museum (via the Totem Pole, naturally).

I was, despite the crowd, and the heat, or perhaps because of it, suitably spellbound by the miracle on offer – such likeness of skin rendered from stone. But amid the display of athletically poised torsos, I was most taken by an intricate likeness of the philosopher Socrates, no more than foot tall, depicted with his arm thrown skyward from his pleated gown, mid scene in Aristophenes's comedy 'The Clouds'.

Paraphrasing the exhibition text (as hastily scribbled onto a crumpled receipt)

Socrates has arrived on stage in a basket having
suspended his intellect in the air 
in order to gain closer access 
to things of higher importance.
What a lovely idea. And though he has come back down to Earth, he continues to gesture upwards.

On my way home later that night, gentle fat droplets turned to heavy rain in an instant, a heavy drone of falling water. I got soaked. I didn't mind. Sheltering in the bus stop, with the Friday traffic that much louder for the added hiss and slick of the flooded streets I thought of old Socrates, as I'd just seen him. Looking up.


Border Zone

An early start on Saturday; we were doing a one day booze crusie to Calais ahead of N&R’s wedding. 
Why is the Dover ferry port so determinedly a non-place? Everything is so resolutely temporary - with even less interest in dampening the transport infrastructure aspect than the average motorway services - yet has probably been fixed in arrangement for years. Of course it’s a transit zone, but evidently the fact that you are already on your way somewhere at the time you arrive there is not precaution enough, everything about the space guards against you getting too comfortable, and there is absolutely nothing to soften the tarmac.

With time to kill on the way back we took a detour into the Calais old town and an altogether opposite experience – a sunny beach with rows of cheerfully weathered changing huts strung out along its length - a different kind of temporary.



i applied for a place on the Cass Cities Summer School in Brussels:

they said:

i'm looking forward to it.


Service Wash

me and rp got ourselves organised long enough to enter something into the 
urban commons ideas competition earlier this month…i'm glad we did because:

a. it's a strong jury so we'd be stoked to be one of the 8 selected winners
b. i've been trying for a long time to find an angle for my launderette fetish

fingers crossed.


Black, and white

How have I never heard of Marlene Dumas before? That’s all I could think as I walked around a retrospective of the artist’s work at the Tate Modern earlier this week. The large paintings were good, equally moving and horrifying in their watery depictions of the human form, but the small black ink drawings were all I needed to see, I loved them.

Black Drawings – 111 drawings on heavy heavy paper (some of the sheets apparently drenched in ink and water) and ‘1 piece of slate’ –  got the fullest burnishing from my eyeballs which acknowledged the collective assembly for some time before moving over every item in turn (including that flat lightless stone) then pulled back taking them in as a whole again. Dense faces, ghostly faces, 111 faces, all in the same medium but no two showing the same tone or expression; a remarkable set of drawings.

Of course it’s the wrong way around to suggest a major artist reminds you of your own work (modesty lock is in position) but I was jolted back to my days as a confused art student in Leeds when I covered my desk in inky scribbles on found bits of scrappy paper. At some point I collated these and pinned them to the wall, a way of formalising the output I suppose but it never moved forward much from there. I never recorded them as they were taped to the wall, but some time later I photographed the pieces individually, like little slips of evidence….

I only wish I’d been alerted to Black Drawings; the subtle questioning, the manner and the form might’ve pushed my focus a bit.


Je suis architecte

Working late again...but at least it looks like the real deal...