Tuesday, 10 November 2015

KULES - School Workshop

The first Schools workshop in KULES this year took place last week, as Sarah Hardacre took ideas of protest and the fight for suffrage to Sneyd Green Primary School and a really great engaged group of Year 2 children.

It's fair to say that Sarah was a little nervous at the outset, but by the end of the 2 hour session, our teacher liaison, Victoria Bennett-Smith told us the group had thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and had made a series of placards which would be presented in their assembly.

Here, Sarah sets out her experience.

Initially I was very daunted about believing this workshop as I've never worked with children of this age range (year 2, 6 and 7 year olds) but the class immediately made me feel very welcome with huge smiles and waves.
We started the session talking about the Suffragettes and how they rallied to change the world for women. And we discussed 'the vote'; what it means to vote, both in the context of X Factor as one pupil pointed out a vote is to "vote for the best" and in terms of electing a Prime Minister to run the country on our behalf.

As the children have recently been learning about 'Super Heroes' we looked at the question 'if you could change the world what would you change?' and 'if you could tell the world what you want to change what would that be?'

The children were very passionate about peace and caring for others and talked about stopping fighting and killing; one pupil wanted to stop people stealing and all the children wanted a world where people were nice to each other. And one of the top things the children wanted to protect and care for was animals.
The task I gave to the group was to make their own banner to show the world what they wanted to change. It turned out that the group were unfamiliar with the word 'banner' but once I'd explained a banner was like a poster and could be made up of pictures and writing, they were all so enthusiastic to get going.

The next hour whizzed by as we all got stuck into painting our banners and creating our statements about how we want the world to change. At the end of the session we attached small wooden sticks to each of the cardboard placards and each pupil from the group came forward to hold up their banner and tell the group how they wanted to change the world.

There were lots of animals in the final banners and 'Sneydie' the frog, the school mascot makes an appearance on a couple of the banners which tells me the children are very proud of their school. One banner that features 'Sneydie' says "It's good to be green" and has Spider-Man, the sun and a huge love heart. The school have a colour coded behaviour system with a red card issued for persistent bad behaviour, yellow cards for one off naughty offences and green cards for good behaviour.

Other quotes from the banners include "It's good to save the world", "I save animals", "Save the world", "Keep animals safe" and "No stealing ever". Other banners just had pictures of animals or the world and Orishae made a very special picture of himself with a sword saving the world.

In all I had a brilliant afternoon. I pushed myself way outside my comfort zone and found that I survived; I might even say I enjoyed myself! And the response I had from the children was mega; with a couple of kids saying it was "the best afternoon ever!" The staff were super supportive and Mrs Surtees even made her own banner about recycling, while I made one about pollution (which I spelt wrong, missing out an l and proving these 6 and 7 year olds are better spellers than me!!!).

I won't be rushing off into Primary School education any time soon, nonetheless the workshop has provided me with the opportunity to do something totally outside my experience, to push myself to the edges of my competencies and the absolute reward was getting to work with these super creative kids and see them inspired to make a positive impact on the world.

The banners will be presented to the school by the children from the group during assembly on Friday and after that we hope to display them at the public view in November.

Monday, 9 November 2015

KULES 2015 - a fitting ending

After 4 weeks of intense work and response by the three resident artists - Sarah Hardacre, Noel Clueit and Lucy Wright - and Graduate Resident Kyle Cartlidge -  to Stoke-on-Trent and the cavernous Olympus Engineering residency building, the KULES Public View saw Olympus open its doors to the public to see the works, engage with the artists and bear witness to three diverse and respectively stunning performances.

A four week residency is a bit of a curate's egg - longer than an intense micro residency but still really a short time to crack the idiosyncrasies of a new location. Yet, each resident  divided their time between research, engagement and making to such an extent that the Public View proved to be a diverse experience which brought a whole new, predominantly non traditional art crowd to the building and the visual arts.

A big thanks to everyone who came - to all the performers - Eternity, Lightwood Crystals and The Cult of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ, but most of all to the artists who, despite sometimes inhospitable conditions, really got to grips with the city and produced some really great works.

A big thanks to our partners and funders - Arts Council England, Appetite and Esmee Fairbairn/Artcity and to Staffordshire University and Sneyd Green Primary School.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

KULES Public View - What the residents say

After 4 weeks of research, work and test - the presentation element of KULES is here, as we open the doors of Olympus Engineering to the Public for a 2-day event showcasing the residency works alongside some very special performances!

Here are a few words from each artist on their works, plus something from our guest performers, The Cult of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ

Sarah Hardacre

Pankhurst's Potteries

In 1907 a 25 year old Sylvia Pankhurst left London, setting out on a journey throughout Northern England and Scotland to research the lives of working women and the conditions they faced in their daily experiences. The same year Sylvia arrived in Stoke-on-Trent, where she studied the women of The Potteries and drew the women of the pot banks at work. This installation retraces the encounters of her journey; reimagining these unknown women workers and taking the disused spaces of the former Spode pottery as a backdrop, recreates Sylvia's sketches of remarkable humanitarian journalism and history making.

Wonder Women

This installation is the culmination of a tentative period researching local archives and delving into the public lives of pioneering and radical women who puncture Stoke-on-Trent's working class histories like stars in a jet black night sky. Each Stoke-on-Trent made Dudson dinner plate commemorates a woman who has played a role in shaping public futures within the Six Towns and beyond. A Saint, a Duchess, a Lord Mayor; politicians, potters and pop stars. Wonder Women celebrates these ordinary women living extraordinary lives and observes their legacies in relation to the legendary Potteries area.

Hands That Do Dishes

Hands That Do Dishes presents a series of collage works that consider the notion of 'double shift work' for women; women who work to earn money and have the responsibility for unpaid domestic labour. Juxtaposing images of ceramic works by Stoke-on-Trent born Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper and Charlotte Rhead, against vintage glamour photography shot within the most mundane and domestic of settings; the works evoke sentiments of domesticity and desire. Referencing 'Oral Histories of Women Pottery Workers at Work and at Home', the installation also draws on the history of segregation between the 'gentile' women of the decoration studio and the 'slovenly' women of the clay end of the pottery process; eluding to a disappearance of feminine identity through duplication and dichotomy [Sarsby, Jacqueline (1988) Misuses and Mouldrunners: Oral Histories of Women Pottery Workers at Work and at Home. Milton Keynes: Open University Press].

Noel Clueit 

I am interested in how knowledge and authorship structure the way art is read. I look to question how we attribute meaning onto what is presented before us.

The works presented are rough sketches around language, memory, and the act of making. I am interested in how an endeavour for knowledge is affected by the wealth of information available to us, and how this comes to play out as a homogenised experience.

I was drawn to the theme of the residency, public as material, for how it can be used as a way to investigate the function of structured experience, and the potential of how an audience engages in dialogue to their surroundings.  

Lucy Wright

"Entertaining" troupes—characterised by heavily embellished dresses, high kicks and precise, synchronised moves to pop music—have a long and under-recognised history in Stoke-on-Trent. Once integral to the street parades that were a key feature of the popular town carnival movement in the North of England, today’s troupes compete weekly in private sports halls and community centres across Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester; the performance is rarely seen in public.

My residency celebrates this vibrant, but frequently overlooked aspect of un-institutionalised British culture, via a relational process of research and collaboration within the troupe dancing community. In particular, my work contemplates the relationships between material practice and contemporary tradition-making; “entertaining” communicates a powerful, localised identity, via a distinctive and evolving aesthetic, fostered through ongoing material practices conducted by the troupes, such as making dresses, team-wear and accessories, and other commemorative items.

As a dialogical artist, my work is fundamentally influenced and shaped by members of the troupe dancing community who visited the KULES space and contributed and created items for display. In Make Your Own Entertainment, members of Eternity Entertainers, Lightwood Crystals, Wulstan Reyelles and Infinity dance troupes participated in a workshop to create giant rosettes inspired by the US tradition of “homecoming ‘mums” (short for “chrysanthemum”). These elaborate corsages, decorated with ribbons, soft toys and fairy lights, are made and worn by high school students during Homecoming season to show support for the home team. In this work, installed upstairs at KULES, the notion of consciously importing a tradition is explored; carnival performances such as troupe dancing are sometimes mistaken for the US-originated practice of cheerleading, although there is no evidence to support such a straightforward or one-sided exchange. Perhaps ‘mum-making could become an aspect of the entertaining troupes’ material culture in the future? 

The culmination of this residency are performances by Eternity Entertainers and Lightwood Crystals (on Saturday and Sunday respectively). This represents a rare opportunity to witness this unique performance, while the post-industrial, subterranean setting of the KULES basement both reinforces and subverts this often hidden performance that prizes flawless execution and pristine uniform and appearance.

The Cult of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ

Core Cult operators will tap the molten flow of bitumen ( rich in sub cult myth and the eternal asphalt ‘graffiti’ stain ) deep within the sub terrrain of The Olympics Engineering Building. Join the Cult after their graveyard shift extracting deep ritual flows of Mozizizm >> the bringer of ‘Rubble Trauma’. >>Witness sub-atomic dark matter frequency mining through inter-pockets of primordial dimensional spaceways to form great express transits through underscores of bituminal particle frenzy stance (Precision sub-cult quantum engineering will ensure alternate sub dimensions are reached during ritual).  The Collective Exo Mass rotates in a major libidinal grove chamber providing dust and hierarchical prostration in a ritualistic centrifugal stomp through the cavernous sub terraineous leak holes where dark liquid letters form.  

Monday, 2 November 2015

KULES - The Prints

Each year, KULES residents produce a limited edition print for sale at the following residency.

2014 KULES residents, Doyle & Mallinson, Leslie Deere, Chloe Cooper and Leigh Clarke have each made limited editions of 12 screen prints - size 59.4cm x 42cm and signed by the artist. The prints have been hand printed on 160 GSM southbank smooth by Royal Academy print tutor, Leigh Clarke.

Each print is priced at £120.00.
The proceeds of sale go directly back into the funding of the residency programme

The prints can be bought by clicking Add To Cart
by contacting KULES at kulesresidency@gmail.com
at the AirSpace Gallery Shop here
in person by visiting the KULES Public View on November 7th and 8th, where they will be on offer at a special one-off reduced rate of £50.00

The Prints

Leigh Clarke is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work has been shown widely nationally and internationally. Clarke’s work has been shortlisted for the John Moore’s Painting Prize 2006 at the Walker Museum, Liverpool and the London Open 2012 at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. In 2013 he represented the University of Arts London at the 3rd International Printmaking Workshop at Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, China. He has curated many projects including those at the London College of Communication, Lokaal 01 and Extrapool project spaces in The Netherlands as well undertaking a residency at Lokaal 01, Antwerp and resident artist in Suldal, Norway.
Chloe Cooper makes instructional videos and live performances. She has recently exhibited and performed works at How Near is Here? Collective, Edinburgh (2014); Art Vilnius, Lithuania (2014); SpiderS, Smaragd, Berlin (2014); LPV, Tate Britain, London (2013); Until I, I Know You Better, Ti Pi Tin, London (2013); Leeds Leeds Leeds!, blip blip blip, Leeds (2013); Project Visible, Tate Modern (2013); The Everything and Nothing Problem, Ceri Hand Gallery/Jerwood Space, London (2013); Reactor Halls E03: Daniel Oliver presents Live Art Dogging, Primary Studios, Nottingham (2013); Whitstable Biennial, Whitstable (2012); TURN IT ON AGAIN, Motel De Nowhere, London (2012); and Keeping It Real (AiR), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2012)

Doyle & Mallinson have recently exhibited at New Art Gallery Walsall The Hecklers 2013, Whitechapel Gallery London Open 2012 and Tate Britain, Rude Britannia 2010. Solo shows include Galerie Nostheide-Eycke, Germany, The Dog’s Dinner 2013; Venlo Stadhuis, NL Ecce Homo Erectus 2008 and MOT International London, Peristroma Dolorosa 2005. Featured on The Culture Show in 2010 for their ‘Fascist Fruit Boys’ in Tate Britain’s Rude Britannia, their work, including earlier solo projects is included in public collections including Saatchi Gallery, London and Odapark Centrum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Venray NL. Shaun Doyle and Mally Mallinson are represented by Paul Stolper, London 

Leslie Deere is a London based audio visual artist. Originally from Tennessee, Deere moved to the UK to study Sonic Art, continuing on from a performing arts dance background in NYC. Deere has exhibited internationally with solo shows in Italy and Switzerland, and has a permanently installed sculpture in Geneva. Commissions include sound installations for Kew Gardens, the SoundUK 2013 tour and Sound Thought Festival, Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow. Most recently Leslie took part in the Liminal Space Residency at Temporary Art Projects, Southend-on-Sea and she completed two new sound installations featured at London Fashion Week SS15 for designers Huishan Zhang and Thomas Tait.

And for the set of four...

Public View performance - The Cult of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ

What happens to the Public in a post-apocalyptic world? At the KULES Public View we will present a vision via a performance from The Cult of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ

The Cult of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ resembles a post apocalyptic cargo cult – reconfiguring specific cultural debris into exo- skeletal outfits from branded futuristic sports padding, equipment and helmets, reverberations of the samurai garbage suits of the late Hip Hop performance artist/rapper/philosopher RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ

The Cult carry out ritualz of collective frenzy to highlight the alchemic and cannibalistic practice of Hip Hop. Seemingly futuristic subcultural forms such as complex wildstyle graffiti, breakdancing, record sampling and scratch-mixing music from previous musical genres all emerged out of the dystopian ruin of the South Bronx and feature in abstracted forms within the Cults rituals. Hip Hop phrases are broken down and chanted, pointing to an obsessional affiliation with branded sportswear (“My Adidas!, My Air Jordanz!”). Adidas becomes the remixed god ‘Zi-Dada’ and Robert Moses — master architect of the Cross Bronx Expressway (The road partly responsible for the dystopian backdrop of 1970’s South Bronx where Hip Hop began) — becomes the god ‘Mozizizm’.

The Cult perform express-praying, ghost breaking and break-spraying, forms of breakdancing and devotional body movements that hint at the original form of breakdancing combined with elements such as spray painting in a ritual expressive form on off-cut kitchen lino (A surface reconfigured for head-spinning in the 1980’s).

These elements are also echoed in the outfits and objects of the Cult. Discarded branded trainers are cut up (the soles removed) and used as talismans, futuristic shinguards and bulky sports padding are reconfigured into post-apocalyptic cult armour.

From 2012-2015 The Cult Of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ have performed large scale immersive rituals at artist run spaces such as The Gasworks, DIG space, The Pumphouse (a squatted museum in Greenwich) and at institutes such as Modern Art Oxford, Somerset House and also at The Saatchi Gallery. They have also performed at Panke Culture in Berlin, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Locatie Z in the Hague. 

For more information on The Cult of RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ click the following links.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

More late-night studio action, and this season's must have!

Another late evening at Olympus... It's starting to feel like Blackpool in my little corner of the studio; I love it! <3

In other news, my super-exclusive KULES / 'Make Your Own Entertainment' T-Shirts arrived today. This season's must-have, I reckon (with apologies to anyone with strobe-lighting / terrible-internet-graphics-sensitivities...)

Made with GlitterPhoto.net

(with thanks to Glen for taking the photograph)

Noel Clueit - a progress report

Measure work before you arrange the transport.

This is a work made late last year that will be shown as part of the final presentation weekend. I don’t usually re-show work, but this time it can be shown outdoors, which was always my intention… and as it had to be cut in half to fit in the van it’s probably it’s final outing.

The work is called O, of love taking the form of the slanted O of Robert Indiannas seminal Love sculpture from 1970.
I was recently sent this article that actually covers much of my interest in the work, in how it has become this culturally diluted emblem, long forgotten as an artwork to exist as a product.

The work has been reused in various ways over the years, most notable General Ideas AIDS version, a Rage Against The Machine album sleeve, I think Oasis used it at one point. As well as Indiannas own rehashes of the works in various languages, where the second letter always retains the tilt but is never quite so striking as the O of love.

Here, it is title of the work that sits in line with thoughts over the past two weeks or so. I am interested in how Indiannas LOVE has become this prop, something for couples to pose in front of as a way to declare their passion… ultimately these images make there way onto the internet, images of strangers embraced in front of a logo.
The title O, of love has this poetic feel to it, yet it is completely literal, this language, the position of the comma, might evoke a more romantic reading. It remains as falsely poetic as the work in which it is taken from.

Today we had workshops for Fine Art graduates from Staffordshire Uni, it was a great chance to gather some content for a piece of work i’m developing whist i’m here (I guess this will become clearly later).
But I also had time to work on a few other small things… one being the work above, which is a very rudimentary mock up for a bench leg, I decided it did something way more interesting once it met a wall. So for now, nothing more than a circle and a stick stuck to the wall but it reminded me of a work i have wanted to make for a while - so completely perfect that these actions pull something from the back of the brain.

This is another image that isn’t really anything. I have been thinking about making a wall drawing in one of the larger spaces. It’s a strange thing making these decisions, there is always this reminder I have to give myself that this isn’t a show, it’s a residency, I know how to make wall drawings.

One thing that came up in conversation over the weekend is when wall drawings are pushed to a certain scale do they end up looking like street art… in terms of my own work I don’t agree but I see the point. And also wall drawings aren’t a laborious task, so now it’s cursed to feel like street art, and i’m not saying street art isn’t laborious, but it has made me rethink the pace or ease of the idea.

So this is a test to remove the surface of the wall revealing the plywood surface below. definitely laborious. It’s something that should jar against the benches with the wood now painted to look more like steel. And hopefully, if I use it, it won’t look like some dashed attempt at a wall mural. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

KULES - some works in progress - Week 3

KULES - Week Three - Work In Progress

Lucy Wright

Sarah Hardacre

 Noel Clueit

Kyle Cartlidge

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

"Make Your Own Entertainment!" - 'Mum-making with dance troupe members

Today was the day of my first workshop with members of local dance troupes, and it was a bit of a success (if I say so myself!). A total of 32 people from 4 different troupes dropped in over the course of the day between 11am and 9pm, and made some fantastic 'mums... Most decided to donate them to the exhibition - but there was some talk about using them afterwards to decorate the troupe bus, so maybe this US homecoming tradition will catch on here in Stoke... 

I don't want to spoil the surprise too much for those of you heading to the open weekend on the 7th/8th, but below are just a few spoiler photos below to whet your appetites...

10.30 am
The calm before the storm...

The first troupes start to arrive...

A couple of sneak previews from Lightwood Crystals...

 And from Wulstan Reyelles...

Eternity Entertainers (plus one guest member of Infinity Entertainers) drop by...

Eternity Entertainers part 2!

A few last photos before finishing for the day...

Everyone worked really hard - and were very patient when the generator packed in for an hour or so, stopping all glue-gun use! I think the results are brilliant... Well done everyone!