October 26, 2011 § 3 Comments
So we all got back from France about three weeks ago, took some time for a breather, and then last Sunday met up again to debrief, start going through the images we’d brought back, and begin planning our next moves.
This was the second year in a row we were artists-in-residence at Château du Perron, and taking back with us some kind of exhibition, so we could show people the work we did the year before, seemed a good idea, but why a newsprint exhibition? As well as wanting to try out Newspaper Club, we figured we needed something that was relatively quick and inexpensive to produce, easy to transport, and that could be hung almost anywhere without much fuss, so newsprint seemed to fit the bill. The fact that the exhibition also worked well as a publication was a bonus.
We had a lot of fun with it too (and these are just a few of the pictures we took of it, there are more on Facebook and Flickr). The exhibition it was originally intended for was hung in front of giant wine barrels in a different part of the same working barn we exhibited in last year. Richard played with it outside, pegging it out on the château’s washing line. I photographed Richard with it on the terrasse of a café in the neighbouring town of Richelieu. And we offered a copy as a prize in the château tombola – the lady flicking through it in the picture below was the winner.
As I wrote previous post, we had just ten copies printed. Two were used for the exhibition. One was a tombola prize. We sold three, gave two as gifts, and left one as a promo with the gallerist we met with when we went to Paris. So we only have one left… About a week ago we showed it to someone whose judgement we trust, and they gave us some very positive feedback, so we’re now seriously considering reprinting and making the copies available to buy – we need to fundraise for our exhibition in London somehow, might selling newspapers help?
The problem is that Wideyed doesn’t have the funds to finance another print run of any size. The only way we can afford to re-edition the newspaper is to take pre-orders. We’re not sure how to successfully go about doing that… but while we’re mulling it over the newspaper is available to view online at www.newspaperclub.com/wideyed
Our exhibition, ‘In Vino Veritas’, will run from 25th April – 5th May 2012 at Art House in London, with a preview event on 27th April (times TBC). We’ve got six months to prepare and we’ve got lots of ideas about what kind of exhibition it could be, so we’ll be talking about it more here as things progress.
Meanwhile, if anyone has any thoughts or advice about selling newspapers, or would just like to buy one even, please let us know!
September 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
Well, here we go again – like this time last year, Wideyed are heading back to France.
It won’t be exactly the same as last year though. This time we’re taking some newspapers. Loosely inspired by Rob Hornstra’s ‘On the Other Side of the Mountains‘, with some of our 2010 images we’ve put together a newspaper that we hope will also work as a newsprint exhibition.
I’ve been obsessing about newsprint since January 2009, so it’s about time we finally found a good reason (and the means) to use Newspaper Club. Our newspapers are 64 page monsters but there are only 10 copies – two are for our archive, two will be somehow hung as an exhibition at the château where we’ll be in residence again, and the other six? Not sure. We may just drop them in local cafés and sneaky photograph people looking at them. Or something.
Wideyed has also just invested in a projector that has a pretty decent throw. We think we might be able to use the façade of the château as a screen. When we mentioned this to François (our host), he instantly requested anything Wallace and Gromit, so we might be doing a bit of impromptu open air cinema too.
And who knows what else might happen?
Back early October!
July 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
Will this be the final post about our and ASA Collective’s adventures with Mapping and Re:Mapping Flâneurs?
The Newcastle Arts Centre exhibition ended on Saturday, and Wideyed took it down on Monday. Some lovely comments had been left on the blank index cards in the filing cabinet, for example:
A most delightful journey!
Great, but it feels like it needs to ‘grow’… The rolls need to keep unfurling.
The Flâneur, today this is me. Interesting to see what the rest of the world is up to, much sadness but some bright spots.
Inspiring use of technology, brilliant photography, very brave approach!
A fantastic concept concisely and attractively articulated through exhibition. Brings fantastic images from many countries into a cohesive, imaginative and thought provoking whole. Nice!
Someone even did a little drawing for us! But my personal favourite is “It’s awe-inspipiring – Oliver, age 10“
Anyway, while the exhibition was up we filmed as well as photographed it, and we also shot some footage of the private view on 24th July, which we’ve finally got round to editing and posting here.
It really has been an adventure. Many thanks again to everyone who shared it with us.
June 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
ASA Collective joined us in Newcastle on Monday so we could all hang our collaborative exhibition, ‘Re:Mapping the Flâneur’, ready for it to open yesterday.
The show comprises three of the 40m long prints made during ‘Mapping the Flâneur’ at Derby in March 2011: in the installation shot below, you can see one of these running around the wall on the left, with the other two hanging along the centre. On the remaining wall (below right and above) is a 13m long print we made especially for the exhibition: this has a reprint of the last 40 images sent to us for the Derby installation, followed by 20 mock index cards, one for each participating collective, that include the names and logos of each collective and their photographers, websites and other useful information. These ‘cards’ (see above top right) also show the location of each collective, and they’re all arranged for the print in the order of timezones (i.e. GMT in the centre, the Americas on the far left through western Europe and Africa to eastern Europe on the far right).
The exhibition closes 5pm on Saturday 25th June. Come and see it!
May 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
It’s now 6 weeks since FORMAT11 ended. It took a while for everyone at ASA Collective and Wideyed to get over Mapping the Flâneur (it was a lot of hard work!), and then start digesting the experience…
Over the month that Mapping the Flâneur took place, 97 photographers from 20 collectives around the world contributed just over 700 of their images to the installation project. 700 images in a month might not seem like a lot in a world where thousands of pictures are uploaded to online image sharing sites every minute. But when you’re processing 700 images, publishing them with credits and captions to a tumblr site and sending them to print in a gallery, all one by one, believe us, it’s a lot. And at the end of the exhibition, we discovered we’d used 5 rolls of 40m long paper, totalling 200m, for the installation. Those are big prints.
As part of the application process for ACE G4TA grants, there’s a section dedicated to evaluation – ACE ask how you plan to monitor the progress of your work from start to finish, and consider its potential impact beyond. When you first start considering this, the most obvious measurements of achievement are quantifiable things like the numbers of visitors to the exhibition, press clippings and web hits; for example, based on the figures supplied to us by FORMAT, we estimate that 2,500-2,700 people saw Mapping the Flâneur in Derby. After that, there are things like written comments and word-of-mouth feedback, evaluation forms and SWOT analyses…
But it also occurred to us that, at the close of the exhibition, a large number and variety of images would have been received, and the potential to successfully re-curate these into another object – another exhibition, say – would be the most interesting measure of the quality of the project.
And that’s exactly what we’re about to attempt.
This is the gallery in Newcastle where we’ll be re-exhibiting Mapping the Flâneur – or Re:Mapping the Flâneur. The gallery is part of Newcastle Arts Centre, which 100 years ago was a department store, and the arched ceiling is a restored original feature. Given that the piece of work we’ll be exhibiting there was directly inspired by Walter Benjamin’s ‘The Arcades Project’, the fact that we’ll be using a space that not only looks like an arcade but was also used as a commercial space like one, is fantastic.
And this is roughly how we plan to use that space. Although the gallery is large, it’s nowhere near big enough to display five 40m long prints, so we’ll exhibit the best parts of three, and with these try to give an impression of the lengths of the prints and the scale of the original project they were produced in. The index card filing cabinet we used in the Collectives Encounter exhibition will make a reappearance, and we’ll also produce a 13m long print, especially for this show, as a means of introducing some context (information about the Derby installation, the photographers that took part and their collectives, and so on).
In addition, our collaboration with ASA Collective continues, as we’re working to transform all the images we received into something that can be screened or projected. Our hope is that any of the other collectives involved in this project can then take ownership of this piece, by showing it themselves if they wish. That they might take it for a walk…
The exhibition will run from 14th – 26th June 2011 at Newcastle Arts Centre, 67 Westgate Road, NE1 1SG
6pm onwards on Friday 24th June, the projection piece being created for this exhibition will be screened at a special event, timed to coincide with Sunderland University’s ‘The Versatile Image: Photography in the Era of Web 2.0‘.
We hope to see you there!
March 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
On 28th February, ASA Collective and Wideyed arrived in Derby and spent the next eight days there installing and then starting to run Mapping the Flâneur.
So, what’s it like?
And how does it work?
Well… firstly, we download in chronological order the images people have emailed to us, and one-by-one we check they’re the right size, in the right colour space, and whether they have the photographers’ details embedded in the metadata. We then save them in a dated folder, adding numerical order and theme info to the file name, after which they can be uploaded to the mapping-flaneur.tumblr.com site. Following that, the images are transferred to a pre-prepared photoshop template according to the theme they’re a response to (so they’re in the correct position on the roll paper), and sent to print in the gallery.
There’s about 7m worth of paper visible in the installation, with 30-35 printed images viewable at any time. Since the exhibition opened on 3rd March, we’ve been receiving 30-ish new images everyday, which is also roughly the number we can manage to process and print while the gallery is open to the public (11am-5pm Monday-Saturday, 12noon-4pm Sunday). This is working out really well, as it means that every image that’s sent to us is on view in the exhibition for at least one working day, and every day there’s a whole new set of printed images for visitors to see.
In a previous blog post, we said we were considering installing a second printer in the gallery, to print doubles of all the images on 3”x5” index card sized paper. It was a lovely idea, but it turned out to be impractical. That said, all the images are still being separately printed in this smaller size each day, but it’s being done at home in London by ASA Collective’s Armando Ribiero, and he’s then snailmailing the prints to Derby* so they can be placed in the index card filing cabinet in the gallery. In this way, even after the images on the roll paper have disappeared from view, they will still all be viewable in the index card filing cabinet. Well, that’s the theory… in practice, visitors to the exhibition seem to be taking these little prints away as souvenirs! Which is kind of flattering?
In a way, what we’re making is a set of giant scroll form books (like this by Masao Yamamoto [via The Space In Between]. As the exhibition is being ‘curated’ by the chronological order in which the images arrive by email, it’s been fascinating to see the correspondences between them that are being produced entirely by chance.
We hope the little film above helps give an idea of what Mapping the Flâneur is like.
*We have someone in Derby keeping an eye on things for us there – thank you Rosie! We’ll tell you more about Rosie later in the month.
February 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
With only a month to go till the opening of Collectives Encounter, it’s probably time to start talking about our part of it in more detail.
First, an interesting quote from Walter Benjamin:
From a European perspective, things looked this way: In all areas of production, from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the development of technology proceeded at a much slower rate than the development of art. Art could take its time in variously assimilating the technological modes of operation. But the transformation of things that set in around 1800 dictated the tempo to art, and the more breathtaking this tempo, the more readily the dominion of fashion overspread all fields. Finally, we arrive at the present state of things: the possibility now arises that art will no longer find the time to adapt somehow to technological processes. [G1,1]
Loosely inspired by recent developments in cloud printing, Mapping the Flâneur has been conceived by Wideyed and ASA Collective as an image-based response to the fragmentary, indexical construct and content of Benjamin’s Arcades Project. Incorporating printers producing, in real time, images for exhibition as they are emailed in, the installation is partly intended to present a tangible model of online image sharing: the experimental nature of the project is also a response to ongoing critical debate about the future of print in the internet age, and will embody one possible crossover between the online and real worlds. Secondly, by inviting photography collectives around the world to join in a dialogue with each others’ work, based around key themes drawn from Benjamin’s writings, the project will present an overview of the growing photography collective movement, of contemporary photographic practices worldwide, and provide a multiplicity of responses to diverse global urban realities.
That’s the plan, anyway.
Tonight we found out where the exhibition space will be, and apparently it’s smack in the centre of Derby, and huge. When setting up at the end of this month, some thinking on our feet will be necessary. Meanwhile, we’ll continue working towards turning our plans into reality (but with increasing urgency). We’ll soon be contacting the collectives we hope will play with us, and drafting our manual… and we’ll spare you the list.
But to finish we’ll just go back to the Benjamin quote at the beginning quickly and ask, can the arts keep pace with technological advances, or have they long since lost the race? Well, we might not have the material and financial resources that industry has, but hey, flexibility and a little ingenuity can go a long, long way.
Although our installation won’t be quite so post-steampunk as this, we love it! so we’re adding it to our research.
[This post has also been blogged at the Collectives Encounter website.]
January 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
As part of our engagement with Collectives Encounter 2011, we’ve agreed to blog about process. Over the holiday period, Wideyed and ASA were too busy with a funding application to ACE to even think about blogging, but the application was submitted this week so, now that we’ve (more or less…) recovered from that, we’re getting back to what we were doing before, which was research. And while we can’t talk about our exhibition project in too much detail yet, we can at least start blogging by sharing some of our research progress.
Photographers contributing images to our exhibition, Mapping the Flâneur, will be asked to respond to each others’ work and to predetermined themes drawn from the writings of Walter Benjamin. So we’re currently reading Benjamin’s The Arcades Project in search of potential themes, key words, and inspiring quotes (or ‘convolutes’) we can use for the exhibition. The book is a real door-stopper, so we haven’t finished going through it yet, but just before Xmas we found several pieces we’ll transcribe a few of here as examples of the kind of guidance we’re finding in Benjamin’s text.
Streets are the dwelling place of the collective. The collective is an eternally unquiet, eternally agitated being that – in the space between the building fronts – experiences, learns, understands, and invents as much as individuals do within the privacy of their own four walls. For this collective, glossy enameled shop signs are a wall decoration as good as, if not better than, an oil painting in the drawing room of a bourgeois; walls with their “Post No Bills” are its writing desk, newspaper stands its libraries, mailboxes its bronze busts, benches its bedroom furniture, and the café terrace is the balcony from which it looks down on its household. [M3a,4]
The flâneur is the observer of the marketplace. His knowledge is akin to the occult science of industrial fluctuations. He is a spy for the capitalists in the realm of consumers. [M5,6]
The city is the realisation of that ancient dream of humanity, the labyrinth. It is this reality to which the flâneur, without knowing it, devotes himself. [M6a,4]
“To leave without being forced in any way, and to follow your inspiration as if the mere fact of turning right or turning left already constituted an essentially poetic act.”
Edmond Jaloux, “Le Dernier Flâneur,” Le Temps (May 22, 1936). [M9a,4]
As well as panning for gold in The Arcades Project, at some point we will also need to write some form of brief, manual, or guidebook for participating photographers to follow. As part of our research for this we’ve been looking at manifestos, to see if this is a structure we could adapt for our own use. From www.manifestos.net we found links online to a few interesting ones, like F.T. Marinetti’s famous 1909 Futurist Manifesto, Oswaldo de Andrade’s satirical 1928 Cannibal Manifesto, and the Fractalist Movement’s not-so-snappily-titled Manifesto of the Art and Complexity Group from the mid-1990s (scroll to the bottom of the page for the French version).
Something else we’d have like to see but haven’t been able to track down online, is Lettrist Isidore Isou‘s text on photography: Amos, ou Introduction à la métagraphologie (Amos, or Introduction to Metagraphology). While searching around for it, we found instead a clip from Venom and Eternity, the avant garde Lettrist film that, for fun, we’re going to close this post with. The main character does talk about photography towards the end, but it’s more for the footage of an actual Parisian flâneur in action that we’re including it here.
[This post has also been blogged at the Collectives Encounter website.]
November 6, 2010 § 1 Comment
On Thursday 30th September, Wideyed arrived chez François Blanchard, organic winemaker, at Chateau du Perron in the Touraine region of France.
For Richard and me, this was our second trip to ‘Perron City’- our first was in 2005, when we took there ‘Growing Green’, an exhibition on organic horticulture in England by Richard. And, while we were there, made work about François’ unusual winemaking process that I exhibited some of my images from in Darlington the following year, for the opening of which François came over to do a wine tasting.
We didn’t mean to then leave the photos to rest for five years but, one thing and another, that’s what happened. 2010 really seemed like a good time to take them back though, especially as Richard’s images hadn’t been seen by anyone, in England or France. And, while we were at it, why not make it a Wideyed thing?
So there were all were, Louise, Richard and me, and we were there to hang an exhibition of mine and Richard’s vintage wine images, together with Louise’s ‘Shoot!’ series on hunting in County Durham. Not knowing where exactly around the chateau we were likely to exhibit, we just turned up with a variety of prints and improvised.
With much enthusiastic encouragement from François, we chose to hang our pictures on empty wine vats lining the corridor leading to and in the barn where the white wine was made this year, so basically our exhibition was in an interesting working space, and it was up until Sunday 17th October when the harvest ended.
As a crew from France3 turned up you can see for yourself just how much fun the whole thing was, all thanks to the ‘vigneresque attitude’ of François and his partner Karine. They started making organic wine around 2003, have always considered harvest time something to celebrate, and each year invite musicians and artists along to both muck in and do their thing. At the weekends people come from around France and also Belgium, Germany, Blighty of course… and even the New York restaurant where some of François’ wine is served (hello Claire!).
Anyway, over the fortnight we were there we made ourselves useful by helping to harvest and crush grapes, but the three of us also took a lot of photos. Although we’ve known each other for several years and, since founding Wideyed, have produced exhibitions together, we haven’t worked together as photographers before and thought the trip to France, at François’ invitation, artists-in-residence style, might be just the opportunity to give it a go. We should get our films back from the lab next week hopefully, and then we’ll have an editing session, see if we can shape something from the results?
From the left: Lucy, Richard, Claire, Hans, François, Louise, and Dabu, in front of the Chateau de Chambord.
All images © Louise Taylor 2010