Wednesday, 29 September 2010

MA Show
My MA Show opens this Thursday 30th Oct at the Holden Gallery 6-8pm.

A diverse, exhibition of work by postgraduate students of the Faculty of Art and Design.

Exhibition One The Holden Gallery

30th September - 7th October

Includes work by MA Fine Art, MA Textiles, MA Three Dimensional Design and MA Visual Culture students. Private View: 30th September 6-8pm
Didsbury Arts Festival
I took part in Didsbury Arts Festival which aims to reflect the talent and diversity of Didsbury. It includes an eclectic programme ranging from Visual Arts exhibitions and workshops, Classical Concerts, Comedy, Dance workshops, Arts demonstrations and Readings by local authors and poets. With more than 80 events in over 40 venues across Didsbury the festival has an audience of more than 5000.

The full programme and more information about the festival can be found here:

I exhibited my 'Tito's' series in Didsbury Life alongside two photographers, Anita Farkas and Pam Smith. Here are some photographs from the preview:

Here is the extract from the programme:
"Three artists will show work at this well known Burton Road venue. Pam Smith (Hidden Colours), '....looking at these old bathroom tiles they are shiny black. A slight turn of the head and beautiful colours appear in the cracked glaze.' Hannah Wiles (Tito's), '....hopes to confront how people respond to neglected sites through the means of transforming them in a way that encourages interaction.' Anita Farkas (Twenty Photos), '...a beautiful selection of a tender view of life, produced with great delicacy, care and with eyes for beauty everywhere and seeing beyond the obvious. Spend some time with her on this magic journey.'"

It was a really great opportunity for me to show this work to an audience. People seemed to like the photographs just as compositions but became very interested when they realised that I had actually intervened in the space. It was also interesting to see the photographs framed and mounted so that they took on another level beyond simple documentation becoming works of art works in themselves.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Francis Alys
I made a trip down to London especially to see the exhibition, Francis Alys: A Story of Deception, at Tate Modern.

Having trained as an architect, he addresses the built environment and the uses of public space, turning cities into fields of investigation and then utilising them as the raw material for his interventions. He seems to have a wonderful ability to notice the most mundane of intricacies such as bottle tops embedded in tarmac or chewing gum left under a table, and then he utilises these humble observation to engage with weighty ideas. I clearly share his passion for drawing people’s attention to the everyday details that go unnoticed and some of his works have a particular resonance with the ideas behind my practice.

Francis Alÿs in collaboration with Felipe Sanabria, The Collector (Colector) Mexico City, 1990-2, Private collection © Francis Alÿs Photo: Ian Dryden.

Francis Alÿs, Ambulantes I and II Mexico City, 1992-Present, Private collection © Francis Alÿs.

For example in Placing Pillows, he placed pillows in broken windows to draw attention to the failure of civic authorities to repair these damaged buildings in the aftermath of the 1985 earthquake. And his interest in the civic authorities runs deeper as can be seen in such works as The Collector, which celebrates the widespread resistance that exists in Mexico to modernisation, and in Ambulantes, where he documents street situations and characters that attest to a lifestyle in defiance of the pressures of modernity. In the same way that I intend my work to question the necessity for the continual renewal of our cities, his work appears to speak out against modernity and its restricting rationality that has prevailed in an attempt to control nascent urban life, and project in its place a model of city planning.
Francis Alys and Politics
In many of his projects politics and poetics seem to intertwine as he concerns himself with the everyday life of a city, the economics of modernisation and the division of space. I am interested in his standpoint on this as I am often given the question of whether I consider my work to have a political agenda. His works are first and foremost poetic, transient and open to interpretation. And yet the question lingers as to whether these poetic acts that reflect upon particular real situations can also create a space for new ways of thinking, that will lead in turn to ‘the possibility of change.’ Alys does not want his practice to be overtly political but instead believes that,

“Through the gratuity or the absurdity of the poetic act, art provokes a moment of suspension of meaning, a brief sensation of senselessness that reveals the absurdity of the situation and through this act of transgression, makes you step back or step out and revise your prior assumptions about this reality.”

(ALYS, F. (2007) Francis Alys, interview with Russel Ferguson, London, p.40)

I feel that, similarly to Francis Alys, I am trying to use the language of an artist to make a poetic response to my surroundings. This may have a social dimension or become a political comment, but that has to happen within the experience of the poetic act.

Photograph from David Zwirner, New York. Francis Alÿs on his walk through Jerusalem in 2005, in which he retraced the Green Line with a leaky paint can, part of an exhibition at the David Zwirner gallery in Chelsea.
Hazard MMX

Saturday 17 July
Manchester city centre 12-5pm free

HAZARD Manchester’s micro-festival of sited performance and intervention unleashes its third wave of bizarre behaviour onto the city on 17 July. Outbreaks of cheeky, thought-provoking and sometimes raunchy sprees of eccentricity take live art and contemporary performance into the public domain.

The two previous outings of Hazard have seen the bold and the beautiful, eccentric and extreme crop-up in every possible location: Cathedral Gardens swaddled in Hazard Tape, giant dancing traffic cones, impossible circumnavigations of the city by canoe and dry-wipe graffiti have all featured. At times unavoidable, at times subliminal, a flash of yellow and black might be the only clue that the city is one big performance.

For HAZARD MMX, over twenty pieces of work will take to the streets, with participating artists to include:

Alex Bradley, Andy&Gaz&Jon, Astrid Breel, Clare Charnley, Doldrum Theatre, Eggs Collective, Fin de Siecle, Freezechester, Hannah Wiles, Hen's Teeth Theatre, James Topple, Jordan McKenzie, Martin Hamblen, Natalie Preece, Noise Club, Out Of Hand Theater, Peader Kirk, Rachael Nutter, Scratch ‘n Sniff Cinema, The Muffia, Vickie Fear

Here is a link to the website which has pictures, videos and writings on the events that took place:
Beeline, Oldham Street
I was selected to take part in Hazard MMX as a paid participant. It was important to me that I proposed work that would develop my practice and build on the concepts that I had been researching. Having produced the Monotony series I wanted to continue with this methodology of producing work that in some way creates a trail for the audience but I was keen to experiment with a way of doing this without using letters.

Continuing with my focus on the homogenisation of our cities, I proposed to draw attention to the ominous and controlling, BXPU 1539 Manchester PU bollards that guard our streets: a black sentinel on every corner, a pillar of our uniform city experience.

Using yellow tape I wrapped the first bollard with just one strip of tape, the second with two, the third with three and so on, until the final bollard at the top of the street was completely yellow. The colour was chosen specifically as one that would be eye catching but also that fitted in with the theme of the festival ‘hazard’ and referenced the city emblem of a bee that is inscribed on every bollard.

Images of Beeline by Hannah Wiles, Photographs by Roshana Rubin-Mayhew