Friday, 9 May 2008

The Memory Project

The Memory Project:

Whilst looking at a news click on the bbc for The Cans Festival I came across an interesting clip for a project known as The Memory Project sponsored by O2 and designed by Gabby Shawcross and Jason Bruges.

You can watch the video clip here and it tells you about how the gallery works. The nearer you move to the images that line the gallery space the further you move forward to recent moments in time. The further back you move from the images to the middle of the gallery the further back in time the images you see go. There are a number of cameras on the outside of the structure that record images in various timed intervals and inside the gallery there is a motion sensor camera that can determine how near to the centre of the gallery you are.

It was show in the London's South Bank in mid April and is currently touring various cities across the country.

Below are some clips of the installation:

Blood on Paper - the Art of the Book

V&A: Blood on Paper Exhibition:

This free exhibition on from the 15th April to the 29th June 2008 showcases contemporary work by modern day artists who are trying to challenger the concept of what exactly is a book.

The area is split into four different sections. Section one has works by artists including Matisse, Picasso, Miro and a giant "book" by Anselm Keifer titled "The Secret Life Of Plants", which looks to be constructed out of giant sheets of lead. In section two works by Damien Hurst and Ed Ruscha look at Christian iconography and artistic creation according to the leaflet anyway. Personally I think the book o
f "Stains", 1969 by Ed Ruscha is just plain weird! Who else makes a book of stains that contains apple juice, their own blood, urine and sperm and can class it as being art?? If this is a book and it is art then I think I will be making my next book from a roll of used toilet paper.

Only in the world of art can people get away with so many things, by using complete dribble to explain something that generally has no explanation and I should know. When doing art we were constantly told to give everything an explanation. Even though most of the things we created were because they came from the heart, a moment of inspiration or just out of the plain love of it.

Anyway! In the room there was one quite nicely bound book Isamu Noguchi titled "18 drawings, 18 photographs" (above). It was in a concertina design, nicely bound with fabric and used some nice thick paper/ card and just looked nice and neat. This could also be said about Eduardo Chillida's "Reflections" (below), which can all be stored in to a nice compartment.

Another piece of work in this section was by Francis Bacon, that wasn't exactly a book but his suitcase with various things he had collected from his travels over the years, but it was all quite nice to look at.

In the third section were works by Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons etc... That specialise in poetry and use modern and ancient materials and techniques, including papyrus, paper, plastic and photography. Cai Guo-Quaing's "Danger Book: Suicide Fireworks" is an exploding book filmed on a projection.

In the 4th section are works by Keifer, Vital, Caro and Anish Kapoor that look at the contemporary development of the idea of the book at an art form. Where Kapoor has carefully carved through paper to make something interesting, which resembles the crack in the Tate Modern. Work by Caro titled "Open Secret" (below) doesn't represent a book at all and are forms created from metal.

All in all I thought this exhibition might inspire me a little to give my current projects some form of identity, but they did nothing and I wish that the ticket person would have sold me a ticket for the China Design Now exhibition in the same place, which I still wish to see :) But I am not big on books so if you like books then you may enjoy this exhibit! In fact i'm going to go back on myself and say really it wasn't that bad at all :P

All images are from the V&A's website, as you are not allowed to take photos in the exhibition.

Des Res @ NLA

Des Res Exhibition:

In the building centre off of Tottenham Court Road is the new exhibition by the NLA called Des Res, which looks at the pressures the capital is under going to cope with the construction of buildings to cope with an estimated population increase of over 700,000 in the next 15 years. The mayor's housing strategy proposes almost a quarter of a million new homes by 2016, which is represented in the model pictured below.

The exhibition relates to my extended essay I am currently doing on new developments in the Thames Gateway area of Kent Thameside.

The exhibition looks at areas including sustainability, affordability, design, the public realm, communities, mixed use developments and previous post-war housing examples. Like with all NLA exhibitions it comes with a great supporting booklet, lots of lovely new architect models and many large print outs of photographs, models, CGI and photoshop representations of the new developments.

Each development profile includes architect, client, project manager and landscape architect! It also includes a break down of the developments density, mix of units (per no. bedrooms), retail, commercial and residential percentages, amount of public space included and the percentage of homes in that are socially rented in each development. This makes it all very clear and easy to compare different developments across the capital and see which are the most effective.

Developments I particularly liked were the narrow Monmouth Road building designed by Pitman Tozer Architects and Landscaped by Nurture Nature, which has been nominated for the Grand Design building of the year award. I also like Donnybrook Quarter (pictured above) designed by Peter Barber Architects, which has a very Spanish or Greek feel about the style of the housing. Another development I particularly like for it's strong use of colour is St. Thomas' School (pictured below) and Flats in Kensington and Chelsea, designed by Pollard Thomas Edwards architects and the landscape architect is Jenkins and Clarke.

The Cans Festival

The Cans Festival, Waterloo:

Following on from my previous post about street art I was so excited when I heard there was a festival on the subject in London. The Cans festival organised by Banksy is situated in Leake Street, a half mile long tunnel that runs the width of Waterloo Station. The installation was given permission by Eurostar who own the site and Banksy invited around 29 other street artists from all over the world to take part and create their own pieces in the tunnel. In Banksy's words he has turned a "dark forgotten filth pit into an oasis of beautiful art".

I was too late to see the props and see members of the public create their own pieces of work over the bank holiday weekend, but I did manage to see the remaining works. It was so refreshing to see so many different styles in one place and each was witty, creative imaginative and colourful.

I think in the end I probably ended up taking a photo of every piece, as it was so fun and interesting and if you like street art then I recommend you see it. If you don't like street art, then go see it anyway, as it might change your mind :)

Artists include Banksy, James Dodd, Kaagman, John Grider, Logan Hicks, Bandit, Dotmasters and my favourite artist of the festival C215, where I like his style and the lines running through the images mixed with a wallpaper pattern background, but you have to look at it closely to appreciate it most.

I also liked Banksy's graffiti cleaner who's removal prehistoric styled art work, the painting gorilla and more a less everything else!!!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Street Art @ Tate Modern

Street Art:

Browsing the beeb I saw an article about the Tate Modern and that it is commissioning 6 street artists to adorn the front wall of the Tate over looking the Thames in the summer. The external wall shall have a protective layer put on first so that the brick work will not get damaged when it is later removed. I think this is an excellent idea, as you can't get more modern than street art and street art will connect and bring more young people to the Tate Modern. Galleries can be perceived as a rather high brow places to visit with endless pointless annotations about the work on display. It will also show what is inspiring people in the art world and what is relevant in today's society. I do not mind street art I find it creative, inspiring and imaginative.
However, I hate tags that have no point and look terrible. All they do is ruin an area, whilst with good street art it can become attached to the community that surrounds it and become part of the urban landscape.

The six artists being commissioned art are JR from France who uses photos of people from deprived backgrounds and places them in affluent city areas.

Otavio & Gustavo Pandolfo are twins coming from Sao Paulo in Brasil and their name collectively is Os Gemeos, which means "the twins" in Portuguese and their work represents life in South America. The pair also paint on canvases, sculpt, graphic design and also do photography.

Another artist is Blu who's subject relate to death and uses paper montages to create some of his work. One of his works I saw yesterday in Shoreditch, but I never knew who it was by until today and the website is good!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Smithfield to Shoreditch

The beauty of London is that you can quite easily get lost, which is great for discovering new things! However, another good thing about London is that however lost you may be if you walk in a random direction you some how eventually do manage to get to your chosen destination.


Starting off from Smithfield's market, an ancient meat market that has been trading for over 800 years. Near to the market is St. Bartholomew the Great a church founded in 1123 as part of an Augustinian Priory. I then walked through the narrow streets before coming to the Barbican and Fann Street Wildlife Park. It is one of only two wildlife sanctuaries in the city and helps to create a green grid of habitats. Managed by the city of London and the Barbican Wildlife Group it has areas of rotting wood, beech hedging, cut and uncut lawn that help promote wildlife in the middle of a high density residential area.

Dreamspace Gallery:

Near Fann Street is the Dreamspace Gallery at Adrem. Currently it is exhibiting work by Amin Taha Architects, an up and coming practice in London. The exhibition shows models and projects of current and future projects, including the Custard Factory (Birmingham), Vauxhall Tree Gardens (London) and the New Islington Footbridge, which stretches over a crossroads in the canal system. Existing projects that can be seen are Marlborough House in London Fields and Gazzano House in Farringdon that uses Cor-ten steel to blend it in with it's historic surroundings.

By Dreamspace is Whitecross Street Market, which is Islington's oldest market. Due to it's location near Old Street it has a confused identity of scruffy run down shops and expensive boutiques. In some cases it seems that vacant shops are just used as storage for the various market stalls along the street.

At the end of the market is a church on Old Street called St. Luke's. This is an unusual church due to the fact that instead of having a spire it has an obelisk. The church is a grade 1 listed building and is now home to the London Symphony Orchestra and is used as a rehersal, recording & education space and an intimate concert hall.


Wandering along Old Street I came in contact with Shoreditch country. Shoreditch is a great place because although it has a mix of new architecture and expensive bars it also has contrasting run down buildings, street art and graffiti. There are Victorian buildings that resemble ancient ruins being propped up and quirky converted customised tube carriages being used as offices for arty types.


From Shoreditch I went to Bethnal Green to see "Sweet" at the Museum of Childhood. Edible architecture has been created by artist Jaimini Patel and local school children. The work of Jamini Patel uses produce from Britain's colonial past that bought the wealth to construct the actual buildings. With detailed models being constructed from sugar, spices and cocoa. Primary and secondary school children used a trip to the museum to inspire them to create buildings of their own and replicate famous London landmarks out of recycled material, packaging, chocolate and sweets.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Butterfly Conservation Project:

Butterfly World is a new £25 million pound project aimed at conserving world and native butterfly & moth species. The project is aimed to be completed in three years time and will cover a site of 27 acres near St. Albans. The site will be laid out in the shape of a butterfly's face with the eye of the butterfly being the main focal point of the project. Here there will be a tropical dome that uses the same design principals of the Eden Project in Cornwall, but it shall be even larger in size.
Outside of the dome there will be gardens and large wild flower meadows aimed at encouraging, attracting and stabilising British butterfly species as well educating the public on the topic. A key aspect of Butterfly World will be "Future Gardens", a showcase for contemporary and sustainable garden design which will become an annual event from June to September.
The project will approximately attract 500,00 to a million people a year. The project aims to be self sustaining and estimates at bringing £123million to the local economy over it's first five years of operation.

Site Plan: