First Fabric Designs

May 10, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

The fabric I designed is back from being digitally printed at Forest Digital. I’ve worked with this kind of printing once before and I like the option to print very short lengths and the fact that there is probably less pollution created due to using ink instead of the chemical materials and water of traditional printing.  The fabric is off to fashion designer Mrs Jones this week and we will be showing the final garments as part of Day + Gluckman’s show in Collyer Bristow Gallery Fifties Fashion and Emerging Feminism later this month. The fabric is inspired by stories of the 50s told to me by a group of Lancastrian’s I met earlier this year for As it Comes.

Looking back on visions of the future

May 4, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

I’m currently working with Fee Doran (aka Mrs.Jones) to create some garments from my drawings for a new commission that curators Day+Gluckman (Lucy Day and Elisa Gluckman) offered me for their upcoming show, Fifties, Fashion and Emerging Feminism at Collyer Bristow Gallery, which also includes a new commission by Freddie Robbins and work by WESSIELING.

Yesterday I received a package of stories, from Lancasters Marsh History group about life and clothes in the 50s as part of my research. The stories from the group, along with much of my other research into the legacy of the 50s really underlined how dramatically life seemed to change afterwards. Having not lived through the 50s I look back on it from two conflicting perspectives. In one way I think of it through the furniture and decorations I saw when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s that made me think of the 50s as an austere, constricting time, not one I would have liked, as a women, to live in. I look back to it as a time of austerity and of conservative values embodied in codes of behaviour, dress, traditions, gender, race and class hierarchies, when the glamour of high fashion was based on rigid expectations of a woman’s role in the home in society. I also think of the cold war,  fear of communism, fear of  the ‘other’. In contrast have seen the hope and imagination in the 1950’s visions of the future and I hear memories of strong communities, care neighbourlyness, the freedom to play and run about the streets many children had, that is almost unimaginable now, and of the huge inventiveness and creativity that flowered in and after that time, and of the lives people new to the UK built in difficult times. I learned when I started working in the arts I learned about the hugely inventive developments in design, art, architecture… (Rae and Charles Eames, Lucienne Day…).

For the commission we were asked to respond to iconic images of  John French and the fabric prints of Joyce Clissold that Day+Gluckman are including in the show, as well as the Festival of Britain. This led me through a route that encompassed my interests in technology development, myths of place, everyday life and back to Lancaster where I have recently been working on As It Comes a project about Lancasters Traders, to think about Horrockses the cotton manufacturer who launched an iconic ready to wear collection in the late 40s. This brought me back to the Marsh History group in Lancaster. who are such great storytellers; its something to do with their blend of  straight talking but kind Lancashire humour and an uncanny ability to remember the mundane and extraordinary detail of everyday life more then 50 years ago.

I’m creating a series of fabric designs and working with Fee Doran (Mrs.Jones) to create custom garments for the show, alongside a series of drawings that reflect the mythical image of glamorous 50s fashion and new domestic technology against the lived experience of the everyday. I’ll be incorporating traces of embroidery and snippets of conversation into folds, pleats and hems.

You’ll be able to see the finished work from: 26 May – 21 September, 2011
at  Collyer Bristow Gallery, 4 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4TF

for:

FIFTIES, FASHION and EMERGING FEMINISM:

Iconic John French prints, from the V&A Archive, alongside highlights from the Museum and Study Collection at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, work by WESSIELING, and new commissions by artists Alice Angus with Fee Doran (aka Mrs.Jones) and Freddie Robins responding to the world of fashion.

www.dayandgluckman.co.uk

 

Whose Data?

April 19, 2011 by · Comments Off on Whose Data? 

Last month I went to Bristol, to Knowle West Media Centre as part of Whose Data? an intensive residency week where 8 artists worked with the community to find ways of sharing live data. The artists; Jules Rochielle, Julie Myers, Paul Hurley, Susanne Stahl, Richard Layzell, Steven Paige, Chris Chapman came from backgrounds in performance, design, fine art as well as digital media.

Knowle is a large housing estate just outside the centre of Bristol and though it is classified in some areas as a “deprived urban area” it has a strong community and sense of place. It was built along the lines of the Garden City Movement and has lots of green space and gardens. There is an interesting mix of urban and rural and many people have a close relationship to the land;- they keep horses, sometimes in their gardens, chickens even pigs are not unknown.

The idea was to come up with locally relevant ideas for using live data that could be useful to people who want to know more about energy use, weather,  growing food on their allotments and so on. During the week the artists created and presented ideas to KWMC and local residents four of these will be awarded a residency to develop their ideas further. Whose Data? is being led by Dane Watkins, who has been artist in residence at KWMC since 2009 (initially supported by Science City Bristol) working on the Electric Footprint project. The week long event was open submission and KWMC offered a small fee that was enough to make it possible for people to take time out and explore ideas. Its not something that happens often as a way to research a proposal but its a great model becuase whatever the outcome of the final selection it is a rare chance to intensely experience a situation as part of developing new ideas and dialogues. I liked the intensity, the time to get immersed in the place and the ‘open door’ approach KWMC has to the community.

 

 

Outside The Box eBooks

March 15, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Take notes, draw maps, make sketches, stick things in, scribble away!

(Drum rolls) Ladies and Gentlemen, I proudly present the finished eBooks!

The eBooks are part of Outside The Box and were created to accompany the play sets, they act as props to help stimulate game play.

I’ve created a total of six eBooks that fit with the role playing set, each eBook corresponds to the six roles available. Once roles have been assigned, players can take their eBooks with them to carry out missions. They can use it to take notes, draw maps, sketch images or even stick things into, they can do whatever they like with these eBooks that will assist their game experience.

But what’s inside you ask? (sniggers). Each book is themed to each role, not just on the cover, but the inside pages too. All pages inside are hand drawn with blank spaces for the player to use, it’s printer friendly and encourages players to freely scribble in them.

The eBooks can also be used for the other play sets too! For example, players can choose an eBook of their choice and use it to play along the story telling game. Or they could use the eBooks to create strange combination animals. (More suggestions available in the Outside The Box Suggestion eBook).

I enjoyed designing and creating the eBooks, it all began with making miniature versions as the initial design. Then making the basic prototype and moving onto finalising details and adding messages to the players. I had a lot of fun making the eBooks, I now hope that players will enjoy the finished product.

The eBooks aren't limited to the Role playing set, they can be used for the other games too!

Final Reflections – Mandy Tang

March 11, 2011 by · Comments Off on Final Reflections – Mandy Tang 

Creative Assistant
(6 Month Placement, Future Jobs Fund July 2010-January 2011)

It’s time to reflect on the past 6 months as the Future Jobs Fund placement has now come to an end, it really went by quickly! Other than the placement being too short, I can only think of the benefits I have gained with Proboscis during my time here.

It has been a great experience to explore more about the creative arts, with plenty of opportunities to utilise my artistic skills in all of the different stages of a creative process and exercising my knowledge with people of different backgrounds and experiences of their own.

I am also really grateful to Giles and Alice for their patience and teaching me many things ranging from local area knowledge to introducing artistic influences and techniques in hope that it would inspire me throughout the creative process of each project. With their kindness and constant guidance, they’ve become more of a mentor to me than simply my employers.

I also thank the New Deal of the Mind, firstly for organising this opportunity and providing scheduled sessions – The Goals Training programme, offering support and providing information about job hunting.

During the past 6 months I have been involved in various projects which include the storyboard eBook for Tangled Threads, then moving onto a project inspired by the Love Outdoor Play campaign with a full play set now known as Outside The Box. Once in a while I have assisted in the City As Material project and my more recent work is creating visual interpretations for Public Goods and designing eBooks to accompany the play sets for Outside The Box.

 

Some examples of the work I’ve created for the projects I’ve been involved in.

Outside The Box was a huge learning curve for me, I learnt many valuable lessons during the creative process. Firstly, how to manage my work flow better. The project became so much larger than anticipated that I found myself struggling with managing the workload, as I had tried to do too many things at once. Then there were elements on the actual product that I had learnt more about, such as decision making for a colour palette and how simplicity can convey ideas just as well as detailed illustrations. I believe there will be much more to learn from Outside The Box, as it will be going through the testing stage soon. I am excited and nervous to see what happens and I just hope that children will like and enjoy playing with them.

The biggest achievement whilst working on these projects was adapting. I was able to transfer many of my skills to fit each creative process but it was learning to think from a different perspective and presenting them in a innovative way which was the main challenge. The work flow and thought process also differed from my original training as a concept artist for games, as much of the work would follow a design brief closely, but with Proboscis it was very open and it possessed very little constraints making the possibilities endless.

I believe with all these achievements and lessons learnt, it will influence my work in future projects – the way I may approach ideas, deciding the colour palette, considering other ways to communicate my ideas across to reach a wider audience and to create art work that many can enjoy and appreciate.

This isn’t farewell! As I am very grateful for the opportunity to stay as part of the Proboscis team so I look forward to future projects and learning more about the creative arts, I’ll be posting about my work so make sure to visit!

It Comes and Goes

February 25, 2011 by · Comments Off on It Comes and Goes 

For everything we sell we provide a back up service which isn’t what many people do nowadays… but at the current time its very hard…Independent shops are going to be a thing of the past and I think everybody, once they are gone, is going to realise how important they are but its going to be to late.

Yesterday Lucy from Mid Pennine Arts and I moved the As It Comes work to St Nicholas Arcade as the project was commissioned to tour to different sites in Lancaster. At the same time we dropped into see some of the traders who had been part of the project and I was reminded of some of the conversations we had about the intangible aspects of knowledge and skills (which is feeding into our new programme Public Goods).  Whilst I was drawing and interviewing traders I tried to work out what were the tools of the trade, and what were the unspoken skills of the independent traders. The obvious tools were not necessarily the only or main ones,  there were many unspoken less obvious tools – things about how people talk to customers, their body language, how they use their hands, their knowledge of the tools, food and produce they sell and their experience;

Its the knowledge, you go to B&Q and you just pick it off the shelf but if you come here you can ask and we’ll tell you about it… you can come here with a description of what you need and we will disappear into the back shop and reappear with one single screw.

We had a lovely hardware shop but he has gone. They can’t compete with the chains, but you go into those places (chains) and ask for help and they are running away from you, they don’t want you to ask “what size screw?” or “what kind of glue?”..

He’d go, “Just a minute…” and he’d go in the back where he had hundreds of drawers and then he’d come out with it and you’d go, “Thank you so much how much?” and he’d go, “5 pence please”.”

Observational Sketches

February 18, 2011 by · Comments Off on Observational Sketches 

The wall of visual interpretations have expanded! Soon I will invade another side of the wall with my sketches.

In my previous post, I mentioned a major part of my work is creating visual interpretations as research for Public Goods, Proboscis’ new programme of projects exploring the intangible things we value most about the people, places and communities we live in. So far I’ve been creating sketches using images found online combined with my own knowledge. We decided that it would help to gather inspiration from the ‘real’ world in both drawings and photographs, to be surrounded by people and absorb the atmosphere of everyday life.

Usually shying away behind the PC, I agreed to take on the challenge and chose the Science Museum as my first destination. Upon entry there were many objects on display, from steam engines to planes to the evolution of technology. All these objects were traces of what used to be; evidence that reflected on the lifestyle of those that once lived. The objects were categorised in a time-line, indicating the different notable era’s in society such as mass production and the industrial revolution, it demonstrated the changes and evolution stages of specific objects and introduced new theories and materials that were readily available of that time and also the trends that influenced them. As I made my way through the different displays, I was overwhelmed by the thought that all these inventions were the stepping stone to today’s technology. If it wasn’t for these people, our world of convenience wouldn’t have advanced so much.

The next exhibition was the exploration of outer space, whilst looking at the different satellite and shuttle parts on display it hit me that curiosity is a big part of our human nature. Creating theories and exploring methods to prove them and making new discoveries. But it is science that makes it all happen, by making the intangible into tangible with the use of devices and tools; such as light or the ability to fly.

Going upstairs, leaving the historical part of science behind me, I came to the “Who am I?” exhibition. It delved into our biological make up with displays about how our brain is wired and exploration of dreams. The next few displays were about aspects that make us unique individuals such as our exposure to cultures and the environment we grew up in and how such aspects affect us psychologically. I really enjoyed my visit here, and appreciated objects which were the greatest inventions of their time. Although behind glass and never to be used again, just imagining the stories that accompanied it makes each object that more valuable.

During my time at the Science Museum I focused on photographing of objects so for the next outing, I headed to Westfield Shopping Center to create first hand observations of people in a public space.

From being used to sketching still life or just from imagination it was challenging to draw people that wouldn’t stay still! The aim for such an exercise is to capture the moment, through speed sketching; with enough detail to illustrate the subject’s form. As an artist who loves details, I struggled at first to sketch simplified drawings of people but because there was a chance that the person would suddenly move, I was forced to note down their action quickly.

I managed to spend some time just watching how people behaved, the gestures they made when with others and the body language they displayed. But one thing I noticed whilst in the center was; there was no concept of time – with no visible clock anywhere it made the experience feel so timeless and surreal with very little natural lighting.  People would often check their mobiles or they too would stop and observe others from the upper levels of the center, whilst waiting for their companion. I’ll be doing more observational sketches later on but at places where people might not move around as often as they would in a shopping center!!

Visual Interpretations 1

January 21, 2011 by · Comments Off on Visual Interpretations 1 

Hi all!

Whilst taking a break from Outside The Box I’ve been asked to create visual interpretations for a new project! I’ll be keeping a photo diary of my progress and will post up a photo each week for you all to see.

Alice suggested sticking up some of the visuals for the team to see and there will be plenty more to come!

Outside The Box – First Full Draft

January 19, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Outside the Box StoryCubes

It took a bit longer than planned, but the set of cubes for Outside The Box have reached the first prototype stage! (Applauds) It took a lot of energy to meet the deadline but seeing the finished prototype makes all the hard work worthwhile, I am very pleased with the results and hope you all will grow fond of them too! Thank you Giles and Alice for your patience and advice in teaching me the palette decision making process and guiding me in polishing the sets to a finished prototype. Thanks to Radhika and Haz for taking time out to assist in assembling the cubes together and working on the story telling set!

What happens next? (grin) we play with them! The next stage will be to test them out, not just with the team but with our target audience – kids! We’ll be thinking of additional ways to play with them, making observations to check that children understand the content on the cubes and hope they will enjoy playing with them. Our findings in this stage will be taken into consideration when making decisions on the final product.

As It Comes; stories, sketches and stitches

January 14, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

In August 2010 I was commissioned, by Mid Pennine Arts and Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, to create a work about Lancaster’s independent traders,  As It Comes. Building on my previous work about markets and traders I worked with historian Michael Winstanley and artist Caroline Maclennan to research the trading history of the city and to meet local people, shop keepers and traders.

I’ve been developing my use of drawing as a way to research the character of a place and to create a space for conversation; on my visits I began to draw in traders’ places of work, where we would talk about craft and knowledge; communities and friendships and the relationships they have with commodities, food, and people.

What’s inspired me is their skills, care and connection to local communities and suppliers; whether selling fabric, tailoring a suit, fitting a floor, repairing tools, advising on paint, gutting fish or butchering meat. Though I saw many tools of the trade, its not the physical things that people mention most but knowledge, ability to talk to people, honesty and trust.

I spent time with traders to have conversations, collect audio interviews, make drawings and take photographs which have inspired new works combining traditional embroidery with drawing and digital printing on fabric. Lancashire was once famous for cotton manufacturing. Embroidering in cotton seemed appropriate to capture fragments of conversations about intangible skills, experiential knowledge, an uncertain future and the unique relationships these traders have with their customers.

The project was commissioned to investigate the trading history of Lancaster as well as to use some of the empty shop units in town so some of the work is currently in the windows of 18 New Street until the end of Jan 2011 where after it is planned move to another home.

Mid Penine Arts are offering to post free copies of the Project Publication to the first 20 people to share their thoughts on the project. If you’ve seen the work in Lancaster or been have following  the project online it would be great to hear your thoughts. You can post in response to this, or alternatively go to:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8CXMDV3

There are two publications and a special set of StoryCubes printed using bookleteer.com – you can download the print and make up version, or get in touch if you would like a specially printed version.

You can download print and make up versions of the project publication and StoryCubes here:

As It Comes by Alice Angus

A Lancaster Sketchbook by Caroline Maclennan

As It Comes StoryCubes

Outside The Box – Progress

December 16, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Outside The Box is a project inspired by the Love Outdoor Play campaign, which supports the idea of encouraging children to play outdoors. We brainstormed about possible games children could play and creating props to assist their gameplay using Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes made with bookleteer.

The first idea was a visual game using the StoryCubes, which Karen had blogged a sneak peek of a few weeks back. It was a brain teaser type of game, where one image was spread across two squares – so one face of the cube had 4 halves of an image along each edge of the square. The aim was to match up the top and bottom half together. The puzzle only worked if there was nine squares, any less and it wouldn’t have been challenging enough.
The original set had 4 themes, the first being domestic pets, the second insects and bugs, the third sea creatures and the fourth snakes.

 

The animal draft set.

After leaving this set out for members of Proboscis to try and solve, they thought it was humorous mismatching the animal halves together. They came up with many wild combinations such as a mer-dog (top half of a dog and lower half of a fish) which struck the idea of another way to play with this set of cubes – make the sound of the animal on the top half and move like the animal on the bottom half. Keeping this idea in mind, I redeveloped the set by adding different animals which make funny noises or move differently and as a result it made the puzzle easier for a younger age group because it resembled the card game Pairs.

More animals have been added!

More animals have been added!

The next set consists of a role playing game, encouraging children to use their imagination and interacting with each other if played in groups. With elements of exploration, this set was most fitting for the Love Outdoor Play campaign. There are six characters to choose from, each occupying one face on each cube with a mission. Just like the first set, this game used a total of nine cubes – meaning each character had a total of nine missions to accomplish. Characters for this set included spy, detective, super hero, storyteller, adventurer and scientist.

 

Role playing set progress.

The last set is a story telling game, the set of cubes acts as a starting point in telling a story leaving children to fill in the gaps with their imagination. One cube decides the genre of the story, another cube decides the time setting and a third cube decides how the story will be told. Keeping the consistency of using nine cubes in one set, the remaining six cubes consists of words to which the player will use in their story.

Genre Progress

Genre progress

At the moment these games are in prototype stage, where the final colour palette is to be decided and the finishing touches to be made and polished. Although I had hoped to have finished the prototypes sooner I guess working on 162 faces was a lot more  challenging than I thought (laughs). 120 of the faces were illustrated and the remaining 42 contained words, which the  Proboscis team kindly assisted with (thanks everyone!) Nonetheless, I have enjoyed the whole process and think that this project has given the opportunity for team work and I still feel that I have much to learn and look forward to learning more about the different methods used in deciding a colour palette for the final product.

Second Impressions – Mandy Tang

December 15, 2010 by · Comments Off on Second Impressions – Mandy Tang 

Wow, it’s already time for me to write about my second impressions huh? If you’re wondering, it’s Mandy here! I started in July as a Creative Assistant for Proboscis, it’s been five months already!! Where did all the time go?! (laughs)

It’s been pretty busy during these five months, Giles and Alice have been cracking the whip to keep me busy working (T_T). Just kidding haha. They’ve been great fun, and most generous when offering advice and enlightening me with their knowledge, it always leaves me in awe with the amount of things they know.

Also, there has been more placements on board! Christina and Radhika are such lovely people, they both have a great sense of humour, easy to talk to and are always offering to help when it seems like I have too much going on (laughs). Oh and Moin; our programmer, joined just recently too! As for Haz… he’s been picking on me since day one!! that aside, he offers me assistance and I’ve enjoyed his blog posts and look forward to his future posts. Thanks guys for your help and support!

During the past few months I have been working on various projects. The first being Tangled Threads, then my current project Outside The Box and offering assistance here and there with City As Material.

Throughout these projects I sincerely thank Giles and Alice for trusting me with creating work without any pressure and just allowing me to carry out the projects to the best of my ability whilst offering kind encouragements. I tend to get carried away with trying to perfect everything so I thank you both for your patience and apologise for the delays!

If you remember reading my first impressions, I mentioned the many different assets in the studio either tucked away or on display and wondering about the story behind them… well… I’ve joined in with my own clutter! I’ve made so many Story Cubes I can build a fortress! Soon I’ll have enough to make a draw bridge to go with it (laughs).

It’s been really fun so far and I’ve learnt a great deal from Giles and Alice. I’ll do my best to fulfil my role and create work which others will enjoy! Have a great Christmas everyone!

A quick doodle of my fortress!

A quick doodle of my fortress!

As It Comes

November 5, 2010 by · Comments Off on As It Comes 

For the past few weeks I’ve been heading up and down from Lancaster working on As It Comes. It was commissioned by Mid Pennine Arts and Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce and is inspired by both the heritage and future of local traders and shopkeepers.

I have been interviewing and drawing with some of Lancaster’s current shopkeepers and traders to understand more about their businesses and talk about; craft and knowledge; communities and friendships; and the relationship with commodities, food, and people that is different from chains and supermarkets.

The project is continuing my work on markets and shops exploring the people and communities they engender.  I’ve been continually inspired by the skills, crafts and care of traders I’ve met in Lancaster – whether selling fabric, repairing tools or butchering meat. The As It Comes blog is recording some of the thoughts and conversations as the project continues.

Next week I am hanging some large scale work in New Street that combines traditional embroidery with drawing and digital printing on fabric, inspired by these conversations, the history of trade, development of textile technologies and history of cotton weaving in the area.

On the 4th December I’ll be leading a walk around of Lancaster talking about some of the issues raised by the project and thinking about the future of independent traders and town centers. NEF (New Economics Foundation) have published a follow up to their 2005 Clone Town report, entitled Re-imaging the High Street: Escape From Clone Town Britain which supports the need for independent traders; and the Transition Town movement – among others is gathering pace – so I am wondering what we want the new ecology of the high street to be? If you believe that supermarkets and large chains are unsustainable environmentally and socially, but we need some of what they offer, what new retail ecology might we build in the future?

100 Views of Worthing Pier: Tall Tales, Ghosts and Imaginings

September 21, 2010 by · 5 Comments 

Earlier this year I was asked by artist Dan Thompson of Revolutionary Arts Group and www.artistsandmakers.com to create new work inspired by Worthing Pier for the tremendous Worthing Pier Day and the Made in Worthing Festival.

I recommend a visit to Worthing Pier, its not the longest or the oldest but in its fabulous streamlined charm it has all the hope of the future. When the wind blows you feel it might break loose and sail off, past the kite surfers, windsurfers and yachts, beyond the lifeboat men and fishing boats and way on out over the misty horizon and over the high seas.

I think Dan just wanted a couple of drawings but after getting the chance to explore the Pier and get to know it better I got carried away by the stories I discovered and set out to make a new series of works on paper and an animation. I’m interested in our relationship to water and how it is changing;- the life above and below the pier, in and out of the water, the characters of seaside entertainment, the ghosts of past fishermen, sailors and boatmen, all the tall tales of the sea, the lore of tides and weather, the survival of coastal communities and the feat of the engineering of the pier.

I made some visits to the Pier to explore it above and below, at low tide and high tide, walking, swimming, in a kayak… I thought very much about the icon of the pier and its visibility all along the coast. I found so many intertwined stories of lives lived, and lives imagined around the pier and decided to make a series of 100 views of the pier, partly inspired by  Tsukioka Yoshitoshi‘s legendary 100 Views of the Moon published in 1885.  The views incorporated characters from legends as well as real life.

Around 40 of my 100 Views of the Pier were installed temporarily on the Pier in September for Pier Day and the festival the remaining ones will eventually be published via Bookleteer.com and launched alongside a short film I’m working on of my explorations above and below deck.

Tangled Threads

September 20, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Tangled Threads consists of a storyboard in the form of a Diffusion eBook, that reflects upon the different projects and aspects to which Proboscis has delved into. You can download a copy of the eBook here: http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=2171

My task was to create a storyboard using only the text Karen had scripted. With her words I had to create a series of fast sketches within a short time frame, jotting down the first visual that came to mind. It was later decided that the finished storyboard was to be presented in the form of an eBook, as a counterpart for a new Proboscis film that will be presented as part of a Leonardo/MIT mobile digital exhibition curated by Jeremy Hight.

This was my first time creating a full scale storyboard, but it was also my first time adjusting it to an eBook format. It encouraged me to use different panels and discard frames which can be reduced to one panel. I am also glad it became an eBook because it would have been a real shame if others could not see the impressive text Karen had written.

The most challenging part of this project was the initial sketches: being asked to do fast speed sketching within a time limit. This method made me stay focused and avoid swaying off into different artistic directions and just sketching the first thing that came to mind, then only further developing that idea. Although this method sounds like rushing, the results were pretty interesting!

Overall, it was a great challenging project which allowed me to experiment with a different technique to spark my imagination and creativity. It gave me a chance to use some of my own knowledge about storyboarding and panelling, and Alice had given me a lot of freedom with the concepts. It was also a great opportunity to practice artistic techniques and being aware of areas that may need more improvements.

Here are a few samples from the eBook and initial sketches, the first stage as I mentioned earlier was creating the quick rough sketches of what popped up in my mind. Then I condensed frames to a set of panels on a single page, with this it is scanned in and cleaned up. The final stage was digitally painting the images and resizing them according to the Bookleteer guidelines.

Graffito at London Design Festival

September 17, 2010 by · Comments Off on Graffito at London Design Festival 

Next week (Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th September) Graffito will be exhibited at the Tent Digital in the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane as part of the London Design Festival. Around 19,000 visitors are expected at the venue over the four days, and we will also be presenting the project at a special event for UK Trade & Investment.

We’ve created a special Diffusion eBook about the project for the event – where we’ll have some PPOD printed copies to give away. We’ve also done some early analysis of the server logs. To date we’ve had over 8,000 downloads of the App from the iTunes App Store and 18,000 connections since August 10th (that’s about 500 people a day playing with it). The map below shows where people have been connecting from (based on their iPhone/iPad GPS).

Come along and take part.

Graffito: Vintage Festival replay videos

September 8, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Some videos from Graffito in use at the Vintage@Goodwood festival

Mandy Tang : Working At Proboscis – First Impressions

August 5, 2010 by · Comments Off on Mandy Tang : Working At Proboscis – First Impressions 

Hi all! I am Mandy, one of the creative assistants who just joined recently. I am a junior concept artist who have previously worked on iPhone games and is seeking new challenges in the field of creative arts as I work on my portfolio. With my artistic background, I’ve been assisting in the Sensory Threads project so far and have had a go at creating my own storycube and ebook with Bookleteer.

From the first two weeks of working with Proboscis I can confidently say that it has been very enjoyable. When I first stepped into the building I questioned the dark lighting and the long flights of stairs, but the studio proved otherwise. As a junior artist, being surrounded by art equipment and technology can easily be compared to taking a child to the toy store.

The studio located in the attic of the building had great lighting, the angled ceilings and structure of the room gave off a unique feeling. Everywhere you look you will find assets used for previous projects and interesting objects hidden away to save space. It may look like organised mess to others, but I find that each object no matter the size has a story – what it was used for, where did it come from, how long its been there. Every day I find myself noticing something new and just wonder about the story behind it.

The working environment in Proboscis is very laid back and comfortable, I get to do what I enjoy most and with people who are very friendly and are creative themselves. I am particularly inspired by the work in which Giles and Alice do, and admire them in creating an organisation which keeps growing and reaching out to others. The number of clients that come to the studio for meetings makes me realise how much they take part in various projects and it makes me nervous thinking I will be assisting Giles and Alice with these projects.

Giles and Alice as my boss give good guidance and I believe working with them will really help me to define myself as a junior artist, I hope after this placement I will gain valuable experience and participated in various projects. I hope to have explored a different side to creative arts and use this knowledge to refine my own work and portfolio.

I also discovered the source of everyone’s energy in the studio is alot of coffee… or tea *grin* I look forward to the upcoming projects in which I will be assisting with, and will do my best to be a team player.

A small display of the work I've been doing recently

Graffito

July 23, 2010 by · Comments Off on Graffito 

Inspired by the underground 80s hip hop scene, Graffito pays homage to guerilla street art and turns it into a celebration of pop culture on a massive scale. Graffito hands over the VJs canvas to the hips, fingers, hands and creative minds of the audience.

Graffito is an experiment in massive crowd-made graffiti. Anyone in a festival crowd can join in to paint on a giant canvas with digital paint using their iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Crowds of people can paint at the same time, on the same canvas by using their screen like a spraycan.

Graffito is a collaborative effort between several UK partners who are experimenting with next gen digital live art. Graffito is supported by Horizon Digital Economy Research (Research Councils UK grant EP/G065802/1).

Project Partners: BigDog Interactive (Lead); Interactional Sound and Music Group (Queen Mary University of London); The University of Nottingham; University of Glasgow; Proboscis.

Download the Free App for iPhone & iPad

The first live test of the system as a collaborative drawing/ VJ tool will be in the Warehouse Tent at the Vintage at Goodwood Festival, August 13-15 2010.

May Newsletter

May 20, 2010 by · Comments Off on May Newsletter 

Welcome to our latest newsletter, its been about 6 months since our last one so this is a catch up across a range of projects and activities.

NOW & UPCOMING

New Features & Publish & Print On Demand with bookleteer
We’ve been busy improving http://bookleteer.com over the past few months, adding new features and services :
– New Sizes : create larger eBooks & StoryCubes from A3/Ledger sheets
– New Designs : create your own customised front covers
– Publish & Print On Demand : an affordable service allowing users to order professionally printed and bound versions of their eBooks in short runs (from 50 copies or more). eBooks are digitally printed on high-quality 100% recycled papers as A6 or A5 saddle-stitched books. StoryCubes (min order 250 cubes)
Find out more here: http://bookleteer.com/blog/ppod

more bookleteer test accounts available
We’re making more test accounts available for people who’d like to create their own Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes, and test out our PPOD service. Email us at bookleteer@proboscis.org.uk to request an invitation.

Pitch Up & Publish Events
Proboscis has been collaborating with Artists & Makers to run PU&P events as part of the Empty Shops Network Tour in Shoreham-by-Sea, Carlisle & Coventry during March. We’ve also run several PU&P events at our studio in London, for illustrators/cartoonists and for teachers/educationalists, with more in the pipeline over the next few months. May sees us begin a new collaboration with The Drawing Shed (tds) to introduce bookleteer to residents in Waltham Forest as part of their Be Creative Be Well project.
Follow us on Twitter for updates: http://twitter.com/bookleteer
or check the bookleteer blog: http://bookleteer.com/blog

bookleteer virtual residencies
James Bridle and Simon Pope are our first two ‘virtual residents’ for bookleteer – exploring the API as a creative way of automatically generating ebooks and StoryCubes from their own projects and sites. James has already created some ‘Bookcubes’ from his Bkkeepr project, whilst Simon is working on a StoryCube walking/cairn building project. We look forward to some more experiments emerging throughout the year.
http://bookleteer.com/blog/tag/residency/

Landscapes in Dialogue on Tour
A set of Alice Angus’ works on paper are off on tour to the northern Canadian arctic towns of Inuvik, Churchill and Yellowknife as part of a touring show during the the 25 year anniversary of Ivvavik National Park.
http://proboscis.org.uk/1551/landscapes-in-dialogue/

In Good Heart on Exhibition
A new series of Alice Angus’ works on paper from her In Good Heart project are being exhibited as part of the group show Dig Up My Heart: Artistic Practice in the Field curated by Shauna McCabe at the Confederation Centre Gallery, Charlottetown, PEI Canada. In Good Heart began during Proboscis’ collaboration with DodoLab in Charlottetown in August 2009, focusing on the Experimental Farm there, and has continued as an ongoing investigation into the perception of ‘farm’ through conversations, interviews, historical and folklore research.
http://proboscis.org.uk/1649/in-good-heart/

Empty Shops Drawing Commission
Alice Angus has been working on commission from http://artistsandmakers.com to draw some the places that the Empty Shops Network is visiting including Granville Arcade in Brixton, Coventry Market and later this year Worthing seafront.
http://proboscis.org.uk/tag/emptyshops/

Professional Development Commissions
Our first two commissions have been completed and the results published on our website. Niharika Hariharan and Holly Clarke were each commissioned to develop small projects that connect with our work and themes. Niharika created an education workshop which she delivered in a  secondary school in Delhi, India; Holly researched into ‘neighbourhood radio’ using web streaming and low-power broadcasting.
http://proboscis.org.uk/tag/professional-development-commissions/

RECENT ACTIVITY

Sensory Threads at CHI, Atlanta USA
Proboscis collaborators, Nick Bryan-Kins (Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London) and Joe Marshall (Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham) demonstrated the latest version of Sensory Threads at the CHI conference in Atlanta, USA in April 2010.
http://proboscis.org.uk/tag/sensory-threads/

Birmingham Total Place
Proboscis was commissioned to create some illustrated storycubes for Birmingham Total Place summit  about the Early Intervention Project being undertaken as part of the Total Place Initiative. We made the cubes in response to our conversations with people about the ups and downs of accessing local services and support for their children and families.
http://proboscis.org.uk/tag/total-place/

With Our Ears To The Ground
We have recently completed our publication for With Our Ears to the Ground; a project commissioned by Green Heart Partnership and Hertfordshire County Council to explore peoples’ ideas about community and notions of community cohesion.
http://proboscis.org.uk/1516/with-our-ears-to-the-ground-book/

NEW DIFFUSION EBOOKS & STORYCUBES
A Sort of Autobiography by Warren Craghead http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1977
Cemetery Litmus Test by Andrew Hunter http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1999
iPhone App Sketchbook by Proboscis http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1996
Rijeka Site StoryCubes by Lisa Hirmer http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1969
Travelling through Layers by Proboscis http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1962
Coventry Market: public spaces, meeting places by Alice Angus http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1959
Icons of Rijeka StoryCubes by Andrew Hunter http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1935
Family eBooks by Karine Dorset http://diffusion.org.uk/?cat=9
Icons of Rijeka by Andrew Hunter http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1913
Coventry Empty Shop by Dan Thompson http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1897
eBook Observer by Frederik Lesage http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1892
Carlisle Empty Shop by Dan Thompson http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1880
Landscapes In Dialogue: reflections by Alice Angus http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1865
Cummerbundery Volume 1: The Collected Tweets of Brandon Cummerbund by Russ Bravo http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1870
Granville Arcade: empty spaces and meeting places by Alice Angus http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1857
StoryCubes by Karine Dorset http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1851
Shoreham-by-Sea Empty Shop by Dan Thompson http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1847
Canto: a collection of wishes Book 1; Whitehorse, Yukon Canada by Joyce Majiski http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1843
Welcome to the Imagination Age by Rita J. King http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1830
Empty Shops Workbook by Dan Thompson http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1825
Birmingham Total Place StoryCubes by Proboscis http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1798
Modern Romance StoryCube by We Are Words & Pictures http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1795
A Short Film About War by Lisa LeFeuvre http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1785
Carnet du Bibliexplorateur par J. Thomas Maillioux http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1773
With Our Ears to the Ground by Proboscis http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1758
A History of Municipal Housing by Owen Hatherley http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1751
8 Ideas for using bookleteer in schools by Kati Rynne http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1745
I Feel Different by LACE http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1730
State of the Union by Robert Ransick http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1722
Waiting For Crisis by William Davies http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1713
Expeditions in Paper Science + Unguided by Matthew Sheret http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1700
City As Material Student Project eBooks http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1693
Creative Methodologies for the Creative Industries by Lorraine Warren & Ted Fuller http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1679
Articulating Futures Workshop eNotebooks by Niharika Hariharan http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1668
Trail Song by Julie Myers http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1642
Blakewalk 3 by Tim Wrighhttp://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1639
From an outer suburban life by Linda Carroli http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1628
Belo Horizonte Anarchaeology by Giles Lane http://diffusion.org.uk/?p=1615

all made with http://bookleteer.com !

In Good Heart

May 19, 2010 by · 4 Comments 

I have just sent off some new works on paper, that are the first part of my project In Good Heart, off to Confederation Centre Gallery in Prince Edward Island, Canda for the show Dig Up My Heart: Artistic Practice in the Field curated by Shauna McCabe which opens on Saturday till September 22. The show; brings together a group of practitioners who start from the same impulse – a visceral connection to the land and to place, and the transformative potential of that attachment in response to issues of landscape change…

In 2009 I was invited by our partners Dodolab to visit the Charlottetown Experimental Farm on Prince Edward island and spend some time researching its history, exploring the site and the island. The Charlottetown farm was one of a network of Experimental Farms created in the 1880’s to research and improve farming methods and production, the network hub was the Central Experimental farm in Ottowa.

The visit to PEI which triggered many questions about farming and the factors that impact on this most ancient of skills. The works bring together several strands of research, conversations, interviews, historical and folklore research to explore the perception of “Farm”, its origins, what it means to people now and the way in which the disappearance of traditional skills and distance from the sources of our food serve to disconnect people from their link with land and nature.  It is part of my ongoing series, At The Waters Edge looking at peoples local and personal relationship to land and environment.

There will be a publication with the series of works and stories published in June. You can see the works on flickr.

Thanks
I am grateful to all at Dodolab, Confederation Centre and the Public Archives and Records Office for helping with my research. A huge thanks to the people who kindly sent me their thoughts on the word “farm” and I would like to thank; Andrew, Angela, Adriana, Barb, Chick, Deborah, Danny, Dan, Frank, Gillian, Joyce, Joe, Kei, Mervin, Niharika, Tarin and Sarah.  This work was commissioned by Dodolab who invited me to PEI in 2009 as part of an ongoing partnership with Proboscis.

Public spaces, meeting places… and privatisation

April 12, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

At the end of March I  headed up to draw Coventry indoor Market to spend a few days on the next leg of the artistsandmakers.com Empty Shops Network Tour created by artist Dan Thompson (and involving Jan Williams (Caravan Gallery)Steve Bomford Natasha Middleton and podcaster Richard Vobes.) I’ve been commissioned to draw some of the spaces (and their occupants) the tour is visiting and Coventry Market follows from my drawings in Granville Arcade in Brixton.

Coventry Market

An ancient city, Coventry’s medieval buildings were almost all destroyed during the second world war blitz that devastated the city. Its rich history is crossed by stories of King Canute and Lady Godiva. Today Coventry now has a maze of traffic free precincts and modern buildings built in the postwar period and it is far from what the medieval city must have been.

These precincts are watched over by many surveillance cameras and again on this project I to the issue of private and public space that has come up so often for Proboscis in the last 2 years as we find ourselves prevented from taking photos in shopping malls and public squares. PD Smith writes about this issue in an interesting blog post about Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the 21st-century City, Anna Mintons Book looking at control, fear and the city.

Coventry’s indoor market is a circular space in which you can get lost, dizzy and a bit confused about which door you came in but in the process find everything from a cup of tea to 5 kinds of sweet potato, dog biscuits, birthday cards,  fake flowers, fresh rolls, loose cake mix, baking tins and graph paper. Its got a real sense or people mingling from different communities and backgrounds and ages using it to meet, chat and hang out, not just shop. They once celebrated it in a musical.

In many of our recent projects people tell us its less regulated more informal spaces that draw their communities together, Watford Market, Coventry Market, Brixton Market…But these more informal spaces are on the decline it seems and everywhere we see what Paul Kingsnorth wrote in In “Cities for Sale” : From parks to pedestrian streets, squares to market places, public spaces are being bought up and closed down, often with little consultation or publicity. In towns and cities all over England, what was once public is now private. It is effectively owned by corporations, which set the standards of behaviour. These standards are the standards that are most congenial to their aim – getting you to buy things. … There will be no busking, and often there will be no sitting either, except in designated areas. You will eat and drink where you are told to. You will not skateboard or cycle or behave “inappropriately”.

The Empty Shops Network is aiming to celebrate the kind of local distinctiveness that gets lost in these developments and it is working with communities to use empty shops for projects in the spaces and times inbetween other uses. The Network’s projects involve public meetings, informal training for local artists, and showcase the tools needed to run empty shops projects. See artistandmakers.com for details.

You can see more images from Coventry here.

Landscapes in Dialogue

February 25, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

There are no fences here … when you go out of town there are no fences, but I wouldn’t call this a wilderness because peoples homes are here, people live here.

This week I’ve been packing up a set of drawings to send out to the Canadian arctic town of Inuvik for the first leg of a touring show during the the 25 year anniversary of Ivvavik National Park in Canada which was created by a historic Aboriginal land claim settlement The Inuvialuit Final Agreement, signed in 1984. In it the Inuvialuit agreed to give up exclusive use of their ancestral lands in exchange for guaranteed rights from the Government of Canada. The rights came in three forms: land, wildlife management and money. (read more on the Inuvaliuit Regional Corporation). As a result Parks Canada and the Inuvialuit co-operatively manage Ivvavik National Park with the Inuvaluit Wisdom that the The land will protect the people who support the protect the land. Parks Canada has organised a touring exhibition of work from their Artist in The Park programme which I was invited to be part of by artist Joyce Majiski, in 2003 with whom Ive been working with since them on projects such as  Topographies and Tales.

Middle of Nowhere?

Bordered on the north by the Beaufort Sea and Alaska on the West, Ivvavik  sits at the north western tip of Canada. A highly biodiverse region of the Western Arctic, its Inuvaluktun name ‘Ivvavik’ means nursery or place of giving birth. It is a portion of the calving grounds and migration route of the Porcupine caribou herd and forms a part of the Beringia Refugium; an area untouched by the last glaciation where an ice-free bridge allowed humans and animals to migrate from Asia into North America over twenty thousand years ago.

In summer 2003 I met up with artists Joyce Majiski  Ron Felix, Audrea Wulf and James Ruben, guide Mervyn Joe and elder Sarah Dillon and flew out of Inuvik, across the Mackenzie Delta towards Sheep Creek. From the air (and in the imaginations of the temperate zone) the arctic taiga and tundra, is a frozen desert. But landing at the junction of Sheep Creek and the Firth River we saw tussocks of wild flowers, embroidered cushions with succulent jewel like plants, luminescent mosses and ferns; miniature gardens of Babylon. Out on the land there were larger traces of life and stories of trappers, miners, hunters and travelers. The language of the north I grew up with paints an image of bleakness, but there the myths of desolation fell away.

“Have good time miles from nowhere!” someone had said before I set off. In the world’s ‘wildernesses’ like Ivvavik it is easy for a visitor to be lost in such a reverie of wonder at landscape that you miss the lives and culture that are part of it. There is a disjuncture between the notion of wilderness as barren, by definition disconnected from the social, and the view of land as homeland, a social place of culture, food and everyday life. To many outside the north the Arctic is still shrouded in an aura of romanticism portrayed, as it has been through the history of polar exploration, as a landscape of sublime desolation. To some, I expect, it’s not a place but an imaginary landscape far away from their everyday lives.  I wonder what is the global consequence of this enduring vision of the land?

One day we see five caribou. Pregnant cows lead the herd from Ivvavik into the calving grounds in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); an area rich in oil reserves. So important are the grounds the Gwitchin people refer to them as the “sacred place where life begins”. If the ANWR is opened for drilling many people believe it will result in untold damage to the herd and the people whose lives and traditions depend on it.

You can read more in Landscapes in Dialogue and in the Diffusion eBook series, Topographies and Tales.

Opportunity to listen at Total Place

February 9, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

I went to the Birmingham Total Place summit last week with the specially commissioned cubes and illustrations Orlagh and I had made for the Early Intervention Project, in response to conversations with parents, carers and workers. They revealed some of the difficulties faced by children and their families and the often very intense frustrations they have in accessing support or working with local services. Proboscis was commissioned through educator and organisational consultant Lesley Cramman, who was facilitating the strand on Early Intervention and we were all driven, in making these, to bring the everyday voices of families, parents and carers into the event. Total Place is a government initiative to look at how a ‘whole area’ approach to public services can lead to better services at less cost.

The event, hosted by BeBirmingham drew a much more varied crowd than I had expected and most people I spoke to expressed real concern and care about their communities and neighbourhoods. However its hard not to be just a little bit skeptical about the ability of Local Government to open up to new ways of thinking and working, despite the obvious commitment, imagination, skills and passions of many of the people I met who work in it. I had some moving and inspiring conversations with a group discussing how to make meaningful connections between the Local Authority and neighbourhoods and how to improve democratic engagement. I hope that the ideas of these people are present in the decisions that come out of Total Place and that the “better services”  can lead before the “reduced costs”. I’d love to see  staff being allowed to take risks to effect changes and be supported to have more time to talk with and listen to the people and communities they work with and for.

With Our Ears to the Ground book

February 8, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

WOETTGbook-0

We have just received the first bound copy of our publication for With Our Ears to the Ground; a project by Proboscis commissioned by Green Heart Partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to explore peoples ideas about community. The project focused on four very different types of community in order to get a broad range of opinions across the county.

WOETTGbook-1

I’m really excited to see the final version and especially happy with the middle tracing paper insert of scenes and people Orlagh and I encountered during the project. The book draws together the multiple layers of ideas and experiences we found across the different communities we met in Watford, Stevenage, North Herts and  Broxbourne and it is designed to reflect the many ideas and voices we encountered. It is organised in the six themes of Transport, Movement, Listening, Community, Getting Involved and Perceptions the emerged during the project. The book contains drawings, photographs, quotes and writings. It can be read in any direction and you can interweave the pages of the three sections  as you read, to find new perspectives.

WOETTGbook-5

The With Our Ears to the Ground book, will go to selected libraries in Hertfordshire. The publication draws together the multiple layers of ideas and experiences we found across different communities and it is designed to reflect those ideas and voices.

WOETTGbook-3 WOETTGbook-2

We have a small number of copies please contact us if you would like to acquire one.

We have also published the main chapters as Diffusion eBooks –  books to download print and make up published using Bookleteer.  Booklets to make, carry in your pocket, browse in your own time, rather than read on screen. You can download them here.


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