East London Artists | UEL Doctorate in Fine Art Showcase | June 2017

I made a new work entitled Repair Centre (2017) for my Doctoral showcase last month. Unfortunately the ‘arrangement’ I finally ended up exhibiting was far less successful than every single prior incarnation of the work. But these are the breaks! Like other work before it this work references many of the informal visual cultures one encounters in the less affluent zone 3 areas of London: shops with home-made signs temporarily fastened with visible tape and blu-tac; rolls of patterned vinyl; faded hairstyle posters and flyers that offer to solve all your problems. These references are juxtaposed with photographic images of another sort of global, the geological. Regular readers will know of my interest in combining the temporary with the seemingly enduring. In geological time-scales the ground beneath our feet is temporary too. If only I’d had the courage to leave the work on the floor.

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Posted in Anthropocene, art work, Exhibitions, Geology, Global Vernacular Aesthetics, High Streets, London, Photography, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Sensorium Art Show – Affect and Social Media #3

These posters were my contribution to the Sensorium Art Show, curated by Mikey Georgeson and Dean Todd as part of the Affect and Social Media #3 conference at UEL. They were posted around the campus and perhaps one or two slipped by as inspirational posters aimed at students.

Astute viewers will see logos from gone bust businesses and enterprises emblematic of failure alongside familiar requests of the inspirational quote meme to better oneself and feel happy in the face of hardship. Hopefully the imagery speaks for itself!

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You are entirely up to you, 2017 (A0 digitally printed poster)

 

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Stay Positive, 2017, (A0 digitally printed poster)

 

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Beauty Begins, 2017, (A0 digitally printed poster)

 

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Believe, 2017 (A0 digitally printed poster)

 

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Be Somebody, 2017 (A0 digitally printed poster)

 

Here are the posters in situ at the end of year Doctoral Showcase. Unfortunately (but also happily) the Sensorium exhibition was too full of punters to get any good images!

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Posted in art work, Conferences, Exhibitions, Global Vernacular Aesthetics, High Streets, Photography | Leave a comment

Vernacular Aesthetics continued…

It’s been an interesting few months for opening up the discourse around the Vernacular Aesthetics of the Global City and indeed my registration document for my Doctorate is now due, and most likely called ‘Global Vernacular Aesthetics’. A nice contradictory title!

In April I was privileged to present a paper and my short film The Brand Nobody Knows (discussed in much detail in other parts of this blog) at the Association of Art Historians Conference 2017 at Loughborough University. The stream was convened by Dr. Robert Harland and called The Object of Urban Visual Culture. It was really fruitful looking at my concepts of urban global vernacular visual culture via urban planner Kevin Lynch’s notion of the ‘city image’ and ‘imageability’ (1960). I argued that the kinds of global vernacular aesthetics I investigate in my work are frequently thought of as visual pollution, and lack the kind of ‘legibility’ and ‘clarity’ that Lynch holds dear for individuals to make a sense of place. Whilst Lynch accepts that one cannot fully account for how each citizen ‘images’ a city (and he also notes the limits of his sample in his research) his notion of imageability cannot fully take into account the complexities of global cities in the twenty-first century. I argued that in a superdiverse global city such as London, some 60 years after Lynch’s text was published, notions of imageability must be radically updated. Lynch did not, and perhaps could not have, predicted how mass migration and mobile networked technology has produced what we might think of as  distributed subjectivity. One cannot think of oneself singularly, in only one place at a time, but scattered across and attached to a variety of time zones, nations, countries, languages, social relations and digital spaces.

The imageable city and the powerful brand are at odds with one another. Vernacular aesthetics (as long as they are not squashed by ‘regeneration’) are useful in resisting the power of the brand. Ultimately I argued that the way ‘successful’ brands generate images on behalf of consumers has some relationship to imageability, however I am certain that if Lynch was working today he would develop his notion that “The observer himself should play an active role in perceiving the world and have a creative part in developing his image. He should have the power to change that image to fit changing needs.” (1960, p.6).

My paper is still somewhat unpolished, but I will post when complete but in the meantime here is a link to the presentation.

There was plenty of interesting discussion in the stream, not least about what ‘brand value’ could mean in the context of global vernacular aesthetics.

Works Cited:

Lynch, K. (1960) The image of the city. Cambridge, Mass, London, England: MIT Press

 

Posted in art work, Conferences, Global Vernacular Aesthetics, High Streets, Uncategorized, Video, Wood Green | Leave a comment

Vernacular Aesthetics at Blackwall Beach

I will be having a conversation about (Global) vernacular aesthetics with artist duo Lloyd Coporation at an event hosted by the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at Blackwall Beach. Please do come along if you’re free and able. I’m looking forward to opening out the conversation about the problems of critical art making, informal economics, disinterested photography, ad-hoc aesthetics, super-diversity, Deliveroo and speculation about the precarious global city.

 

vernacular aesthetics flyer final-page-001

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Affect & Social Media – Conference & Art Show 25th May

Here it is… the full programme. Affect and Social Media 3.0: Experience, Entanglement, Engagement (including the Sensorium Art Show) *Registration Now Open Date and time: Thurs May 25th 2017, 10am – 8.30pm Location: The University of East London, Dockland’s campus (via Cyprus Station on the DLR) Keynotes: Jessica Ringrose (UCL) and Emma Renold (Cardiff) In […]

via Affect and Social Media 3.0 full programme for 25th May 2017 — VIRALITY

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London Conference in Critical Thought 2017 – call for papers

I’m delighted to be co-convening a stream at the London Conference in Critical Thought to be held at London South Bank University on the 30th June and the 1st July. The strand is entitled the Vernacular Aesthetics of the Global City (no less) and I’ll be working with artist duo Lloyd Corporation.

The conference is geared towards early career researchers as well as postgraduate researchers and the conference “is an inter-institutional, non-hierarchal, and accessible event that makes a particular effort to embrace emergent thought and the participation of emerging academics, fostering new avenues for critically-oriented scholarship and collaboration.”

There will be some really interesting sounding streams at the conference, please do look at the call for papers if you are interested. The cfp for our strand is as follows (deadline 31st March):

This stream proposes to generate a critical debate around questions of ‘vernacular aesthetics’ in academic research on the global city and particularly invites contributions from those working on new propositions for interdisciplinary, inventive or artistic approaches to its study.
Recent research on the global city has sought to understand the contemporary state of rapid urbanisation, migration and development by focusing attention towards the ‘ordinary’ commercial street (Hall, 2015; Zukin, Kasinitz & Chen, 2016). A key part of this work has included visual investigations of the vernacular aesthetics of urban streets in ‘super-diverse’ cities like London, in an attempt to represent the informal economies and practices routinely ignored, deemed undesirable and/or dispensable to private and bureaucratic agendas of urban (re)development. Projects such as LSE’s ‘Ordinary Streets’ (2011-13) have produced ethnographic explorations of streets elaborating the need for: the production of new vocabularies of value; mapping of ‘creative’ practices of socio-economic adaption to urban space; reframing urban informality as social and civic platforms for economic and cultural life as opposed to ‘under-developed’ spaces of poverty.
For artist duo Lloyd Corporation and UEL researcher and artist Sophie Barr, the ‘ordinary street’ has been a key site of research and artistic production. This has led to a recently initiated dialogue sharing questions, curiosities, inspirations and anxieties in the explorations of vernacular aesthetics. By hosting a stream we aspire towards bringing other voices into a discussion that seeks to both build upon but also deepen and challenge questions of vernacular aesthetics in the study of spaces and cultures of ‘street’.
We ask what new kinds of sociological, ethnographic and artistic modes of practice are required to develop multi-sensory understandings of such phenomena if we are to produce rich new vocabularies of value and representation? Presently there seems to be an overreliance on the documentary image as the visual extent of ethnographic exploration and so we ask what does this miss? How might we capture the non-representational, the affective, the transient, temporal and mobile, the hidden, unseen, imaginary or background dimensions of the street? Further, we might ask whether the ‘street’ presents an adequate vantage point from which to observe the complex spatial and temporal  connections of hyper-globalised urban spaces, particularly in light of the ever pervasive effects of digital cultures and infrastructures?
What problematic power relationships arise in the research of vernacular aesthetics? Can we eliminate the risk of ‘othering’ informal cultures or exoticising notions of migrant adaptation and improvisation? How might we challenge or reflect on the class, gender and racial privileges that underpin the ‘study’
informal, precarious, cultures? And finally, given the increasing conflicts and volatility over the redevelopment of public space and processes of gentrification, how does this research agenda become active, politically mobilised and collaborative with the diverse communities it seeks to represent?
We are open to all manner of submissions including papers, performances, artworks and we welcome a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary backgrounds.

http://londoncritical.org/

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Anti-Fashion at Prada

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Tim Blanks on Business of Fashion yesterday:

“Miuccia was looking at a world where celebrity and money conspire to make ordinary people feel inadequate, and she wanted to mollify such feelings. It’s not people who are at fault, it’s the system. Exactly how you use fashion to express such thoughts was the challenge she set herself, and she chose to do it by elevating the ordinary, finding the hero in the everyday. “The opposite of important,” she called it.” Full article here.

This is not my conception of ‘ordinary fashion’! I would suggest any men desirous of “simple human normalcy” for A/W 2017 takes a trip to Gap and saves a few quid.

 

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