Tuesday, 23 February 2010


7 Deadly Sins (1987)
Bloom used chairs and photographs – instead of the usual visual personifications – to suggest the various sins. "Lust" for example, was represented by a comfortable leather club chair. On the arm was a blue velvet jewelry box containing a wedding ring with the word "lust" engraved on the inside. The accompanying photograph showed a museum installation consisting of a chaise, a vase, and five paintings of
female nudes. "Lust" acquired two intertwined meanings.

Flaubert Letters (new version), six engraved glass object, 1987-2008

the voyeuristic nature of being human



Saturday, 20 February 2010


I'm currently working on a project about tea, its consumption, its ability to comfiort, soothe, console, refresh and revive us. After researching the making of tea, the sharing a conversation over tea I'm working on creating a series of photo-documentary images that capture 4 conversations that have happened over tea, by complete strangers whom I've been sitting near, on purpose, in cafes for the past two months.

These images have another element in common, they are taken after the conversants have left - thereby capturing the teacups, teapots, hankies, biscuits, and genral debris left behind.

Here are two below that may make the final series. I'm fairly sure I'll display them as black and white.



PAUL SCOTT - UK artist

'Tree in a vegetable garden'

His work involves the digital manipulation of established vocabularies of printed motif, pattern and image from industrial ceramic archives and engraved book illustration. Cloning and collaging these, sometimes with photographic elements to create contemporary artworks in ceramic and printed form.

TATSUROU BASHI - Japanese artist

Tatsurou Bashi's (born 1961) Villa Victoria in Derby Square is a hotel that can be hired for the night, but it is not a theme hotel in the way in which these can be found in Las Vegas. It was commissioned by the International 2002 exhibition for Liverpool Biennial in order to provoke questions, as an art-work, not in order to make money as a theme hotel

The exterior looks like a building site, and the visitor is unprepared for both the highly furnished and comfortable interior, and the huge scale of the monumental sculpture in this domestic-scale setting.

It is vivid history, drawing our attention to a neglected piece of heritage, and making it live again. Finally, through playing with the scale of public and private space, it illustrates (temporarily) the tendency to privatise public space in cities - to allow the use for commercial gain of 'heritage' that was previously considered an asset owned by the public (community).


Bashi constructed a temporary one-room apartment atop the historical 14th-century cathedral in Basel, enclosing a bronze angel set as a weather vane on the rooftop.

Attracted by the strangeness of the image, many viewers laboriously climbed the cathedral stairs and the scaffolding to reach Bashi's creation, built nearly 40 metres above ground level. Within the apartment, they discovered the angel placed on a living room table, seemingly destined to be there. As if time travelling from the ancient cathedral to a contemporary living room, the angel had moved from a historical public setting to an intimate private domain.

BARBARA BLOOM - American artist

Photographer, designer, and installation artist Barbara Bloom (born 1951) has built her career out of questioning appearances, exploring the desire for possessions, and commenting on the act of collecting.

'Safe' (1998)

A framed Iris print of a leather-gloved hand opening a wall safe (a still from Hitchcock's Marnie). The frame is hung on a hinge and swings open to reveal an (actual) empty safe set into the wall behind. Here, a mediated image gives way to reality, which gives way to gaping vacancy.

'Broken' (2001)

Each work is composed of a piece of Japanese ceramic ware that was repaired with gold lacquer, an X-ray of that object, a found photograph of a performing acrobat in a frame with shattered glazing, and a beautiful Japanese-style paper container for the ceramic piece. What the wall label does not explain is that Bloom created the series after falling out of a window and breaking many bones. In the overly busy context of the show, that poignant, personal dimension is lost.

'Corner: Confessional' (1986)
Photographs C-print with two-tone matte

Bloom revisits previous installations and adds new elements, resisting the delineation between past and present in her work. She often integrates her photographs with furniture to create compelling scenes, as with the installation Greed (1988) from the ICP collection, comprised of a chair, an empty frame, and her own photograph of a museum gallery showing a guard in a chair.

we're shopping.....

Gabriel Kuri, Untitled (superama), 2003, handwoven Gobelin,
114 x 44 1/2 in. (113 x 287 cm)

Mexico City native Gabriel Kuri often takes a witty, conceptual approach to social commentary through language and objects drawn from his culture. Using individual experience as a point of departure, Kuri highlights fragments of daily life through the displacement of objects and ideas.

Untitled (superama), is the transformation of a receipt from a trip to a Mexican Wal-Mart into an exquisite hand-loomed Gobelin, a type of tapestry.

What we would normally consider trash is elevated to fine art in the hands of world-renowned tapestry weavers in Guadalajara, Mexico, who translate the pixilated print of the enlarged printed receipt into individual knots tied by hand. By choosing to reproduce a receipt from Wal-Mart, one of the world’s largest and most controversial commercial retailers, Kuri forces us to reexamine and reorganize the role of consumerism in the art world.

By enlarging the receipt, Kuri effectively comments on the perceived importance and preciousness of art by monumentalizing an inherently ephemeral piece of paper.

AERNOUT MIK - Dutch artist

JULY 2007
I saw an exhibition by this artist at the Edinburgh Fruitmarket gallery, and loved it.

In 'Shifting Shifting', Mik presents videos that display his characteristic fascination with spaces that come with preordained drama: police stations, courtrooms, sport stadiums. We’re well aware that these settings come entrenched in codes of power and hierarchies. But the people occupying the spaces in Mik’s films seem strange, at one remove from reality. Instead, they are wilfully petulant, volatile, or sometimes simply bored in otherwise extraordinary circumstances.

Vacuum Room (2005), shows scenes from a political assembly, interrupted by a group of protestors, that descends into chaos. The images are played onto screens arranged in a circle which the audience enters, placing themselves in the narrative and becoming enveloped into it.

Training Ground (2006), Mik has simulated a brutal police training arena. The images on the vast screen don’t allow the viewers the comfort of knowing whether they are watching acting or reality. And this ambiguity is furthered by the fact that the police are in civilian clothing: without the uniform, their authority is unclear. The unsettled audience doesn’t know if it is watching genuine law enforcement, or illegitimate aggression.

Scapegoat’ (2006), shows dishevelled figures laid on makeshift beds as bloodstained soldiers listlessly wander around, make soup and tie their shoelaces. ‘Scapegoat’ is particularly disturbing for its resonance with grim events: we are reminded of the Moscow theatre hostage crisis in 2002; the lawlessness of the Louisiana Superdrome in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005; the Beslan school siege of 2004.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

POWER UP. Female Pop Artists
Evelyne Axell, Pauline Boty, Sister Corita Kent, Kiki Kogelnik, Marisol, Niki de Saint Phalle
November 05th, 2010 - February 20th, 2011

The exhibition Power Up – Female Pop Artists is aimed at a re-evaluation of the hitherto grossly underrated share of important female personalities
in Pop Art. Sister Corita Kent’s work, like that of Evelyne Axell,
Pauline Boty, Kiki Kogelnik, Niki de Saint Phalle and Marisol, stands for a feminine strategyof artistic self-empowerment.

Oscillating between the poles of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, figuration and abstraction, and high and low art, the works of the women artists on display frequently resemble those by their male colleagues in terms of material, subject matter, style, and working method. The ladies of the “Années Pop” celebrate female
sexuality and lust, apply pin-ups and excerpts from consumer culture in
the manner of bad girls, comment upon the economic upswing’s social
impact, transmit fragments of the occasionally banal world of daily routine,
and in their clearly autobiographically tinted works translate their
personal concerns into political ones. What they share with this movement
is the humor and lightness of an attitude towards life whose facets
and variations still make their appearance in contemporary art.

evelyne axell

'Le retour de Tarzan 1970'

'Transparence 1967'

'Erotomobile 1966'

When Axell began to assert her painting talents, young people all over the globe were living in a world of Pop. Her seven years of painting took place against the background of the great period of cultural globalisation of the sixties and its culminating events.

From the beginning, Axell painted in fiat tint, and cut out stylised shapes in the fabric which she then superimposed on backgrounds reflecting the influence of Op Art. As though in a premonition of the future, the car is a recurrent theme.

It was through the body of the woman, and primarily her own, that Axell conveyed to us the breath of life which animated the whole of her pictorial career. As early as 1966, the originality of her style was clearly asserted. Without hesitation or repentance, the artist imposes her definition of the image froni the outset, in the midst of the expansive phase of the consumer society. She is determined to show us that a woman's body is not a consumer good.

'Auto stop 1966'

'Axell-ération 1965'

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Social and cultural influences on health illness and cultural patterns

Health is affected by the social conditions in which people live and work. Poor social conditions and poverty increase the risks of ill health and disease. The social causes include poor sanitation, nutritional deficiencies, violence and accidents, poor water supply, little or no access to health services, lack of safety at work, overcrowded or poorly maintained housing, insufficient or poor quality food, environmental pollution, bad sanitation, stress, lack of exercise due to working, and travelling patterns etc.

Many causes of diseases and ill health are related to the social conditions of our lives because everything, including health, is dependent of social conditions we live in. If the social conditions are not good, then both physical and mental heath get badly affected.


A break at work is a period of time during a shift in which an employee is allowed to take time off from his/her job. There are different types of breaks, and depending on the length and the employer's policies, the break may or may not be paid.
Flavonoids: Antioxidants Help the Mind
Naturally occurring plant pigments, flavonoids are one of the reasons fruits and vegetables are so good for you. Among the many benefits attributed to flavonoids are reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and stroke.
By Erik Strand, published in 'Psychology Today ' on July 08, 2003

Flavonoids, like other antioxidants, do their work in the body by corralling cell-damaging free radicals and metallic ions. But flavonoids go beyond the yeoman work of your average antioxidant. Scientists have found that certain flavonoids have antihistamine, antimicrobial, memory- and even mood-enhancing properties.

Food scientist Alyson Mitchell, Ph.D., who studies flavonoids at UC Davis, is optimistic about the salutary power of these compounds: "The current hope of scientists is to discover exactly what flavonoids should be eaten in what amounts to fight specific diseases."

Scientists already have some proof that antioxidants protect against and even reverse the cognitive declines seen from aging. The brain is especially subject to attack from free radicals of oxygen, as it is extremely metabolically active and the body's largest consumer of oxygen. Yet, it is deficient in free radicals to start with. Cumulative damage from free radicals occurs across the board but is especially implicated in memory decline, slowing of body movements and the fatigue, irritability, and mood disturbance that mark depression.


But tea's rising favor may also be due to the soothing ritual of making a cup, according to Ron Rubin, "Minister of Tea" (or president, in layman's terms) at the Republic of Tea, a California-based company devoted to taking life "sip by sip, rather than gulp by gulp." The time it takes to steep tea leaves in hot water and savor its gentle flavor, which is kinder than that of coffee, forces drinkers to slow down and relax, he says, making it the perfect antidote to a caffeine-charged, cappuccino-crazy world.


Working in a country famous for its afternoon tea ritual, researchers at England's University of Newcastle upon Tyne have released a new study detailing how green and black tea can actually improve your memory. Dr. Ed Okello and his team have located compounds in the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which produces green, black and oolong teas, that block the activity of brain chemicals that are associated with memory decline.

One such brain chemical is acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is involved in lots of activities in the brain and the rest of the body. For example, it triggers muscle contractions. In the central nervous system, it is involved in wakefulness, attentiveness, anger, aggression, sexuality, and thirst, among other things.

Alzheimer's disease is associated with a lack of acetylcholine in certain regions of the brain. But decreases in acetylcholine also occur in the aging process generally. That's the bad news.

The good news is that we may actually be able to boost our acetylcholine levels by simply heeding the advice of our British counterparts and drinking tea. The idea is simple enough: raising chemical levels in the brain improves communication among the various neurotransmitters (the brain's messenger system), which in turn improves general memory. What could be done with complicated, often expensive drugs may instead be accomplished with a simple dunk of a green tea bag.

Further, tea delivers a double whammy. It not only boosts levels of acetylcholine. It blocks another substance that is found in the protein deposits that gunk up the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.

"We can all expect to experience slight memory loss as we age, like forgetting our grocery lists," explains gerontologist Bonnie Kantor of Ohio State University. "The goal is to work on ways to promote cognitive vitality so you never have to get to the stage of arriving at a grocery store and forgetting what one does there."

One way may be to reduce "oxidative stress" -- the damage done by free radicals of oxygen, destructive molecules given off by normal metabolic processes and by toxins. Here's where tea measures up once again. Compounds called flavonoids found in green and black teas appear to be effective antioxidants, especially helpful in countering brain damage done by free radicals.

Kent & Kevin Young
'Another Monozygotic Experiment in Telepathic conveyance'

New York,
April 2008

Twins Kent and Kevin present “A Monozygotic Experiment Using Telepathic Conveyance,” a performance during which the brothers will try to solve a crossword puzzle from clues telepathically sent from one twin brother to the other

Communication Noise

Communication noise refers to influences on effective communication that influence the interpretation of conversations. While often looked over, communication noise can have a profound impact both on our perception of interactions with others and our analysis of our own communication proficiency.

Forms of communication noise include environmental noise, semantic noise, psychological noise, cultural noise and psychological noise. All these forms of noise subtly, yet greatly influence our communication with others and are vitally important to anyone’s skills as a competent communicator.

Environmental Noise: Noise that physically disrupts communication, such as standing next to loud speakers at a party, or a construction site next to a classroom making it hard to hear the professor.

Semantic Noise: different interpretations of the meanings of certain words, like how the word "weed" can be interpreted as both an undesirable plant in your yard or marijuana, or how "LOL" is easily recognizable by most teens, but complete gibberish to older readers.

Cultural Noise: stereotypical assumptions can cause misunderstandings, such as unintentionally offending Jews by wishing them a "Merry Christmas,” or how Democrats and Republicans alike are bigoted about the other party’s policies.

Psychological Noise: certain attitudes can make communication difficult, like when great anger or sadness causes someone to lose focus on the present, or how more serious psychological diseases like autism severely hamper effective communication.

Saturday, 6 February 2010


The government announces in 1952 an end to tea rationing after 13 years 1939-1952).

During the Second World War food ration books for every man, woman and child came into use on the 8 January 1940. Rationing continued on some items until June 1954.

This tin contains one week's loose tea ration from 1940.

Tea rationing became necessary when Malaya and the East Indies fell to Japan, cutting off most of Australia’s tea supplies. Rationing began on July 6th, 1942. Each person over the age of 9 years was allowed 0.23kg (1/2 lb) of tea every 5 weeks and this required 4 coupons. In November 1942, when regular supplies of tea became available from India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the ration changed to 0.23kg., each 4 weeks. A popular topic of conversation during the years of rationing – even more popular than the weather – was the poor quality of the tea.

When sugar rationing began on August 31st, 1942, everyone was limited to 0.9kg (2lb) each fortnight and this was 1 coupon. On June 27th, 1943, butter was rationed to 0.23kg (1/2lb) per person per week and was 1 coupon.


What else is changing during the UK Recession?

"As well as a deep recession, we expect a slow recovery, held back by high private debts and (with inadequate bank capital) poor credit availability," he said, adding that it would take until 2013 for the economy to reach the pre-recession peaks of 2008."

"Gordon Brown is now competing with Ramsay MacDonald – not a comparison he would much like," he said. "It looks as if we are pretty much tracking the 1930s."


Where's my Poundstretcher loyalty card?
Social cohesion is a term used in social policy, sociology and political science to describe the bonds or "glue" that bring people together in society, particularly in the context of cultural diversity. Social cohesion is a multi-faceted notion covering many different kinds of social phenomena.

According to the government-commissioned, State of the English Cities thematic reports, there are five different dimensions of social cohesion: material conditions, passive relationships, active relationships, inclusion and equality.

* The report shows that material conditions are fundamental to social cohesion, particularly employment, income, health, education and housing. Relations between and within communities suffer when people lack work and endure hardship, debt, anxiety, low self-esteem, ill-health, poor skills and bad living conditions. These basic necessities of life are the foundations of a strong social fabric and important indicators of social progress.
* The second basic tenet of cohesion is social order, safety and freedom from fear, or "passive social relationships". Tolerance and respect for other people, along with peace and security,are hallmarks of a stable and harmonious urban society.
* The third dimension refers to the positive interactions, exchanges and networks between individuals and communities, or "active social relationships". Such contacts and connections are potential resources for places since they offer people and organisations mutual support, information, trust (law)trust and credit of various kinds.
* The fourth dimension is about the extent of social inclusion or integration of people into the mainstream institutions of civil society. It also includes people's sense of belonging to a city and the strength of shared experiences, identities and values between those from different backgrounds.
* Lastly, social equality refers to the level of fairness or disparity in access to opportunities or material circumstances, such as income, health or quality of life, or in future life chances.

Social disintegration is the tendency for society to decline or disintegrate over time, perhaps due to the lapse or breakdown of traditional social support systems. In this context, "society" refers to the social order which maintains a society, rather than the political order that defines its boundaries. Society in the sociological sense is not the same as a country.

The theoretical origins of this idea lie with Émile Durkheim and Ferdinand Toennies. For both researchers one can see a division into two types of social integration corresponding to two historical phases. First there is a primitive integration based on likeness and intimate interaction, which Durkheim called mechanical solidarity and Toennies labelled Gemeinschaft. Second, there is a more complex and modern integration based on abstracted interdependence, which is known as organic solidarity or Gesellschaft.

Those who espouse social disintegration beliefs tend to doubt the integrative capacity of organic solidarity, claiming that if it is not based on primordial ties and relationships, it is fabricated. On the other hand, optimists might argue that new complex forms of integration can emerge, for example through new communal forms of identity formation or through economic interdependence.

In sociology, social facts are the values, cultural norms, and social structures external to the individual. For French sociologist Émile Durkheim, sociology was 'the science of social facts'. The task of the sociologist, then, was to search for correlations between social facts to reveal laws. Having discovered the laws of social structure, it is posited that the sociologist is then able to determine whether any given society is 'healthy' or 'pathological' and prescribe appropriate remedies.

Durkheim made two main distinctions between social facts--material and nonmaterial social facts. Material social facts, he explained, has to do with the physical social structures which exerts influence on the individual. It is something that can be touched emerging because of society's shared belief that it serves a purpose. Nonmaterial social facts are the values, norms and other conceptually held beliefs.

Social norms
are the behavioral expectations and cues within a society or group. This sociological term has been defined as "the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit. Failure to follow the rules can result in severe punishments, including exclusion from the group."[1] They have also been described as the "customary rules of behavior that coordinate our interactions with others."[2]

The social norms indicate the established and approved ways of doing things, of dress, of speech and of appearance. These vary and evolve not only through time but also vary from one age group to another and between social classes and social groups. What is deemed to be acceptable dress, speech or behaviour in one social group may not be accepted in another.

Deference to the social norms maintains one's acceptance and popularity within a particular group; ignoring the social norms risks one becoming unacceptable, unpopular or even an outcast from a group. Social norms tend to be tacitly established and maintained through body language and non-verbal communication between people in their normal social discourse.

A social network is a social structure made of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes," which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.

Six degrees of separation (also referred to as the "Human Web") refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth. It was popularized by a play written by John Guare.

The modern world 'shrinking' due to this ever-increasing connectedness of human beings. And that despite great physical distances between the globe's individuals, the growing density of human networks made the actual social distance far smaller.

A fascinating game grew out of this discussion. One of us suggested performing the following experiment to prove that the population of the Earth is closer together now than they have ever been before. We should select any person from the 1.5 billion inhabitants of the Earth—anyone, anywhere at all. He bet us that, using no more than five individuals, one of whom is a personal acquaintance, he could contact the selected individual using nothing except the network of personal acquaintances.

This idea both directly and indirectly influenced a great deal of early thought on social networks.

The original Object to Be Destroyed was created as a readymade in 1923. According to Man Ray, the piece was originally intended as a silent witness in his studio to watch him paint. In 1932 a second version, called Object of Destruction, was published in the avant-garde journal This Quarter, edited by André Breton. This version featured an ink drawing of the Object To Be Destroyed with the following instructions;

Cut out the eye from a photograph of one who has been loved but is seen no more. Attach the eye to the pendulum of a metronome and regulate the weight to suit the tempo desired. Keep going to the limit of endurance. With a hammer well-aimed, try to destroy the whole at a single blow.

1932 was the year Man Ray's lover, Lee Miller, left him to return to New York. To make the connection to Miller more explicit, the object's original eye was replaced with a photo of hers.[1] This metronome was exhibited for the first time at Galerie Pierre Colle, Paris, as Eye-Metronome in 1933.

Subsequent exhibitions called the piece Lost Object, 1945, Last Object, 1966 and Perpetual Motif, 1972.[2] Man Ray stated that he had always intended to destroy it one day, but as a public performance.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Tuesday, 2 February 2010