The Excursionist conference

Organised by b-side,
Isle of Portland, Dorset, UK
8th – 9th October 2015

On October 8th 2015, I was invited to present an ‘artistic provocation’ at The Excursionist conference on the Isle of Portland in Dorset. As the theme of the conference was art and tourism, I decided to present my curatorial postcard project ‘The Imaginary Museum: Monuments and Landmarks’, which explored co-authorship, audience participation, and tourist culture and imagery. Alongside a spoken presentation, I displayed the range of postcards from artists participating in the project for the delegates to see the work first-hand. The other artist provocations were really entertaining too and it gave me lots of ideas of how I might present my work in future.

The conference ran over two days and was well paced, with performances, presentations, discussions, and excursions. As the organisers, b-side describe on their archive page of the event: “b-side welcomed over 80 delegates to the Isle of Portland for b-side’s second Symposium event provoking debate on current issues. ‘The Excursionist’ explored the growing industry of tourism and its relationship with the arts exploring the impact of tourism on community, environment and economy and the role art and artists can play. ​Delegates enjoyed two days of provocations, presentations, discussions and artistic interventions including a bus trip to Portland’s premier tourist attraction and an unexpected performance in a graveyard.”

I met lots of interesting and friendly people, including b-side organisers, Sandy Kirby and Julie Penfold, artists Alistair Gentry and Katrina Palmer, the co-director of Art Angel, James Lingwood, and long-time Facebook friend and artist/psychogeographer, Phil Smith. I was a bit nervous about presenting my work in front of Alistair in particular as I’d seen his Arty Bollocks Theatre previously, so I hoped that my work wouldn’t fall into that category.

Another unexpected benefit of attending the conference was the opportunity to experience the immersive audio walk ‘The Loss Adjusters’, which was commissioned by Art Angel, and explored a fictional history of the island’s inhabitants, shaped by the surrounding quarries. The pace and range of activities meant that the conference never felt tiring despite the long days, and enabled me to present my work to new audiences, as well as finding out about other organisations and artists.

 

Instructions

Artists’ Bookmarket 2013
Fruitmarket Gallery
Edinburgh, UK
20th April 2013

“The Fruitmarket Gallery is excited to introduce the third Artists’ BookMarket, this April. For one spring day, The Fruitmarket Gallery will transform into a marketplace where you will find unique artists’ books and publications for sale, come face to face with the artists who make them and join in book-making workshops. Stallholders are travelling to the Gallery from far and wide. You’ll find work to interest you from the likes of Switzerland, Canada, London and a bit closer to home too. 

The BookMarket programme of fairs, events and kiosks provides platforms for artists, designers, publishers and makers from the Gallery’s extended creative community to sell and present their work at The Fruitmarket Gallery. Recent events have served artists’ book makers, contemporary designers, art students and Scottish art publishers and have been occasions for networking, partnership-forming and driving sales.”

This year, I took part in the Fruitmarket Bookmarket with Artist Book Collective’s first curated stall on the theme of instructions. Taking inspiration from Fluxus, mail art and relational practice, each participating artist provided works for sale, loosely based on the idea of a guide, almanac or puzzle. I also be gave a talk about the history of the Artist Book Collective during the day. The artists in the show were Craig Atkinson, Black Dogs, Manya Donaque, Alex Hetherington (Modern Edinburgh Film School), Benedict Phillips, Louisa Parker, Archie Salandin, and myself. The curatorial brief was inspired by Fluxus, mail art and relational practice, so each artist provided book works which were loosely based on the idea of a guide, almanac or puzzle. A full list of images and text can be seen on ABCarchive. All in all, it was a very interesting experience and I even got to meet Alec Finlay!

Bound

Leeds City Library
Leeds, UK
14th – 24th August 2012

Bower Ashton Library
Bristol, UK
3rd December 2012 – 31st January 2013

Curated by Louise Atkinson
for Artist Book Collective

As part of Divided We Fall, the collective will present ‘Bound’ their first touring show as a way to strengthen connections within the group and promote books as an artistic medium.From the exploration of experimental binding techniques to more conceptual interpretations, such as the book as a ritual object, this new exhibition will investigate the notion of ‘bound’ in its myriad forms. Works will be also available for sale or commission.

The tour will begin at the Art Library of the Leeds Central Library, before continuing on to other venues, including The Centre for Fine Print Research in Bristol. The launch of Bound is the first stage in creating a permanent artist book archive for the collective in Leeds city centre. This will also be digitised online for the artists, researchers and members of the public to view.

For more information about viewing or buying works visit http://abcarchive.blogspot.co.uk

Other profiles:
https://www.facebook.com/artistbookcollective
http://www.flickr.com/groups/artistbookcollective
https://twitter.com/ArtistBookColl

Image: Darren Bryant, Jack in a Box, Vol 2, Concertina with Relief Etching and Collage, 2012

Home from Home

153 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds

11th – 18th March 2011
Curated by Louise Atkinson
As part of Artist Book Collective

With ideas ranging from the domestic to displacement, over 80 artists from 7 different countries contributed to the Artist Book Collective exhibition around the theme of Home. 153 Woodhouse Lane was the setting, to be shown alongside the 14th Leeds International Artist Book Fair. As a spacious Victorian terrace situated over three floors, it was the perfect backdrop for this site-specific exhibition.
 
Artist Book Collective Home From HomeArtists responded to the brief through exploring and expanding on the book as a time-based medium, whilst also incorporating the notion of the Everyday.

Traditional book works as well as sculptural objects, text, narrative, video, furniture, audio and performance were represented throughout the show. The concept of Home evoked various associations, including our experience of domestic spaces in relation to their designated public/private status, as well as the collection and curation of personal possessions within those spaces. Often our sense of self and security is linked to feeling ‘at home’, insinuating that this sensation is not always related to a particular place or building.

 
At first glance, Home from Home created an impression of family, refuge and sanctuary, but upon closer inspection, it also began to uncover associated feelings of anxiety and uncertainty relating to superstition, illness and transience.
As a development of the Collective’s exhibitions, this show proved to me how much support and interest there was for the book arts in Leeds and how much more we could achieve. Even though the show only lasted a week we had fantastic comments and reviews, including this one from Debs Davies (aka @BasementArtsPro) on the@culturevultures blog.
It also sparked an interest in zine making for one contributor (@strawbleu) who produced his first zine as a catalogue/personal response to the show, and is now available to buy direct from him. We also set up the Flickr group for contributors to share images from the shows and fairs. To view the full list of artists and their work, visit the Home from Home page on the ABC archive.

Image: Melanie Alexandrou, Magpie Thunder Bureau, Mixed Media Installation, 2009-2011

Cabinet of Curiosities

Old Mining Building, University of Leeds

8th – 19th March 2010
Curated by Louise Atkinson
Artist book Collective Cabinet of Curiosities

For the 13th Leeds International Book Fair, Artist Book Collective was invited by organizer Chris Taylor to present Cabinet of Curiosities, an exhibition of relational bookworks by local, national and international artists. The focus of the exhibition was a large cabinet with 14 drawers. 


Each drawer contained site-specific work by a different artist, pushing the boundaries of book art through the use of found objects, text, audio, sculpture and photography. Instructions were provided as part of, or alongside artworks, producing an interactive element to encourage the audience to contribute to the creation and dissemination of the work. 

By bringing together text, performance and collaborative practice, the work also referenced previous art movements including Surrealism and Fluxus and was complimented by additional bookworks exploring interaction and collaboration. 

During the Friday of that weekend I’d been helping to man a stall at the Leeds International Artist Book Fair with the Northern Young Artists. It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented people and their work. I came away feeling motivated and energised to make new books. I’d love to have bought things too, but decided to stick to just looking, because there was just too much choice.

That evening, I opened the Cabinet of Curiosities show, which had an excellent response. The theme had been developed in response to the need for a more fluid transistion between interpretation and exhibition models. It was amazing to see people engaging so much at a private view, and throughout the evening the space was overwhelmed with people interacting with the work. To see a full list of artists and their work, visit the Cabinet of Curiosities page on the ABC blog.

(sub)Missive

Corridor Gallery, University of Leeds
6th – 18th March 2009
Curated by Louise Atkinson
(sub)Missive was the culmination of a mail art project in which artists from the UK, Europe, US, Canada and Australia each collaborated with an artist partner to create a new book work. Using the social networking forum as a platform for collaboration, artists investigated the dissemination of ideas with particular reference to (mis)communication and power relations.

Taking the hierarchical construct as a brief, each participant devised a set of instructions ranging from the single word to the diagrammatic, and distributed them for their collaborative partner to make work from. The results of this experiment were displayed as part of the 12th International Contemporary Artists Book Fair from Friday 6th till Wednesday 18th March 2009 @ Corridor Gallery, School Of Design, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT.

This was an interesting way to work, but possibly created more questions than it answered. The link between mail art and social media was a new development for me, and definitely one that I would be interested in pursuing in future.
Something else that I found peculiar was the sense of ownership that the ‘makers’ had over the work they had created, despite the brief having been set by their collaborator. This brought the idea of intellectual property in question, and made me consider how I could address that in other exhibitions. For a full list of artists and images, visithttp://abcarchive.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/submissive.html

Image Credit: Laura Frame, Bag of Bones, Bag, bones, ribbon, 2009