Kinesis and Stasis conference

The Barbican
London, UK
27th November 2015
Organised by TECHNE

“Kinesis and Stasis, movement and stillness, embody an essential component of human life, and a fundamental dialectic within any culture. All entities move, and their social milieu evolve with them. Ever-newer waters flow onto those who step into the same river. Yet the constant state of flux and perpetual kinesis of our living world ultimately evokes an enduring stillness: change is the only permanence. Culture is an ever-present yet ever evolving form of sociality. Creativity is a moment of reflection and a moment of action, a mode of doing and being.” (http://techneconference.com)

The Kinesis and Stasis conference was held at the Barbican on 27th November 2015, and I was invited to present my paper ‘Fragments of Venus’. Taking my previous explorations of the Venus figure in art, I decided to present a threefold process of capturing movement in art: Firstly, my studies of the Venus sculpture by Antonio Canova described a way of navigating the object through drawing. Secondly, the Venus figure in 15th Century Florence incorporated a method for drawing movement in hair and drapery borrowed from antiquity, such as in the painting ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Sandro Botticelli. Lastly, the Venus as a motif in art and culture has perpetuated from Antiquity to the present day. This omnipresence represents the movement of pagan imagery, both geographically and temporally.

As well as providing evidence for the movement of iconography through Aby Warburg, Hugh Honour, and related topics such as Image Studies, I also discussed how my artwork had been influenced by these ideas. I showed how the initial drawings made from the sculpture had been digitally printed and then recreated into a geometric shape, in order to reassemble the drawing into a 3D form. The digital images were also bound into an artist book, reflecting the time-based element of both experiencing the sculpture and viewing the book. The presentation was supported by a selection of images from the artist book presented as an exhibition.

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.

 

Cyprus Summer Studio

So I decided to bite the bullet and set off in the great blue yonder; in search of inspiration, to find myself, etc, etc and other cliches… I’m currently spending 3 weeks in Cyprus at the Summer Studio in Lempa, which feels more like some kind of spiritual retreat at the moment due to the baking heat and the (very) basic facilities. Still pondering ideas and trying to concentrate on one thing at a time, which is difficult at the best of times but in 42 degrees with no air con, is downright impossible. Anyway I’ve made some tentative starts so we’ll see where they lead. I’m also gonna be writing a project page about my experiences and progress here. You can follow it by clicking this link:http://louiseatkinson.blogspot.com/2009/07/cyprus-summer-studio-lempa.html

Brussels

Saw some amazing art in and around Brussels including a beautiful exhibition in a church by painter and philosopher Caroline Chariot-Dayez. ‘Contrary to any demiurgic attitude, the concern for realism is the expression of fascination and, more generally, of the ecstatic state of mind peculiar to contemplation. Beauty is ever present; it takes possession of whoever discovers it. Realism is possession.’

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