Friday, June 15, 2018

Documentary making (and some old friends talk Brexit)

When I was working at BT Broadcast services in the late 1990's  I had a severe case of  'itchy feet' career-wise (certainly not my only one) and  looked at doing a full-time documentary MA course at both Middlesex Polytechnic  (as it was then) and Goldsmiths.

As I recall for Goldsmiths competiton was very tight and I think got further along the road to Middlesex, the Art School where the course was run was a good one, formerly Hornsey School of Art (lots of students went on to be big figures in music for example Ray Davies and Art a personal favourite Bruce Lacey) .
JVC mini DV camera

The application required some thoughts to be submitted around subject matter and much thought was given over to what I would use as a subject.

Economics was probably the thing that stopped me going i this direction full time but I did buy a semi-pro video camera (Canon XL1)  and looked for other ways to realise my ambition.

Well I've subsequently spent quite a bit of time taking still photographs and as a result (perhaps) I've been asked to make some video recordings at an Anniversary celebration this weekend using a small DV camera - to remind myself a bit on how to use the camera (loaned to me) I recorded a local artist talking about his work, it reminded me of the fun and I might take further (a modern 'still camera' can do the same job in HD much more eadily now) .

And Talking of days at BT..

On Wednesday evening I met with 4 really nice people I worked with at BT, all doing well in work and personal situations -we met in west end of London at a Pub' and  of course when we got to chatting Brexit popped up, all somewhat (or very) unhappy about this.

Seems to me that in my circles I only know one person who (has said) that has  voted to remain - this means (I guess) this really polarises the UK, and is a battle for the 'heart' (if it had one) of the Tory party - not sure what this wing of the party will wish for next but I fear it is not a liberal modern society.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Somerset House

As well as looking at the Hayward Gallery last week Nev and I had a stroll around - eating some finger food  from street food market  on Southbank before heading for Somerset House.

Southbank - International food with an international clientele 

On a sunny day the area around Festival Hall is a great place to walk and people watch - complete with activities for all ages! 

At Somerset House quite a number of (free) things to see, some perhaps more successful in their realisation than others.

Kimchi and Chips are exhibiting in the courtyard' with Halo, this perhaps is dependent on so many variables that it's not always going to hit the spot - but a very interesting idea.

Halo in action 
Wen also took a look at the 2018 World Illustration Awards - it's easy to think that print and traditional media is a spent flush but some super work on show, really full of life and impactful.

very much alive 

An audience for Illustration 

My favourite an imagined view of Trump in the' Surreal' White House. (by Lennart Gäbel)

Well it is surreal 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Lee Bul at The Hayward

A new name (perhaps) to me
Thinking and looking back over recent years I find that my visit to The Hayward Gallery last week was perhaps the first time there.

And at its heart
 Anyway very happy to report it's a pretty good place to enjoy contemporary Art in its' 50th year (it's July 1968 that it opened) - I feel that recent days have had a Brutalist edge (architecturally) and this a pretty strong example of that ethos.

The featured artist at present at the gallery is a South Korean woman called Lee Bul and there's quite a range of styles and themes that are on show.

The most popular week seemed to be Via Negativa II (which we were told by one of the gallery stewards had seen very long queues assemble to experience the work (it's a maze like piece that the visitors traverses).

Via Negativa II (outside) 

The experience  of this work (according to the gallery) is..

The installation provides an intense and disorienting experience that disrupts the viewer's perceptual and cognitive bearings, and alludes to the tenets of apophatic philosophy, which posits that divine nature is beyond the understanding of the rational human mind and can only be comprehended by defining what it is not – ‘the negative way' – rather than what it is"

Lee Bul has worked as a performance artist and her work has been political - most of the work on show was sculptural and varied form hard metallic finishes to  some softer more natural works  -some work appeared 'playful' but the ideas behind them it seems were less so.

This is called Willing to be Vulnerable

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Broadcasting under pressure, Discovery to move? (and my own 7-Up )

Since I left full time employment about 5 years ago Broadcasting has dropped in importance (to me) - interesting to find so many of my contemporaries now watch Netflix or Amazon Prime  (who have just become successful bidders for Soccer rights) .
Discovery Europe - Chiswick Park, changes afoot? 

Well two (or three) big things that have been brought to my attention are:
BT Tower remains

1) Discovery (my last employer)  are said to be planning to move their UK broadcasting hub back to the USA and (dependent on Brexit negotiations) might move production facilities to the EU.

2) BT (another of my previous employers) are changing their CEO  the current Gavin Patterson's  direction has not delivered either shareholder value or the confidence that's needed.

3) No deal Brexit (and even some deals) could cause some damage to the UK's significant transmission and Playout industry (it's probably already damaged it by slowing investment and creating uncertainty).

 Along with the dangers for both the BBC and UK Independent sectors in the dominance of the Mega corporations lie Amazon, Disney and Google (to name but 3) to diminish their reach and significance the new and almost perpetually smiling Culture Secretary Matt Hancock needs to get to grips or the promise of the 'Creative Sector' will never be realised and will be a further  footnote in the story of UK Plc's Tory inflicted decline

My Own 7 Up

More than 50 years ago there was a Television programme made by the North of England franchised broadcaster called 7 up -the premise being derived from the Catholic Jesuit order's claim that -

Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man..

and so after the first programme in 1964 (when I was incidentally 7) the group filmed as young children have come again into focus every 7 years and it has been revulatory in what might be inherent and what life throws at us.

The idea has been used across many countries and often similar things are revealed.

Thus for me reconvening as part of a group of students who shared a flat in 1976/77 has reminded me of this and how we might have foretold our own stories )as do my meetups with Kevin who I have known since was 11).

So what can we say of the 5 couples who met up last weekend?

Well we're all reasonably happy some have put on more weight (and some of the males have lost more hair than others ) we've had health issues (as you'd expect) and some are now grandparents.

Perhaps this as what we'd expect - what fascinates me is how we've seen expectations (are own) skyrocket from what our parents enjoyed and how the background we operate against has changed beyond recognition - goodness me we're lucky - and with this I cant help thinking we ove something who have not had our good fortune.