I don’t follow anyone’s rules except my own rules… RULE TEN – The X Factor

Set073from_IMG_2242_adj

One of my rules broken: don’t over-process photographs.

See this post for the intro to this series of posts about rules.

RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)

Everyone knows that if you put “X” at the end of a brand name, it automatically makes it sound enigmatic and cool. From now on, I shall be known as Bolam X.

Not working? Okay, never mind. It is also used to denote an unknown quantity or quality.

I think what John Cage was referring to what is also called the “happy accident”. As I said in my previous post, I had the idea for No Glove Lost a few years ago, and although similar things have been done before, it feels like a bit of unfinished business. So, I decided to get back on Horse X and complete Project X. And now I’m waiting for Accident X.

I saw a television interview with film director David Lynch where he discusses the breaking of one of the golden rules of filmmaking.

I’m going to have to paraphrase because I can’t find a clip of the actual interview, but it goes like this: (David Lynch has a very distinctive voice and it helps if you hear it in his tone.)

“[Director’s Name] asked me ‘David, can you really not cross the line?’. I said of course you can. You’re the director, you can do anything you like. You can’t cut it together, though.”

I was introduced to the concept of crossing-the-line in a video workshop given by Jason Budge in 2001. Briefly, it can be illustrated by the idea of filming someone walking along a road. You can shoot them from one side, the front or the back. However, you can’t shoot them from the other side of the road as it will confuse the audience seeing them walking in the opposite direction.

This supports what I always say, which is you can break any of the rules, but don’t do it for the sake of it. Rules and guidelines exist for one very good reason, they work. At least most of the time.

One of my own rules is don’t repeat what someone else has done.

No Glove Lost title

I really don’t know what I’m doing with this project, but I conceived it and what I do know is that I’m doing it. However, unlike the bland emulsion of homogenised mediocrity that is ITV’s the X Factor, I will be taking my lead from John Cage and Sister Corita Kent, breaking my own rules and leaving plenty of room for X quantities.

As I keep saying, I don’t like rules or manifestos, so here are some un-rules for my No Glove Lost project:

Un-rule #1 – It’s not a daily project. Or it might be.
Un-rule #2 – Only gather gloves on normal routes required by work or social commitments. Or not.
Un-rule #3 – Don’t go purposefully looking for them. Or do.
Un-rule #4 – Don’t try to out-do any of the other glovespotters. It’s not a competition. Or maybe it is.
Un-rule #X – Break any of the un-rules if you feel like it. Or not.

I hope that’s clear.

Between 22nd September 2013 and 20th March 2014 (winter in the northern hemisphere), I will be photographing the gloves in-situ, and collecting them for the currently unknown Purpose X.

So, in X Factor parlance, I’m raising my game, taking it to the next level and giving it 110%.

Until I’ve nailed it. Stay tuned…

http://noglovelost.wordpress.com/

Advertisements

No Glove Lost – Now is the winter of our missed garments

No Glove Lost title

As part of my retrospective I am attempting to finish off some stalled, abandoned or otherwise delayed projects.

No Glove Lost is a project I conceived back in 2007. I had become fascinated by lost gloves and began photographing them in-situ whenever I found them. One of the people I was studying with at the time pointed out to me, with rather poisonous glee, that someone had already created a blog recording lost gloves, and I must admit this stopped me in my tracks. At least it stopped me at that time.

Regular readers will know that I attempt to resist the preciousness of trying to own an idea. This partly stems back to my first visit to the Centre Georges Pompidou (circa 2001) when I was particularly struck how pretty much everything has already been done, often 100 years ago.

For example, in the late 1990s, I was creating mock packages of imagined medications and I only found out later that Damien Hirst had been doing the same thing, and doing it better, at about the same time. I have had many “brilliant” ideas, only to be disappointed that someone else was being more brilliant than me, and earlier.

Whatevah.

Set303from_IMG_9717

Let’s face it, it’s a bit late to be re-inventing cubism, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add something to its gamut.

Although I can’t actually remember which was the first of the glove collections that I saw, I think it might have been this one that dates back to 2005. This is maintained by photographer Sarah Cole who is also based in Sheffield, and she includes a list of links to other glove-spotters.
http://glovesandmittens.blogspot.co.uk/2005_10_01_archive.html

This café in Berlin has an exhibition of lost gloves, waiting to be reunited with their owners.
http://datenform.de/blog/lost-gloves/

And here is a Google map of lost gloves in Copenhagen.
https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=116335434107066498961.00043d3f37b138ba3bab6

Artist Stuart Brisley made a sculpture in 1983 called “1=66,666” which features a rather fetishy re-filling of (I believe to be discarded) gloves hanging in a cage, and I wish I had done that.
http://www.stuartbrisley.com/pages/28/80s/Works/1_66,666/page:5

Anyway, it turns out I am not the only one to find these soiled and potentially intimate items of clothing to be car-crash fascinating. This universal phenomenon has been observed numerous times all over the world.

Whatevah.

Set333from_IMG_9726

At the time I first had the idea, I was studying an MA in Contemporary Fine Art (never completed) at Sheffield Hallam University and my tutor was Nick Stewart, now Programme Leader & Reader in Fine Art at Winchester School of Art. In a tutorial with him, he suggested creating video that showed me examining the gloves, but at the time, I was resistant to making video as I had already made so much, although I took his point.
http://www.nickstewart.org.uk/index.html

I also had a tutorial with artist Doris Frohnapfel, a visiting lecturer, and I showed her the photographs. She told me that, had it been her, she would have taken the gloves away and made something out of them. That had never occurred to me before. But it has now.
http://www.dorisfrohnapfel.de/

Anyway, I have decided to resurrect the idea and finish off what I started. I had the original idea independently and I still like it, so I will be photographing and collecting gloves over the coming winter months, between the autumn and spring equinoxes.

But what can I do to add something? Well, maybe I should swallow my pride and take the advice of artists more mature than myself and take it further than just the photographs. There is a blog where each glove will be recorded with a new entry. It’s not a daily project and is very open.

It will rely upon wherever I go and whatever I find, so stay tuned…

http://noglovelost.wordpress.com

I don’t follow anyone’s rules except my own rules… RULE NINE

Retrospective graphics.056

See this post for the intro to this series of posts about rules.

RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

Abstract erotic art… It’s the shape of things to come. – anon via
http://funny-jokes.rap-contest.com/index.php/site/index

This one follows on very conveniently from RULE EIGHT.

Recenty, I made a conscious decision to stop going to discussions about art. Why? Because they’re all so fucking boring.

I am not talking about lectures or artists’ talks, which can be fascinating. I mean conferences, salons and symposia, those talking shops for middle-class liberals, agonising about stuff that really doesn’t matter.

Let’s face it, you don’t get many laughs at an art symposium. There is a kind of studied emptiness in most discussions about art, a chasing of tails that normally leaves you none the wiser at the end of it, only shorter of life.

For me, the problem is the lack of humour. There is a poisonous, masturbatory guilt at the heart of contemporary fine art that thinks joy and beauty are somehow trivial, unless defined in an ironic, post-modern, knowing way. A kind of professional cynicism favoured by the David Shrigley apologists.

One way I can allow myself to be happy whenever I can manage it is by avoiding making myself unhappy whenever I can manage it.

Soon after starting the review of my life’s work, I realised that humour in the form of satire, is a strong, enduring thread in my art. That realisation was liberating, and these days I am allowing myself to have some fun even if it seems from the outside like I am just playing with myself.

That was a joke.