The mysteries of the pyramids revealed! (What elephant?)

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From 29th October to 1st November, I will be spending four days in Access Space, Sheffield, UK as a kind of mini-residency, building a pyramid in their foyer.

The main body of it will be constructed from unwanted stuff, with a laser-cut, perspex donation box forming the top section. You can follow my progress on the New Bank of X’s website here. Also, here will be timelapse video at some point.

If you have any unwanted items, please bring them along for me to include in the construction, and I will transform your worthless junk into priceless art.

Below is a miniature prototype of the top section, designed and made by John Moseley (@_jo_mo), and fabricated in Access Space’s Refab Space.

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I am also working on the next New Bank of X bank note, the 3x, and this one will be accompanied by a series of short “making of” videos (see below).

BolamTV – What Gandhi did for the future of television

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Actually, it’s not so much the future of television as the current state of television. It’s more about the branding than the content, although it is the future of MY television.

It’s a strange world that has changed so rapidly that I can barely keep up. Whereas I was positively starved of moving image input when I was a child, I am now so overloaded that I hardly watch anything at all. Partly because I spend a lot of my time creating my own stuff, but the tyranny of choice, combined with more storage than I can ever fill, means that I can record far more video than I have hours left in my life to watch.

Hence the ironic “More is better” slogan. This started with that strange bastardisation of the English language by Sky TV “Believe in better”. You what? Followed by O2 More (eh?) and others that seem to think that including the word “more” in everything has some actual value.

“More is better” is just my little joke about the vacuous aspirational bullshit language of branding culture. It seems to promise something whilst guaranteeing nothing. Just like the real thing. As you see, the production values of my own segments are not particularly high (in order to keep it under control) but it’s fully branded. All I need now is some jazzy motion graphics and on-screen ticker-tape news feed, and it will be indistinguishable from the real thing.

I got the idea after talking to community media activist Steve Buckley of the Community Media Solutions who was telling me about how they were looking for content for the newly licensed Sheffield Live! Television. I asked about the practicalities of programming enough content and he said they were looking for series rather than single programmes, even if each segment was very short.

This conversation made me wonder if I could gather a series of short BolamTV programmes, made up from existing short videos I have already made. This led me to thinking about branding and then there was no stopping me.

Anyway, here is a nascent holding site for BolamTV, with a couple of segments already and more content to follow throughout the Bolam Retrospective.

This announcement is just a soft launch until such time as I’ve gathered more content, but in the meantime I can think of no footsteps that I would rather follow than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s, who said; first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

I am proud to have ticked off at least the first one of these stages.

Welcome to BolamTV. There will be more…

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

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

HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything — it might come in handy later.

It’s invaluable to look at what other people are doing, listen to advice and not try to re-invent the wheel every day.

It’s interesting that in the “hints” appendix to her 10 rules, Sister Corita mentions movies specifically. I am an advocate of taking in popular cultural references as well as the influences that are more precious to your work. This helps to avoid the masturbatory, navel-gazing of monocultural practice and can often introduce you to ideas outside of your normal sphere.

I don’t blame school for not telling me about Gandhi, because they could only teach us so much. I learned about him from Richard Attenborough’s 1982 feature film.

A lesson in filmmaking that I recommend to anyone, is the audio commentary by Ridley Scott for “Alien” (1979). His matter-of-fact delivery and leaps of imaginative faith are inspiring.

Having said all that, it’s best not to pick up all of your philosophical outlook from films such as “Porky’s” (1982), although having recently re-watched “The Breakfast Club” (1985) after a gap of about 20 years, it’s a much better and more subtley nuanced movie than I was aware of the first time around.

Conversely, some movies, that are closer to the centre of the art world, are lessons in how not to make films. A tedious chore that I would prefer not to repeat is Matthew Barney’s “Cremaster” cycle (2003), and my less-than-complimentary opinion of Lars Von Trier is widely known.

As far as saving everything goes, I would not be able to celebrate my upcoming retrospective if I had not saved everything way back from the 1970s.

I have six months to go until the beginning of my Bolam Retrospective year, and preparations are underway for a launch event on 24th April 2014. Stay tuned…

This is the last post in the series about Sister Corita Kent’s 10 rules (with a little help from John Cage), so thanks to Brain Pickings for reminding me that not everything is about me. Sometimes it’s important to listen to what other people think about me.