Walk on the Beach: Things from the Sea, Volume One

Walk on the Beach: Things from the Sea, Volume One  is a residual book, being a text and image diary of passing objects, and a short-term physical meeting of minds within the BABEL working group. Composed of artists, researchers, historians, philosophers and scientists, the group periodically works together, and then disperses; this book is one such meeting’s remnant. Continue reading

Making Your Life as an Artist: Making Workbook

Making Workbook inside cover.

Making Workbook inside cover.

In a previous blog post I reviewed the book and digital download Making Your Life as an Artist by Andrew Simonet, a considered insight into the role of art and methods for working efficiently with an art-based skill-set. This matter-of-fact publication has unsurprisingly expanded into an even further practicable format in the Making Workbook. Continue reading

In the Studio with Elien Ronse


9 Blue Beds I slept. Image courtesy of the artist

I first met the Belgian artist Elien Ronse at Studio Das Weiss Haus, Vienna, on our simultaneous residencies in 2015. This time in Austria was the beginning of her long-term body of research into domestic life, which has since taken her to Taiwan, Germany, Greece, South Korea, France, and now Northern Ireland. Sleeping over in a local person’s house for one night, Ronse stays with anyone from a friend to a stranger, finding willing hosts via word of mouth. She then documents the ways and objects of each person’s intimate life, systemising her records in her archiving processes. She describes herself as a micro-historian, observing the patterns of domesticity and the impact of collectivity on the shaping of personal space. This research forms the basis of her artworks, ranging from installation, film, interventions and games. Continue reading

The Plough and Other Stars


Riccardo Arena, VAVILON I Solovki Island – Project C. Installation image. Photo by writer.

Whilst the concept suggests a future utopian/dystopian knife-edge, the pieces in “The Plough and Other Stars” use the benefit of hindsight in working with death alternatives, taking in areas such as time travel, fantastical exploration, space travel and non-linear views of humanity. The four gallery-based works refer to events that exploded new pockets of knowledge within a collective consciousness; once viewed in retrospect, however, they show issues in how they were moulded by their receptive environments. Continue reading

And Another Thing…

and another thing sculpture

Front cover of “And Another Thing…” (detail). Courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing. Image: Zimoun. 25 woodworms, wood, microphone, sound system, 2009. Video, 55 seconds. Courtesy of the artist and Bitforms Gallery

And Another Thing…” is an exhibition-based publication, but builds upon rather than accompanies its counterpart. It was published this summer to contextualise a 2011 show in CUNY, New York, that shares the same title. This show, mainly composed of feminist and minimalist pieces, worked with nonanthropocentrism – a key aspect of speculative realism and object-oriented ontology – at a time just before those principles became popular touchstones for artists and curators. Continue reading

Art in the Eastside – 20:20 Billboards

Tom Pfannerstill Sculpture

Tom Pfannerstill, Heads Installation. Photo by George Robb.

The billboard project does not have the conventional markers of public art. It’s not put out to tender, heavily funded or permanently sited; the images that temporarily dot the roads of East Belfast are not even made with this format or their location in mind. Instead, they are snapshots of artists’ practices, blown up and quietly slipped into the public sphere for a few weeks at a time. Continue reading

The Political Space of Art

Left over space Sculpture

Image from “Left-over Spaces: The Cinema of the Dardenne Brothers”. Photo by writer, courtesy of Rowman and Littlefield International.

The Political Space of Art is quick to clarify its title: rather than focusing on literal space within art, its reference is more figurative. Using four artists working in different art forms – filmmakers The Dardenne Brothers, writer Arundhati Roy, visual artist Ai Weiwei and musician Burial – the book explores the formation of creative work within a thick web of political relationships and spheres. Continue reading