Sunday, 13 December 2009

Control: Print Symposium (Parsons The New School for Design, NY)

Alex Ostrowski 17.11.09

YCN started eight years ago with the aim of publishing communication challenges from businesses. It also works as an ilustration agency and design studio, providing creative opportunities and commissioning work from post graduates.

A recent development in the YCN which I find interesting, was the idea of opening a free lending library specialising in the creative arts. They publicise this rather nicely with regular events, inviting noteworthy designers, illustrators, architects, etc into the office to present and elaborate on their five favourite books.

Alex is a graphic designer who now works at the YCN, he studied at Bristol and his work ranges from book design to illustration. Although his lecture on the YCN was rather dull, and obviously a ploy to encourage students to choose YCN briefs this year, his personal work is intelligent and appropriately modest in its presentation.

Microbiology & Art 11.11.09

"'Speaking with the Sun' Every letter was formed by thousands of microscopic, single celled algae (Euglena Gracilis). A stencil for each letter was placed in front of a jar containing the algae. Thereby, restricting the amount of light available to them. Because light is essential for photosynthesis, the Euglena moved towards the light that did pass through the stencils using a response known as phototaxis. Each letter took around fifteen minutes to form. The algae ‘spell out’ the scientific formula for photosynthesis. Aquatic algae produce the majority of the life-supporting oxygen that is required by all living organisms. In return, our reciprocal relationship provides them with carbon dioxide. Digital Hasselblad with macro extension tubes. Composite created in Photoshop."

Art made by controlling the behaviour of microorganisms, photographed and then printed onto items such as ties, scarves and underwear.

Craig Oldham 24.11.09

Craig has been a working designer for three years, he started off at the Chase and is now at Music in Manchester.

Twelve things you might learn in your first year as a designer

1. There are two types of designer

BUNCH A: logical/rational (like Vignelli)
BUNCH B: emotional (like carson)

You should find out which bunch you are in so you can find the correct work, and not waste your time.

2. Be honest about your strengths/weaknesses.
Be honest with yourself. Tell clients it will take you some time or cost extra if you don't know how to build a website or do grids, etc.

3. In your portfolio think about the context when photographing work. Don't do the hold the poster up thing because it is cool. Just like as if say in Grafik magazine they line up books against a wall - don't just copy it. It is a style and does not add any substance to your work.

Have a hit-list, research everything there is to know about the agency you want to work for.

7. Graphic design is a job...being a designer is different.
Being a designer is a lifestyle not a 9 to 5. Decide what it is to you.

Work through it and make it work, keep going. If it looks shit but the idea has integrity then carry on.


Michael Bierut "be interested in your work..." quote

Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists & Surrealism (Manchester Art Gallery)

Exposures Film Festival: How to make it as a Film & Video artist

STEVE HAWLEY - Video artist
Professor Steve Hawley is head of Art and Media at Manchester Metropolitan University and has been a working video artist since 1979.

He studied at college and then went on to Brighton Polytechnic in 1979.

In 1980 as a second year art student he produced the work 'Undistributed middle and other fallacies in the home'. An experimental piece featuring clips of different arguments from contradicting angles. I particularly liked the use of black screens at intervals which displayed text introductions to the argument about to be portrayed. This added a certain methodical aspect to the context, giving it clarity and validity.

At the time video was not regarded as an art medium, more of a hobby.

If you can get in on the ground floor of somewhere, it's generally a very good idea.

When channel 4 started in 1982, they started showing video artists work. His own work was broadcast around 1983/4.

WATCH 'Rehind: Anthology of 70's and 80's work' DVD

Another piece he created as a student was 'The Extent of Three Bells', in 1981. This work uses defects in old video tubes to create an abstract blur, caused by a burn from the motion of the candles being filmed. Steve says that the piece came about from a then apparent need for film about film making.

CHECK OUT Lux, Vancouver video poem festival and - this alerts you to when film festivals are coming up.

Professor Steve Hawley 'Not to scale' 2009.

This recent work was shot in model villages across the UK, and dubbed over with sounds of real villages and towns. It is like a post apocalyptic, neutron bomb thing. This seemed relevant to the silence brief as it plays upon our sense of sound and reality. What is silent or quiet can be manipulated as well as what has apparent volume can be muted and turned down to change the
meaning or sensibility.

RECENT THOUGHTS: The scene in Babel where the deaf girl Chieko is in a nightclub, uses a juxtaposition between very loud and absolute silence to illustrate her experience, the difference of that environment with and without sound is very startling and makes for a slightly disconcerting viewing. It also makes me wonder about the vibrations she must feel as like a sound, the thumping bass in the club must be a quite sensual, exciting and a rare feeling for her, especially under the influence of LSD.

I went to watch an american experimental band called sunn o))) recently who incorporate the use of very low and long droning frequencies, the difference in experience of the music on record and live is immense. I was a little sceptical beforehand as to how entertaining the show would be, and my experience was miles from what I anticipated. When I entered the venue I was handed a pair of ear plugs as a precaution, to protect my ears from damage. I wanted to get the full experience of the sound so I neglected the ear plugs initially until I found the sound to be slightly painful, I soon realised that I was getting more information from the vibrations sent across the floor and through my body than the bones in my ear were displaying.


CHECK OUT - Block, Sheffield.


1. GET A MENTOR - they will put you forward for jobs, showings, etc.
Steve did a show at Museum of Modern Art in New York during his height because of this.

2. CAPITALISE ON BEING HOT - grab every opportunity when it arises, show your work as much as possible, give as much media attention as possible.

3. DON'T RELY ON TEACHING - it is a very professional area now, don't see it as a fallback.

The film council are looking for young artists rather than mid career. Don't feel bashful about applying for money.

The good thing about being an artist is you can do what you want, but you have to support yourself via other means. In a good year the most Steve ever made out of film work was around four thousand to five thousand pounds.

JEN STOLDART - Programme manager at Folly
Folly is an agency for new new media and work from their office in Lancaster. They organise workshops, residencies, etc.

- - emphasis on open sourcing software. Article based, why's rather than how's.

FLI residency programme

James Coupe is a new media artist from Blackpool who now lives in Seattle. With the FLI programme he developed a project which works around software that pulls CCTV footage through demographic profiles and facial gestures to match a pre-written narrative.

His current project uses existing video content to illustrat
e live facebook updates.

RUTH MCCONNOR - Abandon Normal Devices Festival

A festival for new cinema and digital culture.

Chris O'Shea - 'the hand from above'
Jamie King - 'dark firewood'

AND 2010 1st-10th April

Ubermorgen- online, user generated illnesses

BIGM - open submission in new year.

North West Film Archive residency, working with a musician.

Internships and volunteering.

LUCY CHAN - Media Arts Network

In Lancashire we have Cumbria university, MMU, Salford university, Liverpool John Moores, Grizedale Arts which accept project proposals, internships, voluntary work and residencies.

As a county we have an eclectic landscape ranging from Cheshire all the way up to Cumbria, as artists we should capitalise on this.

REDEYE - photographers
OPENEYE - photographers but do work with sound and video and have a gallery space
LETS GO GLOBAL - Community work, 2 internships a year, training in flash and final cut. Contact: Vicky Driskoll.

It is best to go to events and to get to know people, so if you get a proposal it is easier to make a decision about if you want to do the work or not.

Art is a social activity.

BRICKFILMS - good for music videos

Email about John Smith (video artist)

Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity (MOMA, NY)

Control: Print (Parsons School for Design, NY)

Urs Fischer: Marguerite de Ponty (New Museum, NY)

Museum as Hub: In and out of context (New Museum, NY)

Slash (Museum of Art & Design, NY)

Design USA (Cooper Hewitt, NY)

"Not everything is design, but design is about everything" Michael Bierut

"Designers must become the audiences advocate" Katherine & Michael McCoy

Featured designers/agencies: Perceptive Pixel, Inc., Bill Stumpf, Robert Greenway, John Maeda, Ralph Applebaum, Scott Stowell 'Good Magazine', Target, 2x4, Tom Kundig 'Rolling Huts', Robert Greenberg, Antenna Design, Tom Ford, Ned Kahn 'wind silos', Aveda Corporation, Paolo Soleri, Vitra design museum, Robert Wilson (Lifetime achievement award 2007) Design for scene II, King Lear'.