The Poly-Technic was invited by Suffolk Libraries and Metal Southend to deliver an arts development training session that asked What is Urgent? Suffolk Libraries is one of six library groups across the country who have become NPO's for the Arts Council. As they begin their journery of change to centralise the arts for their users we were happy to help them think deeply, make and learn. Feedback from the session has been positive and includes this: "Thank you for the great session last week I think it got everyone thinking - feels like there may be a revolution a foot."
Our week in Sheffield was rounded off on Friday evening with a projection in the Canal Basin. Venice and Sheffield connected by us, ideas, energy and of course water. We've made lots of prints, had lots of conversations, captured lots of thoughts - here are just a few
From April 30th - May 4th the Poly-Technic will be taking up residence in Sheffield culminating in a large scale projection. We will be completing the We are not an Island project with different city residents by asking What is urgent? During the week our friends and partners in Venice will be joining us over Skype from their exhibition. The work we made in Italy and now Sheffield will be connected and form an exciting pan european link between the 2 cities. If you'd like to get involved, make a poster or just see the ongoing work then please call in to Access Space Labs : Fitzalan Square. Sheffield.
The Poly returned from our week long working residency in Venice on Monday full of ideas and new connections. It was a great week, with us feeling we contributed something to a place so often taken advantage of. We made good friends, built on exisiting relationships, undertook workshops with art students and installed an exhibition that was well recieved. Ca'Foscari University are keen to keep working with us and the Liceo Artistico Guggenheim school and we are excited to be bring work and ideas back to Sheffield in May. We met some really interesting people, who said revealing things such as the title of this blog which enabled us to generate new posters and think further around what the Poly can do to help in different sites to promote access to new ways of seeing, new ideas and new opinions.
The Poly leaves for Venice on Monday and is looking forward to connecting with students and staff of Ca Foscari University and Liceo Artistico Guggenhiem School. We will be displaying the new poster based works after discussion around our provocation: We are not an Island? The responses will, we are sure, be revealing and we hope too that when shown at CFZ in Zattre further thoughts will be initiated. During the week we are also presenting as part of a lecture at Liceo Artistico Guggenhiem and then bringing the posters back to the UK for projection as part of a showcasing event in Sheffield in May for Making Ways
The Poly-Technic launched the Sheffield part of the We are not an Island project on Tuesday night with a projection on the Graves Gallery in Sheffield City Centre. As ever we love how this title enables everyone to find their own meaning helped sometimes by the context... In this instance we wonder if you can't help think about the Graves Gallery at the top of the building, above the library being an Art Island - both in a good and bad way?
Over the last few weeks we have been collecting responses to our provocation. We are not an island - here are just a few:
Steve and I were busy last friday, presenting our paper at this 2 day international conference. It was a beautiful sunny day and i believe Ruskin would have been proud as We spoke of the 'We are not an Island' project and our aims for this work. We learnt much of Ruskin and as ever when you are with him amazingly interesting people arent far behind. Highlights were for me the session on Memory and Loss and speakers Tino Mager [Architectural Historian] from Delft technical University, Ryan Roark [Architect] of Kohn Pedersen Fox and Bernard Richards of Brazenose College Oxford. All 3 showed and talked of contrasts and afterlifes of spaces and buildings.
A PHD student of Ca'Foscari University has sent this through in response to the stamped pages i left in Venice in September,,, its great to be getting peoples thoughts on our provocation. These sheets are going to look great as posters. And if nothing else we are happy to be looking beyond Brexit - We are not an island
Steve's in Venice, here with Philiyda Barlows work in the GB pavillion and a new poster made for the trip - its our next offering to the city in response the ongoing We are not an Island conversation. While there he will meet with Emma Sdegno at Ca'Forscari and gift her the poster. We hope in return to hear her response.
We are really happy with the discussions and prints that came out of the "How are we feeling" day at LPW last monday. What's not to love about bringing and anarchist, a celebrant, a newly redundant art lecturer, a recent graduate, a frustrated woman and a man who supports the cities less fortunate, amongst others together to have debate, make a print and learn a new technique. Supported by EMVAN we also enabled 2 artists to get paid in supporting the activity, bought new audiences into LPW and gave ourselves at the Poly an opportunity to grow further both the archive and new partnership and as one of the prints says - There's only us - come together!
Leicester Print Workshop and the Poly are joining forces as part of Leicesters Arts Week to run a day long radical print workshop to create posters in response to the question 'How are you feeling?'
The day is supported by CVAN,EM Start of Something Conversations and for more info and to book a place follow THIS LINK
I was looking back to see if you were looking back to see if I was looking back at me. Pencil Crayon on Paper. 2017 - is now installed in the Ruskin Gallery within the Millenmium Galleries - Sheffield. Made as part of our "The Simple Stories they tell us dont make sense anymore" ACE funded project it will be on show until the new year. We are proud to continue the partnership with curator Louise Pullen and further build our relationship with Ruskin.
The artist statement I wrote to accompany the piece says this:
The act of drawing eyes is to think of the circle of drawing, I look, my brain processes, a mark comes from my hand, the drawing appears. To draw the thing that makes this cycle possible is to bring attention to the act of looking and the notion of being seen. I look at the thing that looks, but these eyes are not real. They are beautifully pretending. Which focuses us onto ideas of honesty and beauty. I was moved to tears on seeing my uncles 2 new glass eyes fitted – fitted in part to ease our pain of witnessing his loss, a loss sustained in a farming related accident. They are exquisite prosthetics gems that ask us to reflect on the sublime reality of our own eyes and how they look, in every sense. I hope Ruskin would be proud and I hope this drawing which can never succeed in representing the subject fully, invites you to engage with life, living, with the act of looking and deep thinking. I know I am saved a little every time I take them out of their bag.
Happily 'We are not an island' - arrived in Venice at the begining of the journey to be met with a piece of graffiti that couldn't have been more apt and more Sheffield! In fact it was a week of meant to be's and happily the Poly has created some good starting links with an arts school, a screen print studio, some resident contemporary artist working as a collective - Blauerhase. I also developed further the working partnership between us and CaFoscari University, which has led to an exhibition now booked at CFZ, a university funded contemporary space opening on March 21 2018 and posters workshops for a variety of residents, school students, artists in February. During the week I also managed to fly post our recent poster across the city, deliver a lecture at the University and co deliver a presentations as part of the city wide event Venetonight.
Spot us in amoungst the other good stuff...