In our way to the 5th Emotional Geographies conference venue, a 15 minutes walk in a deliciously sunny Edinburgh, I saw/see this sign. It’s comforting and full of hope in so many ways that it well deserves a haiku, doesn’t it? Foam any size or Shape cut while you wait. Nelumbo nucifera.
I’m interested on keep exploring how objects might set its context’s conditions. To do so I decided to take our bathroom mirror outside the intimate space of the house. The mirror acts as an immediate interactive canvas, intense and indomitable in this plein air situation. It performs as a wild and overwhelming representation machine. I’m carrying a medium size mirror but feel like riding an untamed horse. If its materiality is already a body of given limitations and possibilities, how can I address any idea of displacement? Or, if there is a sense of completeness that wraps any object up, how to interact if not by transformative contamination or by destruction? Where is the “now” of an object to be found? “Consider the use of things as analogous to the speech act within the linguistic system” Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 1980
I’m cutting silk to think about (broken) pearl necklaces.
Exploring jewellery with Teesside University Dance students at mima’s jewellery gallery. Jewellery motion explorations on a white table.
Thesaurus, 2015. Two brooches and a book Paper, ink, steel wire. For this special commission the focus has been to create a jewel that could communicate what is valuable for us. What could be more precious than the possibility of understanding and sharing our human experience through language? Thesaurus is the Greek word for treasure. These two brooches are physically made from the richness and the joy of the language: paper, ink, and meaning. Each ovals, a shape that is deeply rooted in the language of jewellery as one of the most traditional forms used for cameos and faceted stones, has been carved in the materiality of words to reveal and to celebrate both its simplicity and its complexity. What a light way of carrying so much! My approach to this search for what is worthy and can be shared as a common good has been kept intentionally simple in terms of materials and technical solution. A simple steel wire holds the shape and allows the work to be worn as a brooch. One of …
Today I have been introduced to these beauties!…Thanks to all the technicians at the product design workshop… you are the best!
“A story must be judged according to whether it makes sense. And ‘making sense’ must be here understood in its most direct meaning: to make sense is to enliven the senses. A story that makes sense is one that stirs the senses from their slumber, one that opens the eyes and the ears to their real surroundings, tuning the tongue to the actual tastes in the air and sending chills of recognition along the surface of the skin. To make sense is to release the body from the constraints imposed by outworn ways of speaking, and hence to renew and rejuvenate one’s felt awareness of the world. It is to make the senses wake up to where they are.” ― David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World
“the sublime is not to be looked for in the things of nature, but only in our own ideas (…) it is the disposition of soul evoked by a particular representation engaging the attention of the reflective judgement, and not the Object, that is to be called sublime” – The Critique of Judgement, Kant The immeasurable height Of woods decaying, never to be decayed, The stationary blasts of waterfalls, And in the narrow rent, at every turn, Winds thwarting winds bewildered and forlorn, The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky, The rocks that muttered close upon our ears, Black drizzling crags that spake by the wayside As if a voice were in them, the sick sight And giddy prospect of the raving stream, The unfettered clouds and region of the heavens, Tumult and peace, the darkness and the light— – William Wordsworth
How to describe the alertness grounds that a whole day of good working with students leaves in your perception system? You exit the class, you leave the people, the space, the objects, but you still carry the wide-awaken paying attention apparatus for a while. You can easily get captured at next street corner, unable to stop watching at the blinking lights, as if they were an unrequested but proper oracle.
Fabrication is a site-specific promenade collaboration between the 1st year dancers at Teesside University, lecturer Lorraine Smith and resident jeweller Gemma Draper. The initial inspiration for the performance piece came from the jewellery exhibition at MIMA gallery. The piece has been influenced by physical methods of making jewellery, mechanical processes, the act of being a tool and acted upon by a tool and the experience of wearing jewellery. The creation and rehearsal process has been taking place on-site at MIMA gallery, which at first was challenging due to working in the presence of the public. In time this has helped to build our confidence as performers, and developed our performance skills as a whole. In collaboration we have experienced working at a professional level with an established artist from a different art form and enjoyed engaging with a public and architectually interesting space.The process of choreographing as a large collective group has been challenging but rewarding. Creating the music, devising the piece and making costume choices have given us a wide range of new skills …
“I want to note something related here. If you ever come across a really old (e.g. ~2000 years old) coin, which appears to be made of gold – whatever you do – do not bite it. Biting is likely to dent such coin, and in the process will both devalue the coin (since the value is historic rather than the metal’s value) and damage an irreplaceable piece of history. Biting found gold coins is a real problem in areas with a long history of gold coin usage.”
Collaboration with Teesside University first year Dance students. In our first working session I asked the students to take a piece of paper and to write/draw what Jewellery is/evoke/means to them. I asked, then, to turn the page and to write/draw what Contemporary Jewellery is/evoke/means to them in this back side of the paper. Intentionally this question/exercise was put before starting to share/show images and works and artists names of Contemporary Jewellery. We wanted to capture what they think about Jewellery/Contemporary Jewellery at the start of our collaboration.
“These earrings originate in an intervention in two old English prints. The images show quite conventionally gendered scenes, where men and horses are displayed in an outdoor competition activity. The intervention in the images is a comment on some behavior and cultural codes. This intervention is made with materials and references to jewellery and embrodery work, in an intentionally femenine manner. The relation to the body is unfold in different stages. There are bodies represented in the prints, there is the body who was crafting the print, there is the body looking at the image, there is the wearer’s body. The wearer is provided with a choice: to wear the gold ring with or without the print attached to. This second option creates a quite uncomfortable or strange experience, of course. When the gold ring earrings are weared without the image, they are almost imperceptibles, only carring the weigth of the remembrance of the related image. The mental trace of a jewellery scene. What matters?” Gemma Draper November 2014
At the Centre Square, one of the bus stop glass walls glitters with the mood of the season. Here. Look at me. You are thirsty for real gold, aren’t you? The real gold thing is little more that the name, though. Straight Up. How do you turn the cinnamon flavoured drink in the temptation of pure glamour, the ultimate gesture of covering, lining your own human inside with real gold? How do you turn the pit, the miners, the toxic chemicals, the metal, the prices in the stock market, the dirt, in a buoyant dance of hypnotic golden specks? Drink me, whispers Jewellery.
Frozen negotiations, instructions out of reach. Commands to organize leisure.
A Journey To Kashmir. In collaboration with Michael Hall, coordinator of the Art and Design postgraduate studies, and Paul Grace, PhD candidate at the School of Arts and Media, we proposed a short project to Future Design master students with the aim to get them out of their studio/computer routine. We named it A Journey To Kashmir and asked students to explore a route on a journey to a place (Kashmir Foods in Middlesbrough) that is a locus of things that have arrived there from distant places. We asked them to return with their impressions from a three parts exercise journey: Leaving “Home”, Returning and Communicating, and to later develop these into a proposal, for a visual work that communicates their experience of the journey. In the video Sara, one of the master students, explains us the uses and rituals around of one of the sweet products we find in Kashmir Foods.
At the International Exchanges: Modern Art and St. Yves 1915-1965 exhibition opening at mima. Out of the blue I asked Katerina Gavrilo to pronounce the names of some of the Russian artists in the exhibition. She smiled thouroughly, saying the names of the artists as they pop up in her mind. Names as Objects, in Art environments.
Is this Pub the place where the Bank was before? Its doors remain there to prove it? Not. Not exactly. Every working morning I walk along these doors in 42 Albert Road, in my way from the train station to our office at Teesside University. I’m not sure about the special alloy of bronze they are made off, but their patina, colour, and tactility have a magnetic effect on me. I find myself secretly greeting them, come rain or come shine, every time I pass by. It took me a while to figure it out what were these great Greek signs and imaginery doing in the entrance of Bar cuda Pub (previously Barracuda Pub, before a letter fell down). It happens that they were not always there, these doors. In a given moment they were the entrance to the Cleveland Club, in a different building. Someone, then, took the doors from one building to another. Why? How? I like to imagine the physical journey of these magnificent bronze objects through the streets of Middlesbrough. Now, …
The book, and my lunch box “The difficulty with such an apparently simple phrase as ‘objects define us’ is in defining what is, simply, an object.” First sentence of Detours of Objects from Antony Hudek. The Object. Documents of Contemporary Art, 2014. It is very tempting to keep adding…What is, simply, an us?…What is, simply, to define?. But much much much useful to keep reading, I guess.
As a part of a series of interviews and conversations to gather testimonials and direct material to enhance our research project “Documenting the creation of the mima International Jewellery Collection 1975-1995”, we met Muriel Wilson, managing editor of Jewellery History Today magazine and one of the founding members of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery (ACJ). Some hours before the opening of the new permanent gallery space for the International Contemporary Jewellery Collection at mima, we had the joy to share her insights, her enthralling narrative and her capacity for bringing to the present relevant past moments in the most graceful way. She has built a private collection since 1991, when for her employers, the British Council, she prepared an exhibition of contemporary jewellery for world-wide touring. That is what she told us when we asked about her first encounter with jewellery: (Sorry, the ambience sound is quite intense, first learning outcome for future recordings!)