The Wasteland was Once a Home

The genesis of a home. Whether it is being the caretaker of a physical place, a sense of belonging to the wider community, or a shared space of the Earth we inhabit together. For if our home is in a state of disrepair, who will fix it? If it is too late and has become our sinking ship, then what happens next? There are all these end of the world predictions of climate change or global pandemics, but it is our apathy that appears to be winning.

 

The Commodification of Safety

The mistruths, missteps and distrust promoted beyond accountability by self-serving power structures. Fast media, as the value decays, and partial connections take root in collective imaginations, because the criticism or villians may be suspect, but the fear is real. We witness the lack of nuance in arguments, as we focus on the war-like duty, but what happens when the enemy is within us, and our saviour is based on human decency and kindness to others. 

 

Consume and Become

Life and art are inextricably linked, as art becomes life realised, and without art is a life really enjoyed. Nothing happens in isolation, but as the accumulation of experiences that inform ideas. When observed, they make you think and feel based on these ideas. It becomes easy to hide behind success as requiring approval from authoritative voices and gatekeepers. But out life is filled with moments of play, impromptu performances and simple observations of what exists, and because we exist we create. In this way, we interact, consume and become art in the process of our everyday life.

 

Caballos de la Ciudad

It is easier to forget the horses that still frequent our cities, because they now occupy niche roles, but our history is interwoven with the symbology of horses.

 

Aliens,
A Reflection of How We See Ourselves

The universe is not green but beige, or rather a cosmic latte colour. The little green men are synonymous with aliens. Green is the colour that most eyes find easiest to perceive. Humans are biased when it comes to intelligent life-forms, imagining that a technologically-superior alien would have similar warmongering qualities to us. Borrowing from our own colonial history, we project onto them how we see ourselves; our potential future as space-explorers, planetary colonisers, or fleers of a waning planet.

 

Catching on the Fly

A writer and a photographer capture thoughts and images at each stop of the Cádiz Cercanias Renfe trainline. 

 

A Night Light

The fear of the unknown, swimming in open waters about what lurks beneath, or in the dark about what is behind those dancing shadows. However, the greatest of unknowns is life, and the little flames of brilliance from those who are a light in the dark night.

 

Three Studies and the Fourth Wall

The artist defines the artwork in its inception, but once it is released becomes owned by another's imagination. The spider-web of social media has found its way, or been let into, the studio. Tempting us to give up, the perfectionist finishes the artwork but lingers over the social media posts, applications and secondary employment. Insider or outsider, the greatest requirement of being an artist is time. 

 

Fine and Dandy

What happens when we remove the crutch of being 'fine'? To humanise self-diagnosis, and the associated feelings of being a 'fraud' until diagnosis. When trying to understand ourselves and balancing the fear of being misunderstood with that of being unseen.

 

Room 424: Mary Comes to Me

There is a feeling of coldness unique to the sterile environment, even when there was a continuous heat that flowed into and out of the adjoining rooms of the segregated wing, and the warm Andalucian affections that brought us, as users, hosts and perpetual visitors, together to create this temporary home. The eight days spent living in room 424 of the hospital under COVID-19 restrictions.

 

Sacrificial Male Stoicism

The coming-of-age depiction that narrates the masculinity associated with adulthood, as there is an emotional honesty which is hidden behind that of absurdity, or a form of self-deprecating wit; an archetype of sacrificial male stoicism.

 

What Matters Was Their Existence

The mystical stature of being an artist leads to a form of persecution by a society that still feels the need to 'burn the heretics'. If an artist is expected to behave like a deity, and survive off their worshipping subjects, they will and do go hungry in a world that values their mysticism over the mundane reality of their creative craft; with bills to pay. For there is an expectation that it is necessary to wade through desolation to create a folklore of greatness from the struggle that happens before their post-mortem recognition. The value is then retrospectively applied when the art can no longer be produced, and the realisation of what has been lost from the world is noticed. The mystical tap has been switched off. Then the art becomes how much can be drained before it turns rancid with greed, resurrected by nostalgia, or simply fades away as the artist's second death. 

 

Paint Me Like Your Oranges

An orange-based narrative of Brexit (Britain leaving the EU). The colour itself takes inspiration from anger (red) and fear (yellow), as shown in the internal border that divides 'Brexiters' and 'Remainers'. Oranges are also used symbolically to represent the trade negotiations and the 'barriers between borders', because they benefit from the protectionist economic policies in the EU.

 

This Obedience

The title, which is uncertain in meaning when spoken - (dis)obedience - becomes clear when written, highlighting the discrepancy between obedience and disobedience; between the written and unwritten rules we follow.

 

Idle Hands

Idle Hands explores the surrealism of COVID-19 during the 'Great Pause'. The 'found subjects' are isolated and stripped of their ordinary context and viewed instead by their positive and negative connotations of their associated idioms. Thereby contrasting the visual surface with a deeper meaning that lies beneath in how we interpret and perceive idleness.

 

RE: Confinement and Escapism

This collection is envisaged as a reply all email, or an open letter in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in terms of the personal, economic, environmental, social and observational commentary expressed. It also relates to confinement, and reconfinement, as the most widely adopted measure used to control the virus, and our digital escapism from the isolation of the physical world. The experiences of a pandemic localised to the region of Andalusia are explored, which along with the rest of Spain, was greatly affected by and imposed some of the strongest restrictions in response to the global pandemic.

 

Misplaced Trust in a Managed Wilderness

We see ourselves as architects of our environment who are able to shape and mould it to our designs and ambitions. We have insulated ourselves from the baseline effects of global environmental change within our constructed habitats. However, nature can only be held at bay for so long. The cracks are already starting to widen as we try to save our home. 

 

Market Value

Local markets are still standing tall, as a central pillar of some communities, but their foundations are diminishing under the weight of convenience. A growing trend towards the everyday consumption of everything at once. Marketed as cheap and fast, or as the fuel for the capitalist fire sale, where the local market's value is flattened under the momentum of a globalised monolith.

 

Linger in the Cold of a Fading Sun

The modern cities are immature and crave our attention, but the ancient seas have earned their status of worship. We make the pilgrimage to stand, kneel and prostrate ourselves before the sea. Experiencing the spiritual properties of healing, whether through the salty touch of the water, or circulated by the sea air bellowing into the chambers of our lungs. Together in these intergenerational congregations that celebrate the sea from the surrounding land.

 

With the Other Animals

Being human is to be an animal, and yet we see ourselves differently to the other animals. We live in an age categorised by the moralistic and environmental consequences of our influences on these other animals. There is a tendency to want to anthropomorphise "status" animals to make them appear more like us as pets, given extrinsic value as livestock, seen negatively as vermin, patronised in zoos or become something collectable.

 

Metronome for Good Conversations

Smoking is deeply embedded within the Classic Hollywood cinematic style, but intentionally so, as it was heavily sponsored to appear like a feature length advert of being associated with characters exhibiting the traits of being 'cool'. Cinematic smoking, plays a role in the dialogue itself, as it punctuates speeches with drawn out pauses, during the breaths and exhaultations, which in turn acts like a metronome for good conversations. Inspired by these films, a present day reality is displayed like stills from this bygone era.

 

A Trojan Horse and the British Museum

BP or Not BP

"Activist theatre collective 

ending oil sponsorship of culture"

The Trojan Horse sat outside the British Museum, and was surrounded by 'actor-vist' guards. Inside the museum there were live-art performances, speeches and demonstrations.  This was in response to the 'art-washing' of BP sponsoring the British Museum's exhibition of  'Troy: myth and reality'. 

 

Pasar la Noche en Blanco

Pasar la noche en blanco (spend the night in white) is a colloquial Spanish expression, meaning not to have slept the night before. This is a fitting description for the sleepless nights of Semana Santa in Jerez de la Frontera, and some of the penitentes who spend their days and nights dressed in white.

 

Jaleo

Jerez de la Frontera is seen as the crib of Flamenco music, and the people living there embrace this pure and authentic art form with their everyday life. Jaleo literally translates as 'hell-raising' and is the term used for the gestures, expressions and clapping that accompanies (and can bring the audience into) the performance.