We Are What We AreCommissions / Projection / Video
‘We Are What We Are’ is a road movie about Barking and Dagenham people and places, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the borough. We’ll be roaming across Barking and Dagenham in a customised Ford Transit van, filming and facilitating events such as Transit Van Skittles, sing along sessions, and a Castle of Trades.
We’re interested in how people’s working lives have changed over the past 50 years, and how the borough has been shaped by globalisation.
The work is a landmark commission for Creative Barking and Dagenham (CBD) due for completion in January 2016.
Lost Characters is a Close and Remote commission for Sefton Borough Council. We are developing a new exhibition based on the council’s extensive archive. The archive includes photographs, objects and sound files. The new work was exhibited at The Atkinson in Southport in the Summer of 2015.
Zone is a new commission for FACT (Liverpool) supported by Mersey Forest. The work will develop upon the film Stalker (1979) by Andrei Tarkovsky, leading to a series of journeys into ‘the Zone’ located at Bidston Moss in the Wirral. This is a Close and Remote project with Sophie Mellor.
artists working along Grand Union canal, Birmingham 2015
I have been developing artist media labs since 1997, the first one being at Dartington College. Since then I have worked with over 350 artists on a variety of projects. Labs have been developed with Metal, mac (Birmingham), Turning Point West Midlands, Eden Project, Roundhouse, SubStation (Singapore), Deptford Lounge, Pacitti Company, Writers’ Centre (Norwich), Watershed, Lighthouse (Brighton), Vivid, ArtSway and CCA (Glasgow).
Over ten years I worked with PVA MediaLab in Bridport devising labs and artist professional development. More recently, I have developed and refined specific media labs for Metal and mac – in these cases focussing on particular areas of practice such as projection, sound, open source electronics, locative media, live cinema and indeterminacy. The process is high impact, peer-to-peer in form, designed to facilitate changes in artistic practice.
“For me finding time to focus on my personal practice, among the work of the company I run, or facilitating work of other artists is really difficult. The lab afforded me time to think, focus and talk about my work. This was wonderful, I started a new piece of work, and have a plan for other pieces.It felt like a guilty luxury…” (artist participant).
I have established a consultancy practice focussed on artist professional development, organisational development and direct programming. A particular skill that I bring to this work is ‘visual’ business planning, working with clients to design legible structures, missions and programmes.
As an established practitioner I am able to work with clients on delivery connected to initial consulting. Consequently, I often work alongside staff to develop new projects. I have particular experience of digital media, software design and digital publishing (apps).
Recent clients include:
RIO (Real Ideas Organisation)
Knowle West Media Centre
Here Comes Everybody is a Close and Remote project commissioned by UP Projects as part of their Secret Garden Project Lewisham programme working in partnership with London Borough of Lewisham and supported by Arts Council England.
Close and Remote are Sophie Mellor and Simon Poulter, artists based in London. Working together on a range of locative, site-specific and digitally inspired projects that seek to create openings and actions that engage people in understanding the world around them. Their combined practice is playful, probing and most often concerned with investigating ways of “making history obvious”. Recent projects include ‘Digital Citizen’, looking at how we produce and consume data in a smart city, and ‘Urban Retreat’ investigating the margins between the urban and the rural.
Broxtowe 2006 is a 38 minute documentary shot in Broxtowe, Nottingham in 2006. The film features a Subaru Impreza WRX STi used as a means of interviewing a series of guests and residents of the Broxtowe estate. The premiere screening of this work was held on 8 December, 2006 at the University of Nottingham.
In the 1960s Herbert Marshall McLuhan formed many of the enduring ideas and theories that to this day serve to contextualise how we see and use electronic media. For McLuhan, the light bulb marks the shift towards binary systems, code and the modern age. Extending the effects of the light bulb on ‘man’, we can extrapolate our whole ’24/7′ culture, its systems and aids. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of McLuhan’s birth, it is an appropriate time to revisit his ideas, aphorisms and life. His seminal text Understanding Media continues to hold value and provides a useful discourse on the technological age; where binary systems become ordinary, fetishised and pervasive all at the same time.
I curated a programme of work for Watershed in 2011