and i'm taking..
the whole of the Mean Fiddler
a tennis ball
my tackle box
Jarvis Cocker and
a Paul Smith tie
a tattoo artist we can trust
a twin pack of toilet paper
a Happy Meal
my ironing board, of course
everything we need to make dumplings
a bottle of Evian water
a fucking big sombrero
a family pack of chocolate eclairs
my fingerless gloves
Nina's fucking electric guitar
NOFX's War on Errorism, on white vinyl
the Victoria Line
an Oyster card
the lead singer from the Arctic Monkeys (with a whole bunch of condoms)
a wireless LAN connection
a pair of white boots
and one of those bicycle taxis.
should be fun!!
see you when i get back - I promise to write
and i'm taking..
thanks to popscene for the flicks
so on saturday, nina and i went to popscene on the cheap - we used the time out night pass to get in for free, drank free water most of the night (except poor nina payed £3.20 for a can of carlsberg sheiße) and danced like idiots - it was a fucking ball!
so much fun that i decided to post about it.
the fact of the matter is, i love dancing. it's fun, energetic, an opportunity to be as ridiculous as you please, so long as you're in time with the music, and an opportunity to listen to toons at 180dcb. the other great thing about music in clubs (with at least half-decent djs) is that you get to listen to music that is either good but not good enough to make it into your collection (like that one song from the second stokes album) or so good that it's a soundtrack to life.
in fact, i kind of took for granted how much it's a huge part of my life, until i moved to london. every week at the poxy oxford tavern in wollongong, my friend lulu (alana) and i would invariably choose our fave toons on the jukebox near the pool tables and dance the night away. we always had our favourites (because jukebox tunes are a category all on their own). most of the time it included i love rock'n'roll, some madonna, (kriss cross'll make ya) jump jump, boys don't cry by the cure and take on me by aha. they're not the best songs in the whole world, but they were awesome to dance to, especially at 1:30am, after the bands had finished. we really didn't give a toss about what anyone thought of us and by the time it got to jukebox time, most of the pub was too smashed to really care about a couple of broads doing hardcore moves to aha's take on me anyway.
so, moving over here it took me a while to find a club that a) i liked, that didn't cost the earth to get into and b) someone to go dancing with.
last month i went with dear friends alan and cath to club kali - the gay asian night at the dome in tufnell park. it was fucking awesome and i didn't get home until 4am - with sore hips from all that bhangra action. i had never danced to bhangra, but thanks to alan, got taught some basic moves and had the time of my life. i danced with loads of gorgeous gay indian and bengali boys and didn't care what others' opinion of me was. it was loads of fun and gave me a thirst for the dancefloor again.
and so, back to popscene on saturday night. being an indie night, there were loads of tunes i didn't know, but they were still ace fun to dance to: the gossip's standing in the face of control easily the highlight. i was slightly disappointed that they didn't play some of the older obvious indie tunes - even a bit of the cure and the smiths wouldn't have been that out of line*. and i felt really old when, instead of playing prodigy's firestarter as the kick off for the house dj, he played smack my bitch up.. the poorer and younger cousin by a country mile. we knew then, it was time to leave.
on the funny side, i discovered a mating ritual of the clubbing english male which involves them standing beside you until you talk to them, which was quite puzzling and so odd to me. in fact, i was so oblivious to it most of the time, i ignored them for most of the night - ha! poor dears.
but it did make me realise that future boyfriends will definitely have to love dancing - it combines all the great character traits: ability to make a complete arse of oneself in front of crowds, in style; love of music, especially up loud and played on vinyl, a bit of fun and fashion sense (although not so self-centered that they're stuck on the side of the club more concerned with how their shirt looks, rather than a cracking tune), and rhythm. and if you ain't got rhythm, you ain't got rhythm - if you know what i'm sayin'.
i was, however, shocked and amazed that most of the kids (ie boys) on the dancefloor were all young enough for me to be helping them with their homework! what happened to those around my age? when they turn 30, do they all just stay home and watch re-runs of the fast show? is dancing a female-only past time after the age of 26? does the fact that i'm even asking that make me ancient? have i become one of those horrible oldie types that is clinging to the vestiges of youth, while screaming out for some long-forgotten track by some obscure band?
oh god, i think i have.
*i'm not strictly a smiths fan, but will allow it in a club, especially an indie night. and if you feel the need to argue about the smiths, go to rob's blog, where he'll happily join in.
I've been thinking about this for a while - ever since this post about empathy. i tried to find some proper academic literature on empathy, to try and understand it in terms of science, but failed to find anything. granted, i didn't look all that hard, really, just the manchester city library. but i promise i will in the future.
firstly, i've been thinking about how empathy with your audience (as an artist, musician, creative, whatever) is even more important than i originally thought, because it's actually a two way-thing. if you aim for your work to empathise with your audience, your audience will empathise with your work. now, that sounds both obvious and esoteric at the same time. but bear with me.
in spending time in galleries, as i do*, i've realised that when i like a work, i empathise with it, the artist, and what the artist is trying to convey. a good piece of art is something i have a relationship with, communication happens (which is more than being visually spat on) and for that to happen, there has to be a reciprocation of understanding, and empathy.
and in trying to figure out a little bit more about how to cultivate that empathetic flow, i've been thinking about language as the main conduit of communication. bring on roland barthes, levi-strauss and the other linguist/structuralist/deconstructionist theorists!
lately i've been hanging out with a few kids whose first language is not english and on one evening in particular, oehmchen mentioned that he thought that poofter sounded nice, rather than an insult. after our initial quizzical looks and then hilarious laughter, i realised the basis for this was actually because in his german pronunciation, it was spelled puffter, and puff is kind of nice, really.
and the reason i made this connection, was because i studied german in school, have a bit of understanding of their diction, grammar, etc, and could follow seb's reasoning.
which brings me to a realisation that i had, which may or may not be founded in anything other than bollocks, but i'm interested in the idea anyway. that learning a foreign language is a way to learn empathy. when you learn a language other than your own, you have to learn how to think in that language, using that particular language's structure, habits and pronunciation (codes, signs, etc). you need to develop a context for the language and in doing that, you begin to understand and empathise with others who speak that language... 'when in rome, do as the romans do' - to translate one experience into another.
these skills are all used when you empathise with others, and communicate using empathy - you think about how another may think, you concern yourself with the context they are in, you translate that to your own experience and (hopefully) make a choice based on that understanding.
like i said, it's based on nothing but a bit of thinking/imagination and trajectory, but i'm going to give it a whirl. please discuss.
*gallery per day is going through some conceptual difficulties at the moment, but i'll post some reviews here soon
Posted by lauren at 18:41
a quick reminder before i crash out:
@ maison bateaux
greek st, london WC1 (off soho square)
i'll try and do a facebook invite, but it might just be too late and i could also just be too lame to work it out tonight.
pass it on, would love to see loads of gals there. or just be me and nina having a laugh. heh.
Just a quick update in the middle of a nutty week of social butterfly stuff (gigs, ketchups, beersphere, ladybloggers and hopefully a bit of bhangra in there somewhere.)
Last Thursday evening, Spinach held a private view for the installation, Red Thread and it was a really lovely evening (just like everybody said it would be) - I felt completely spoilt by Martin and the rest of the Spinach crew. Some wonderful people turned up - bloggery peeps, ad folk, acting folk, other artists and dear friends. Poor Nina (die Scheißeköpfchen) got lost along the way, but she was there in spirit. As were various twittery friends who sent me text messages, and of course my parents, who are always with me in spirit.
I've not had an opening/private view in which I just 'rocked up' to before. He Said She Said was close, but I still spent a bit of time helping organise things beforehand. This was 5-star treatment, which was great! I did a little bit of a walk/talk through the space, going through the process and some of the little details with a few people and got good feedback from everyone. I was even hoping for a bit of flack! I got up and did an impromptu chat in front of everyone as well, which i think i bungled a bit, but hopefully it made sense. True to form, Young Will took a photo of it. Thanks Will.
Some of the highlights of the night for me including a good chat with Tom [Spinach MD] who initially was feeling a bit 'challenged' by the work, but had come to understand it and relished the partnership of creativity and business; seeing that Claire had lovingly tied her red bauble to her office phone [which for me is a real sign of engaging with it, not just finding somewhere to put it]; having dinner with a fantastic bunch of people afterwards, where there was much lively discussion and really warm feel to the evening; giving out some presents [just like
Satan Santa]; really feeling how much Ali and Francesca and Helen and others at Spinach really enjoyed having me around and found the work and the project really worthwhile - so much so that I'm going back for another day next week. yay!
for those who haven't heard me bitching about this damned social network, have i got a blogpost for you!
everybody's on facebook now. it's no news. all my friends are hassling me to join, the suit walking down liverpool st is pontificating about why facebook is better than myspace, hell, even time magazine is writing about it. and and yet i dig my heels in. why?
because it totally shits me that facebook has just gentrified online social networking and suddenly, hey, it's OK!! myspace has been around for years and while i'm not one of those 'i've been doing it for years' type folks when it comes to this crap, what shits me about it is that all the 'adults' who didn't understand myspace, took the piss out of it, or just plain avoided it, are now on damned facebook. yes, myspace is rubbish. i know that. it fucks up a lot and is full of posing teenagers. but same goes for facebook - just posing adults and slightly better designed! it's just bloody AOR for online social networks, for fucks sake! huey lewis and the news for digital civilisation.
i'm sick of hearing people going on about the great things facebook does, like it's a whole new thing. it's not a new thing! jesus christ! i've been able to blag about my upcoming shows to my friends for years. we've been able to fill in stupid surveys about what our favourite colour is and whether we like tim tams or mint slices for a while now. in fact, i blogged on myspace before i blogged on blogger! oh. my. god! you can make a profile and say what movies you like? wow!! if i hear another person say "on facebook"...
and the fucking annoying thing is, more than all of that, is that i'm now on bastard facebook because i've had enough of friends hassling me. i'm resenting it like hell, don't you worry. and if i ever go on about the great things that facebook does (apart from the twitter widget, which has ultimately tipped the balance), please, shoot me.
when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...
well, actually, there is a mouse. in the kitchen.
and i'm stirring - well at least my guts are.
and it's not the night before christmas, but it's the night before the private view of my work at spinach.
but it'll do for now.
what i find most terrifying before a show opens (to the public) is not that people will hate the work, but that they will be indifferent, or indirect. i know that sounds like a cop out - 'it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game' type pragmatism. but i swear, it's true.
i would rather someone hate the work and talk with me about it, let me know exactly what piece of shit art wank they thought it was, than for someone to mildly dislike it, shrug, not even bother to discuss it - either with me or anyone else and leave or even worse, leave and then bitch about what a waste of time/money/space art is.
ok, so they may be right, but they could at least have the courtesy to let me agree with them! ha!
"these are some serious times",
said the street stencil art, kicking around shoreditch lately.
"they certainly are"
said the sandwich board car bomb, hanging outside (belong) in port melbourne..
well, that was that.
it was short, but the residency-of-sorts at Spinach was definitely sweet. i would like to thank all the Spinach crew for letting me potter about their offices, leaving traces of red thread about the place - it was exactly the kind of project i loved and from the feedback that everyone gave me, it worked for them too.
one of the staff said how great it was to be able to actually engage with the artist, ask questions, comment, etc - when usually the work is just there and i had a nice moment with one her when she was reminded of a childhood memory of her parents hiding her birthday present in a cupboard on the top floor and she had to follow a trail of wool to find it - what a lovely gift to give someone, the gift of a (nice) memory.
one of the other great moments for me was hearing about how chuffed one of the staff was dragging his papers/books to his locker, in his own little world and got a nice surprise when he felt the key all covered in red woolly stuff!
having the spinach crew opening their eyes up to see red bits and pieces around the place, looking for hidden 'thread' and meaning in their environment was a fantastic outcome and for clients to be involved in the process of 'thinking about thought' was also delightful. i'm interested in seeing what affect that has on research briefs in the future!
today was about tying up loose ends (pun intended). i spent some time making some little gift for the staff, making some little 'marks' about the place, extending the thread to another corner
and even outside.
i wrapped some pipes
i documented the whole lot and then left. it felt quite weird to be not going back tomorrow and i'm looking forward to the private view - to see everyone again and to be able to see how it fares over the next couple of weeks.
it seems to have been a really successful project, for both parties (which is the definition of a successful partnership, right?) and i'm looking forward to pushing forward for another project like this (or two) before i head off again. this has been true art in the making and the exact reason i've become an artist, doing the things i do.
and well done spinach for having the insight and forethought to think creatively about creating an innovative workspace.
Posted by lauren at 19:12