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Audiovisual Cultures episode 86 – Art and Community with Clinton Kirkpatrick automated transcript


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this is audiovisual cultures the podcast that explores different areas of the arts and culture of production with me paula blair visit patreon.com forward slash av cultures to find out more and to join the pod hello thank you for tuning in to another audio visual cultures podcast my guest today has been mentioned before if you recall episode 77 with joanna leach talking about the amabe project today’s guest is one of the contributing artists and i am really very pleased to speak with clinton kirkpatrick very warm welcome clinton how are you today i’m very well thank you how are you i’m not too bad you’re joining us from belfast is that right i am yes i live over in east belfast um so i’m at home today yeah lovely yeah i’m from east belfast and i’m a bit homesick for it at the minute clinton could i ask you to be so kind as to give us a bit of an overview of your work because you work in a lot of different ways and with different media and lots of things so could you just give us a bit of an overview of how you would describe your practice yeah sure so i’ve always kind of like said that i i’m first and foremost like a painter and whilst that still comes into my mind every time i’m asked this question i know i do a lot of other things within my practice as well so there’s a lot of printmaking a lot of drawing and then more recently lots of collage in my work really since like last summer and then this year i’m hoping to kind of take my work into a slightly different direction again and introduce animation and moving image into my practice so i’m next week actually just beginning to learn around animation because i’ve always been able to kind of see my work uh moving in my mind like you know i create lots of characters so i kind of can always see them moving in my minds i kind of want to you know actually see what that might look like so yeah so my work is um it’s quite broad my interests are quite broad you know fundamentally really interested in the human i’m really interested in how we function both individually but also collectively within society so if you kind of look through my work there is a lot of character that come into that there’s a lot of strange situations or lots of play lots of absurd notions and i know i kind of have on my chest i almost kind of like soak in everything around me and then chew it all up and then sort of like spit it back out and that’s kind of what you see with my work yeah and lots of color i love color very bold color i think is a good way of describing it i think it’s fair to say that your work is distinctive it’s really quite um i want to use the word weird but i’m meaning in a really positive sense and i i love weird it takes the body and fragments it but yet you know so you’ll take feet or legs or eyes and you’ll put them in different positions i mean there’s something harking back to surrealism but it’s not quite that and it’s not reproducing that it’s there’s a hint of it but it’s doing something different and what do you think about those sorts of ideas i’m an advocate of the sort of weird and wonderful and yeah certainly i would agree there is a touch of like surrealism in my work but i kind of i almost like look at myself as an artist in a contemporary climate where i know it’s like i think we live today in a space where you can kind of pick and choose and take whatever you want and you know you don’t have to fit within one genre or the other i think that’s what my work is i mean if you look through some of my work you’ll see that i do quite detail portraits or drawings of people and then on the flip side my work would be quite cartoonish and i don’t want i don’t need myself as an artist to be recognized as any one thing you know and i think within me all of this exists so you know that’s kind of what i want to kind of put back out to the viewer i think also you know as an artist you’re always kind of like grappling with what it is you want to talk about what it is you should be talking about or how you your work should look and certainly you know i think that things identify you as an artist but i don’t think it should be definitive if that makes sense i don’t think it should be something that you know is uh so written in stone that you don’t have room to move so yeah so i really love to play with the work you know you said there but kind of taking pieces i mean it’s literally kind of like stripped the body apart rip the body apart eyes are a massive thing in my work i think years ago i first really started noticing the introduction of eyes and my work and it wasn’t really until other people started to comment like oh why are all of these eyes in your work and i was like oh you know there’s lots of eyes in my work it was sort of like done on a more subconscious level and then i started to really notice that i was always going to the eyes and i guess i kind of see the eyes as like an entrance you know it’s almost like a you know it’s a window into whatever is going on and the rest of the image it gives a connection to something human and even you know when you look through my work characters can appear alien-like or they’re so strange but there’s always the nod to the human it sort of gets back to like i like the weird i like the absurd i use i use the word absurd and my work all the time and it can be as absurd as it needs to be so i’m okay with that yeah you seem to have a lot of beings shall we say that our maybe legs join together and then they’re just covered in eyes there is something a bit i suppose it’s almost like maybe a child’s drawing of an alien or something you know when we would imagine creatures from outer space and things that’s quite fun it could be me and my research background but when i see lots of eyes i think of surveillance and i think of watching and the paintings looking back at me and things i mean what would you say about that yeah i mean i think it’s an interesting comment i mean i am a watcher i am somebody who looks at people you know i look at the world i look at the different spaces that we kind of all cohabit um i watch and perhaps it is a little bit of a nod to you know that sort of idea that within my practice like i’m looking at all things all the time that sort of gets back in my mind at the minute to kind of the ideas of identity and stuff and whilst we can define ourselves as one thing of the other i sometimes find that very problematic because we live in a world with so many different types of people what i mean by that is like i like looking at all of those different types of people i don’t need to be in one space or the other it can be right down to kind of like the most hateful people i also enjoy watching that because i feel like i learn a lot from that and i feel like i can take into my work and it’s the power of the artist i guess you have the ability to talk about challenging things or strange things or you know whatever you have the power within you to put back out whatever you want and have a real conversation with society and with people you know the world you mentioned as well i had a good day around on your website and you do mention that about you’re looking at the individual but you’re also trying to look at broader society in that work would you maybe have any examples from your work that demonstrate that kind of idea that do both at the same time you mean looking at like an individual and looking at a scenario i guess yeah yeah what are you getting at when you point out that you’re looking at society and as you say there’s so many different kinds of people and you’ve got so many different shapes of being in your work i look at them a lot on instagram and i think well oh that’s a funny looking creature oh but it’s looking at me and maybe it’s thinking oh what a funny looking creature yeah maybe they are live somewhere i don’t know yeah i guess you know the a lot of kind of my work will come from a lot of it does come from my own experience and i guess i’m thinking now back to 10 years ago i first went overseas and i started talking about this a lot and i’m moving away from talking about it now because it was a period of my life where it happened and i had a remarkable kind of like introduction and learning around my work but you know that very kind of explicit white man role within a black society really became a prevalent conversation in my work because i went to kenya originally as a volunteer but throughout that experience i became entirely connected i mean i looked at what i think originally i didn’t understand the i was naive i guess because i was just like oh i’m in a new part of the world i’m meeting amazing people and you know i’m seeing an amazing space without really understanding the intricacy to do with black white culture and you know white man or you know uh whatever privilege means you know but indirectly a lot of that started to come into my work so it’s a huge conversation for eight years of my life was this massive learning around you know me as a white man in a black society and what that might meant and white privilege and then of course today we’re seeing huge you know it’s always been there but like that really huge black lives matter movement which is so important and you know this so kind of my work would comment and has commented on sort of things like that you know and also you know i’m gay so like my work kind of quite often you know looks at homosexuality or identity you know for uh for of a better kind of term there and like right now um it’s the february 2021 it’s our february each year is lgbt history month so i’ve decided this month i am actually going to explore avenues around what it is because i don’t know if i necessarily think about it all the time because i’m i don’t care to think about you know the fact that i’m gay it’s just not a for me it’s like not something that is an issue but it’s like for me i’m like i want to learn i want to kind of put in so like yeah so i’m creating kind of i’m also kind of like doing a bit of research at the minute and then i’m imagining that lots of characters and situations might come out of that but we’ll see but yeah so i kind of dip in another as sort of as and when or whatever’s presented i mean i think that’s kind of a great thing about the world today is you know you’re reminded quite often of what’s going on because of social media or if there’s a specific time you know that is being celebrated or commented on i will link into things like that as well sorry i kind of maybe went off in a bit of a full up that’s fine that’s what this is all about take a walk with your ideas so just to try then to tie that in with the different approaches to practice that you make so if you’re dealing with those kinds of ideas quite big ideas about human and identity and seeing and and looking and watching and then you’re working across painting drawing collage print making and you say you’re going to move into animation which will be amazing because if you can give life and kineticism to those images because some of them do feel like they’re in mid-stride or something you know so it’d be amazing to see that come to life i mean do you have any ideas on how the different media that you work in how that informs maybe the sorts of things and topics that you’re getting into in your work yes i mean i think early in my career early in my thinking i was like i’m a painter i’m a painter i’m a painter and early on i mean i’m still in love i’m actually probably more in love with painting now than what i’ve ever been i think part of that is to do with now that i’m really starting to understand the material really understanding what i need to do on a canvas and i’m also reaching much better results much more quickly so like there’s just this fundamental love of paint that kind of exists within me and i knew that early on i mean going through school i gravitated towards painting and drawing i love drawing as well um and then i left and of course through college and through foundation it was painting and my my own shoes were always painting and i was like right i have to go for a painting and drawing degree because i didn’t want to go back into like find applied art degree because i don’t want i don’t need to waste another year so i went into a painting my degree was actually in painting and drawing it was one of two left in the uk at the time so i went to england for that part of me always kind of put that label on myself at the beginning so i don’t know if i was as open or as receptive to other avenues within my practice continued with that you know painter painter painter and then it wasn’t literally until i went i was over overseas i was in kenya and sort of been in kenya and i think was the second time i was in kenya i literally went to an organization to introduce myself called kuna trust and the next day i got an email through offering out this printmaking course to the public which was like in woodcut print and i was like i’ve been really wanting to introduce a print technique into my work and therein lay my introduction to print and it was uh and it was good cut and i just absolutely fell in love with that process which made me then go and investigate other types of printmaking so now within my practice i you know also i have i still use woodcut funny it hadn’t been one in a while i was literally said on myself yesterday that i really want to do a new woodcut so i would sit and downstairs i’m kind of thinking around that night but i still do the word cut monotype because it is very painterly you know so gain gets back to that kind of notion of painting you know and then things like a little bit of etching or a dry point and that would be kind of what i focus on i’ve learned other things as well but i’m just not as interested in things like screen print or litho or things like that so that was my introduction into print and then as my practices started to grow i just naturally started to become so much more interested in other things last year collage became this massive part of my practice where i was just like this is really cool just like ripping stuff up and sticking it down and building layers i’m sorry cyanotype printmaking was another process where i really became attached to that but i was using cyanotype in a very very painterly way so i was actually making the solution and painting with the solution and exposing my drawings or my paintings to the sun and then that’s what kind of creates the center type and then i would work over the top and that’s kind of how the collage came in i would work over the top of that in drawings and then i was like starting to rip stuff up and then i made this massive this time last year i began making this like 28 foot piece of work it’s rolled up in a room there but uh yeah so it’s kind of like it’s led me on and then yeah and then also with the animation now i’ve always been able to visualize my characters moving and i’ve almost wanted to be able to look around them i’m making them from the side of the front but i’m kind of like what do they look like from behind i don’t know my mind’s eyes like what way is this going to go i don’t know but in my mindset it’s kind of you know i’m going to see them from all ankles or spaces you know which would be interesting yeah that sounds really exciting exploration to do you seem to have been really prolific in the past year certainly i mean following you on instagram you’re always putting up new things that you’re working on and exploring and stuff and it’s so great to hear that you’re still energized and you’re moving into these different areas with it i mean i was wondering because it’s come up a lot of course it has with people i’ve been speaking to recently how anybody’s had to adapt their work in the past year and i know that you’ve done a lot of community work in the past would you like to talk a bit about that you know because your own practice seems to be really ticking off lately but the other part of your artist life how are things going there with that sort of work yeah it’s i mean i think the whole chronovirus experience for all of us has been so remarkably individual and different for everybody and i know for me it’s been a very interesting time but you know i like the rest of like dipped in my mood i had an extraordinarily difficult year last year in many ways but what i realized was one of my main difficulties is when you’re an artist and you’re making the other side of my work thankfully is community arts and i get to be able to pay my bills usually through community arts and then i get to spend the rest of my time in the prep so my whole life is consumed with art and i love the community arts having that kind of stripped away last year so abruptly was a kind of shocking and i was like wow you find yourself in this space that is just so unusual and i realized that for me you know when you don’t earn heaps of money and you’re kind of like keeping things going along on a very thin line than wire as it is and then you have that stripped away it was extraordinarily difficult to come to terms with like how am i going to be able to cope through this period of time because i literally find myself with no income and not getting any reduction in rent or anything it’s just like so like the bills need paid your grant needs paid you know you need electricity or food so for me i was like right well how are we going to kind of like how am i going to do this thankfully the arts council came out with their support and i appealed of their first round of funding and i literally wrote a project that was to be delivered online so it was exploring these new ways of working and looking at hard work as an artist and i am glad to say that i delivered over the space kind of three four months a remarkable project i mean i’d introduced into my own practice previously the idea of what i call sky drawings that are kind of like i’ve been making cutouts basically and they’re little pieces that you would find in my paintings of characters or eyes or whatever but i had been photographing those so they are cut outs i color them black or spray paint them or i have used kind of like an oil stick and then i drop those i hold out at arm’s length and i drop those but i photograph it at the moment where the sky is literally kind of framing the drawing and they turn out to kind of be like they look just so impactful and so interesting and i was this is great so i could maybe try and do this as a community project so i wrote a community project and thankfully you know eastside arts helped me to advertise that and i managed to get about 15 people onto the program and over the space of the few months i delivered this really class like i mean really class project where they all made quite large drawings and then one so what what i did was i got them to all create i did the sessions like this at home on zoom and then when they finished their drawing i either collected or got them to post me their drawing i took their drawing and i made the cutout from it and then i went around places right they spell fast and photograph them it was just lovely look like i mean i’m still in love with lots of the imagery that kind of come out of that and i would like in the in the future when things have been up to you put on a little bit of an exhibition around it or things like that so for me it was like looking for ways to kind of do stuff and then start it up with a little bit of work again towards december but then that’ll cancel with new lockdowns around christmas and well that came in a boxing day so i find myself still with like work now although february is looking like we’re going to try and do some more online stuff with the likes of c chord down in bangor to talk about kind of my work as an artist through that and kind of my um i’ve always been somebody who is making so i have tried remain busy this year i’ve had my moments of like you know there’s been times where i’m not but i find for me that you know my studio like i think as an artist you have to make the work if you are if you’re a mecca if you’re a creator i mean you have to do the work you know if you’re calling yourself an artist but you’re not making the work i don’t really get it it’s okay look i know i know we all work at different speeds i don’t mean to kind of like i’m not trampling over people there but for me i know that my approach to my thinking around being an artist is that if i don’t make this work the work is not going to exist you know or what’s in me is not going to be out where it needs to be so i kind of try to keep myself active am i trying to be there but also i have been very fortunate to have my studio space which is private so i’ve been able to go there i’ve been able to work and not see anybody i come back to the house and not see anybody just being this kind of like exchange where it’s isolation but i had my space to work because i would not have been able to work in this house so i’m quite you know i’m somebody’s always making and i draw every day and you know i i kind of think i like to keep myself busy because there’s a lot going on in this brain you know so i have to try and do it somewhere gosh that’s brilliant it’d be great to then hear if those new projects work out okay for you i really hope they do it was a real joy seeing a lot of the images again on instagram of the sky drawings and i really recommend people go and check those out because they’re really lovely thing to sit and look at i think would you like to talk a bit about some of the exhibitions that you’ve had in the past in the before times because you mentioned being in kenya and you have had some collaborative exhibitions is that right in nairobi and then you’ve exhibited quite a lot in northern ireland as well in different places so would you like to talk us through some of those and i’ve written down borrowed tales and life and other fictions and i ask you do you believe in miracles just even the titles of your exhibitions are quite intriguing i love titling my exhibitions i really do it’s like do you know i literally just the other day i have decided that i’m gonna i’ve started compiling the list of every title of my exhibitions because i wanted to have a look at what i i went back to the very first exhibition i put on which is through university and it was called unprotected and then i came home when i had a first exhibition in belfast in 2009 and i can’t really remember the title of it but the next one was called yesterday’s news and then that one i asked you do you believe america so that it’s nice to kind of like look i love titling my exhibitions but the title is always in reference to the work that i’m making or what’s going on in the work or my mind at that time it’s not always kind of like the title of a painting or whatever it’s just sort of almost like generally summing things up i love putting my work on in exhibitions i always organize two events with openings because uh well the first one is the opening which is kind of like that you know that you have to do that and then the second i always organize now um i organize a talk with my exhibitions and i love to talk because you get a group of people there that actually want to hear about the work and they want to ask you questions and i just i love that experience i don’t really enjoy openings and i don’t even really enjoy openings of other artists work you know i would prefer everyone spend time with the work later on but don’t get me wrong i do go you know and support my friends and support people but i think just that you know the preference in me is to go and really enjoy the work or enjoy hearing about the work i’ve showed ever since leaving university i threw myself into my practice whenever i came home so i actually lived away for like six years and then finally came back and i’ve been here ever since i’ve been home like 11 years now and decided to move home and get roots and get a space here where i was grinding myself a little bit but i right from the year after arriving home i had my first exhibition and a gallery it’s like clues called safe house gallery which was on donegal street in uh in belfast there and wonderful eccentric man called donnie burke was the guy that kind of uh offered me the first space then i did live the help of that gallery but that was kind of a nice thing it was nice right i’m going to put on work my work was really terrible you know like it was really bad painting hands up you know we all go through these kind of process but the ideas were great paintings were bad the ideas were great i had that show and then i had a second show in that scene gallery in the next year and then it was the year after that 2011 that i first went i had just this mad year of just people dying jobs ending i had a car crash you know i’ll not go through everything that happened was just like this year’s stuff and i kind of cleared off then i was like right i just want to go and do something for somebody else so i kind of went and did some volunteering in another country which happened to be kenya but what that did was it ignited in me everything about what i loved in the world and everything about what i loved in people and ignited this kind of like real investigation into who i am and where i am so ever since then i was back and then i had my first big exhibition in belfast which is in the waterfront hall and that was in march 2012 so 10 years next year and i filled that whole upstairs space with work and i was making like five and six foot paintings i still met large paintings now but it was just so lovely to be making the size of work that i wanted to make and it was all about kenya it’s all about my experience there a real mix of work and i did portraiture and i did you know abstract pieces in that and then lots of figurative stuff too that began in this real interaction and play with me in and out of kenya and it was like i went back as an artist and then i came home and i made another exhibition which went on display in lisbon in the island art center and that was 2013. and i applied to the museum in kenya so there’s the national museums of kenya to display the work that i had made over the previous number of years that was accepted and then i found myself back in kenya in 2014 for my first exhibition in the national museum there which was a really wonderful experience just wonderful every time i was there it was very very different but taking the work that i’d needed and you know i always remember like lydia galavu who is the curator there she still works the most wonderful woman she came up to me after had hung the work in the show and she said you know looking at your work it’s like you wouldn’t necessarily think that you were a white artist that always kind of stay with me because like i’m always interested in this idea of what identity is and you know i think it’s like there is color in my work and boldness and character and whatever and i was like i find it such a compliment and it was just such a it’s such a lovely time and i had a lovely you know lovely feedback from that show and it was just it was nice it’s validating for me like this is the type of artist that i am and this is what i need to be doing so yes i continued with shows then both at home here looking sort of more local sort of spaces and then john patrick and then arts art center and lots of spaces like that then i went back to kenya i ended up organizing an exhibition at home here with my woodcut teacher who uh was kenyan so john kamani and off the back of that lydia at the museum had wrote this very brief message under some posts on facebook saying kenya 2.0 question mark or something like that and i was like so there’s the seed that’s all i needed for to plant that seed which grew into another wonderful flower for me so then i went back and found myself back conducting more research so i went back the year uh what year was that 2016. i went back to kenya again and this time i removed myself from the investigation so it was nothing to do with me so i took a camera i went for a month two well i think two months but a month i spent a month and a half i spent kind of collecting imagery or not imagery imagery and oral voice recordings and i recorded stories so i went around people i knew loads of people that i didn’t and i asked them to tell me a story there’s no prescribed theme it’s interesting kind of watching how people struggle with kind of some people like i’m going to tell you the longest biggest story and then someone like what do you want me to tell you you know it’s like it was interesting kind of like watching that but it was so open but what i wanted to do was on purpose remove me from i wanted this to be entirely yes it was going to be a white man’s kind of visual remaking of stories but i just wanted to listen to stories and that made me realize my interest and love for storytelling and storytelling through my work so yeah so i went back then had joined exhibition in kenya in 2018 which was that show a game of john comany but i put on that show with all of that work with the oral kind of stories and then i came back and i had a show here called borrowed tales which you mentioned and that was all those wood cuts so i actually made 88 i recorded idiot stories and i made 88 pieces of work one piece of work for every single story that i recorded and i put them all on display so it was lovely it’s a lovely exhibition that’s such a lovely thing to hear about really i think i saw on your website you’ve described your painting process as a process of storytelling as well so it’s really lovely to hear about how you reach that do you think that’s something that comes through right across your work that their stories contained in your images yes i think more so now than ever because you can look back at my work from 10 years ago and see everything that’s going on night i’ve started to create this world and everything that i make is contained within that world you know i’m recalling certain images of yours i’m thinking it’s like you’re getting a fragment of a whole landscape and a whole thing that’s going on in this how would you respond to that you know how would you flash out some of those ideas i’ve realized now that storytelling is much more integral than what i maybe even really understood it to be i view my work as this world that i’m creating and that everything that i make and put into that is adding to that or a discovery of a new piece of that world i mentioned earlier on but it’s a very broad world you know so it’s almost like i’ll make things and then all of a sudden there might be crossover years later or i’ll revisit so i kind of make lots of characters in my work that signify certain things and then they’ll come back into my mind or they’ll crop up later on i mean there’s been a couple of characters so that there’s one that i call rainbow wife he’s this kind of blind character i don’t even he’s blind in the original one but he’s been blind later on but the original character was just this very kind of solemn not beautiful character you know he’s just kind of very dull in a sense but inside his mouth was this rainbow space and then he sort of existed at a show that i put on in the offer a show i put on in the ulster museum not the austin museum sorry the ulster hall years ago and that was his introduction but he’s always kind of cropped back in so i then couple years later took him on a journey and actually explored who his character was so still today you know i i’ll revisit him at times he’ll kind of like come in there’s another character called all eyes i mean i did this um other drawings recently that were incorporating this character and just covered in eyes and that kind of character wasn’t born out of this idea of being able to see all things at all times and i’m not saying these characters are all me but they certainly can be sometimes a reflection of me um or of elements of my psyche or the way i see things so i’m somebody who i feel i’m able to look at many things and hold many things even i don’t have to agree with them all but i’m able to see them if that makes sense um quite a perceptive person so a lot of my work is kind of i’ve realized that there’s this overarching kind of story behind a lot of it and i don’t need it to be some i don’t need to be a story book where it is like this is what the story is i want the viewer and i need the viewer to see and deal with things how they need to deal with them i in the last six months have i used to title i thought i’m just this morning like editing images for a new book and i realized that last halfway through last year a mentor i had a couple of years ago was like you’re titling all of your work and you’re giving the viewer everything the viewer needs you know he was like what about untitling your work presenting your work in an untitled kind of way so that sat with me for a while and then i began to introduce that into in my work halfway through last year where i was like but i’m just not putting a title with this so what it did was kind of like take away you know my meaning and just allow the characters of the situation to stand on their own so it was an important kind of moment but i’m also ready to be titling the work again but also to kind of like start to not be as direct with the title or to give a nod something where it’s not as specific or it is not as definitive as kind of giving everything that you need does that make sense to sort of yeah so it’s kind of like for me you know there is a lot of i’ve realized a lot of power in storytelling and even what i’m doing now in my research and in my own investigation as i’ve gone right back to what mythology is and then within mythology what creation myths are and i’m actually in the process of investigating various creation myths that have existed throughout human history in all different cultures and what i’m doing is i’m taking pieces of that you know whether it is modern day creation myths or egyptian creation myths or whatever the creation myth is i mean these slug characters keep coming into my work and i read this creation myth recently where you know these slugs fall from the sky and they create this foggy marshy area and then from this the first humans came to be and i’m just like this is thrilling you know it is the part of storytime is the power of art for me that is what my work is people will look at my work and they’re like what is that or you’re mad or i’ve had i’ve listened to it all over the years i don’t really care either but it’s like i’ve listened to it all but i always think if you take the time with any artist you have to be interested obviously in what they’re doing to want to invest it up but certainly for me when you start to investigate what my work is and what my practice is there is a whole lot there you know there’s a whole lot of world and you know a whole lot of world to see and there’s a whole lot more still to come out of me you know but we’ll see hopefully i do love your slug and space images i think they’re really cool and i read the other day bugs have four noses um or four kind of like things to smell from so i just like loving that it’s like i started the painting last week you know with a slug with like and i’ve taken a human nose but obviously yes that does not have a human node but in my painting so it’s like that’s what i do i hear things or i see things or i read things and i just if it resonates within me in some way i kind of like to kind of spit back out in a fun way i take the piss i think a little bit you know a lot of you know i do jest but i think with that humor it’s a way for me to navigate this world that we’re in and i like to laugh and i like you know i want i guess a little bit of that to kind of come through in my practice as well yeah i think you definitely need the bit of joy in there and i think to embrace the strangeness the absurdity and let it make you smile and put those blockers to that stuff away i think it’s really important so you mentioned there that you’re working on a new book project what big projects have you done before and can you tell us a bit about what’s coming in the future absolutely so um partially kind of through this lockdown thing i was like right i don’t have access to you know our normal kind of way my normal way of doing things where sort of putting exhibitions on or traveling with my work or whatever obviously that’s all on hold and it’s very difficult to sort of plan so i was kind of starting to think in my mind just like well what other things can i do through this time that’s a keeping me busy keeping me active so i have been drawing every day now since the beginning of 2017 so i’m actually into my fifth year of drawing every single day i have not missed a day maybe one day but i have not really missed any you know many days and actually now i kind of i do a couple of drawings a day and that is kind of a lot of what you’re seeing through that kind of feed on facebook or on it on instagram you’ve got this sort of like it’s almost like a digital gallery for me and it’s a space to kind of do sketches and put ideas so the book project this will be my second book so my first book it’s called world view from a white picket fence and that first book was drawings from my first year of drawing with digital media because i moved into using an ipad to draw with never used digital media before always was pretty anti-it and then i was like we’re living in such a digital age why am i not beginning to introduce that into my practice you know it just seemed silly but then i realized that i was making all this work and it was getting lost so there’s something really ephemeral or transient about things get lost in instagram or forgotten about or they become some sort of like old dusty relic in the bottom of the basement for me that i find that i started to find that very problematic so i did this first year of drawings like i really want to make a book and put some of these different drawings in the book so the first book was all black and white images and then the second year from 2018 i started to introduce with black and white images and color images into that digital drawing so i’ve realized it’s been three years since i made that book and i was like can i make another book so it’s trying to get the money those these things kind of cost money and things are kind of always they’re quite tight at the moment but i’m looking for ways to kind of bring this into life and i’ve literally just gone from 2 000 images 2000 images to 88 images maybe slightly more about 90 images and i am like i was like how do i out of this time because then what i did was i went through back through that history that catalogue and i laughed and i thought these are great drawings but nobody gets to see them and i don’t get to hold them so i kind of really wanted you know i want to be able to hold the work you know i resonate with books my books everywhere in this house i love art books i love reference books i love being able to kind of like delve into different artists in different days so that’s for me you know i kind of want my work in that sort of format as well so they’re self-published i’m self-publishing a self-published uh the first one i’ll be doing the same with this one but yeah so i’m kind of just cracking on so doing a written piece for it myself i’ve invited inviting another artist to kind of do around the piece as well you’ll get a bit of text and thinking behind the work of the drawing but yeah so hopefully later on this year i might have a digital launch party for a new book but we’ll see how exciting i love that idea of holding the work that’s so nice such a lovely way of thinking about it keep us informed if you do have a digital launch that’ll be so fun when you’re talking earlier about gallery openings and things it just made me realize that i missed that you always need to go back and look at the exhibition again but it’s about being with the people isn’t it and i i do miss a good belfast opening oh it’s such strange times yeah and i just miss being able to go and do those things anything cultural you know like we know that kind of the culture is like just one of the things always the hardest hit but it’s hopefully something for the future for all of us yeah definitely we’ve got through a lot and you’ve been so so generous about talking about the personal aspects of your work and your practice and everything is there anything that we haven’t touched on yet today that you would like to mention maybe kind of thinking around advice or you know what it is for younger people i certainly think for young people even going through university at the moment what a very difficult difficult difficult time it is it’s difficult for everybody but you know i know i have friends went and doing masters at the minute and you know we’re in the mainland uk and i mean it’s this storm you know of uncertainty maybe do a little bit discussing around kind of like what it is to advise artists or you know or advise people i always kind of think make your work which is a big advocate of really encouraging people to kind of like make and do the work that they need to be doing so you can if you’re in somebody like you’re in university whatever just make the work i think you can become so consumed by what’s happening and how that’s affecting you that you forget that you’re an artist you forget that you’re making so make the work you don’t find your way in your pathway through that maybe i’m walking no i think that’s really so helpful that’s a really excellent point to make is just do something every day just try to do something even if it’s just a little sketch or cutting up bits of paper whatever it is just do something that proactivity i think’s really really important and i think even just in terms of your mental well-being yeah absolutely yeah i think for anybody even not just anybody at school or college you know it’s engaging in the arts and engaging in that kind of activity is extremely beneficial and it really is a form of therapy you know when you kind of engage in something for 15 minutes half an hour a day and it really really helps so yes i mean there’s a real power behind the arts and unfortunately we’re all too aware that uh the arts get are the first to get shafted but anyway it’s an interesting time for sure but just keep making i think everybody should be making or find a space to make that’s a really excellent point so clinton do you have websites and socials that you’d like to point people towards yeah so i um i actually have two websites tonight i realized so i’ve got my main website which is clinton clintonkirkpatrick.com it’s almost like that sort of showcase of a little bit of history of my work and then i started a new website this year called orange paint books and it’s going to operate as a background to a selling platform for me so it’s a space night where i’m putting up all my work for seal because i realized through this time as well you’re relying quite often on galleries or other spaces to be doing a lot of the work for you and i was just like do you know what why is my work why am i not in charge of my work being for sale so i created orangepaintbooks.com and that is going to be where you can find everything i do from courses to the paintings to the drawings whatever and then pretty much the main one that i use is instagram so my social handle is clinton underscore kirkpatrick underscore artist but just type in my name there and you’ll find me that’s the main ones oh that’s brilliant thank you clinton kirkpatrick thank you so very much for your time i have really enjoyed our conversation it’s been so lovely to speak with you properly and to meet you like this and to hear all about your work because i’ve so enjoyed following you on instagram for the past a lot of months thank you thank you thank you it’s been brilliant thank you very much i got introduced to your podcast um from joanna’s one whenever she was doing the movie project so it’s been lovely to kind of follow when i’ve linked in so thank you for having me and uh all the best for the year ahead okay yeah same to you thanks we’ll keep in touch this has been a cozy peapod production with me paula blair the music is common ground by airton used under a creative commons 3.0 non-commercial license and is downloadable from ccmixter.org episodes release every other wednesday subscribe on apple podcasts spotify amazon music or wherever you find your podcasts see the show notes for a video link if you need auto captions be part of the conversation with av cultures on facebook and twitter or iv cultures pod on instagram as well as patreon membership one-off support is appreciated at buy me a coffee.com forward slash pei blair i produce and edit the show by myself and i am grateful for any support for this work for more information and episode links visit audiovisualcultures.wordpress.com thank you so much for listening catch you next time

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Audiovisual Cultures episode 77 – The Amabie Project with Johanna Leech automated transcript


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hello and welcome to audiovisual cultures with me paula blair i’m really super excited to be joined this time by artist johanna leech who is going to talk about the amabie project that she’s been working on and curating throughout the lock time period in 2020 and it’s hopefully going to culminate in an exhibition but it’s all online and you can see it on instagram so i’m going to let her explain more about it because she’ll explain that a lot more articulately than i can um huge huge thanks to our members over at patreon.com forward slash av cultures for all your really valued supports if you are interested in joining and there are three tiers of membership at the moment there’s to pay what you can which is one pound one dollar one year or whatever um and that’s that’s going to get you access a bit early to the new episodes that come out you’ll get to hear it a day before everybody else and then there are a couple of other memberships there’s a behind-the-scenes membership and a star supporter which will get your producer credit on any future stuff so do take a look through those if you’re able to help out and for other ways to support uh and just help out the podcast do listen right to the end and i’ll give you some other ways that don’t involve a membership um but do make sure you subscribe you hit that button just so that you never miss a new episode and i’ll help us out as well so this one was a lot of fun to record uh joanna is a it’s a very very good friend of mine and i’m really proud of all of her work it’s a really visual episode as well so if you’re listening to the audio only i have put the link to the video in the show notes and do make sure you go and see that um because um uh joanna actually shows us through quite a lot of the work that all of the artists involved have been creating and shows us through the instagram so if you’re able to see that i’d really highly recommend it so enjoy very much and i will see you on the other side

so i am super excited to be joined by my longest serving friend and artist joanna leach hello joanna hello how are we finding you today not too bad thanks just in limbo like the rest of us i think so trying to continue on at least try and do something productive excellent yes we’re gonna talk a bit about your productivity and what you’re keeping busy with and if it’s okay can i just ask you to explain to everybody a bit about your background i mean um i mean we first bonded over our mutual love of dinosaurs and i think that’s something that’s held us very close together all of these many very long years yes definitely and it’s in my artwork you know fascinating sinclair uh dinosaurs from the world’s fair absolutely um so would you kindly just talk us through a little bit of your own arts practice and then we’re going to talk about the really big project that you’ve been working on more recently sure so i’m a visual artist based in belfast and i also work as a program manager for a local cinema and arts center so sometimes a lot of those influences working quite um across lots of different art practices and arts fields and work can bleed into my practice a little bit um so instead of kind of having a sketchbook or kind of doing lots of drawings like every day like most artists would or quite frequently my thing was to collect objects collect stories and um making notes and taking photographs so you know like if you look at my iphone now there’s like 20 000 photographs that i’m kind of constantly referring back to so that that’s my sketchbook so it kind of gives you an idea of what kind of way i sort things in my head i’m also dyslexic so it just means that a lot of the time maybe written format isn’t as easy for me and the visual stands out really clearly because of that so it just means then i can have this amalgamation kind of like my work is almost like a little museum of its own you know you could have a look at my exhibition and there could be stuff that could be historical that i find something interesting there could be local lore and legend um or there could be just an experience or a place that i’ve been to so the working kind of become things where it’s maybe like more social practice where i’m maybe using the objects in a way to perform to an audience where like the object is shown in a way where it tells a story or it itself is quite humorous and you kind of look at it and it gives you a chuckle you know like i always like the work to be familiar to the audience and very much um kind of open for everyone to interpret um so my recent exhibition would have had things like a neon sign that said guns and gold and kind of like a really um particular lovely um neon golden color and that was a replica of one that i’d seen in america and just that ideas of those two words together um is it’s quite interesting and then i had wall drawings including wonderful dinosaur um and then i had stories about the dinosaurs that i’ve done work with and collected from all around the world so i had kind of display tables which had objects as well as stories all displayed together so it’s kind of it takes you on a journey and that’s kind of always say to people like i’m explore um showing you my discoveries essentially and then there was other things like photographs from kind of um attractions or places from around america so that that work kind of stands alone quite well just as a photography as a photograph um but um and then i’ll do sometimes just really kind of scale back drawings so it just it just really depends brilliant yeah and this has a really close connection with the current project that you’re working on so you’re curating this group of work of all kinds it’s it’s cross media and it’s artists working in all different modes and from different backgrounds and all sorts of things so um can you tell us a bit about the amma bay project please yeah so amabe is a japanese yukai and ukai is kind of like a mythical kind of magical creature within japanese mythology and this particular character would come out whenever there was sign of a pandemic or else maybe something to do with um crops and um different times where you know people would have worries about things they could look towards the emma bay for um some comfort so you know she’s a mermaid character and she kind of comes out of the sea and is very kind of mystical and i was just kind of really interested in that with the internet kind of in the era that we’re in now this character made a resurgence kind of through the start of the lockdown and it just meant that there was a lot of people kind of posting pictures of her or a lot of japanese people like taking a bit of solace you know to actually do a little drawing over or stick a little picture up of her in a window and with everything that was elsa it was happening throughout the internet and in the uk we kind of had all the kind of things so like help the nhs and the rainbow kind of became this icon of camaraderie and hope for a lot of people and that came from kids in america he just did it one time and you know then people started to kind of replicate that and it kind of spread like a virus but uh a very positive one and amabe was kind of doing a bit of that it was um kind of trading on kind of um if you kind of had like hashtag a mabe challenge and when i saw that i kind of thought oh you know but what i’m really interested in is i had been to japan last year and um i have connections through flex art studios where i’m based with a really cool art space called arts ongoing which is in tokyo and i kind of met those guys and i kind of always kind of thought oh you know what like what would i do if i went over and did a japanese residency so at this time where you know there’s pandemic i can’t go to japan as much as i would love to and looking at those connections and just i think the event manager in my head of kind of going what can i do you know i can’t go into the studio and you know it’s a really hard time to feel inspired how can i reach out and make that connection between that kind of sense of this viral connection but also bringing it back to artists practices but then looking at the connection between japan and belfast and especially because of flax art studio so they’ve been running for a number of years in exchange and one of the main artists who’s a really good friend of mine um shiro masayama um he is the only northern ireland artist based in japan and i was like me and him were like sharing each other like pictures of a mabe and being like oh you know we should get everyone in flax to make an imabe and then we’re like but why should i be kind of making that quite narrow so we owned it out because we wanted to share it with three artists arts ongoing and various other things like shearer would have a lot of connections um just you know to see if artists in general who are based in japan and uh the isle of ireland um or someone you know who’s still kind of connected to ireland are still connected to japan um what would they do and to kind of make it initially like an instagram that could become an exhibition so it was just to see like what would happen so i think it was something that kind of came up between me and sharon were like hey wouldn’t this be fun to do that and they kind of grew from there

and so um with the irish connection is there was there another mythical form from from irish mythology that you were looking at as well or was it just the mlp

well originally um i was talking to um close friend um martin boyle um and martin was kind of my sounding board and very thankfully and just about the right up and like how i was going to do the call-out and what he was interested in and what i kind of thought was it’d be nice to give people that option if they don’t want to do a mabe so whenever we did the call-out we kind of had it that it was if you could create a mythical creature to protect you what would it be and surprisingly a lot of people just did do your marble and that that’s cool too i mean she’s so beautiful and of course i did one of her but um i did like that idea of looking at art mythology and it just meant then if there was japanese artists who were like you know mommy’s quite a normal thing for them they could choose to do something different or an irish artist who feels very strongly with that now we didn’t get as many kind of ones that are quite irish-based we did also get one that was a beaver which i thought was really cool because um that person was just kind of had their own reason of thinking why he could be a quite an iconic character so it is it is mainly a mob but i think whenever we’re displaying that in the gallery you know it can maybe have a couple of different zones it was originally inspired by the irish connections of saint brigid and it was like the first of february and it was kind of the start of spring and how people would kind of um make woven um crosses that you would hang up on your door and there’s these kind of ceremonies called biddy boys and it was basically like you made like an effigy like this female character who sometimes was dressed in your grandmother’s clothes and again it’s this idea of bringing forth a good harvest and and hoping for the best which a mabe does as well and and i was just like when you look at the documentation of you’re like what’s so bizarre and then it brings in connections with mummers and the idea of going door-to-door connecting with your community and making these kind of woven hats and things they’d have on so there’s one of the pieces is me wearing a mummer’s hat and you know i think that could maybe be a bit of a project on its own and i think mabi kind of took over because i think a lot of artists were making work from home and it was probably a bit easier to do that so i definitely think that that could grow in a different way but there’s only maybe a few that are kind of included within that okay great it’s really fascinating and stuff so um so shall we should we take a look at some specific examples of this and the the really wide range of approaches that all of the artists took because you’ve got animators you’ve got people working in sculpture in different ways you’ve got people here illustrators and comic creators and all sorts of people so um shall we have a quick look at some of the examples sure we definitely had a you know a wide range of people but i think i’ll maybe just start off with the original image that is mainly known about a map so this is one that would have been like kind of in the local um news and kind of documented before so i’ll just share my screen here so you can see

um so you can see this here um which is just a really beautiful image and you can see kind of the three legs coming from the sea a beautiful man of hair and um i just thought this is a really good starting point because it’s it’s also that flexibility that people can can change her into anything that she wants to be so i’ve got the instagram here which is kind of the format of showing it visually online so we have um submission from different artists to despite 25 artists including two young people that have been included and i like that because you know it’s the fact that you’re in lockdown and your children are there so i really kind of like that one of the artists is like oh you know can i include my child’s one or you know someone was actually collaborating with her niece which was really nice so um as you can see this is just a really quick thing and this is just you know like uh shiro playing around with a new app that he’s brought together but it just it just worked so well and it’s that kind of again embracing the kind of online kind of quality of that so just for the audio can we just describe what was happening there sorry um

okay so with shiro’s um video he’s using this app and um can i turn the music on or would that i think yeah you should let’s try

so um he’s just made a little drawing of an amabe which kind of pops up in this app and then it kind of comes and scuttles around the floor so it kind of like moves around on the table which is just really sweet and then um we had some more stuff that was a bit more obscure so this one here i really like because there’s kind of a description here this is by chris watt and he kind of just looks at this idea of um stories of contorted human forms or similar kind of rock faces and the natural forces and the ancient humans and bones and you know um that one there i just thought was just really nice and quite unique um some quite a skeletal image that we’re seeing and um so it says he came up with a concept for the painting after visiting melon head on the very north coast of ireland so um yeah so there’s just this skeletal form that’s it’s almost like it’s embedded in the rocks it’s against the rock faces in a bit of a kind of fetal position yeah there’s a triangle protrading from an eye that kind of an obscure kind of um things in the foreground and kind of makes it quite dream like um really kind of bright neon colors and along with this really kind of strong blue blue and white for the skeleton’s body itself which is really nice um i will just see i could go on and talk about every single one let’s just have we scroll so you can see just like some of them against each other so um this is another japanese artist um which is absolutely gorgeous um sitting on buildings on fire almost yeah so emily um she’s actually just studying um at the moment and she’s studying in london but she’s japanese and she had a couple of versions there’s a couple of versions of this one um this is a collaboration with grace mcmurray and her uh five-year-old niece oh the embroidery little embroidery which kind of has a mermaid she’s got wings um and just like a couple of sequences i like as well it’s like just you know like weak cuts of purple and and blue so paula thought you’d enjoy a bit of embroidery so just really simple one um clinton patrick and again his one is more that kind of unseen unknown character because when you talk about the japanese uk sometimes they’re literally an inanimate object sometimes they can look almost human and sometimes it can be quite bizarre so i like that his was much more free in the way that was represented here we have an artist who bid on ebay for um something that was supposed to be made from a mabby’s hair right it was a brush on the internet so his kind of piece is um and he ordered it here it is in his home and he had done a residency in flax recently so he was over in belfast so it was just really nice to kind of have people’s work so um that was that one in particular was cool like you said about graphic artists yeah i have some graphic artists in here so we’ve got vanilla doran and we have um grace farley and then i think there was and molly henry in particular this kind of one too hmm as you can see you know there’s a real mixture of things um tomohiro tomahiro to also been to flax on a residency t and it’s weird because now that i’ve been in japan i’ve seen these kind of you know this is just outside a shop somewhere but i just love as well that it’s got it’s got the mask on so this is kind of like an everyday image someone who could have stumbled across this kind of um amazing kind of sculpture and then it being put with like there’s a kind of scroll to my bed it almost looks spry painted but obviously done on photoshop or something beside it so it just supposed in the tools i think is is really interesting definitely love these little guys with their masks so it is a real mixture of things so sometimes people made things in their homes some of them have done ink drawings or used like found objects like davies here um using hair um this is the image that i had mentioned before myself the kind of bummer hat on um so there’s kind of two in the series and i had actually taken these quite a while ago back in the america or back in the folk park i think it’s the one in belfast yeah so um is that the ulster folk and john smart museum yeah no one’s else’s [ __ ] transport museum so you can go there and there are often weavers i’ll kind of show you that and then if you want to look up mummers there is um different mummers groups from around think the main ones are in antrim and they still perform wedding ceremonies and do different things when i worked for um belfast photo festival a few years ago as a director we actually had an exhibition um by jim mcginn he actually went around and documented mummers over the years and looked at folklore but also looked at the traditional music he was very interested in traditional music so he has a lot of work that’s to do with those so i think that probably had placed it in my head originally um just looking at that um and then one little miniature performance um

this is just done over zoom oh actually we do have sign for this one let’s let’s try it again

so this and another worker kind of a gif so um what you have here is um she need brennan casuals doing a live performance on zoom to me and she has put in the background um like there’s a big kind of um mummified fish in the ulster museum so it’s in the background and you’ve got the ulster museum itself so she’s put on kind of like a sequined top um a nice long wig and has like a duck bake so she’s kind of wiggling around kind of as if she’s looking at herself you know um which i think is really sweet it’s kind of like just reminds me of the internet it’s like a weird kind of tick tock but an artistic tick tock or something um just really simple um which is nice so um and then we have some ceramic pieces like chris’s um here and then the more irish one um jim rick’s was one of the first ones but this was the kind of ones i was hoping for this kind of amalgamation of irishness as well and so he’s kind of muggy mutant various um kind of characters um and jim ricks is a he’s an irish um oh forgotten the name

he lives in america but he’s an irish i wrote this down didn’t i yeah he’s an irish conceptual artist so um yeah so that’s kind of examples i haven’t got all of the work up and the last one i’ll show you is my piece apart from so i have the irish piece which is the two photographs together and then this one is a drawing that i made and it was just that kind of like cathartic drawing and because i i like tracing things and drawing them over and over again and getting them really simplified but then whenever it’s locked down and you have to like stick it to your window it’s like coming through you know trying to draw it i kind of like that lockdown process i had because then you’ll have people here who yeah maybe you can’t go out and and make things i was surprised we did get as many ceramic things as possible so some of the artists might have changed to video pieces and we also have fantastic one um by amy mcgee and she has and i’m going to use it as the opening piece for when you go into the exhibition and it’s a video piece and she’s made puppets and she tells you dma by story and it’s just absolutely stunning wow really nice so i’ll hope by the date where we do hopefully show it i will have all of them online at the moment that’s just most of them and we also have um this have a video of how to make your own amabe by a japanese artist azuri um and that it’s about 15 minutes long so we have to just kind of uh link over to that and so he makes a little paper and a where the little bake is kind of in the paper and you can make her talk say whatever you like okay so you can see like it’s already such a wide range of work and there’s still more to come yes so you mentioned um a hopeful exhibition as do you have any more detail on that at the moment or um what do you know what can you tell us sure so um pollen studios uh based in belfast um had offered to do the exhibition with us so and um quite a few of the pollen artists all submitted as well so um they’ve been really tight knit with us on the project and with current lockdown methods there are some galleries are currently open at the moment but maybe some of the larger um organizations like the mac and the golden thread gallery and for pollen then um people will probably do it by appointment we’ll have an opening hopefully november 5th which is usually like a late night art where people come out um and we have we’ll have all the safety measures in place and you can basically book like an appointment to come along so i’ll probably put you know some weekend dates in and an evening each week that people can come along throughout november fingers crossed and um if it does get put back because naturally that’s what’s happening at the moment you know it’s kind of part of the project yeah in a way because the project was made during lockdown and it means that if you have to book in for an appointment see it it’s almost becoming a performance you know you’re becoming part of the exhibition by able by being able to come along and of course then with people who especially aren’t able to uh for health and safety purposes and things come out i will have the instagram up and i’ll maybe kind of do a bit more of like um an exhibition online and kind of look at that just for kind of access to make sure and especially for the japanese artists as well that they can kind of see all the work together and for my previous shows i always kind of shoot a video where i can talk through things and just means then that people who can come can still feel connected to it and um do you think you’ll have a lot of the physical works there or will it be you know because there’s quite a lot of sculpture for example um so would it be photographs of those or will the actual workspace and do you think to show so i’ve contacted each of the artists and kind of just had a chat with them and as well like i’m kind of self-funding this and i don’t have any funding for it but obviously i’ve been supported by the arts council for years so i don’t mind you know contributing some especially my own time but also some resources so i have a small budget for kind of contempo temporary prints um for some things and then a lot of the local artists i’m able to kind of go and collect the work but i just kind of ask the artist you know what way they want it shown because some of the video works obviously will go on screens and which particular one the beaver that i mentioned um which is lovely um it’s a gif and i think it would look really nice on on a tablet or on a phone so it’s kind of displayed in the way it was meant to be viewed but yes especially as japanese artists obviously i give them the opportunity if they want to post it they can post it over and i’ll return it but you know we don’t have unfortunately enough budget to kind of get that over um but we’ll be able to reprint some of those so especially like a zoo um which isn’t a zoo and the work that had the um amabe hair object don’t want to lose that on getting it posted over so um i think a print of the two beside each other so like the internet um image of it being sold and then the image of it in the house i think together would look really nice so um actually we will have quite a lot of the artists um are up for having the drawings or the ceramics physically there and then the rest of the stuff then we’ll kind of print um maybe in like a temporary manner or i thought about have mine displayed on the window because i’ve i do often have window drawings so i think it would work really well as a window drawing as well so you know the work will change a bit in the space too

and then i suppose you it must be a factor now you have to figure out how many people you can have in a space and how far apart your things you know that sort of stuff has to maybe be considered now as well in poland’s not a huge space so that’s quite complicated yeah i think it’s kind of um well then again in the millennium court art center that i went to recently it was like one bubble per half an hour so and then it would be frequent cleaning and things like that but because i’m coming from a venue i’m already used to doing that currently for my job and work so i’m very aware of all the exciting terms and conditions and health and safety policies um all over that so i can make it as safe as possible okay well fingers crossed that can go ahead but as you say even if it’s delayed it just adds more time and possibly more overlooking from the email base to help us out hopefully i know come on guys

um that’s brilliant joanna thank you so much for that um do you is um

before i ask anything else um shall we because we had those links of scream but just for the audio and do you want to point people just towards where to see these sure at the moment no worries so to find out more about the exhibition so it’s joannaleach.com and that’s spelt

j-o-h-a-n-n-a-l-e-e-c-h and then um you can do forward slice forward slash amabe so a m a b i e and on instagram it’s a mabe underscore project and that shows you all of the stuff that we’ve came in so between the two of those we’ll kind of have all the details we hope that we’ll create a facebook invitation page soon enough so otherwise um if you follow pollen art studios on facebook and they will then have that online i also have a facebook artist like page so if you just search for my name that i spelt earlier on um you’d be able to just kind of like my page and then those updates for things like the events and stuff will come up as well um i suppose just on this i mean how do you feel about exhibitions going online more and more because i’m personally loving it because it means i can see stuff in belfast and i’m stuck here in newcastle so um but how are you personally finding that and feeling about that as an artist i think it’s good and my previous um solo exhibition that i mentioned before um it was in millennium court arts center and it’s only you know about 40 minutes from belfast i think 40 minutes to half an hour away from belfast city center but there’s so many people who can’t drive um you’re artists mainly um i you know i didn’t learn how to drive until i was 30. so there’s just kind of there’s a lot of people here although it’s not that far away and on our transport system isn’t great that actually i realized even when i was doing an exhibition that was just outside of belfast um i did a recorded walk around of my exhibition which was called wanderlust and fantastic oddities so if anyone wants to look up you know what the work that i kind of described that showed a lot of my work was kind of like a little survey of everything i’ve done so far they can look it up online and there is like i have like a ton of photographs really good documentation and then just a little walk around with me with video and then that’s great because i can share that to people and i have artists that i work with in the states and you know even then all the people who are in belfast that just couldn’t get so there are you know three other reasons can have access to it and i think you know i discovered that before lockdown how important that was and i think it continues to be very important because there’s also even times where i maybe go to an art exhibition opening and you’re too busy kind of chanting whoever’s with you having a glass of wine and it’s quite busy and then you’re kind of like oh you know i’ll go back and then i’ll sit with the work or i’ll look at it for longer and sometimes you just don’t get that opportunity so i think the more that arts and things can go online i think it’s great but it doesn’t take away from that actual experience because a few weeks ago i mean i’ve been self isolating um quite a lot and working from home and um i just decided that when the mac reopened i went to see the exhibition at the mac and again you booked into a certain slot and it’s a huge space so you know it’s it’s a bit safer than maybe going to a small kind of gallery space and i also went to the golden thread to see their show um on the same trip and it just is like there’s no way like that buzz and feeling of going to a gallery you know it’s not as if you know all virtual stuff is going to make it worse or people won’t go out to galleries if they can look at it online that you never nothing can change that idea of just the silence of the space the concentration on an artwork the experience of the artwork being out of your house just you know you can’t you can’t it was just such an amazing experience it almost felt like i was going to a church and it was my religious experience like that’s that’s what it felt like for me was getting back into gallery and just gave my heart that little extra beat that i needed that’s you know like i think seeing art um in person will never be diminished essentially what i think yeah now that’s good to hear or is that very romantic romanticized yeah no it’s no it sounds good i totally understand you mean i imagine i’ll feel the same when i feel able to go to a gallery again um but for now it’s just not really for me and um but yes i i know the space as well that you’re talking about so i can just imagine it and it would be a bit i can imagine it would be a bit safer because they are really big rooms that you’re in um but also it must be nice to have peace in them because they’re only letting so many people in at the one time so that must be quite a nice element of it as well you feel like you have maybe a more intimate experience possibly yeah and i hope that’s what maybe the mabae project would be like because then if there’s people like you both of us are saying you know we don’t want to be you know gallivanting around with um everything that’s happening in the world right now whereas if i knew that it was just myself and my bubble going to a place for a specific time we know people have claimed it and you go in see the art and go away and like you said and have that piece to experience and for as long as you want um i think it’s really nice and um if it’s okay and you did mentioned about working at the strand art cinema as well so you’re used to that is it okay if i just ask you quickly about how that’s going and sure you know the cinema experience because that’s quite similar it’s another sacred art space that we need to protect and um how is that experience are you finding of working at a cinema but also people coming to that cinema again

like i think from i kind of had to make it kind of you know oh welcome back to the strand covert video um just to put out on social media just so people knew the experience and i mean like as far as any kind of covered procedures and things like we have every every box ticked and more you know we’ve changed our screen in times where it is and people coming in and out of the building and there’s um like special cleaning that we have like a fogger machine that antibacterializes the seats and everything never mind then you know just having cleaning stations and cleaning more so we we have that all kind of ticked so i actually have been to a few screenings while two screenings since lockdown because i know the strand is as clean as it can be and also we’re a small cinema and we’re in a rural space we’re not the city center so we’re never super busy anyway and then with we’re not particularly busy but it just means that you can book exactly where you’re sitting you’re socially distanced and so i was able to i went and saw tannen and um the other event i went to was a global film screening um which we’re doing at the moment and it was with green book and then we kind of had a discussion on kind of black lives matters and um different things like that so if yeah just give me that buzz because you know we’re kind of you know a vintage cinema um designed in 1935 so that kind of encompassing kind of red curtain feel and you’re sitting in half back seats and the experience is just so lovely and just being immersed in the film because i just thought no matter how many times i’ve watched inception um boogers for nolan i’ve forgotten half the time what happens in it and it’s because i just kept on watching it at home a few times or maybe had a glass of wine can’t remember the ending very well so it meant that with tenant i had that full attention span i went in no one not it it’s christopher nolan and you know there’s gonna be questionable things about it too but it’s gonna be an amazing cinematic experience so i did feel like i kind of said there maybe it’s because of my previously religious background but that kind of i’m that ultimate buzz of being like in your synagogue you know it’s like you know the room itself and the space and and just being spread out and and the feeling of being feeling safe because um people around you are further enough away and you just get to switch off and fully enjoy a film and i notice so many more things in green book than i did watching it at home because i missed it and the first kind of cinema release there was a few times with things i was like oh oh that’s not and i was like doing the talk afterwards like i was like i was noticing things more and i’m supposed to know more about the film so yeah i disagree if you’d like you know the experience of being innocent is never going to take away from watching those you know films on on netflix and whatever yes it is great that those um platforms are there so in the global film screenings i’ve made it that you can go on to the strands website and you can read like a resource about your green book so it has the recording of us doing the talk it also tells you that you can watch green book on amazon prime so i’ve kind of make packages afterwards and make it accessible to people who can’t go so they can still feel like they’re part of it so they can watch green book from the link and then um obviously they would need to you know pay for that or have amazon prime but then i would recommend and give links to the films that we mentioned in the talks because you always forget when you’re listening to something like that brilliant so i have resources of different films that are good to watch like moonlight um and then i have a connection with belfast which talks about frederick douglass who um you know would have been one of kind of the main people to kind of abolish slavery and he had been the belfast and that connection i had read an article about it in 2012 so i was able to like place that too so we’re in the strand we go beyond film sometimes and with special events then i can still bring in an online audience or i just give people that chance to go what was that film she was watching and then i can tell them about the original grain book and how it really was for americans um and you know recommended documentaries and stuff so um i think you should get get out there and support your local spaces if we can all stay open you know they’re closed in the south at the moment so um it’s good to support those spaces but uh not you’ll never get over that kind of cinema experience or um my partner was telling me oh we were talking about vr and he said you know you can get vr which makes you be in a cinema and then it projects your netflix film oh yeah but you have to wear a really heavy headset and you can’t it’s the smell of it too it’s other sensory things it’s the way the light is it’s the way the sound kind of almost hugs you because it’s um soundproofed and it’s all of those things you know it’s when the lights go down it’s like oh you know give a ticket you know he had all those things like um like i think uh there’s uh i was gonna say um mark cousins always talks about the romanticism the cinema but in the way he kind of describes it you know um like on how he he likes it i think he’d say like sitting in the front seat is it in a front row i like sitting in the front i like just ignoring if there’s other people i like feeling like i’m there by myself and it’s just for me with the big screen exactly well if people go to this round you might be um very small amount of people there and it will fill it likes your own screen if i could get your feedback probably exactly but the feedback you know from customers when i did that covered video and i got a couple of voxpos was one of them was like a guy who was a film student and um he was just desperately back he’s like i’ve been three times this week it’s like oh it’s so lovely and then you know it’s weird because the family audiences haven’t really came back so i think families have got so used to being in lockdown and getting to schedules i think you know i’m hoping there’ll be a time where those guys are able to come back and enjoy themselves and that bit of you know your parent as well okay you might be watching a kid’s film but you know your kids are going to be quiet hopefully beside you for an hour and a half enjoy it you know take the time for yourself to watch a movie and and enjoy it yeah it’s just worrying with so many outbreaks and skills at the moment so it’s very worrying to take children anywhere i think at the moment that’s one of the things but yeah we just have to find a way to help cinemas survive i think if we can yeah um and i think well the strand is spoiled because we’re supported because we are a charitable organization we’re supported by the arts council so loyalty burned

well just compared to maybe some of the other independents um who you know like my wage is funded by the arts council because i’m doing all this outreach and whenever it was locked down i was doing online videos and events and supporting artists and pain artists so we can kind of do that and we’re a bit luckier than some of the other spaces that might just be going on on solely the income they got in the door

right um is there anything else you would like to say put out there or anything before we go well no i think we’ve already talked about it so i had mentioned my website so if people want to see my work because they can save the exhibition at millennium court which kind of encompasses all of that and yeah keep an eye out for the amabe stuff you can get um most of a sneak break you get on the instagram at the moment there is most of the work there and so yeah so um just thanks so much paula for having me on the chat it’s been really good brilliant yeah no thank you for doing it it’s brilliant i’ve been following the project with interest and it’s such a lovely idea because it is just that idea of care and something looking after you but also a collection of people who are all spread out they’re all dispersed coming together to work on something like this it’s a really beautiful things it’s a lovely thing to be able to highlight and put out there really so thank you very much for showing us so much of the work it’s wonderful no problem

this has been a cosy pea pod production with me paula blair and my very special guest johanna leech the music is common grounds by airton license under a 3.0 non-commercial attribution and is available from ccmixter.org episodes release every other wednesday and you can get those anywhere that you find podcasts but also you can subscribe to my own personal youtube channel if you find pea blare you can see the full recordings now that we’ve been doing the video versions as well do please share and subscribe to help other people find the show be part of the conversation with av cultures pod on instagram and iv cultures on twitter and facebook we’re always happy to hear from potential guests so if you’ve got an idea for a show or something that you’re working on that you’d really love the world my tiny bit of the world to hear about then please do get in touch i’d really love to hear from you and if i’ve invited you and i haven’t heard back from yet i’ve got an open door policy so there’s it’s never too late and um everybody’s really busy and stressed so don’t worry about it um i’m always also happy to have suggestions from listeners about topics that you something that you think you’d like to hear us try to cover i do try to make those and i do keep a list um there are loads of suggestions that have been in the past i haven’t got to yet just because i haven’t been able to access this stuff and that is partly where your support comes in so even if you want to send us a dvd or access to something that you’d like us to see that would be really helpful so i do wear all the hats in the making of this program and um so if you could support my work and you there are the memberships and patreon as described earlier on but you can also drop me a fiver at buy me a coffee dot com forward slash p e a blair or you can give any amount so like a pound or something if that’s all you want to give at paypal dot me forward slash p e a blair and just anything at all really really helps so huge thanks for joining us i hope you really enjoyed this i loved making this episode keep well stay safe and as ever be excellent to each other and i will catch you next time

transcript

Audiovisual Cultures episode 56 – Creative Practices with Zhenia Mahdi-Nau automated transcript


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hello and welcome to the official cultures the podcast that explores arts and culture production I'm polo player and I'm delighted to be joined this time by artist Shane yet mighty now pay very kindly shares her experiences and marking across various art forms including documentary and short Film and Northern Ireland very warm thanks to our members on Petri on dot com forward slash AP cultures for your continued support for other ways to help fund the podcast and to keep up with our goings on listen to the end for details and to enjoy this really fascinating chapter wishing them yeah the T. L. S. C. R. my name is Shannon it's just it really well I think I've heard all kinds of variations of my name and I just smiled my feeling is Genya Masti now says Jenny is that Russian name my mom was born in Mexico and Shinya which incidentally means genius yes although you know they knew the things he left is my parents in my maiden name and now it's a German name because I was married to somebody was from Luxembourg so I kept it on because my son and so this Russian passion I was born in Iran and abroad happening and just go there and my first notice studies and so we've got that set here as well just in case we get your doggy noises yes test says my god my border collie my sweet friend me go and solution yet good trying to scare your kids year filmmaker and artist and educator mmhm all sorts of things a lot of yeah and things I mean I suppose if I'm looking back at the stuff that I've done is very difficult to just pinpoint one pass the thread in them has been creative in some way yes I have been quite involved in training and teaching and developing some educational resources that were created and have doubled into filmmaking and that's how we met but drawing and painting it has always been a part of it as well then some singing because %HESITATION get on to that yeah yeah and dances while it's very important he is dancing with some U. S. towns is important not because you know it in my head %HESITATION it on to my body not quite yes when I close my eyes I'm capable of doing all kinds of a %HESITATION it said %HESITATION so it's yeah I've had a fascination with dons and movement and how the body I just find the bodies almost like a metaphor for something higher consciousness of something very peaceful and innate in us rather than just a physical thing so I love the metaphors that happened between movement and emotional states and from a very long time ago I tried to draw it and captures in some way and the idea of movement and something very ethereal the happened situational and again more recently I'm trying to see whether I can stocked protective some sort as we can thank and then with talking about tapestry of color issue document chase that is highly Mets fills like a life ago my other ex and probably one of your other lights is one of the things so yeah it was two thousand and twelve that summer of two thousand twelve that I I was editing tapestry and its screen the fast time in September of two thousand twelve and I think it wasn't long after that that we met I mean that was a mammoth project me because before that I made a short film and I've worked with editing and training people in editing I used to work with in the nav centre in Belfast and that's where I began to learn more about editing and filmmaking tapestry was the first time that actually really I managed to get some funding which would never cover many like that you want to do but it really was a labor of love and something that was of real interest to me but a subject that was just exploring how coaches %HESITATION arriving in Northern Ireland and how there is a sense of integration I wasn't I wasn't looking for the conflict areas I was looking at integration areas and see whether could be human stories or other facts and figures it was great I think when we met at mystery that you script button key F. T. so it felt really appropriate actually that it was say that younger generations who were born after the official end of complex here and it was feeling at the time I'm not sure but now if it is feeding at the time I can you Northern Ireland I feel like I straddled in UAE and then I don't live here anymore so I think so much of the film is so much to do with identity and all the intricacies of identity so it was really important especially growing up in such a very white yes yeah and it's great to see so much diversity here knowledge but I just didn't experience up when I was younger even the film educated me on how much diversity there was because I didn't know there were only two communities everywhere else so that was really important that yes just important for the community scare quotes and Northern Ireland to realize they're not the only community health not least but those Terry and there are more to what's going on here than sectarian divisions and there's more to overcome them just sectarian division one of the things that I found was there is I think an underlying belief that people if you come from a certain area then you're likely to share the same thoughts and beliefs and ideas and a pretty much you know you with that bunch and here's this bunch just like you know here in Northern Ireland here are the Catholics and hear the Protestants and hear the loyalists and hear the nationally as well as reality is that these are just names and labels that we give to human beings I've never felt comfortable with the idea of groups being given an identity that bypasses the individuality of the people that are within that group and I think that is something that I've found over and over again I found I've come across it again and it came with all kinds of backgrounds and cultures it is and you need to know the nine it's something that happens everywhere and I think partly because people feel comfortable with them and not everybody wants to particularly feel an individual within a group and I do so I'm particularly conscious of that and sensitive to that but also partly because it's an easier way to address a whole group of people instead of thinking about their individuality is a lazy way to address humanity of someone and I came across that over and over again where people would buy that I mean tapestry of colors there are some uncomfortable conversations it was very difficult to get those uncomfortable conversations because people don't always want to say what they feel and it was an interesting thing to find somebody who was able to do that was and she saw nothing wrong with that which was great for me get it on record it and she was very happy for that and I think for her it was having a police %HESITATION which was good but in a sense I thought it was quite naive as well too and she assumed that this is okay you know that this will be for thieves generally okay all kinds of dynamics were going on but what I found was most fascinating is always to find prejudice Waveney suspected and find open heartedness where you least expected that's the P. two things I think that's well and I did find that over and over again where you live so really it's like from the background that this person comes from educationally socially culturally they probably are going to have a lot of views that would be probably negative about having all kinds of cultures and then I was so nicely surprised that wasn't the case and then the person who did find you know said things that you know they come here and take our jobs and that kind of stuff was from somebody who had lived quite a number of proteins this process today yes yes and but the reality was that it so if you need to explore that was somebody who was in the questioning close area it was fascinating is really fascinating but because my eyes lit up and I so unusual things happen come Roger using paper you wouldn't expect that somebody was Irish and I travel the abuse of for the they just complimented each other and and that's where you you really see that humanity has none of this them and us there is justice yeah which is really peaceful to see yeah essentially as well because there's a guy from a loyalist marching bands the orange marches and that sort of thing so this better coverage of that as well and what he says is quite fascinating and not as this is our cultural display and if you believe those same things we don't care what you look like you're one of us but anybody is welcome to come and see us and that sort of thing so that was quite interesting the here and I don't know hi people favor but that was then and and I weigh stops but I have to say when when I was filming that part it was very pops where it was it didn't particularly feel welcoming yeah %HESITATION I stood out like a sore thumb and I didn't mind you always been outside is it doesn't really matter and that particular conversation will gain very clearly was there was two sides to that story and that was at the edges were very shop on both sides on the one hand you say you know I mean anyone is welcome but why did you do and say as I say and do yeah everything when the weather isn't filled with people who all believe the same thing the whole point is that we attack us we have different experiences and they're full welcome cannot be just to those who are exactly like me because then it's not welcome welcome means an open door that allows people to be who they all provided they don't actually home use it's an interesting thing to watch people's perceptions of what he would issue an old granny who believed to be the same thing in a welcome Indians come in welcome but actually no it doesn't only if a B. and C. you meet these criteria then you're welcome so then you know that calm so that was interesting yeah yeah I have other friends who are artists who found that orange marches and here also when men and there may be actually from Protestant unionist communities but they're still outsiders because they're maybe from a different place in North India and then there filming them in Belfast or whatever it happens to be it can be so tight now than anybody's website cider can take a long long time to earn trust there were areas I wanted to film and not just about people who are native to the nine yeah like that it took me a long time to find anybody from the travelling community and I was very lucky that I was able to find somebody and he just musically exemplified what it means to you know integrate with people and that's always the case but %HESITATION so from the Roma community digested managed to let her try hello I couldn't get that it's a very close knit close community there was a loss of knocking on doors the students you know obviously a huge part of any filmmaking in sixteen minutes of kementari is to research that you're doing in trying to to find the possibility to fell possibly because I'm neither here nor there I'm not the concert no Protestant I'm not from me %HESITATION simply that made it more comfortable for people just just because I was not a threat but I did in one instance I found that really bizarre because one of the people who always saying you know they come here and take a job the person who lived there for many years abroad she spoke to me in such confidence that I should have you obviously part of my job is you know because I am welcoming you know I want to hear and I don't want to say no and this and you content there will obviously will be things that I feel no this is not part of what I want to do but you know that was that I wanted to have a story I found it so intriguing to tend to me somebody who clearly doesn't sound okay perhaps I don't sound like the typical immigrant who has recently come here but I don't look at northern Irish I definitely don't look like you know even though it may sound boring which I didn't you can see it you know my background must be from an immigrant you know and as it happens is from a refugee kind of background and yet to speak to me so we speak the same language you know they come here and take her to the so so often my thoughts as to speaking I am one of the people you do not see that I'm in that in itself is a bit of a dichotomy because you kind of thing this individual office he has humanity you know who feels that can connect with you did we %HESITATION you know from whatever background to whatever stories we have we come to the perceptions of me come to arrive at the printing plate that social conditioning can only really be that sort of thing that I reckon that produces the sorts of attitudes or I would say S. lack of logic and a way to do that for me was a logical to say on this issue with me but then in another part of the film someone speaks about his children being color blind and not seeing difference between paper but the reality is there are differences and you need to address those differences so that people are not under privileged because of that difference for that reason alone but that the children growing up at the time that was two thousand and twelve when I was filming he was saying that his children are lucky to be in that sense they say that color blind they don't see a difference and I suppose what I'm thinking of the lady that was talking to me and saying you know they come here and take a job do you see what I mean you know that intimate conversation with me in a way she was being colorblind yeah because maybe she saw U. S. British because of your accent and maybe that maybe an inverted form of oxytocin or maybe it's paperless from a foreign accent yeah Hey or that you know a culture that we cultures all different people's practices and lives a very different and they don't sit comfortably always with each other you know so and that's a reality it's not comfortable so I can understand what so what if it was really really uncomfortable and you have families that settled into a community whose ways and practices you so unfamiliar with and you just don't understand and it's hard on both sides I think it really is you know to find a way is that and it takes time but I think more than anything what helps is actually to be open to kind of meet each other somewhere along the way it works both sides you can only really chat with somebody about this issue said very able to safely talk about them and that the country a light that space for somebody in a very safe for the voices concerns because I think part of the problem arrange for stellar nearly three years and no over three years and trying to do this brexit style yeah and so much anxiety right now has been people not feeling like they're a law eat to talk about how to fail so maybe it's something like that and I wonder if it's for me not for me to try and psychology ISIS person but I wonder if there is an anxiety about having being away and then coming back possibly and maybe that was something this person was working straight but I don't really have a tough day for him you know everyone has a story yeah Hey those screenings that I went to people I didn't know would come and say you know they're very nice but the felt when they were saying because you know I was in your country and and they would tell me the stuff that they've done in the food to the taste and all this stuff as though I'm still there and I'm here to visit to say listen you know as a child when I was living in Iran my parents didn't come from you know what our families they worked really hard my father came from poverty so by the time I'd come along and I was an afterthought thanks with five children I was the fifth and %HESITATION my oldest brother was almost seventeen years older than me so I really wasn't meant to be there but by that stage life had become a lot more comfortable for them because my family %HESITATION hi and I'm at the high as well and the highs have been persecuted hugely in Iranian culture right from the start of the the high fifties and incidently Bahai teachings are about one this of humanity and you don't get involved in party politics and it's really humanitarian kind of religion that really is about uniting the saying there was this one in human beings as one but these teachings are very threatening for governments and institutions in places where you really people %HESITATION have to blindly follow and be told what to do so it's a whole history of persecution and executions when I was growing up none of that was that that I could see but I was quite protected I think but there were undercurrents of it always when the Iranian revolution happened things turned upside down by that stage we'd already been living in England I had no history no concept of that I just had it from my parents my father has gone into it every time and then he went back to Iran two the only means of %HESITATION you know financial support was his pension and he'd managed to finish paying the mortgage for the house and hands of the tendency was providing our living costs and the tenants stop paying so my father went back to see what was happening it was at the stage when life was becoming very difficult for bodies they introduce columns that if you want to leave the country you have to say what religion you %HESITATION and of course my father couldn't put anything other than getting behind and he knew that that could be very very dangerous so ended up instead of a couple of months which was the intention to be that to be there for four years any escape through the mountains of Turkey meanwhile through the years the house was confiscated so does all the belongings I sold his pension was stopped and there was nothing so we will have to become refugees as a result so this is kind of the stories of very real although I have to say I never experienced the hardships on refugees I was too young so I was protected from all sorts and I've had things I know my father and my mother and I had only recently from cousins who had known my dad and had said that the reason he left was his name would come up on the list and he was going to be executed and his crime was that he was helping the highs who everything everything belonging had been taken so he was assisting with taking contributions from others to help them survive that was his crime there's all sorts of stories about the refugees I developed a very British kind of identity my friend's role in missions I went to school in England and and and at the time I was the whole idea of being Iranian wasn't it felt very uncomfortable for me because I wanted to integrate into this new than a teenager and it's ME later really that it began to dawn on me that the difficulties of refugees go through I suppose I felt when I was speaking to people who are coming from a different background like the okay the difficulties that they experience arriving not speaking the language and not knowing anything something the shops and arriving in years and how difficult it must be for them it's having by that stage had so many of the stories that was familiar from family yeah the film had all kinds of meaning for me as well as opening it up for compensation yeah I was thinking as well by and I do have that sense of home a talking it by your own background as well yeah initially the moving part in the film where I think it's a lot fan woman talks about aids just hearing other people speak about fan and she wants to go over soon because she suddenly felt ready home sick yeah and just one at that topspin's said something she felt she had to leave hi end but they didn't want to know because they just ashamed she would want their help yeah I just find that really so how does he have and the the reality is that existing laws and you can kind of understand both sides but ruled the sight of the person who's just arrived and it's so difficult so so unfamiliar and now I mean I have quite a few friends are from different backgrounds and left fans as well it's lovely to see how integrated they are and but it's the long journey for many people and I think a conference at home enough the fact that people arrive not necessarily as their first choice but that because they have to and what would you do if you have family or child and you want to give them hope home K. as a set of high and I and the fellow with the S. S. but one country and mankind is its citizens it's a quote from the homeless writings because really these quotas a man made board really there is only one hello the building is anyone S. we live in and how peaceful if we could actually see each other is going to be able to travel and be what we need to be instead of thinking on this but it is mine because ultimately that's a game from the high rises ultimately or what you're fighting for is the basic ground that you can be buried in you don't take it with you it's not you know so why it seems really bizarre to think of it as this is mine the whole nationalistic kind of approach that is exist very much these days you know current inclusion in U. K. you can see that it's a very worrying thing that's happening globally it's a place but we have to hope I think that's what but the title of the film the tapestry idea that so beautiful because well what's the topic street soul it's a different threads woven together and they have to work together to be a long thing even the %HESITATION the image for the marketing image in the DVD admits the cover of it S. all the different flags via recreate melded together anyway and the shape of Northern Ireland but there's almost a cage and to the Republic as well because this is another arbitrary ordered which is night contestants again a gay yeah yeah yeah the idea of the tapestry thing was because I was trying to make it into and using my visual imagery into digital imagery skills to kind of make that looked like a tapestry and woven thing and then the reality is that we are all threats of the Saint there is no no real difference and really it's just it seems hope is all but interestingly when you talk about the flags because obviously I was really castle to make sure everyone knows there all morning and to all the people who contributed in the film the flag of that country is in and it was so conscious that particularly aware of the situation in the Irish and the British flag and the hand of Ulster and all this kind of business school featuring but there was one of the screen is because what I had to preview it set everything into those old kinds of invited audience VIP's and things it was wonderful and then from that stemmed quite a lot of screenings I was really working with councils and that good relations offices to see that if they could invite paper that had something to say in their communities so that they'll be a panel discussion after the film city people don't come and sit and see it and then go and those are really interesting and I'm obviously I was on the panel but I want to make sure local people and but that really interesting most places amazing conversations happened but in one particular place which was to remain nameless somebody at she will travel to right the stock because the Irish flag looked a bit smaller than the British just so wow that's so interesting to it's just yeah that was very interesting conversations on the phone then what sprung from the film was there's lots of people wanted to use it as an educational kind of tool but it's too long first there was a lot of what shops that I was doing councils with Janet and I edited the film into so small extracts somatic stress that we could have so what ships in conversations about each of those what they mean and how that the following year was able to get some funding to an educational resources but that really I worked with within the sofa Sierra which is the curriculum yeah exam board one of the people there and I simply wanted to make sure to %HESITATION ticked all the boxes for teachers so that they could teach and we had a plan that went to a number of schools and youth groups and it was really really interesting very positive about comes out of those and just it was impossible to continue it as an online business because costs involved and because we couldn't get the funding that schools couldn't raise the funding to be able to have the truth I mean as a project is a holistic project I think the film then led to other conversations I felt what's really well there was a lot of conversations I had with politicians %HESITATION results of it which were also very interesting took me a whole new area an Avenue of professional web that really as an artist is not my thing although I'm quite confident and I'm quite happy to present and talk about things but then I just felt it's taking me further and further away from the office in the Clinton yeah I mean I thought I don't know if that's something that just naturally came to a conclusion or if the climate of things for the past few years has actually acted as well because not only a set of cracks initiated by the fact that there's been no local government here for three years so let us come to a standstill ready with arts funding in general was funding has been cut huge anyway but I think with the work that I was doing I think it came to a point when %HESITATION I found I just was hitting my head against a brick wall speaking and really the number of fantastic conversations presentations to various VIP's and heads of this and that and the other one they're all wonderful but really what I found what I'm trying to do is having more funding to do further for the walk and it seems like as you say it came to a point where they need to to stop because I ate the amount of time and energy that I was putting into that which was not in any way rewarding not just financially but creatively it wasn't recording anyway related to it so do some work that was I suppose that experience helped in the rest of the work that I was doing as well I did some creative consultations for the arts council when the for some of the cities and towns over doing building peace through the arts time out they want to have and those things and some of the other projects that it is on the phone network that I did was I'm sure at the back of tapestry helped along with those but I think yeah I think it's come to a point where I feel now my passion these go back to what we touches my home matches all persons like interpretive color she's quite a bit of your own vocals and there is that something you'd like to like basis you're singing in your vocalisation where yeah I mean the singing I I was in a bind some years ago cool trespass and we reckon melodies and stuff I was doing and but at the time fast I was using a lot of the Bahai writings because they so views from poetic and then I was writing the lyrics and stuff but the film and documentary kind of sound tracks that I have done some work on this a few things like caramel is pump go George image to some music for the soundtrack of the style of kind of work that I've done a gain on tapestry can seat as well the tapestry actually the focus for that initially was for a a more for channel documentary called monkey left by double bond and it was about Harry hello who's a psychologist who did some GPS workers %HESITATION baby monkeys in the fifty cents at the head of a document checks I was approached by a friend of mine who is doing the soundtrack for it and it has my kind of rule never cool stuff so it began kind of vocal recordings that were very much non verbal but it was much more about and %HESITATION see failing and the undertones of eastern sound and a lot of that I suppose comes from when I was a child I remember my father used to he had a beautiful voice he's the same he's a chance behind cries he had a voice like a medically backed just beautiful so I guess that means the committee here is a one of the recordings that ended up again on tapestry and the more recent years I did some work for graduate failed from his film engines caught his so I went to ten men to watch with Toby marks A. K. A. I'm good to go yeah so we recorded some record claims that he actually had Lisa Gerrard and she then had pulled out and he was looking for somebody who did that kind of thing and again my friend who had done the stuff for the double bind home and told him about me so I'd sentence and stuff and like to talk to about I think that was a very beautiful creative hope felt experience because I just awesome to put on some records leave the room let me improvise that Saturday's game about and there were a couple of those tracks featured on the Apollo which is under the guise comeback album I felt very happy I'm very happy with those creative efforts that sounds like a great way of collaborating he's just awesome to trusting yeah yeah that kind of singing is very much a singing your hall yes %HESITATION this thing so it's not a you know press a button here comes it has to be an he knew that I guess that's why he asked me to do it because it's the other stuff that I've done we had to just try it and it seemed to work and he was happy with it but each of those are very much associated with a particularly poignant emotional experience I was having at the time so I know I have to tap into that and really sing for that seem to work they're really haunting and they're very beautiful to listen to their C. eastern offense but there is something and there is it just made me think of an Irish connection as well because there's the caning that's done by women %HESITATION speaking robotics in Ireland and that sis cry from within when you come to cry and to expand access sign that comes from within and that's something between crying and singing and wailing it's quite an incredible thing to behold and it reminded me of that as well actually this thing too because it does feel like it's from the heart there is something distinctive because it does actually signed the life force so much music in this process voices and processes and I'm gonna put some links up on our oceans because there it was ready I see somebody told me that originally there are links between the Celts the patient's rights whether that's true or not but maybe intrinsically interesting thing that I have done quite a bit of research in the past few years on the engine borrowed since trying to see what's Mexico and what's not and I think historians for a couple of hundred years at least there were making everything very separate and actually there's a lot of revisionist research going on saying no there is a lot of evidence that everybody was more doing talks in yellow and purple to believe so that they can surprise me isn't it a symbolic thing the fact that we have she will hello by colonial civilizing missions making people author when actually people are coming together in trading and there are areas that weren't so much colonial about say a Greek tried bridge go to one place and he checked the Alexandria error nearby and they would have a joint community they would actually have a %HESITATION hello Jepsen community that was shared in their chair daisy something that would be amazing yes okay and I it wouldn't surprise me as opposed to an Irish poet tone please I don't know I hope it's true it sounds nice yeah things like there would be an affinity I think you have to see it yeah because it it's it's a bit of a lemon to submit business unless them often sing into my son the yes because he's into twice yeah with my hot would you like to talk about it from a few years ago some of the projects you were commissioned to do the arts kind so some of the short films so if years ago there was a project that I did that consisted of five phones and it was full I think she's still exists and there's a few communities in north Belfast and it's cool to draw down the walls of for that particular year in two thousand fifteen the commission five short films working with five groups of people it was about invisible barriers and exploring that I love actually working with people and finding very kind of unusual creative ways to bring out draw out stories from people and it was really nice because there was a couple of groups that way in that location code there was one group in the auto and area and there is one group that while unemployed people and there was another group that was just young people who wanted to make films this is a variety of kind of experiences and to explore the sense of otherness and belonging and not belonging in I had some really fascinating stories particularly I think what moved me was the location code downs and it's somewhat with the younger people but it was a low Chanchal adults that I found really fascinating a lot of them laughed telling me the stories of people being imprisoned and really hard lives lots of suicides and the difficulties of the young people and the people who've been in previous times involved in paramilitary groups and and how that communities affected by it and yet I have to say it was one of the loveliest kindest group of people I met there was so genuinely very welcoming that was a real eye opener for me difficult difficult areas to live and so those five phones within shown as part of a mini festival that happened the first Film Festival was hosting them so that happened in a number of areas and then for months that we showed it to the city hall and then the publication was based on it was pretty stunned than it did during the kind of thing around so it was an interesting very difficult project I have to say %HESITATION difficult project of really interesting but I did meet some really peaceful people an offensive game breaks all your preconceptions which is really nice pretty nice yeah we can actually be something that site yeah the room of the muse convicting me pages was he could see those really interesting exploring what really all that means and just breaking those barriers which we all have I found the ones that were really responsive to my very wacky Pacelle everyday I've come up with some strange way of exploring things with the young people that you met at the golden thread gallery because it was just a friend it was great it was or you can't so yeah it was so many parts of that and I really felt was a very worthwhile really positive protect which took away their residency with room three yeah so this is what really is My Baby no so for quite awhile I had this idea that I wanted to explore it came Johnson movement through the lens and finding ways to really there is a distance between the performer and the audience this online and I think I have experienced it when I'm being at a performance that when I'm so mesmerized him so invest in what I'm seeing experiencing that I'm becoming opponent if you know what I mean because it's so beautifully done there are a few things that I've been to always contemporary it's the most beautiful will be WrestleMania fans of tonight all so I just my heart just isn't wrenched it just being not even an observer and Paul if that becomes that as I'm watching it and become the performance even though I'm not a forma so I really want to explore that place where you go beyond this world it's an otherwise it's an otherworldly experience it's a higher consciousness it's spiritual it's a different round of fascinated to resign moments in that and I wanted to explore that through movement and dance and I was lucky enough to meet and photograph the peaceful Tomlinson was partially sighted cone head on whole beautiful movement beautiful polity and so I wanted to work around that so I had applied for residency sometime before and so I was able to do it at that time so I went to Tyrone Guthrie now imagine this you know this is in June of two thousand eighteen when the summer was amazing %HESITATION for anybody who hasn't been there it's really peaceful grounds or green and there's a lake and the sun beaming every day and I had to cut its to with them and I had a studio to myself I took everything and I want to animate so I was able to animate the movements and %HESITATION and the idea really is it's a bit of a dream for me to have an installation performance kind thing based on this this is right but the start of a project so I was able to really get started into that and produce a kind of work and sounds and things that I felt great he would work with it it was just a dream of a time that for me I just was amassed into that really was so peaceful and the paper was so lovely and met some really wonderful artists as well I'm so fascinated also by the academic side of things well academia matches with creativity lots of useful said I really like to see if I can take this off into its own proper research a PhD yeah but a practice based PhD where I can put you sweat but really look at the kind of the intellectual side I did as well but pretty touch around that is for me is so fascinating we'll see I've written a proposal what let's see if I would go anyway yes yeah yeah if it's meant to be well hopefully it's finding the right place two days yeah yeah yeah the tricky part yeah I mean if I die I live in Northern Ireland now and one of the things they did to us last year was to build up the studio space so I don't plan to be moving anytime soon so if I can do it through here university okay great or if I was able to do it somewhere else but I can actually continue to stay here and yes so we'll see unexplored possibilities and see what happens so as well as the PhD idea but you were saying that you go really into your painting yeah I've started to get because the whole idea here is her ago three was that I begin to bring in all elements of the things that are tied up into my creative practice soak painting was I mean I exhibited in a few different places before and I hadn't been painting for awhile and the figure always feature is not portraits but again movement and %HESITATION limbs and bodies and sick and starting to see if I can reconnect with painting and games it's a slow process but I saw to it that someone you know %HESITATION after painting the game on the go so we'll see yeah I just think it's you know with creativity it's for me it hasn't been a career it's a vocation in life although thankfully it's and to me it's tough to be able to live off off and on and off but generally it's not something that you then stop it needs to be something that I see is at the core of what to do and again the idea of creative practice %HESITATION and the creative impulse being a border this thing as well here a long time ago I remember speaking to somebody about being an artist and at the time I haven't painted anything and he was about you you know painting I remember thinking I felt very annoyed H. and thinking but your analysis is a part of who you are is woven into it it's not when you paint that threw it off this is not what you write it's just do you own and I think it's an even in everyday conversation it's just being looking at things in a different way in a creative way for hearing things in a different way so he went to the direct anybody to find out a bit more about what you do or say some of your work you can see some of my work on my website said M. and creative studio dot co dot UK and so my fellow work are on them like a music channel but also my email is there you can contact me I'm always open full interesting ideas and particularly when different all forms much that's what I find most fascinating weather is music and sound in towns and painted animation he knew just where it goes yeah and it's a like minded souls that kind of connection I love the idea of that so yeah I'm always open to that but it's it's and yet thank you so much to come thank you enough %HESITATION thank you and I am in love with your dog yes and creatively training a dog that's another thing to do she knew sought some tricks you know %HESITATION yeah okay did you couldn't see the trees in %HESITATION do you think but I will show you she's a sweet but it's thank you very much remembering up thanks to OD official cultures with very special guests Genya muddy now and tests at the dog this episode was presented recorded edited and produced by polar bear the music is common grind by our tone licensed under a creative Commons noncommercial license and is available for download from CC mixer dot org episodes are released every other Wednesday please wait share and subscribe on your chosen nesting platform to help others find the show to help cover costs of making and distributing the podcast please consider making a regular donation via libera pay dot com forward slash PP a planner or one of two nations to pay pal dot me forward slash P. A. Blair just a pint or whatever you can spare is a really massive help follow AP cultures part on Instagram and AV cultures on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what we're doing thanks so much for that catch you next time