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Audiovisual Cultures episode 101 – Subversive Spanish Cinema and Language with Dr Fiona Noble automated transcript


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they say Saudi official cultures the podcast that explores different areas of the arts and media join me your host Paula player and the researchers practitioners and enthusiasts I made along the way see our website at audio visual culture so wordpress dot com and other links in the show notes for more information four nine enjoy the show hi folks how you tan Hey it's Paul here just a quick note before this episode begins the sign quality isn't brilliance on my hands and I've been having some issues with my microphone to breeding %HESITATION what it is some hope and I've got it sorted tight noisy but there are some episodes coming up that just aren't really the best quality so I'm really really sorry by thoughts as a Sam trying to figure out I think it's got something to do with my EKG and if that means anything to you being turned up too much and I probably thought it was lower than it was and I have the microphone a bit too close to my mice so I think that's what's caused it and I think I was playing around with it because the feed back through my head phones stopped working and I've been a bit to sort it's when I've been wearing headphones because it's supposed to feed back my own voice so I don't sign muffled to myself and not has been really quiet lately and I thought it was broken but it sucks he just really quiet I don't know what it is I'm still struggling with the sign levels on my computer and stuff signs been weird and computer for awhile so when I turn the volume up I can hear myself but then if I'm speaking to somebody else they are really super noise and I can't take it was highlighted as sue him yeah it's complicated I'll keep playing around with it and hopefully future episodes will be an improvement but this episode and the next one they're not great because of this issue so I'm hoping I've got it sorted it's noisy and it will be a bit more pleasant to listen to after days so thanks for bearing with me and my amateur are recording audios as ever psyche right enjoy the absolute all right hello hi is it going Eugene gente another or do you base your cultures the podcast that explores the fascinating areas and creative practice and person humanities research which is important right I'm calling and I am absolutely thrilled to be joined by my very dear friends doctor if you're not hello and we're going to talk about her research and contemporary Spanish cinema minds maybe she other areas as well let's see how you get on stay very warm welcomes you feel thank you so much for joining me thank you Paula it's a pleasure to be with you yeah so like again like dying back together a little just to I know we're maybe missing a few other key players but you're starting so some of you may or may not know CNN and I became friends when I had a short stint in operating way way back in twenty thirteen long time ago because not each other we're getting a little definitely you know I'm so glad to have you and show that night this is very important past experience has way way back and started this podcast because I think you might actually be one of the reasons why this all costs even exists and that's certainly why it has been a member of the house and I remember this is like may my memory is broken in many ways but I remember this distinctly years ago and I had a conversation and Aberdeen the sinking straight well it's not really just from study start where scholars cells are teachers are it's already in Seychelles studies socks one of the reasons why one of the things that has led me paying more attention to that or do you bet on socks so you're integral to this podcast it's a great time each option here all about so nice I remember that conversation see because it's something that that I do really been thinking about it kind of post PhD and post kind of fitting into a specific place in the university and then thinking about your research and where that was going on yeah for me I'm always trying to emphasize the fact that it's not just kind of visual culture because that's the environment that we came out of an opportunity really that was the key term I think that was circulating about tying the actually you know thinking about cultures Pluto and then also thinking of buying yeah the fact is not just special you know with stock audio dimension as well which is really really important and quite often get forgotten about I think that's really lovely that Sam this podcast or at least the name of the podcast have germinated from the conversation way back when in Sydney and I spent on it returning journey stretching out my own knowledge is already as well this is going to come right actually right on the package and one eight eight yesterday we send audio drama producer on weekends really super nerdy stuff about you know pounding and sanity what signs and it still cost I can't wait for that was the year should be hostile but anyway really really generated by journey clock that's not what we're talking about eight you are somewhat of an axe first I would think it's safe to say and contemporary Spanish cinema magic published three fantastic important batch cults first it Spanish sentiment the politics of performance knowledge publishes plans free and twenty translate I think for our listeners to help them get to know you have the %HESITATION but would you be happy to give us maybe a better democracy your research yeah course yeah I was he said my E. eighty out of expertise is contemporary Spanish cinema although that is broadening ites in current research to think it bites audio visual cultures more broadly so not just in a mob thinking of buying television which I mean where do we even pick television that's perhaps another conversation we can have you know Netflix CD's so I am kind of starting to think more broadly up bites the objects my research is not necessarily just kind of cinema in the conventional sense but that certainly we are my E. OB expertise lies I did my PhD in twenty fifteen or finished in twenty fifteen at the university of Aberdeen and dot forecast body specifically on city key figures in content despondent Cinemark and what I'm seeing contemporary in the context of the peach tea that was kind of poll seventy five eve so post death Frankel islands you know up to the present day are up to date twenty ten certainly with the PhD research more recently it ready search is focused on much more contemporary works you looking out Spanish cinema since the crisis and the economic crisis in two thousand seven thousand eight am I also kind of Netflix pretty CD's as well this thesis looked at children performers and immigrants so thinking about a specific identity positions on high with the was a representative do you sell them in the case that the SS the book is sort of %HESITATION or the thesis rather was a jumping off point for the peak in the sense that performance is one of the categories I looked up in the thesis and it became the main focus of the monograph the actually it involves a lot of new research it's not just kind of a revision off the thesis the deal so the biggest body focused on performance and performers in contempt responded cinema and it looks at the relationship between performance and politics in particular so not just kind of party the text but also the political in other shapes and forms I guess it feels quite strange talking about the big Canary because it in a lot of ways it feels like that's the past and it's quite strange when you don't use all this work into something and then you almost don't even remember for you to it for that because you've moved on and you're thinking about new projects the picture was it came out last year islands it's available Wednesday and it looks out VDS he spotted she films from the content to peers that are some that go back to the capustan competed as well but most of them are killing more recent films I'm quite well known sounds quite canonical films if you want to use that term so the likes of almost all of our is a key figure in the picture if I remember rightly I think there's one of his films in each chapter because performance is such a key theme in his work and I think you could probably write a whole monograph of art performance in an almost over his work I also look at films like I can have a so the Spanish black and whites retelling of Snow White and it's a silent are content to silent film as well which is interesting when we're talking about sirens and style that features in contempt a phone or conceptual division cultures I guess moving forward because I think you know right where my research is going I've got you on going projects at the minute so are you have a big project on the work often on the only one that I know what he's a key you can simply Spanish filmmaker and he's also been working recently in English language filmmaking then I've also got a project on gender and signed so coming back to our conversation about audio visual cultures and the kind of aural dimension of visual cultures it's very much in preliminary stages of research but you know it's also kind of looking at gender islands representations of signs both the sonic dimension goals the visual representation of science as well sorry I feel like I was a really rom believe responsibly didn't really give an overview of what I'm about asshole I sang on the screen people always treated us right and I have to remind them you're on a podcast I've invited you to come on to talks he made a bright start then you're apologizing to be talking to me about just relax and calm the little agency given the content they obey it's fine it makes me feel better this is maturing I'm kind of sars people around blended rate so there's loads there that's great he'd take on that and they they go for it because the case is you know just offense and a cat and a bit more detail like with your bank the first is Spanish and I'm not just those three words there's so much shame there said David west you know I mean so what do you mean basis first what do you mean by Spanish would be made senator what do you mean based foundation what do you mean basis versus sentiment what do you mean basic first it's fine you know it's a lot it's so there's neat and just those three words never mind the next words in the title city have certain salts for a summer what is it needs to be subversive what do you identify since arsenal's Spanish summer yeah that's such a good question I think that was one of the key points that came back for and I'd submit the first draft of the manuscript to the publisher is on the talks about four I needed to do to prove that threat and the idea of subversive Spanish cinema city the big not that it wasn't there but that you know just by adding things like and the conclusions each chapter unexploded back you can prove that threads together and the artists such leaders on their anonymous obviously they are such pertinent questions that really made me think about the significance of the title and how it related to what I was talking about it because I think if you look at the carcass of material for the big and the filling car pass it probably looks quite mainstream in some ways I'm not necessarily looking hot experimental filmmaking in Spain that's not part of what that be extending there's some really interesting things happening in kind of alternative cinematic practices worst filmmaking practices in Spain especially kind of post economic crisis that's not my forte told us not something I'm particularly knowledgeable back to somebody like Rebecca notes and he she has the blog nobody knows entity where she talks about Spanish cinema I don't know how active she is barking at the minute she's from the northeast actually and I don't know if you've ever come across sorry but she's a really knowledgeable person I buy alternatives Spanish cinema practices that's not what this because it's not a private kind of we cannot what's happening with the mainstream if that makes sense it's more about looking hot you know the key players all Spanish cinema there are some films in there that are less well known there are some filmmakers you know the likes of petrol model of our who is probably you know the most well known Spanish filmmaker certainly in the U. K. ET bought depict deals rather with subversive nests within those kind of mainstream contacts and looking out hi %HESITATION the position of filmmakers who were working under Franco's the likes of Carlos Salazar or at least customer Langat one into the burning them he's the uncle off have yet course people like them your last identifying filmmaker is under Frankel working June the dictatorship cheating the very strict censorship conditions that there were at the time so it's looking at those kind of precursors to what's happening in contemporary manifestations of performance and that presentations of performance in Kentucky's funny cinema and kind of seeing that flag comes through you from those oppositional filmmakers into the present day and what that looks like and how you can become %HESITATION means all speaking out against the common additives or the dominant ideas in society that makes sense yes absolutely I'm not a man not draws in those other identities you're talking about as well as to make a child's sense of arsonists and those types of records show Saturday and then hi performance encompasses anything you know anything about it society or here we are sure that Jones and I'm not sort of stuff so yeah I imagine there's a lot going on there and such for it will grind for politics and I mean it's interesting by Amin I know so little of what was going on and stand at the minute reminds me of the nasco J. isn't his attention because even just since you've done some of this research the rise of the far right I think it's happening really very prominently then if you're looking at a lot of lasting creative send some makers so is there anything and what what he has done and there is that sense and I was looking at that like high contemporary hi recent doesn't come up too because you provision twenty twenty but realistically academic publishing is relational so you know what's the most recent sounds say and you're right that's a good question on a day off the top of my head I would have had some from maybe twenty twelve twenty thirteen at the absolute latest act isn't really bad that you forget what which phone do you want to know yeah without looking upset you know I had late last month despite him does so I'm so excited by almost over just twenty thirteen we went to the same screening of that when you're in an Aberdeen if you don't I remember you being really indignant about the gay sex in the not so let's well because they can see and I think it was yeah I think we had a really interesting conversation about that actually but yes I think that off the top of my head off the top of my head I think that was probably the most recent films obviously post economic crisis but you know we're not talking nearly eight years ago not your soul yeah things have changed a lot and yeah you're right politically there's been a dramatic shift I think Spain in particular is really interesting in terms of that kind of party politics and the arts and culture ski %HESITATION because there's a fatty nines to political culture amongst actors writers particularly like in the filmmaking and visual arts industries you know there's a very prominent culture of speaking against right wing decision made today were right wing party politics right wing governments are but it it might be and I think that's historical to certain and because you've obviously hides the Francoist dictatorship three nineteen thirty nine to nineteen seventy five which is obviously a right wing regime and I think even under the Congress regime so the filmmakers I was mentioning like along governor them and sell it off you were in contrast leaning and and in opposition to the star quests regime on their policies on and so on I think doc feeds to do for you and I've got this body art Spokane culture all actors writers filmmakers producers you have it might be so the likes of pad on the door for the likes of technologies like that have your birthday I'm sure almost all known and even the the online world than others obviously as well could be less than one here in her body politically active they will be going to demonstrations they will be signing petitions they will be writing a collector is against public figures or decision making revived it might be I'm thinking about the Iraq war as a key example for you had people like Happy Birthday I'm on the tools are not about them it's all have our burdens mother he's also about a prominent or was she just passed away actually was about a prominent political figure as well and I don't know that's something I don't think we have here where there's that kind of value process that S. contingent of performers let's call them performers because that's what they are with a broad label actively you know not just in their work but you know kind of personally are you fatty politically aware and politically active so I think it is something that is quite specific yeah the idea of politics and performance are believed linked in Spanish culture and stops we are part of the idea for the book came from I guess the schools within those towns do you have any specific examples of what game what do you mean by performance and hi it's not political or ice politicized could you just give us maybe one or two examples just as opposed to illustrate some of those ideas nine absolutely so course hard to pick just one or two the one that jumps I initially is bothered that these data from bad thought which is biotics the legless yeah it's known as the lost circus in English was produced in twenty twelve but it's set in nineteen thirty seven and nineteen seventy three so you got palindromic setting in terms of tying marker is obviously it's made in twenty twelve so you've got that triple time structure or time frame to the film and it looks like a circus troupe so you have to keep characters two protagonists who are clients the kind of sidelined happy client and in nineteen thirty seven the figure who will become the sideline witness says his father being rounded up by Franco's forces in the civil war and you've done all the moment in seventy three where he's become this client in the circus group and I guess just as a kind of really rudimentary instruction Spanish history seventy cities key moment because Frank was I. L. at this point he will die in nineteen seventy five and you know has received a pass over to king Juan Carlos well at the point in nineteen seventy cedar key political tensions going on with for example the Basque separatist group ETA and you know you got this off the nation's capital Blanco who to rich living pets is the successor to Frankel so there's a lot going on historically at that moment the film uses the location of anybody that was cut either hosts which is the valley of the fallen just on the outskirts of Madrid in Spain where until that it recently I found closure means were but it but this volley was constructed partly body or mostly by Republican prisoners in the aftermath of the civil war it is always a commemoration of the Frank was fallen but doesn't commemorate the publican fallen at the same time that their bones and actually kind of built into the framework of the structure because a lot of them died while they were building so it's a very controversial site as you can imagine in Spanish politics and actually very recently I think I was just able to include it in the big chunks of it's one actually moved from the site your prize money will grins because obviously it's problematic in the content the contacts that you've got the means of are a right wing dictatorship and wasn't ever brought to consequence over there the crimes that he committed and likewise has officials as well so it's a really controversial site and it's a site that still mostly to this present day certainly when we've lost in Spain it was still a site of commemoration of Frankel and his regime and his principles and on the anniversary of his death there would still be demonstrations and whatnot there are so many prominent site I'm very problematic site on the law of the scenes of this film or some of the scenes in this film or stage on this monument and I remember I was in a conversation with you right the S. and higher you know there's this monetize each and then off the site as well because not only has it become a segmentation it's also a film sat right it's become part of the film industry it's become a way of making money in the film industry so it's certainly not easy to teens are all these tensions I think that is one example where you've got this body all VS confrontation of performance on politics some of the examples in the other films are kind of less obvious or last demonstrative in that we have the political side of things one of my favorite films in that B. is by a filmmaker cultural monuments to isn't that a well known beyond Spain but he's also a very unspoken political figure in Spanish culture and you know to the extent that he even kind of reminds filmmaking and decided to put all this comes up on you choose because you believe they should be accessible for all you know so he's a really interesting figure on his phone the little kid to get us so anything you want in English from twenty ten is about a little girl whose mom dice and her dots played by one they will both dole starts to dress up as the mother as part of their canoes mourning and healing process as a really beautiful phone it's not very well known it was hard to get a hold of until he put on you cheat for everyone said to see it deals with the politics of identity and gender and sinking city subversive nice within these mainstream venues because you know he is a white middle class men who cross dresses as part of you know he's killing and grieving I'm just doctors hearing even process having lost his wife and her mother thought it's interesting because I think the film acknowledges that read the film's not trying to say well you know it's okay just you know fight man can get drug too and it's all good you know that's not what it's about you but it's about how you actually his contact with a performer becomes part of the healing process and something that he can do to help his daughter gave her mother there's really obvious kind of political examples and then there's some of the more subtle political examples with it's maybe more by the politics of the patriarchy the politics of normativity the politics of white male privilege I'm kind of navigating those things so yeah that's two examples I could pick high but there are so many more be sure to pick because they will to be the best next on the rooms are really really helpful especially because you want to start considering it is a performance space but then it's a mask we don't think of it as a performance space but of course let's not many artists must reading reading out carnage saying if you're interested in giving regular support for the podcast that aren't too keen on peach tree and I know I have membership options and buy me a coffee dot com forward slash P. eight there where you can get the same extras as well as some others exclusive buy me a coffee head over to buy me a coffee dot com forward slash P. eight B. LA bart to price membership options or drop a fiver into this charge thanks and enjoy the rest of the episode something we talked about it quite a lot is to post docket damage to your alternatives I could demonstrate riches Europe most people he still have a Honda and wastes some academic publishing but we are working on getting me here anymore and and if you need to say so E. G. the extremely important markets being a school teacher needs all done some nominal worksheet and what we slow in going through the past couple of years and I'm really interested in hearing about your experiences a languages teacher specifically but I think if you're happy to be can talk about it right alternative academic experience and your experiences are pushing a little bit and not around are you straight up I thought that that meant that and we're seeing signs you in that area it's such an important aspect of I mean what would even call out just if I could demand generally recognized that so many of us are coming through the system you know getting a PhD and doing it quite successfully actually you know having a good CV doing all the right things and for one reason or another not ending up working in academia whether that's your choice that's me or whether that's trying to not managing to get a job or deciding to alter you know there's there's lots of reasons for that and I think it is something that I'm quite open about you personally about my circumstances you know there was a part of me that one thirds if you're not working in academia would be something that held me back if I wanted to continue with the search bar I would have to see that for now it doesn't seem to be and I think that more and more of us are choosing to take alternative paths because that's what works for us and we're not willing to sacrifice what happened is certain aspects of our lives to have the academic journal so yeah for me I feel quite happy with where things are I mean there is a part of me that we'd still love to have an academic position in a university but for now you as a mom of two young boys if you you know you aren't going to be level for very long as much as the days can be fat a log right now %HESITATION I'm quite happy with this balance I've caught between work so non academic work and then mom life and then you know research is there as well but that's what we were talking %HESITATION obviously before we can start recording you know it's a jungle and it's difficult and you know sometime I'm sorry question it and think should I be doing this this this you know is this the right thing by actually one of the most liberating things up pricing two bites at is that it's all on me so you know if I don't feel like doing something academically I don't have to E. there's no obligation I'm doing for I want to do because I enjoy it and yet is aspects of it that don't enjoy so much if there's a deadline coming up and you have to her mind to something and you're not really in the right frame of mind well I don't know for me it's working really well actually and I think I just acknowledge not you that I can't do everything so I have a job I have a career and a house you know my kids and you know I'm a relationship on and those are the things that are important in academia or research isn't there and it's really important to me it's not the defining component of my identity anymore which I think I don't I think we may be all go through that with the PTSD if it becomes like this huge thing and it can become really difficult to see yourself thanks right if not but for me you know it's just well this is me and I do all of these things I don't think because more and more of us are in that blue it doesn't feel so scary anymore I feel quite I feel quite at peace with my decision and from what I can tell it's not a negative you know people are still interested in what you have to say even though you're not working in an institution I mean I do have to say that I am really lucky to be able to like I have an honorary affiliation with autumn university I'm done I'm not being really supportive in terms of like right in the library access so you know I do have certain privileges although I'm kind of on the fringes of on the margins of academia like I do you have certain privileges that I benefit from in terms of being able to access material online and just having that support of an institution here you know are they if I'm doing any sort of applications while I've got the ordinary affiliation and then also a personal level I'm able to carry on academics Hughes who are so supportive and so generous with their time you know and so willing to have a little fun even some academics who I've never met personally but I know him through Twitter and deal with an application for me or the latest chapter for me my gas social media and you know networks like Twitter arms being able to you keep in touch with people virtually on a huge part of that feeling like an accent community even though you're not in an institution so it works for me just not true and you know as long unless it is working then I'm just going to keep going I think what's your thoughts on how do you think it's kind of manifesting like nowadays with that kind of alternative path or paths to academic work yeah I think decision ready useful socks I am maybe I haven't paid my spouse and she community has not steady I think of my social media activity has come of it all cast mostly I think so I don't feel is embedded in the circles but I know exactly what you mean because I have imparted stopped short it is rainy sunny day make friends I mean that's when rich water became a political science tests that's what it was amazing work for people like us that we would find each other I mean there are mutual friends of ours yeah I'm mad to became friends on Twitter and I became friends with someone like summer first already good friends now you know so that's really valuable and it just happens that your academic researchers as well which is not right you know so it's a great taste for showering and start earning and redeeming about you people last time I eat spoke at a conference certainly a person should was in twenty seventeen I had on my batch renounce scholar in people challenge me but actually chose not to stay independent because I don't think that's ever cherry nobody's ever truly independent and expose and days become something that's separate from independent thought makes sense that the language around this is very interesting to me I'm people said freelance just implies that you're ready to take on more coming yes I am because I need the money so yeah I am I am for hire that's exactly what I want said communicate using work freelancing on the straight answer that way you I will take on commission park you know some of that my recent publications I've done have been commissioned things and things that I've been asked to contribute take now wouldn't that things that I would have seen a call for papers and gone I have just saying you know it was somebody asked me today not causing the accident so I did that and then a girl I need more money to not %HESITATION which is nice because you don't usually get that ready an accent I focusing it's nice that you get the sort of monthly publishing publishers get your money so I suppose in terms of the community that's a good question because I I don't ring I'm sorry I suppose it's what we make it ourselves to immigrant communities is really great here leaves here right here south part of that community you don't feel alienated from up I don't know because it's because I spend ten more Africans coming part of podcasting community which is a great community because such young medium that we're all helping each other which is really nice so it feels a bit like that and it rains where so go well I don't know how to do this morning Heidi dammit here's how to dance here's this other way it's Janet people's history of the nation you because they know stops and they want to help you learn no stocks and you can help our people that aren't you know since it's quite similar and not even just scrap underlines and there's no real institution for it it's it's like pre university you know why so yes this is a very long way of saying I don't necessarily know my answer it's not so it's really really good questions as we talk about perjury you know it's just I suppose to find a way of keeping your hand then so you don't really ever closed the door behind G. you know I certainly burnt bridges possibly that I can never cross but you you're not in a sense you may well have the door open it might just be asked charts the enrollments and you know %HESITATION but it's great to hear that you're happy the kids we've both done nice where you're strapping around the country Janney centerpiece really far away from where you left it in somewhere you might want to where your family is the people that you know how are you going I mean I really want this job got it three six hundred miles away from where she won't stay in my life yeah in terms of location yeah the tricky one definitely and I think you know that's kind of why men in terms of like compromise or sacrifice and what you're willing to do or not do you or for your willing to go or not go and I think for me if you're attached to anyone in any way shape or form which I think we all are in different ways because as you said none of us are truly independent RIAA you know academically or personally and I think having to operate and make a decision to move elsewhere you know it's not just me that's a consideration and not question that is a big factor for me and you know I was quite selective even when it was kind of actively applying for academic jobs I was really really careful about which ones I applied for he didn't just apply for anything and everything because I'm not that there's loads to apply for but you know I really have to see myself and my family moving there and living there it wasn't just awhile there's a Spanish job let's go for that and you don't have to be the right fit for all of us you know not questions even more complicated when they are little humans to think as well so yeah I think it is part and parcel of the academic environment as an and I think it's a decision that you need a car you know that you you're comfortable whether you're not in that spot I think you're right I think that obviously keeping a Honda and that's definitely something I'm keen to do moving forward I'm actually like and we talked about this before the fact that we've been in a pandemic and everything's moved on lighting has actually been one of the few positives to come across this recent pandemic because I've actually been able to participate in a lot of the bands I would've been able to do physically in person or I might be able to do one of them fox the fact that everything's moved online is actually benefits it's people like myself or maybe constrains physically geographically by eat their job or their family or accessibility for disabled people in a for effort is that impeded off from accessing certain events or certain places the pandemic has actually opened a lot of things up so for me being able to participate in the political this clown she CD's that Santiago on S. that organized or you know I did a talk as part of the university of west ministers research seminar CD's it would have been unlikely that I would be able to go to Westminster for either one or talk it just it wouldn't have been feasible with as you can do online great you know I'm sitting here in my house everyone else is in their house listening to that I can talk about maybe people can learn about it and it's been one of the few positives to come out with us and I think moving forward I do hope that not something that we hold on to you and we think about alternative arrangements it doesn't have to be a replacement for in person events but why not screen there so that the mom who's picking our kids a bad can listen to it or you know the person you can't fly because they're terrified of flying had listened to it whatever it might be whatever the reason is it's opened our eyes to actually how we can make academia more accessible which is not a bad thing I don't think transaction date a great summer day I did a test someone are in Switzerland from this corner of this heist I was able to enhance your talk at Westminster from Newcastle upon Tyne so it's been great to be able to say that I mean he suggests %HESITATION unless and then everybody needs thank but to support friends stand on my arm and right cheeky comments and you know and then the child well I want justice I did not listeners I did not do that I wanted to say that but I did not do that I was very well but he had to go so you said Glenn said right here Johnson makes online on the child has just started to cry you know it's just full of nonsense you know I was going to tell testicles in Belfast from here and I was just regions and across you know it's just you know it's not and so I was in hindsight and I know it I jumped on the single tear Westminster hangers right now all this stuff has already come do you not respect to read this and I'll trust lacks just stopped senseless cross street search yes it's it it's opened up about the dusting it's open it up to the people and not just the ivory tower now I'm not so so important so so important she because a lot of different backgrounds and style which may not have been technical rates and talk continued personal work we might be searched Jan type people service desk dot different mindset needs to be a white country and people who just want to turn out for us this might not understand the thing understand thinking comes are staying against the prize and that's really nice and slow and steady wins world definitely we'd love for you to be part of the conversation with AP cultures called on Instagram Facebook and Twitter and we also have discord yes it may I like to talk about you than your joke mark the kids teach teach languages English French and Spanish ranch you've got a wee bit of anguish thanks channels to your box I guess you teach about a German as far as that right yeah you know which is huge impressive to me and you know I meant a language learner and then also signed somebody I don't know how you think about this but I feel like I'm somebody who does not have an option to change for languages and I don't know it's not it's not since you're not maybe it's just it takes sometimes it takes the accent I don't know that I just do not have that ability to pick it up never have to cram really super hearts just learn a little bit of that I am always fascinated to speak to anybody he has a whole other languages and their variants just on the right cyst and Madison and and then they'll get you in terms of culture it's such a fascinating things also we were talking about earlier that's where we start reading that he's thanks from there he can think differently and there's a different version of the eight and a different language I was wondering as far because your research is on Spanish cinema and I suppose it's quite technical to research when you J. modern languages and then you top shot see another saying it's not sure sentiment receipt or whatever thank you well I talked to the language learning you don't have to do it that way you know but there is stock barriers and all you did in the subtitles and somebody else's translation that you're relying on so I can really fascinated by all those sorts of various I suppose yeah I just wanted to see what your thoughts on those kinds of things might be I'm thinking of right this kind of ironic deals where I think I was finishing my masters and writing like a research proposal for PhD I don't remember Janet Stewart leading the workshop on it and she said to me you don't see that you're fluent in Spanish and I was like okay but it's not all the S. because why else would I be doing one and she said no but people can research Spanish cinema with being fluent in Spanish and thought always stuck with me because I thought well I just assumed that they would know what I I didn't realize I would have to spell that you know and make that explicit and I think it's one of those things that when you become fluent in another language you know the isn't one that you've been brought up with you almost kind of forget that before you can do is not necessarily something that other people can do and I'll often say you know what I'm doing things for the kids at school it's obvious like how do you not know that where it's not and I see this call can you not see that that word would mean not and he's like no I cannot see that that's your brain your brain just Knowles that dot the connection and not how it works so it doesn't make sense to me so I quite often brings things off and actually remember like repeating stuff a whole more thinking to do something to do in class he's kind of my Guinea pig because he would see himself probably similar to our youth you yourself so he would say he's not natural learn language learner doesn't have that kind of affinity for it his brain just doesn't work cannot wait and he find it really hard at school it is I mean I didn't start learning languages so I was in secondary school I don't know if you were the same yeah and we have all contacts with language learning English Chinese school and you know we go arbitrarily assigned to you either French or German woman back into first year I really wanted French for no reason really other than I just fancy French but we didn't get a choice it was right here you go even this class unless you had a specific reason like I don't know you have friends family anybody visit the members every summer and you know you could just already speak about French well you might get French than or similar for German you good German cousins so you've got German but most people just got runs in the fitness classes and I got German and like I remember my teacher being so excited about you know like all you're so good to German and you really get a lesson she keep up and to be honest humble heart I didn't really try that hard because it obviously just kind of came naturally and I didn't have to do much work I really enjoy it and I did pick somewhere can cause a good kid at school and works pretty hard quite studious I wasn't like you know Boston my god every night trying to learn the full copy I could delete the page once or twice and it would go and they just kind of it kind of works and I mean I don't know why I really actually like to learn more about the science behind it and what it is about our brains help us learn I think if you've got a good memory and if you've got a quick official name a name that you are more likely to be predisposed to that language learning affinity I don't think it's necessarily true but I think there is more likely that that's a possibility and I think I have a really visual memory I don't know I don't know it's totally photographic but would be bordering on photographic but I can remember doing full cut checks at school as a student and you know it would be she would say the word in German and I can remember right that was the start were dying in the first call I mean I could actually visualize on the page so I think that that helps a lot I don't know what else you know I I actually really like to learn more about the science behind it and how do we learn languages but before I do know is that the more you read in your own language another languages the better your language will be on the easy it'll be to learn other languages so I'm learning Portuguese tonight as well just on Duolingo I'm not doing anything more adventurous than not but it's something that I've been interested in for a while Scott had a colleague who was from Portugal and he would talk to me in Portuguese and then I could understand what you saying I can reply to really frustrate me so I'm trying to do Portuguese on dealing with the site and it's fascinating because there are so many connections with Spanish but then the pronunciations really different and sometimes appear random words like I was doing the animals one and hunt looked at it for awhile and but to fly can often light but don't know what is important is I just have a gas and just hit the spot and some like money put aside which is but you're fine Spanish and it's no it's bullet that which is like totally different and it fascinates me I'm like right linguistically then we're just going to let that come from because you would assume it would be more similar to the Spanish and it's not or like words like milk it's late chance Bonner so alley C. H. eat nine kind of opposite leaks but in Portuguese it's lit TCI but spot with a team instead of a C. age so there's obviously kind of something happening linguistically there that I don't know the history all of our flight that's come to be that way but you can see the connections across the two languages are least icon but maybe that is just my brain but yeah I think it is it is really fascinating and I think I remember like being away on holiday and heating other people speaking I don't know let's see cool ash I like being really annoying I can understand them because you start to forget that the actually there are languages that you have no idea how they work because when you know a lot of the month languages you know Italian I don't speak it I could probably work because most of what's been said or if there's something that indirect wholly work but you know something like Polish or other eastern European oranges I would have no clue it feels like I get really annoyed to like all I don't know that is this is really frustrating so I think when you're talking about that kind of frustration and not hurdle in trying to get to the next bet I think the key there is actually just being surrounded by it twenty four seven and I think living in the country is pretty much the only thing or living with somebody who speaks a language you can talk to you in that language all the time even even then you're not totally immersed in it because that he was not in that language you know you're not eating all the time and I think for me my Spanish is my strongest language it does go through peaks and troughs you know they'll be times when it's better than others and not could be because of other factors like they've got a lot going on %HESITATION stressed I've not really been invested much time in it my brain's not really in the right place it might not be to halt the actually then I can start spending time on again so I'm watching a Los fantasies on Netflix right nine because thought is you know an amazing we'd say immerse yourself in the language I listen to Spanish music so I go back to the CD's I ball I was living abroad and you know I was able to go to like a snack or a good thing glass and see what was in the charts and buy stock on a listen to that and sing it and not help this well and then you're just reading in the language as well but obviously the research for me is part of keeping my language alive as well because it helps me to keep it there so it's a bit like playing a musical instrument or exercise we are if you don't use that then you do you lose it it does disappear you know hence why teaching German for me was quite a lot of fun last year because I haven't used since seventeen years so going back to that was a real challenge but it was also really interesting because it actually brought back a lawful I knew already and just was kind of lurking in the back of my brain but I couldn't quite remember that a lot of that I was having to do you on the hoof when I was googling things before it's cute worker what they mean so I knew that they were simply I'm sorry I'm not doing any German this year so that's Beverly I can focus on Spanish and French I kind of feel like a sense of mourning for like how to get my Spanish was when I was living in Spain because you can't replicate out here it's impossible and I got to the point where you know I'd be in the shower and that kind of you know we have you have like your daily thoughts in the shower late night with any state stay or whatever it is you're thinking about it I'm sure it's not just me the house that I would be thinking in Spanish or you know I've been dreaming in Spanish because you're literally immersed in it and it doesn't take long for that to come back you know I can have a conversation with our friends from on the phone in Spanish and it's the it again or you know I'm if I'm watching a lot of Netflix in Spanish than it does start coming back you start thinking about it more so yeah I think if I was going to give advice for like high %HESITATION to be sure language on to that next step is just trying to merge yourself in it still reads listen and converse city con but that's obviously be difficult when you're not in the environment I wonder but it's not it's not it's not L. his friend that's you he mentioned maximum members telling me that it's as if you're brand styles to languages away in the order in which you burn them soon our English will be first and then for me it will be friends snacks because that's what I didn't scale and I did it for GCSE I was okay because I work I worked really hard to let and it's going to be so you know that was me working super hard it can deal somewhat at United's can read no okay that does multiple choice questions probably help because you got a chance to get in something right but it's the oral and the last thing I think because as you say it's an honor student it's really talks I understand better it's Spanish for awhile because I was listening to you did you language Spanish classes for him but I it's it's just even just great stories Senate it's really fun to listen to you so if you didn't you may get a short Spanish you either way I think it's really useful to take kids and it's just reading reading some stories and they're trying to get a big channels different accents from all the different faces so my lesson is getting ready to get it but then I get obsessed with one of my find another podcast naked obsessed on the Selena state because I'm a nurse so I have to do things you know and ridiculous to see signs and it is the same as generating about less than Irish because marriage is very beginner but I was trying to listen to it just because you get used to the signage that and then you only know how where does that's unique and then you know you sort of get it but it thank you say you see the connections because even with Irish there are some very big similarities with artwork and the rates of some birds and things you know they're quite similar actually transformation compartmentalized in concert times when I've been in space in west from and I'm trying to talk to her mom and what comes it is French I haven't yes French since I was nineteen where is not French coming home is because it's the next language and then there are times when I'm trying to do make shooting go Irish on a little come this is Spanish I can't reach it you know and it's really really interesting high brand works you know hi IT service operates the languages and the different parts here shrews memory banks you know so yeah it be ready counselor mark I thought yeah and I think I see Israeli just to jump in on that like I was talking about this the school actually not long ago because so are two year olds it's obviously just a speech is starting to develop really quickly it seems out of no where but you know I was trying to say to sculpt the actually I think it's a lot I don't know I I mean a current speak as an expert in child speech acquisition of course well for me it feels like when you're learning a foreign language like they've been listening to English or whatever language it is you know they've been listening to their mother tongue since they were in the room you know since they could hear me all and that kind of insight into that image and vitamin and they've been listening to that since they were born every single day but they can't produce the same amount of stuff so they can understand the law but they can't necessarily could you stop themselves and it's the skills of perception in production are obviously two different things and I think that's what you're talking about we are you know a word columns I always think those moments are quite interesting because you're under pressure a lot moment yeah you're not it's not that you're reading attacks in trying to work it will okay see this word but let the what could that mean in this context you're in this stressful situation where you're trying to produce the words so much and that your bodies in this high alert type panic state linguistically shopping for this word in your brain and something comes out and hunt really thought about things being filed in a certain hardware but for me it's interesting because Spanish was the most recent language that I learned so I started with German and I did French and then I did Spanish I did all city and then I dropped Germanic capped off the Spanish and French but then obviously Spanish because I invested so much more time in and spend more time there and you know research to academically and whatnot and it's obviously become the stronger but then going into the school setting and having to teach predominantly French to start with was really daunting and people are probably thinking will fire you wanted you could degree in French but yet that I haven't used it in like eleven years or something hunt being used on a French but it's amazing what is actually the %HESITATION what you've retained and what comes back to you know find out with the German this year because you know I haven't haven't used German I dropped it first you need and you know I haven't been to Germany since then or it's still there it's in the back when I did actually sometime my friend ditions in German are actually like sometimes stronger than the Spanish because I did all those basic full cap stuff at school so we did all the animals we did all the colors and we did all so all those kind of boycott basics are still the leading German and sometimes it's not it should be like I think one of the kids asked me for like ten pin bowling was an insect contractually know that Spanish because we didn't do hobbies because we skirt suit or we maybe did it but we touched on it quickly and then we moved on and so the obvious ones I maybe know all the more kind of specific ones I may be doing or if I've never been tent in billing in Spain which I haven't I don't know why C. ten pin bowling in Spanish because I've never had to use it and the kids can put you on the spot you know they'll be like how to say this I am I often just say if I don't know you may think she's on the shelf one got one free night which I don't know every single word or %HESITATION sometimes style I would admit I don't know and I'll just be like you know you're going to come with the word for unicorn is like what is the unicorns or German enterprise that is thank you call for a night you got a device in your pocket house the whole of the internet and I know but they still want to ask me those moments of like when you're trying to find the words I either it comes out in their own language or you make this massive full path for you see a false friend and it's not actually like I always tell the story I tell the kids as well as school like when I was working in the skill in Spain and it was like one of my first days there and you know I was meeting colleagues in the staff room and hears me like freshly graduated from undergrad like twenty one or something twenty two maybe and talking to this older teacher and she's like all S. three S. thing weakens the bottle each day we need to respond as people and you maybe know that this already they love to talk about their ailments a love to talk about it what's not going so well that's a big study type it's like also the weather like we love to talk with the winner let's start with your health so she's like a spring wheat was the product I was like wow that's like a lot of information considered I'm just meeting you you're telling me that you're constipated and like what you obviously feel they can talk openly to that's great and then my friend said yeah you realize that because the bottom means stuff not like blog topic called thank okay right that makes more sense she's not telling me about her bowel movements just tell me that she's got a cold right okay I can get on board with that and you know I'll never forget that words never because that was my first encounter with it and I made this like horrendous mistake or like the time I told my E. slot me in Spain that my great grandmother had broken her a lot %HESITATION instead of her head because I said good window instead of cut it on we still isn't anything alike in English they don't really send out like in Spanish but that's what can I do and I think it's not no well %HESITATION I also ask the cockroach is that of a spoon you never forget those moments you know that's how we learned to make mistakes and we we learn from them and I think like having the confidence to try even though you maybe aren't the best I think doctrines for so much and that's why I try and tell the kids at school from there all about us about trying to speak in another language and language you're going to say something stupid like I've done and I tell them my mistakes I'm trying to ease at them that they were never totally totally fluent like we don't know every single word in English even as native English speakers so I think it's just yeah but being open to embracing your mistakes and it's a constant learning process because language is evolving all the time as well and we seem not like with the pandemic like look at all the card today that we are using that meant nothing or made something totally different and you know the word blockchain will be like a trigger for us all for decades to come I think I think language learning it's something that we we struggle with in this country years native English speakers team get on board with sometimes and I know sometimes I see that you can schools where off what's the point you know writes I don't speak French was point me learning package I cannot speak English and you know I think actually it's one of the most important things that we can study and learn because it's crucial to our species are culture communication whether it is just your own language and I think that is the other side of actually learning other languages teaches you about your own language and make sure the flax and not be becomes but what we're talking about right being a different person in another language and I think that is a key part of that was language learners we've probably all had the experience of trying to talk another language and struggling to get %HESITATION we are across and that can feel really strange but then you have to kind of discover who you are you know it's really interesting I didn't I didn't be read and I'm talking about this I think it's fascinating that obviously is something that we reflect on the law at work and it feels like an uphill battle sometimes trying to teach languages and an uncle phone contacts because there is a lot of resistance to it and people find it hard that's the other thing people find a high read more no sadly not part of our schooling system from early enough in any sort of meaningful way hopefully that is changing in Scotland for the one plus to you but it's a long road I think to get there would you like to receive updates thanks and special offers straight to your inbox and visit audio visual cultures tower presto com to sign up to our mailing list thank you for all the sites there's a lot here in the next year we grew as this all of my interviews is because that is only scratching the surface on your show me yes we can expand on search you're always welcome back again this is not your podcasts is that that's mine it's been a real joy %HESITATION I spend reading of the actually date to talk about a lot of things because again on the other side of that as a language learner ands and destroys it could just mumbling stream very slowly let's let me get here encouragement like caught you know as well I think that's really important so I hope that she's %HESITATION anybody else he's last name because I think it is fascinating that sent us some fascinating area of culture and I agree you know I think it's something that we're very robust shop actually in this country and starring other people's languages and opens up so much cheer left experience I think even if it's just mysterious she compared it race music actually impacting you right learnt some music when I was a teenager and I was always better at the scenery of the naxal playing at that and I think it's very similar with language right I understand the scenery behind it I understand how the language works signed the comics is at work I can explain it all to you I can expand right this is highest sentence structure works and Irish can I tell you an example sentence gives me house on artistic you're at all right so it's really great and said here the other side of the box as well and also you know Hyatt and schools and see your other interests you Roger now there's things that you do this year I'm not standing ready I'll shoot you net I do want to keep anymore you've been so generous with your time but you want to point people to where we can find you because you've got a really lovely blog and cheer practice on some of the solutions are you happy sad just point people towards where we can read more of your stuff yes of course so yeah I have my blog which little bit neglected by I'm hoping to revive that and especially with the the new projects on the front on the loan that I know I'm hoping to give myself an enforced %HESITATION right saying that line of some sort for that to the blog astonished in Philly %HESITATION dot wordpress dot com you know I've got a kid a mixture of stuff on there it's not just Spanish cinema stuff there are kind of reviews of films I falls or thought some films I've watched or study and or come across in my typing working in Spanish cinema but there's also stuff on the %HESITATION up by being a PhD candidate of course it is a blog post on the department's E. vicerex finance on my advice which is quite a popular post I think is probably my most visited cities of posts so yeah there's a mixture of stuff on there on Twitter you'll find me are you an actionable and then I'm also on Instagram and I'm trying to remember my handle is off the top of my head I think it's Dr underscore teacher underscore mom is a private account well it's only private because I post some pictures of the kids on there never their faces or anything so I'm happy for people to follow me there as well it's just it might not be very exciting from an academic perspective it's more my mom life on my mornings you know sometimes the odd things thrown in that a bright and academia or teaching hours once I was posting this account from trying to meet regardless but nicer so there are some random things on there and I think that's it is it or I guess by email as well Shawna dot noble at Durham dot AC dot UK is the academic one I use most of the time so yeah you'll find me there and I'm happy for people to follow up and see what I'm saying and engage in dialogue and whatever that might be wonderful thank you so much and thank you for your time thank you for your amazing very end thank you for being an awesome given I thank you for being a Michael Katz thank in a long time coming out than I was when trying to like start the site for a while so I'm really delighted that we manage to see make the most of my child free afternoon yeah having a kids catch up first and then the card in this it's just been such a jolly and my Cup feels soul fool contributor so yeah I'm just delighted on I'd be equally clients come back and chat more another day so yeah let's do that we should do some maybe topic isn't spending ages since I've done that's what you made in China but it hasn't happened since it would be ready costs that may be reaching a gardenia vests or you know I'm so excited I haven't seen it since we went to the cinema to see and if they get to see it again stamina holds up thank you the kids should do like a virtual viewing together and then in afterwards that would be cool the sun right thanks units are okay thank you Paula
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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 104 – Beyond the Halls with Mackenzie Finklea automated transcript

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This is Audiovisual Cultures, the podcast that explores different areas of the arts and media join me your host Paula Blair and the researchers, practitioners and enthusiasts I meet along the way see our website at audiovisualcultures.wordpress.com and other links in the show notes for more information for now enjoy the show thank you for cheating and see what do you think she'll cultures the podcast that explores different areas of arts and culture with me your host all up there to date we're returning to a topic of great interest to me but it's one that we haven't visited for a while namely museums  with my special guest today mackenzie  Finkley. mackenzie is the author of beyond the holes an insider's guide to loving museums and mackenzie has a background and that's our policy as well so these are all great topics for us to really get stuck and say after I expanded very warm welcome to you I can say hello %HESITATION hello it's so nice to meet you and talk to you today yes like grace McKenzie hi are you eating are you well today I am doing well today thank you for asking if you hear any %HESITATION low but is that is the fun musical sounds of the cicadas in the trees outside my house it is very hot where I am and I'm very thankful to be inside in the air conditioning okay interesting is it okay to ask where bites your at the moment absolutely I am from Houston Texas in the United States that's pretty exciting Texas is a state I'm very curious about it I'm very curious but holistically emeritus for Sierra taxes since an interesting place I gather but yes very hard at the moment yes it is an interesting place that is an enormous state with all different kinds of cultures and biomes where can I talked quite a bit but museums I hope we're going to properly Nur die to play museums it's a topic I really love we have had some episodes about eighty CM visits and certain museums and that kind of thing but not for read a long time so I'm so grateful that you've brought up this opportunity to talk about next set topic really close to my heart as well I've lived all kinds of museums since childhood and I was wondering what is the debate museums that really draws you in so much that's such a good question what is it about museums that draws me in so much I think for me I am an incredibly visual person and I also love to learn and the museums are beautiful marriage of those two things I love going to museums and getting to see objects of history kind of having the starstruck moments where you're like hello this is a piece of the moon you can actually touch you know things like that and getting to learn then to continue on the moon example there's this really great exhibit where they had all these different scales and you could learn about the difference between mass and gravity with the scales and it would tell you how much she would weigh on different planets who right on the moon versus all the other things instead of getting to see those actual numbers and laugh about them with your friends right like the thousands of pounds you weigh on Jupiter right it's fun interactives and moments like that and shared experiences that are why I love museums so much traffic on Sir do you have a favorite type of museum do you love all the same sekali R. as a techie types of sneezing cyclic like some specialized museums I have a special place in my heart for natural history museums those are probably my favorite type I do love all types I love visiting all types %HESITATION more recently I found a new found love for art museums and contemporary art so my favorites and my current loves are always changing but there is a special place in my heart for natural history is not to to U. S. life on this planet and learning more about that more but she made history what is it exactly by natural history that really get to see much it's exactly that it's all of the above what gets me is trying to answer these really big picture questions of who are we where do we come from how does the world work in all its facets you know how to animals live breathe eat reproduce what's the water cycle what's volcanoes and natural disasters and all of these really big wow factor things that are very much real parts of our life that we for centuries are seeking to understand and always always there is something new to learn and there's always a new fossel it's been discovered that teaches us something different about evolution of some species whether or not it's us or %HESITATION turtles or dolphins or you know the list goes on and on that's why I love them there's always something new to learn and it answers really big picture questions and concepts yeah I'm a big fan of sat T. I. E. when I was a kid I probably still stay from feminist I I have a burning desire to be a paleontologist's dinosaurs are must love of I think yes to anything pre historic is mind blowing to me and hi that sets and tell us today is ridiculous to learn of plates have you had the opportunity to visit lots of difference natural history museums and lots of different locations I wondered what you think of the sock comparative experience yes I have had the luxury of visiting other natural history museums in other locations and I will tell you that one of my ultimate favorites and it's gonna be a funny answer because it's not like the biggest or the most impressive but one of my favorites is the natural history museum on the university of Oxford campus okay what I really love about that museum is just the architecture the %HESITATION this is gonna be such a Gen Z. thing to say but the vibes but also there are these really cool parts of the museum where there are all of these columns made out of all the different types of stone that are native to the British Isles and that is such like an incredible learning moment because not only are you showing like you know the strength of stone how it can be used but in context with actually where the museum is and that makes that particular museum unique because so many natural history museums cover all the exact same topics or they try to have the exact same replicas of famous bottles but not all of them have the fossils right because only one museum can have it in the one copy but I thought that one was particularly compelling that in a very just generally enjoyable experience for me %HESITATION that's ridiculous here I haven't even been to Oxford so he's got me on that one that you sang that does remind me there is a really nice natural history museum in Manchester university so just a bit north of socks and it's talks right end of the campus so easy you really have to know what's in there and I love the small ones like that we can collect the chore syndicate all the samples and it'll different rock samples and stuff it's a really nice example tonight where anybody does something unique because as you say there's a pretty big ones you know opens today natural history museum of London that's when you have to go see if you're there and absolutely yeah it's huge and it's almost overwhelming there's so much stuff I am also an example of Zeus smaller rooms as well I think that's really important to remember are these the kinds of things you go into the and your back beyond the wholesome mean what was it that really motivated GT go right I love museums not enough other people love museums I need this project this problem what was it about all the stuff that goes to the right topic it was exactly all of what you're describing so when I was doing my studies in anthropology towards the end of my undergraduate degree I realized that my interests primarily lie in displays of human culture and I was getting %HESITATION professional museum studies certificate and I was visiting at least one U. CM a week many times more than one and I was doing all of this writing and learning all these things and having these great experiences and I wanted to share that with other people I wanted other people to enjoy museums and learn these valuable things that I was learning at my studies in a very specific kind of program but I wanted it to be accessible %HESITATION and help people you know love museums more sense it's important and we can of course get into that later if you like but ultimately what I wanted to write was something that was it accessible as I believe museums should be accessible to everyone so why would I want this book to be any different right I wanted something that wasn't a boring tech X. book like truthfully many of the books I had to read for class and I wanted something that wasn't just a very specific guide to a specific kind of museum or place or period I wanted it to be a general exploration of museums especially for people who don't visit or think they're not important or just want to understand them better so that's ultimately what I produced was a guide to loving museums that covers a ton of different areas green I wonder is well it might what do people see as barriers T. access as you say because I know my experience in the U. K. it's may be seen as a for a middle class things today is going to museums even if most of them are free to go and say it's just something that other people daily where is my background is probably a bit unique in that I am my grandfather was a security guard and %HESITATION living history museum so I spent a lot of my summers just running a fight these fields and this living history museum so it was a fluke and transports me Sam so I was physically learning about the history of my please so it was the Ulster folk and transport museum in Northern Ireland they would have said actual colleges that people really live stand would have been taken apart very carefully rebuilt some sites and sometimes they would have investigators are demonstrators the last time I was there and this was just a few years ago they had somebody using the latency no somebody actually waving the way they would have a couple of hundred years ago you know and telling us if I didn't mean it is just such a fascinating experience like you're saying that's when you can actually see it and it comes alive free it's much more meaningful so it's something I think about quite a bit is how do we get more people to realize this is for years while you know it's fake questions %HESITATION just to try and drill into that a bit more we want to purchase G. Shanker are helpful and trying to achieve not that's a good one I think it's a lot of what you just said %HESITATION making museums accessible and in many ways entertaining and the entertainment value can either be in your face or more nuanced and here's kind of what I mean by that is within your face entertainment you're gonna have really interactive museums opportunities to ride on train cars you know through nineteen twenty Chicago right or actually touching a moon rock to use an earlier example but then the other more nuanced ways in which %HESITATION museums can provide entertainment value is through fun games or educational curriculum that museum educators provide and museum educator is like a specific position at a museum but I'm sure you're familiar with and those are typically the people that lead school tours or field trips and they will come up with a whole set of really interesting games for ways to interact with things as simple as a painting on a wall to really provide context learning opportunity and that's something that's actually fun and memorable so that's another thing that I really wanted people to have access to was games that they could play on their own in art museums and help them realize it's not as boring as you might think it is at face value yeah is this just to push a bit further without points on interactivity I'm a big fan of tears I really like a museum terror and to see absolutely yes three the ISIS somebody you because it's usually a volunteer it's not even always a member of staff at somebody who has such passion or maybe they're retired historian or something and they have such a passion that they want to lead people three and for you to see it through their eyes I think the last time I managed to date that was an Attenborough I think it's the national museum of Scotland it was thought it was a retired historian and he was just so lovely and so knowledgeable oil and just really passionate you get a nice good people and you're walking around together and %HESITATION I mean this was in December of twenty nineteen so this was before things were really naming properly it was a real joy because I think it's a Saturday or you can get really overwhelmed if it's a very fake museum with lots of different sections and it's trying to cover all the bases and to just see it three right we're just gonna get the specific things in there you're going to see a narrative unfolds got something it's really getting to me what do you think it bites hers and that sort of thing because you can also get order you terse order ops and things like that they'll take you on a tour of mean do you have much experience aside or what are your thoughts on those sorts of activities absolutely in my personal opinion is that I love in person to worse more than anything because audio tours are great they are accessible you can use them at any time you can access them from home in some cases personally I'm less inclined to listen to an area ambiguous robot voice as I'm walking through a museum way more inclined to exactly what you were saying watch a person get really animated and passionate about the things that they're talking about hearing from their expected natural off the cuff storytelling and not as scripted recordings I do really enjoy museum tours especially in the before times you know when I would travel to go see a museum I would make an effort to try to book a museum tour because that's also if you have a limited amount of time in a city or a place they will show you the highlights they will show you the most compelling pieces or artifacts that the museum highlights and then tell you from their perspective it gives you really great insight into the culture of that place as well getting to experience it through the eyes of the person who lived it was online math it's it's not something you a field of in the past couple of years because we've had last access I don't know what your pandemic experience in Spain but I have to museums near ye been accessible through online means I mean there's all sorts of implications are with from dying and he's able to provide that of course then again we've been able to access places in the world we may not have been able to before because we can travel there so I was wondering hi his your access to museums bane and the past couple of years hasn't changed a lot I will say so my book was published in December of twenty nineteen so slightly in the before times right I do talk a great deal about the digitization of museums and how a lot of museums even before Kobe we're starting to put a lot of their collections online to be more accessible to people which is an absolutely great thing and speaks volumes about the rapid acceleration and development of the internet and digital access in general then during a global pandemic that rapid acceleration towards digitisation such a hardware display is more important now than ever because many museums especially in the beginning when everything especially museums had to shut down entirely a lot of museums didn't bounce back from that number had to permanently close some are on the brink of having to permanently close and so being able to provide visitors with ways to engage and support the museum from the comfort of their home has played an increasingly important role not only in accessibility for learning opportunities but also in supporting the museum's business model and keeping it open and continuing to be able to preserve cultural history so locally to answer your question yes the museum's near me have done a really great job of providing virtual events especially in the in the thick of it as we were starting to get better %HESITATION but a couple months ago they were doing a really great job of providing outdoor events things where people could come together distanced but still have these great learning opportunities or a lot of museums near me and across the country have implemented the concept of time demands so that way you come at a certain time and there's not too many people in the museum it runs to the course to prevent the spread of disease a lot of that has changed in the past couple weeks even but yeah hopefully that answers your question it's a lot to think about it I think and as you say the implications of that acceleration of moving everything online we're in very intense times it feels there were times especially for early on when we didn't really know what this was he asks you know a year and a half ago I felt a bit overwhelmed just thinking oh this is going online %HESITATION that's going online %HESITATION I can view got exhibition online I'm sitting but I need to get some work son I can't just sit and let me see here yeah the three sixty degrees online all day and ended up forgetting about it most of it so I think in a way personally I fax est museums and galleries probably a lot less than I would have done if I had of been able to just go right I'm just gonna transfer it to him to school and have a look round an exhibition or something and I don't know hi David title but I wonder if other people are taught that similar experience where people have access to more because before they didn't have the time and then they're on furlough and the dates and all sorts of things I think people who study this sort of thing in a formal way are going to have some work cut out for them to go through hell with him would you like to receive updates links and special offers straight to your inbox and visit audio visual cultures tower presto com to sign up to our mailing list something I eat thank you bye a lot as well as potential problems as PCM speeches we were talking earlier but some of the bigger older ones and especially here in the U. K. risks auctions last colonial history and places like the British Museum matches in upstate global and situation and many ways because there's nothing actually British and they have very little and he everything's covered from everywhere else and I was wondering if you ever come across people challenging yet but that sort of thing because I feel like it's something we need to address that we need to confront said we need to just say yep that's our history and that's not but why do you feel the bite those sorts of issues if they arise and how you might deal with challenges to pot I do really enjoy this topic I like talking about the British Museum because truthfully I have a love hate relationship with that because the very first time I got to visit the British Museum was in the summer of twenty eighteen so I had not yet finished my degree I was the summer before my senior year %HESITATION budding anthropologist just like jumping in my seat waiting in line to get into the British Museum because it is you're absolutely right this global institution where you can see thousands of years of human culture across the world in one place started walking through and seeing all of the things and wondering where they came from and how they came to be into that institution and learning more about the ways in which those objects were acquired and then some of the contentions regarding the fact that a lot of those objects have been requested to be formally returned and subsequently denied so the more I learned the more that the magic was kind of stripped away from me so it's been really wonderful institution I absolutely believe that something like that should exist but at the same time yeah you have really big ethical questions that need to be answered and yes people do challenge me on this topic they will often say well especially in the case of the British Museum if they started giving things back they have to give everything back and then they have nothing left which is such an exaggeration and far from the truth but I think that certainly concessions you need to be made I think it's an important topic to philistine and I think we just need to be honest I've heard our colonial power in this country I think the sooner we are in the center we don't yet our ancestors to thought and it's not pretty intense violence on that's horrible scenery might maybe move on as a society yeah we need to find that balance is holding things in posterity and learning from not passed but also not just forgetting and sang all everything's fine and whitewashing it you know quite naturally it's good to know I used to say look I thought sort of thing I think it is an experience when I first I think it was two thousand and nine when I first went to the British Museum and I had thought I was going around going oh everything's from everywhere else and how did they get yeah I had a very similar awakening to it and then just gradually find out more and more but that's not to say that people shouldn't go because it's a really yeah one situation like so many of them that's another pretty basic example and I do have a great love of small museums curiosity type museums ready specific things whether it's seen them myself for where I've seen them on the TV program and they're all ministers places to visit remember being in Barcelona one time and there is a chocolate museum and I was just solely sculptures made out of chocolate I never intended to find somewhere I wasn't looking for that I didn't know I needed thought my life but I went and I had a choice tied as under if you had examples of things again that were smaller and worker came because we talked the natural history examples earlier but at any other came to three specific things that you really love him much like to highlight there are hundreds of small and quirky museums and the first one that comes to mind it's so embarrassing but it's hilarious there is a toilet seat museum oh really in Texas is kind of off the beaten path and it's not about the history of toilet seats or anything more than anything it's a public art display so he has this essentially a garage at this random man's property %HESITATION where he has floor to ceiling toilet seats that people have decorated signs and just completely imprinted their personality on too and I think that there is just so much to think about in terms of what that says about American culture individualism consumerism like you really could get into the weeds with that but also at the surface it's this really fun and quirky like toilet seats you know I think that's a fun example in haven't friend he's an artist and her her work is ready the weird things that she collects and she's done residency site in Virginia you're ready small tines in Virginia and she's done artworks based on right this time has this particular Moscow and sushi's meet at an art exhibition slash museum items things to do with this hot dog mascot you know it's really super specific really off the beaten track I really love things like that really quite blur the fine J. between what's an art exhibition the museum collection yeah you know something that really muddy suse waters I'm quite and spots I'm quite interested and intrigued by things that aren't necessarily museums but the jury yen and then you think actually this is quite like a museum you probably have places like this in the United States as well I don't know if you're aware of the National Trust for example or English heritage you put me on their buildings to places that they look after they become museum of fights I suppose that since and I was wondering what you thought of as well is that a tear of the CMS occasion another awkward first yeah that process of museum of finding an old place or anything like that is that something you've encountered very much sure what do you think that I would send the National Trust in the United Kingdom is definitely more prevalent than the national trust's awareness in the United States so similar concept the National Trust here seeks to preserve places of architectural significance but the National Trust in England is of a different breed I say England because that's the specific region I've been exposed to the most the National Trust and the United Kingdom is a different rate because it's become something more of almost like a passport you have all of these places where you see the little logo and you can almost fill them out and take them off and go and visit them it's also significantly smaller country to explore but %HESITATION yeah I'm getting to go to see places in Dover %HESITATION you'd see the little logo going to the Stonehenge I believe is also included in the National Trust the national trust's in England definitely and the United Kingdom was certainly more obvious to me that and the existence of a national trust in the United States and museum of occasion there are a lot of places and I include them in the book is that don't necessarily feel like museums but in many ways aren't because museums are preservation's of human culture and if we look at it that way lots of things can be used yeah libraries kind of falls under that category historical holds certainly fall under that category and so the museum of the cation of something if we want to think about that word is probably including a gift shop including educational materials to explain the context of the architecture of a place or its contents ticketing and branding and all these things so it's almost like could be institutionalizing of something that makes it a formal museum and there are always those questions over things what gets to be preserved what is deemed worthy enough to be captain posterity he makes those decisions he gets the side when he gets what money to make those decisions so it unfolds and unfolds all the time that's quite a complex issue I think is quite recently at the National Trust property call Tom Brady hall in Worcestershire and it was only saved because it has the specific wall paintings they're actually part of the walls these murals are painted and sites by a specific artist they need to pick specific sayings it's these Greek myths same spot the faces of men swapped out for political figures of the time as just a splash of this is how wealthy we are this is where our political leanings site you're welcome in this ice if you're happy to discuss those things and it was one of those where debate because he says they were falling you know in the nineteen forties and fifties and the families just can't afford to keep them on anymore and that a labour government demanded the risk very high taxes and this was one of hundreds of calls see if only because of these paintings so we've lost so many other super similar but this one's there because of the spending you know so it's still that's sort of questions what gets to see if a place is quite interesting it is very interesting to think about the value of things right if you can come down and think about things of historical significance that may be easy to choose like I was reading this morning about and our archaeological discovery and almost fully intact tent made out of all the parts of a mammoth and its claim to fame is that it's one of the most early examples of architecture mmhm like how incredible is it to be able to say that you have that in your museum so you can say that the thing that you have is the first or an early example up or something incredibly unique that's often unique and rarity ultimately is what makes things very important museums happens like what's worthy of being on display is often a matter of what they have access to sometimes museums can be dumping grounds for donations of people I had a really interesting conversation and interviews part of my book with an exhibition director at the Houston museum of natural science we're standing in the great hall and emotions around and he goes out everything is trash everything in this museum is trash and I was like come again everything is strange because he was saying you know at some point or another it was something that someone didn't want anymore because if they really wanted it you know they would hold on to it for it and want to have it for themselves so either they didn't want it or they passed away and there are errors didn't want it anymore and gifted it to the museum so that's another interesting way that things end up in museums and then because they're in a museum there's this inherent perception of value because it's institutionalized right so a very interesting conversation nine I hadn't heard of that way of thinking about it before bed makes total sense I have managed to see behind the scenes a little bit one time enemy see and when I was doing my PhD research the curator of the Ulster museum in Belfast ways show me some things because I was using something from their permanent collection notice %HESITATION yeah I just needed to watch and study it yeah she's great she gave me this very quick sure and the stage spaces of the museum and there's just all these great art works and sculptures sins you artifacts and drawers and drawers and shelves and shelves for the boxes and everything and she said everything here is virtually of display everything here could be I tired sometimes we circulate stuff but people have their favorite Sir things right there that people just come here specifically to saying they want to see their Spanish Armada clean say want to see a bit already beaten up cost of a T. rex skills well we've got actual dinosaur fossils here but they're just these tiny fragments of things people find on a peach but the real threats of actually awhile fossilized bits of voxel dinosaur it's the iceberg this thing is suppose of what we see in a museum is just the one tense you know the nine ten Sunder is everything inside the box and we don't get to see absolutely would you or someone you know make a great cast an audio visual cultures then email audio visual culture shock dot com to have a conversation they can see Sir anything else told that you really like to chat about it today I feel like I've thrown a lot of questions out but if there's anything you told that you think it's really important that you have a just a message right there for people anything is holy crap the youth like to say yeah one thing I'd like to come back to that I briefly alluded to early on in our conversation and the importance of museums are why they matter why should we bother why should we visit them from what we discussed museums are places where cultural heritage is preserved and if we are not supporting those institutions visiting them what happens to all of those things do they continue to be preserved not even just professionally but just at all we are what we lose when we lose history you know there's all of these doom and gloom concepts of like %HESITATION we're doomed to repeat it but what I'm thinking of is just the learning opportunities the immersive exhibits the moments that things come alive really in your mind not only are they great spaces a community but ultimately preservation of human culture so I want to encourage people to visit support experience with your loved ones museums in all their glory that's great pretty good message and important message I can see where can we find out more at the union about your back you can read more about me and the book at mackenzie frankly dot com pretty easy to remember you can find the book on the ever ubiquitous Amazon dot com you can also find my book on bookshop dot org which I encourage people to support as well to support independent bookstores across the world accents my interest not sentiments as well both mackenzie frankly it's been such a joy speaking with you today you're very welcome back anytime if you ever wanna talk about a specific saying %HESITATION that you're working on or if you have a new project coming I it's you know just give us a show you're welcome back anytime and it's been pretty tough each day mazing thank you so much it's been such a joy talking to you and I look forward to more checks in the future