Sunday, 20 March 2011 - My New Home Website is launched

Around 1992, when I was a graduate student at the University of Michigan, I first encountered digital technology. Upon matriculation the University provided us with an e mail account, and something called voice mail, two aspects of technology I did not use in my entire three years there. I did however find use for the 24 hour access three large media labs dotted around the huge campus. These open plan, fluorescent lit labs had hundreds and hundreds of word processing computers. After the Grad library and Pinball Pete's these labs were my favourite Uni hang out places, where late into the night I would write essays, surf what little of the net was out there and play endless games of Tetris and Space Wars.

In my final year there, I was a Teaching assistant for a beginners photography course - Photo 101. As it going to be my final teaching session there, I decided to push the anarchy button and set the children free.  Following Joseph Beuys' ideas of inclusivity, I accepted on to the course anybody who was not an art major, but wanted to study photography, it was a rainbow nation, a whole international and social spectrum from models, golf scholars, punks, hedonists, tennis gigolos, Detroit hard cases, weirdos, Christians and a bunch of Austrian architects. It was the best art class dynamic ever. In the spirit of creative anarchy, and for the sheer fun of it, were mixing coca cola with film developer.... the fizz however tends to make the tank lid shoot off. One of the students who signed up was an electrical engineering graduate student called Nelson M; who designed computer code and databases, a mature student from Porto Rico who apparently signed up for  photo class, not to learn about photography but in order to meet up with art chicks. These were exactly the kind of people I was looking for.

About this time Nelson told me about the possibilities of cyber space, that I, as a photographer could create an electronic page and put images in a virtual space and they would be available to a potential global audience. Hey! this sounds like a good idea, using new technologies to broaden audience possibilities, creating random connections and allowing new unexpected opportunities. At this point in time, the web was new and fresh and there were not many artists pages in cyberspace, it was an opportunity to be at the vanguard of a new medium One could basically be anywhere and communicate to a global audience, one did not have to located in a metropolis centre to reach a mass audience. The centre now potentially everywhere (even Llanelli) as long as you had a computer. However a good idea this seemed, I like to leave ideas was to be another 15 years before I finally got around to organising my web site. Im comfortable with slow time. Being unavailable also does have its uses, it gives freedom for reinvention, it creates a fog of uncertainty around an individual. Through easy accessibility and familiarity with the artworks and artist, people can tie them down with their thoughts and may become an affair that is taken for granted. When nothing is assured we remain alert. In the experience of art, the viewers / audience's effort, emotional and intellectual alertness completes the artistic contract. When ones main point of contact through artworks is through direct gallery experience it becomes an act of ritual, a pilgrimage. However I am open to possibilities of creating an architectural space, a virtual interactive gallery, where the virtual audience has to walk, catch a train bus or plane to get to a cyber gallery. Discussions with architects and software designers are in progress, but thats for the future.

Taking time in creating my new home-site has allowed me to accumulate a number of substantial projects since my days in Michigan. This site has evolved organically, designed as an archive, to allow greater accessibility to a broad range of images and projects that I have been pursuing throughout my artistic career. It has been a challenge to organise the chapters, images and statements into a coherent cohesive whole, which is also clear to navigate. The site aims to be comprehensive but not complete, there are some projects, and many more images belonging to the web chapters which are not put online. Its important that a bank of images are not subject to audience overfamiliarity and overexposure. The internet can become a means to consume and devour images quickly. As I wish a degree of image contemplation, the site has been designed with no forward image button; which may be frustrating, this however, slows the process of viewing images down, in order that one cannot click through 25 years of projects in one sitting.

The site was built by Brett Aggersberg (Media Lecturer at University of Wales Trinity St David's, in Carmarthen) and designed by myself and Brett.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Ffilm 3 Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea Feb 25th - May 1st 2011

During this interim period of refurbishment at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum in Swansea, the curators are imaginatively looking at fresh new ways to interact with their  wonderful art collection. Ffilm 3 is the latest instalment of placing contemporary video artwork throughout the museum rooms which house the permanent collection.

Ffilm 3 includes well known and emerging artists including - Marcus Coates, Olga Chernysheva, Holly Davey, Angus Fairhurst, Richard Grayson, Idris Khan, Ciprian Muresan, Rosalind Nashashibi, Jose Alejandro Restrepo, Alia Syed, Mark Wallinger, John Wood and Paul Harrison, Carey Young and myself. The works have been selected from collections, commissioning organisations across the UK as well as films loaned directly from artists.

My contribution to these video interventions includes a series of 4 short films on a monitor, which is placed within a room of 19th century Impressionist paintings. These series of films are set in an expansive landscape, where the bottom of our home garden leads in to a farmers cow field. In this setting a series of activities and observations take place, including; Shit Stirrer - where a tractor with its ancient and rusty 'honey wagon' trailer, noisily spreads and churns manure over the field, and Sky Table - an atmospheric film that follows the natural events occurring around a rustic 20ft high, wooden home made bird table.

There is a comfortable ease with the placement and arrangement of these films displayed on a rectangular monitor next to the gilded framed Impressionist paintings of mottled painterly and pictorial landscapes. A sympathetic dialogue takes place between contemporary and historical traditions and medias of picturing open landscape spaces. This is an installation which evokes nature, mood, atmosphere, and contrasts through silence and noise, between observation and direct physical participation within the landscape.