Writer, artist and musician Rob St. John (who contributed to our Random Spectacular No. 2 journal) has announced details of his latest project, Surface Tension.
In summer 2014, Ben Fenton, project manager of the ‘Fixing Broken Rivers’ campaign run by London freshwater conservation charity Thames 21, got in touch with Rob. Ben had an unusual commission in mind: could Rob design a project drawing from both art and science to creatively explore and document pollution along London’s River Lea?
Almost a year later, and the project – Surface Tension – is finished, resulting in an album of new music and field recordings taken along the Lea; a book of writing and photographs documenting the Lea Valley and the creative processes in Surface Tension; and an exhibition of film photographs from the project at Stour Space, Hackney Wick, London (E3 2PA) throughout April 2015.
In late summer, Rob walked most of the length of the Lea – one of Britain’s most polluted rivers – wearing holes into the soles of his shoes as he made field recordings with binaural microphones (which look like cheap headphones, but capture a 360 degree soundscape around your head), underwater hydrophones and contact mics. At the same time, he took film photographs on both a vintage 120 camera and a 35mm pinhole camera made from a Lesney toy matchbox (the Lesney factory was on the river at Hackney Wick).
Rob’s work has always had a foot in both art and science: working with sound, photography and natural processes in ways that are both experimental and accessible. In 2011 he released a critically acclaimed LP ‘Weald’; in 2013 the Water of Life collaboration with Tommy Perman; in 2014 the Bastard Mountain LP; and in 2015 Surface Tension and a sound installation Concrete Antenna at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.
Surface Tension is released in April on limited edition CD, housed in a beautiful book of Rob’s photographs and writing, designed by Tommy Perman.
Posted by Simon Lewin on March 4th, 2015
It was a bracing day in Edinburgh today. But still managed our (more or less) daily walk up to the top of Blackford Hill.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 29th, 2015
We've been working up on Speyside for a while and have managed to find some time to enjoy the landscape.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 22nd, 2015
Saturday 15th November 2014 sees the opening of 'Town and Country', Emily Sutton's major solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The exhibition will feature a wide range of one-off watercolours, limited edition prints and a flock of hand painted and embroidered birds.
Based in York, Emily has worked with many distinguished clients around the world, illustrating books for the Victoria & Albert Museum, Faber and Faber, Random House, Penguin and Walker Books and undertaking commissions for brands such as Hermes, Fortnum & Mason and Betty’s of Harrogate.
We're delighted to include Emily's designs within the St Jude's range of fabrics - her Curiosity Shop fabric won the 'Best British Pattern' category in the Elle Decoration British Design Awards in 2011.
'Town and Country' coincides with the publication of Transferware Treasures, a limited edition hand-bound foldout book of the artist’s watercolours of Victorian transferware, published by Fleece Press.
Find out more about the exhibition in the short film below and via the Yorkshire Sculpture Park website. The exhibition runs until 22nd February 2015.
Posted by Simon Lewin on November 5th, 2014
We had worked with the photographer Cristian Barnett before and he offered he making of a short film in return for a donation to the Movember fundraising programme (supporting the work of this global men’s health charity).
Posted by Simon Lewin on September 3rd, 2014
This August Hanna Tuulikki's heartfelt re-weaving of Gaelic song will be performed live on the Isle of Canna.
Away with the Birds will be performed by a female vocal ensemble in the beautiful harbour of the Isle of Canna, where the music reverberates with the bird-calls and the ebb of the tide.
Hanna Tuulikki is a Glasgow-based artist and composer. Away with the Birds is her most ambitious work to date. Selecting Gaelic song from historical archives, she has sought out extracts and fragments which imitate birdsong and rewoven them into an extraordinary soundscape. Each of the five movements represents a different habitat and bird community – wader, sea-bird, wildfowl, corvid, and cuckoo.
Posted by Simon Lewin on June 9th, 2014
Having spent a couple of weeks living in Spitalfields for the recent St Jude's In the City exhibition, now we're back north it's a shame we won't be able to visit some of these secret gardens of Spitalfields which will open to the public on Saturday 7th June 2014 as part of the National Gardens Scheme.
As Spitalfields Life founder The Gentle Author points out:
"If you did not know of the existence of these gardens, you might think Spitalfields was an entirely urban place with barely a leaf in sight, but in fact every terrace conceals a string of verdant little gardens and yards filled with plants and trees that defy the dusty streets beyond."
Posted by Angie Lewin on June 4th, 2014
Took a trip to Seacliff, just along from North Berwick, for the first time today.
Posted by Simon Lewin on March 30th, 2014
Available for pre-order and shipping from early December is this beautiful audio/print package from Water Of Life, limited to 300 copies.
Tommy Perman - artist and musician (formerly of FOUND) and Rob St. John - environmental writer and musician - began the Water of Life project in June 2013, aiming to use water as a divining rod for exploring ideas of 'naturalness' in Edinburgh’s urban environment. Water of Life is an alternative travelogue, where water is a conduit for exploring new geographies: field notes from a liquid city.
Recordings made with hydrophone, ambient and contact microphone recordings of rivers, spring houses, manhole covers, pub barrel rooms, pipelines and taps are mixed with the peals and drones of 1960s transistor organs, harmoniums, Swedish micro-synths, drum machines and iPads: a blend of the natural and unnatural; modern and antiquated; hi-fi and lo-fi. Drum beats were sampled from underwater recordings, and reverbs created using the convolution reverb technique to recreate the sonic space of different bodies of water.
The package comprises: a letterpressed folder on recycled card, a 7" record pressed on recycled vinyl and a set of essays by Rob and prints by Tommy exploring the themes of the project, riso printed using soy inks on recycled paper.
Pre-order one of the 300 limited edition packages online and find out more about the Water Of Life project.
Posted by Simon Lewin on November 11th, 2013
This weekend sees the opening on an exhibition of recent box constructions by Shetland born Alex Malcolmson, made mainly from wood; carved and painted, sometimes using found materials.
The ‘boxworks’ of Joseph Cornell are an inspiration to Malcolmson, in addition to the works created by Picasso when he used collected items from his studio environment. Malcolmson is an experienced sailor and has voyaged aboard the Bessie Ellen, a traditional West Country wooden sailing ketch built in 1904, to Denmark and Sweden, sketching and absorbing the details of the ship. Other strands of interest for Malcolmson lie in architecture, charts, ship dioramas, lighthouses, and marine folk art.
The slatted birds started with the idea of an upturned boat; a motif he has used in other ways, drawing on the tradition of decoy making. Folk, naïve and primitive art; the kind of objects made for use and ornament, often by unnamed makers, is the main source of ideas for the work featured in this exhibition Seamarks.
The exhibition opens on Monday 11th November and runs until 25th November 2013. There is an opening event on Saturday 9th November 2013 from 12pm until 2pm.
Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh EH3 6QE. Visit the Open Eye website.
If you're unable to visit Edinburgh, Alex Malcolmson will be exhibiting alongside Angie Lewin at our next St. Jude's In The City exhibition in London in May 2014. Sign up to our newsletter for details nearer the time.
Posted by Simon Lewin on November 5th, 2013