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The Dallas Yarn Bombers

I arrived back in the USA after a visit to London to begin phase two of 34South|61North, the USA and Canada.  Week one in Dallas and as I explored the down town part of the city I was impressed with the museums, galleries and public space sculptures.

On Elme street in-between a hipster district and the down town arts mile I saw some eye catching installation art, comishioned by the city made created by The Dallas Yarn Bombers.

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These knitted and crocheted pieces were attached to the parking meters and gave them a non-urban eye-catching look. As I gave the work a good look I realised that the artists had been given a grant by Dallas City to make the installation. This is the open call that they responded to.
Laminated tags were attached to the sides of the meters with information about the bombers. So I looked them up and Sally or, K-Witta, got in touch.

We arranged to meet on saturday at the museum of art in down town Dallas. The day was perfect sunny and not too hot. We sat in one of the court yards inside the gallery building. Sally explained how The Dallas Yarn Bombers began. In 2011 Sally became board with the city scape and became interested in ‘making people see the cold hard surroundings differently’ and began to street bomb her neighbour hood. This means simply to attach a hand made item to a fixed public structure, Sally told me she once tied a sweater to a fire hydrant. After some time of this bombing a local newspaper featured an article on her and that was the beginning of larger scale and specifically made installations.

The Yarn Bombers have worked all around Dallas covering the Winspear Opera House, bombing the Klyde Warren Park (twice) and are now looking to work with the citie’s farmers market.

Yarn Bombing is not exclusive to Dallas its a world wide sensation and I am very happy to have met someone so passionate about public space art and changing cold city scapes.

More about the Dallas Yarn Bombers here!

CON_TEXTO

[CON_TEXTO] PY

In May 2013 I was in La Pedrera, Uruguay, taking part in a Curatoria Forense artist residency. A group of predominantly South American artists had come together to share opinions and discuss ways to manage and work with arts independently. During this twelve day residency I met Esther Mendoza, who had come from Paraguay to join the debates. She is part of the group Ojapoara who work to promote the arts on a not-for-profit basis in Paraguay.

During the residency it was interesting to learn more about the arts in a country I have had almost no contact with. After the days of debates were over we went our separate ways and kept in touch with our artistic endeavours digitally. Then back in January I saw that Ete was asking for international artists to submit essays on their practice to be featured in the first edition of a free magazine on contemporary arts of all disciplines based out of the capital, Asunción.

The magazine was to be called [CON_TEXTO] PY, below is a short paragraph that the writers released to explain the aim of the magazine:

[CON_TEXTO] PY, es una iniciativa del Colectivo de Artistas Autónomos “OJAPOARA” y puesta enmarcha con el apoyo de CONCEPTO Desarrollo de Ideas y completamente auto gestionada por artistas y gestores paraguayos, sin fines de lucro.

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[CON_TEXTO] PY, has been created by the “OJAPOARA” independent artists collective and has been started to aid the development of ideas. The magazine is run entirely by artists and curators form Paraguay who work on a not for profit basis.

I was honoured to be featured in the first publication which was released digitally in June. The magazine is released bi-monthly, issue no.2 has just gone live using the magazine host ISSUU.

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I hope Spanish language speakers enjoy this read on arts in Paraguay and the broader Latin America. For lighter bites of art in Paraguay have a look at Ojapora’s Facebook Page.

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Organización Nelson Garrido

In June I visited the Organización Nelson Garrido, ONG, cultural space, that formerly functioned as the photographic studio of the well respected Venezuelan photographer Nelson Garrido. Today the studio has evolved to be a leading independent contemporary art and music space in Caracas.

Here is Music recorded by Jimmy Flamante in the studio at ONG, enjoy while you read!

The ONG works as a space to share ideas, have meetings, old art exhibits, record music, invite national and international resident artists and have a common living space. Most of this goes on with out charge to the public. The ONG also offers photography and screen printing classes, where they charge to cover running costs of the space.

There is a rolling trainee program where students and recent graduates work as part of the administrative staff improving their skill set and keeping running costs down. The ONG is unique to Caracas as it exists totally independently from the government and outside sponsors. This leaves all artists who are involved to be free to express them selfs as they wish with no political or financial influences.

This Video visualises the ideas, work and people behind the name. Become involved with the programme of events on their Facebook group and Facebook Page.

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It was a pleasure to meet Gala Garrido, daughter of Nelson, who now runs the ONG. Thanks for your time and all the best moving forward with this important space for artists in Caracas.

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South and Central American Featured Artists

I’m preparing to fly to Colorado tomorrow. It’s exciting and strange all together. The last 16 months have been spent entirely in Latin America developing 34South|61North. As I continue north I felt it was time to reflect on the artists I have met and who have become part of this journey.  I’m going to be featuring images and information on the Facebook Page in this special album. Enjoy the retrospective and if you would like to nominate an artist get in touch!

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Cinestesia Caracas

(español abajo)

Whilst many galleries, museums and theatres in Venezuela are linked to the government and show case political material there are some independent arts events and spaces that continue to show unique unchallenged artistic ideas.

One such event is Cinestesia an independent film showing hosted by the Rio Theatre.  The founder and co-ordinator of Cinestesia, Alberto Negron, realised a need to show films that weren’t main stream in the intimate setting of the Rio Theatre.

The selected pictures are local and international with no predetermined genre. Negron instead aims to provide a wide range of cinematic experiences. Cinestesia began in 2011 and since has seen a growing following of Caracenos and foreigners alike.  As popularity has grown Cinestesia has been invited to show in other spaces around Caracas and during festivals,  such as the Cultural Centre in Chacao, and area of Caracas.

It was a pleasure to meet Alberto and to see Cinestesia in action at the Rio.  All the best to independant arts in Caracas.

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Cinestesia nació el 15 de septiembre del año 2011 y lleva ya dos años
y medio proyectando sin falta películas todos los jueves en las instalaciones
de Río Teatro. Además, Cinestesia eventualmente, ha hecho proyecciones en
otros espacios, como el evento ocurrido en junio de 2013 en el Centro Cultural
Chacao, donde se proyectaron películas por 3 días seguidos con un lleno total
de la sala.

Se trata de un evento que une la cultura del cine con la del bar,
la música y la tertulia, haciéndolas complementarias en vez de contrarias.
Consiste en proyecciones regulares de películas cuidadosamente seleccionadas
para un público que sabe disfrutar de las más diversas expresiones
cinematográficas, sin prejuicio alguno.

Cinestesia actualmente cuenta con una videoteca de
aproximadamente 400 películas en HD de las más diversas nacionalidades,
géneros y estilos, y el número de películas que conforman esta colección
también sigue creciendo día a día.

La curaduría cinematográfica y la producción del evento en general
corren a cargo de Alberto Negrón, cineasta dedicado a la producción de
documentales y videos musicales, quien también ejerció la docencia en la
UCAB y la Escuela Nacional de Cine durante un tiempo.

Video sobre Cinestesia

 

 

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Driving in Caracas

I spent May and part of June in Venezuela. The original idea was to go in February and cross over land from Colombia at the San Cristobal border. As protests and violence escalated this was no longer a viable option.

Instead I waited in Colombia and traveled to Venezuela six weeks later crossing at the northern border of Paraguaichón. The bus continued through the country, for twelve hours, terminating in Caracas.

Below is a series of photos that illustrate a drive I took through the city. Life in Venezuela continues despite the many problems that its people face.

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CaracasCalle CaracasSiBo

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ACTIONArar

March 2014 34South|61North had been ongoing for just over a year and I had reached the north of South America. With this I went to be resident artist at ACCIONArar residency in Anolaima, Colombia.

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Tzitzi and David recently started the residency space, they are a couple of Colombian artists who focus on performance. Tzitzi has organised the Encuentro de Acción en Vivo y Diferido AVD,  Bogota and has traveled in South America participating in various events. She and David founded the residency space in country house outside the small town Anolaima. The residency encourages artistic development in all areas with emphasis on performance. There is also great importance put on sharing the living space, cooking together, sharing ideas and chores.

I met the couple at GUACHO-INTRATERRESTRE earlier this year in Ecuador and I learnt about what they do in Anolaima.  After a very intense period in Medellin I contacted them asking if I could come and use the residency as a time to reflect and to decide what direction I would like to take 34South|61North. We agreed and I prepared myself to go to Anolaima.

I spent the residency thinking. In February 2013 I began an ongoing work to cover two continents and learn about the arts and how they fit into societies that I visited, whilst developing three ongoing works: Take Space and Make Them New, The Map Exchange and GMT-. I have been making these works and simultaneously researching arts spaces and cultural organisations and artists, giving work shops and talks.

This system has been rewarding and full of meetings and new ideas. It has worked well over south america.  Now, entering phase two of 34South|61North, Central and North America the project calls for a different approach. I will be spending more time looking at other artists ways of making and how organisations work in the places I visit. My personal/physical practice will take a back seat. Just like in South America I will be researching and making art simultaneously but now with the focus on research.

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Thanks to Tzitzi and David for providing this experience and a space that allowed for time to reflect and prioritise a new direction.

 

 

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Artist talk and networking in Tuluá 9 de Abril

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On Wednesday I was invited to give a talk in Tuluá, a town about two hours form Cali in the Cauca Valley, Colombia. The idea was to share my work and the concepts behind 34South|61North with local artists, musicians and actors. This was to open up a debate on how to improve networking between artists in Tuluá with the eventual goal of opening an arts centre in the town. Once the space is opened the artists will encourage local youths to pursue creative pastimes instead of entering into crime and repeating the town’s violent history.

The residents were happy to have me there as they want to organise exchanges with international artists who can bring different perspectives to the arts in the town and forge cultural interchanges. Over the next months I will be assisting with ideas, information and contacts.

Goog Luck artists of Tuluá.

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Projeto Perfil

Many thanks to my friends at Bem Te Vi Produções for including me in the latest video for their current Profile Project; explained below.

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Have a look at the Video here and contact them if you know someone who could take part!

Portugese/Español/English
O projeto perfil é SOBRE PESSOAS E PARA PESSOAS.
Numa época em que a pessoa jurídica fala mais alto que a pessoa física, em que máquinas fazem mais que mãos, o projeto perfil busca a humanização da vida, que sejamos cúmplices da mesma raça. São procuradas pessoas com histórias e/ou habilidades especiais e únicas.
São eles: artistas, cozinheiros, jardineiros, donas de casa, contadores de histórias, marceneiros, empreendedores, músicos, costureiros, pedreiros e pessoas de verdade, que transmitirão a beleza de ser comum, diferente ou não.
Contra a celebrização e a cultura do espetáculo, o projeto trará pequenos perfis de personagens interessantes e
fundamentais, que com suas peculiaridades irão nos inspirar, instruir e abrir os horizontes para tanta cultura, criatividade e amor que há por aí.
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El proyecto perfil es ACERCA DE PERSONAS Y PARA PERSONAS.
En un momento en que la persona jurídica habla más fuerte que el individuo, en el que las máquinas hacen más que las manos, el proyecto busca la humanización de la vida, que seamos cómplices de la misma raza.
Se buscan personas con historias y/o habilidades especiales y únicas, como: artistas, cocineros, cuentacuentos, jardineros, sastres, carpinteros, actores, amas de casa, albañiles y personas reales que transmitan la belleza de ser común, diferente o no.
Contra la celebración y la adoración del espectáculo, el proyecto proporcionará pequeños perfiles de personajes interesantes, con sus peculiaridades que inspiran, instruyen y abren los horizontes para mucha cultura, creatividad y amor.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
The project profile is ABOUT PEOPLE TO THE PEOPLE.
In a period where companies have more say than regular people, where machines make more than hands, Perfil Project looks for the humanisation of life. It explores if that humans could be concomitant of the same race.
We’re searching for people with stories and/or unique skills e.g. artists, chefs, storyteller, gardeners, tailors,
carpenters, housewives, builders, musicians, entrepreneurs and people who can transmit the beauty of being a regular person, different or no.
Going against the celebration and worship of spectacle culture, the project will create mini profiles of interesting individuals that can instruct, inspire and open up new horizons with their particular skills, for all the culture, creativity and love that’s around.
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Le projet “Profil” regroupe DES PERSONNES QUI S’ADRESSENT À DER PERSONNES.
A un moment où les grandes entreprises parlent plus fort que les gens du peuple, où les machines produisent plus que les mains, le Projet Profile (Projeto Perfil) recherche l’humanisation de la vie et comment nous sommes tous des complices de la même race. Nous recherchons des personnes avec des histoires et/ou des qualités spéciales et uniques. Elles peuvent être artistes, cuisiniers, jardiniers, femmes au foyer, conteurs, charpentiers, entrepreneurs, musiciens, couturiers, maçons. Des personnes réelles, qui transmettent la beauté d’être normal, avec ses différences, ou non.
Face au culte de la célébrité et à la culture du spectacle, le projet entend dessiner de courts profils de personnages intéressants et essentiels qui, de par leurs particularités, pourront inspirer, instruire et ouvrir des horizons vers toute cette culture, cette créativité et cet amour qui nous entourent.

Mapping culture and art from Chile to Alaska.

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