Archive for the 'Talk/Workshop' Category

Embryonic Film Project at Islington Mill’s Say Something Series

Jennifer McDonald and I are undertaking a residency at Islington Mill to begin a collaborative film project. This was our starting point:

Embryonic Film Project

2nd June

Louise Woodcock and Jennifer McDonald are artists working predominantly in installation and performance. Sharing similar concerns, Louise and Jennifer explore concepts of gender, being particularly influenced by Julia Kristeva’s seminal work Powers of Horror. Over the past year, Louise and Jennifer have collaborated on a performance piece developing sound objects – hollow plaster ‘eggs’ that are played with a variety of tools, including bones and nails. Both artists further founded Womb – a collective of female musicians, which has up to twelve members per session.

On recently discovering the work of Derek Jarman, Louise and Jennifer are using their week in residency at Islington Mill to embark on a new film project. In their first use of film Jennifer and Louise will draw together a number of recent influences.

Having arrived back from India following a two month residency in the country’s rainforest area Jennifer will bring a selection of her research material, documentation of her travels and Indian instruments to the collaborative project. Having written her degree dissertation on the Upanishads (ancient Indian Philosophical texts) before practicing art, Louise will add a layer of history and philosophy to the project producing a rich mix of imagery and associations.

Jennifer and Louise will use the residency period to develop objects and sets for their film work. Throughout the week Jennifer and Louise will record a variety of acoustic sound, voice and instrumentation, layering the recordings upon a series of film sequences to create an intriguing interplay of audio and visual environments.

An edited version of the film will be publicly screened at the end of their residency period alongside a display of the objects, instruments and constructed sets used throughout the development of the filmwork.

We spent all day yesterday filming around Sabden, around Pendle Hill famous for witch trials. We started by just shooting anything we found appealing. As the day progressed we became more focused and began to perform and use sculptural objects we bought with us in different locations and performances. We used hair and bones in ritualistic style actions.

Jennifer and I will hold a talk tomorrow at 6pm (2 June 2011) at Islington Mill discussing our influences and our working process. The initial edit of the film will be screened on Sunday at Islington Mill. Womb will be performing a live improvisation with the film along with objects that were used.

The initial synopsis (even though we haven’t finished it and don’t quite know the outcome!):
The film features two women (the resident artists Jennifer McDonald and Louise Woodcock) in Pendle Hill, famous for it’s association with the witch trials. The characters perform ritualistically using tribal symbols including animal bones, hair and wool. The film will be displayed with sculptural objects that were used in the film and with a live improvised soundtrack from Womb.

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Funeral Procession for the Death of Public Services Manchester Mule Article

After my talk at the funeral, I was interviewed by Manchester Mule (click for the full article). This is an exerpt:

Louise Woodcock, a local artist speaking at the event, said to MULE that the cuts show that the government “doesn’t value art, and are just focusing on things that make money, rather than things that might be meaningful and valuable in other ways.

“We need more meaningful activities and more meaningful forms of communication to make sense of the world, especially when things are difficult – art is how we do that, so at a time like this it’s an essential thing to have in our lives.”

Rosanne Robertson, organiser of the Manchester Artists Bonfire, said the purpose of the event had been partly to bring together artists and other groups of people fighting against the cuts, saying that their concerns “all tie into the same thing: we’re not happy with the way things are and we need an orchestrated response.”

My talk focused on broad ideas about funding for the arts. I discussed the Coalition proposition that we are to accept that the arts should be one of the first things to be cut and that we all have to tighten our belts in this time of recession. I discussed the fact that we are being asked to believe that it’s our responsibility, the people on the street, to make sacrifices to help the ruined economy, not the people who caused the damage. I discussed how the Roosevelt government during the Great Depression in the US during the 1930’s poured money into the arts and other public services. I talked about how the American art establishment and economy is still reaping the benefits of movements like Abstract Expressionism which could not have thrived without early support from the ‘New Deal‘ strategy. I discussed the fact that Orson Welles Macbeth, featuring black actors in lead roles from Harlem would not have happened. I discussed the need for art in our lives especially at a time when we have little resources and feel an urgent need to communicate and to express ourselves, to make sense of the world.

Rosanne Robertson’s talk focused more on the local issues around the cuts especially to the Greenroom and the Castlefield Gallery who are both about to lose all their arts council funding. Rosanne also discussed the need we have for art in a broad sense as well as locally.

Womb performed after Rosanne and I spoke. We used Indian Singing Bowls, used the coffins as percussion and wailed. This was Rosannes first performance with us. Rosanne played the stylaphone. The mood felt sombre but celebratory. There was a definite feeling of positivity, of not of giving up. Someone joined in on a trumpet playing the Funeral March and people clapped along with us.

Funeral Procession for the Death of Public Services

There will be a funeral precession for the death of our public services on the day of the Royal Wedding, Friday 29th April at 12.30pm. Rosanne Robertson and I will be giving a talk about the cuts to the arts from our own perspectives. Please RSVP to the Facebook event. You must wear funeral attire as a symbolic gesture.

Manchester Artists’ Bonfire 28.1.11 – A call for pledges

The blog is up and running:

About Manchester Artists’ Bonfire

Manchester Artist’s Bonfire
Islington Mill
Friday 28th January 7-9pm
After Party 9pm until late
Submission of pledgesDeadline: Tuesday 18 January 2011.

Rule: You must burn some of your artwork.

This January a plethora of artists working in Manchester will join in a mass art burn. Artists submit their pledge to take part with a paragraph of writing related to their thoughts, feelings, responses about and reactions to this event.

This defiant symbol of dissatisfaction will act as a catalyst for change. The Artists’ Bonfire is unapologetic about the more obvious connotations such as; strike, destruction and renewal but it is also open to new interpretations, be they political or personal or both.

The pledges collected from Manchester artists will frame the event and provide the context in which we burn the art. We join in a festival of flux and celebrate it on our own terms.

A collection of extended pieces of writing will be published online and in print post event ranging from new theoretical writing to reflective accounts of the experience, providing a unique cross section of Manchester’s art scene in words. All printed material will then be expected to make its way back to the bonfire the following January where we all start again and where it will meet its end- or its beginning depending on how you look at it.

To pledge click here.

Manchester Weekender Tour of Salford. 2nd October 3-6pm

I’ll be leading a walk around the arty parts of Salford as part of Contemporary Cartography’s Urban Wandering tours in association with The Whitworth Art Gallery this Saturday 2nd October. This is from the Whitworth site.

3.00-6.00pm

River Irwell Tour **Starting at The People’s History Museum** Meeting at the People’s History Museum before crossing the river Irwell to explore the spaces of Salford. Led by Manchester artist Louise Woodcock, former member of Kraak gallery, the tour group will be introduced to the different spaces of Manchester Modernist Society – a duo that work to promote the architectural history and landscape of Greater Manchester, Hotbed Press, a print studio that runs a number of courses in screen printing, etching and book binding and Islington Mill Studios and Gallery. Islington Mill is a large studio complex with a gallery and music venue. Having been closed due to a redevelopment project the 1st of October sees the reopening of the building with a lively programme of events. A number of artists are based at the milll including the tour guide Louise, who will give an introduction to the different studios and spaces of the building. Also at the mill is the print collective One69a. One69a will introduce the tour group to their recently opened print studio and the range of projects they are currently undertaking. On leaving the Mill the tour group will seek out some of the live music events occurring as part of unconvention music festival, stopping off at Salford Central Station a regular space for artist’s interventions and events, before finishing the tour in art pub The Kings Arms. With studios upstairs, a music venue and a programme of craft activities the Kings Arms is a unique and friendly venue for any kind of refreshment and the perfect end to a Salford tour.

Call 0161 275 7450 to book a place.

Rare Experiments

I am starting a collective artists project with Graham Dunning and Jennifer McDonald called Rare Experiments. We intend to generate interest in our workshops for other artists in the community, and curatorial projects such as residencies, exhibitions and events.

I’m currently co-coordinating four community workshops as part of Shine Month in Tameside with young people in housing projects. I’m running two in photography, how to get a great photo from a simple digital camera, and two in sculpture using plaster and found objects. I’m holding the workshops at Nacro in Hyde next week. I have arranged an exhibition at Central Art Gallery, Ashton in early August.


Louise Woodcock

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