Archive for the '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.

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.

Sonic Arts Forum – Presentation

I will be presenting and discussing my work this Saturday 22nd May as part of the University of Huddersfield’s Week of Speakers event.

The purpose of this event is to draw upon a wide range of expertise and discuss how the use of sound (and technology) is changing the nature of practice across several different disciplines within the arts.

This is a great opportunity for me to discuss my work with other artists interested in working with sound from a range of backgrounds. I am excited about discussing my work with Sonia Paco-Roochia who comes from a classical musical background.  I am very fond of her work. She uses technology (Max MSP) that is mind boggling to me, but in a very intimate and subtle way, not a big blokey wankfest as is so often the case with such technology.


Louise Woodcock

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