So far it's a funny thing crowd funding - as most of you will hopefully (!) know by now we're currently running an Indiegogo campaign for our new film The Closer We Get which centers on Karen's own family. I may come to regret saying this but the £725 we've raised so far has made me very happy, it certainly beats writing the many many funding applications we've previously made for the project!

Why is that? Well it's something about 'connectedness'. I've read other crowd funders comment on this but until you see your own friends and colleagues backing you it's hard to really 'get'. It reminds me in a funny way of the first piece of work Karen and I made together some 18 odd years ago A Hypertext Journal. This work was all about connecting directly to your audience and 'letting them into the studio at the production stage'. The Internet was still a fresh place to us then rather than where we spent most of our admin-heavy lives and I'll never forget just how exciting it was to open up a direct dialogue with other people connected to our journey (following Boswell and Johnson's travels to the Western Isles) and what we were saying and making. Now everyone has a blog and it's hard to return to a time when even conceptualising what this might be was tricky. Anyway, as far as an audience experience goes we still like to feel this connection as we're making work and we're still in fact in touch with many of the people who became the Somewhere audience with that piece.

So to the film ... and getting closer to people. Because with some of the donations to the film it has really clarified for me why it's so special and what will really touch many people when they see it - and has, it seems, already started to make those connections.

When someone you are really close to is ill everything around you shifts, sometimes for a short and shocking time, sometimes - like with Karen's Mum - for some years. Sometimes it's hard to see it shifting but to me it's a falling away of other things that don't matter so much and it leaves you in a space with that person where you can really be together. Often this has to happen in a hospital and this whole experience can feel so brutalised that when it's over all you want to do is forget about it, move on and return to the rest of your world. But in my experience this return can also be hard because to have this close connectedness to another person is undoubtedly a privilege and one that in someways you can miss just as you miss the person. There's something very liberating about cutting out all the unimportant things in life and it can be difficult to return to the world which is all just ticking along as before.

Some of the people who have given to the film maybe have connected to this. Many people experience this feeling of growing closer to someone through a shocking or sad situation - it's just it's hard to bring those feelings out of that world and to re-connect it much more broadly to that of others.

We hope the film can do this and we're very glad that some of you do too.

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Is there anybody there?

Waiting in a BBC studio to go live on BBC Radio Essex to talk about Jaywick Escapes!

Please support my new film

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Please support our next film - Indiegogo goes live!

For the first time we are turning to our public to help fund our new film, The Closer We Get - please have a look at our video and share, share, share :-)

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YAYYYYY!! Jaywick DVD hot of the press!

Preview copies going out now to a few VIPs then very soon (December 16th) available to the planet :-)
You can pre-order your copies from today on the lovely Somewhere shop - enjoy!

Tomorrow night Thursday the 12th of December a free screening to celebrate the launch of the DVD. 7.00pm sharp in Lecture Theatre 1 at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2EU - come to the entrance on Jays Mews and ask for the screening at reception.

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What HAVE we been doing in Cambridge?

Well quite a lot (!) and recently we gave a talk about this residency and the projects we are proposing from it. The event was in the fantastic Sackler Lecture Theatre in the Institute of Astronomy right by the site where we're working - quite a daunting venue!

You can watch the 20 min talk here and see more about Hannah Rickards and Tanya Kovat's projects too.

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Structure on Current NWC site, Photo: Nina Pope

10 Years of LAG

Seems I was busy ten years ago (see below for Bata-ville!) as with artists Anna Best and Rona Lee I set up what later became fondly known to us as Ladies Art Group or LAG (!) It was a forum for (then) mainly socially engaged artists to talk about our practice. We have met regularly ever since with a changing membership and I have found it an invaluable resource as well as a great way to keep up with friends.

This week we're breaking with tradition and making our first 'public outing' with a discussion session at Parasol Unit. Chaired by Rona Lee (Professor of Fine Art Northumbria University), it will involve a conversation between past and current members of the group around questions of authorship in participatory practice and the impact of commissioning upon the wider direction of an artist's work.

More details here.

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Winter warmer …

Thank you to all of you who helped make this season another milestone year for Abbey Gardens.
The Friends group registered as a Charity in January, ran over 100 free gardening sessions, attracted over 200 people to the Summer event and Harvest Festival, secured additional funding to build a composting toilet and a cooking area...
Gardening sessions ended last Saturday to a bumper crop of sweet potatoes, which sealed a year of amazing harvest...
But the season would not be complete without our Frost Fair on December 7th from 4 - 6pm.
The event is free, so come out, enjoy warm Winter drinks and home made soups and sing along with members of All Saints Chorus. There will be a wreath making workshop, chutney tasting and of course, our ever-popular cake stall.
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday 7th !

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It was 10 years ago today!

Happy Anniversary Bata-ville - ten years have flown by since a little art commission in East Tilbury hatched the wonderful Bata-ville: We Are Not Afraid of the Future !

For us it's so much more than a film - we made such great friends along the way, worked with brilliantly talented people and have countless cherished memories to this day.
Who would have thought back then that one day you'd be able to watch the film online too - thanks to Distrify we all now can :-)

1 Comment:

Saw your tweet on the day - I can't believe it's 10 years since the travel agency - I had a little moment with the website looking at all the passenger profiles again. I can't believe how much extra material we have up there!

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Cambridge Festival of Ideas - Prehistoric-stylee

Unsurprisingly perhaps, mud (or 'cob') architecture as it's usually known as in England, appears very little in the archaeological record hereabouts. Ashes to ashes, mud to mud etc. Especially wet, cold, British mud. I have read of advances in Africa and the USA in identifying excavations of mud wall architecture, but there is something profound to me about the absence of these most primitive shelters from the tangible past celebrated in this country - I guess it leaves more work for the imagination to do.

Fortunately visitors to our cob building zone at Cambridge Archaeology Unit's Prehistory Day were in general under 8 years of age and hence spared us clueless artists a grilling on the evidence of earth-building in prehistoric building techniques. Their parents were just glad to have them occupied I think and therefore neither did they ask any tricky history questions - though if they had, there were plenty of real-life archaeologists around to point them to - all doing exciting things like butchering a deer, archery and -er-face painting. I even heard two chatting each other up,
'What's your specialism?"
"Oh, the Mesolithic transition in South East England"
"Cool. That's mine too"
One very keen small boy had done a thorough excavation of his back garden, that had - he proudly said - yielded 'Half of a wig curler'. I think his Dad was an archaeologist, or maybe this is normal stuff for kids in Cambridge to be into? If it is, we are definately not in Kansas anymore.

Anyhow, the local kids seemed happier just to get stuck in and muddy, assisting us in building a small cob 'tower block' that we were trialling for a sculpture proposal for the NW Cambridge site. I brought to the workshop some wooden beehive 'supers' (boxes in which the combs hang) to try as time-saving moulds, as Nina shows in the picture, these seemed to work well packed with mud, and the resulting one-metre high cob tower stacked up rather well, though I'm not sure it would win any RIBA awards.

You can see more pictures of the workshop on Flickr here

Thanks to Sara Harrop, CAU and to Maeve Polkinhorn of CAS for their help on the day

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Photo: Dave Webb

Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Awards

I'd a lovely time last week, heading back to Edinburgh to pick up an award for our film Jaywick Escapes, selected from over 100 entries (docs and fiction).

The Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Awards commend films from all over the world, so it was also great to see extracts from these on the big screen. We'd like to thank the panel and the organisers for both the award and the evening's event.

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Karen picks up the award at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh