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Heavy Load play out Brit Doc 2008
This doesn't really do justice to a wild performance

Heavy Load

I'm just back tired and emotional from BritDoc 2008 & I can definitely report that the festival is much more fun when your film is not playing! This year I was able to see more stuff, concentrate on what was being said/shown and enjoy responding to the question of 'what are you working on next' with 'a film about cat breeding' ... which caused most 'networking' pressures to evaporate ...

My absolute top recommendation would be a co-SXSW film from this year 'Heavy Load - A film about happiness', which I was excited and nervous to see. It didn't disappoint, I loved the film & you can't help but love a band who cover Kylie & the clash & wrote a song in tribute to George Michael 'Gay at weekends'.

Visit their website for more info & sign up for screening info when it's released in the UK - you won't regret it. The image to the right shows the band singing with the producer & director at the closing party.

It reminded me of Bata-ville in a funny way, and how moved I was by the experience of making it, and the commitment of many of the films 'characters'. Bata-ville has been called 'a sad film about hope', in many ways Heavy Load is a sad film about happiness, it obviously had as big an impact on the director as Bata-ville and its participants had on Karen & I.

The other film I saw was Man on Wire ... also a cinema visit you won't regret, although at a festival focussed on composers & music, it was shame to see a film with such a miserable off the shelf top-classical-hits sound track. For me it spoiled an otherwise top notch film.

Other highlights were my 'surgery' with Danielle DiGiacomo of Indiepix & an extraordinarily helpful hot housing session (we BritDoc grantees get extra special treatment) with the forthright Documentary Doctor Fernanda Rossi. The woman is an advice power house, I could see why you might end up paying her to Skype you with exec. feedback!

A gratuitous repeat of this unforgettable image
of transatlantic Tudorness at SXSW earlier this year

The joys of local media

Here's a forensically detailed review of our film Living with the Tudors!

Detail of 'Titschy/kitschy'
How can you resist?

The Honesty Table at Arnolfini's 'Far West' show

We *think* that the Northern Art prize-winning Honesty Tables are out on show at Bristol's Arnolfini Gallery right now as part of the show 'Far West'. If you've seen the show please confirm or deny....
The show is a quiet launch of the finished multiple 'Titschy / kitschy' (the prototype was on show in the NAP too), a collectible set of two model houses depicting rural idylls in the English Lake District and Japan.
Price? I think that's up to the gallery....but excellent value of course.
Read more here about the show, though there's a far nicer project website here.

Have Juneau/projects been here much?

Karen on Exmoor

This week I'm on gorgeous Exmoor in Somerset, developing my project for the Triparksresidency, a great project hosting artists in 3 of England's National Parks. Following a productive 2 days of meetings in the implausibly named Pixies Holt outward bound centre on Dartmoor (a first for me to stay in one of these places, and goodness me what a crime against interior design it was...) I have broken away to pursue my many leads here in Exmoor.
You can read about my attempts to invent an Exmoor National Dress here.

Dodging showers on the greenway
photo: Tim Olden

What Will The Harvest Be? - The Walk

Thanks to everyone who came along on the walk on Saturday, Karen & I really enjoyed it!
Special thanks to Len, Janice, Gordon & Louise for opening up the world of Newham
allotments for us, and to the Friends of Abbey Gardens for the food in the evening.

For those there (& those who missed it!) you might like to see my pictures on Flickr

Somewhere Seeds

I've been enjoying myself preparing packets of seeds to give away on the What Will The Harvest Be Walk we're planning for Saturday. I must say I'm quite pleased with the packets, as Karen says 'it all comes back to printmaking skills' in the end. The idea is to link the seeds to both the site/person who collected them and eventually to an on-line database of plants in the Harvest Garden. We're interested to see if we can link the real garden to an on-line audience and personalise the plants and gardeners at the same time.

See the What Will The Harvest Be Blog for where these first seeds were collected from.

Walk with us ... this weekend

This Saturday July 12th you can walk & talk with us about our new project WHAT WILL THE HARVEST BE? We will be leading a walk from Abbey Gardens around some of Newham’s other green spaces:

3.00 pm Abbey Gardens (Bakers Row)
3.15 pm West Ham Park
4.15 pm St Mary’s Allotments
5.00 pm The Greenway
5.30 pm West Ham Allotments
6.00 pm Abbey Gardens - Picnic

Come & join us for the walk to hear more about our proposed projects for Abbey Gardens and meet some Newham residents with green fingers. Following the walk there will be an informal gathering for a picnic with the Friends of Abbey Gardens, which you are also very welcome to join. Feel free to bring along some food (especially home-grown!) Elderflower drinks will be available made with the flowers I gathered on the site.

To book a place on the walk please email us.

Click here for more information on the project.

Abbey Gardens is located at the end of Bakers Row, Stratford, East London E15 3NF

The Haverhill audience - 99% Tudors?

Tudor Screening

We had a great turn out from Kentwell last week, for our special screening of Living with the Tudors, so much so that the 'regular' audience members are virtually invisible! The manager of the cinema was very excited to see a mid week queue of Tudors stretching out down the block.

It felt great to finally show the film to a big group of participants from the re-creation, and a really interesting Q&A followed the screening. Questions touched on what our expectations had been, why we didn't show more 'non-gentry' characters and how we ultimately felt about the bad feeling the filming caused with some participants at the time.

Karen and I were too nervous to sit through the actual showing and went for the obligatory Somewhere regional curry. Fortunately we returned to the sound of much applause for the film as the credits rolled and there seemed to be a general good vibe to the evening. Of course some might argue that it's impossible to expect that everyone involved in making a film might like it - but of course it doesn't stop you hoping that this might be the case. I think the poor distribution manager from Soda pictures had certainly had enough of hearing about the Tudors by the time we let him back out of the car in Hackney.

Mog is the lovely Tudor cover girl

In a cinema near you very soon!

Two exciting updates for Living with the Tudors - On July 1st at 7.30pm there will be a special screening at the Haverhill Arts Centre cinema to coincide with this years main event at Kentwell. All Kentwell staff & re-enactors will enjoy a discount ticket price of £3.00. Come along & see yourself on the big screen! Karen & I will be there for a Q&A and to catch up with everyone.

If you live in London sadly you will have to wait until August to see the film in the cinema ... if you can't wait for the big screen experience you can order the DVD, available from July 30th from Soda Pictures here in the UK.

the show flyer

Go Broadcast Yourself - the good old days of new media

Vintage Pope & Guthrie is currently on show at Cornerhouse in the show 'BROADCAST YOURSELF'.
The project 'TV swansong' (2002)- an insanely ambitious live, one-day webcast by artists - is part of this fascinating overview of artists' broadcasting interventions.
The artists we curated into the project were Walker & Bromwich, Chris Helson, Jessica Voorsanger, Jordan Baseman, Rory Hamilton & Jon Rogers, Georgio Sadotti and Graham Fagen.

It was a crazy project - administratively, financially, technically - in fact I found this page cached in my web browser which made me shudder to revisit the planning! But it was also a brave project that I am still very proud of. Despite horrific technical glitches on the live day, the project broke new ground artistically and technologically.

At the Cornerhouse preview last week I met with a number of nice folk from the good old days of new media. It was great to catch-up. For the first time in my career I felt how those ageing video artists must feel when looking back on their early oeuvre - a kind of affection and nostalgia for its clunkiness. We all laughed at the various technical hitches the show was suffering from - Alistair Gentry had a loose cable, I (still a very poor operator on a PC) couldn't bookmark the TV swansong website or make it the browser's 'home', though thankfully the piece's still work online some 6 years on...
It's the first time I've really recognised the 'historic-ness' of the new media work of the late 90's and early noughties, and its a credit to curators Kathy Rae Huffman and Sarah Cook that the show places this work in a continuum from the radical artists film and video of decades earlier.

I think the Youtube generation could love this show - only 3 or 4 years ago people would have found all this low-res on big screens pretty unwatchable (I remember long discussions with our more sceptical TV swansong artists about how webcasting compared formally with their more familiar single-screen gallery installations). But now we have films on mobile phones, iPlayer and a generally very wide tolerance for big pixels and wobbly shots.

'BROADCAST YOURSELF' is at Cornerhouse (I just noticed the address isn't on the preview card - pause to find it...) from 13th June till 10th August 2008

70 Oxford Street
M1 5NH

T 0161 200 1500