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The A Foundation honesty stall was set up at Rochelle this week, designed and made by Martino Gamper it is mainly stocking goods from Grizedale and Toge at the moment but is intended to be of a more general use. The stall will also act as an information point for the Agrifashionista project.
I like the Hoxton look of it in contrast to Lawson Park's farmer's aesthetics and the Toge minimal version - I think we've got a franchise going here.
The idea of the stalls is that they act as an exchange point for ideas, marrying art projects with useful basic product. As the stalls develop there will be a more complex interaction between each of them and between product and ideas.
Bank Holiday takings = £9.78
I went to Germany to see Robert Eikmeyer a curator Grizedale is working with. His interest is centred at the moment on totalitarian use of art, so he has been working on Hitler, Stalin, Marx, and is currently developing an exhibition around Disney and his totalitarian vision. The show will be happening in 09 at ZKM. We are planning to run a TV production studio within the exhibition – the upcoming studio at Rochelle in London is the prototype. After the - as always hellish trip through northern Britain and Manchester airport with the wild animals that constitute the Shitish public it was a blessed relief to join German culture on the TUIfly.com budget airline which was really good, very basic but nice and quiet with pleasant happy blond gay stewards – I would recommend this airline! Then to land in Stugartt and a civilized country - although the airport was rather full of German men in plastic stetsons returning from Ibiza - another gay thing I guess. During the trip I also visited Christoph Kellor the former the owner of Revolver publishing who has published several of Robert’s books. Christoph sold Revolver recently and bought a farm near Lake Constance. The farm has a licence to distill alcohol which is a rare thing and is lost if you do not distil for 3 years, so Christoph took to distilling Schnapps like a duck takes to water and now is making amazing high quality Schnapps as well as keeping going with his book production - now with JRP Ringier. Yes, and also renovating and developing the house, barns, gardens and land. I was amazed and awed, this is some energy way beyond my own. So we talked about the farms and Grizedale and maybe doing some projects together with farming. I thought about doing an open air conference with the energetic people like Christoph doing kind of Sermon on the Mount style talks, surrounded by animals and people, maybe 6 at once or maybe open air lectures to people working on the farm. Like during the haymaking weekend, like in Cuban factories, lectures on culture and Schnapps, bees and relational aesthetics - mmm. The Hay Lectures, the Potato Lectures, The Irrigation Lectures, could be a nice series?
Then I went by comfortable and quiet train to Berlin. I travelled the full distance without headphones (my usual block to bedlam) (5 hours) and was only annoyed once by a man on a mobile in the resturant car who kept shouting ‘choose’ – which for me is always a tough one - choosing. In Berlin I was met by Dan Sieple from Sculpturen Park and an aquaintance from New York – he was a member of The E Team before going solo. So I am in Berlin to help with the selection of the upcoming programme for the Scupturen Park run by Dan and his friends. The name is a kind of joke it’s not really meant to be a sculpture park - it’s maybe new kind of joke a little difficult to get at first. The park is in reality a series of empty lots, wasteland awaiting development, the artist/curators want to retain that quality, so the park has this limited life span and is only viable through negociation with various ever changing landlords. But as they say in the art world ‘it’s a great space’ it is also situated on the former militairzed zone between east and west. The selection panel makes for an entertaining couple of days, each curator or artist has selected 2 artists to present, so the standard is high. I make the most terrible fist of a presentation, still everyone feels sorry for the artists I present so they both get pretty well recieved. I find it impossible to get over the idiosyncratic proposal of Emily Wardil, it contains multiple references including a marriage of German prog rock and the complexities of Lovejoy and jokes about how short Ian McShane is – it is hard to explain the delicate nature of this cultural position vis a ve his cross pollinating Anglo-Germanic hair arrangements, the post reformation position of 70/80’s culture and the general grooviness of the proposal. Garrett Phelan’s proposal is a little easier on the international ear and fewer questions are asked. There seems to be amongst the German artist proposals an odd replication of everyday activity, like the proposal to clear a dead persons apartment and sell the contents in a Flea market, interesting enough but easily accessed as part of normal life. Where does it end, ‘I would propose ziz verk - vone zelected person each day valks from a specific apartment, the exact same route each day to another building, at the end of the day he retraces his steps, to the exact original position, every veekday he repeats zis action but at ze veekend he by his own vill changes ze zystem - he leaves later, goes to a different place or series of places chosen specifically by the person themselves – actually this is starting to sound rather good.
Taking the piss out of people's English is outrageous, the entire German speaking panel spoke in English just for me because I am such a moron that I cant even speak German. I was ashamed of myself.
Two of the the projects that GA staff Alistair Hudson and Karen Guthrie have been working on in the West Cumbrian town of Egremont, are on the up:
One is a RIBA competition to design a celebration / performance structure to fit inside the Norman keep of Egremont Castle. The castle is one of the town's hidden gems, used as a backdrop for local wedding photos and as a place to drink in for the local kids, so this is an opportunity to site something useful but also experimental and fun - in a unique historic spot.
The second is the Folk Float, a kind of live museum on wheels designed by public works - a customised milk float which tours about picking up new exhibits from local people. The Float fabrication is nearly finished, and we are planning to show up at numerous country shows in Cumbria throughout September.....
Lawson Park Garden has just been accepted into the prestigious National Garden Scheme, or 'Yellow Book' as its called by those in the know. The scheme raises money for charity by opening mainly private gardens to the public, and usually offering teas and plant sales alongside. Grizedale sees its participation as part of its education and outreach work, communicating its overall aims to new audiences through the garden and land programme.
We haven't yet confirmed the open date but it's likely to be late August 2008.
Whilst the local NGS coordinator braved the sodden garden, George got on with the long-awaited planting up of the new bog garden. I joined him for the afternoon, at which point the general dampness turned into a steady downpour. However, though this may be nasty for humans, for the bog plants - Primulas, ferns and irises - it was perfect.
Sat 25th and Sun 26th August
Volunteer for a weekend of hand scything and stacking at Lawson Park's exceptional upland hay meadows in the Lake District, Cumbria. The meadows are a local bio diversity priority having a wide range of wild flowers, grasses and butterflies.
3 hearty meals and overnight camping offered.
Call 015394 41050 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to volunteer.
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