A Good Year

2014 was a good year. It began in Berlin…travelled via Hoddesdon, London, Cambridge, Lille, Brisbane, Canberra, Reidsdale, Sydney, Whitstable, Margate and Seville. For a while the circus ran away with me, but I came home to grow quinces, renovate my garden and enjoy a glorious English summer.
I experienced a mystical moment with Joe Brown and ‘Passing the Buck’ at Margate Retro, saw beautiful art and spent time with the people who make my life great. September saw me embark upon a PhD in Information Experience Design at Royal College of Art, London and begin playing with the Snail’s Progress Gamelan Orchestra. What adventures!

The fun looks set to continue in 2015 with new light mapping projects, exhibitions and collaborations in theatre and architectural spaces. Stay tuned…

DIY Planetarium


This week I’ve made a portable planetarium dome using references and instructions from enthusiastic DIY dome builders who share their knowledge online. The dome is for a collaborative project with the IED Masters students from the Exploded Screen elective at Royal College of Art and the Planetarium at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. It is fifteen years since I first designed images in a planetarium but the fulldome projection space remains a joy, so creating this small hemisphere has been a pleasure.


Gore panels were cut to size using this calculator.


Overlocking the cotton lycra panels in the Fashion Menswear studio at RCA.


Fibreglass tent poles make the framework and despite a few nervous moments it fits together beautifully.


Hayden, Kelly and Yasmeen complete the structure with cable ties.


Setting up the projector, thanks to Kevin for his resourceful use of student lockers and to Rob, Ed and Tom from RMG for making it possible.


The Exploded Screen students project fulldome tests during the morning crit.

English Summer


Today is the last official day of summer holidays and what a lovely time I have had. The sun has been shining, the days have been warm and the evenings long. I have spent time with loved ones, danced the night away under the stars, eaten a crop of home grown berries, built a new wardrobe, enjoyed evenings in London and swung in the hammock. The new greenhouse is filled with beautiful green sprouts and cuttings, the garden make-over is completed, my shed is clean and tidy and ready for the next round of creative endeavours. Just as a summer ought to be…work starts in earnest next week.


Blooming geraniums in my new greenhouse.


Striking rosemary cuttings for a new mini-hedge in front of the shed.


The 2014 red current crop.


Richard relaxing.


Richard building the new raised vegetable bed from Australian jarrah sleepers (not so relaxing).


Standon Calling Festival, Hertfordshire.


A well deserved gin & tonic.


Chuck D and Flavor Flav hip hip hip at Standon Calling Festival.


Ron and Richard at Downham Market Cricket Club.


Ryoji Ikeda, Spectra, London.


Moths in the light, Ryoji Ikeda, Spectra, London.


Super Raspberry at Woody’s Cafe. Perfect.

Beautiful Mornings

The reality of running away with the circus means many long hours animating in my studio. But since the clocks changed to summer-time I have been walking along the River Lee at 6am after leaving Richard at the train station. It is exquisite. The mornings are quiet and still and beautiful. Every day the world unfolds in slightly different ways. The swan swimming down river with its wings extended like an ice sculpture, mother duck with her brood of 15 tiny fluff-ball babies, the heron flying low and purposeful, the muntjac grazing unconcerned at the water’s edge, the conjunction of the rising sun and the setting moon, the hammering of a woodpecker and in the last two days, the first cuckoo of spring calling out to celebrate the morning. Perfection.

Days in the Shed

January and February have mostly been spent working on projects in the shed with selected days out for lecturing and socialising. After the creative development with Circa in Berlin over new year, the Carnival of the Amazing Animals circus projection animation is underway. Circa will be performing Opus at the Barbican in London next week, so there will be a few days of discussion and rehearsal while they are here. I have been working on the Lil’ Red music video with Stephen Lenman from Skopje. It’s a bleak little tale but highly appropriate content for animating through the dark, wet winter…hoping to complete and launch at the end of February. My PhD research continues with the ongoing development of Two Places I Call Home and A Collected History of Light. Discussions are also underway with Alison Gazzard about our next co-authored paper investigating light, maps, time and rhythm.


A still from the Lil’ Red music video currently in production for Skopje.


Rain dripping from the eaves of the shed is a daily feature in my view of the garden.


Image of the day is randomly selected from my library. Today’s image is from photographer Uta Barth’s book ‘In Between Places’.


A rare sunny morning and a perfect place to sit. 

Creative Development

In Berlin this week to develop a new show with Circa. I am creating video projections which are a blend of circus, carnival and a travelogue of extraordinary creatures in exotic locations. We had preliminary discussions yesterday before watching Circa’s current show Beyond at the Chamaleon Theatre in the evening. This morning we designed a set and plotted basic the ideas for the first half of the show. In my mind, it is already a journey of wonder and amazement which happily fulfils childhood dreams of running away with the circus.

My afternoon was spent wandering the streets of Berlin and included the purchase of a petite but very lovely mid-century sewing box. Out for tapas this evening and then back to the theatre for a second viewing of Beyond.

Books

After nearly eight months with my head buried in a large stack of books and three weeks of writing in the shed, today I have completed the second draft of my PhD proposal about wonder and light. I don’t I have a lot left to say, so I am handing over to Jerome A. Miller because he has summed up my experience perfectly.

“For in wondering about wonder, as in wonder itself, there is no closure. Indeed, the whole point is not to close the opening but to open it, to live in that openness, to be the unconditional questioner”.

 

Light Show

I saw the Light Show at the Hayward Gallery recently and I am happy to say it was one of the most pleasing exhibitions I’ve been to for some time. There was a lovely sense of the pleasure of discovery and strong links to my current research and practice; light, perception, wonder and phenomenal experience.

I certainly wasn’t excited by all of the artworks but the were a few I really loved; Olafur Eliasson’s Model for a timeless garden is animation in real-time, in which clouds of water particles become miniature galaxies and moving fountains are momentarily frozen in mid-air. Brigitte Kowanz’s Light Steps is a beautifully simple visual illusion which creates an imagined spatial dimension, Carlos Cruz-Diez Chromosaturation (pictured above) plays with the perception of colour. By standing still in a deeply saturated red space eventually the red neutralises back to white. Moving into the adjoining green space, the greenness of green is almost overwhelming. Beautiful.

Heading South

Flights are booked for a six week adventure in the big southern land. Arriving early June and staying until mid-July. I can hardly wait to soak up the space, the air and the sky. You can take a girl out of the country but you certainly can’t take the country out of the girl.

I begin in Sydney, presenting a research paper about maps, time, global cycles and technology at the ISEA 2013 conference with my  friend and PhD supervisor Alison Gazzard.

The rest of my time will be spent catching up with the people I love and miss. Sure, it will be another round of winter, but so worth it…