Step 4, ‘You must be a poet, a lady of evil luck, desiring to be what you’re not’. Vasiliki Sifostratoudaki with Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert, Yellow Brick, Athens, October 2017

Dear Vasiliki,

I came to the discussion you had at Yellow Brick with Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert about a week and a half ago. It’s one of the first things that I went to when I arrived back in Athens and I wanted to let you know that I loved it.

It was great exercise for my brain. Since leaving university, even though I still read a lot, I don’t get to be part of, or hear discussions like that very often. I’m sure I only understood about half of it, I’m still thinking about it all now. I’m a feminist but I haven’t read much feminist theory, so it was great to get some more insight. I had a googling frenzy of the women that Federica mentioned, especially Carla Lonzi.

Apart from the discussion itself I also liked how you set everything up; that it was hospitable, that there was food and that at the end the discussion just kept on going. Eventually I had to leave so I have no idea when the discussion actually finished.

I really like the premise of Yellow Brick too. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about working with as little hierarchy as possible, in a collaborative way, somewhere between an art practice and a curatorial practice.

I have my fingers crossed that you’ll have another event before I leave Athens again.

Thanks,

Jan

p.s. I forgot to mention two of my favourite things; watching your cat’s dare devil antics and the look on Jan Verwoert’s face every time it looked like it was going to leap off the balcony. Oh yeah, and Jan Verwoert’s hand gestures while he talked.

p.p.s. Sorry I stole your event picture from facebook. I couldn’t concentrate on what everyone was saying and take a picture at the same time, I hope that’s okay?

Runes or Rhubarb, Damian Magee, Platform, Belfast, 2017.

Runes or Rhubarb, Platform, Belfast 7/08/17

Dear Damian,

I went to see your show at Platform while I was at home last week, a friend had recommended it to me.

I loved it.

I think I probably liked it so much because it’s very similar to my own work;

  • I make hand bound books, and you make hand bound books.
  • The content for my books is derived from obsessive reading, notating and dissecting of other people’s words (books) in an attempt to reduce them to their base elements and to find out how language works. You also obsessively dissect other people’s words and pull them apart to find out how they work.
  • I show this process as part of my work, you show this process as part of your work. (I really liked how in ‘Build Babel’ you blew up what looked like an A4 sheet of text with all your notations on it from google translate). 

    Sorry, this is a terrible picture I took with my phone.
  • I tried to translate these dissected bits of language into images, sounds and smells to bypass language, or textual language at least, and so did you with ‘Logos’.

I liked that you use spoken language and vernacular with its ability to morph and change shape quickly over time as your starting point. I don’t do that, I use ‘literary classics’ or sometimes episodes of Casualty (I don’t recommend that). I’ve been thinking a lot about rhythm in my work recently. Language has rhythm especially when it’s spoken but good writers seem to be able to create it too. Sorry I have no idea where I’m going with this, it’s because your work has got me thinking, thanks for that. I think that’s probably the biggest compliment I could give anyone about their work.

After I visited your exhibition I went to my old studio to visit my friend Lisa and do a bit of work of my own there while I was visiting. I told her about your show and she said that she knew you and that you normally have a studio there too (Cathedral Studios). Maybe we’re studio twins who were separated at birth?

Next time I’m home or if you’re in London (I live near there), can we meet up? It might be awkward as fuck* because we don’t actually know each other but I’m willing to take the risk,

Jan

*I just read an article online that said it wasn’t cool to use the prefix ‘super’ anymore and that now we should all be saying ‘as fuck’ instead.

Mary Conroy’s plant pots at Ormston House Sept. 16

Mary Conroy at Ormston House, Limerick September 2016
Mary Conroy at Ormston House, Limerick September 2016
Mary,
It was a Monday and we had forgotten that the gallery would be closed, so we gawped in the window instead. I had seen them before at the Ursula Burke opening, but this was my first proper look.
I liked the snaky trails. Like dream-time song-line maps. Where are you going? The green is really nice as well, the different types of green, especially the long one that leans to the left at the top. The planters are grey and earthy, but dryer than that. Their solidness is calming, even with their wheels. Wheely good! How many sides do they have? I forget! Is it 8? They don’t look like a “display” display, and I like that. Because we were peering in the window, I enjoyed the added extra of the faint film of me reflected over it all. Jan looked quite funny at the window taking photos of inside. Inside is careful and clear, and there she was lined up in the rain and the wind beside the posters for shows and plays. I wonder what we looked like to the planters. 🙂
B.

 

Dear Mary Conroy’s Plant Pots at Ormston House,

I visited Ormston House with Bee Carroll a few days ago to see the opening of a show there. I walked in the door and immediately noticed that they had really nice plant pots in the entrance. (I love any kind of plants inside). I got rushed past them to where the free beer was, Mary you where there too.

Anyway, I went back to look at the plant pots because I liked them so much. I liked that they are hexagonal (?) and dark grey, and that it looks a bit like they have fossils in them. They are sort of Giant’s Causeway-like, or at least they remind me of that bit of coastline, I used to go fossil hunting round there when I was a kid. If I’m honest I still do, there’s a pile of them on my kitchen windowsill now.

Getting back to your pots, the dark grey colour looked really great with the plants. It was also nice that they were at different heights, so it felt more like how you would see them in nature. The stands that you made for them where really nice, it was great that they matched the hexagonal shape of the pots and are on those tiny wheels. It’s nice that the stands are smooth and shiny with the heavier and rougher texture of the pots.

Best,

Jan

Michael Rowsome’s Instagram (foxyrobber)

Michael Rowsome's (foxyrobber) Instagram Feed
Michael Rowsome’s (foxyrobber) Instagram Feed

I was in the Tate Modern on the opening weekend of the new building, and stood there in the middle of All The Art and All The People, showing my friends your Instagram feed. You have an interesting Instagram account with posts of funny things, pretty things and thoughtful things. You have lots of photos of clouds, and the cloud photo I was showing my friends was the one you took when your mother woke you up at 5am, terrified. She was looking for her mother, who had passed away four years previously, and you both went outside for a walk and let nature transport you away from it all. You wrote a piece about what you were both going through, with the hashtags #nature #healing #escapism #hope #dementia #sky. .

I also showed them some of your singing videos. They had the same WTF reaction I had when I first saw them, and then wanted to watch some more just like I also did when I first watched them. They have evolved since then to incorporate dance and facial contortions, and one amazing one with a purple smoothie leaking out of your mouth. Sometimes you can be claustrophobicly close, your face right up to the screen, like you are pressed into a little box. Other times you are flying about your kitchen. I feel a little voyeuristic in staring into your life, but then you stare right back at me, into mine, into me.

Luckily there are cloud photos in between videos to break it up.

B.

 

Dear Micheal Rowsome’s Instagram Account,

When I first looked at your Instagram account I wasn’t sure what to make of it, or how to look at it (maybe I mean judge it, is it an art work or a notebook full of interesting thoughts etc.?). I spoke to my friend Bee who had recommended that we (Sociable NonScience) should write a love or hate letter to it.

To be clear this is a love letter.

From my perspective it feels like an artwork on its own terms, whether you mean for it to be or not. Maybe defining it as an artwork is only important to me?

But setting that aside, I really liked the honesty and sincerity of the images and videos you post. I was going to say naivety but that’s not it at all. It feels like you’ve made a conscious choice not to fit into a genre or idea of what’s cool or not. For me that’s a massive positive.

I love that you post images of the sky at different times / places, it’s totally relatable without being trite. I especially like the videos of you dancing in your kitchen, they have an infectious sense of joy and you sharing it with us is really generous.

More personally they remind me of the aforementioned Bee. She chooses houses to live in based on the kitchen’s capacity for dancing.

A recurring theme that I keep coming back to is a need for self care, by which I mean not only looking after ourselves but each-other in the same way that trees all work together, sharing root systems etc. for the good of the forest as a whole. It feels like you’ve taken the medium of a social media platform like Instagram, that is so often a place for individualistic showing off and made it a place for sharing something positive which is what all these social media sites profess to be. 

Thanks, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you post next ,

Jan

https://www.instagram.com/foxyrobber/

Unknown Taxi Driver’s car

Dear Taxi-Driver,

I can’t stop thinking about your taxi. It was a couple of weeks ago and you were taking us to paint a mural, but bloody hell your car was a work of art. Everything was covered in tape, but not just simply tape, shredded tape, patched tape, black tape, colourful stripes inside and outside the vehicle. I am curious what will happen when you start exploring the 3D options that can arise with tape. The seats had a large square pattern, speaking nicely to the squares on the doors. I loved the steering wheel the most, I think, tiny strips of torn tape of multiple colours. And the sign – Taxi was in tape. You were so big in the little car. To my foreignness you looked like a Mongolian film-star-warrior-poet, though I am pretty sure you are a Nepali taxi driver. I saw you just a couple of days ago driving to Jawalakhel, and I went to wave, then caught myself when I remembered that we never even spoke.

Well, I love your car.

Bernardine

lovehatetaxi3.jpglovehatetaxi4.jpg
lovehatetaxi2.jpglovehatetaxi.jpg

Sociable Science move to Holland this July!

Sociable Sience presents …

“We’ll Build a House”                                                                                                                      (we’re good at that)

In July we will build the façade of a typical Irish ‘Ghost Estate’ house outside of the Werkatelier Gallery in Den Helder, whilst living in a caravan behind the construction. The façade and caravan will be left in place until the end of July and the gallery walls will be gradually filled with advertisements of houses currently for sale in Ireland.

The false facade of the body-less house appears to be a humourous comment on the myths of the Irish boom years and how the Celtic success was built on questionable foundations. However it becomes an eerie and forlorn structure; a ghost not just of Irish financial disasters, but of the epic losses across Europe. Countries such as Ireland, Greece and Iceland, previously the golden child of the economic west; now face suffocating austerity measures. If Ireland’s economic boom was a lie based on falsely inflated house prices and banking corruption, then the thousands of “ghost” houses lying empty reflect this false front and the calamitous fate of all countries slipping away from the economic “west”.

Werkatelier Richter | Juttersplein 2a | Den Helder | The Netherlands
Juli tot 1 Augustus
Launching  9 Juli  16.00u