Sunday, 28 February 2010

Dromos review

The Generator’s show Dromos takes as its lofty aim the creation of “a New Babylon of discovery” unconstrained by the rigid white cube. Incorporating performance, sculpture and graphic design, pleasingly the work here is visceral, funny and compelling enough to make good on its ambitious promises. The first gallery is reborn as the scene of a terrible accident outside Dundee train station, an abandoned taxi intersecting the space and facing a floor scattered with broken boxes and littered with tattered clothes. On a screen we can see a messianic performance by Bedwyr Williams whose bloodied features are haunted by the trauma of his art-world misadventures. Leaning over the taxi’s bonnet he ponders why “Scottish and Irish artists are always bullying Welsh artists” and other imagined slights. The opening-night audience chuckle away in sympathy with his thwarted ideals. Next door the work of Derek Sutherland, Never Been In a Riot, carries on the theme of urban ennui. Three wheelie bins stand shrouded in dry ice before a slide show that sees shots of fashion models and scenes of wasteland illuminate the wall. Nearby two LCD displays scroll fragments of text by William Burroughs, as the sainted junkie evolves his thinking about systems of control. Guiding us through this dense, exhilarating exhibition, the Dromos gallery handout is designed by the London-based architect James Alexander Craig and sees image, text and typography collide and bleed into one other across the page. You’re left dizzy and thrilled, immersed in the Dromos experience.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Kill Your Timid Notion 2010

If any members of the DCA crowd were excitedly looking forward to another year’s feast of experimental music from the justly renowned Kill Your Timid Notion festival, well they were in for an upset. 2010’s edition offers no such conventional entertainment, and indeed the opening night’s events took such timid notions and killed them stone dead. Inaugurating the festival was Basque “noise artist” Mattin who, under the glare of spotlights, took a seat opposite the audience and did nothing. Eventually some brave souls began to stand and move around the gallery, one exhibitionist even performing a seductive dance to a few chuckles, and after about half an hour many spectators started to drift outside for some chat amongst themselves. Next up was Loïc Blairon, a young French musician who set up a speaker in the room’s corner that muttered inaudibly (something about words maybe?) before he (eventually, after quite some time) got up and pushed two blackboards across the space. Again, the crowd’s quiet spontaneous discussions duly began to strike up. Headliners were Scottish performance artists Smith/Stewart who had us queue up the gallery’s outside staircase. We then each filed into a room and were given instructions to face a camera and say the word DEAD before finally sitting inside the gallery to patiently view the actions of those next in line. Any value judgements or star ratings here seem quite redundant. Dear reader, I urge you instead to act in the spirit of the even itself. Best to write your own review and award marks ranging from 5 (exciting, radical, innovative) to zero (old hat). Keep in mind this is being judged according to your own personal tolerance for this sort of ultra-minimal, process-based activity. When you’ve done that, sit down in groups and discuss your conclusions (if any). Then go home.

mixtape is go!

The long-awaited/much-heralded/eagerly-anticipated Yuck 'n Yum mixtape, featuring tracks by myself as well as a whole bunch of other talented artists, is now online and available for your delectation. Just go here and click the link near the top of the page.

Thursday, 25 February 2010


All this week Yuck 'n Yum will be broadcasting audio art throughout the DCA's Kill Your Timid Notion festival via the magic of Bluetooth technology. Today it's my turn to be up for transmission, and from Saturday you'll be able to download the full mixtape from our website: LINK

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


What with today being payday I've gone and bought a small bunch of stuff:

Peter Jensen jumper, £26.00

Charles Baudelaire - Selected Poems (Everyman's Pocket Poets), £6.00

Les Aeroplanes - Impersonnel Naviguant E.P (Mathematics Recordings), £8.99

Sunday, 21 February 2010


I now have a profile up on the Central Station art-networking site, and here it is: LINK

Saturday, 20 February 2010


A few photos of the Generator exhibition and after-party that I took last night. Sadly I missed the performances as I was recording the definitive take of the Black Mass / Small Print audio artwork. The show was recorded however, so I may still get a review out of it:




9PM - 1AM

After-party at the Craigtay Hotel:

Friday, 19 February 2010

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Back Buffer: New Arena Paintings / The Skinny

Another article by myself in The Skinny, once again given three stars under their rather arbitrary marking system: LINK

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Public Image review

My recent review of the Cooper Gallery's Public Image show has now appeared in The Skinny. Please note that I rarely award star ratings for for my write-ups, so the 3/5 score is entirely their own editorial choice: LINK

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Public Image

Patricia Esquivias, Folklore II

The Cooper Gallery’s new group show Public Image takes as its theme the ambiguous relationship between ‘us’ and images. Even the greenest of first-year art students knows not to trust a photo, but rather than being a dry exercise lifted from a semiotics textbook the exhibition succeeds through its wit and by a careful selection of source material. The darkened space serves as the stage for DVD projections whose voiceovers comment on the presentation of pictures. Patricia Esquivias’ film Folklore II gives us a lecture that traces correspondences between the reign of King Phillip II of Spain and the ascent of Iberian crooner Julio Iglesias. While the talk is engaging enough, the provenance soon seems a bit shaky; “…and the inside, this is not the picture, but they said that it was full of flowers… and very, very nice…” The viewer starts to question what is being told, taking her words as either occult conspiracy or shaggy dog story. Elsewhere in the room Eric Baudelaire screens [sic], a video showing a Japanese book shop assistant delicately scraping away the pubic hair from a nude photograph, then adding other visual elements such as abstract patterns. Liu Wei next door shows the iconic image of the Tiananmen Square protestor to present-day Beijing students who either do not recognise the image or would prefer to keep quiet. As if to prove the show’s thesis, Philip Braham’s subdued photos of suicide locations have gone on to attract frenzy from the local tabloid press, a manufactured storm in a teacup showing that art is always prey to be undermined by cruel media spin.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


Extract from Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Death on the Installment Plan:

My father was so preoccupied with his typing exercises and his dread of being fired from Coccinelle that even at supper he was deep in thought. He'd lost interest in me. He'd made up his mind about me once and for all ... the idea was firmly anchored in his dome that I was villainy incarnate ... a hopeless blockhead ... and that was that ... that I had no part in the worries, the anxieties of noble individuals ... I wasn't the kind that would carry my suffering around with me in my flesh like a knife ... And keep it turning as long as I lived ... Far from it ... And jerk the handle ... And stick it in deeper! To heighten the pain ... And bellow and broadcast every new step forward in my suffering! Of course not. And turn into a fakir in the Passage! Side by side with them! Sure, something miraculous, something people could worship! Something more and more perfect! That's it. A thousand times more anxious, more harassed, more miserable! ... The saint engendered by hard work and family thrift ... Sure, why not? More muddleheaded ... Sure ... A hundred times thriftier! Glory be! Something that had never been seen before in the Passage or anywhere else ... In the whole world ... Christ! ... The child marvel ... the marvel of all France ... the wonder of wonders! But nothing like that could be expected of me ... I had a depraved nature ... It was inexplicable ... There wasn't a speck or straw of honor in me ... I was rotten through and through ... repulsive, degenerate! I was unfeeling, I had no future ... I was as dry as a salt herring ... I was a hard-hearted debauchee ... a dungheap ... full of sullen rancor ... I was life's disillusionment ... I was grief itself. And I ate my lunch and supper there, not to mention my morning coffee ... They did their Duty! I was their cross on earth! ... I'd never have a conscience! ... I was nothing but a bundle of debased instincts and a hollow that devoured my family's sorry pittance and all their sacrifices. In a way I was a vampire ... It was no use thinking about it ...

Back Buffer: New Arena Paintings review

For any gallery-goer justifiably wary of safe, cutesy painting, the process behind Julian Oliver’s solo show Back Buffer reveals a welcome hyper-violent, intense application of cyber-theory. The pleasant, seemingly conventional abstract patterns on display in Back Buffer may invite muted contemplation, but the New Arena Paintings’ quiet surfaces each disguise histories of detached violence, lazy afternoons spent in thrall to casual gun-play. Their very existence is owed to his game-based painting system ioq3aPaint, a code related to the popular first-person shoot-em-up Quake. From the millions of permutations generated by a few minutes’ stalking and firing, a dozen-strong selection is re-presented here on the walls of the Hannah Maclure Centre. Traces of fragmentary limbs and cocked weapons haunt the images’ fringes, the spectres of previous lives spent patrolling virtual corridors in search of pleasure and carnage. The double life of these prints is what gives them their peculiar charge, an ironic union of action-painting aesthetic and action-hero combat procedure. The knowledge of the patterns’ origins in a gaming experience lends these textures a spooky second-life authority, revealing the compositions to be a collapsing of virtual space and a subversion of the painterly gesture. The gallery apparently plans to give away a CD containing the full source-code of the project, allowing the audience to create their own series of prints based on Oliver’s model. What might first appear merely as pretty eye candy in fact becomes a project full of intriguing, latent potentialities.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Julian Oliver - Back Buffer: New Arena Paintings, 12.02.10

To the Hannah Maclure Centre earlier for the Julian Oliver show that I'll be reviewing for The Skinny tomorrow. This from the press release:

Abstract Expressionist painters have long explored strategies for decoupling gestural habit and tendency in their work by means of automatic or chance-based operations. This exhibition by Berlin based artist Julian Oliver represents a new strategy along this vein, deploying a computer game as canvas, paint and brush.

The exhibition represents a major iteration of Oliver's game-based painting system, ioq3aPaint, a project that began in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia as part of a long career exploring artistic applications for computer game technology. ioq3aPaint is itself a modification of the source code of ioquake3, a free-software first person shooter engine used by thousands of gamers and game developers worldwide."

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Yuck 'n Yum @ KYTN

Yuck 'n Yum will shortly be appearing at the Kill Your Timid Notion festival in Dundee, broadcasting an exclusive mixtape of audio artworks: LINK

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Yuck 'n Yum has grown

Some exciting new developments round Scotland's soi-disant premier art zine. We now have an official PR lady in the shape of the delightful Miss Alexandra Ross, and we are also on board for the DCA's forthcoming Kill Your Timid Notion festival. Details here: LINK

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Central Station 06.02.10 write-up

Yuck 'n Yum make an appearance on the Central Station website, and a brief article about our talk can be found here: LINK

Central Station 06.02.10

Yesterday myself and Gayle gave a presentation about Yuck 'n Yum for Central Station, an artists' social networking group that had organised a day out in Dundee. There were six talks given by different Dundee-based artists and designers at the Hannah Maclure Centre in the University of Abertay. A few photos were taken, and here they are: