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    Entries in Our work (3)


    In a word...


    There have always been two sides to this project. On the one hand we hoped that, by creating space for new projects (or contributing to existing ones) and by bringing people together around the work, the project would be a catalyst for self-sustaining network of people approaching writing in an variety of way. On the other hand, we wanted to approach the project as 'living research', where events and exhibitions provided a social space, where we could meet with artists, arts organisations and their audiences, and learn. That learning would then be passed on to the arts council, and would help to inform decisions about how they contribute to the development of a thriving writing scene, beyond established forms of literature and script writing.

    Here are some of the things we did:

    • Produced a major exhibition of 'Conceptual Writing' at Shandy Hall, Coxwold (once the home of Laurence Sterne, author of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman). The Perverse Library exhibition ran for a month and received coverage in the national press.
    • Supported a series of publication launches by York-based artist publishing outfit information as material, including the launch of a new film about a former Northern Art Prize winner, Pavel Buchler.
    • Helped information as material secure a yearlong residency at The Whitechapel Gallery, one of London's leading art galleries.
    • Worked with The Other Room and Leeds Art Gallery to host POETRY NIGHT, and evening of readings and performances by four world renowned poets, including sound artist Steve McCaffery.
    • Collaborated with internationally acclaimed artist Caroline Bergvall on Ghost Cargo, a flying text art project in the skies over Leeds, delivered as part of the 60th Refugee Week celebrations and in partnership with Leeds Art Gallery.
    • Launched a new publication, RITE, showcasing work by 19 artists and writers, many of them from Yorkshire. The event was held in March 2010 at Project Space Leeds who, along with New Work Network and Open Dialogues, were invaluable partners on the project.
    • Commissioned two new pieces of live performance work for the launch, by three RITE contributors. One of these pieces has gone on to have a life of it's own, and has been shown at several galleries around the UK.
    • Initiated How is art writing?, a programme of artist hosted dinners curated by Bradford-based writer, Rachel Lois Clapham. 
    • Agreed a partnership with Critical Writing Network and Alison Andrews, towards the publications of a Field Guide to writing in Yorkshire. This will be published in summer 2011, and will include a directory of regionally based writing artists. 

    We've learned an enormous amount, and identified a number of challenges facing the development of writing. A series of recommendations for future action have been submitted to the arts council, and the project will now take on a life of it's own, as responsibility for future programming is distributed across the network it has been the catalyst for. We look forward to remaining involved, albeit from more of a distance, and to future collaborations with artists who like to work with words!


    Creative spaces are key to creative culture...

    The view from the reception at Amaze. The first stop on our tour of creative offices in Manchester and London.

    Lee and I hit the road last week, visiting Manchester and London to interview some of the folk involved in a new project with Hyper Island (more on this soon). In the course of three days we visited the offices of Amaze, Channel 4, Code Computerlove, Dare, McCann-Erickson, MTV and Wieden + Kennedy. For us it was an opportunity to have loads of fascinating conversations, some fun with our new video camera (again, more on this soon), and time to reflect on why offices in the world of digital are so very cool.

    In the final days of 2010 (it seems a million years away to us now) the team here at Hebe Media spent a few hours dreaming about the kind of 'work space' we want be in. Don't get us wrong, it's not that we don't like our existing office (it's been a good friend since we opened for business last year), but the fact that it is "an office" is precisely the challenge we need to overcome.

    The view as you leave the lift in the DARE officesWalking into somewhere like Dare, with all its unfinished ply and exposed concrete, and employees sharing lunch over a ping pong tournament; or the Eastend offices of Wieden + Kennedy, with their cycle filled reception and air of independence; or Code's canal side dwelling that hosts a sizzling BBQ whenever the Manchester weather allows, you definitely don't get the sense that this is just another office. Furthermore, you get a distinct impression that the space isn't just a part of a clever branding exercise: these spaces seem to embody, and simultaneously make possible, the particular culture of each organisation.

    A little out of focus, sorry, but this image gives you a view on the entrance to Wieden + Kennedy's office.Lee has written about our work with Hyper Island on a number of occasions. One of the many reasons we enjoy our work with the Swedish-born school of all things digital is that we 'get' their methods. Post-it packed walls, working through 1,000's of ideas (even when they are terrible... mostly mine, I think) to find the few that fit, and using noise and energy as a lubricant for getting to great solutions. Adopting these methods requires a culture of openness, where mess and discontinuity are a part of the furniture. In turn we need a space that matches up to that culture. A space that is a fundamental part of our culture.

    Hebe team member, Shang Ting showing putting some thoughts about our office down on paper before XmasWe think the Hebe office needs to be bigger and brighter, one space that is made of many kinds of different spaces. Make it happen space, relax space, reflect space, test space, mess space, retail space, gallery space, meeting space, drinking coffee space, play space, social space, party space, and so on. We also think that this is a space that we would want to share with others, so that our culture can cross fertilise. We want to start when we start, finish when we finish, and hang out when our brains can't take any more. In short, we want a creative space.

    This is our dream. We hope to realise it in 2011, and we want anyone who shares this dream to join us. You know where to find us!


    A Perverse Library: a major exhibition of 'conceptual writing' comes to Yorkshire next month

    “Writing is fifty years behind painting.” (Brion Gysin, 1959)

    A major exhibition of ‘conceptual writing’ is coming to Yorkshire next month. A Perverse Library is the first exhibition of its kind in the UK and will - according to curator Simon Morris - “show work by a generation of artists who have sought a radical reconsideration of the relationship between literature and the visual arts”.

    Image, Scott Myles: Full Stop 2006 © the artist. The last full stop in Tristram Shandy from the first edition, blown up using photomicography at the University of Glasgow

    Appropriately, the exhibition will take place at Shandy Hall, Coxwold: the former home of the celebrated 18th-century English writer Laurence Sterne (author of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman), whose experimental spirit has had an astounding and continuing influence on the arts.

    A Perverse Library draws from collections of work by internationally renowned artists and writers including: Kathy Acker, Ed Ruscha, Jen Bervin, Christian Bök, Kenneth Goldsmith, James Joyce, On Kawara, Sherrie Levine and the recent Northern Art Prize winner, Pavel Büchler.

    The exhibition starts on 04 September 2010, and will run right through to 31 October 2010. There are a number of free bus services running between York train station and Shandy Hall. Click here to find out more, and to book your place before they all go!

    Étienne-Louis Boullée, Deuxieme projet pour la Bibliothèque du Roi (1785), used on the cover of Craig Dworkin's new book 'The Perverse Library'. Dworkin's collection of more than 2,000 volumes forms the centre piece of the exhibition in Coxwold.

    Questions about what and where writing is have always cut through and across the fields of philosophy, literary criticism and the arts. Whilst these questions are not new, nor specific to any one place, they have emerged as an essential concern for the Western European and American avant-garde.

    Driven by 200 years of radical social change, ‘writing’ in the arts has continued to nourish an extremely rich field of praxis. Its discourses are irreducibly complex and beyond simple definition or catagorisation.

    In part this is due to the breadth of work being progressed by individuals with wide ranging imperatives, working in equally diverse ways: Gertrude Stein to William James to Ezra Pound to James Joyce to Berthold Brecht to Samuel Beckett to Allen Ginsberg to John Cage to Roland Barthes to Jacques Derrida to Christian Bok to Steve McCaffery to Joanna Drucker to David Mamet to Caroline Bergvall to Jerome Bell to Craig Dworkin to Tim Etchells to Gillian Wearing to Mark Manders to Kenneth Goldsmith and on and on, and to name but a fraction of those who’s ideas continue to feed this nebulous and intangible ecology of ideas.

    The complexity is owed also to the depth of critical thinking that questions about writing have fostered, couched in vocabularies that are often challenging, and often deliberately so: demanding the reader to renegotiate their relationship to the ‘text’.

    Terms like conceptual writing, performance writing, writing with art, text based art, language art, l-a-n-g-u-a-g-e poetry, artists’ publishing etc… are only some of the terms used to describe only some of the outlets for these practices. Historically these terms have sat in opposition to traditional literary modes, as well to notions of new or creative writing, which have been favored by the mainstream.

    In recent years the output of artists working in what the writer, Claire MacDonald has called “an expanded field of writing practice” have occupied public spaces, galleries, theatres, studios, libraries etc., and become manifest as books, pages, journals, multiples, paintings, scores, computer applications, sculptures, audio recordings, films, videos, performances, actions, events and ephemera etc. 

    Image, architectural drawings of the 'invisible shelves' designed by Canadian architect Michael Farion,

    In A Perverse Library the output occupies writing, or the idea of writing itself. By adopting strategies of appropriation and/or rip-off “we are seeing whole texts moved around from one location to another. It is not just sampling language but moving entire texts from space to another”, as Simon Morris puts it. “I think there's something quite exciting about making new meaning whilst using exactly the same words as an other.”

    If you are interested in knowing more about this field of art / writing practice then A Perverse Library is definitely an exhibition, even the exhibition not to be missed. If you do miss it though, we will be sure to get lots and lots of photos and video from the grand opening, which organisers have in the spirit of Sterne put the night before the exhibition closes.