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Frighteningly, the end of my PhD research is coming into view! This is the first piece of promotion material for the forthcoming exhibition at the School of Fine Art opening on October 25th. So much to do and so little time.

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Following a longer than intended absence (mainly due to a concentrated period of writing, oh and a holiday!) I’ve started to think about producing new work. For a variety of reasons I’ve found myself drawn to the idea of creating contrived plastiglomerates from the detritus of everyday life. Plastiglomerates are the new material forms that have been emerging where geological forces have combined with waste materials (in places such as Hawaii) to produce new rock forms incorporating glass, plastics, sand and rocks in new lava flows. This piece started within a box of miscellaneous items from a house clearance sale, objects left over from a life, bound together and subject to the relentless reconfiguring powers of nature.

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One of Richard Buckminster Fuller’s many projects involved the creation of the Dymaxion map of the world. Using a modified icosahedron, Fuller created a projection of the globe on which all the landmasses could be connected together, or conversely the projection could show all the oceans of the planet as one. This is a link to a small gif from wkipedia that shows the development of the pattern. I’ve started to think about the next body of work that will be exhibited this Autumn, I’m particularly interested in creating small environments within which further work (by myself or others) could take place.

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I had the opportunity to make a short presentation recently at the Cornmill Arts space in Ilkley as part of one of their regular Polikana evenings. Based on the popular Pecha Kucha format, each artist shows twenty slides and talks for six minutes and forty seconds (exactly) on any subject but predominantly their own practice. It gave me a chance to reflect on the de-,dis-,ex-. exhibition last October in Sheffield and the six months spent working with the School of Architecture there. I have also spent a significant amount of time working on a written critique of the whole project that will form a chapter of my PhD research that is due for completion later this year – all being well. Thanks to Gary, Simon and Joe for putting the event on.

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On a hectic day-trip to London recently I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Ulm School show at Raven Row. It was fascinating to see the objects that emerged from the collaborative efforts of students and staff within the context of this art space, as the supporting text states:

‘During its short life from 1953 to 1968, the Ulm School of Design (HfG Ulm) in Southern Germany pioneered an interdisciplinary and systematic approach to design education – known as the Ulm Model – that was to become universal. On the face of it, the HfG Ulm had little to do with art. Design work was mostly collectivised and rationalised, the idea of the designer as intuitive ‘artist’ emphatically rejected, and the designer’s role understood as only one amongst the many specialisms of industrial production. But this exhibition suggests that the school continued the projects of the artistic avant-gardes, especially Constructivism, in that objects were systematically designed to project ideal social relations’.

It took me back to my own design education, some thirty five years ago, when the ripples of influence from the Ulm School and the Bauhaus (one of my tutors was Wilf Franks who had studied there under Gropius and El Lissitzky – well he was 84!) clashed with the emerging ideas from Sottsass Jr’s Memphis and architectural postmodernism. There was just enough time left to see the William Kentridge exhibition at the Whitechapel and Infinity Mix at The Store, organised by the Hayward – both great shows.

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I was invited to take part in the first group show at the new Cornmill art space in Ilkley and decided to re-install Escape from the Sheffield show. Mounting it partly on the wall and allowing the assembly to form a more architectonic shape on the floor.

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Too orangey for crows. Photo courtesy of Gary Winters