Monthly Archives: January, 2016



January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet



The Crash Final Event is on Saturday. You can visit us either on the Bridge facing the visitors’ Entrance Gate, the same gate that will lead you to the reception area where you could experience the FTZ, the Free Thinking Zone, or in the Garage, the first place where we saw the Mill on Monday. The site where this circle began, now ends and maybe re-begins.


This week has been a human experience, a live performance week. Walking, talking, watching, sharing, picturing, chatting, laughing, reflecting, exploring, feeling, experiencing, dancing, performing, carving, painting, engaging, documenting… In a few months, The Mill will evolve. That makes us some of the latest visitors to this place. As he hosted us during the week, we offer back our thoughts, reflections, ideas and engagement (cqfd1).

Through my work in the performing arts and my experiences this week I am now questioning the concept of documentation. How could we document a work – and by work I mean the sensation, the context, and the final piece? What do we want to share, remember and record? How long will we keep it?


If you want to know, come and visit us on Saturday at the Brierfield Mill!


1 CQFD : (FR) ce qu’il fallait démontrer.



January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet

Lecture, Thiago Herson

FACT Lab, Liverpool

Artist in residence

Was an engineer

Astrovandalista collective, Mexico




Poetic/thinking beautifully

Humour/gentle gesture

The biggest camera flash in the world

The project today

Today I changed my work slightly. I did take it apart completely but I reused the materials and documented the old buildings with photography and made other buildings. However, I spoke to Paul, the Grounds Keeper,  again about the fox in the Mill and he told me that the Mill is also occupied by a sparrow hawk. Now I have made three buildings for the tenants of the Mill: the fox, the rabbit and the sparrow hawk. I kept the wall I had made as a human sized looking building. Tomorrow I will make a building for the pigeon and maybe the insect/spider. Today I also began to make the viewing space at the garage to overlook the Mill court yard.

In collaborating with the other artists, I took part in Alice’s performance and helped Rowan with her work.

IMG_0074 copy


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet

…Blue plaques appeared like jewels in different rooms across the mill building commemorating the now anonymous people who once worked there…

…The only specific blue plaque is for Paul – site manager – and is situated after you come across the little bridge into the main building.  Paul is the custodian of the narrative of the mill, as well as its maintenance.

The blue plaques are part of the emerging proposal for the footbridge.

The commemorating of the town and its people on the fabric of the bridge as an immersive experience – nominated by the community.

logo 174x60


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet

Over the last two days, I have been able to make initial attempts at two performance actions. One of which I have been mulling over for at least a few months while I initially considered the other when we first arrived at the Mill.

The first, which I am calling ‘Puddle Piece’ for the meantime, initially began as a sort of conceptual joke to myself and involved the moving of a puddle from one place to another. I initially conceived the idea as an exploration of ‘the uncanny’ but never thought that it would be relevant within the Crash context. 

Having bottled up the first puddle (the Mill puddle) on Tuesday, I headed into town on Wednesday in search of an equivalent (of sorts) in Brierfield town centre. After identifying an appropriate puddle, I headed back to the Mill, gathered my things and made my way to the puddle where, filmed by Ben and photographed by Tom, I swapped the two puddles, bottling up the town’s. 

Performing whilst being knowingly documented isn’t something I’m used to but, as Ben offered to film the action, I thought I should give it a go. The resulting piece of footage is very far from what I expected and a lovely piece of footage. However, I’m concerned that the HD audio and video quality turn the film into the artwork, rather than the artwork being the performance itself. Despite this, the footage will be incredibly useful and will massively assist with both funding and MA applications.


The second piece, that I performed on Thursday and is untitled, came out of a desire to get ‘in’ the Mill in some way. On the first, I walked past a hole in the wall on the 3rd of the Mill about 8 feet from the ground. Perfectly head shaped, the hole presented a great opportunity to truly get inside the Mill. Having borrowed a harness from Paul the site manager, I experimented with a variety of ways in which I could hoist myself up on the wall, suspending myself above the ground with my head in the hole. It took a surprisingly long time to adjust the harness and lanyard length in order to suspend myself at the right height for the hole. However, in the end, I managed to get to just the right height and hung from the wall for a couple of minutes at a time on multiple occasions. The resulting photographs were helpful as they demonstrated that my positioning on the wall was slightly uneven and the harness (which I had hoped to mostly conceal beneath my clothes) was fairly obvious. However, I enjoyed the performance and I’m looking forward to being able to tweak a version of it in the future.

logo 174x60


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet

I had a fantastic night’s sleep and feel nearly rejuvenated. I also met my fourth cat of the week!


I’m very happy with how the first puddle – Nothing Whatever Must Be Clung To V – has turned out. My original plan was to try to create a white puddle and then pour black ink on it, but the beautiful white river valley with filigree edges is more than sufficient. Ben filmed it this afternoon; it’s fantastic to have an onsite film and photographer. Today he showed the films he’d made of Alice and of Jin Bells doing his puddle swap, they both looked great.


The second puddle contains some beautiful filigree areas – I’m not totally sure why the paint has separated and spread in this way, I expected it to create a more uniform whiteness, don’t know if it is to do with the dust particles in the water. There is one area which looks like an aerial view of streets on a waterfront. However as a whole it is less satisfying and the different types of marks don’t work as well together. Today I poured on some of the gloss; I wondered if it would separate or marble, but it has diffused much more than the water-based satin paint. One shape looks like a scorpion and one like a foetal dragon. It will be interesting to see how it develops overnight.


I also created a small and very minimal shrine to Sim/on/e, in one of the alcoves on the stairwell that used to have hot and cold taps. I think, from what Paul Fyles said the other day, that the hot was hot enough to make a cup of tea, so that the operators didn’t need to leave their stations to make a brew, but I may have misunderstood. I have cleaned the puddle below the shrine and plan to fill it with clean water as a protective moat. Which is a bit odds with Sim/on/e’s generally approachable nature, but I think will look good. It is possible that the moat will fill just from the drip, but if not I’ll use clean water from the rainwater butt.


I need to commune with Sim/on/e to find out whether s/he can be trigendered if s/he comes from Gethen – does being genderless for periods count as a gender? Clearly not; so maybe s/he can’t be from Gethen, which is a shame. Or s/he could be from a parallel Gethen where, when not in kemmer, inhabitants are hermaphrodite and asexual; this seems the best solution. I think Ursula would approve.


I’ve taken some photos with Tom’s camera but am not totally happy with them, so will aim to do some more tomorrow, as well as cleaning the rest of the steps down from Sim/on/e – although I’m not sure that anyone will see them, I still want them to  be clean.


My plan to reassign the rooms of the Mill will have to wait for another time.

logo 174x60


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY02 No Comment yet

Today we had a talk from Joe Fletcher Orr about his work as artist and curator since graduating two years ago, very funny and honest and impressive. And lunch in the luxury of the warm library! No soup this time though but lots of cake.  These things are important.


I have scoped out some good puddles in the Mill for Nothing Whatever Must Be Clung To V. This is part of a series of ink floor paintings; the title refers to the fact the unpredictability of outcome when pouring the ink, and the importance of not being attached to a set outcome.  I plan to add floor paint to the existing puddles, part drain them and then pour ink on when they are dry; however I don’t know whether they’ll dry by the end of the week.


Paul Fyles talked me through a plan of the Mill room by room. A lot of what the Mill produced was cotton wool products, by the million. I had never thought about the mechanics of cotton wool production before, or the mechanics of bandage construction. I would like to relabel the rooms with their previous functions; I’d also like to assign different functions to the rooms (room seems the wrong word for such vast spaces) – a kitten-snuggling room, a cheese room, a racecourse…


Last night I did sleep for about half the night, and it actually felt like sleep rather than the alternation between full wakefulness and dreaming of the previous night. Tomorrow night, I get my own room in Burnley.

logo 174x60


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet

Unbelievable, so many projects are coming together today, its incredible to watch and be part of- particularly considering how sensitive and responsive so many of them are to the environment.


Trying to pin people down into solid ideas of where these projects could go next though… lots of really great talk but I just really don’t want it to end there. Could any of these projects be the beginnings of sustainable artworks, do any of these collaborations have futures as collectives, has this residency actually come up with any solutions to the problems facing emerging artists? 2 days to go… I know a week is not a long time to come up with any answers or even to realise the answers that we may have discovered, but I can’t help but think that similar conversations must be being had between emerging artists all the time, everywhere- through Crash I wanted to bring the people having those conversations together and then to find the next step. Action. I think that probably follows, once we’re done being cold, and knackered, and in the moment. Reflection, lasting contact.

logo 174x60


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet

An old lady is taking Christmas decorations off the wall. People have such interesting faces.

I observe too much, eclipsing myself out of the scene. I might do that because of the social sciences. Participant observation. 


Need of connection


Mexico City

Military base



Diagrams, rocks, fossils



Contested space


It feels being back to my dissertation. Thiago was outstandingly clever and tactful and honest. It made me feel excited about the collective we want to set up. I miss Siri and Suneeta. One is in Norway, one is in Boston. I had a good chat with him about Sardinia and about how I was crossing the fences with the shepherds. It seems ages ago today but it is less than six months ago. 


Back to the Big Brother room, I questioned my identity. These guys seem have such a complete and formed personality. I wish I had made a project good enough, but it sounds stupid and patronising to me.  I am questioning everything. Who I am. What I want to do. 



January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet

Today was slightly different as we headed straight to the mill in the morning and continued with our projects immediately, which is great as there was longer in the natural light. I decided to edit a book page in the style of Tom Phillips, who creates new sentences by connecting words on a page and covering the other words with pen and drawings. I’ve been inspired by him for years but never worked in this way before, so I’m glad I tried something new for me as I enjoyed the process. I’ll probably use it as part of a floor tile collage or just leave it somewhere in the mill.

Using items found in my coat pockets I created a rough collage made out of train and tram tickets, receipts, post-it notes and other ephemera. I then attached this to a floor tile and further collaged on top with wood, pen, chalk and paper. I typically try to keep my pieces neat, polished and simple but in this dusty, wet, and old environment I think it’s more authentic to let the piece just happen and work quickly, creating compositions based on my initial gut reactions rather than spending lots of time considering every little detail and over-thinking it. I’m happy with what I’ve made and feel like I’ve learnt a lot about my practice.

Later on I got to participate in the mass movement performance again, organised by Alice. It was so much fun and I liked that we all made suggestions as to how it could be smoother or safer, working together to direct the piece.

The afternoon’s talk was brilliant, just really interesting because Thiago looks at topics I’ve not considered but that fascinate me. I will definitely look further into his work and the collective.

We left the library with the view to consider what we’ve learnt over the past week and what we’ll take away with us, particularly how we will approach developing our professional artistic careers.

alice ewing


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet

4/1/2016 At the heart of this project appears to be a deeply running social concern. With the backdrop of the highly controversial ‘path finders’ property development, the mill seems to have become a sort of symbol of a community’s right to its own environment. The access in-situ has managed to gain (albeit only until February when demolition commences) is a small victory for a community that is witnessing its own dissolution. This destruction takes the form of a social regeneration project benefiting everyone except the current residents of Brierfield.*


First impressions of the space were hard to pin down since the mill itself is a seemingly endless expanse of passages, enormous warehouses and gallery spaces. Currently, I’m confident a work that aims to emphasise a general awareness of place/being can also extend into a celebration of ‘access’.


Speaking with the other residents about their practice has been a great experience so far. I realise I’m still a little nervous moving around as a ‘single entity’. Although I’m developing ideas privately, I’m still tentative when expressing these to others. It feels good though and I realise this sort of engagement is something I’ve lacked until now. It is a positive break from comfort zones.  


  • Context here: the mill closed down around the same time the property market crashed in 2007/8. Consequently, the effects of the recession were twofold for the area. Unemployment combined with the quasi-eviction of a number of longstanding residents through the government’s ‘Path Finder’s Area’ initiative. Properties deemed ‘structurally unsound’ were forcibly purchased from residents for  a price below market value. These streets were then demolished and left as sites for potential development, gated so as to prevent public access until these new developments were completed.

The old cotton mill is due to be redeveloped as a large business/leisure/residential complex. This development includes new road access, avoiding the old centre of Briefield.


5/1/2016 I began constructing the first tray for my primary piece today and marked out the space for my other project. The trays will hold a shallow pool of black paint. I’m painting the sides in bitumen so the whole thing should sit as a plain black square once full.

The two trays are being placed in places of common footfall whilst we work in the mill. (One on a stairwell and the other at a prominent viewpoint, a large whole in the wall in the front of the main building). These positions should force passers through the spaces to move through the paint and begin leaving a visible trace of their movements.

My second scheme is a sister-project, connected to a design I’m developing back in Suffolk. The original piece is focused in green space/woodland and so the mill offers a contrary brown site/industrial context for a connected work. I’ve stitched small bags to be filled with the remaining bitumen, tied to the ends of string as small dripping pods. These are being lowered through a hole in the top floor of the mill so that they gather in the space immediately below.

The work is tied to a ceramic version at home (with a contrasting aesthetic both in place and material) and is the fulfilment of an idea I’ve had for a while.

Unintentionally, I realise the two works can be tied under the theme of access (initially more applicable to the first). The room which the ‘pods’ hang through into is one deemed too dangerous for people to enter. Consequently, the hanging piece will only ever be viewed from a far – the opposite form of engagement to that of the paint trays with are ultimately activated by direct physical engagement.


6/1/2016 Continued making the second tray today. I’m a little worried about time as there isn’t much light to work by and I want to be sure the trays are out long enough for them to be used and documented. I’m happy to leave the ‘pods’ project if needs be. It would be nice to realise it in this space however, the trays are specifically designed for the Mill and I feel this makes them a priority.

However long you initially think you need for a work, double that and you should be close.


I enjoyed the talk given this morning by Paul Kelly very much. It was wonderful having a non-artist/art organisation perspective on public engagement and the role of artistic collaboration. Kelly’s background is housing and he provided some incredible case studies of housing organisations and think tanks engaging with artists. The projects spanned years and I was impressed by the results. The collective thinking of communities and officials appeared to result in very rational and sensitive redevelopments. The role of art as a highlighter of a place’s natural ‘assets’ was very insightful (ex. The Bootle canal). So too was the use of creative or unusual actions to quickly bring members of a place together to begin discussing or thinking about their environment (ex. Raundlobre)


What pleased me in many of these cases was the high quality of much of the work produced (conceptually and as objective, completed works in their own right). There was room for both static ‘objects’ or interventions along side more cooperative or immersive works. Kelly’s point regarding public art felt completely right – it needs to take time. Rushing in with a monument is never going to end well. Research, time and an understanding of context are key.


The talk was very positive as I do have my concerns regarding some publicly engaged works. Sometimes I fear they are exempt from the normal level of critique you find in other art practice simply because the ‘public’ is the resultant object. This objectification is itself troubling. But Kelly’s references, of which there were many, were strong artworks and, crucially, beneficial to the projects they came out of as a true collaboration should be.


I respected Kelly’s awareness of the potential for both sides (artist and organisation/think tank) to assume a knowledge of the others ‘craft’ and the danger therein.


We ended the day with a very intense discussion of publicly engaging work and the limits or relevance of this in our own practice. Naturally the discussion quickly unfolded into a more general (and impassioned) discussion of art and art engagement in general.


I’m still unsure of the relevancy or the nature of public engagement within my work. Certainly, some interpretations would completely rule out my projects. Equally, I’m still dubious as to the claim of certain actions as artworks. I don’t see why some actions require such a label and can’t register as community action. I imagine a distinction can be drawn in outcomes – that those generated by art works are essentially subjective in their aims/outcomes. That is, you can take or leave them; be transformed or remain unaffected. There are clearly greater distinctions that can be made within the genre. The examples provided this morning, as examples of a certain category, were powerful nonetheless.


7/1/2016 I set up the first tray on the stairs today. I’ve been quite pleased with results. There has been a great deal of movement through; even those who have attempted to avoid the tray have ended up picking up a trail from the paint spread around.

I’ve decided to set up the second tray in the room that a painter is working in downstairs. I’m setting it up in the doorway that leads through. It is a very damp room with a lot of water spread across the floor. I’m hoping the footprints made will spread further due to this. I also like the idea of tracking movements made by those viewing the paintings in this space. It’s an additional element to the ‘invasive’ nature of the work – a sort of forced collaboration. I also like the idea of a ‘conscious viewpoint’, a clear marking of our engagement with a work produced on site.


Another fantastic talk today from artist Thiago Hersan. He was discussing his practice as a digital artist and his collective Artrovandalistas . I was struck by a shared concern in my own practice, albeit pursued by very different means; OOT and new materialist tendencies as well as greater consideration of our relationship with the virtual/physical world. Whereas Hersan is using the ‘language’ of the thing to explore this, I’ve translated the theme into processes I can understand fully (Not to assume any sort of comparison here! It’s simply thrilling to hear thoughts I’ve had around these subjects articulated by someone else). I’m hoping I can come back to attend a reading group at FACT later this month.


I think I’ve realised the importance of a physical object in my work.