Friday, 12 December 2014

Fosb doing a performance live at a London artist's flat facilitated by Rufus Stone!  More to come.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Great meeting with the Open School East team. Discussing ways Rufus Stone residents can get involved in their projects and interact with their students.  From the OSE website:

Central to Open School East’s approach is a commitment to foster cultural, intellectual and social exchanges between artists and the broader public. We do this by opening our study programme outwards, responding to our locality and providing an informal environment for the sharing of knowledge and skills across various communities – artistic, local and otherwise.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Nestor Armando Gil @ Rufus Stone

I have been looking into the history of bread here while also starting and baking a round of loaves in the Rufus Stone kitchens.  As long ago as the 1300s in London a law was made that bakers could no longer sell their products out of their homes.  As a result, a street in the city, which is now called Bread Street, became the centre bread market.  In fact the street is a small comma in the complex geography of London, now occupying a stretch of no more than 500 meters southeast of St. Paul's Cathedral.  That central area of the city is becoming a focal point for me as I seek out a site for a performance I will execute while here.

A newer centre of commerce at the street level is the area around Brick Lane on a Sunday, where the so-called (UP)Market spreads for blocks and blocks along the Lane and out into the side streets that make up its wings.  A festival of aromas from the mad variety of food being offered, a man selling coffee out of a Black Cab that he has converted into what is essentially a giant coffee machine, and a flea-market feeling as vintage clothes, used electronics, and an ocean of knick-knacks are set out on table tops as far as one can see.  The throngs of people there yesterday--quite near the historic Bread Street--gives one a sense that for as long as there has been a 'here' here people have engaged in the exchange of goods and services at the most human level, with no mediation from telephones, internets, or any other modernities without which we simply cannot imagine living anymore.  All of this falls out the east and south of the cathedral, revealing it as the anchor of city life for as long as there has been city life in London.  Of course today the life of this city is anchored in many points, with burroughs having each nurtured its own fame and legend among various subcultures.  Still, the area around the cathedral remains the centre of London, and the energy that breathes in and out of that building itself is palpable.  It is making sense to me as an anchor point for the work I will do.

The bread I baked has been well received, and the experience of baking here is like other experiences in London.  Similar to yet unsimilar to my previous experiences elsewhere.  The flour feels different, the dough perhaps more elastic; I had never before used a convection oven.  My small worries that these differences would lead to a disappointed baker were for naught.  If you want a great loaf of bread, seek out a great bakery and frequent it.  But if a decent loaf of home baked is your aim, reach out and I would be glad to share.

Also: taking a huge loop around the city on a double decker is advisable when the feet are crying out of a long day's walk.  Things move by a bit fast for the intimacy walking provides, but seeing how the city fluidly transitions between worlds is facilitated by the ease of covering distances.  I saw a mummy at the British Museum, a misnamed institution if ever there were one.  Afterward, i wondered (in jest)  if the Library of Britain was actually a storehouse for books from every other part of the world, all taken from their places of origin and shelved here for the British citizenry.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Artists in residence about to head out to Whitechapel, then to Enclave Projects in Deptford later tonight.
Sebastian Mahaluf @ Rufus Stone

Second plan:

UNDER MEASURE project consists in building a plot of elastic tapes, from the location of 13 trees in Green Park, London. Hidden geometry within the landscape will appear and then I ll take with my hands the whole plot from the center  and thus transform the geometry in tension. Slowly, once my body to lose its balance and strength, I'll drop them one by one, to return them to their initial state.

The opposing elements, take away each other and in turn meet. .This is UNDER MEASURE, oppositions and encounters, equidistant points that at different times, are building their entirety. It will be from a trench and a historical place, where life was celebrated and scorned that this round of trees will transform the landscape from its own tension and distance.

Sebastian Mahaluf @ Rufus Stone

First plan:


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Nestor Armando Gil @ Rufus Stone

Going to market in London is quite an experience.  I mentioned to my host shortly after I arrived that everything here seems quite the same as at home, but totally different.  In the grocery store I am moved by how true this is.  The way calories are measured on packages, the way products also available in the States are packaged with the same name but different wrapping . . . no need to further explain it.  Tonight dinner was prepared at the residency headquarters and it was a welcome moment to sit down with all the inhabitants of this place and converse over a well made meal.

Earlier in the day I tried to go to the Saatchi Gallery but arrived too close to closing time so will return another time.

I am making headway on the project for the residency.  I have spoken today with a couple of people I hope to meet for coffee soon and then walk/listen and learn about their experiences here.  There is precious little sign of Latinidad in London thus far, but a few little possibilities do seem to keep cropping up.

I spent the mental day working out concepts for a performance I may well do while here.  It will involve bread so my next big trick is to do a bit of baking.  Here is a loaf I made not long ago, something similar to what I hope will come of this round in the kitchen:

Since every oven is different, and the very air in a place informs how the bread will look/feel/taste, I am looking forward to seeing what kind of bread London provides.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Nestor Armando Gil @ Rufus Stone, 2

Hyde Park today was a beautiful walk-through  . . .

. . . en route to the London Hauser & Wirth where on view was a show of Paul McCarthy's recent paintings, predictably puerile but very engaging nonetheless.  The paintings, all large format and blown up with colour and text into which the artist put images of porn and fetish alongside covers from Cowboys and Indians magazine featuring Billy Crystal, for example, were not the most impressive part of the show.  That honour goes to the drawings, perhaps sketches for the paintings?, with loose scribble all over them that looked like directions for the artist (or assistants?) to render the larger works rightly.  Here is one image I took from the show that I will let stand in for the entire exhibition:

This city is in fact many small cities that bleed into one another so that when I get off the tube (that is what they call the subway here) I keep finding myself in a new place.  Westminster/City of London/East End/Soho, turn a corner and the world changes.

Later in the evening I went to an event that Rufus Stone had mentioned, a reception for designers at a swank restaurant/gallery/lecture space called sketch.  Not exactly my cup of tea but a lovely time in a place that may have the coolest loo (restroom) I have ever seen.  Each station was a white egg pod and above were multi-coloured squares of light in their own dance.  It was vision of the future from the past and read almost as retro.  The door to my egg was opened by an attendant in full black&white maid's uniform who said "welcome" as I walked into the toilet.

My time at the event was short-lived, however, as I was starving from a long day without much to eat.  Returning to Rufus Stone headquarters, Sebastian and I prepared a meal out of leftover couscous from a gathering here a few days ago.  Halfway through the meal, we were joined by our host and a delightful conversation ensued about design vs art, about the problematics of making objects and forms that borrow from other cultures their image and aesthetic.  It doesn't sound like it but we had ourselves some laughs.

It was supposed to rain today.   Instead it was sunny and warm, leaving me still more convinced that the story of foggy rainy London is a myth to keep the riff-raff out.  Ha!  I am sure with that said, tomorrow will bring a hail storm.

I have made contact with some Cuban people in this town and am hoping to get together with one or more of them soon to hear what Cubanidad exists here.  Perhaps (I think?  I hope?) the project is beginning to take shape.  Glad to be here and trying to dig in to this little piece of the Big Smoke (that's what some folks call London).  Meanwhile I want to keep my eyes wide to see if London will have its own plans and, if so, will tell me what to do.

Oh heck, I can't leave this post without showing you one image of those deranged and delicious drawings from the show at H&W:
Nestor Armando Gil @ Rufus Stone

London houses everything.  Its spaces of green at every turn, the beautiful contradictions of brick and cobblestone roads along which rise towers of modernity, the overwhelming abundance of art in seemingly every corner of the city . . . walking London can take a long time but not only due to the size of the city.  There is just so much to see that I find myself moving more slowly so as not to miss anything, knowing all the while I cannot possibly see it all.  Today Sebastian (the other resident artist here and a gifted one at that) and I went to St Paul's Cathedral to see an installation of video by Bill Viola.  Stunningly poetic and heavy with symbol, the work was yet subtle in a way that a lesser artist may not have accomplished with such images.

A coffee and piece of exquisite dark chocolate in Brick Lane followed that, and though Whitechapel gallery was closed (on Mondays) the vegetarian restaurant next door to there was utterly impressive.

In my project for the residency period, I am trying to connect with the small Cuban community here and take walks around the city with Cuban people who live here.  In the 'states' Cubans are many, but here in the UK not so much.  I am curious about the daily life, the cultural experience, and the physical movements through the city of these people.  It is a matter of connecting to such people, and fortunately there are avenues for that in the land of social media, the great divider/connector of our times.

I can certainly see how one could get lost in time here, and will hope to continue taking in this fantastic city while also making headway on this research.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss home (where my family is, so how could I not?), but the days London race by for all the reasons mentioned above, so I am trying to keep my eyes and mind wide open to the experience while I am here.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Sebastian Mahaluf @ Rufus Stone

All the approached topics in my artistic process are related –in some way- to the interaction between people: The need to share common ground, the need to depend on the other person.

Why to work with the space?

Why to work with my body and people?

These are the objects of my artistic production. I work with the geometry into the space. Why? because I need to understand each part of the space that surrounds me. We live in the space. We are full of the space all the time and there is a space between us.

Therefore, my work has the dual nature of contemplative and participatory. The spectator abandons his role and be a part of the piece with the artist. The spectator is no longer this, and he becomes an artist. Together elaborate a social interaction with the purpose of an artwork.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sebastian Mahaluf @ Rufus Stone

Seventeen hours of travel from Chile... Sebastian Mahaluf is now in London. Brought several miles of elastic with him. His project, "Measure of Balance" will involve site-specific Interactive shape/space pieces, involving volunteer participants. 

Here is an earlier project: The project AUTOTENSION consisted of an installation with 1000 meters of elastic white bands that went out from the inside of Gabriela Mistral Gallery towards the outside, tied to the waist of 48 volunteers.

From one of the walls of the interior of the gallery, 48 threads of silicone were tightened towards a pillar located in the center of the room. These silicone threads were attached to white elastic bands to roll up the pillar and out toward the outside of the gallery where they were tightened by 48 persons.  After a while, people were entering the gallery, went up to the inside of the building, where tightened and tied the elastic bands again, ending the construction of the installation, through the performative act.

Simultaneously a video animation of an installation was projected, which was designed as a previous Project* for the whole building of the Ministerio de Education, where the gallery sits. 

How long do we invest in constructing? Undoubtedly, more than in destroying. Consequently, the destruction acquires an irrefutable value. In a short time something happens, something related to the time, with a history, with a context. Now then, to be able to refer to the destruction, first we have to construct.

The pillar as a structural and sustaining part of the architecture of the gallery, was dressed in tension through a kind of bandage that altered his appearance, and at the same time it became a a point of friction, change and emptiness. People supported the structure from equidistant points, which made ​​the wound in the support.

In other words, AUTOTENSION, pull out from the depths of the place all the tension from the inside, and back towards the origin. They are intersections of tension and displacement, trying to dig up and join part of a story, perhaps to understand what separates us from each other.

In AUTOTENSION the geometry is tacit, is a body, is past, is  life. The action is the movement, the tension and the meeting. The construction is the exercise that takes more time. It needs analysis and measurement.  It's almost like a meditative state in a ongoing process, that needs to verify the time. This will leave traces and marks in the space. It is time, finally, who builds and destroys. 

Video Installation / Performance48 volunteers / 1.000 meters of white elastic bands/ 1.000 meters of silicone thread / 48 gripper plates / video animationGabriela Mistral Gallery / Santiago, ChilePhotos: Ignacio KaempfeSeptember 2013 

The project GRAVITATIONAL FIELD consisted of 50 people standing inside the Tajamar Gallery, where my body laid down marking with my head the central axis of the structure of the Gallery. 

Later on the participants, one by one, took the elastic tapes that were arranged between the large windows, hooking them in my mouth in order to tighten the space with the symmetrically preconceived structure. Then they went outside and visualized my body bound and fused into the space.

Outside, a woven elastic bed made of residues of my previous works was extended, 
in order that my body, at the minute that the action demanded, rested on it and it was moved outside the Tajamar Gallery.

GRAVITATIONAL FIELD suggests an order, a conjunction of forces that interpret the yearning of gravity. My body hangs of the structure like a mass, tightening and reconstructing the place thanks to the interaction with other bodies, as witnesses, at the same time, of an illusion that demonstrates the crisis of our reality. Thus the natural trend to the expansion is sustainable for the surrounding bodies, otherwise it is not possible to manage such forces.

Happening / Durational
Silver Plated elastic / light / plastic stone shoe

Tajamar Gallery / Santiago, Chile
Photos: Matias Osorio
June 2012