Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Let's dance

It's the festive season where we may well find ourselves at  parties dancing.
To get dance-move ideas you could always watch Ai Wei Wei do the Gangnam style.
But to see something more old-style go here where you can also listen to the entertaining NPR radio program that talks about Muybridge and his life and work.
Stephen Herbert has collected many more of these animations made from Muybridge's photographs and  very much more (perhaps everything!!) on Muybridge and his work here

Friday, 14 December 2012

Your Paintings and your librarian!

The BBC hosts a website that documents all paintings in public ownership-those paintings that lurk in council offices, libraries, and slide libraries as well as the ones we get to see in the major art galleries and museums! The portrait above that a recent Fine Art graduate painted of me is just one of the 212,000 piantings now online and viewable by location, artist name or title.
Here are the FAQ's that answer questions such as who is behind the project, why no watercolours and also crucially  how many are on public display (20%)-a low figure which goes to show how valuable a service this website is...
Next time we have a Welsh Librarians' conference at the wonderful Gregynog Hall I am going in search of this fine specimen!                                         



and this beauty painted by the same artist   


Thursday, 6 December 2012

secrets in books

old bookmarks left in secondhand volumes
Wayne Gooderham buys secondhand books as they are cheaper than new ones. They also give him an added pleasure. For many years he has been collecting the inscriptions he finds within these bargain books.  In fact he got so keen to collect more inscriptions that he now uses a network of friendly booksellers who alert him to particularly good ones when they come into their hands.Wayne  blogs with images of the inscriptions here
an Example

To Robert, on his crucial 30th birthday -
hoping for a safe and speedy emergence from adolescence
Frank & Jackie

One of his network of bookseller helpers from Skoob Books  suggested to Wayne that he might be interested to see the collection of interesting things found left inside their second hand books. In their out of town warehouse Wayne was given permission to photograph some of Skoob Books' marvellously named 'Wall of Found' and you can read about them and see examples in another Guardian article by Wayne here

Friday, 30 November 2012

Artes Mundi (again)

I have recently attended some very interesting side events for the Artes Mundi Exhibition. A small square leaflet lists these opportunities , there is a web page  listing what's on  and also the facebook page advertises Artes Mundi events. Following these information sources I was able to attend the National Museum this week when the police horses corralled the crowds gathered in the Museum foyer using crowd control techniques, I heard beautiful music in the space occupied by Sheela Gowda's empty tin drums for tar used by Indian roadworkers, I felt sorrow-full in the room with the memorials to the dead of Teresa Margolles as a Welsh Performance artist Kathryn Ashill  counted in Welsh-was she counting the dead? When she stopped counting she whispered into our ears the words Memento Mori-'you too will die'.
 I have also attended an artists parents evening where I was celebrated for my creation (an artist daughter) and talked with other parents of artists and Darius Miksys about art, science , child rearing and mermaids and I watched a play by Miriam Backstrom where 'a director' annoyed 'an actor ' beyond endurance in her efforts to make him be a character she could then reject. I watched two films by Phil Collins and heard him in converstaion about his work afterwards with his old friend Jason Bowman.

I am also signed up for the rest of my life to stand up for any immigrants I see treated badly and not to walk on by. I have a poster and a badge to prove it created by the artist Tania Brughuera.
This years Artes Mundi has afforded me the richest art experiences I have had for a very long time. The art in the exhibition is fascinating, affecting, and says important things. The side events have been stimulating and original. I recommend you go along and investigate yourselves. If you do go to the National Museum to see the work then try go round on one of the  live guide tours. The live guides have all met the artists  and know the work well and will engage with you in talking about what you see and what you think about it.Tours take place daily at 2pm.
Artes Mundi continues until January 13th 2013

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Cardiff University lunchtime workshops-wonderful old books

The Special Collections at Cardiff University (SCOLAR) are a treasure trove worth exploring and  . this year, SCOLAR is offering a pilot series of lunchtime workshops where you can do just that!
 SCOLAR holds much illustrated material  including literary, scientific, medical, and women’s periodicals and miscellanies, newspapers, children’s literature, art and architecture, novel, plays and poetry, travel literature, ballads and almanacs, and prints, posters and propaganda.
There is a  workshop on women’s studies Decmebeer 6th or 7th, with sessions on historical travel literature and World War One sources in the spring. The workshops are intended to raise awareness of the breadth of material available to support research in these areas, and as a general introduction to using Special Collections and Archives.
"The workshop on women’s history sources will be led by Assistant Archivist, Alison Harvey. Topics will include: biography; children’s literature; conduct/advice manuals; crime; diaries and autobiographies; education; fashion; health and medicine; international affairs; journals and magazines; literature and journalism; music; newspapers; politics, suffrage and the labour movement; travel; University history; witchcraft; and women’s societies". What a great menu!!
Workshops will be held in Special Collections and Archives, on the lower ground floor of the Arts and Social Studies Library, Corbett Road, Cardiff. The women’s history workshop is scheduled for 12-1pm on Thursday 6 December, and will be repeated at 1-2pm on Friday 7 December.
Workshops are open to all, but places are limited, so if you would like to attend either session, you will need to email, stating your preferred time.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Every Picture tells a story: Girl Reading

Girl Reading by Katie Ward comprises seven linked stories set over a period of over 700 years, from 1333 to 2060. Each is an imagined story behind a painting, photo or sculpture. The subject is always  a  girl, or young woman reading. The pictures are not shown in the book so I have given you the links below.
The stories are also concerned with the changing position of women and the choices they have had during those hundreds of years
Here are the artworks
Simone Martini, Annunciation, 1333 (Uffizi) (painting available from Bridgeman Education in Cardiff Met Electronic Library)
Pieter Janssens Elinga, Woman Reading, 1668–70 (Alte Pinakotek, Munich)
Angelica Kauffman, Portrait of a Lady, circa 1775 (Tate Gallery-or if at cardiff Met use the link from the Cardiff Met Electronic Library)
Horatio Nelson King, Giulia Grisi, 1860s National Portrait Gallery
Julia Margaret Cameron, Portrait of a Sybil (Mary Emily (‘May’) Prinsep), 1870 National Portrait Gallery
Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell (née Stephen), circa 1916–17 (National Portrait Gallery)
Heinrich Vogeler, Martha Vogeler, circa 1905
Théodore Roussel, The Reading Girl, 1886-87 ((Tate Gallery-use the link from the Cardiff Met Electronic Library)
Women and Girls Reading Flickr Group
William Wetmore Story, The Libyan Sibyl, 1861–68 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Kimbei Kusakabe, Woman Writing with Brush, 1890s Old Photos of Japan
Correggio’s Mary Magdalene, which was lost during the Second World War, but was much emulated, for example: Cristofano Allori, Penitent Mary Magdalene, circa 1600 Pitti Palace

Decorating with Old Masters

Dutch art director Christian Borstlap created this film for the new Rijksmuseum project Rijksstudio. The film includes 211 artworks from the museum's online collection.

Video: Part of a Bigger Plan
Music: 'Dreaming' by Allo, Darlin

The Rijksmuseum uses Rijksstudio to make more than 125,000 objects from the collection digitally accessible, free of charge. You can zoom in, share them, and ‘like’ them. You can also create collections of your own, using your favourite images and details. Not only that, but the Rijksmuseum is also inviting you to use these images to create beautiful products. At this resolution, a single detail is still sharp enough to decorate a car.
This page shows some examples of other people’s creations and offers links to websites that supply various forms of printing on demand. Using them you could order wallpaper , decorate a scooter, have a vinyl foil for your phone, all of them featuring works of art from the Rijksmuseum

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


UBUWEB started out in 1996 as a website devoted to concrete poetry, but it has grown to incorporate the functions of a virtual publishing house, record company and, film distributor. Poet, university professor and amateur archivist, Kenneth Goldsmith is the founder and main editor of Ubuweb. An underground project that has no institutional backing or budget of any kind, Ubuweb is an influential repository of avant garde material
Here you can find conceptual writing, dance, electronic music resources, ethnopoetics, film and video art, visual poetry and many special features. Examples include all ten albums from Obscure Records , Brian Eno’s record label from 1975 to 1978 and Six Films by and about Pina Bausch(1975 - 2006)  in UbuWeb's new Dance section (Christopher Walken dancing to Fatboy Slim anyone?) There we can review works from the career of Pina Bausch (1940-2009) including the beautiful  Orpheus und Eurydike (1975) and a documentary by Anne Linsel, Pina Bausch (2006). Other delights include: Maya Deren's complete oeuvre, a montage of Banksy doctoring Paris Hilton CDs for last year's guerrilla art stunt, interviews with Allen Ginsberg, poetry readings by Bukowski and a selection of rare art films and performance videos by artists from Carolee Schneeman and Tracey Emin to Samuel Beckett and ChrisBurden, video of BillieWhitelaw doing Beckett and  excerpts from Peter Greenaway's series of documentaries on modern UScomposers

A full list of resources is here

Twitter is @ubuweb

Friday, 19 October 2012

Artes Mundi

Miriam Backstrom The Opposite of Me is
Artes Mundi, Wales’s biggest contemporary visual art show is back for its 5th exhibition in its new home, the National Museum of Art, on the top floor of National Museum Cardiff. For the first time Artes Mundi  is in partnership with organisations such as Cardiff-based multidisciplinary arts centre Chapter, who will provide an additional venue for some of the works.
Exhibition: 6 October 2012 – 13 January 2013
The shortlisted artists were selected from over 750 nominations covering every continent in the world except Antarctica. Their art  has one overriding theme in common; their work explores social themes, telling stories of lived experience and gives a platform for commentary on the world today.

Miriam Bäckström (Sweden)

 Bäckström’s ongoing interests explore how history is told, and processes of creating and recreating memory using photography, text, theatre and video.

Tania Bruguera (Cuba)

Since the late 1990’s Tania Bruguera’s artistic practice has often reflected back on the social, cultural and economic experience of being Cuban.

Phil Collins (England) Informed by the visual traditions of cinema and television, Phil Collins’ diverse practice is based on close engagement with place and community.

Sheela Gowda (India) For Sheela Gowda the social and cultural reality of India has formed the basis of her practice.

TeresaMargolles (Mexico) Teresa Margolles’ work focuses on the collective turmoil of the Northern Mexican social experience where drug-related organized crime has resulted in widespread violence and murder.

Darius Mikšys (Lithuania) For Mikšys, installations provide the opportunity to experiment, conceptualise, and re-imagine processes of making, displaying and engaging with art.

ApolonijaŠušteršič (Slovenia) Artist and architect Apolonija Šušteršič has focused on the social aspects of living environments manifested in art as well as architectural contexts since the 1990’s.

Events are scheduled throughout the duration of the exhibition.

On 29 November an international panel of judges will award one of the artists the £40,000 Artes Mundi Prize, the UK’s largest art prize

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The House of Illustration

Eric Carle 'What are you like?'
TheHouse of Illustration is the world’s first dedicated home for the art of illustration;  adverts, animation, picture books, political cartoons, scientific drawings, fashion design; they are a creative hub for emerging and established artists working in every aspect of illustration.
The House of Illustration put on exhibitions like their most recent UK-touring exhibition, What Are YouLike? on at Bath’s Holburne Museum until October 17th.

Based on a Victorian parlour game, the exhibition invited 45 people in the public eye to create a self-revealing artwork by illustrating 8 of their favourite things from a list of 12: their favourite animal, book, item of clothing, comfort, food, pastime, place, possession, music, shoes, weather or pet aversion (the thing they love to hate!).

Past exhibitions are here

The House of Illustration  also run competitions and organise events with some of the country’s leading illustrators. They work in schools across London through the  PICTURE IT education programme.

They aim to eventuallycreate a permanent home to celebrate the past, present and future of illustration. Items in the shop go towards funding the dream....



Monday, 1 October 2012

Ten Environment Books that Changed the World

Friends of the Earth in their print journal 'EarthMatters'  (July 2012)  published a list of ten books that  they believe changed the Earth. Actually there are plenty of other Top Ten Environment Booklists just try Googling it!
There is a Cardiff based slant to this blog entry...I thought I'd check the list against Cardiff Met Library and Cardiff Public Library catalogues-here's the result . Information about how to join Cardiff Public Library is here. Follow the links from the book titles  for more information.

book on order at Cardiff Met Library

book available from Cardiff Public Library

book available from Howard Gardens Library check the catalogue here

book available from Cardiff Met Library check the catalogue here

Books by Lovelock are available from Cardiff Met Library check the catalogue here

 Living Downstream by Sandra Steingraber

  the one book neither Library Service stocked
Cod: a biography of the fish that changed the world by MarkKurlansky

book available from Cardiff Public Library
Food for Free by Richard Mabey

book available from Cardiff Public Library

book available from Cardiff Met Library check the catalogue here


Monday, 17 September 2012

Getty Research Institute on Facebook

The Getty Research Institute is dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts. They now have a Facebook page.

Why not 'Like' them? There are all sorts of snippets there already.

Here’s two of them!

Coveted by Venetian noblewomen and creative inspiration for Parisian lingerie-makers, these 16th-century needlework pattern books are among the rarest of early modern printed books to survive intact.
The new 2013-2014 Scholars Program research theme, “Connecting Seas: Cultural andArtistic Exchange,” explores how bodies of water, far from being barriers, have served as a rich and complex interchange in the visual arts. 
Previous Scholar Projects are linked on this page


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Places as people, maps by Adam Dant

The image above is taken from the Spitalfields Life blog which today describes the amazing work of Adam Dant. Follow this link to see more images. Adam Dant’s map describes a journey through London as if through the human digestive tract from the mouth in Whitehall to the rectum in Whitechapel. You will notice that he has placed the brain in Westminster, the liver in Fleet St, the heart at St Paul’s, the stomach in the City and the genitals in the East End.

This is just one of series of maps of big cities that Adam has depicted in such a way as to portray their essential qualities, rendered as huge ink drawings of double-page plates from volumes in the mythical Library of Dr London  and executed while touring around European capitals this summer . Other volumes in this collection of giant books hold engravings and charts which display Paris constructed from the bones of Liberty,  several alternative versions of Manhattan, and Tokyo's subway system as a tangled knot of 'Shunga print' style figures.

The drawings  will be exhibited in a show which opens tonight at Hales Gallery.
Adam Dant
From the Library of Dr London
7 Sep - 6 Oct 2012

Private view: Thursday 6 September 6-9pm

Hales Gallery
Tea Building
7 Bethnal Green Road
London E1 6LA
T 44 (0)20 7033 1938
F 44 (0)20 7033 1939

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Conserving an Icon: Traces of Time in The Beanery by Kienholz

After in-depth examination, one of the most popular works in the Stedelijk Museum collection, The Beanery (1965) by Edward Kienholz, will be fully restored for the first time by the museum staff working in its new facilities.

As the installation comprises a variety of materials – for instance, the artist coated the entire installation in a synthetic liquid resin – this will be a complex operation. In anticipation of the grand reopening on September 23, the Stedelijk is preparing and restoring a number of its best-loved artworks.

A short video about this project is available on ARTUBE videos about Art and Design the online video channel for art and design contributed to by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, M HKA in Antwerp, Gemeentemuseum The Hague, De Pont in Tilburg and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. The videos will generally be produced by these museums themselves,  and include  interviews with  artists , designers, and makers. Fiction and experimentation are also included, for example in the Boijmans TV series and in a number of unusual animation and remix films.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A Materials Library for the 21st Century

This video, by The Economist, features Andrew Dent, vice-president of Material ConneXion,sharing his thoughts on the evolution of material science.
Material ConneXion's online archive and material libraries, based in seven cities world-wide, feature over 6,500 of the world’s most cutting-edge materials all of them commercially available for use.
Andrew Dent believes Material ConneXion will help bridge the gap between science and design as we move from the “synthetic century” into a “biological century”, where intelligent, nature-inspired materials consume less resources and less energy.
 An international panel of experts review 50 to 60 new materials for the library every month, adding  only the best.
The archive is organized in eight categories (see below)  comprising the largest selection of sustainable materials and the only Cradle to Cradle materials library in the world:
the 8 categories: Polymers, Ceramics, Glass, Metals, Cement-based materials, Natural Materials, Carbon-based materials, Processes
An online Materials Database is available at a price to Universities (not available at Cardiff Met).

NewYork, Bangkok, Beijing, Cologne, Daegu, Istanbul, Milan, Seoul, Shanghai all have physical Material Connexions libraries

Feature articles from Matter magazine (published quarterly by Material Connexions) are available to read online . Each edition of the  journal  follows a specific  theme  like the special issues on  'Wellness' and 'Technology' and  all contain a wealth of information and images relating to innovative materials and their uses.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Thomas Heatherwick: the Cauldron and a Retrospective

The English designer takes Steve Rose through his retrospective show Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary, which runs at London's V&A until 30 September

Thomas Heatherwick is a designer architect from London and the man behind the Olympic Cauldron.

 The cauldron was lit on 27 July at the end of the end of the Olympics opening ceremony, which was directed by Danny Boyle.
The design of the cauldron had been one of the most closely-guarded secrets of the opening ceremony. When the competing delegations arrived in London, they each received a copper petal, inscribed with the name of their country and the words ‘XXX Olympiad London 2012’. They carried these petals into the stadium during the opening ceremony before laying them down on the cauldron. When all the petals had been laid down, the seven torchbearers each ignited a single tiny flame within one of the copper petals on the ground, triggering the ignition of all 204 petals. The Cauldron’s long, stainless-steel stems then rose towards each other and converged to form one single flame.
Lots more on Heatherwick here
The cauldron being lit here

Thursday, 19 July 2012

This Exquisite Forest at Tate Modern

This Exquisite Forest is an online collaborative art project that lets users create short animations that build off one another as they explore a specific theme. The result is a collection of branching narratives resembling trees.

To provide inspiration, eight artists whose work already hangs in the Tate Modern, including Olafur Elliason and Julian Opie, have created digital, animated saplings for others to grow, along with instructions (Elliason's instructions: "Be energy (not about energy); Use yellow often, but not always; Show that light is life; Exercise empathetic attention; Share this with friends.") These artist trees will be curated, with submissions vetted by Koblin and co, but "the rest of it's open: people can submit whatever they want and it will instantly go up," Koblin says.

The best animations will show on large video screens in the Tate Modern over the next six months in the collection galleries on Level 3 at Tate Modern, beginning on July 23, 2012. There is a digital drawing station in the Gallery or connect from your own computer ( you have Google Chrome?!)

The project was conceived by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin, and produced by Google and Tate. It makes extensive use of Google Chrome’s HTML5 and JavaScript support, as well as Google App Engine and Google Cloud Storage.

Monday, 16 July 2012

dishonesty and other issues in The CRITICAL COMMONS

 SCALAR  is a web based authoring and publishing tool that 'makes it easy for authors to write significant sized born-digital scholarship online. Scalar enables users to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways, with minimal technical expertise required'.

Part of the SCALAR toolset is access to Critical Commons a repository of copyright cleared audio visual materials.

Do you want to illustrate Deleuze with a clip from Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) or read the lecture, view the clips pertaining to Synthetic Sexuality: The Allure of Humanity and the Subversion of Perfection' ? Or  (see the image above ) view a scene from a Simpsons episode about issues of stealing to make a point in your study of economics ? They are all available from The Critical Commons.

The largest subset within the Critical Commons media database is produced by a senior lecturer in Economics at Penn State University and author of the book Economics in the Movies, Dirk Mateer and comprises a huge collection of clips from popular culture that illustrate principles of economics, ranging from game theory to opportunity cost. Dirk's database is called the  "Econ Media Library" . Go here to understand the concept of price elasticity of demand and leveraging elastic demand by laughing as Butters from South Park decides to sell hugs for $2 when he discovers that not everyone can afford kisses at the kissing booth for $5. 

Critical Commons is  well worth a visit whatever your subject area.

Monday, 9 July 2012

travel to World Wonders from home

Would you like to take a journey on the Rhaetian Railway through the Swiss Alps? Or perhaps you’d prefer to explore the mosaics of Pompeii in Italy. Or gaze upon the nine-story Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain. Or track down the Aboriginal rock art at Kakadu National Park in Australia.
Google Street View has left the road and photographed some of the world’s most impressive monuments and parks. Launched at the end of May in Madrid, the World Wonders Project is the latest creation from the Paris-based Google Cultural Institute, a wing of the company that aims to spread culture and history to users around the globe.
To scan inside the Nijo Castle in Kyoto and traverse the grounds of Stonehenge, Google had to ditch its typical car-mounted scanners. Instead it created image-capture equipment suitable for adapted tricycles and vertical trolleys that can be pushed around to capture indoor sites. These trikes globe-trotted for a whole year, sailing down the Amazon River and sitting atop the Glacier Express train in Switzerland.

To document 132 heritage sites worldwide, the Google team has partnered with content providers such as UNESCO, the World Monuments Fund, and Getty Images The site is  geared towards educational uses , as both students and teachers can download free lesson plans and presentations.
Google World Wonders Project is here

A related video explains the background

Another Google Cultural Institute project launched early last year was The Art Project a collaboration with 17 museums and covering  about 1,000 works of art. In April 2012 , the updated version contained 32,000 artworks from 155 museums. The institute has also digitized Nelson Mandela’s archives, the Dead Sea scrolls, and documents and photos from the Yad Vashem Centre for Holocaust research.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Green Building Standard 'The Living Building Challenge' wins award

The Living Building Challenge has won the 2012Buckminster Fuller Challenge an annual international design Challenge awarding $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems.
Published by The International Living Future Institute,  a non-governmental organization (NGO) in America The Living Building Challenge is an intensive green building standard that seeks to define the highest possible level of environmental performance.
Whether the project is a single building, a park, a college campus or even a complete neighborhood community, Living Building Challenge provides a framework for design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment.It has five imperatives, each of which has to be met and maintained for a full 12 months before a building can be certified as “living.” Those imperatives are as follows: a building has to generate all of its own, renewable energy on-site; a living building has to capture and treatall of its own water; only non-toxic and sustainably-sourced construction materials may be used; buildings have to be placed on already-developed sites in order to reduce urban sprawl; and finally, a living building must be beautiful and inspiring to its occupants and others.
More than 140 projects have registered around the world since the Challenge was first released as a certification program in 2006