What’s real is home exhibition

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Role-players take in the exhibition photo by Bill Mudge

Earlier this month I exhibited my most recent artwork from my time on the simulated mental health ward at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London.  ‘What’s real is home’ included over 30 sketches at the Scene Of Crime House, Kingston University. It is a body of artistic work that has enabled me to delve even deeper into the mental health labyrinth. It has also increased my appreciation of the people who help guide us through it’s twists and turns.

This time last year I took my first tentative steps into the simulated mental health ward at Kingston University and St George’s, University London. I was unprepared for the process and theatre that awaited me. Since then my artistic life has dovetailed with the course, actors and staff. The sketches from last year formed a successful exhibition, a film which was screened at the BFI London, a loan of work to the Recovery exhibition at the Institute of Mental Health (Nottingham) and a series of articles online and in print.

Putting up the show

Putting up the show. Photo by Bill Mudge

I returned to the ward in 2014 alongside psychotherapist and tutor Harvey Wells. In addition to sketching, we also recorded the dialogue between patients and nurses on the simulated ward. These sound recordings inspired two short films that have been embraced by the international film circuit.

‘Ping Pong Paranoia’ was screened at the MORPHOS Immersive Video Dome Art festival in Los Angeles, USA.

‘What’s Real Is Home’ features the poetry of Robin Vaughan-Williams and premiered at the Filmpoem Festival (2014) in Antwerp, Belgium.

This year we recorded the voices of the ‘patients’ on the ward. We used these monologues as a creative springboard to explore a whole range of mental health themes. One of the most powerful sound recordings was from ‘Sandra’ who is played by actor Lindsay Shepherd. We were honoured that Lindsay attended the opening of the exhibition with some of the fellow role-players. It is her voice that appears alongside experimental jazz trio Toy Rokit on the film ‘Ping Pong Paranoia’. The film explores the ever increasing anxiety and claustrophobia felt by the paranoid patient ‘Sandra’ as she voices her concerns about being stuck on the ward.

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Sketch of Kevin Acott. Photo by Bill Mudge

The story isn’t over for ‘Ping Pong Paranoia’ either, just last night I attended another screening of the film at the Greenhorn Film Festival’s Animation Freakatorium in Crouch End. Amongst a high quality programme of short films, our modest film held its own despite its small budget. The full programme can be found at http://www.greenhornfestival.com/programme-2014/film-programme

It was both unnerving and exciting to be able to hang the exhibition at the Scene of Crime House at Kingston University. It was one of those nights that seemed very dark indeed. Luckily we had the services of photographer Bill Mudge, who captured some evocative images on his camera. See his full portfolio from the night here – http://mudgephoto.wordpress.com/portfolio/whats-real-is-home/

One part of the exhibition that brought a smile to everyone’s lips was the Train or Ward installation. This was comprised of 48 vignettes that documented one-sided conversations heard on trains from around the UK and within the Simulated Mental Health ward. Visitors to the exhibition were asked to guess where each conversation originated from. Was it Train or Ward?

courtesy of Bill Mudge

Outside the Scene of Crime House. Photo by Bill Mudge

These vignettes were first exhibited at the NOSE Festival in Exeter on the 29th March 2014 as a set of magnetic artworks each measuring 5 x 7cm. They were placed on lampposts and railings throughout the city. The public were invited to pick them up and collect or to leave for people to discover throughout the festival. Harvey Wells joined me both in installing the magnets and in the simulated ward where we instigated the project.

The ‘Train or Ward’ instillation aims to break down the boundaries by taking Art out of the gallery and into public spaces but also by challenging attitudes towards Mental Health in the community. The ‘normal’ lines are blurred, it is impossible to detect whether a conversation has originated from the mental health ward or the local train. It is clear though that there is humour and pathos in abundance in both these environments.

AL.

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Whats Real Is Home

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What’s Real Is Home

 

What’s Real Is Home exhibition

After the success of last year’s exhibition – ‘Eternal Art of the Simulated Mind’ – I returned to the Kingston University’s Simulated Mental Health Ward in 2014, where students from the School of Nursing learn their craft. As well as documenting this unique experience in my sketchbook, I also captured the care and chaos of the ward environment in a series of live recordings. This experience inspired two films that have recently been screened at the Morphos Dome in Los Angeles and at Antwerp’s Filmpoem Festival.

On 5th November I’ll be showing the whole body of work at the Scene of Crime House, 14 Fassett Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 2TF. Come and join us from 5-7pm for films, paintings, sketches and atmospheric sound recordings.

 

Greenhorn Festival
One of our films from the Simulated Mental Health Ward is to be shown at the Greenhorn Festival.  Ping Pong Paranoia will help close the festival during the aptly named Animation Freakatorium on Sunday 16th Nov, 6.30-8pm, Arthouse, Crouch End, 159A Tottenham Lane, London N8 9BT. Get your tickets here – http://www.arthousecrouchend.co.uk/programme/?programme_id=720104

Films in production – Grand Designs
It has been a cinematic couple of months. I have already completed 5 films for experimental jazz trio Toy Rokit and I have another to come. The films are inspired by one of the houses from the Grand Designs TV programme. Bill Mudge and my very own family were lucky enough to stay in the residence in July 2013. Toy Rokit are now being inspired by my visuals in turn. We hope to produce a body of work that will result in an exhibition, live performances and a publication and CD.

They go film

They go film

Films in production – Juan Maria Solare
I have started a new project with Modern Tango supremo Juan María Solare. He was born in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1966 and has lived in Germany since 1993 as a composer and pianist. Currently he teaches Tango Music at the University of Bremen and Composition and Arrangements at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen. At the Jacobs University Bremen he conducts the Jacobs Chamber Orchestra, which repertory a stress on classical music.

The films use both simple word sequences and visuals to create undercurrents of meaning, intrigue and humour. As you know my usual practice is tight and relies heavily on good technique, but this is type of work plays with ambiguity, which is a tool I’m just learning to use.

A33%_Partikel_string_theory_album_artlbum Art
All the albums below include my album art. I’ve been busy!

Max Luthert released his debut album at Pizza Express Soho last week on Whirlwind Recordings.
http://www.whirlwindrecordings.com/orbital/

Both Samuel Eagles (Next Beginning) and Leo Appleyard (Pembroke Road) release their debut albums on F-IRE Records next month at the London Jazz Festival – http://www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk/events/info/leo-appleyard-and-samuel-eagles-f-ire-records-double-bill

I’ve also contributed to Emily Saunders latest album Outsiders Insiders which will be launched also at this year’s LJF, 229 The Venue
Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN, 8.30pm.
http://www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk/events/info/emily-saunders-partikel-jazz-dj

Partikel’s 3rd album String Theory is nearly ready for the printers too. Here’s a sneak peek at what it’s going to look like.