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Post Date

23 November 2016

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A treat of light and design: One Heart member’s trip to GLOW Eindhoven

As a benefit to our Hearts members, we recently took a group to the GLOW Eindhoven light festival. We asked one visitor, Oona van den Berg to share her thoughts on the event:

Tell us about your experience at GLOW

Oh. What a treat. I knew nothing of GLOW before I went. It really is a European treasure of all things light and design. Very Dutch and forward thinking. The festival has a quiet atmosphere of contentment and pride. Eindhoven is home to a University of Technology and multinational company Philips. Add into the mix local and international light artists and engineers and you have something unique and special.

GLOW has grown out of the city’s historic past and its remembrance of the 'Route of Lights' that greeted the liberation of World War II, when the people of Eindhoven placed lights in their windows welcoming the troops as they entered their beleaguered city. It was a cause for great celebration and light has continued to symbolise progression and positivity there. GLOW celebrates light in art and architecture and is in its eleventh year.

As autumn turns into winter, GLOW brings the people of Eindhoven out onto the streets. It is a masterful stroke of community and expression. As Gerard Philips said 100-years ago "Light is life; Light is happiness; Light is liveliness." I couldn't agree more and after walking 7km taking in the forty installations that make up GLOW I can safely say I will return.

What was your favourite installation at the festival and why?

To narrow it down to a single installation is seriously hard since GLOW includes the 'low tech', chicken wire and cling film creations of primary school children which are wonderful and life affirming; to 'GLOW Side Projects'  like Small Victims, Large Numbers that highlight political and social debate. Christ! - A hard one to walk under and leave without saying something. As Eindhoven is a university city it also has plenty of talent to showcase in its GLOW Next projects on the 'Science' route,that with funding and time, will transfer to the main festival in coming years.I had to choose it's a toss-up between: 

Flux Apparition: on Smalle Haven, for its interactive light display, combined and triggered by urban dancers in an inverted transparent pyramid structure. A pulsing high energy collaboration of music, live dance and projection, I returned to it each evening.

Labrynth of Passion: projected onto Catharina Church in one of the city's main squares. It depicted the fire and lust of Hieronymus Bosch's temptation of desire in Garden of Delights. A huge, colourful, sound, light and image projection across the front of the church set to Verdi's Dies Irae. It was a show stopper, created by French creative collective Les Orpailleurs de Lumiere, that undoubtedly pulled in the crowd.

How does GLOW compare to Lumiere London?

GLOW is bigger and, with less footfall and traffic. However, London’s strengths are in its mix of art forms and installations and the positions in which they occupy. Lumiere London displayed the theatricality of art installations whereas GLOW is more about technology and physical attention to light. 

What Artichoke events have you attended in the past?

Lumiere London was my introduction to Artichoke, and what a vibrant beginning. I was out for two nights walking the streets, mostly on my own, but never alone. It was a perfect antidote to the festive season and felt energising for the soul. It is something bright to look forward to should it return once again.

London’s Burning was my second Artichoke event and while I was not free for the 'Big Burn' I immensely enjoyed the run-up: Fire Garden at Tate Modern and walking across to St Paul's to view the projection, Fires Ancient and imagine the heat. Having the chance to view the London 1666 structure moored on the Thames in the days previous was awe inspiring.

Why did you become a Hearts member?

Becoming a Heart isn't difficult. It's a joy. The accessibility of public art for all is the main reason I am passionate in supporting a collection of minds that excite and inspire a city. I am fascinated by the arts and performance, in all its guises, and none more than when it breaks out of the theatre, galleries and concert halls and takes place on the street, for free and for all. Artichoke offers inspiration for anyone willing to stop and look. The events get people off their sofas, encouraging chatter amongst complete strangers. 

The GLOW Eindhoven light festival takes place every autumn. To thank our Hearts members for their support, we offered them a discount hotel rate and two tours around the installations with Artichoke Producer Kate Harvey and Development Director Sarah Coop. 

Post Date

10 February 2015

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Being BRILLIANT

BRILLIANT is Artichoke’s competition where anyone based in, or originally from the North East can turn their ideas into an artwork at Lumiere. Here’s a round up of some of the previous winners, and how BRILLIANT changed their lives.

Artichoke first launched BRILLIANT in 2011. We were overwhelmed with responses, from artists and designers, students and people who had never made anything before.

Mick Stephenson heard our call for ideas and says his life changed in a moment. A local builder based in Durham, he wanted to create something special for his home city. He won a BRILLIANT commission and so began six obsessive months developing Fusion (pictured).

Construction for the piece began in his living room, which he filled with the thousands of bottles that would make up his piece. It evolved and grew, until it was first switched on in Walkergate Corner in Durham. Mick described realising at that moment that it had taken on a life of its own.

Since then, Mick has continued to create light sculptures, and has had a number of exhibitions of his work. He says his studio is always ablaze with colour. He also was also part of  Lumiere 2013 in Durham. For Litre of Light (in partnership with the My Shelter Foundation) Mick once more created something astonishing with the humble plastic bottle. The piece highlighted a simple technology, bringing light to people without electricity using only a plastic bottle, water and sunlight.  

Beth Ross won a BRILLIANT commission the same year with I Haven't Changed my Mind in 1000 Years. She said ‘seeing it up during Lumiere was magical. It made me believe that what I am doing as an artist is valued and that it is possible to make those things in your head real’.

Since Lumiere, Beth has completed a Fine Art degree, exhibited all over the UK and been commissioned to make work for Stockton Borough Council and hAb arts in Manchester. She is looking forward to continuing her art practice in Vienna, Austria, and would like to do a PhD in fine art practice there. 

Stu Langley also won BRILLIANT in 2013, as one half of Twist Design. Their Stained Glass Cars transformed three Robin Reliant cars into a playful art piece.

Since then, they’ve taken the three-wheelers round the world, from Stockton to Singapore. Other commissions have included a window installation at Middlesbrough bus station, and VHS RIP, a series of crucifixes made from old video cases at Nuit Blanche in Brussels.

Stu is now a full-time artist, and says BRILLIANT gave him the confidence to pursue a career in the arts: ‘it does exactly what it says on the tin and provides a brilliant opportunity to anyone with a good idea to realise it with fantastic support and on the undeniably amazing stage that is Lumiere festival’.

Artichoke has launched BRILLIANT again for Lumiere in Durham this year, and entries have already started coming in. The closing date is the 23rd February. So if you’ve got an idea that could light up Lumiere, send it in. It might just be BRILLIANT…

Find out more here

Here's more pieces by Brilliant winners for inspiration.

Post Date

30 September 2014

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Burn; Immerse; Demolish. Or simply walk away.

To celebrate the launch of our Kickstarter campaign for new project, 'Temple', our Development Intern Hannah gives us an insight into other ephemeral creations from around the world...

Temporary temples. Transient creations intended to inspire, fascinate and challenge; but not to endure. One of the most intriguing aspects of David Best’s temples is their impermanence. Temple is a project constructed with the community and transformed by the offerings of those who visit. Its final gift is a public spectacle, a shared moment of wonder and reflection as the temple burns to nothing; and this cathartic moment is reflected across the world in the collective creation, and destruction, of places of meaning.

The Hindu festival Durga Puja is an annual celebration of the victory of the goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura as the epitome of Good defeating Evil. The construction of temporary places of worship is a tradition integral to the festival, and in the state of West Bengal everyday life is put on hold while in any available space – playgrounds, parks and street corners – pandals are created; temporary temples made of bamboo and cloth, created to house highly decorated life-sized idols of the goddess. These elaborate makeshift constructions, often created by communities, are free to visitors and attract both the ‘pandal hopping’ young, who gather to talk and eat, and crowds offering morning flower worship. In Kolkata, art and architecture students design themed pujas: immensely popular constructions with themes from Ancient Egypt to Harry Potter that compete to outdo each other in complexity and imagination. After six days of mantras, ritual drumming and dancing the idols are taken in procession to the river and immersed, symbolising the departure of the deity to her home in the Himalayas.

A world away, a wholly different creation: Paris Tour 13:

In a hugely popular public art project in October 2013, one hundred street artists took over a nine-storey social housing tower in Paris - thirty days before its demolition - and transformed it into a temporary temple of urban art. This massive collective exhibition, inspired by gallery director Mehdi Ben Cheikh and supported by the local council, brought 30,000 visitors to a derelict bright-orange residential block containing thirty-six apartments temporarily dedicated to the art of the streets. With aerosol, markers and sculptural elements working with the decay of the building, artists of sixteen nationalities created a non-commercial, one-time-only installation; encouraging a reconsideration of public space and the urban landscape. A month later, the building was reduced to rubble and pictures of the art appeared online for 10 days only: an ephemeral project showcasing a genre transitory by nature:

Even more transitory, perhaps, is the work of bodypainter Trina Merry (pictured above). In April 2014, using nothing but paint and ingenuity, Merry created a living temple from seventeen naked circus performers and dancers in Human Temple, a live installation at WORKS San Jose Gallery. The work’s central golden woman represents ‘the healed and loved women in Nepal’, raising awareness for ‘Beyond the Four Walls’; a social business venture seeking to empower Nepalese women. Merry was inspired by ancient uses of body paint to aid cultural healing and its implications for contemporary art, reveling in the transformative properties of a medium which changes and develops from the moment of application. It is the power of the temporary that informs these temples, their inevitable destruction. In Ireland, Temple will burn; in India, festivities end with symbolic immersion; in Paris, art is demolished by the bulldozer. And the finale of Human Temple? Its participants simply walk away.

Find out more and donate to our Kickstarter campaign for 'Temple'.

Post Date

16 September 2014

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You get what you give

Our Development Co-ordinator Soraia (pictured) recently completed her MA in Culture Policy and Management with a particular focus on crowdfunding.  Ahead of Artichoke launching their own Kickstarter campaign, here's what she learnt...

Digital technologies have radically changed the way we produce, consume and fund art.

I’ve spent the last year thinking about this subject when researching and writing my dissertation to complete a Masters in Culture Policy & Management. Working in Fundraising, I decided to investigate one of the latest trends in financing models for cultural projects: crowdfunding.

Although there are several crowdfunding platforms available to finance creative projects, cultural institutions in the UK are still taking their first steps in using this tool. Because it is still relatively new, the majority of articles related to crowdfunding try to explore what the triggers of successful campaigns are: is it the rewards?  The strong presence on social media? The popularity of the organisation?

As interesting as these questions may be, I decided to focus my research on what I believe matters the most in crowdfunding: the people.

Crowdfunding is not all about the money. It’s about the people that converge around an idea, a product, and a project. It’s about the connections that are established between investors and the organisation that creates the project. It’s about inspiring people in taking part in an idea bigger than themselves. 

With this in mind, I decided to investigate the connections that take place between arts organisations that engage in Kickstarter campaigns and their donors. I wanted to know their follow-up conversations, if organisations embrace these new donors on their future journey.

The results of my research were quite diverse, but one thing became clear: in a crowdfunding campaign, like in life in general, you get what you give. If you ask only for financial donations, that is what people will think is their deepest level of involvement. But if you ask for more – sharing the campaign on social media, advocating for the cause, volunteering – the person’s sense of impact will grow exponentially. And, by placing people as the core asset of crowdfunding, you may actually increase your chances of obtaining further gifts in the future.

I’d like to end this post with a quote that inspired me when I was exploring this topic:

‘I wonder whether at times we’re in danger of trying to make giving so easy that we get a gift but not a relationship. How many people made a text donation just because it was the easiest way to end the conversation? Would they, like me, end up feeling slightly resentful of being treated like a cash machine and never engaged any further with the charity?  Rather than talking about technology and giving, perhaps we should instead be asking how we can use technology for relationship building that leads people to become donors? What if instead of street fundraisers we had street relationship makers? Technology can certainly make things simple. But perhaps being too simple isn’t always a good thing.’

Report: More than shaking an online tin, Spring Giving, London

Post Date

09 July 2014

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Blood on the Streets in Nottingham

Our Administrator Steve invites us into the world of blood letting with a truly unique trip to the hairdressers.  Photo by Lamar Francois.

As someone who’s always been ridiculously squeamish when it comes to anything involving blood, it can sometimes be a bit tricky being the partner of a performance artist whose main source of material is his own blood. And when said performance artist is Jamie Lewis Hadley, who’s current project, the aptly titled Blood on the Streets, involves live phlebotomy and an in-depth lecture on the history of blood letting, it’s safe to say that I was in equal parts excited and nervous to take in the first performance.

However, just over a week ago on a sunny evening in Nottingham, I did just that.

The idea behind Blood on the Streets is to provide the general public with an informative and visually engaging 30 minute performance lecture on the history of the barber surgeon and their previous involvement in and subsequent separation from the act of blood-letting as a means of curing common ailments. Now what makes Blood on the Streets that little bit different from your average performance lecture to the usual ‘white space’ art crowd is that it takes place in the windows of a number of modern day barber shops up and down the UK, making it instantly accessible to literally the ‘people on the street’.

At 7:45pm one warm, Friday evening on a cobbled walk-way in Nottingham, I waited anxiously outside the vibrant 28 Barbers for the debut performance to start.  Camcorder in (shaky) hand, a large medical curtain pulled across the window to obstruct the audiences’ view and guard the aesthetics of the piece before the big reveal, the crowds began to gather.

As the local church bells chimed in the count of 8 o’clock, the curtain was pulled back and the performance began...

Now, if I were to sit here and go into detail about the lecture, the intriguing use of props, the fascinated passers by, the lovely Dr Belinda Fenty, the leeches (sort of) and of course, the blood, then I’d be giving away what makes this groundbreaking piece of performance art so appealing.

So instead, I would advise anyone who enjoys the extraordinary, the thought-provoking and the little bit gory to go check out a performance for yourself...coming soon to a barbers near you.

Photo by Lamar Francois

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