Sunday, 25 November 2012

Student Curatorial Team: Currency of Ideas Workshop

Alongside Holly Knox Yeoman, I recently devised a workshop for students of Exhibitions DJCAD's Student Curatorial Team of which we were members while studying in Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. Holly and I blogged on Exhibitions, DJCAD's blog about the two afternoons, Afternoon 1 and Afternoon 2.

The workshop, SCT: A Currency of Ideas was structured to take place over two afternoons. The first explored curatorial models and highlighted experiences that have so far been key to our understanding of curation. (This included talking about Collection(s) Part 1 and Part 2 which we worked on during our 4th year of University). The second afternoon facilitated the sharing, exchanging and improving of ideas for potential exhibitions and projects between the student members of the team. 

Great ideas were put forward and discussed amongst the team who are now continuing to develop them. I look forward to seeing how their exhibitions and projects develop over the next few months!

Monday, 1 October 2012


Wasn't there but I imagine it would have been good to hear all the points of view and how the discussion evolved after the speakers' finished.

A report on the event by Chris Sharratt on a-n describes: 
"A speaker from New York's W.A.G.E. campaign joined Glasgow-based artists this week to talk about the 'non' payment of artists' fees. a-n reports from Glasgow...
The main speaker on the night was Lise Soskolne of W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy). She offered an enlightening and entertaining overview of the New York activist group’s campaigns and research. Setting the group’s work in context, she said: “People in New York are just baffled by what we do – it’s like, why should artists get paid?”
Formed in 2008, W.A.G.E. is not a union. It campaigns specifically around the issue of artists’ fees, focusing on not-for-profit galleries and museums. Soskolne showed a W.A.G.E. campaign video that distilled its objectives into succinct slogans, such as ‘Renumeration of cultural value in capital value’; ‘Mutual respect between artist and institution’; and – one for every artist, surely – ‘We demand payment for making the world more interesting’...
It was, though, rather more recent information regarding New York’s art scene that proved most shocking. Soskolne talked about the results of a recent survey into artists’ fees, based on the responses of artists. By far the worst offender was Performa, ‘the internationally acclaimed biennial of new visual art performance’.
“Performa were upset by this, which is good – I think you call it naming and shaming in the UK,” said Soskolne. “They got in touch and said they wanted to make a statement. W.A.G.E. responded with, ‘Yeah, let’s meet, we’d like to see your budget.’” They're still waiting for a reply."
Check out this link to the letter Hollis Frampton sent to the Film Curator of MoMA in 1973 when he was asked to take part/comply with a retrospective of his films, with 'no money' given to him. 
I plan to keep up-to-date with W.A.G.E. via their website.

Monday, 20 August 2012

May Meet In Mutual

We have now cleared away the work and swept up the Park Centre leaving no traces of crumbs, thread or leaves, but here are a few photos for those of you who missed May Meet In Mutual.

May Meet In Mutual was a site responsive exhibition based at the Park Centre, Baxter Park, Dundee between 16-18 August, 2012. Nine artists made works which looked at the park as it is now (how it functions within the community, environmentally, the potential it has...) and that reflected upon its historical links to the linen trade, (having been donated to the people of Dundee in 1863 by Sir David Baxter and his sisters Mary-Ann and Eleanor whose money came from the Baxter Brothers linen manufacturing firm). Each artist worked from within their own practice but linked through the site their works could be seen to meet in mutual, just as Sir David Baxter had intended that the people of Dundee use the park as "a common ground where all may meet in mutual acknowledgement of their dependence the one upon the other."

Morgan Cahn's work 'Me(a)nder' saw her stitching and mending around the park and within the Park Centre for the duration of the exhibition. Here she is patching up my incredibly worn out 'install jeans' with some hand printed fabric - and they look fab, thanks!

Holly Keasey's 'Sew 'n' Grow' project has started to consider proposing a rain garden within the Baxter Park. Visitors took part in conversations about gardening, community and the park while stitching flowers that are suitable for a sustainable rain garden.

This is the inside view of my contribution to May Meet In Mutual. Two of our visitors, who interrupted their walk in the park to take a look, are shown investigating photographs from a pocket in the pin board. The photographs show the boarded up windows of the beautiful, but currently unused, Dens Mills, which was formerly a Baxter Brothers' mill.

Holly Knox Yeoman's 'Mutual Divide' after visitors took part in scanning and arranging items they found in the park. Yeoman describes, "This clean, neutrality the park provides works as a metaphor for society; the park is masking reality, its edges, through the fences are the truth with the Baxter Park Centre's glass walls gifting a space for local people, an impartial place for the outside reality of the park to congregate."

Hannah Moitt's thoughtful drawn, painted and printed illustrations investigate aspects of becoming an adult female: independence, fear, expectation, and preparation, etc.

Rebecca Jones took inspiration from woven textiles for this structural hanging piece that gently drops from the large beams in the space.
Beth Savage's banner, 'Shit Happens' can be seen in the back left. A tree covered with dog-bag-leaves questions how we deal with this animal waste, and how we interact with animals in the city.

This dog spotted Beth Savage's 'Olfactory Cortex', an outside work consisting of dog treats.

Sarah Johnston's 'Untitled, (Jute and Flax)' took the material qualities of jute and flax into the space in a beautiful way. Elevated from the floor the work implied strength and structure, although the materials are gently stacked and twisted together with no fixings.

Emma Reid's 'live feed (Park Centre)' is a work for the inquisitive visitor. Peeping into a small hole in the top of the mirrored plinth reveals a screen upon which you are surprised with your own image. Two cameras were hidden within/and outwith the space angled towards the plinth to transmit live footage of your own interaction with the work, other works and people in the space.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

May Meet In Mutual, Open Install

May Meet In Mutual, Open Install, Park Centre, Baxter Park. Join us tomorrow or Saturday for the exhibition.

Getting started.

Wires and water barrels. 

Light, shadow, reflection.


Let's install!

Visitors chatting about Beth Savage's work with her.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

May Meet In Mutual, Install, day one.

Great day installing 'May Meet In Mutual' with more to come tomorrow

Today was productive and allowed us to start getting a feel for the space and how to arrange the works. Holly Keasey set up her table, which is nearly ready for her 'Sew 'n' Grow' conversation groups. 

Here's Morgan Cahn's paper sculpture taking shape in the space. Look out for her 'Me(a)nder' project, through which she will be helping to mend your worn out textiles, solve wider issues or perhaps mend your broken heart. Check out her site for previous work.

Hannah Moitt joined us from Glasgow today bringing her painting/screenprint/illustrations with her on the train! Her bold and detailed images are now hanging in the space, come join us at the Baxter Park Ranger Centre tomorrow for our Open Install and take a look for yourself. More works will arrive tomorrow so lots more still to happen.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Notes on Baxter Park

Baxter Park was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton and donated to the inhabitants of Dundee in1863. At that time the park was on the edge of the town and became a desirable area to live in. Obviously Dundee developed in size and the park is now in the east of the city rather than on the outskirts.

"Stobswell had long been a popular neighbourhood with many Dundonians. However during the 1990's with changing housing policy, factory closures and redundant road proposals the picture had changed.
In 2001 and 2002 flats in the area were difficult to sell. There were complaints about poor maintenance, dereliction and an overall decline in neighbourhood."
Stobswell Regeneration: "A key objective was "to demonstrate the long term viability of inner city communities by achieving a sustainable regeneration of Stobswell". The basic task was to restore Stobswell to its previous status as Dundee's third most popular inner suburb."

UK Landscape Award 2010. Baxter Park was a finalist having won within Scotland. Lots of info about the Restoration Project and the Park: 

"The Baxter Park Restoration Plan was formed in 1995 to ensure its considered restoration to a safe and active Community green space. Through this scheme, the Park has seen many improvements, with a great reduction in vandalism and antisocial behaviour.  With the restoration and upgrading of the Central Sandstone Pavilion, space has been created for a cafĂ© and a beautiful setting for 
functions and events as well as civil weddings. The creation of the Park Centre has given the local  Community a space for local events and activities, and has provided a base within the Park for 
supervisory staff and Community Wardens."

Stobswell Regeneration info :

Park Centre in 2006, different front door:

Notes on Baxter Brothers Co. and People's Park

Baxter Park was originally donated to the inhabitants of Dundee in 1863 by Sir David Baxter, Mary Ann Baxter and Eleanor Baxter. Some notes below to do with history of Baxter Brothers & Co. firm, and their part in the textile industry. As well as a little about the donation of the 'People's Park,' Baxter Park.
Some other links at the bottom of the page.

Dundee In Old Picture Postcards, D37.92 – Local History Section of City Library
27. Baxter Park Pavilion, “Baxter Park opened amid great rejoicing and a public holiday – but a planned balloon ascent in front of the assembled crowd of 60,000 failed to get off the ground because of wind speeds.”

Trustees of Baxter Park, Minutes Book 1 MS/105/11, Dundee University Archives

September 4th 1863
“Taking into consideration the extensive mercantile connection which our late father William Baxter Esquire of Balgarves and his family have had with the town of Dundee and in grateful acknowledgement of the worldly means bestowed on us by a kind Providence sometime ago resolved to present to the Inhabitants of Dundee a Public Park in the immediate vicinity of the Town with the view of affording to the working population the means of relaxation and enjoyment after their hard labour and honest industry and as a common ground where all the Inhabitants of that large and busy town may meet in mutual acknowledgement of their dependence the one upon the other.”

Baxters of Dundee, Ian McCraw D37.14 – Local History Section of City Library
Early 1800’s - William Baxter & Son was the partnership with William Baxter and his son Edward Baxter
1826 – Edward Baxter left the business. David, John and William (Edward’s brothers) became partners with their father, the firm became Baxter Brothers and Co.
1833 – Upper Dens Mill is built and Peter Carmichael works with the business.
1836 – Due to innovations of Peter Carmichael, Baxter’s became “first firm in Dundee to succeed in establishing power-loom weaving for linen.” This altered work force considerably and meant that many more unskilled labourers were employed – e.g. women and children.
1852, 1853 – William Baxter’s sons William and John died. New partnership contract drawn up with William, David and Peter Carmichael.
1854 – William Baxter died. William Ogilvy Dalgleish (who married a granddaughter of William Baxter) joined firm.
1864 – Largest  firm in town, 4000 workers, 19744 spindles and 1200 power looms, [Cox Brothers of Camperdown – 3220 workers, 10,017 spindles, 560 power looms.]
1863 – Sir David Baxter and his sisters Mary Ann Baxter and Eleanor Baxter donated Baxter Park, the ‘People’s Park’ to Dundee.
1872 – Sir David Baxter died, leaving £1,200,000. Sir William Ogilvy Dalgleish took over firm.
Towards the end of 1800’s business wasn’t quite so prosperous, eventually firm began to follow the trend towards using jute, which was cheaper.
1880s – firm’s use of jute to flax almost 1:1
1891 – Peter Carmichael died, Baxter Brothers changed to a Private Limited Company.
Business wasn’t stable, some years making losses.
Eventually, on Jan 22nd 1924 Baxter Brothers became part of the Low and Bonar group.
1978 – production at Dens Works (original Baxter Brothers Mills) “finally ceased in the summer of 1978.”

Dundee A Short History, Norman Watson.
P103-4: Dundee made a lot of money from providing linen for slaves clothing in late 18th and early 19th centuries

P108-9: Between 1841-1861 population increased by 30,000 but ‘only 568 new houses were built for the working classes. Tenemented properties were divided then let, then sub-let, then filled six to a room.”

P144: In 1834 “raw jute was £12 ton while Baltic Flax averaged around £50.” Meaning that jute generally took over from linen in, though, “Baxter Brothers of Dens Works remained loyal to linen.” [Until late 1800s, early 1900s when they brought jute into use as well. 

Baxter's of Dundee, Ian McCraw D37.14]
P149: In 1911 “half of the working population of Dundee, some 41,000 people, were employed in textiles.”

A Baxter’s Letter-Book, Shelia Bye
P33: Working hours in 1830s Baxter’s Mills, and other linen mills. “When trade was brisk – thirteen hours and twenty minutes with fifty minutes each day for meals.”

P36: In 1881 workers, “had only six days holiday each year – (2 days at each holiday and a fast day in April and September.)”

P54: Thomas Kinnear said of 1867, “There were only 5 W.C.s in Dundee, 3 in hotels and 2 in private houses. Privies (1,000 of them) were 4 or 5 holes in the ground into which filth and foul liquid was poured. They were emptied by scavengers in seaboots at 4am. Filth was deposited in heaps on streets until it was carted away later in the day.”

P75: “The southern portion was laid out in grass for games of cricket and football with walks and shrubberies, grottoes and grassy hillocks forming ‘a most agreeable summer promenade affording beautiful recreation and pure air to all classes.’ A pavilion was erected in the centre of the park in which was placed a marble life size statue of Sir David, the statue having been paid for by public subscription. The park was formally opened on September 9, 1863 by Lord Russell, the Prime Minister. There was a procession of public bodies, trades and volunteers about two miles long and about 70,000 people attended.”

The River Tay and Its People, Graham Ogilvy, 941.2 OGI
In 1911 2/3rds of the working population was employed in manufacturing. By 1932 and the Depression, of which textiles and engineering were the greatest casualties, 37,000 Dundonians were out of work. 35% unemployment.

Baxter family started making money from flax around 1790. British Empires need for sails, gun covers etc.

The Scots: A Photohistory, 941.1 Mack
P136: “The notion of ‘separate spheres’ was not as universal or entrenched as some casual observations might indicate. Even before 1914, female labour dominated in certain trades, especially in textiles and clothing manufacture. Here however, it was costs that drove the trend, for in a traditionally cut-throat sector lower female wages offered the prospect of a substantial saving to owners. Female employment was most pronounced in the Dundee jute mills, where by 1900 women between the ages of 20 to 45 outnumbered men by a ratio of three to two. In 1921, 24% of married women in Dundee were in employment, some four times the average of Edinburgh or Glasgow. This situation started young, despite contrary legislation, for before 1914 some 5000 girls of 12 to 14 years of age were given dispensation to leave school (or attend evening schools) to go to work in the mills. It was a situation deplored by both social reformers and Socialists, who considered it corrosive of ‘proper’ family life and evidence of the malignancy of Capitalism.”

Upper Dens Mills 2008
Upper Dens Mills when still in use.


Women weavers at their looms, in Dens Works circa 1908:

Older Photos of Baxter Park:

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bubble wrap

Like Andrea Cohen's use of materials here, especially in 'Cabin Daddy', 2012.

Nice to see bubble wrap being used as a mold, reminds me of fun in the studio last year.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Baxter Brothers, Dens Road Mills

4 fireproof flax mills of the former Baxter Brothers' works, grouped around a courtyard.North Mill, George Pyott 1935, links Bell and Dens Street Mills. 2-storey and attic. 3-by 10-bay coursed rubble elevation to Princes Street and St Roques Lane. Central roundel inscribed "Baxter Brothers 1935 Lower Dens Works". 4-storey reinforced concrete framed elevation to yard almost completely glazed except brick top floor. Piended slate roof. Tunnel to Upper Dens Works blocked. (ref: Historic Scotland) Dundee has no finer Victorian symbol than the Dens Mills, once the empire of the mighty Baxter brothers who, between 1840-90, rose to be the world's first linen manufacturers. Lower Dens was built from Baxter's own foundry, consisting of four fireproof flax mills: Bell, North, Dens and St Roque's. (ref: C.McKean & D.Walker)
Building Dates: 1935
Architects: George Pyott

View from Constable Street

View from Princes Street

Thursday, 28 June 2012

CFTC orders Barclays to pay $200 million civil monetary penalty.

CFTC finds that Barclays attempted to manipulate interest rates and made related false reports to benefit its derivatives trading positions

The Order also finds that Barclays made false LIBOR reports at the direction of members of senior management to protect its reputation during the global financial crisis

As the Order shows, Barclays, in pursuit of its own self-interest, disregarded the fundamental principle that LIBOR and Euribor are supposed to reflect the costs of borrowing funds in certain markets. Barclays’ traders located at least in New York, London and Tokyo asked Barclays’ submitters to submit particular rates to benefit their derivatives trading positions, such as swaps or futures positions, which were priced on LIBOR and Euribor. Barclays’ traders made these unlawful requests routinely, and sometimes daily, from at least mid-2005 through at least the fall of 2007, and sporadically thereafter into 2009. The Order relates that, for example, one trader stated in an email to a submitter: 
“We have another big fixing tom[orrow] and with the market move I was hoping we could set [certain] Libors as high as possible.”
The traders’ requests were frequently accepted by Barclays’ submitters, who emailed responses such as;
 “always happy to help,” “for you, anything,” or “Done…for you big boy,” 
resulting in false submissions by Barclays to the BBA and EBF. The traders and submitters also engaged in similar conduct on fewer occasions with respect to Yen and Sterling LIBOR.

Monday, 11 June 2012

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Currently watching The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a movie about marketing, product placement, sponsorship and endorsement in the movie business.
So far, Morgan Spurlock takes the same stance as in Super Size Me - creates a documentary that reveals the status-quo by taking it to extremes. Spurlock's proposal meeting with Sheetz clarifies what The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is about, they asked him:
"Is there a plot?"
"The plot is literally me trying to find the people to support a film like this, that talks about the topic, that is. This is the movie right now! This is it!"
I'm going to watch the rest now, want to add an image from the poster but I'm going to try not to read the logos on Spurlock because I'd rather follow the 'plot'.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Hold on!

On hold.
Wonder how many cumulative hours are spent in the UK each day with people being on hold to one another to discuss paperwork, official data or bureaucratic details?
Too many.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Social network market trading value

Facebook shares fell more than 9% to a low of $28.78.

Facebook's 900 million users helped the company generate just $1bn in profit last year, and there are concerns about its ability to increase profits in the future.
The flotation was disrupted on its first day of trading by technical glitches on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The share price has since slumped amid worries that the company was over-valued by advisers marketing the float.

Now, a group of investors has issued a class-action lawsuit alleging that Facebook revenues were revised down because of a surge in the number of people using mobile devices for apps and connection to websites.

The suit targets Facebook, its founder Mark Zuckerberg and the banks behind the flotation, including lead underwriter Morgan Stanley.

The share sale in New York raised $16bn for Facebook.