"Kizomba Role-Swap Course"
Social Dance Intervention, Leeds
A friendly intervention into the world of Afro-Latin social partner dance. Kizomba is an intimate couple dance, originally from Angola, in which there is a very strong convention of men leading and women following. I have been an active member of this dance community in the UK since 2010 and prior to making this work, I had never seem a woman lead a man dancing Kizomba socially. The work involved my learning to dance as a follower, then advertising and running a short course in which myself and fellow dancer Katya Menhennet taught women to lead and men to follow. The participants embraced the opportunity enthusiastically and it was particularly notable how quickly most of the men relaxed into the role of following, closing their eyes and allowing their movements to be led by their female partners. Since the course, several of the participants have been seen dancing in a role-swapped manner socially in the dance venues of Leeds. This subtle, yet visible addition to the texture of the social dancing environment also became a part of the work.
Street Art - Paris
A sticker-art project which responded to the threatened “burka ban” which was at the time being debated by the French government. The "BURKAZ" presented an image of veiled women with dynamic super-hero style personalities – based on the Saudi women I met in in Jeddah who combined stylish burkas with designer shoes and accessories as a statement of rebellion and independence.
May - Sept 2010
Photographic Self Portrature
A series of photographic self portraits exploring identity, masquerade and isolation.
2004 - 2010
Street Art - Leeds, London, Cambridge, Paris, New York, Rome
A sticker-art project which explored new ways of representing one of the most commonly used images in vernacular graffiti. A playful questioning of the relationship between genetic male-ness, socially constructed ideas of masculinity and the role of the phallus as a symbol of male power.
- Sept 2007
with the British Council
As part of the British Council initiative "My Father's House" I was invited to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the aim of developing proposals for artworks which responded to the architecture and society I encountered. I met a lot of Saudi men including groups of photography enthusiasts, doctors, historians, business men and drivers. I also met a surprising number of Saudi women including one gallery owner and three contemporary artists – all of whom were fiercely intelligent and highly critical of the Saudi state. On the final day of the visit, during a discussion with my two British Council guides (one of whom was a a woman artist) I came up with an idea for a sculpture titled "The Saudi Women's Cube". This was based on the tension felt by so many Saudi women between their own deeply felt Islamic faith and their antagonism towards the way their religion is interpreted by the ruling male elite of their country.
This proposal was put “on hold” in late 2007 due to broader diplomatic issues. The project was officially cancelled in 2008.
- Dec 2005
- Leeds City Art Gallery
collaboration with users of St. Georges Crypt Night Shelter in the centre
of Leeds. The result of a commission from Leeds City Art Gallery and
St. George's Crypt to mark the shelter's 75th anniversary. During the
summer of 2005 I spent many evenings at the Crypt talking to the men
and women who go there, about what night time means to them. The resulting
video installation combined ideas, memories and statements which the
people I met passionately wanted to express to a wider audience.
- Sept 2004
- Leeds City Art Gallery
A re-staging of
one part of the "You Are Here in a Moment" exhibition. This
time in a larger space - see below for full details.
2003 - Feb 2004
Radio Leeds "all_2gether_now" Commission
A one year commission
to produce collaborative work in the Harehills and Burmantofts areas
of Leeds. The work was shown on the
BBC website and exhibited at the Leeds Metropolitan
University Gallery at the end of the commission.
Main Projects from the year:
For this piece I
collaborated with Science and Gareth Gumbs, two residents of the Chapeltown
area of Leeds to make an informal documentary video-work combining the
conventions of vox-poping and street-corner debating. Over a period
of several months Science and Gareth walked the streets of Chapeltown
and Harehills talking to predominantly Black and Asian, young men about
their experiences of, and opinions about, contemporary urban life. The
resulting exhibition piece combined interactive DVDs of these conversations
with a projected conversation between Science and myself in which we
reflect together on the overall experience.
A one hour lunch-break
project with children from Harehills Primary School. I provided trays
of magnetic words and a few examples and within minutes the first children
were queuing up to use the digital camera. Sometimes everything just
Are Here in a Moment"
The concluding exhibition took its title from one of the "Playground
Texts" and was staged at Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery.
It included an installation of "Searching for Truth", large
digital prints of the "Playground Texts" and a projected version
of "The Man Who Sings Prays Twice" a video piece I created
with local writer Barbara Kirk.
2003 - Feb 2004
A commission from Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery
with smokers from St. James's Hospital, Leeds. I traveled around the
hospital site and started conversations with anyone I saw who was smoking.
The vast majority of these were staff but many also had experiences
as patients and as relatives of patients. What developed was primarily
a process-based work in which the smokers were both the collaborators
and the audience. Generally, people were very interested to discuss
their experiences but were reluctant – for a variety of reasons
– to be identified publicly as smokers. From this came the idea
of a book of unattributed comments and anonymous photographs.
Two large laminated
versions of the book were exhibited at the gallery - one inside and
one outside where it could be read by smokers who generally congregate
around rubbish bins beside the gallery windows. I will shortly be placing
copies of the book back in the smoking spaces of the hospital for the
smokers to read. Further copies may be used as part of the hospital's
Quit Smoking scheme.
14 people from across
the globe follow instructions given through headphones - documenting
their journeys with photography and video.
- Dec 2002
City Art Gallery
An exhibition documenting
the work I produced as Artist in Residence at the BRAHM Agency. This
was a joint exhibition with Louise K. Wilson who also had a residency
April - June 2001
in Residence at the BRAHM Agency, Leeds
Arts Council “Year of The Artist” commission
14 days of collaborative
art-making in one of the North’s major advertising and PR agencies.
I worked with cleaners, directors, creatives, account managers etc.
to create new stories, about the people in the building, for the people
in the building. Works included a series of silent videos which re-interpreted
images of office life which were in turn projected into the open-plan
office space; and a reworking of the company logo (in which each coloured
line represented a service offered by BRAHM) to include an invisible
line to represent the cleaners.
A "Year of the Artist" R & D project
A series of guided audio-tours for use in the city. Tours included a
"Shopping" tour and "The Mission". This project
developed into "Global Fragments" - see above.
Arts Council "Year of The Artist" project
Digital video projections
for a major new opera by Sam Paechter and Rachel Feldberg. Premiered
at Bolton Abbey’s Victorian Railway station and Leeds City Art
1999 - Sept 2001
Shoppers” CD ROM
commission from Suffolk County Council
A commission to
create a CD-ROM-based interactive artwork for distribution throughout
the UK library network. My work explored the theme of "Men and
Shopping" and was a cumulative interactive collaboration in which
I brought four male shoppers into an anonymous virtual dialogue about
their experiences of shopping.
Jan - Aug 2000
Sleeping?" - Bedford
"First Take" commission from Anglia Television
A ten-minute digital television program, which explored the night-time
lives of four people who, didn't sleep at night - a breakdown recovery
driver, a fisherman, an illegal-rave organiser and an insomniac. The
film itself attempted to re-negotiate the video-diary format through
digital technology and collaborative filming techniques.
Stories" - Leeds
A commission from Blah Blah Blah Theatre Co.
with 14 ex-pupils drawn from 40 years of Foxwood Comprehensive School
- built as Leeds' first comprehensive in the late 50s and closed under
special measures in the late 90s. The project resulted in multi-media
installations in two massive stairwells of the building - now East Leeds
Family Learning Centre. The installation was planned to stay for a month
and was retained as a permanent fixture in response to positive feedback
from the local community.
- Oct 1998
A commission from PRESCAP, Preston
A collaboration with 14 disabled people which explored experiences of
love, sex and relationships. It resulted in a book, a web site and six
Click here to see the Yes
We Still Can website
the Plants Hear You?"
A commission from IKON Gallery, Birmingham
A sound based interactive installation in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens
which explored perceptions of scientific evidence. Working as the Lewin
Collins Foundation I created two "educational" workstations
which suggested that plants might respond directly to human activity
such as music. My intention was to present people with something that
looked scientific but which they would quickly 'see through' and perhaps
cause them to question how easily they accept scientific authority.
In practice every single visitor asked, said they believed the "experiments".
These visitors included a party of Botanists from another institution!
Some months later I was contacted by an agricultural college and asked
if the Lewin Collins Foundation would be prepared to restage the experiments
for their students - it was hard to know whether the caller was more
embarrassed or disappointed when I explained that the plants had not
in fact responded to the music he had played to them when he visited.
of Departure" - Leeds
A collaboration with 14 people with very different experiences relating
to death, and from a range of faith backgrounds. The project resulted
in three separate photo/text installations which were shown in a shopping
centre, a church and a synagogue.
A commission from MOMA, Oxford
A collaboration with a diverse group of local drivers (bus driver, rally
driver, road protester...) in which we explored the complex experiences
of contemporary driving. It resulted in a simultaneous exhibition of
photo/text works in the museum cafe and on over 150 Oxford buses.
The work was re-shown
as part of an exhibition responding to the building of the Newbury Bypass
- which had been the focus of prolonged and extensive protests in the
A Commission from Crystal Clear, Leeds
A commission from 'Crystal Clear' - a multi-venue art event which worked
with the new Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds to explore issues raised
by the building and its collection. I produced a series of photo/text
banners for an installation in the Leeds Parish Church. These drew on
the responses of eight local people - each with direct experience of
weapons - a surgeon, a police firearms officer, two peace campaigners,
two gun club members, a victim of armed robbery. Each collaborator visited
the museum and followed a "critical" audio tour of the museum
which I created for the event - their responses to the tour became the
raw material for the final works.
Artist in Residence, Seaham Beach, County Durham
Visual Arts UK Commission
A Visual Arts UK
commission for which I created "Red Wood Orange Doors" a process-based
work which culminated in a series of temporary sculptures, and "BoatHead"a
pair of giant beach drawings which were photographed from the air. I
also spent a month creating sculptures with school groups, which culminated
in a photographic exhibition hosted by 16 shops in Seaham High Street.
LOOKING BEYOND, Easington District Council 1996
Interactive Tour of Mothercare for Men, Part 1"
A "museum style" guided audio tour applicable to any Mothercare
store in the UK. Six men visited six stores across the country. Their
responses to the tour were compiled into an exhibition at Manchester
Metropolitan University. Both the tour and the responses addressed and
questioned the connections between masculinity and consumption.
History of Water"- Lawrence
Batley Theatre, Huddersfield
An Opera North commission
A commission to
create a live projection piece with composer Hugh Nankivell and pupils
from a Huddersfield Junior School.
Framework" - Bradford University
text and image installation created with a group of disabled students
to raise disability awareness within the university. Created whilst
working within Graphic Works an ethical design partnership I co-founded
in Bradford in 1989.
Cargo" - The Albert Dock, Liverpool,
by Visionfest Arts Festival
A very large scale
site-specific installation of Sugar, Bamboo and Muslin. An attempt to
evoke and link the histories of the dock, the city and the slave trade.
Site Signs" - Hulme Manchester
A series of interventions
in the form of signs which I attached to fences marking the perimeter
of building sites. At one stage a builder asked what I was doing. In
response I resorted to my pre-prepared script and I explained that I
had been asked to put up the "STRICTLY MEN ONLY" signs by
management. He was very put out and told me the signs were sexist and
that he had only worked with a woman plumber the previous week. In many
ways this was a decisive moment for me. It caused me to question the
validity of making unannounced public comments and this ultimately led
me away from commenting about people and towards working with them.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A series of 15 'seamless'
textual and visual interventions on commercial billboard posters.
Click here to see
& Someone website
GRAPHIC AGITATION 2, Phaidon Press 2004
SUFFRAGETTES & SHE DEVILS, Phaidon 1997
GRAPHIC AGITATION, Phaidon Press 1993
Leeds Postcards 1990