Thursday, July 9, 2009

Global Encounters

Virtual Exhibition for artafrica

Global Encounters: Mónica de Miranda and Andrea Macdonald

Eva Langret is a London-based curator. She currently works for the Delfina Foundation, London.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sign of the Times - Group show, Barbados

This group show previews today at Queens Park Gallery in Bridgetown at 6:30pm and will run till 30 May. It features a re-worked version of my film, Capture (2008) which can be seen as raw footage on the earlier posting 'Capture and mess up'

Notes on the work

Norfolk Street, Belmont, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Saturday, around 9pm

I am compelled to capture a small traditional house
There seems to be no life inside yet it does seem occupied
I am standing on the other side of the street
I zoom in, seemingly unobtrusive
But is this act of capturing this home, this small traditional domestic house, acceptable?

My attention is drawn towards another subject
A Trinidadian man by my side, making small talk, friendly
My companion already has her lens upon him
I join in on this unauthorised act
An act he confronts

I divert away, immediately
I am and remain uncomfortable
I return to the original subject, the house with no life inside yet seemingly occupied

Who am I when I capture this scene?
An artist, a visitor, a tourist or a female with Caribbean ancestry?

Why am I capturing this?
I am here to observe, to excavate and to document
I am here to seek opportunities to explore my heritage
I am here to claim my own iconography and symbols
I am here to re-imagine a place beyond the picturesque

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Guide to the Visitor's Evening Routine

Pax Guest House, Mount Saint Benedict
Tunapuna, Trinidad

Duration of stay: 14 nights

Fact: Pax (meaning 'peace'), is the oldest purpose-built guest house in Trinidad, situated 800 metres above sea-level

1 Catch the last PAX maxi taxi up Mount Saint Benedict (this departs at 6pm)

2 Return to room, deposit the heavy load from the day and go to the communal showers to refresh

3 Back to room - upload digital images and audio files from the day onto laptop (depending on how well-intended you feel, title and tag all documentation with name and date)

4 Meanwhile, plug-in the electric insect deter rant and spray the room with anti-mosquito spray, closing all windows and doors

5 Hear the maid walking down the corridor (the ice jangles in the rum punch like a warning signal), put on something decent and await the welcomed beverage. She will knock on your door

6 Settle down with your 'holiday' book and the rum punch. You will soon become ac costumed to the sound of the gong ('dinner is served') and the cacophony of diners below

7 Drift off, this is the coolest month of the year. A sheet will be sufficient

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Yard

Alice Yard in Trinidad is a domestic exterior space, recently reinvented to host, instigate and inspire artistic production. It continues the cultural tradition of this space representing an area of "play and imaging".

I live in the North East of England, where the vernacular architecture (the Tyneside flat) reigns the streets of Tyne and Wear.

"A unit of Tyneside Flats may at first glance resemble conventional single fronted terraced houses, but is in fact two and sometimes 3 dwellings, one above the other. They have separate front and back doors and back yards with no internal communication between the households."

Thinking about the reinvention of my yard...

My yard is usually quiet, though the sound of kids hanging around and local 'domestics' are not uncommon. It is partially overlooked by neighbours (a ready-made audience) and everyone keeps themselves to themselves. Due to the often unpredictable and usually cold climate, my yard is only in periodic use during Summer. The walls and concrete floor show evidence of previous outbuildings - the coal shed, the outside loo, the cellar. How has the Tyneside yard evolved as an urban space? Was there a time when neighbours freely opened their back gates, or have back doors always been bolted and curtains only ever twitched? Did Britain' s historic street parties ever make their way around the back and into the yard?

How does the history of the yard determine the use of this space for artistic production?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Acts of negotiation

In the 1800's, the income from a small plantation in Pickerings, St Lucy (Barbados) financed the restoration of Brinkburn Priory in Northumberland (UK). This plantation enslaved approximately 160 men, women and children - these men, women and children were neither acknowledged then or now... the guidebook's comprehensive text fails to mention this detail- an oversight?

Last Sunday, I went to the area of Pickerings to see what remained today, to discover the plantation is still operating in full swing. The original estate house and slave quarters are now boarded up and decaying but they stand as a physical reminder of its former life.

Creating PLOT is not going to be easy, and knowing now that the former Pickerings plantation exists shifts the attention and direction of the project to this site.

I spend a lifetime creating 'Things To Do Lists' and for PLOT this is no exception. Below, this one is my ideal act of negotiations and tasks to make this work a reality. Over the course of 2007, external factors suggested the proposed site for installation is a highly unlikely proposition and permissions will be a great hurdle (though you can never underestimate what might capture people's imagination). But, in order to move things forward tasks need to be completed...this work may become the process and documentation of trying to make it. It could manifest into (unhealthy) obsession, dead ends and tangents (The artist, Sophie Calle could never fully resolve her fascination with money). But it begins with the 'To Do'...

An Ideal Things To Do List

1 Change tact by contacting the current owners of the plantation expressing an interest in the history of the property and a slow approach towards the proposal.
A letter may be the best approach to avoid blowing it in the first instance....

2 Get the owners of Brinkburn Priory on board - a fine balance....


3 Funding (enough said)

4 Find a surveyor who is willing to endeavour on the subversive task of surveying the plantation estate using traditional methods - this involves using chains and could take many days...

5 Continue discussions with the draughtsman based in Newcastle upon Tyne, who pine for the days before the generic AutoCad took over. Identify who is willing to collaborate on the hand-drawing of the 1:1 blueprint.

6 Install the blueprint within Brinkburn Priory (or an alternative destination)

To be continued with revisions and realism...