Saturday 11 June 2011

Report: Openning of the Post - Industrial Revolution exhibition in Gdansk

Post – Industrial Revolution  project is nearing completion. The artists left Gdansk on Sunday. Kate and I are back in Birmingham too. It was hard to leave the shipyard, an area where nature meets culture,  where our artists were producing new art works for a month. Thirty-degree heat did not help to install the exhibition, but strongly encouraged our evening trips to the beach and sipping cocktails in one of the old town's cafes . We found time for both though. After a few days of installing we were ready to discuss  artists' works  during Thursday's talk, and to finally show their final products  during Friday's opening. Aliceson Carter and Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau shown their works at Modelarnia, Louie + Jesse at the Kiosk. Both spaces are part of Wyspa Progress Foundation. The opening  gathered a nice bunch of people, which later transferred to Buffet, Wyspa's club. Currently artists and curators are gone but the exhibition is open until Sunday the 12 of June, from Thursday till Sunday (11:00 - 18:00), at two locations - Modelarnia and Kiosk. 

Alicson Carter, performance with Zbigniew Stefanski, Modelarnia,  2011

Alicson Carter, performance with Zbigniew Stefanski, Modelarnia,  2011

Alicson Carter, performance with Zbigniew Stefanski, Modelarnia,   2011
For the Post - Industrial Revolution Aliceson has developed a performative video piece paying homage to the Gdansk Shipyard.  By acquiring a boat, recording her journey, while playing shipyard songs, Aliceson has created a floating monument to the shipyard. With this piece Aliceson attempts to celebrate current and past production within the Gdansk shipyard as well as its origins as the birth place of the Solidarity movement. ‘My boat making and broadcasting of solidarity songs would be a homage, as an outsider, to the people & history of the shipyard’ – says Aliceson. The boat, now situated in Modelarnia accompanies a projection of the filmed voyage. During the opening night Aliceson in collaboration with Zbigniew Stefanski (Shipyard’s bard) recited shipyard songs with a twist.  Aliceson sang a new song she has written about the shipyard and regeneration plans for the Young city development plan to the tune of Shipbuilding by Elvis Costello/Robert Wyatt. 

 Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau, installation, Modelarnia, 2011
Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau, installation, Modelarnia,  2011
Matthew had developed an installation involving moving image, sound recordings and found materials from in and around the shipyard collected during his wanderings. Matthew describes Post-industrial landscapes as haunting - full of economic, political and ideological histories.  During his time in the shipyard he attempts to uncover these histories and connect them with a wider network of contemporary ideas. The installation takes the form of two video works and three audio pieces.  The audio works within this exhibition consist of headphones set within pile of debris (sand/dirt/rubble and other found objects).  Each audio piece is an interview with individuals Matt has met during his time in Gdansk, drawing on issues which have caught his interest such as the young city development, as well as stories from Wyspa Sobieszewska, the island on which Matthew was staying during the residency period.
Louie + Jesse, If we stop now, they will crush us like bed bugs, audiovisual installation, Kiosk,  2011
Louie + Jesse, If we stop now, they will crush us like bed bugs, audiovisual installation, Kiosk,  2011
Louie + Jesse have created a site-specific installation exploring the shipyard strike of 1970 and 1980. They are interested in the so called selective cleansing of history, how some areas are left as monuments and others (the messy elements) are demolished. They are interested in exploring the role of Alina Pienkowska in Shipyard’s strikes, an activist and nurse who became stranded in the clinic during the strike activity.  They researched a particular moment within the strike’s history, just before communication lines were cut off. A moment where Alina made a quick but vital phone call to Jacek Kuroń stating details of the strike including its demands. As a result information about the strike was relayed worldwide. It is an understated but significant moment within the shipyards history. Having acquired a kiosk space just outside Wyspa Institute of Art as a location in which to realize their artwork, Louie and Jesse have developed a site-specific installation. The installation appears to be a cross between a hospital room and a hotel room.  Their work draws on archival material about Alina but is also influenced by the recent young city developments and regeneration taking place within the shipyard grounds. 

Tuesday 31 May 2011

Back in Gdansk

                                           Alernativa opening

So we have been back in Poland for 4 days now and so much has happened.  After a long journey from Birmingham we arrived at Wyspa laden down with baggage.  We managed to take a quick snooze before the opening of Alernativa, an art festival organised by Wyspa taking places around the shipyard.  It was an immense opening; over 50 internatioanl artists are showing at Alternativa which will run until the 30th September.  It was a great opportunity to meet new artists and to catch up with our own Post Industrial artists.

On Sunday Roma and I accompanied Aliceson to Kuznica a small town on the Hel peninsula.  A couple of weeks earlier Aliceson found a fishing buoy washed up on the beach close to her accommodation on Wyspa Sobieszewska. It’s a beautifully made object and Aliceson decided to embark on a 3-hour train journey to return it to the fishing boat it belonged too. She researched a code written on the side of the buoy and found out where it originated.  So on Sunday morning we set off with her to re-unite the buoy with its owner.  When we arrived at Kuzica train station we were greeted by a sea of mosquitoes, much like our trip to Puck during our last visit.  It was quite terrifying!

After walking along the coast for a few minutes we found the gate to the dock, and by chance met a man who recognised the buoy as belonging to his friend.  Unfortunately the owner could not collect it so we left the buoy with the dock security guard happy in the knowledge it would be safely returned.  For Aliceson, the discovery of this buoy instigated the development of a side project to her main exhibition pieces, more will be revealed about this later.

Monday was a particularly busy day, were Aliceson embarked on a boat trip around the shipyard Island, the make shift boat (adapting an existing rowing boat) became a floating monument to the shipyard.  Roma and I were lucky enough to hitch a ride on the speedboat which towed Aliceson’s boat.   It was amazing seeing the shipyard from sea level.   It’s wonderful having the opportunity to realise this performance, footage taken from this trip will form a video pieces which will be shown during the exhibition.  We want to say a big thank you to Nick for towing the boat along and making this all possible.

Our other Post industrial artists are working hard developing and installing their works. Louie and Jesse are slaving away on their installation in a kiosk outside of Wyspa,  and Matt is continuing to conduct interviews and develop his installation in Modelarnia. Today has been a day of cleaning and preparing Modelernia, it’s a big job and we’ve had to be very resourceful when clearing the space as we have limited storage.  It all starts again tomorrow!

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau

                                          Screen shot from Liverpool Fugue 2010

As an artist Matthew is interested in the idea of the flaneur. A flaneur being someone who experiences an environment by walking through it, in order to understand it. He is also interested in the parallel idea of the fugue, which is a state of psychological breakdown accompanied by loss of identity and long periods of seemingly aimless wandering. People who undergo dissociative fugues have been known to travel many hundred of miles, suddenly becoming aware of what has happened but having no explanation of how they got to where they are.

He views walking as a critical process. ‘When you walk, you think. Your thoughts are led by what you see and you reflect upon your environment. To walk in a post-industrial environment is to begin to understand the history of such an area on a human scale. To exist as an individual in a post-industrial landscape is a way of challenging that environment and its inevitably de-humanising nature.’

Matthew works predominantly with sound, whether video, performance or installation, his works are often led by the sound, particularly spoken narration.  This narration is then underpinned by soundscapes made from his recordings.

Matthew has previously undertaken residencies at the Royal Standard in Liverpool, and the Lombard Method in Birmingham, both in 2010. During these residencies Matthew focused on the post-industrial landscapes of each city and made work that dealt with the micro-histories that exist in such environments.

Liverpool Fugue - A lecture with slide-show given on the opening night of The Festival, a solo exhibition at The Royal Standard in Liverpool

This is Not a Public Right of Way - A video made as part of a residency at The Lombard Method in Birmingham, in Summer 2010.

Thursday 19 May 2011


louie+jesse are a visual/sound/performance art collective of two core members, with varying associates. Having trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, they work in multiforms such as performance installation, sound sculpture, and site-specific video, combining an enthusiasm for new technologies and materials with an analogue aesthetic. They are particularly interested in the interplay between external space and personal body, their pieces are often politically engaged and respond to place, history and community. 

Previous works includes  Capillary a large scale installation developed as part of the Ganze/Teile exhibition in a derelict office building in East Berlin, July-August 2010.  This installation consisted of vast quantities of bright industrial drainage tubing carry sounds from one place in the building to another. The tubes disappear and reappear through the many holes in the floors, ceilings and other areas, not limited by rooms or straight walls, some paths traceable and some unclear.  

 histoires concrètes is a project realised by louie+jesse in PeerGrouP’s P.A.I.R. ( – a temporary residence for artists. It consists of two six-metre containers where the artists lived and worked for one month (Nov/Dec 2010). Situated in a remote rural location - between fields, wood and mudflats, near the village of Finsterwolde.  The final piece for this project formed an unconventional map of the local area, inviting physical experience of place and exploring both the limitations and potential of ‘history’ and communal narratives. Made from local clay soil, the sculptures embody the different processes evident in the landscape, and changed radically daily with the weather.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Aliceson Carter

Aliceson Carter, Homage to the 1968 Paris protests and the legacy of Marcel Duchamp, 2008

We would like to introduce the practice of each artist taking part in the Post-Industrial Revolution residency . We begin with Aliceson Carter. Her Art practice revolves around observation, and as such reflects the world around us. She graduated from Goldsmiths College in 2009.  During her time there she made a piece of work where she paid homage to the 1968 Paris protests and the legacy of Marcel Duchamp (who died in Paris in 1968). She carried a urinal from his Paris residence to Birkbeck University in London, documenting the journey in a 5hr video piece. This was shown at 1968: Impact & Implications conference in July 2008.  Since graduating she has taken part in a research lead project in Berlin, documenting the Berlin border of today with Kodachrome photographic film from the 1980s, when the Berlin Wall was in force.  A 2010 residency in Sweden documented the Tranäs Cruising event, an annual parade of hundreds of restored vintage American cars around the town.  She has also recently travelled to Kansas to record the last days of Kodachrome processing for my Kodachrome Pre Paid Processing Packet Project.  In all these projects she has been interested in exploring the community, history & locale. This has lead to making work that focuses on the sense of time & place and our interactions within them. 

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Matt's daily reports from his Post-Industrial Revolution experience

Kate and I unfortunately had to head back to Birmingham leaving our artists in good hands of our project manager - Marta. Thus we can't keep you as much updates as we wish. Surprisingly Matthew turned out to be enthusiastic blogger.  You can read almost daily reports from his Post-Industrial Revolution experience in Gdańsk on his blog
It was fascinating read for me. It is always interesting to read what people from other countries think about your country, and Matt has got a lot to say. I can't wait for more! 

Saturday 14 May 2011

Week one of residency

So it’s been a busy time for Post Industrial Revolution.  Roma and I embarked on the first of two-scheduled trips to Poland last week, initiating the second part of the project. We set off a little under the weather but powered through.  After a day of re -familiarising myself with Wyspa, Modelarnia and the shipyard,  as well as discussing practicalities with Marta and Roma we were good to go.

Two of the four British artists, Aliceson and Matt arrived bright and early Friday morning.  We then embarked on a busy day, dropping off artists baggage at the accommodation, beach frolics, and a spot of lunch followed by a trip to Wyspa.

                                                        Monument at Westerplatte

The following day we got all touristy and jumped aboard a ferry to Westerplatte, historically significant as the location were Germany invaded Poland on 1st September 1939, initiating the Second World War.  We visited a monument dedicated to the 182 Polish Solders who lost their lives defending the city, keeping the Nazi’s at bay for a staggering 7 days.   The ferry trip offered fantastic views of the shipyard from the water showing just how vast the Gdansk shipyard really is.  The afternoon was spent exploring the shipyard on foot, the highlight being Aliceson’s discovery of a huge polystyrene cube!  We are hoping to borrow or possibility rent this object for the exhibition.  After talking to Marta I discovered that scrap or discarded object in the shipyard can be borrowed or rented rather then taken.  I rather like this idea of loaning found materials.  Different parts of the shipyard are owned by different companies or individuals, so it’s just a case of finding out who owns the polystyrene.  The day was rounded of with dinner, an opportunity for the artists to meet different members of the Wyspa team and indulge in some tasty polish delicacies.

                                           Matt and Aliceson surveying the cube

                                                        Exploring the shipyard

Sunday involved an epic journey to a town called Puck to witness 400km, a project in which camper vans filled with artists and art visit small towns in the surrounding area of Gdansk.  We went part of the way by train and the remainder packed into one of the artist's camper vans.  Unfortunately upon arriving at our destination we were engulfed by a plague of mosquitoes! It was almost biblical.  The event was cancelled but we took it as an opportunity to explore the town.  We then stopped off for a beer in Gdynia, the second largest city making up the try cites of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot.

                                          Louie and Jesse explore the shipyard

Monday marked the arrival of the artist duo Louie and Jesse. Their first day in Gdansk followed a similar formula to that of Matt and Aliceson's, the difference being we had the opportunity to explore the residency studio space within Wyspa and store room facilities.   This is where I came across our old friend Lech Walesa, this model of him was installed in Wyspa's gallery space during my last trip to the shipyard a year previously.


After a trip to Modelarnia and more exploring we bid farewell  to our artists.  We will be returning to Gdansk in two weeks time to see how they're getting on.